'We are imploding': Childcare providers protest against funding issues

Crèches have been forced to close due to "fee freezes" and "issues with core funding," according...
Faye Curran
Faye Curran

11.49 27 Jun 2023

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'We are imploding': Childcare...

'We are imploding': Childcare providers protest against funding issues

Faye Curran
Faye Curran

11.49 27 Jun 2023

Share this article

Crèches have been forced to close due to "fee freezes" and "issues with core funding," according to the Federation of Early Childhood Providers.

Today, childcare providers are staging a protest at the Dáil, as they claim the Government has badly let down children and parents.

On The Pat Kenny Show, the Federation of Early Childhood Providers Chairperson, Elaine Dunne, said insufficient core funding, a Government-imposed fee freeze, and a mandatory pay order have decimated small childcare businesses.


"It is the opinion of our sector that the policy of Government is to close down all of the small and medium services," she said.

"Rural Ireland has taken a massive hit. Parents are going to have to travel for miles to find a service for their children."


Ms Dunne said parents in underserviced areas will have to "give up work" due to a lack of childcare resources.

"Someone's gonna have to give up work and stay at home with the children," she said.

"Yesterday alone, I got a call from one provider in Galway – she's closing this Friday ... two in Clare yesterday ... [one in] Mayo yesterday – that's another full daycare."

A total review of funding streams is necessary for the industry to survive, Ms Dunne told the show.

"For this year for core funding, we're getting a €0.03 raise per child, per hour present," she said.

"That's not going to cover all of our outgoings in any way shape or form."

Employment regulation

Ms Dunne claimed that a review of employment regulations is also needed in the sector.

"We had a big meeting with over 300 providers last night – they're clearly stating that they have no more money and that if another employment regulation comes in, at a certain rate, they're going to be forced to close the doors," she said.

"The small and medium services have been in a fee freeze for 10 years – they're not allowed to look for anything from the parents at all."

Playing kids Playing kids (Photo by YAY Media AS / Alamy Stock Photo)

Early childhood education providers are claiming that the €64.50 ECCE scheme – provided to eligible children every week for three hours of service – is not sufficient.

"If you've 22 children, and three staff and €64.50, if you work it out, it doesn't work," she said.

"You're running at a flat rate with them, the core funding then comes in on top of that, but it's not enough.

"If services are closing down all around the country it's evident it's not enough."

Planning ahead

Ms Dunne said Taoiseach Leo Varadkar's promise of a reduction in childcare prices next year does not reassure providers.

"First and foremost, we are businesses and to run a business you need to have a business plan for the following year – we can't use a business plan for a month ahead," she said.

"I want [Government] to sit down with all of the provider representatives and to speak openly to the people on the ground with a document clearly showing the state the sector is in.

"We are imploding and nobody seems to be listening, and that is a huge worry for all of us."

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