Saturday 19 October 2019

Budget 2020: 'Our teachers work full time, but they’re barely surviving' - childcare provider Amy Dowd

Childcare provider Amy Dowd, manager of Cuan Bhríde Childcare Centre in Co. Roscommon. Photo: Keith Heneghan.
Childcare provider Amy Dowd, manager of Cuan Bhríde Childcare Centre in Co. Roscommon. Photo: Keith Heneghan.

Gabija Gataveckaite

Amy Dowd, the manager of Cuan Bhride Childcare Centre in Four Mile House in Roscommon, has been campaigning for more investment into the childcare sector for years.

The centre employs 22 staff, including kitchen workers and cleaners and a hundred children are enrolled in the creche. However, Ms Dowd says that due to poor wages and a lack of investment into the sector, she has to turn parents away who wish to enrol their children.

"Things have become worse. I need to maintain staff and attract new staff, but we’re still unable to pay them anything above minimum wage," she explained.

"We’re working with the most vulnerable people in the country and their safety is the absolute priority, but we can’t even pay staff anything higher than the minimum wage."

She said that she is currently recruiting for additional staff, however the poor pay sees very little people entering the sector.

"Most of the money we make, 80pc of it goes towards employees’ wages.

"This leaves us with very little to put back into the centre and the wages are still very low. Because we’re short staffed, I try and cover longer hours and lunch breaks, but I’m exhausted," she said.

She hopes that the upcoming Budget will consider the childcare sector and allow childcare managers to pay their staff the living wage.

"The teachers we have work full time, but they’re barely surviving.

"I have staff that leave the job after several years as they can’t buy a house or can’t afford to settle down," she said.

"It’s very hard to maintain ourselves and the lack of funding pits us against parents, but it’s not fair to increase the fees for them either," Ms Dowd added.

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