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Strike action by childcare providers tomorrow cancelled as meeting with Minister planned

Childcare providers have claimed they have been marginalised by the Government’s new core funding model.

Federation of Early Childcare Providers (FECP) protesting outside Leinster House earlier this month
Federation of Early Childcare Providers (FECP) protesting outside Leinster House earlier this month
Image: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

Updated Nov 24th 2022, 1:33 PM

A DAY OF closures by childcare providers around the country planned to take place tomorrow has been cancelled as a result of a meeting between the sector and the Minister for Children being proposed. 

Hundreds of childcare providers closed in protest for a day earlier this month, saying they have been marginalised by the Government’s new core funding model. 

The Federation of Early Childhood Providers (FECP) said the new core funding model for the sector, introduced by Children’s Minister Roderic O’Gorman, has seen smaller providers lose higher capitation and support payments, leaving their ECCE services completely unviable. 

A second day of closure among some childcare providers had been planned for tomorrow. 

In a statement today, however, the FECP said: “On the basis of goodwill, and the understanding that the Minister’s Office is willing to collaboratively engage on the very real and troubling concerns of our members, the FECP has agreed to postponing the planned Early Years Sector closure.

“If the proposed meeting with the Minister is not constructive, we will have no choice but to continue with future closures.”

Ahead of the strike earlier this month, the FECP claimed in a statement that O’Gorman  pushed through Core Funding plans without proper consultation or planning.

“The lack of respect is becoming very evident. Service providers and parents are not standing in a unified voice,” it said. 

Speaking this morning, Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman said that he welcomed the decision to call off the closures and that he was looking forward to meeting the Federation next week.

 

“My Department have been engaging with the Federation over the last week,” O’Gorman said.

“I look forward to meeting with them next week. I met with the Federation many times over the summer and I look to continue to engage with them in terms of ensuring we can support all elements of the childcare [sector] across the country, both from larger providers to smaller providers that the Federation are engaging with.

It comes as surveys by the representative group indicate that somewhere in the region of 260 childcare services across Ireland are expected to close completely in the coming year, due to rising energy costs, staffing overhead and other inflation-linked pressures.

A key issue for the FECP is that the UNICEF recommended level of childcare sector expenditure per year is 1% of GDP, meaning over €4 billion per year should be spent on early childhood care and education.

Currently Ireland stands at .3% of GDP spend, with €1 billion committed, which the FECP believes “illustrates Government’s lack of concern for children and for working parents, especially outside of the major urban centres”.

With reporting by Jamie McCarron and Tadgh McNally

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