The deep sense of frustration felt by community employment supervisors and assistant supervisors in trying to secure an occupational pension was expressed in the Dáil by Fianna Fáil Deputy Bobby Aylward.
Speaking during a debate on a Fianna Fáil motion, he said the Community Employment schemes were introduced in this country at a time when unemployment levels were very high, particularly in rural Ireland. “By all accounts, the initiative has been very successful and has served its participants very well in securing employment when jobs were scarce and in helping the long-term unemployed to find a pathway back to work,” he said. “We cannot underestimate the effect secure employment can have on a person, from both a financial and mental health point of view. I have spoken to people who were long-term unemployed for years and could see no light at the end of the tunnel, and it was the CE scheme that got them going again, giving them a jump start and leading them back to full-time and long-term employment.”
CE schemes would never have succeeded without the work of the supervisors and assistant supervisors, he said. They have a strong personal vocation for the work they do and they are passionate about helping the people of their communities. “Our motion calls for a satisfactory pathway to be found, based on the 2008 Labour Court recommendations, to address the pension issue for the 1,250 CE supervisors and assistant supervisors,” he said. These supervisors are honest, hard-working people and they need the Government to do the right thing and set out a pathway to provide them with the pensions they are owed.”