Committee on Finance. - Superannuation and Pensions Bill, 1962—Second Stage.

I move that the Bill be now read a Second Time.

To avoid possible confusion, I would like to make clear at the outset that this is not pensions increase legislation, which will be presented separately. The explanatory memorandum circulated with this Bill shows that it deals with many aspects of superannuation and pensions in respect of public service. The explanatory memorandum also contains a summary of the Bill's provisions so I do not propose to repeat that summary here. As Deputies will have seen, most of the provisions are selfcontained and are of a miscellaneous character which makes the Bill essentially a Committee Stage one.

However, I would like to comment on what is really the main provision of the Bill, that is, Section 4. For some time past, I have felt that it would serve the public interest to facilitate transfers between branches of the public service, where such transfers are desirable to promote better performance of public business, by enabling a transferee to carry into his new appointment pension credit earned in his first post. I have also had representations made to me in this matter by the Staff Side of the Civil Service General Council and have studied recommendations on the subject made by a Committee set up by the Institute of Public Administration.

There is already provision in the Local Government (Superannuation) Act, 1956, for transfer of pension credit between the Civil Service and the local authority service, and that Act also enables arrangements to be made for similar transfers between local authorities and bodies approved by the Minister for Local Government.

Section 4 of the Bill, while not exactly following the precedent of the Local Government (Superannuation) Act, 1956, is designed to provide a system for the transfer of pension credit within the public sector, by which I mean in this context the Civil Service, the local authorities, State-sponsored bodies and possibly the universities. The section proposes that the Minister for Finance should have power to designate by statutory order the organisations, additional to the Civil Service and the local authorities, which will come within the scope of the transfer arrangements. Also each individual transfer between the Civil Service and a designated organisation or between two designated organisations which is to qualify for aggregation of pensionable service will require the prior approval of both employers. A contribution will be payable by the first organisation towards the cost of any superannuation award made by the second body.

The proposed section is a flexible one which can be availed of to a greater or lesser degree as experience shows the need for facilitating the transfer of suitable personnel between the various organisations in the public sector.

Another important change in the Superannuation Acts is the provision for the grant of national service in certain cases. One of the fundamental principles underlying the Superannuation Acts is that pension should be related to length of service, so that if one man serves the State for the whole of his career and another for half, the latter's pension should be half that of the former. Notional service materially affects this principle. However, I think Deputies will agree that while it is essential to retain the principle of relating pension to length of service, a departure from it would be warranted in the two circumstances for which provision is made in Section 6.

The first of these is redundancy and the section provides for the grant of up to ten years of notional service to a redundant officer. The other case derives from a recruitment difficulty experienced with certain professional grades who are required to have had a period of pre-recruitment experience. This requirement naturally has a restrictive effect on the field of recruitment, but the prospect of notional service should offset this effect to a considerable extent by making the Civil Service posts more attractive.

It must be remembered that because of the requirement of pre-recruitment experience, the professional candidates for appointment may be 30 years of age or more, so superannuation considerations might be expected to have quite a persuasive influence on their decision to compete for Civil Service positions. While there has been a considerable volume of representations that notional service should be granted to any person who fails to qualify for maximum pension because of insufficient service I am quite convinced that a departure from the principle that pensions should be related to length of service can only be justified by reference to redundancy or as an effective recruitment incentive.

The Bill provides for one exception to this—serving professional officers who would have qualified for the grant of a period of notional service had they been appointed after the enactment of this Bill, may have one half of this period added to their service. This is a gratuitous concession to these officers which, being confined to a limited number of persons should not prove too expensive.

The general rule regarding unestablished or non-pensionable service, when followed immediately by established or pensionable service, is to allow onehalf of it to reckon as pensionable. A number of the sections dealing with the reckoning of service, referred to in paragraphs 10 and 11 of the explanatory memorandum, extend this rule to cover certain non-pensionable service which, for one reason or another, cannot benefit at present under the general rule.

I will refrain from dealing in detail with the other sections of the Bill, as this is more a matter for the Committee Stage. I would, however, like to say that when the Bill was being drafted, my Department undertook a comprehensive examination of superannuation matters in respect of which representations had been received and which might appropriately be disposed of by legislating for them in this Bill. Any matters which, as a result of that examination were considered suitable for inclusion in the legislation, have been incorporated in this Bill.

I recommend the Bill to the House for its approval.

A superannuation and pensions Bill is always welcome if it improves the pensions and conditions of retired personnel. As the Minister remarked, this is a comprehensive measure and it deals with a variety of miscellaneous matters which will naturally cover a wide number of retired persons. I think it is true to say that with few exceptions, the superannuation code—and I use the term in its widest application — is generally inadequate and lags behind the advances in the cost of living. I hold the view strongly that pensions, like wages and salaries, should move in line with variations in the cost of living. I appreciate that, as the Minister said, this Bill is not a pensions increase Bill but deals with specific matters that affect the conditions or the terms under which pensions are paid. Pensions can be regarded as deferred wages or salaries earned by those entitled to them during their working lives. It is right, therefore, that such emoluments should change with the cost of living. This is the approach adopted now in a number of European countries and we should follow suit in this matter.

A difficulty about this Bill, which the Minister will appreciate, is that almost any amendment moved by a private Deputy as distinct from a Minister, will be out of order as the amendment will likely involve a charge on public funds and as such, will normally be ruled out of order under the procedure of the House. Therefore, I would urge on the Minister the desirability of accepting suggestions made on this Stage or the Committee Stage and I suggest that the Minister might introduce the appropriate amendments, either on Committee or Report Stage, after the matter has been referred to here.

As the Minister has remarked, this Bill is more appropriate for consideration on Committee Stage. At the same time, in view of what I have said about the difficulty of individual Deputies moving amendments, or the likelihood of amendments in order to achieve the objects of those interested involving their being ruled out of order, it is necessary at this stage to refer to certain cases. In fact, it may well be difficult on this measure not to refer to individual cases because of the personal nature of some of the matters involved and the individual cases which are affected by its provisions.

The prime purpose, as the Minister remarked, is to facilitate a greater mobility between the staffs of local authorities, State and semi-State bodies and the Civil Service. In the past, I think the Civil Service organisations were somewhat opposed to a movement of that sort. On the other hand, with the increase in the number of State and semi-State bodies, there is the view that greater mobility will provide for greater efficiency. To the extent that Section 4 provides for that, it should facilitate these arrangements and enable the persons affected to have their pensions covered.

There are, however, certain categories of State pensioners—I use the term in its widest sense—to whom I specifically wish to refer. This measure deals, in the main, with civil servants and has reference to local authority personnel as well as to certain other retired persons. I have had occasion previously to refer to a specific group of retired officers who are affected by what might be described as premature retirement. These were Army officers, not a very large number, who were granted the two years' extension some years ago because they had pre-Truce service and an IRA medal. Subsequently I notice the Minister for Defence in 1957 withdrew that concession. However, as a result of representations made here he accepted the view that although these officers were retired, they should be paid for the two years which they would have served, if the concession had not been withdrawn, the same pay and emoluments as they would have received while serving; in other words for two years after the retiral age which was fixed in 1957 they received full pay and emoluments. That, at the time, seemed a reasonable enough concession. However, this problem has arisen and they have been affected adversely.

Since then, there have been, I think, three increases in salary. While serving officers and even the category to which I have referred—I think, about 50 officers in all—got the benefit of these increases, once the officers concerned ceased to serve the two-year period and entered on the pension arrangements, the increase in salaries that had been granted did not apply for pension purposes. That was an unfair arrangement. I feel that where these officers had served and had not merely rendered distinguished service in the Army but had given pre-Truce service in respect of which they had been awarded the IRA medal, they should be entitled to the increase in pension which would have been granted had the two-year concession not been withdrawn from them. Therefore, I would urge on the Minister that the scheme be amended to allow for that. If the concession had not been withdrawn, they would have been entitled to these increases. In fact, as I say, those who were still on the two-year period, instead of salaries and emoluments, got the benefits of the increases in salary but they did not apply for pension purposes.

Another matter brought to my attention is in respect of the Defence Forces (Pensions) Scheme, 1937. That scheme provides for an abatement in respect of Article 15 of the Scheme. Probably the most satisfactory way of dealing with this is to refer to a specific case. A commandant, say, who retired voluntarily in 1954 and was on the maximum rate for his rank, was in receipt of remuneration of £1,107 per annum. The equivalent rate at present is £1,694. If the person referred to was in receipt of a salary of, say, £1,200 a year from public funds, his pension would be totally abated. I believe that abatement is unfair and unjust.

A pension is a reward earned for years of satisfactory service. It is unfair that the reward should be abated because service is continued in another sphere. This abatement applies only where a retired officer joins either a Government service such as the Civil Service or service in a local authority. I suggest to the Minister that favourable consideration should be given to amending the scheme so as to withdraw the abatement provision.

Deputies may recollect that some years ago a similar abatement applied in respect of military service pensions and that abatement was abolished. It seems to me that there is a reasonable case for abolishing the abatement in this instance, particularly with the changes in remuneration generally due to the increases in the cost of living.

Pensions of retired officers are abated to the rate of pay of an officer immediately prior to his retirement. Subsequent adjustments either in the Army or civilian life—of which there have been many in recent years—are not taken into account and Reserve pay is taken into account when determining abatement. In theory, Army pensions are not contributory. Local authority pensions are subject to a compulsory reduction of five per cent under the Local Government (Superannuation) Act, 1948. Such deductions are not allowed for in determining abatement. Thus it will be seen that Army pay in respect of which no contribution deductions are made is compared with local authority pay before such deductions are made.

Another category that will be affected are the widows of retired officers. The pensions payable in those cases are extremely low. Consideration should be given to granting some increase. When the Army pensions scheme was introduced, there was no pension scheme for widows of civil servants and, to that extent, there has been a change in the general outlook on pensions since then, and it seems to me that there is a case for increasing those pensions. At present, the pensions of officers' widows range from £120 10s. for the widow of a captain to £206 10s. for the widow of a colonel, and there is an additional £35 odd for each child under 16 years of age. That is a matter which should receive sympathetic consideration.

Another category to which I wish to refer are civil servants who had pre-Truce service. I think this matter is covered by Section 16 of the Bill. So far as I am aware, there are very few cases, but I believe there are some such cases. I should like to suggest to the Minister that favourable consideration should be given to providing that pre-Treaty service on the staff of Dáil Éireann be reckoned as established service for the purposes of the Superannuation Acts, 1834 to 1936; that service on the staff of the Provisional Government be reckoned as established service for the purposes of those Acts; that the First Dáil and Second Dáil and pre-Treaty civil servants be placed on the maximum of their scales, with two extra increments in recognition of their long service; that service on the staff of Dáil Éireann on or before 5th December, 1921, be reckoned as established service for the purposes of these Acts; that in a case where the Minister is satisfied that a person's imprisonment by the British Forces prevented his appointment on the staff of Dáil Éireann until the post-Truce period, such person's service be reckoned as pre-Truce service for the purposes of the Acts I have mentioned.

Another category which I believe require to be considered in this matter are CIE pensioners. It is generally recognised that the CIE pension rates are extremely low, and in some cases, there has been considerable delay in implementing the arbitration award. I refer to this in order to see if any action is open to the Minister to get a more speedy implementation, for this reason: some of those persons who retired would be entitled to make a settlement in respect of their wives, but because of the delay in certain cases in dealing with some of the persons concerned, some of them died before the award was made, and in that case no such settlement is possible, and the wife gets only whatever gratuity is payable and whatever balance of the pension is due. After the arbitration award is concluded and a person's entitlement fixed, he is entitled to make a settlement which will allow whatever pension, or proportion of the pension, is agreed to be handed over to his wife. It is something similar to the arrangement which is now in operation in the Civil Service, where portion of the pension may be transferred to the wife.

The other category to which I wish to refer are certain ESB officers or employees. I know this is a matter which has been the subject of fairly protracted representations to the Minister and, indeed, to successive Ministers for Industry and Commerce. It applies to the general employees' superannuation scheme established under the Electricity Supply Board (Superannuation) Act. The scheme came into operation on 1st April, 1943, and as I understand it, Section 14 of the Act empowered the Board to grant out of its own funds, not out of the superannuation funds, an additional pension to those members of the staff who were not less than 40 years of age in July, 1942, the additional pension not to exceed the amount of the pension to which the person would be entitled if ten years were added to his service.

I mention this matter because as the Act stands at present, a man with 37¼ years' service gets a pension of 37¼ eightieths of his salary, and another man with 40¾ years' service gets a pension of 33¼ eightieths of his salary. As I said, this is a matter which has been the subject of consideration by the Board as a result of representations by a very limited number of employees, all of whom I believe were employed at the inception of the scheme, and contributed to a considerable extent to the establishment and working of the Board and the success of the ESB over a long number of years.

There are certain categories, particularly social welfare officers, who are affected by the Bill and who have made representations, I believe, on certain amendments. These amendhal ments cover a wide category and in view of the fact that some of them would involve a charge on public funds, I propose, with the Minister's consent, to forward the representations to him for sympathetic consideration. The amendments would be ruled out of order because of the fact that such amendments, moved by an individual Deputy, would involve a charge on public funds.

There is one other matter in connection with the Army personnel to which I wish to refer, that is, the position which has arisen in respect of local authority employees who have been transferred from the Army to the local authority, and who had service in the Army and now have local authority service. Under the 1956 Act, civil servants and semi-State bodies have available certain machinery for transfer which is also dealt with in Section 4 of the Bill. That arrangement does not include Army personnel.

I believe that where an officer, an NCO or a man had Army service, during, after or prior to the emergency, and subsequently had service with a local authority, his Army service should count for pension purposes. Many of these people rendered very good service during the emergency but because of the present position of the law, the Army service is not counted. I do not know whether the proposed alteration which the Minister referred to, which will allow a notional period or half of a notional period to count for pension purposes, may rectify this, but if it does not, there is a very strong case for allowing personnel now employed by local authorities and who had a number of years' service in the Army either as professional officers, technical officers or in whatever category they were employed, to have that service counted for pension purposes and aggregated with the Civil Service or local authority period of service.

There is one matter to which I should like to refer before I conclude. Deputy Carty has informed me that he proposes to raise the specific case of a former member of the Dáil, Mr. Stephen Jordan, who was a member of this House for many years. The Deputy has given me details of the case in question. He is more familiar with the case than I am but I should like to support the representations which he intends to make and would urge the Minister to introduce a provision, or accept an appropriate amendment, as the case may be, to cover the case.

On the last point Deputy Cosgrave mentioned, I want to say that as far as I am concerned, if any special case can be made for this former Deputy, it certainly will be considered for support by the Labour Party, and sympathetically considered.

As far as the Bill generally is concerned, it does not alter in any radical way the general principles of the superannuation code for State and local authority servants but it does make some amendments which could be considered to be very desirable. The most important sections seem to be Sections 2 to 8. The remainder of these sections, it would seem, were introduced either to cover special people or to cover a special type of case and we shall await the Committee Stage to hear the Minister's case so that we may be in a better position to decide whether or not the sections are worthy of support.

As I have said, Sections 2 to 8 seem to be the sections of general application and are, in the main, an improvement on the existing legislation in respect of those to whom these sections refer.

Section 2, which deals with the payment of gratuities, seems commendable in that it abates the qualifications necessary for the payment of a gratuity for a person who is described as an unestablished officer or unestablished servant. The section also, in subsection (2), abates the conditions for the payment of a gratuity to the dependants of a civil servant and certainly has our support.

What I am primarily concerned about immediately is the type of officer to which Deputy Cosgrave has referred, that is, the social welfare officer, because of all civil servants, the proposals in this legislation will be immediately applied to some 40 or 50 social welfare officers who may be required to resign in the immediate future or who will voluntarily resign. It is not possible in the course of a Second Reading speech to make the detailed case for these officers or for the Minister to give what might appear to be an adequate reply. Suffice it for me to say that in the circumstances the Minister ought to consider more generous treatment for these people in view of the fact that they have to resign or are being required to resign at a much earlier date than that at which they ordinarily would resign.

It is being suggested in this legislation that they will receive a maximum of ten years' added service for the purpose of the assessment of their pension. That may appear to be generous in ordinary circumstances but I am informed that the Department of Finance or the Department of Social Welfare, in the name of reorganisation, in the name of general efficiency, want to reduce the number of these officers by about 40 or 50 and that some of them may have to resign at the age of 45 or 50 and perhaps younger. It is unreasonable that they should be offered merely a maximum of ten years' added service.

There is another aspect of the retirement through redundancy of these social welfare officers which I should like to mention, namely, the payment of the gratuity. Section 7 contains a provision whereby, if a civil servant is removed from office because of the abolition of his office, in the interests of reorganisation or efficiency, he may get a special severance gratuity not exceeding one-half of his annual salary. Again, that may appear to be generous but in view of the special circumstances of the people concerned the Minister ought to consider providing for a more generous gratuity.

As I said, the sections from Section 9 to 36 seem to be proposals in respect of special people or special cases and it is not possible to treat of these sections until we come to the Committee Stage of the Bill.

However, I should like the Minister to have regard to one of these sections. It is Section 33, which provides for added years of service for pension purposes to district justices who had been county registrars. Perhaps the Minister will be able to tell me whether or not service in the State Solicitor's office is reckonable for pension purposes in respect of other district justices? It does not seem to me that such service is service which would be reckoned for pension purposes but perhaps the Minister would clear up the point?

I am sorry I was not here for the Minister's opening speech but perhaps he would say whether or not it is contemplated having a pension scheme for members of the Labour Court? There is provision in the Bill for a pension scheme for those who have acted on the Industrial Development Authority. It has been felt for a long time that those who have served, and served so well, on the Labour Court have been very neglected in the matter of a pension scheme. I trust that this opportunity that presents itself to the Minister and the State will be availed of to make some provision for the members of the Labour Court.

The Minister in this Bill also provides for the transfer for pension purposes of credit for service between the Civil Service and other bodies. For some years now, there has been that interchange between the Civil Service and local authorities and it has worked very well indeed. The Minister now proposes to introduce interchange for other State and semi-State bodies. He also says he may designate approved organisations for the purpose of the transfer of credit in respect of service. I wonder would the Minister be able to give us, when he comes to reply, an example of the type of organisation that may be approved or would it be confined entirely to semi-State organisations? Would the Minister also confirm, or otherwise, that national teachers will be included in these proposals? At first glance, I assume they would, but I should hate to think that, through any error in putting this Bill through, they may be left out. The only reason I mentioned that is that technically speaking they are employed not by the State but by the school managers. I am assuming they are covered in the matter of transfer of credit for pension. I trust the Minister will be able to confirm that they are.

In regard to Section 5, the Minister might tell us what he means when he says he proposes to take power to make a contribution towards the pensions of persons transferred from one organisation to another, or from one State or semi-State organisation to another. Does that mean that he, as Minister for Finance, will contribute through the Exchequer the entire amount of the gratuity or will there be an apportionment as between the Minister for Finance, on the one hand, and the State or semi-State bodies or organisations on the other?

Another section of this Bill proposes to give credit for years of service in the case of those in the professions and who serve in another profession before entering the State service. Would the Minister consider expanding that proposal to cover the social welfare officers giving them credit for the activity in which they were engaged, an activity associated with social welfare officer work, before they were appointed as social welfare officers? The Minister will recall that some of them were recruited at a rather late age and the value of their former experience was recognised in the regulations governing their appointment. I want to stress that many of these did not have an opportunity of entering the State service as social welfare officers until a rather late age and, even with the improvement in the matter of the addition of years of service, they will not find themselves, to say the least of it, too well off if they are retired because of redundancy, or anything like that. With the added years of service, the pension may appear to be generous, but many of these will be in the fifties and some of them will be up to sixty and it would be very difficult for them to obtain any sort of employment to supplement their pensions to the extent of making them reasonable incomes.

On the Committee Stage amendments will be suggested but, as Deputy Cosgrave pointed out, it will be impossible for ordinary members to table amendments which would impose a charge on the Exchequer. Perhaps after the Committee Stage it will be possible for the Minister to consider what has been said here in respect of many State and semi-State servants with a view to his bringing in the appropriate amendments on Report Stage.

I welcome this Bill because I regard some of the provisions in it as a genuine attempt to rationalise the vexed question of superannuation, pension and increments for public servants who move from one section to another, whether it be from the Civil Service to State or semi-State bodies, orvice versa. Any Bill which encourages movement of that kind is to be commended. If transfers can be effected and people can find their place in the sun without loss of pension rights, superannuation or increments, that will be a big improvement because public servants will then be encouraged to move around until they find the posts for which they are best fitted. Because certain losses could be incurred up to this civil servants and others were immobilised. It is my hope this Bill will encourage movement because I believe such movement would be beneficial to the community as a whole.

Deputy Corish referred to national teachers. My reading of the Bill is that national teachers have been left out and no credit will be given for years of service to those who move into the Civil Service or who take appointments in State or semi-State bodies. It can be argued, of course, that national teachers are not employed by the State. That may be so, but their salaries are paid by the State. In the buildings adjoining this House, the National Museum and the National Library and in this House itself there are former members of the teaching profession with many years' service in that profession who will get no credit for it. I am aware, too, that social welfare officers are very perturbed over certain sections of this Bill. No doubt the Minister has been circularised and he is aware of their grievances. I am confident he will do what he can to remedy these.

Deputy Cosgrave mentioned Army officers and Army personnel who appear to have been left out of the beneficial provisions of this Bill. I trust the Minister will be able to consider favourably the points made by Deputy Cosgrave. Recently one particular matter was brought to my attention. Engineers who joined the Army at the outbreak of war, when the emergency was declared, and who subsequently became officials of local authorities got no credit for their Army service. I do not notice any provision for credit for pension purposes or incremental purposes for such people in this Bill whereas engineers who joined the local authority immediately in the 1940's after graduation will benefit for pension purposes, although they did not volunteer in the emergency. The men who made the sacrifice stand to lose. I trust it will be possible for the Minister to remedy that position on the Committee Stage.

I am particularly grateful to Deputy Cosgrave and Deputy Corish, the leader of the Labour Party, for the support they have given to a case I mentioned to them, the case of a former member of the Oireachtas to whom Section 29 of this Bill would apply, were it not for the fact that the section states that an aggregate of 3,650 days' continuous service is required whereas this man has about 3,600 days' service. The man in whose case I am interested is also the holder of a 1916 Service Medal and Service Certificate. It might be possible for the Minister, by virtue of the man's holding this certificate and medal to add the requisite number of days to his Oireachtas service and so qualify him under Section 29.

In every part of this House from time to time, Deputies have spoken in favour of assisting the Old IRA whenever it is in our power to do so. On this occasion it is possible to do so. It is not possible for us to bring in an amendment which would involve a charge on the Exchequer but I feel sure that, having regard to the support this case has received from all parts of the House, the Minister, in his goodness, will agree to rectify this matter. It is an isolated case. It will not establish a precedent because it cannot happen again.

It has always seemed to me that in matters of legislation which relates to superannuation, whatever we try to do produces a result wherein confusion is worse confounded. One of the difficulties is that all superannuation legislation, in my experience at any rate, is related back to previous legislation which, in turn, is related back to other previous legislation, and one would need to spend a great deal of one's life studying this aspect of law to get even a grasp of the subject at all.

This Bill seems to me, so far as I have been able to comprehend it, to be an advance on the present situation but I have some doubts as to omissions. Like Deputy Carty, I fear that the small handful of ex-national teachers who are now civil servants, whether by accident or design, are not provided for in this Bill in the matter of getting credit for their service as national teachers. They were State servants equally then as they are now. I would ask the Minister to clarify that position and, if these men are not being provided for within the terms of this Bill, that he would, in his kindness—and I am sure he is anxious to do the fair thing—include them so that the time they spent as national teachers will be counted as pensionable service when the determination of their pensions falls due.

There is one other section which puzzles me and it is a section in regard to which I am in a similar difficulty to others. If one were to seek to amend it in Committee, it would be ruled out of order because it would be deemed to impose a charge upon the revenue and, therefore, we have not the right to move such an amendment; only the Minister has. I do not intend to take up much of the time of the House on this but I should like briefly to indicate what the position is in relation to Section 21 in which there is a reference to the Garda and to ex-members of the Dublin Metropolitan Police. Section 21 refers to subsection (3) of Section 15 of the Superannuation Act, 1936. It would appear to me that the person referred to in that subsection must have been an established civil servant at the date of the passing of the Act of 1936. It seems a very long time ago and the purpose of Section 21 of the Bill would appear to be to extend the Minister's powers of discretion, in relation to such persons as were established civil servants in 1936 on the date of the passing of the Act, from officers of the Garda to officers of the Dublin Metropolitan Police.

I would draw the Minister's attention to the fact that almost 30 years have passed since the passing of that Act and a number of men joined the Garda Síochána and, to my knowledge, some of them subsequently became employees of semi-State Bodies and some of them became established civil servants. I would urge upon him that the section should be so changed as to cover such people as were members of the Garda and who are now established civil servants and so as to give such people credit for service given before their entry into the Civil Service.

I should like to join with other Deputies in the plea on behalf of the ex-member of this House who failed to qualify by a handful of days under Section 29 of the Bill. We all know very well what happened in other years. Men have very often given the best part if their lives in this House and have ended their days in anything but comfort—some of them, be it said in truth, in absolute poverty. It behoves us, in regard to the case Deputy Carty has mentioned, to act in as humanitarian a way as we can and I would support the plea to the Minister to make an exception in this case.

It seems to me that, in the main, the purpose of this Bill is to tie up a number of loose threads here and there, and to bring into one Bill a number of adjustments which it would probably be necessary to make in separate Bills unless this omnibus type of legislation were resorted to as a means of carrying out the necessary adjustments. Therefore, while the Bill is not fundamental in any way, it does, nevertheless, make adjustments over a wide field where adjustments have been clearly called for because of omissions in the past and because of a failure at the time to foresee potential developments.

There is one new thing here, that is, the extension of the device of using what is known as notional service or as perhaps it is more colloquially known, added years. The Minister in his speech seemed to emphasise the necessity for a provision of this kind because, as he rightly explained, in some branches of the Civil Service where you desire to recruit professional or technical officers, the minimum qualifications are prescribed and, as these minimum qualifications are frequently not attainable by the potential applicant until he is 30, 35 or 40 years of age, it means that his official service will be a matter of only 25 or 20 years, which in turn means that he can never hope to get a full pension, although he enters the service with all the high qualifications required as a condition of his employment.

The Minister is apparently taking additional powers now to extend the application of notional service or added years and in this way hopes to be able to tempt into the Civil Service persons who are likely to sell their skill outside, unless there is an attraction of the type offered by the Minister. This is a wise decision, in view of the competitiveness of offers outside the Civil Service, particularly for professional and technical officers. I think it is the only means by which the Minister can be assured that the State will have at its command the best possible technicians and those with the highest possible professional qualifications to carry out the work of the State.

I gather that whatever is behind this Bill, there is a necessity to deal with redundancy somewhere or other, but the Minister did not go so far as to tell us what the redundancy problem is. I have a suspicion that redundancy is anticipated in the Department of Social Welfare. If that is so, would the Minister tell us what is the extent of the redundancy, how many officers are likely to be affected, their grades, and what exactly the Minister proposes to do to deal with the redundancy problem. Possibly persons may be transferred to other Departments: possibly some who cannot be accommodated in other Departments will be tempted to accept a pension, with some years added in recognition of the fact that their services and their contract with the State may be broken because of the redundancy occurring now. The Minister might give us some information on that point so that we may know what is being done in this rather important Department.

The Minister referred to the change which is being made now in the provision of gratuities for certain persons. In the past, under the Superannuation Act of 1887, an unestablished full-time officer, that is, a person not holding a Civil Service certificate, could, if he had seven years' service, be granted a gratuity on retirement if retired for the purpose of facilitating reorganisation in his Department; or he could get a gratuity if he had 15 years' service, provided the reason for his retirement was infirmity of mind or body. Now, as a result of discussions which have taken place between the staff side and the official side on the Civil Service conciliation council, the Minister has agreed to modify that provision and it will be possible in future with a minimum of seven years' service to qualify for this gratuity. Previously the minimum service was 15 years in order to qualify.

The gratuity in the future will vary as in the past. I understand there is no change in the basis of compensation. In the past, a person in this particular category and who retired without pension after 15 years' service got approximately 15 weeks' pay, a week's pay for each year of service. In future if he retires with seven years' service, I understand he will get seven weeks' pay. I understand the unit of computation of compensation is a week's pay for each year of service. This method of compensation which applies to civilian personnel in military barracks in Dublin and throughout the country also applies to full-time unestablished officers in different State Departments. In the aggregate, there is not a great number of them but they are still a permanent feature of Civil Service organisation. They have always been there and the effluxion of time has not operated to diminish their numbers to any great extent.

It was felt in 1887, 76 years ago, that if such persons retired, they should get a week's pay for each year of service. We are now in 1963 and the basis of compensation is still a week's pay for each year of service. It is true that pay has changed since 1887 but it is highly questionable whether a week's pay at that time bought more than a week's pay does to-day, having regard to the high level of prices, but whatever view prevailed in 1887, the general feeling was that if you gave a week's pay for each year of service, you were doing well. Notwithstanding the way the world has changed since then, we are still proposing to give a week's pay for each year of service now.

I put it to the Minister that he could not be accused of any great rashness or impetuosity if in 1963 he reflected that the present compensation was based on concepts of humanity in 1887 and that he was going to take a step to the left in this matter also and increase the compensation to something above a week's pay for each year of service. I do not suggest any particular unit rate as adequate compensation but I think the Minister must realise whatever was fixed 76 years ago as a method of compensation can hardly be a fair method of compensation to-day, particularly when pension schemes and gratuities are so well known and so much a part of conditions of employment to-day.

I urge the Minister therefore to look into this question of gratuities payable under the 1887 Act to full-time unestablished officers who get no pension on retirement. He should endeavour to increase the amount of compensation beyond the extremely miserable basis of a week's pay for each year of service. That basis means that if a person retires after 40 years' service to the State, the most he can get is about nine months' pay. It can hardly be urged that that is adequate recognition of such long service. Perhaps the Minister would be able to examine the matter to see if he can do something substantially better for those concerned. The number is not very large and an increase in the gratuity which they will get in lieu of the pension for which they will not qualify would be extremely helpful to those who have no other income on which to subsist in the future.

I want to raise the question of the widows of civil servants. Fifty years ago, the idea of having a job which carried a pension was regarded by some people as a rather enviable assignment. But, of course, in the past 30 years in particular, the world has undergone a metamorphosis in the matter of the introduction of pension schemes. Every large firm in the country now has a pension scheme of some kind or other. Every good firm has a pension scheme certainly. The local authorities provide pensions for all their employees, even down to the weekly wage earner who previously never came into the reckoning for local authority pension purposes. Similarly, many other firms with which we are all familiar have provided pensions for their staffs. In the State services, pensions have likewise been provided. While one might complain here and there about the pension schemes provided, nevertheless, it is gratifying that on the whole we have reached the stage at which we recognise that when a person reaches a mature age and is no longer able to sell his brains or brawn on the labour market, he must of necessity be provided with the wherewithal to see himself through the rest of his days on this earth.

Many of the State-sponsored bodies, however, provide better pension schemes for the widows of their employees than the State does. In 98 per cent of the cases—and I do not think there has been any change in this—no pension is provided for the widows of civil servants. You may find a case in which a civil servant rendered 44 years' service. He may have been a dedicated civil servant. He may have believed his noblest efforts were to be found in serving the State. But when he dies his widow gets merely one year's salary. If the family were able to spend that year's salary in the previous year and the year before that, presumably they will spend it on the same demands as encouraged spending while the breadwinner was alive. In the year after his death, the widow of that civil servant has to live on that year's salary. After that, there is no more. That person just floats out into the general mass of the community. The services which her husband rendered to the nation, perhaps at a lesser rate of pay than he could get elsewhere, are forgotten. The widow is allowed to fend for herself, and perhaps for schoolgoing children, in any way she can.

The time is now coming when the State ought to look at the question of providing pensions for the widows of civil servants so as to ensure that when the breadwinner, the pensionable officer, dies, at least there will be some income available in order to assist the widow during her lifetime or until such time as the family are in a position to provide for the mother. Certainly, there is a big gap at present between the pension on the day the civil servant dies and the provision of no income whatever for the widow. I would hope the Minister would be able to give some idea if he is in sympathy with the objective I seek to attain. I hope he will have the matter examined and a reasonable scheme formulated so that it could be considered and made sufficiently attractive to enable especially the middle and lower grades to embrace a scheme of that kind. Otherwise, it may be impossible for them because of the necessity of sacrificing so much of their own pension during their pensionable years in order to make sure that there is some portion of that pension hypotheticated to provide for the widow after the serving officer's death.

Those are a few of the matters I wanted to raise on this Bill. There will be a variety of others, to which the Minister made no reference when introducing the Bill, which we can discuss more effectively perhaps when the Committee Stage is reached.

I want to mention two points. The first touches on what was dealt with by Deputy Norton, that is, the likely redundancy among social welfare officers. Due to the operation of the contributory old age pension, it is clear the volume of work to be done by social welfare officers will be greatly reduced. There is a feeling of uneasiness among these people in regard to their future employment. Deputy Carty mentioned it would be good for the Civil Service generally if officers could move around from one Department to another until they found some section congenial and suited to their capabilities. However, I am afraid that is not possible at the moment. There is, shall we say, a sort of closed shop between one Department and another. The result is that it would be impossible to put social welfare officers into the Department of Finance andvice versa. Therefore, there is a problem in this prospect of redundancy. I would ask the Minister to deal favourably with these social welfare officers, because they were pioneers and helped in the formation of a Department.

The second point I want to deal with at this stage is one touched on by many speakers, that is, the question of recognising the service given by national teachers who subsequently came into the Civil Service. The Minister is giving the benefits of this Bill to officers of semi-State bodies. He is giving them credit for their service with CIE, Aer Lingus, Bord na Móna and the Folklore Commission. In the case of the Folklore Commission, while officers were in the service of that body they had, as far as I know, no pension at all. Yet when they come into the Civil Service they will get full credit for the years they served with the Folklore Commission.

On the other hand, a teacher who has a right to a pension for his services and who would have a full pension had he remained as a teacher, if he enters the Civil Service, will not bring with him any pension rights he may have acquired in his service as a national teacher. I want to stress particularly the point that this applies only to national teachers, not to vocational and secondary teachers. I think it is a most unfair discrimination. My interpretation of this Bill is that it does not remedy that situation.

I feel quite sure the Minister, if he has not already adverted to that point or considered it, will if necessary bring in an amendment or indeed a new section to deal with it. I do not want to labour the point at all but I think the feeling of all sides of this House is that this is something that has been overlooked in the past and that it does require remedial measures. While this Bill is going through the House is the time to do it. If the Minister does what I have suggested he will, first of all, remedy an injustice and, secondly, receive the support of every member of the House.

I should like to say that if this Bill helps to speed up a flow of personnel from one section of our society to another it will be doing a good day's work. There are undoubtedly people in various categories of public service in this country who can be described as square pegs in round holes and there is no doubt that people whose services in a Department or other post are now recognised for superannuation or pension purposes should, on transfer to a section where their gifts might be more profitably exploited to the public benefit, be allowed to carry those pension rights with them.

This provision is long overdue. I could never understand in connection with bodies like the ESB and Bord na Móna why it is not possible to have a flow of highly technical men between one organisation and the other or between either organisation and the Civil Service. That has been a fundamental weakness in the organisation of these two companies and I believe we have suffered greatly because of a negative approach to that problem by the two companies. Some people may say there has been a form of healthy competition between these organisations. I maintain there is a great deal of antagonism between them and that it would be much better for the public at large if there were greater mobility of staff between such bodies.

The same applies to officials and employees generally of local authorities. I see no reason why an officer of a local authority should not be allowed, if he is so fitted, to move to any branch of the Civil Service or why, if some individual in the Civil Service feels he would like to move into the local authority service, he should be prevented from so doing or that he should have to sacrifice pension rights. Such mobility is highly desirable from the point of view of efficiency and satisfaction in the State, semi-State or local authority services. In this context I should like the Minister to consider what appears to me to be a snag in this measure— the provision that the transfer must be approved by both employers. The Minister may have been envisaging a situation where a number of employees may rush from one group to another, getting the doors jammed. I do not think there is any need for fear in that respect and, consequently, I do not believe there is need for approval from both employers. In fact, it could lead to victimisation by one employer or the other and it should not be left open to an employer to victimise any employee just because he wanted to transfer his services.

Reference has been made to the post of full time, unestablished officers, particularly those attached to the Department of Defence. Whatever about the Department of Defence, there are such officers in other categories and I think there is an attempt being made here to help them. I refer to provisions in Section 5, particularly. However, I do not think the Bill is going far enough. Like other Deputies, I feel that by making reference to snags at this time we may be helping more than by putting down amendments later which will be ruled out of order because private Deputies may not move amendments which would have the effect of imposing a charge on the Exchequer.

Deputy Norton made reference to the 1887 Act which is taken as a precedent here to estimate what gratuity or lump sum should be given to those people who had retired or left a particular form of employment after several years' service. It amazes me that such a situation would arise and I should like to say immediately that I do not blame the Minister. The people who draft Bills such as this are civil servants, the backroom boys, and I say that in no derogatory manner.

The Minister is responsible, of course.

This is not an attack on any civil servant.

The Minister is responsible to the House, not the Civil Service.

The Ceann Comhhairle is trying to make me blame the Minister.

I am not making the Deputy blame anybody. I am pointing out that it is the Minister who has to answer to the House.

I wanted to leave the Minister clear in this but if the Ceann Comhairle wishes me to lay the blame on him, I shall respectfully do so. The Minister is responsible for the fact that his advisers show no mercy at all or sense of charity to those who are in a weaker position than themselves. I do not know how many times I have met in the corridors of this House members of ex-Civil Service organisations looking for increases in their pensions or making some other form of demand. It amazes me that they allowed themselves to be put in that position, seeing that a few years prior to such a demand, they themselves were the advisers of a particular Minister. To my mind, they showed a short-sightedness in dealing with a matter of this nature.

I do not think it is seriously suggested that one week's pay for every year's service is a fair gratuity to offer to a person who is going out after seven years' constant service and loyal dedication to his work in a particular Department of the State. The minimum to which the Minister should agree should be at least six weeks' pay for every year's service. It should be realised, first and foremost, that officers who are unestablished suffer by comparison with their colleagues who are fully established. They suffer in many respects. They are at a disadvantage when it comes to the question of leave and very often they are at a disadvantage when it comes to the question of remuneration. What I cannot understand is why two people are paid a different rate of wages or salary for doing the same work side by side. We have the established civil servant getting £9 a week with good holidays and a good pension rate and side by side with him, we have an unestablished officer drawing £2 a week less and perhaps only getting ten to 15 days' holiday, half the period given to the full-time officer, while both do exactly the same type of work.

Why is there that differential? Is it not sufficient to say that one is established and one is unestablished? Should that not be sufficient to segregate them? To penalise unestablished officers to the extent they are penalised is very unfair indeed. Of course, there is the aspect that to a great extent they are unorganised and weak. As such, like any unorganised section of the community, they are at the tail-end when it comes to getting their rights. I hope the position of the unestablished, full-time servants, to which I and other Deputies have referred, will receive more sympathetic consideration before this Bill passes through all its Stages.

One other point upon which I should like to comment is the possibility of allowing Army service during the emergency for pension and superannuation purposes in State, semi-State and local authority employment. This is a most reasonable suggestion when you consider that the young men who came into the Army during the emergency perhaps sacrificed very good positions. They may not have been in them when they joined the Army but the very fact that they did join and answered the call, as it was then described, meant that they were depriving themselves of the opportunity of entering good employment outside. Many people did not answer the call and therefore today they are in the advantageous position that they have anything from two to five extra years' service that will be counted for superannuation and pension purposes over the individual who joined the Defence Forces at the time of the emergency.

I do not think the position is as difficult as it would appear on initial examination and if the Minister has this matter examined by the various Departments affected, he might find that it would be a simple proposition to allow, as Deputy Cosgrave suggested, a percentage of the service in the Army to count for superannuation purposes in their employment at present. That should apply not alone to the officer rank, and the technical and professional officers, but right down the ranks to NCOs and men. We have many former NCOs and men in the Civil Service and in local authority employment and a limited number working in State and semi-State companies. The service they gave during the emergency should be counted in their present employment and the State should not receive any great thanks for enabling that to be done because these men sacrificed possibly the best years of their lives.

Many of them, when the emergency was over in 1946, received a miserable gratuity which was not even sufficient to enable them to set up in civilian life in a small business. The biggest percentage of those in the lower ranks of the Army during the emergency, the NCOs and the lower officer ranks, had to emigrate. Those who are left in the country should be given some recognition on the lines I have suggested and it would be appreciated by all.

Omnibus legislation such as this is not going to satisfy all who should be brought into it. I know it is a very difficult proposition to include all and sundry and it is only when such a Bill as this comes before the House that we find very deserving sections have been left out. It is really on an occasion such as this that you can pinpoint the injustice done to those left out. I hope that on Committee Stage the Minister will take time to amend the various sections with a view to meeting the points put forward by Deputies and by interested groups outside.

My principal reason for intervening is to support my colleague, Deputy Carty, in the plea he made for a former member of this House, under Section 29. This former member is an ex-Deputy for County Galway and he is just a few days short of the number required to qualify for superannuation under Section 29. As he is the holder of a 1916 Medal and a certificate, I trust the Minister will be able to qualify him under this section. I am very pleased that the proposal has received the benediction and support of all the other Parties in the House. I hope, as this will not be a precedent, that this will be set right before this measure finally becomes law.

I am also in agreement with Deputies who have spoken for former members of the national teaching profession who are employed in Government Departments and whose teaching service is not counted for superannuation purposes. I hope that their case will also be righted under this Bill. As regards social welfare officers, I was circularised like other members of the House. It would take too long to go through the whole circular we got. I am sure the Minister has already received it and will give consideration to the case they have made, especially as regards those who have to go out on superannuation due to redundancy.

I am very pleased that the Minister has, under Section 22, provided for the granting to inspectors and organisers of the Department of Education who retired prior to 1950 a concession similar to that granted to teachers who retired before that year. About two years ago, I think there were only six of those in the whole country. I happened to meet them. I took up their case and made representations to the Minister for Education and the Minister for Finance on their behalf. They have since been awaiting the introduction of this Bill. I see now that their case has been covered. I hope the six are still alive and that they will shortly benefit by this concession which the Minister has incorporated in this Bill.

I do not know whether we are allowed under this measure to refer to other sections of the community which I do not see mentioned in the Bill. Like other Deputies, from time to time we had questions down about, say, superannuation for forestry workers and for auxiliary postmen. I do not see any reference to superannuation for these categories in this Bill. In Galway, this comes up very often for the simple reason that since the Act was passed, I think in 1945, we were one of the first counties in Ireland to implement the Act. Our county council workers are contributing. When they work for 200 days they qualify. All of them who have gone out on pension since have benefited by that Superannuation Act.

Forestry workers who, one might say, work side by side with county council workers and the same hours, too, feel they also should be brought in. They feel some legislation should be introduced to enable them to qualify for superannuation when the time comes for them to go out on pension. Their work could be classed as permanent. The forests are established now. Certainly, 70 or 80 per cent of them could be classed as permanent workers. Deputations and groups of them whom I have met have informed me they would be only too pleased to pay into a superannuation fund from their weekly wage, the same as the county council workers do.

Do not blame the Minister for Finance. The Minister for Lands will not give it to them.

I wonder whether this provision could be included before the Bill becomes law? The same applies to auxiliary postmen. Is it because they are not established? They are doing very important work. I suppose there is nobody they call on as often as the local Deputy. They bring more letters to him than they bring to the ordinary individual in the same village or district. I have seen questions from all sides on this matter. I have spoken on their behalf on several occasions. I should like these two sections to be included in this Bill.

My main reason for speaking was to support the case made by Deputy Carty for the ex-member of this House from County Galway. I hope he will qualify. I welcome the Bill and its main provisions and I congratulate the Minister on its introduction. I hope it will get a speedy passage so that the people expecting to benefit will benefit from it as soon as possible.

I think we are all agreed in principle that we should support this Bill. It is encouraging that so many members of the Opposition spoke here tonight with such evident sincerity in respect of certain classes of individuals. I do not think it is unfair, however, to ask the members of the Opposition who have spoken so eloquently tonight to remember those speeches before they make further criticisms of Government expenditure, and particularly of the taxation provisions. They have been spending a lot of time recently criticising the Minister for Finance for his whole financial policy and the Budget has scarcely been passed before they come into this House asking for increased expenditure.

I am very much in favour of this Bill. In particular, I should like to support the points which I understand Deputy Cosgrave already made with reference to Army personnel. There has always been a curious differentiation between the treatment of ex-Army men and others. Cases do arise, particularly amongst the officers, where they retire from the Forces and take up civilian employment very occasionally in the Civil Service and more frequently in a State company. There is, for instance, one very senior officer who retired after long and excellent service and who is now giving equally excellent service in one of the State companies. In that capacity, I understand he is still very properly able to draw his Army pension. I think that is exactly as it should be.

If an officer is entitled to an Army pension and transfers from the Forces to a post ranked as a Civil Service post, he is not allowed to draw his Army pension. That appears to me to be unwarranted. If he deserves his pension, he should be paid his pension. It is not, to my mind, sustainable to say there is any difference between a partlyowned State company and the Civil Service. Those who are employed in State-owned companies are, to all intents and purposes, civil servants. I should like the Minister to look into that matter to see whether this injustice can be rectified.

I have also in mind a rather curious situation which arises in connection with the Ordnance Survey. The staff of the Ordnance Survey partly consists of Army personnel of the Survey Company of the Corps of Engineers. That is the normal way in which a man enters the Ordnance Survey Department. These Army men are employed, therefore, in the Corps of Engineers and are working with civilians on exactly the same type of work. After a certain period in the Army, these men may be given an opportunity to apply for a post on the civil side of the Ordnance Survey. If they do, they must first complete five years' unestablished service before they can become established and start ranking for pension.

It may very well be that a man may serve in the Survey Company of the Corps of Engineers for eight or ten years before he gets the chance of transferring to the Civil Service but he is allowed only three years at most of his Army service to rank as unestablished service. Even though he has been in the job for eight or ten years, he must still do another two years in "civvies" before he can start ranking for pension. There is no difference whatsoever in the work carried out by the Army man and the civil servant. The man who transfers from the Corps of Engineers to the civilian side of the Ordnance Survey does not have to sit on a different chair or at a different desk. All he has to do is hand in his uniform and buy himself a suit of civilian clothes. He carries on exactly as before. Therefore, I would ask the Minister to take this matter into consideration as well as the points which Deputy Cosgrave already raised.

All along there is a tendency to discriminate against the Army men, even though they have been in the Government service. There may be other instances I am not aware of. There probably are. Even though the numbers are very small, I think these are cases which should receive the most sympathetic consideration.

Deputy Cosgrave raised some questions about pensions lagging behind. They will arise on another Bill which will be brought before the House dealing with increased pensions. I also think that questions about Army pensions are not strictly relevant to this Bill, because the Army have a code of their own, and I am afraid those questions will have to be deferred until the Army Pensions Bill comes before the House.

I should like to comment on a matter raised by Deputy Cosgrave and also referred to by Deputy Booth. It is alleged that an Army man who goes to the Ordnance Survey and afterwards gets a transfer to the Ordnance Survey is rather shabbily treated. I should like to have another look at that to see exactly how it works out. That is all I can say about it at the moment.

A question was raised about the pensions of the widows of officers. In recent years, a civil servant can opt to take a lower pension for himself and leave part of his pension available to his widow, if he leaves a widow, that is, if he dies before his wife. There is no concession there to the pensioner. Actuarially, he draws the same amount if he takes the full pension and disregards his wife, as he would draw if he were to agree to take a smaller pension and leave some of the residue for the benefit of his wife. I do not know whether or not that applies to the Army. I mention it only to show that there is no concession for the civil servant as against the Army officer.

Another point I should like to deal with is the matter of pension abatement. The general rule of the Civil Service is that if a civil servant retires on pension and he takes another job—and sometimes he is asked to take another job— whatever he is paid for his new job, plus his pension, must not exceed his salary when he retired. If it does exceed it, his pension is abated to bring it down to that level. He cannot earn more from public funds than he was earning before he retired. That appears to be fair enough, because some disservice might be done to the State if it were possible to bring a man back when he was on pension and treat him better than he was treated before he left the service.

Generally speaking, pre-Truce service is reckonable for pensions. The reference in Section 16 is to certain situations only. Generally speaking, those who are employed in the Civil Service have their pre-Truce service reckonable for pension purposes. Of course, there are exceptions. For instance, a man who was in the IRA before the Truce and who also worked on and off for the Dáil office cannot get a pension for both. If he gets a military service pension for his services during the fight for independence, he cannot also, at the same time, draw a pension for his service in the Dáil office. Apart from that, generally, a civil servant would be allowed his pre-Truce service.

One of the big questions in this Bill is the question of transfer. It must be remembered that this will apply only where the transfer is for the benefit of the country, or the public good, and not for the person's own benefit. If there is a transfer from the Civil Service to a State company, or from a local authority to the Civil Service, or any other transfer, if the two employers agree that the transfer is for the benefit of the country, then the person being transferred will have his service with the employer he has left counted towards his pension as well as his service with the employer he goes to. It must be kept in mind that both employers must agree that it is for the public good that the transfer is taking place.

We must not look at this at all as being for the benefit of the person concerned. He might better his position by going from one position to another. If he does, that is at his own volition. If he leaves Bord na Móna to go to a better job with the ESB, that is his own look out, and he is not to expect that his service with Bord na Móna will count towards his pension when he retires from the ESB.

Would a simple release from Bord na Móna to go to the ESB be deemed sufficient ?

I do not think so.

What formality would there be?

The idea is that quite obviously in many cases in the past a person would be a great asset to, let us say, one of the State companies, but if he left the Civil Service as things stood, he would lose his pension rights, and he would not go. In many cases, people were seconded, which was a way of getting around the difficulty. We think it is better to do it in this way. If both employers agree that the man should be transferred, his pension will be reckoned on his full service and the employer he leaves will make a contribution towards his final pension.

On redundancy I should like to say as a starting off point that, up to this, redundancy was treated by just telling the man: "You are no longer required and you have to go." He got the pension which was due to him based on the number of years' service he had attained at that stage. I do not think that has been used very much recently, but when I first became a Minister, I remember distinctly that was the case. There was no other way of dealing with it at that time.

This provision is brought in to make it more pleasant, if you like, where there is redundancy, and to enable the Minister concerned to give added years of service so that the person can go out with a better pension than he would otherwise have. I do not know of any expected cases of redundancy, except in the Social Welfare Department, so there is no——

What is the extent of it?

I would not like to mention a number at present, but I can say that it will not be compulsory. These terms will be offered to the officers. The officers know what they are and I am told 26 are willing to accept these terms and retire.

What proportion are the 26?

So far as I remember, about half.

Does that mean the others will be allowed to serve on?

They will remain on, or work will be found for them in other Departments. They will not be forced. That is the point.

Can they accept at a later date?

I do not know.

That will be decided afterwards.

The 26 who accepted had the terms as proposed in the Bill?

Yes, as here.

There are 60 altogether redundant—50 officers and ten supervisors.

Yes. There is a provision in the Bill that a county registrar's service will be counted for pension purposes if he becomes a district justice. Deputy Corish asked if the same would apply to a State solicitor. It does not. It applies only in that particular case because it was considered that the work of a registrar is very much the same type of work as a district justice would be doing. The work of a State solicitor would not be exactly the same type and, therefore, it was not included.

I welcome the recommendation made by many Deputies in respect of ex-Deputy Jordan who sat in this House. The reason why I welcome it is that the first place I met ex-Deputy Jordan was in Frongoch after 1916 and one is inclined to have regard for people one has met in those circumstances. I shall see what can be done in that case.

As I mentioned before, when I brought in the provision dealing with those men who have left the Dáil or Seanad before the contributory scheme was brought in, I was approached by three men—one of them is here at present—one from each of the three Parties. I asked these three men afterwards to advise me on everything I did. I did not ask them on this particular one. The Deputies will see on reading the clause that there is an amendment already put into the Bill which was not there up to this, that is, that a person need not be 60 years of age. If he is over 50 and is incapacitated he can be brought in. That is a new clause, put in at the request of these three advisers of mine and I intend to ask them what they think of this particular case of ex-Deputy Jordan.

Would that amendment cover ex-Deputy Jordan's case?

The present amendment would not. I do not think he is incapacitated. The Labour Court has been mentioned. There is, I understand, special legislation coming in about the Labour Court and, if it is thought advisable, the question of superannuation will be dealt with in that Bill.

Could it not be done in this Bill?

I think it could be but as there is a special Bill coming in it is probably better that it should be done there.

The Minister ought to consider it in respect of this Bill if it can be put in, because I do not know how quickly the Bill which the Ministes has referred to will come in. There has been need for a pension scheme for these people for a long time. There is one case of a man who gave great service not only to the Labour Court, but to the country. He passed on without getting anything.

I shall inquire about it again. I was asked could national teachers be brought into these organisations that would be interchangeable. They are, of course, brought in as far as local authorities are concerned under the Local Government Act. They can be brought in here, of course, by me, by order, but it must be kept in mind, as I have already said, that it will only be applied where it is considered that a national teacher would do very much better national work by being transferred than he is able to do where he is. Only in such a case would it be applied. In other words, it would not be applied where the national teacher was applying for a job in order to better his position. If he was not going to improve conditions generally for the country, then he would have no claim.

As far as these added years to professional men are concerned, there was no adverse comment and I can pass on as far as that is concerned.

Does that mean that the Minister will grant it?

I was asked what the bodies concerned were. Generally speaking, I have mentioned them already. They are the Government service, all the State bodies, very likely, the universities and, of course, the local authorities. I do not know at the moment about anything else. There might be a case to be made for some other particular class of people that does not occur to us at the moment.

Would the Agricultural Institute come into it?

Yes. That would be an obvious one. I would include that with the universities — educational establishments. Deputy Dunne mentioned Section 21.

The Guards and the Metropolitan Police.

There was a clause brought in in 1936 to deal with certain officers. It was not properly done. Now it is necessary to amend that and this is the amendment. I think I have already answered Deputy Norton's question. He asked me what was the redundancy problem. The only problem in any Department is in Social Welfare. I do not foresee redundancy in any other Department in the very near future.

There was a good deal of discussion in regard to the gratuity for unestablished service. We are making a small advance, I admit a very small advance, as far as that is concerned. On the other hand, it must be admitted that the social welfare benefits are increasing fairly rapidly and fairly substantially and the unestablished people will to a great extent gain by these increased social welfare benefits. I am not prepared to defend at all that we are treating people very generously by giving them a week's salary for every year of service but I want to tell Deputy Norton that this is not by any means a trivial matter. It is fairly costly. However, I am prepared to have another look at it to see if some change could be made in it. I want to warn Deputies that if it were a matter of a cost of £1,000 or £2,000 a year I would not hesitate to say that we would do something about that but it is a very much bigger problem.

If it is not done now it probably will not be done for many years. The Minister would want to avail of the chance to do something.

Deputy McQuillan raised a matter that I have great sympathy for, that is, the case of men who were in the Army during the emergency. I think we all have great sympathy for these men because what Deputy McQuillan said is quite true, that they were mostly young men, just around the age where they would be looking for some way of settling down to a job for life and it may have deprived many of these men of a good job in that somebody else came along in their absence and took the jobs that they might have got. That is true but I do not think we can do very much now. When I say "just now" I mean now or at any future time. At the time they were retiring we may not have been as generous as we should have been but we did as a Government at that time lay it down that they would get preference for jobs that were going for some five or six years after they left the Army. Some of them were placed—not all, indeed—and, of course, many of them did very well indeed in commerce when they went out. There are, I am quite sure, some who have been unfortunate about getting a job but it would be very difficult indeed to say that they should be allowed for the years in the Army for pension purposes. It would be impossible, I am afraid, to deal with it in that way.

Deputy Booth also referred to this question of the Ordnance Survey. I promise to take a look at that to see what the position is.

The Minister is not forgetting the national teachers?

What about them?

The Minister was asked whether or not their service could be used for transfer purposes.

I said there can be cases. There is no doubt about that.

I raised the question whether it would be possible to have a comprehensive scheme for widows of State servants.

As I explained, any civil servant can opt, before he retires, to take a lesser pension himself, making over part of his pension to his wife.

Practically nobody has done it because it is too dear.

I do not think we should be expected to legislate for the potential widow when her husband is not prepared to do anything about it.

I am thinking mainly of the husband who is not able to do anything about it because he has only enough to sustain the two of them.

Question put and agreed to.
Committee Stage ordered for Wednesday, 29th May, 1963.