move that the Bill be now read Second Time.
The main object of the Bill is to provide for the adjustment of Garda Síochána superannuation awards granted in respect of men ceasing membership of the force during the period over which the Civil Service (Stabilisation of Bonus) regulations operated.
As has already been explained to the House by the Minister for Finance in connection with the Superannuation Bill, 1947, Civil Service bonus was, under these regulations, stabilised at a cost-of-living index number of 185 from 1st July, 1940, to 31st October, 1944, and at 210 from 1st January, 1945, to 31st October, 1946 (with certain modifications allowing for the payment of emergency bonus). While Garda Síochána pay is not expressly related to the cost-of-living index number it nevertheless keeps step with it in generally the same manner as Civil Service pay. At the time of the commencement of the Civil Service Stabilisation of Bonus Regulations the scales of Garda pay then in operation had been fixed by reference to an index number of 185, which was also the figure applicable to the Civil Service at the time. Later, as from 1st January, 1945, when the Civil Service bonus was advanced to the index number of 210, the Garda got a corresponding increase in pay. Although Garda pay was not formally stabilised as was that of the Civil Service, nevertheless throughout the stabilisation period it was not permitted to vary except in direct relation to the increases allowed from time to time to civil servants.
I can best illustrate the effect of these provisions by giving examples of two typical cases.
The first is that of a man retiring between the dates 1st January, 1945, and 31st October, 1946, and still drawing his pension on the latter date. His pay was related to the 210 index number and on this his pension was calculated. He will now have the pension reassessed on the basis of the pay which he would have received if it had been related to the 270 index number, with effect as from 1st November, 1946, which was the date from which the present Garda scales of pay related to the 270 figure were brought into operation.
The second case is that of a man retiring between the dates 1st July, 1940, and 31st December, 1944. His pay was related to the 185 index number and on this his pension was calculated. As from the 1st January, 1945, new scales of pay for the Garda Síochána were introduced, which were related to the index number of 210. The man I have instanced will, if he was still drawing his pension on the latter date, have his pension reassessed by reference to pay related to the 210 figure, or the figure applying at the date of his retirement whichever is the lesser. This will last from 1st January, 1945, until 31st October, 1946, and if he is still drawing his pension on the latter date he will then enter into the category of the first example and his pension will again be reassessed by reference to pay based on the figure of 270, or the figure applying at the date of his retirement whichever is the lesser.
I may add that widows' pensions and children's allowances, if assessed on the basis of years of service, will also benefit in the manner indicated in the examples I have given.
The present opportunity is being availed of to provide, as was done in the case of civil servants under the Superannuation Act, 1936, that a man who left the Garda Síochána at any time solely for political reasons and rejoined the force later, might reckon for pension purposes the time for which he was out of the force between his two periods of service. This is done in Section 8 of the Bill.