Comhlámh is the umbrella organisation which acts as a conduit between voluntary organisations in this country who work in developing countries and the Irish Government agency Irish Aid which is part of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Where a person, employed in an approved teaching post in a recognised school, is granted approved unpaid leave to work in developing countries under the auspices of Comhlámh, the period of such leave is not pensionable in its own right under the teachers’ pension scheme. However, the period of the overseas contract may be purchased at full actuarial cost. It is a matter between the teacher and Comhlámh as to whether the contract provides for such payment and under what conditions. Where my Department is provided with written confirmation of an agreement under which Comhlámh has undertaken to pay the appropriate pension contributions on behalf of the teacher, it will invoice Comhlámh for the full cost and upon receipt of the payment will then credit the person with the appropriate service credit for pension purposes.
If a circumstance were to arise where payment by Comhlámh had not been agreed with the teacher, then it would be open to the teacher in his/her own right to purchase the period at full actual cost and my Department would provide a quotation to him/her on request.