A number of Donegal childcare providers will be closing this Friday as part of a nationwide protest.
Local members of the Federation of Early Childhood Providers are planning to march through Letterkenny town centre to highlight their call for more government funding.
While some pre-schools are closing outright, others will be sending staff as representatives.
The issue centres on a new core funding model which leaves many centres out of pocket.
The new €221 million core funding scheme came into effect last month with the aim of making childcare more affordable for parents, increase capacity, improve pay and conditions and provide greater financial stability for service providers. However, with capitation rates not increasing in line with inflation, the funding leaves facilities receiving less than they were previously.
Michael McCarron, Manager of Little Toby’s Playschool in Muff, says the discrepancy leaves a difference of €9,000 per month in his business. He said that a lack of support for administration work is also not being recognised.
“We are calling on anyone who is available on Friday to come out and show their support. Any providers than can spare staff for an hour or two are asked to come and help our voices be heard,” Mr McCarron said.
The Federation says that some 264 childcare providers plan to close in 2023 because the Government’s subsidy is not enough to keep going in the face of inflation. The fund currently stands at €69 per child per week in ECCE services. If capitation had kept pace with inflation, this would be €76.16 now.
The Federation is asking the Government to increase ECCE capitation to €76 as an emergency measure. They say the protest is a ‘last resort’ to an ongoing dispute with the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (DCEDIY).