Skip to main content
Normal View

Dáil Éireann debate -
Tuesday, 25 Jun 1946

Vol. 101 No. 17

Superannuation Bill, 1946.—Second Stage.

I move: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time." The object of this Bill is to provide permanently certain powers which had been taken under the Emergency Powers legislation in relation to superannunation. Section 1 of the Superannuation Act of 1887 gave power to the Treasury, which has been adapted to mean the Minister for Finance, to make a warrant regulating the grant of gratuities and annual allowances payable to a person employed in the Civil Service of the State who was injured in the actual discharge of his duty without his own default and by some injury specifically attributable to the nature of his duty. The section prescribed, however, that the maximum gratuity should not exceed one year's salary of the person injured and that the allowance under the section should not, together with any superannuation allowance to which the individual was otherwise entitled, exceed the salary of the person injured or £300 a year, whichever was less. Power was also granted to make an award to the widow, wholly dependent mother and children of a civil servant, who, having been injured in the circumstances I have indicated, died from the injury.

I propose in Section 2 of the present Bill to replace the authority given under Emergency Powers (No. 356) Order, 1945, to modify the provisions of the earlier Act. In the first place, a period is being set in regard to death resulting from the injury. The time limit, as the Bill indicates, is within seven years after the date of the injury and the death must be the direct result of the injury. I propose further to supply a deficiency in the earlier statute and to provide for the case of the wife who is the breadwinner and is supporting a disabled husband. To meet certain income-tax difficulties in regard to the payment of dependents' allowances I have incorporated a purely verbal amendment under which payment can be made to or in respect of the children. I propose also to remove the upper limit of £300 a year laid down in the earlier Act as that figure is unnecessarily low by reference to modern standards and conditions and I am substituting therefor a proviso that an allowance granted to an injured person shall not, together with any superannuation allowance for which he is otherwise qualified, exceed five-sixths of the actual annual salary and emoluments of the office held by him at the date of injury. In determining this five-sixths figure, the annuity value of the lump sum payable to civil servants to whom the Superannuation Act, 1909, applies will be taken into account.

If the House approves of this amendment, and these new provisions are duly enacted, I propose to lay on the Table without delay a new warrant containing the provisions which will hereafter apply.

Section 3 is entirely new and deals with a special case in respect of which it was found necessary to take exceptional measures when the Public Services (Temporary Economies) Act, 1933, was being enacted. On account of personal undertakings given to the individual concerned shortly after the Saorstát Éireann administration began to function, my predecessor, who promoted the Public Services (Temporary Economies) Act, felt, after representations made to him from the Opposition Benches, that an exception should be made, and this officer was exempted from the reductions in salary applied to civil servants generally.

In view of the headline set in the 1933 Act, I have felt that this officer should similarly be exempted from the bonus stabilisation provisions imposed on the Civil Service as a whole.

The section empowers the grant to the individual concerned of a superannuation award calculated by reference to a salary, inclusive of bonus, which the officer would have received if the Civil Service (Stabilisation of Bonus) Regulations, 1940, did not apply to him immediately before the date of his retirement.

Is there only one person concerned?

Only one.

Has he retired?

Yes. When the Civil Service (Stabilisation of Bonus) Regulations, 1940, were modified to admit of the payment to civil servants of bonus related to a cost-of-living figure of 210 in lieu of the figure of 185 which had heretofore applied, the Government felt that it would be only equitable that a corresponding benefit should be conferred on pensioners, the determining of whose pensions had been affected by the operation of the bonus stabilisation Order. To meet the difficulty, the Government made an Order entitled Emergency Powers (No. 354) Order, 1945, the effect of which was to empower adjustment of superannuation allowances as from the 1st January, 1945, so as to authorise the payment of a pension computed as if the recipient immediately before his retirement drew remuneration equal to the lesser of the following:—

(a) The remuneration which he would have been in receipt of immediately before his retirement if the Civil Service (Stabilisation of Bonus) Regulations, 1940, had not been made,

(b) remuneration calculated by reference to the index number or numbers which exceeds or exceed by 25 points the index number or numbers by reference to which his remuneration was actually calculated immediately before his retirement.

In simple language, the effect of (a) and (b) is as follows: Where a cost-of-living figure of 205 would have been applicable had there been no stabilisation, the award is revised and related to a figure of 205. Where a figure of 210 or higher would, but for stabilisation, have applied, the award is related to a figure of 210, the figure of 210 being the upper limit of revision. The adjustment was, by the Government's decision, confined to annual allowances.

As Deputies are, I think, aware, it is not intended that this Order should be continued under the Supplies and Services (Temporary Provisions) Bill, which is at present before the Dáil. It becomes accordingly necessary to make legislative provision to ensure that the pensioners concerned will continue to benefit by the increased rates after the expiration of the Emergency Powers Act, 1939. I have, therefore, included Section 4 to ensure the retention of authority for the making of these payments.

The remainder of the Bill consists of the ordinary expenses clause and a citation clause to provide for the inclusion of this particular measure in the superannuation code. Deputies will appreciate that the main reason for introducing this Bill is to implement the Government's undertaking that matters dealt with by emergency powers will, if the continuance of enabling powers is found to be necessary, be incorporated in permanent legislation.

I want to get some information from the Minister. He said that Section 2 had the effect of widening the classes of persons eligible for whatever payments are to be made under the Superannuation Act of 1887. Would the Minister say what is the present time-limit to the payment of compensation under the Act of 1887? Secondly, the Minister indicated a new method of providing compensation in respect of an injured person under Section 2 (b). He indicated that when the Bill was passed by the House he proposed circulating a new warrant to indicate what he intended to do in respect to the revised method of payment. Would the Minister say whether the effect of Section 2 (b) is to provide in all cases a higher rate of compensation for injured persons than is at present paid under Section 1 of the Act of 1887? A third point on which I desire information is the rank of the person and the Department in which the person was employed, to whom it is proposed to extend the provisions of Section 3 of the Bill.

In the old Act, which is being amended by Section 2, there was no time limit. This introduces a time limit of seven years, which I think is reasonable. If a person who was injured does not die within seven years I do not think it is reasonable to say that he died from the injury in which he was involved originally. As to the Deputy's other question, whether all are going to be affected by the new calculation for the allowance, this will apply all round. The five-sixths figure would give in some cases more than £300. At the present time the limit is £300 per annum.

Will somebody get less than he would get?

Will this be a general stepping up, with the minimum not less than £300?

There is an upward limit at the moment. We cannot give more than £300. This is merely a device by which we can give more than £300 with a new offer of five-sixths of the salary and taking the pension into account. There will be a certain calculation in respect to the lump sum a civil servant gets on retirement, and if the injured person gets less than that, a calculation will be made as to what the income from that lump sum would be.

Based on the new formula, will the person get, at least, the £300 that he was entitled to if this section was not passed?

Nobody will be disimproved. A person who would get more than £300 on the five-sixths calculation will get more.

I asked another question.

The rank of the retiring person was a commissioner.

In what Department?

In the Revenue Commissioners.

Question put and agreed to.

When will the Committee Stage be taken?

I wonder could we get it on Friday?

We will give all stages next week.

Committee Stage ordered for Tuesday, 2nd July.