Committee on Finance. - Superannuation Bill, 1936—Money Resolution.

I move:—

That it is expedient to authorise the payment out of moneys provided by the Oireachtas of any expenses incurred in giving effect to any Act of the present Session, to make special provision in respect of the application of the Superannuation Acts, 1834 to 1923, in divers cases which have arisen in the course of the administration of those Acts since the establishment of Saorstát Eireann, and to remove certain anomalies which have come to light in the course of such administration, and for those and other purposes to amend and extend the said Acts.

I have carefully gone through this Bill, and I do not find that, any more than its predecessors, it deals with the position created in years gone by in any equitable manner or that it metes out justice to those civil servants who took the side of Ireland at a critical time in our history. When the Treaty came, the British Government took care to protect in the Treaty those civil servants who held on to their positions and were loyal to the old régime. Protection was given to them if they remained on, and they were accorded rights that even the Free State Government could not take from them. If they retired, they were to have the advantage of a certain number of added years. If it could be shown that their position was being worsened, they could apply for still better conditions on retirement. The least our Government could have done was to have seen that Irish civil servants who took the side of Ireland in that period would be given similar treatment. Even now, perhaps, it is not too late to remedy the injustice that was then permitted. These victimised civil servants should get from our Government at least as good terms as were given by the British Government to those who were considered loyal to the British régime. That was not done at that time, it has not been done since, and it is not proposed to be done by this Bill.

I can speak with authority on behalf of those civil servants to whom I refer. When the Treaty came, these victimised civil servants came together and formed an association. They asked for an interview with the then head of the Provisional Government, the late General Collins. He gave that interview. A deputation of three from the victimised civil servants' association waited on General Collins in the City Hall. That deputation consisted of Mr. Dowling, who had been dismissed from the Registrar-General's office in 1918; Mr. P.S. O'Hegarty, the present Secretary of the G.P.O., and myself. On behalf of the victimised civil servants, we put up certain proposals. Briefly, they were that, from the time of our dismissal up to that date, we should get our back pay; that we should get compulsory retirement terms as good as those given in the Treaty to those civil servants who were not disturbed, or that we should have the option of reinstatement with the rank and emoluments we would have attained if we had not been disturbed. General Collins promised us those terms, with the proviso that, in the case of any victimised civil servant who had got financial help from public funds, the amount, when ascertained, should be deducted from the back money when ascertained. That proviso was at once accepted. That agreement with General Collins has never been honoured.

As I read this Bill it is not proposed to honour that undertaking now. It is not proposed to give even-handed justice to Irish civil servants who then took the part of Ireland; it is not proposed to give them equal treatment with those who remained loyal to the British and worked the British régime here while we had to walk the streets of Dublin, perhaps without a bob in our pockets. We are grateful now after having gone through these privations. We are grateful we do not owe any gratitude to the Government, past or present, for any position we are in. But we are still grateful that we are not now paupers knocking at the workhouse doors. At the same time I say this—and I am speaking with the full authority of all those victimised civil servants—that we demand of this Government at least as good treatment as those civil servants, who were not disturbed, got from the British Government. I think the Irish people would endorse that and say that that treatment should be granted. I remember after the rising in 1916 when the National Aid Fund and the Prisoners' Dependents' Fund were set up here to help the victims and the dependents of those who were killed or executed as a result of the insurrection that the Irish people in a few months, at home and over the water, subscribed £150,000 to help the victims. That showed how the heart of the Irish people at home and abroad was beating. I am sure those who so generously contributed to help the people who suffered in the national effort in 1916 will be surprised to hear that up to this justice has not been done to those who took the side of Ireland from 1916 onwards.

I hope before this Bill leaves the House the Minister will see that justice will be done both to civil servants who got reinstatement and to ex-civil servants who did not get reinstatement, and that their claims will be met. I hope they will have this justice, not as charity, not as a concession but as a right at least equal to the rights other civil servants have under the Treaty. These latter successfully defended their rights in the courts against our own Government.

I am putting this forward as a national question and I hope it will be treated by the Minister for Finance as a national question. It is not a political question in any sense of the word. I am quite hopeful that the Minister and his colleagues, however their outlook in politics may differ from ours, will give full justice to those who suffered in the national struggle. Those sufferers are claiming those rights not as a privilege. They are claiming equal rights with their colleagues in the Civil Service who did not give assistance in the national effort but who got these rights under the Treaty. As I read the Bill, full justice has not been done to those victimised civil servants. I have studied every section of the Bill to see how those victimised civil servants can be put into as good a position as if they had not been victimised. I can see no such provision in the Bill. I will be glad if the Minister or anybody else with authority to speak on it will show me that such provision is there. Nobody would be more pleased than I to see that such provision is in it for these men. At this stage I warn the Government that that is the view I and others have—that is the view of those who have authority and right to speak for victimised civil servants.

In conclusion I can say that those who have suffered privation and want, as I know many of them have, are prepared to let that go. But at this stage when an attempt is being made to give equitable treatment and to place those people back in their rights I hope they will get their full rights and not nominal rights. I hope that the right will be there as an absolute right, a right that can be claimed in law and that will not be at the discretion of any individual to give or withhold from them. In other words, that they will be placed in a position at least as well secured as the civil servants of the British régime who were transferred over subsequent to the Treaty of 1921. I hope there will not be any condition precedent to the getting of the full benefit of these rights. I remember in 1922 that a half-dozen of these ex-civil servants reluctantly decided that they would have to take reinstatement because owing to the then disturbed state of the country they were not able to make a living out of their business. I remember on one occasion our pooling our resources in order to help those people to make a struggle to get over their difficulties. It is a sad comment on the freedom we have won that these people have been left there with their claims unattended to and that justice has not been meted out to them for 14 years. I hope now the Minister will face up to the task as an Irish Minister for Finance and not in any Party spirit. I know this Bill is an attempt to face up to what should be put right long ago.

Sir, I have been approached by some members of the staff of the Ordnance Survey, who claim that they are victimised officials and ex-officials.

The Deputy might raise that matter on the relevant section.

Mr. Kelly

If I can do so. The last time I produced amendments connected with sections I put my foot in it.

It is not necessary to table an amendment. The Deputy may speak to the section.

It is not the privilege of a private Deputy to move an amendment to a Bill which will cause additional charges on the Exchequer, but he can argue the case under the Money Resolution.

I was faced with the difficulty when I wished to put in amendments—that these would incur expenditure on the Exchequer and so I was precluded from putting them in.

This is a Superannuation Bill, and nothing more.

Is it not within the right of a private Deputy to argue the case of additional expenditure—which he cannot do under the section—under cover of a Money Resolution?

These matters arise on their relevant section, and the trouble is what is the relevant section covering them. No section covers them. For that reason, perhaps, we could raise it now.

As has already been stated by the Chair, if the Deputy desires to raise matters involving an increase in the amount of superannuation in certain cases not included in the Bill he may do so. If the matter at issue relates to superannuation, Deputy Kelly may speak now.

As the House will have noticed, I put down two amendments to cover these people to whom Deputy Kelly was going to refer. The facts of the case are quite simple. I am not going to deal with the provision that is made for other people who are loyal or disloyal. I shall merely put the facts of this case before the House and ask the House to support the claim. These men engaged in the Ordnance Survey were taken on as young men, the conditions of their engagement being that they would be employed for a probationary period of 15 years. At the end of that time, if they were passed as being medically fit, they were to be made permanent civil servants, and 7½ years of the 15 years that they had served were to be calculated for pension purposes. In 1916, during the European War, the Ordnance Survey in this country was controlled by the Royal Engineers section of the British Army, who insisted that these men should join the Army. A number of these men refused. I am not going to make any comment on that. The fact is that they refused to join up and were dismissed. After their dismissal a sum of £28 was sent to each of them, without their being asked whether they would take it or not or being told what it was for.

These men were reinstated under the 1923 Superannuation Act as from 1916, from which date their probationary period was to run. That probationary period expired in 1931, and 7½ years of that were to be calculated for pension purposes, although some of them had served about 30 years. I consider that an injustice was done to that body of men. I am not going to refer to the action that they took on behalf of this country. It is a mere question of justice to citizens. These men went into the employment of the State; this State was then part of the United Kingdom, and we took over all the liabilities, rights and duties appurtenant thereto. These men refused to do something which they considered would be unnational on their part as citizens. I think the majority of the Irish people would agree that they were right in that. It is the duty of the State, therefore, to see that these men are not penalised. Take a man who had 15 years' service in 1916. He is probably getting on to 60 years of age now, with a wife and family, and in a few years he will be retiring. He will only have roughly 14 or 15 years' service which will be counted for pensionable purposes, although he had probably served about 40 years. I consider that that is unjust and that these men were unfairly treated. It is all right to talk about economy, but the view I take is that, if a man is engaged in any employment, he should get good conditions of employment, be well paid, and get the full perquisites arising from his original contract.

I think the Minister for Finance between the time he entered this House in 1927 and the time he took office raised this question—I am informed that he did. He is well acquainted with the facts of the case. I do not know the number of men concerned, but the number is very small. In my opinion, they have been unfairly treated. It is only a question of giving them their pension rights from 1916, adding on the seven and a half years, provided they had 15 years' service then, or whatever portion of their service prior to 1916 should be calculated for pension purposes. These men were paid 36/- per week. They were formerly employed under the Royal Engineers. Their work was measured up every morning and, if they had not done the work they were ordered to do, 3d. per day or 1/6 per week was deducted from that 36/-. That may seem a small sum to many people, but a deduction of 1/6 from the wages of a man with only 36/- a week is a serious matter. These Ordnance Survey men are doing highly technical work, on which the whole ownership of land depends, for 36/- a week. They have been denied a substantial part of their pension rights. This Ordnance Survey work is very important work. The men have to go out at 8 o'clock in the morning and work until 5 p.m. and next morning have to hand in a report of the work done on the previous day. If they had not done what was expected of them, as I say, a deduction was made of 3d. per day or 1/6 per week off their wages. A man with a wife and family accepted that wage of 36/- because at the end of his service he was to be entitled to a pension. I think that restitution should be made to these men under this Bill, and that they should be given credit for the period they served prior to 1916.

I have always believed that it was the duty of whatever Government was set up by the people of the country since 1922, whether the last Government or the present Government, to redeem the promises and the pledges given by the Sinn Féin Party or the Republican Party previous to the Treaty. On many occasions the members of this Party have raised in this House the failure of the last Government to redeem such promises. We had every reason to hope, however, from the promises made by the present Government when in opposition, that they at least would redeem any pledges they made to the people who made sacrifices previous to the Treaty. I consider that the Ordnance Survey people have been very unfairly and unjustly treated. It is not for me to argue in detail in favour of what they are entitled to, because I know that the Minister for Finance is fully conversant with the position of the men concerned, and he should here and now give reasons, if he can give any justifiable reasons, for refusing to treat these people in the way they are entitled to be treated for pension purposes. The Minister, I am informed, has been furnished with the full facts regarding the position of the individuals who claim that they have a grievance, and I think we are entitled, before voting on the Money Resolution, to hear from him the reasons why he declines to meet their reasonable demands.

The Schedule to this Bill contains a list of eight names of persons who, in my opinion, are going to be given very generous gratuities if the Bill passes in its present form. Now, I do not know what right they have to any exceptional treatment or what grounds can be given in support of the refusal of the Minister to treat Ordnance Survey people at least as generously as others have been treated. If that is done it will not cost the taxpayers one-third of what it is going to cost them in the case of the eight people referred to in the Schedule. I do not care whether the promises or pledges made on behalf of Sinn Féin previous to the Treaty were made by the late Cathal Brugha or the late General Collins, but it is the duty of the republican Minister for Finance—and the present Minister boasts that he is the only republican Minister for Finance that we have ever had—it is his duty if he has any justification to that title to redeem the pledges given either by the late General Collins or the late Cathal Brugha.

Will the Deputy cite for us one of those alleged pledges?

The pledge was given on behalf of the Republican Government previous to the adoption of the Treaty that any persons who lost their positions would be reinstated in their former positions and given credit for continuous service if they came back to the service of this State, or else compensation.

Would the Deputy say what he is quoting that alleged pledge from.

I have not before me the words of the pledge that was given by General Collins on the one hand or by the late Cathal Brugha on the other. I would like if the Minister for Finance would give to the House the pledge that was given by any person in justification for the generous gratuities that are being given to the eight people named in the Schedule to this Bill. I put that as a problem to the Minister. I am sure that he has all the information necessary to support his own case or to check any quotation that I might give from memory. I am not going to quote from memory what was said by any man who has since died. I did quote cases in the House on previous occasions. They were quoted from all parts of the House, and quoted, I believe, by the Minister himself when he sat on the Opposition benches. At any rate, I would ask the Minister, in fairness to the people in the Ordnance Survey who feel that they have a grievance, to give justifiable reasons as to why he is not prepared to meet their case.

I can give now the case of an old civil servant who at the present time is in a home in the City of Dublin. He gave valuable and faithful service to the British Government and to the Governments here which succeeded it. He is a man who had 38 years' service. He got a miserably small amount as a gratuity six months after he was fired out of the service of this Government, while in the Schedule to this Bill the Government are proposing to give gratuities to the tune of £300 to people who did not give one-twelfth of his service. I am not going to mention the name of that individual, but I know that his case has been before the Minister for Finance. There is a big file in the Minister's Department supporting the claim for a pension or a more generous gratuity than that given to him by the present Government. Because of his circumstances he is at the moment in a home on the south side of the city. Before he was put into that home, I am aware that a number of civil servants subscribed a shilling a week in order to maintain him in decency and comfort. Where is the justification for giving generous gratuities to people with one, two or three years' service and refusing to give anything further to a man who gave 38 years of faithful service. There are high officials in the Department of Finance who will admit that that man gave faithful service to the British Government and to the Governments, including the present one which succeeded it. Let us have quotations from any dead or living person in justification of the generous gratuities that are going to be given to the people named on the Schedule to the Bill. If a case can be made for turning down the reasonable claim made on behalf of the Ordnance Survey staffs, then let it be made in this House.

As regards the Ordnance Survey staff, I am not putting the case for them on promises that were made by General Collins or by Cathal Brugha or by anybody else. I am putting their case to the Minister as a matter of justice. The fact that these men were established as from 1916 is an admission that they have a claim to just treatment. Since they were re-established after 1916, how can the Government, in justice, discount the years of service that they had given previously? In justice, I say, that cannot be done. Therefore, the Government should do justice to these officials. It is a cruel thing to treat men in the way that these men have been treated. They joined the service with a small salary in the expectation that in their old age they would have substantial pension rights. When they entered the service they calculated the amount of pension that, in the normal course, they would have at the date of their retirement. It was on that understanding they entered, and it would be a bad thing if there was any departure from it. I do not think that the case of these men should be bandied across the floor of the House. I am basing the case for them on the principles of justice and right, and I hope the Minister will see his way to concede the claim made on their behalf.

When I was speaking I only put up the case of a class who, if they had not taken the line they did, would have been protected under the Treaty. I am not putting up the case of a class who want to make any special plea for a pension, for reinstatement in the civil service or compensation. I am simply asking the Minister to do justice to that section of a general class who took risks and went out to give service to their country. I could quote promises given by many public men living and dead. There is a document from which I can also quote. I, with two colleagues, waited on General Collins in the beginning of 1922 when he gave the undertaking that I referred to in speaking earlier. Further, I can produce to the Minister an affidavit that was sworn in May, 1924, only two years after that promise was made. That affidavit was sworn before a Commissioner for Oaths for the City of Dublin. It sets forth in detail the promises and the conditions which were agreed to between the deputation representating the victimised civil servants under the British régime and General Collins. I am quite sure the Minister will accept that. Further, I could get, if necessary, sworn testimony from my two colleagues, Mr. O'Heagarty, who is now the secretary to the Department of Posts and Telegraphs, and a Mr. Dowling. I do not know whether he is now in the civil service or not, but I believe he is in Dublin. We can give sworn testimony as to the promises that were made in the days prior to the Treaty. Subsequent to 1916 people did not expect promises. On the face of it the promises then made were simply an offer of justice if certain circumstances came about. At that time nobody was looking for promises on parchment to be produced at a later date. The Minister knows that as well as anybody else. It is now a question of giving justice or of withholding it.

I am not going to say very much on this matter for the reason that I do not understand it very well. Apparently Deputy Belton did extremely well by not being reinstated.

It was no joke for me. If Deputy Minch was living in luxury then Deputy Belton was not.

Deputy Davin, in the latter part of his speech, made reference to a particular case. If what the Deputy stated is correct, then obviously a grave injustice has been done to that particular man. Deputy Davin stated that all the circumstances of that case were on a file in the Minister's Department. As put before the House, the case was a very sad one. The Deputy told us that that man's companions had to make up a weekly collection in order to maintain him in ordinary decency. I think the time has come for this House to consider some method of dealing finally with this question of victimisation and pensions. Session after session and year after year the question of pensions has been coming up before this House and to my mind it is a very sad reflection on the patriotism of all those great nationalists, soldiers, statesmen, civil servants or civilians who fought or acted in some capacity for this country. The sooner we have this whole thing cleared up the better. It seems to me that even when the next Government comes in there will possibly be claims made in one respect or another.

When the Minister is replying to the statements made by Deputies McMenamin, Belton and Davin I would like to hear him saying that some definite decision will be taken to finish once and for all the hawking of patriotism around this House and outside it for the purpose of getting pensions for people who, we were led to believe, were ready to serve this country without becoming mercenaries. After all, there were others, thousands and tens of thousands who followed the political leaders of the time and, for a mighty poor remuneration, a mere daily pay, they made sacrifices and went through hell and damnation and got nobody's praise afterwards. When they crawled back to this country they were treated as mere dogs. It is time they got some praise in this House. I would not intervene in the debate at all were it not for the fact that I am sick and tired listening to what ought to be done for those who are supposed to be the only patriots, those who were supposed in a spirit of patriotism to go out and serve their country without any idea of becoming mercenaries.

I would like to refute, as strongly as I resent, the remarks made by Deputy Minch. If he does not understand this matter that is before the House, why did he get up to speak on it? Those Irish civil servants who volunteered to fight for small nationalities on the Continent got their full pay while they were away and their wives and families got their allowances, and they got gratuities when they came out. They got their pay as soldiers in addition to full Civil Service pay, and they all got pensions. Where was their patriotism? If we who were victimised by the British in this country got nearly that, we would be more than satisfied. I do not see why Deputy Minch wants to cast reflections on anybody who went out to serve this country without one hope in a million that a penny would ever come their way. If that hope in a million bore fruit, and if those who spied on us—I did not want to say that—in the Departments in which we served up to the time of the Rebellion, and subsequent to it, got their pensions, and are now enjoying fat pensions protected under the Treaty, surely we who are supposed to have won the war in this country should get as much as they got?

Some of them got good jobs, and they are in this Government.

Good luck to them. When they took the risk there were not many jobs in sight.

I am referring to the fellows who spied.

I remember being brought before a Commission——

The Deputy should not travel back so far.

I would ask Deputy Minch to withdraw the aspersions he has cast on those people. He does not know the sufferings those victimised civil servants went through.

Will the Minister tell us the cost of this?

It is not possible to assess accurately the cost of this. I suppose it will be appreciable, but it is quite impossible to calculate what will be the value of the established service which will be deemed to have been rendered by all the persons who are affected by this Bill.

Is there any estimate?

There will only be an estimate in connection with the persons included in the Schedule.

Is there not an estimate of the cost, even within extreme limits?

It is not possible, even within extreme limits.

Will the old Dáil court officials be included?

They were not permanent civil servants. I suggest these are questions which ought to have been raised on the Second Reading. Practically every case raised on the Money Resolution was one which might have been raised on Second Reading.

Surely it is possible to have some estimate of the cost?

With regard to the statement made by Deputy Belton, I would like to point out again that this Bill deals with superannuation only and that it has got nothing to do with the present emoluments or present position of any member of the Civil Service. As to what pledges were given by members of a former Administration to those who were formerly members of the old British Civil Service in this country and who either resigned or were dismissed from that Service, I have no knowledge.

You can get it.

What of pledges by the old Dáil Cabinet?

To my knowledge, the old Dáil Cabinet did not give any undertaking in this matter.

What they did is on record.

The old Dáil Cabinet, so far as I am aware, gave no undertaking with regard to persons who were either dismissed from the British Civil Service or who resigned from it. I have no knowledge of any undertakings given by the late General Collins to Deputy Belton or any other person.

I can produce them.

All I know is this: that those who were in close contact with the late General Collins, who were members with him of the Provisional Government and who, I am certain, would have been concerned to honour to the full any undertaking he gave, on the 23rd of February, 1923, through the then President of the Executive Council, made this statement to the House:

"After careful consideration the Government has decided that in no circumstances will any payment be made in respect of salary for the period of dismissal or by way of compensation for loss of office. In so far as the conditions of the public service permit, reinstatement will be offered to any officer who establishes that he left the public service by reason of political victimisation."

I do not know whether I am strictly in order in dealing with this question on the Superannuation Bill, but if I may be permitted to say it, in my view any person who came in as a reinstatee into the public service or who, being a re-instatee, remained in it after that declaration, accepted the terms of it and is bound by them, and I am not going at this stage to reopen that contract.

And you stand on them?

Did you ever promise to reopen any of these things?

No, and so far as I know, our Party never did. When Deputy Davin talks of pledges, I think the Deputy is in a rather confused state of mind.

The pledges of the old Dáil Cabinet.

I think the Deputy was mixing up the declarations which were made in regard to the persons who resigned from the old R.I.C. and was applying them to quite a different category, so far as I know.

I referred to the old Dáil Cabinet promises.

I know as much about the old Dáil Cabinet promises as the Deputy does, and I do not recollect—my recollection may be at fault— that any such undertaking was given to former members of the British Civil Service. The Deputy has stated that promises were given. I challenged him in this House to give me the text of those promises and he has not been able to do it.

I would not venture to quote from memory.

Well, if it is a matter of one recollection against the other, I am putting mine against that of the Deputy.

The Minister quotes to disadvantage sometimes, too.

I gather that neither of you was in the old Dáil Cabinet.

At any rate, I was where Deputy McGilligan was not——

You were in a variety of places where I was not.

I was in the Dáil from 1918 to 1922.

But the relevant point is the Dáil Cabinet.

Well, at least I am probably in a better position than either Deputy Davin or Deputy McGilligan to recollect what declarations were made, because after all the old Dáil Cabinet was responsible to the old Dáil, and those declarations generally came before them.

Did not the Minister himself give compensation to Corporation officials who went out with the Irregulars in 1922-23?

Sir, I am not responsible for giving compensation to any Corporation official.

It was done by an Act of this House.

I have got no responsibility for Corporation officials.

It was done by an Act of this House.

The Deputy, in his usual muddled state of mind, has mixed the Minister for Finance with the Minister for Local Government.

On a platform in Balbriggan——

That is as disorderly as the Balbriggan remark, or the Lucan one either.

Am I going to be allowed to proceed, Sir? I have already pointed out to the House the only official statement that I know of which deals with this question of the terms and conditions upon which the old British civil servants were going to be reinstated. As I have already said, I think that any person who came into the Service after President Cosgrave's declaration, or who remained in it after it was made, has accepted the contract, and I am not prepared to reopen the question. In any event it has nothing to do with this Bill. As to the other point in connection with certain Ordnance Survey officers, I do not know what the position of those officers may be in view of the Departmental regulations relating to overtures to Deputies. But I want to say this, that every one of them received a gratuity. There was a matter of grave doubt, and they got the benefit of the doubt when they were reinstated, as to whether they were in fact the subject of political victimisation. When their services were dispensed with they received the gratuity to which their then services entitled them, and so far as the Covenant went it was fulfilled fully in their regard. They have been reinstated, and taking all the circumstances into consideration, I do not think they are entitled to any better treatment than we are proposing to give them. I do not know whether I should deal with the other point which has been raised by Deputy Davin as to the persons whose names appear in the Schedule to this Bill?

It will be probably raised on the Schedule also.

Would you compare the treatment of those people with the Ordnance Survey people?

The Deputy knows little or nothing about those people. He was not associated with the movement of which they were a part, but he does sit in this House because of the sacrifices which many of those people made.

On a point of order. The Minister is misrepresenting me. I am not raising any objection; I voted for the Second Reading of the Bill. But I want him to compare the position with that of the people in the Ordnance Survey who are unjustly treated.

I am not going to start weighing up and assessing the individual merits of every person affected by this Bill.

You are provoking discussion on it.

No; the Deputy did. I did not refer to the Schedule in the first instance. It was the Deputy made the comparison. I say that every one of the people who figure in this Schedule risked life and limb in the service of this country when the Deputy was not associated with the movement of which they were part. Every one of them worked under conditions of great danger; they were employed in highly-confidential circumstances. As I say, if they had remained in the Service, and, in the ordinary course, got married out of the Service, they would have got approximately what we are giving them under this Bill.

Why does not that apply to other civil servants?

He refuses to answer that.

Because we are giving them this in view of reinstatement.

You are giving it in lieu of their marriage dowry?

No. We are giving it more or less in lieu of reinstatement —in full discharge of any claim they may have to reinstatement, and taking into consideration what they might have been entitled to if they had left the service in ordinary circumstances. We heard a most unworthy speech from Deputy Minch. It is not the first time that Deputy Minch has talked about people hawking their patriotism around in order to secure pensions. Does Deputy Minch enjoy a pension? Did he get a gratuity when he retired from the service of a certain Government? Was Deputy Minch paid when he was playing his patriotic part out on the fields of Flanders? In regard to the people who are affected by this Bill, most of them served this country during periods and under conditions of extreme danger, without any payment, and they made sacrifices in order to serve it. The Deputy gets up here and talks about hawking patriotism around in order to secure pensions; does the Deputy say that in the councils of his own Party, and does he throw that statement in the teeth of some of his own colleagues? The Deputy is sitting here as a member of an Irish Legislature. Let the Deputy remember, as I said to Deputy Davin, that he would not represent Kildare or any other constituency in the Parliament of this country if it were not for the part that most of the people affected by this Bill played in the national movement in the period from 1916 to 1922, when the Deputy was not associated with any national interest in this country.

There were people behind the national movement besides those who had guns. Do not worry about that.

I hold in complete contempt the reply of the Minister for Finance to the few remarks I made.

Is there any estimate possible of the amount of money involved?

I am advised that there is not.

Even to the nearest £100,000.

I suppose it will not be £100,000 or anything like it.

Will it be £10,000?

I cannot say. I am not prepared to put mere guesses before the House.

Surely there has been some computation? I never yet saw a Bill of this sort in regard to which a computation was not possible.

There has not been any estimate for any Superannuation Act ever submitted to the Parliament of this or any other country.

Naturally, because that would be for the whole established service. This applies to a limited number of people.

So did the Superannuation Act of 1923 apply to a limited number of people.

Can the Minister say how many people it is believed this will apply to?

There is always an approximate estimate given.

I never came across a Bill yet in which there was not some approximation possible.

There are about 170 reinstates who will be affected by this Bill. There is a considerable number of people already in the Service—not reinstatees—who will be affected.

That does not include the eight people specially mentioned?

No. I have already indicated that there will be a Supplementary Estimate in regard to those people.

That will be £2,400, but take the case of these 170 people. What computation or calculation has the Minister made in regard to these?

I am not prepared to make an actuarial investigation as to what pensions these people are going ultimately to enjoy.

Was this Bill prepared by the Department without any computation being made as to the possible cost eventually?

It was prepared by the Department in order to put people, who are being reinstated since 1932, in the same position as those who were reinstated in 1923. My information is that there was no computation or calculation made in connection with those being reinstated in 1923, because it was not thought necessary to do so, and I do not think it is necessary to do so now.

But, whether necessary or not, there was none made?

There is nothing on the files about it?

That is a peculiar thing.

In connection with this question of these reinstatees, is the Minister acting on the principle that those civil servants should, under this Bill, be placed in as secure a position as their colleagues who were never disturbed?

They will be.

In other words, those reinstatees who were dismissed during the British régime will now, when this Bill is through, have their rights as well secured as those who were transferred from the British régime?

No, that is another matter.

It is a different matter.

They will not have Article 10 rights.

Will they not have equally good rights?

They will be as well secured in their rights anyhow; that is, they will have the same security of tenure as the general body of Irish civil servants have.

Those men were civil servants under contract, and is the Minister acting on the principle of securing to those people all the rights and privileges of their office equally with those civil servants who were transferred from the British? That is what I asked the Minister, and his answer to that is, in effect, that they will not have as good rights. That is manifestly an injustice.

I never remember this Minister for Finance, nor do I remember any occasion upon which a Minister for Finance, including the present Minister, came before this House with a measure of this kind unless he was in a position to give, as I believe he is in a position to give, an approximate estimate of the cost. The Minister talked a lot of codology about the sacrifices, if you like, of those people, and mentioned fellows like me here in this House. All I can say, in reply to that, is that the Minister is sitting there in his present position as a result of the votes given by seven or eight of us on those benches here.

The Deputy may not reply to the speech of the Minister who was called on to conclude.

I am only saying, Sir, that the Minister is deliberately refusing to give information which, I believe, he has in his possession.

I assure you, Sir, that I have not the information in my possession because I was advised that it would not be possible to make any reasonable calculation in regard to this Act any more than it was found possible to make any reasonable calculation with regard to the 1923 Act.

That is the first time I have heard such a statement from the Ministry of Finance, because they know everything about money and what a scheme of this kind would cost.

They do not know everything, but they could make an estimate.

Well, they should be well able to do it.

Question put and declared carried.
Resolution reported and agreed to.