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Killygordon childcare provider protesting over lack of funding

A Killygordon childcare provider says they’re protesting over the coming days after a lack of funding from Government has left their business on the brink.

Workers from Aurora’s Hobbits and Aurora’s Afterschool in Killygordon are attending a national protest outside Dáil Éireann today along with members of the Federation of Childcare Providers.

They’ll also be protesting in Letterkenny, tomorrow the 27th, as well as Thursday the 28th, over the drastic rise in costs for childcare providers – as Government funding has remained stagnant.

As a result of the demonstration, their facilities will be closed over the next three days.

In a statement, Aurora McGlynn, director of Aurora’s Hobbits and Aurora’s Afterschool, said that “I totally understand that this is of massive inconvenience and upset to all parents. But I find that I can no longer continue in this ‘Partnership’ and I hope that by doing this we can make a big impact and hopefully make change for providers, for practitioners and for the children.”

Workers from Aurora’s Hobbits and Aurora’s Aftercare, on their way to Dáil Éireann to protest childcare funding shortfalls today.

She also says that these demonstrations are necessary to highlight their plight, as well as that of other providers across the county and country, and that a big part of the problem stems from the new “core funding” model for childcare: “for services who signed up to this new model they were forced to freeze their prices at the 2021 (Which some date back to 2017/2018) rate they already charged, and they also had to implement the National Childcare Scheme (NCS). With both Core Funding and NCS brings on a large administration workload, which we the provider do not receive any financial contribution to implement this work for the government, nor can we charge an administration fee, which means we effectively do this work for free.”

Aurora also says inflation was not accounted for when their rates were frozen: “with the 2021 Budget and price fee there was no consideration made for the large increase in inflation across the board for supplies, insurance, utilities etc. This year for the 2023/24 school year we have been given a €0.03c increase per child, while our ECCE funding is at €64.50 set at 2010 prices.”

“I cannot increase my fees, as when I signed up to core funding, we were forced into a fee freeze. We are on fee freezes that date back to 2017 even though we continue to endure price increases from electricity, gas, oil, rent, mortgage rates, maintenance, office supplies and food supplies.”

“While inflation and costs are rising, I cannot keep going the way I am. The government must substantially increase funding to the Early Years Education and Care sector before it is too late. Some settings will close while remaining providers will have no option but to withdraw from core funding in order to increase their fees if they are to survive. This is something I personally really do not want to do as many parents are already struggling financially.”

“The Core Funding model simply is not working. Without better funding I cannot continue to provide you the parents with the service we do today. Without better funding I can not retain my staff. Without reconciliation our staffing crisis in Ireland will continue.”