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Dáil Éireann debate -
Thursday, 26 Nov 1942

Vol. 88 No. 19

Committee on Finance. - Superannuation Bill, 1942.—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 amend and extend the Superannuation Acts, 1834 to 1936.

The Minister seems to think that, simply because the scheme is, in his opinion, costly, the State can, therefore, justify riding away from its responsibilities of providing for persons in their old age. Now, in so far as there are whole-time employees in the Civil Service or under local authorities, I think the State must face up to its obligation to provide for their old age. The State is the employer, and if it evolves a code of payment in respect of their services which does not enable them to make adequate provision for their old age, then I think there is a moral responsibility on the State to make provision for their old age. Notwithstanding what the Minister says, I think that if the Post Office Department, for instance, which earns very substantial profits from year to year, employs people at wages ranging from 15/- to 30/- a week, and if, because of their gross underpayment, those people are unable to make provision for their old age, there is surely some obligation on the Government and on the Department concerned to ensure that they are given pensions which will sustain them. That is the least reward that the State ought to make for those who have served the community for 40 and 45 years.

The Deputy must come down to the Money Resolution that is now before the Committee.

We are being asked to make money available for the purpose of superannuating certain types of people.

On the Second Stage of a Bill Deputies state what they would desire to see in it, something possibly much wider than the Bill contains. On the Money Resolution for the Bill Deputies are confined in their remarks to the exact purpose for which the money is required. The purpose in this case is to provide superannuation for a very limited class, which does not include Post Office employees or employees of local authorities. The Deputy was allowed to make his point and he should be content with that.

I want to be frank and to say that I was availing of the Money Resolution to make a reply to the Minister——

And the Deputy was given latitude to do so.

——and to the very specious case which, I think, he made. I suggest to the Minister, seeing that he has been stirred into sympathy to deal with the people covered by the Bill, that he ought at all events undertake to examine the possibility of making provision for other persons in their old age who are not dealt with in this Bill.

The Deputy has had an opportunity to make his case.

It may be that the cost of doing that would amount to a sum which the Minister is not likely to spend. The amazing thing is that in peace time we can never find money for doing valuable social work, but, when war is threatened, the money which cannot be found in peace time to improve the conditions of the people, can be found with the utmost ease for the purpose of creating instruments for the slaughter and annihilation of humanity. The fact that that money is so easy to get in times of war might induce the Minister to believe that in times of peace it ought not wholly to elude the Minister for Finance in his efforts to improve the lot of the people who served the State so faithfully.

That was a remarkably long sentence.

I was afraid if I stopped you might rule me out of order.

Would I be out of order in saying that I have found millions and millions to improve the lot of the people of this country, by social services and otherwise, during peace times?

Why have they all gone to Britain then? 90,000 of them have gone away in the last 18 months.

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