The Minister justifies this motion solely on the grounds of continuity, and the necessity for recognising obligations entered into by the first Dáil. I have not the document here, but I think I showed the Minister on the last occasion that the obligation was not to pay pensions. If there was a single obligation there were many obligations. In the same document there were other obligations besides the one the Minister referred to. The obligation that was entered into regarding judges of the Supreme Court was an obligation to employ them for life. No mention was made in that decree of salary, no mention was made of pensions, and the obligation, if there was one, was to appoint these judges and to maintain them in their positions for life. The Minister answered that the court which was set up by the Dáil, and to which these judges were appointed, no longer exists and that, therefore, we are bound to pay the judges a pension. I cannot see how the "therefore" comes in. There is at least as strong an obligation to offer these judges alternative employment. There certainly is no more obligation to pay them pensions than to send them around the world. I think that the case made for this motion, that there is an obligation upon the Saorstát Government to pay pensions to judges who were appointed for life by the first Dáil does not follow at all from the document which has been produced, but there may be an obligation to keep them in employment in one post or another. Offer them employment in the usual conditions, and if they refuse that employment then there is no further obligation.
In view of the abandonment of the courts to which these men were appointed, there may be an obligation to offer them alternative employment. Regarding the analogy of the judges under the British, they knew the Acts of Parliament under which they were being appointed; they knew that they were being appointed for life, and could only be removed by an Act of the Parliament that appointed them and for cause shown. They knew their salaries, and that they were entitled to pensions. Will the Minister tell us where the obligation to pay pensions comes in, except in the document known as a decree, which was quoted from on the last occasion? That decree said that these people were to be appointed judges, and were not to be removable except by a two-thirds vote of the Dáil. Has there been such a vote? Has that obligation been fulfilled. And where is the obligation to pay £500 a year to two judges who may have served a few months, a year, or two years—I do not know how long? I cannot see any mention of any salary, or any requirement upon the Dáil to pay pensions, but I can see an obligation to keep these men in employment for life. I would like to know whether alternative employment has been offered them, and whether they have refused it, and if so, where does the obligation lie that we should pay them a pension?