CEISTEANNA—QUESTIONS. - UNION AMALGAMATION (SLIGO OFFICIALS).

To ask the Minister for Local Government whether he is aware that under the Union Amalgamation Scheme for County Sligo, the Clerk and Workhouse Master of Sligo Union were removed from their offices and not appointed to any positions under the new scheme, although Sligo Workhouse was made the County Home and Hospital, and these officials had given respectively 21 years' and 11 years' satisfactory service; whether the pensions of these officers were fixed in April last in accordance with the Local Government Act of 1919, a British statute which was adopted by Dáil Eireann, but have not yet been paid; whether these officers were engaged up till September last in the adjustment of accounts necessitated by the amalgamation; and whether he will use his influence, either to secure employment for these officials, or at least the payment to them of the pensions to which they are entitled.

Under the Amalgamation Scheme for Sligo County the posts of Clerk of the Union and Master of the Workhouse, Sligo, were abolished. The holders of these positions were at liberty to present themselves for examination for employment under the County Home Committee, but omitted to do so.

Pensions for these officers were proposed by the Sligo Board of Guardians, who purported to act under Section 8 of the Local Government (Ireland) Act, 1919, at a rate which appears to have been unduly generous. While it is true that this Act was adopted by Dáil Eireann, it was modified, however, in so far as it conflicted with Amalgamation Schemes of the County Schemes (Temporary Provisions) Decree, 1922. The following special provision dealing with this matter was also included in the Sligo Amalgamation Scheme:—"Each officer whose service is over ten years shall be granted superannuation at the rate of one-sixtieth of his or her present salary and emoluments for each year's service. The length of service shall be taken as the actual number of years served, with the addition of 50 per cent. of such actual service, provided that in no case shall the superannuation exceed two-thirds of the present salary and emoluments of such officer. This addition of 50 per cent. of the number of years' service is granted as compensation for the abolition of office, and the officials whose offices are abolished shall have no further claim beyond what is provided for in this section. The amount of an officer's emoluments shall be calculated on the basis of the average of such emoluments for the three completed years prior to his retirement."

So far as concerned the continued temporary employment of these officers the Ministry intimated on the 26th October last that no objection would be made to a payment additional to pension of an amount representing one-half of the former salaries.

The Deputy will observe that under Clause 10 of the Local Government (Temporary Provisions) Bill, 1923, it is proposed to seek power to enable the Ministry to determine the amount of such pensions in case of dispute.

I will see that no avoidable delay takes place in the matter.

The difficulty is really one of a dispute by the County Home Committee.