Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Retired Officers of Local Authorities.

asked the Minister for Local Government if he will state whether he has received a copy of a resolution adopted unanimously at the Congress of Municipal Authorities held in Clonmel in September, 1953, favouring the payment of special cost-of-living bonuses to retired officers of local authorities; and, further, whether he will state the grounds on which he refuses to authorise the payment of such bonuses.

asked the Minister for Local Government if he will state (a) the estimated total expenditure involved in the payment to retired officers of local authorities of the special cost-of-living bonuses paid to existing officers; (b) the proportion of such expenditure which would be recouped to local authorities from central funds, and (c) the estimated increased rate which would need to be levied on the local authorities concerned to cover their proportion of the cost of such bonuses.

asked the Minister for Local Government if, in view of the fall in the purchasing power of money since superannuation allowances were originally fixed and the acute hardships being suffered by retired officers of local authorities in consequence of this, he will take immediate action to alleviate these hardships by authorising the payment of special cost-of-living bonuses to such officers.

asked the Minister for Local Government if he is aware that some county managers are of opinion that there are no legal grounds for differentiating in respect of the payment of special cost-of-living bonuses between existing officers of local authorities and retired officers; and, if so, if he will make a statement on the matter.

With your consent, a Cheann Comhairle, I propose to take Questions Nos. 75, 76, 77 and 78 together. I have not received a copy of the resolution referred to. The total estimated expenditure involved in the payment to retired local authority officers of increases in pensions corresponding to the temporary cost-of-living allowances paid to existing officers would be approximately £100,000. There are no records in the Department which would indicate, in the form requested by the Deputy, the incidence of the cost of this expenditure. The pensions granted on retirement to former officers of local authorities cannot be increased in the absence of special enabling legislation and I am not aware that any county manager holds a contrary view of the legal position. Amending legislation is not contemplated at this stage.