Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Dublin Electricity Undertaking—Compensation of Redundant Employés.

andMr. Briscoe asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce to state when he intends to introduce the Bill to deal with the pensions and compensations of the redundant employees of the Dublin Electricity Undertaking, due to its acquisition by the Electricity Supply Board, and if he will state (a) the number of persons affected, (b) their respective services and wages, (c) the number of such persons who were non-insurable, and (d) how long these men have been away from this employment.

This Bill will be introduced as soon as the present pressure on the draftsman's office permits. The reply to part (a) of the question is 61, to part (c) 12, and to part (d) since the 18th of February. The reply to part (b) would involve a long tabular statement containing separate details for each employee, the preparation of which would not seem to serve any useful purpose.

Does the Minister not realise that this Bill could be introduced and passed through this House without any contention? Is he aware that, as these people have been idle since February last and without funds, something should be done to bring this Bill in immediately?

The Bill is being pushed forward with all possible speed. As the Deputy will have noticed, there are only twelve of them who are not insurable.

Will the Minister say how many of them are at present idle?

I said already that there were sixty-one of them unemployed, of whom twelve are not insurable.

Even for the sake of twelve, could the Minister give the date at which this Bill will be introduced?

As far as the items dealing with these employees are concerned, the Bill could have been introduced before Easter but there are other matters holding it up.

Would it not be possible to introduce a separate Bill?

It would be most undesirable.

Would the Minister use his good offices to get these people some relief, pending the introduction of the Bill?

In so far as that is possible, it has already been done. On the first occasion on which the Deputy introduced this matter to my notice, long before Easter, I made an effort to get them employment.

Is it the draftsman who is holding up this Bill or the Minister's own Department?

There is no question of holding up.

I consider if people are out of employment since February through no fault of their own and if they have no means of livelihood, they should be looked after.

It is only in the case of twelve.

Even with twelve it is rather a hardship, and it seems rather unfair that something should not be done to give that particular legislation precedence.

There has been a better appreciation of the facts of the situation and the possible hardships on these people in the Department than in the Deputy's own mind. The situation is not a simple one and it requires some time to clear it up.