I propose to take Questions Nos. 53 and 78 together.
As the Deputies will be aware, this issue relates to a claim by community employment, CE, supervisors and assistant supervisors who have been seeking to implement a 2008 Labour Court recommendation relating to the provision of a pension scheme. The matter was the subject of discussion at the community sector high level forum that was reconvened to examine certain issues pertaining to the CE sector and, in particular, to ensure that the matter was fully examined while having regard to costs and precedent.
A detailed scoping exercise was carried out by my Department in 2017 in order to examine and assess comprehensively the full potential implications of the issues under consideration. That exercise clearly illustrated that this matter presented significant issues for the Exchequer, with a potential cost to the State of between €188 million per annum and €347 million, depending on the size of the sector, which is difficult to ascertain, in respect of funding to enable an employer pension contribution in State-funded community and voluntary organisations. This excludes any provision for immediate ex gratia lump sum payments of pension as sought, which could, depending on the size of the sector, entail a further Exchequer cost of up to €318 million.
It continues to be the position that State organisations are not the employer of the particular employees concerned and that it is not for the State to provide funding for such pension scheme provision. The employees in question are, or were, employees of private companies, notwithstanding the fact that the companies concerned are, or were, in receipt of State funding.