That the Dáil hereby approves of the Garda Síochána Pensions Order, 1951, made on the 29th day of December, 1951, by the Minister for Justice, with the sanction of the Minister for Finance, under Section 13 of the Police Forces Amalgamation Act, 1925, and laid before the Dáil on the 5th January, 1952.
The Garda Síochána Pensions Order, 1951, which I am asking the House to approve, consists of a number of amendments to the existing Pensions Orders. A memorandum has been circulated to Deputies, explaining the effect of the various amendments, and I am sure that it will not be necessary for me to go into a further detailed explanation of the provisions of the Order.
The most important provisions of the Order are Articles 5 to 16, which provide for the Garda a lump sum pension scheme, similar to the pension schemes of civil servants, teachers and officials of local authorities. Under the existing Orders, the pensions of members of the Garda are assessed at one-sixtieth of annual pay for each year of service. Each year of service in excess of 20 counts as two for pension purposes, and the maximum pension which may be payable is one equalling two-thirds of annual pay. No gratuities are payable to members retiring on pension. Under the new scheme, pensions will be assessed on one-eightieth of annual pay, instead of on one-sixtieth. Each year of service in excess of 20 will still count as two, and the maximum pension will be one half of annual pay. In addition to his pension, however, a member will receive on retirement a gratuity calculated at one-thirtieth of annual pay for each year of service. Furthermore, if a member dies after completing a minimum of five years' service, a gratuity of not less than one year's annual pay will be payable to his widow, in addition to the pension which she is entitled to under the existing Orders, and if the member is unmarried, the gratuity will be payable to his legal personal representative.
The new scheme will apply to all future entrants to the force. Serving members are given an option to remain under the existing Orders or to apply to come under the new scheme.
The remaining provisions of the Order are not so important. They are all intended, however, to effect improvements in the pension code.
There is only one of them to which I wish to draw attention, namely Article 21. It provides for the grant of pensions in cases where members were dismissed, required to retire as an alternative to dismissal or given an opportunity of resigning following disciplinary charges and it is subsequently proved that at the time of their discharge they were incapacitated by physical or mental infirmity. This provision, I hope, will cover a few cases about which Deputies have made repeated representations.