VEC must absorb Traveller Centre staff

Leitrim VEC could hypothetically end up paying people wages to “do nothing.” That was the revelation from this week’s county VEC meeting.

Leitrim VEC could hypothetically end up paying people wages to “do nothing.” That was the revelation from this week’s county VEC meeting.

St Joseph’s Senior Traveller Centre in Carrick-on-Shannon is closing at the end of this month, and the four teachers plus Director at the centre must be absorbed into the VEC structure.

There are four full time teachers at the centre teaching Home Economics, French & Maths, Technical Drawing and English.

Martin Fallon, Acting CEO of Leitrim VEC told the members that they must absorb the four teachers into their current allocation, he hopes to find roles for them all, but at the moment one subject has “no vacancies.”

Mr Fallon said a role must be found for all teachers as they cannot be re-deployed or made redundant. He said it will be “very difficult” to accommodate the new teachers with no extra allocation.

Part time teachers already with contracts in Leitrim VEC schools may have to give way for the full time teachers.

Senator Paschal Mooney asked would a school have to take on a teacher even if they are not needed? Senator Mooney said it would be a disgrace if people “would be paid to do nothing with high unemployment in the country”. Martin Fallon said “it could happen.”

The VEC also heard that the Director of the Traveller Centre must also be absorbed into the VEC, and although there are plenty of roles to be filled, the director cannot take them on because of the recruitment embargo.

Mr Fallon said the VEC are looking at several possibilities, but the Department of Education will need to approve any role suggested. As part of the Croke Park Agreement, the former director of St Joseph’s Senior Traveller Centre will be kept on the pay roll, even if there is no full time role for him.

Mr Fallon is still negotiating with the Department of Education over teacher allocations for next term, currently the VEC has been awarded ten hours less than last year without the inclusion of special needs, resource and autism hours.

The proposal to transform the Senior Traveller Centre into a youth reach centre has been rejected by the Department of Education, the VEC are now seeking to have it made into a facility for Back to Education Courses.