I want formally to oppose the First Reading of this Bill. Let me emphasise that this is a purely artificial procedure which does not indicate my opposition to the Bill, but I am opposing it in order to enable Deputies to elicit information from the Minister. I would like to ask the Minister whether the Bill, as envisaged, will make any provision for the widows of Gardaí in respect of pensions, or whether it is intended to cover their case by this measure, in view of the fact that the statutes dealing with national health insurance and widows' pensions and the Garda establishment combine to exclude the Gardaí from the national health insurance scheme, with the result that their widows may not draw contributory pensions. That eventuality, therefore, was not contemplated when the Gardaí were first excluded from the national health insurance scheme and a situation obtains now in which the rates of pension prescribed for Gardaí widows unsupported by contributory pensions, as their husbands were not allowed to contribute to the national health insurance, are grossly inadequate. A Bill should be brought before the House to deal with this.
Garda Síochána (Pensions) Bill, 1947—First Stage.
The Deputy is under a misapprehension if he thinks that his opposition is merely a formality. He must oppose the Bill or he may not speak.
I oppose it, and my voice is the voice of all.
This Bill is on the same lines as the Bill that is before the Seanad providing for increased pensions for civil servants who retired at the time of the stabilisation when the cost of living was at 210. It has also a provision to give service for pension purposes to some few Gardaí who retired for political reasons.
Is the Minister going to do anything for Gardaí widows?
Not in this Bill.
Nor in any other Bill.
That is a matter for Dr. Ryan.
Or for the next Minister after the election.
Maybe for Deputy Dillon himself.
You never can tell. It comes as a shock to the Tánaiste. Well, brace yourselves.
Is it intended to pass this Bill before the Dáil dissolves?