Early years sector in the west is faces rates crisis

COMMERCIAL rates in the early years sector is proving a huge financial burden on services.

Through the newly-established Mayo Big Start Early Years Committee, the sector has secured a meeting with Mayo County Council on June 5 to discuss the issue.

The committee has receiving a high level of calls from distressed service providers in relation to the matter.

Said Avril Green, committee spokesperson: “The introduction of rates or potential increase of rates will definitely increase the risk of service closures and result in the loss of certain childcare services provided to parents around the county.

“This will have devastating consequences not only for providers, but also for parents, where services will be forced to reduce down to just the ECCE scheme and subsequently result in the discontinuation of after-school and breakfast club facilities.

“The new proposed rates have the potential to put many of these critical and vital services out of business. We look forward to a robust discussion with the council on this issue.”

SIPTU organiser and Big Start coordinator Ann O’Reilly stated: “There is no standardised approach to the levying of commercial rates in the early years sector or in the criteria used to determine the valuation process.

“Through our Big Start Committee, representing the membership in Mayo, we now have a rare opportunity to have discussions on this pressing issue.”