Childcare providers taking to the streets in protest is 'unwarranted' and 'unfair on children'.
That's the view of Childrens' Minister Roderic O'Gorman who says government has 'prioritised investment' for the sector.
Hundreds of providers have shut today, and are protesting new core funding proposals in Cork, Galway, Mayo, Sligo, Clare and Dublin.
The Cork protest is due to get underway at 11.30 this morning outside City Hall.
The Federation of Early Childhood Providers are seeking a €7 weekly increase in ECCE funding to combat inflation and rising costs.
Minister O'Gorman says he's really disappointed these protests are going ahead this morning:
"I don't believe the protests are justified, I think it's unwarranted and I think I'm really disappointed to see it going ahead with a huge inconvenient for the parents impacted and I think it's unfair on children as well, government and myself as Minister we've prioritized investment in childcare."