I move that the Bill be now read a Second Time. This Bill gives statutory authority for the 20 per cent. increase in the pension payable to the widow of Terence MacSwiney. The increase is being paid since the 1st August last on foot of a Supplementary Estimate for pensions approved by this House on 18th July, 1962.
Committee on Finance. - MacSwiney (Pension) (Increase) Bill, 1962—Second Stage.
Is this being paid only to the widow alone? Is she the only person?
What does the 20 per cent. amount to?
I made a plea in previous years for a less bureaucratic treatment of this pension. I think it qualifies for very special treatment. There is no doubt that if MacSwiney were alive today, he would be one of the leaders of the State. The circumstances of his death make the regular granting of this small amount of money, to catch up with living costs, rather a tasteless performance. I do not think any Deputy would oppose a proposal generously to increase this pension, once and for all. I urge the Minister to see that this is taken out of the regular incremental category to meet living costs.
It is not easy to pick and choose.
This is an exceptional case.
I do not want to mention names. If I were to start mentioning the names of recipients of pensions of this sort, I then would be justified in saying, I think, that it would be slightly invidious to start making comparisons. There is no mere male who gave service to the country at that period who is receiving as much by way of pension as any of the ladies to whom special pensions are being given by the State.
The males are still alive. If this lady's husband had lived she would be one of the first ladies in the land. We know that.