In the rain, a large crowd of childcare providers, workers and families gathered outside Aras An Chontae in Castlebar from 11am this morning

They had gathered to protest and to demand from government increased funding for the early childhood education sector.

Organised by the Federation of Early Childhood Providers they called for “fair play” through enhanced investment in creches and reforms to the state’s core funding model.

A number of speakers at the rally warned of the imminent closure of a number of early childhood provider facilities across the county if the capitation grant per child is not significantly increased in the upcoming budget from 69 euro per child to at least 100 euro.

Local county councillors, of all political persuasions and none, joined the protest.

The protest then set out, led by a garda patrol car down Castlebar’s Main Street, stopping at the Mayo County Childcare committee office at Chambers House  and then proceeded along Market Square and finished at the office of Mayo Fine Gael Deputy Alan Dillon.

Midwest News Editor Teresa O’Malley spoke to a number of the protesters and asked them why they had taken to the streets….

 Marita Shannon from Tigh na Leanai in Kiltimagh has been in business for almost 30 years and says drastic reform is needed immediately.

She has been giving more details to Midwest Radio's Michael D. McAndrew...



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