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

Section I agreed to.
SECTION 2.

I move amendment No. 1:

In page 4, after line 25, to insert after subsection (4) the following new subsection:

"(5) Section 4 of the Superannuation Act, 1887, is hereby amended by the insertion at the end of the section of `not exceeding fifteen years and, in case he has served in the employment for more than fifteen years, a further compassionate gratuity not exceeding two weeks' pay for each year of his service in his employment in excess of fifteen years.' "

An appeal was made to me to be a bit more generous in the gratuities paid to unestablished civil servants when retiring. Deputies will know that before the introduction of this Bill a person had to have 15 years' service before getting a gratuity at all. That is now brought down to seven years. This amendment says that any service over 15 years will count for two weeks in each year. It will mean that civil servants who live to normal middle age—I do not say to full age—will in all probability receive a full year's earnings when retiring under this section. Some of them, indeed, may get a good lot more than a year. I do not think there is any private employer, where there is no superannuation scheme, who would give more generous terms.

It must be remembered also that all these workers are insured and, therefore, would be entitled to the contributory old age pension as well. Taking all in all, I think that the improvement in the old age pension—which we hope to see improved again before the end of this year—will mean that their condition will be very much better than it was two or three years ago. I do not think we can go any further at the moment.

Amendment agreed to.
Section 2 as amended, agreed to.
Section 3 agreed to.
SECTION 4.

Amendments Nos. 2 and 3 are out of order as tending to impose a charge on State funds.

Amendments Nos. 2 and 3 not moved.
Question proposed: "That Section 4 stand part of the Bill".

The purpose of these amendments which have been ruled out of order was, in one case, to allow persons who had service as national or secondary teachers to be entitled to have transferable established service for the purpose of the section, and in the other, to permit those who had Army service and who held a military service medal, in the case of those who had Old IRA service, and those who had Army service and had service either during the Emergency or otherwise, to have a transferable established service for the purpose of this section. This matter was discussed on the Second Stage. I want to urge that the matter be given consideration by the Minister before this Bill is enacted.

There has, I think, been a very strong agitation on behalf of a great number of Army personnel, particularly those with relatively short service, some of whom had no pension for the Army service. Possibly some got a gratuity but many served, say, for a number of years and subsequently secured employment with the Civil Service or with local authorities or, with vocational committees. There is a wide range of different places where they might have—and some already have— got positions. I think there is a very strong case for including the service for pension purposes. There is one obvious reason. Many of the ex-Army personnel are most suitable for and have rendered very good service in other appointments. Indeed, some of them have left the Army at a comparatively early age because of the prospects of service elsewhere. In view of the suitability of the Army personnel for particular positions, there is a strong case for allowing service in the Army to be counted for pension purposes.

In the case of Army personnel who have a minimum period to qualify for an Army pension and who subsequently get a position either with a local authority or a vocational committee or, in certain circumstances with the Civil Service, or with a State body, it happens that although they have had the necessary period for a minimum Army pension, because of the lateness of their entry to the other employment, they are too old to qualify for a full pension. In such a case, I think the two periods should be aggregated and some arrangement worked out under which whatever contributions are payable would be apportioned between the earlier and the later service. For that reason, some more reasonable proposal might be considered which would enable service in the Army to be considered for pension purposes subsequently. I say this because I think everybody recognises whether the personnel concerned are Old IRA—naturally they are fewer now and will be fewer in the future —or regular Army, their service in the Army and subsequently in civilian posts reflects the highest credit on them. Similarly Army personnel who served for shorter periods during, after or prior to the Emergency have enhanced their own reputations and promoted the efficiency and welfare of the organisations to which they were appointed.

Many of them are peculiarly suitable and qualified—and have proved it— for these posts. We should encourage that tendency for a variety of reasons, first, their suitability for appointment to non-military posts which has the advantage that Army and military training is beneficial generally and it also has the advantage that if they get such posts it opens up further opportunities for Army personnel, leading to more vacancies and consequential promotion. I urge the Minister to consider Army service as transferrable established service for the purposes of the section.

I do not know whether the Deputy has in mind here legalising what has gone before or what refers to the future. Previously, where an individual transferred himself, the rule I have tried to apply is: where it is done for the good of the country we should cover it but where it was done for the good of the individual we should leave it out. In future, the Minister will designate the organisations from or to which transfers can be made and it will be possible—we have not considered the matter yet — to bring teachers into that. If the authority agrees that the teacher might be transferred to another organisation where the persons in that organisation agree or request the teacher to come, the matter could be covered.

The Army case is more difficult and I could not express an opinion on it because Army pensions are very different from pensions of other organisations. They are for a very short duration and I think it is seldom an Army man transfers to another organisation until he has got his pension. We would be dealing with a different case there. It is more often the case in the Army of a man getting his pension and then going into another occupation. The matter would require special consideration.

Subsection (1) provides that the Minister may designate approved organisations for this purpose. Could he indicate what type of organisation he has in mind. Does he, for instance, include teachers who although technically employed by school managers are paid their pensions by the State? Could the Minister elaborate in regard to the designation?

The organisations we had in mind are the Civil Service, local authorities, State bodies and, as I said, teachers could be brought in as an approved organisation. The person who does the negotiating is the person who pays the pension so that it would not be the school managers who would be involved. I think that answers the question.

Question put and agreed to.
SECTION 5.

I move amendment No. 4:

In subsection (3), page 8, to delete lines 17 and 18 and substitute as follows:

"(b) the person remained in the employment on the 30th day of April, 1963,".

Amendments Nos. 5 and 6 may be discussed together as they seem to be cognate.

Yes, they are consequential. This is a case of a person who transferred from Córas Tráchtála to An Bord Iascaigh Mhara and as the transfer has taken place before the Bill we have to deal with it by way of amendment. Before he went to an Bord Iascaigh Mhara he was in the Fisheries Division of the Department of Lands so that there are two transfers and these three amendments are necessary to deal with them. If the person had not transferred, or if the transfer had not taken place until this legislation had been enacted he would come under the Act and would have no trouble. Because he is already transferred we have to put in the first amendment to go back to 30th April, 1963. The second amendment is necessary because there are two transfers and, therefore, three people have to give consent. The third amendment deals with making the matter retrospective.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 5:

In subsection (3), page 8, line 23, to insert "or in case the person transferred from Córas Tráchtála to An Bord Iascaigh Mhara on the 1st day of May, 1963, with the consent of both organisations, on his ceasing to hold employment in An Bord Iascaigh Mhara or any other employment approved of by the Minister for the purposes of this subsection his service as from the 1st day of May, 1963, is pensionable under superannuation provisions applying to him," before "and".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 6:

In subsection (3), page 8, line 31, to delete "transfer," and substitute "transfer referred to in paragraph (a) of this subsection,".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 7:

In page 9, after line 9, to insert before subsection (6) the following new subsection:

"(6) Where, on the 1st day of June, 1963, a person serving in a position pensionable under a scheme confirmed under Section 44 of the Transport Act, 1950, transferred to a position pensionable under a scheme made pursuant to Section 15 of the Tourist Traffic Act, 1952,—

(a) service of the person reckonable as pensionable service for the purposes of the former scheme shall, provided he does not get a return of contributions under that scheme, be reckoned as pensionable service for the purposes of the latter scheme,

(b) if, any such service having been so reckoned, an award of a lump sum, pension or gratuity is made to or in respect of the person under the latter scheme, the authority administering the former scheme shall make such contribution as may be agreed upon between it and Bórd Fáilte Éireann towards the lump sum, pension or gratuity."

This is a similar amendment. It concerns the case of a man who transferred from CIE to Bórd Fáilte and he was also a civil servant. The same arguments apply. If the transfer had not taken place until this Bill was passed, he would automatically benefit from its provisions and there would be no trouble about it. It is in order to bring him under the Bill that we are dealing with it separately, as it were.

Amendment agreed to.
Section 5, as amended, agreed to.
SECTION 6.

Amendments Nos. 8, 9, 10 and 11, in the name of Deputy Cosgrave, have been adjudged to be out of order as they tend to impose a charge on State funds.

Amendments Nos. 8 to 11, inclusive, not moved.

I move amendment No. 12:

In subsection (4), page 10, between lines 49 and 50, to insert the following new subparagraphs:

"(iii) one of the qualifications required for appointment to such position was that, before appointment, the appointee must have had a period of professional experience,

(iv) his appointment to such position was made otherwise than on promotion or transfer from another established position,".

When the amendment was brought in to allow added years to professional men who were required to have experience before being appointed to the Civil Service, it was considered by the Departments concerned that the serving men, who also had to go through this, were deserving of some consideration. We could not very well say we were doing it for the serving men in order to encourage recruitment, but at the same time, we felt it was unfair that a man should come in this year and have six or seven added years, whereas a man who came in last year had nothing extra. We said, therefore, we would go half way and allow the serving men half of the term that would be given to the man who comes in now.

This amendment lays down that before appointment the appointee must have had a period of professional experience and also that his appointment to such a position was made otherwise than on promotion or transfer from another established position. The idea is to ensure that he does not benefit twice by having experience and afterwards being appointed to a professional position. It is really a drafting amendment to make sure he gets credit for experience under only one head.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendments 13, 14, 15 and 16, in the name of Deputy Cosgrave, are out of order because they tend to impose charges.

Amendments Nos. 13 to 16, inclusive, not moved.
Question proposed: "That Section 6, as amended, stand part of the Bill."

This is one of the most important sections in the Bill. For that reason, a number of the matters which arise in connection with the Bill fall to be discussed on it. There is the question of the acceptance of the principle of notional years for entrants to the Civil Service who were required to have outside experience. As far as the Bill is concerned, a number of civil servants feel, that, because of the limitations in it, the benefits will be comparatively restricted. I have in mind one particular category I want to mention here. They were mentioned on the Second Stage— the social welfare officers. When these officers were recruited in 1935 they were given, because of their experience, five increments. Most of them were recruited at ages higher than the normal recruiting age. They were given the five increments, but they were not given added years for pension purposes. One of the difficulties about the present Bill is that their position will not, as far as one can gather, be improved.

There is also the question of additional years for professional and technical qualifications. Under this section, subsections (3) to (12), provision is made that notional years may be added to the actual service of certain civil servants in professional positions, who are required before appointment to have a number of years' professional experience. Because these civil servants cannot enter the Service until they have obtained their professional qualifications and subsequently have become experienced for a minimum number of years, few of them qualify for full pension and gratuity under the Superannuation Acts.

As I understand it, until about the year 1914 there was special provision in an earlier Superannuation Act, the 1859 Act, which enabled the Departments to make appointments to professional situations without going through the normal procedure of appointment by public advertisement by the Civil Service Commissioners. Up to then these appointments under the British Civil Service were regarded as patronage appointments. In 1914, the section of the 1829 Act was repealed and the power to make these appointments was taken away. There has, however, been power since 1865 to add years to local authority employees. This power, as far as the present position is concerned, is contained in Section 13 of the Local Government (Superannuation) Bill, 1956, and the regulations under that section which make provision for the addition of up to ten years in the case of an officer retiring from an office, the qualifications for which are professional.

The Bill, as it stands, allows added years at the discretion of the Minister for Finance of such notional period as the Minister may direct or decide not exceeding the number of years professional experience the officer is required to have to qualify for appointment, or ten years, whichever is the lesser. This subsection applies only to positions designated in accordance with subsection (12). The Minister indicated in the course of the Second Stage it was proposed to add years only where it was necessary as an aid to recruitment.

Subsection (4) of this section provides in the case of existing civil servants, who hold positions considered by the Minister for Finance to be analogous to positions which were subsequently designated under subsection (12) "there shall be added, if the Minister in his discretion so directs, to the civil servant's service in an established position such notional period as the Minister directs not exceeding one half of that provided for by subsection (3) of this section."

As far as recruitment is concerned, added years provide no incentive except where the person appointed is comparatively old. Younger persons will not be induced into the Civil Service by the prospect of a few added years of retirement. The justification and the reason for added years by this idea of adding notional service is that a person cannot be appointed to a professional position until he has, first of all, spent whatever number of years are requisite to qualify for that professional position. Subsequently, he must spend a certain number of years in practice, in the case of a lawyer, doctor, engineer or whatever the profession may be.

As I say, he must, first of all, spend a certain number of years qualifying and afterwards add to that a number of years of actual practice at his profession. All this means that the person who is subsequently appointed to a Civil Service position will be so appointed at a much later age than would be the case if he were appointed directly out of a competition after leaving school or after taking a university degree. One of the advantages of the present position is that the State gets the value of the experience which these professional persons acquire. This experience can be got only by a person spending several years in the actual work of his profession.

It seems to me that one of the objections to the present legislation is that it will lead to some anomalies. The subsection cannot apply to an existing officer until the office to which he has been appointed on entering the Civil Service is designated under subsection 12 as a professional office, and that may not occur until after the person retires in certain cases. It may mean that some existing officers, because of the circumstances, may be treated more beneficially than others because of recruitment difficulties.

It is also possible the section may prevent rather than assist movement between the Civil Service and the other services. A professional officer of a local authority who is appointed to a position in the Civil Service will be pensionable only after longer service than he would have been given credit for if he had remained in the local authority service because he will lose the ten years he would gain under the Local Government (Superannuation) Acts and will get only what is granted in the Minister's discretion under Sections 6 and 7 of this Bill. I would suggest to the Minister that where a civil servant has served in an established position for not less than ten years and where his position involved professional experience, the period be adjudged as a year and four months for each year in reckoning any pension, lump sum or gratuity. That would cover the position which arises because of the late age at which a number of these professional civil servants are appointed. The section could apply, say, to all professional qualifications—architects, barristers-at-law, dentists, engineers, medical practitioners, veterinary surgeons, and so forth.

In that way, those who are appointed at a later age because of professional qualifications would be granted the added years and this would provide the necessary incentives. One of the objections which retiring civil servants have is that at the most they get credit only for half the specified minimum number of years. The case that has been made to me, and I presume to the Minister, is that civil servants find the terms of the Local Government (Superannuation) Acts of 1948 and 1956 are more satisfactory and offer more generous or more attractive terms to local government employees than are offered here, and that similar provisions might be included in this legislation.

A lot of thought still has to be given to this, even when the Bill has been passed, because the classes have to be designated. I have in mind particularly the medical men, with whom I am most intimately associated, and it will be stipulated that they must have seven years' experience. That is a very simple matter. We could have future entrants to whom we could say: "We will add seven years for superannuation purposes."

Is that seven years after qualifying?

Seven years' experience. We could also take the technical men in the Civil Service and, supposing that service were laid down for their recruitment, we could add half the seven years or, say, three years. We can designate the classes to which it refers and we can, of course, alter the number of years, and enlarge it somewhat on the lines advocated by the Deputy, in our method of designation.

I am particularly concerned in relation to the plight of social welfare officers. About 55 social welfare officers and ten superintendents are likely to be declared redundant and compulsorily retired within a very short time. The House will appreciate that the withdrawal of the 55 officers and ten supervisors will mean a very great saving to the Exchequer and it is desirable and necessary in declaring these people redundant, the Minister should endeavour to be as generous as he possibly can in providing for their pensions under this Bill.

It is a rather alarming state of affairs that so many officers in the Social Welfare Department are to be denied their means of livelihood, many at an age when they will find it most difficult to secure alternative employment. We are concerned for the future of these men, their wives, families and dependants. If we do not provide adequately for their retirement in this Bill, we will have done these men, who have worked for this State so diligently, conscientiously and enthusiastically, a very grave injustice.

Section I sets out the number of years that may be granted as not more than ten for a man who has been established for 20 years or more, and not more than half his years of service for a man who has served between ten and 20 years. Not more than five years will be granted to a man who has served not more than ten years. Subsection (2) provides that the added notional period must not be longer than the difference between the age of the man on retirement and 65, which would be the normal age of retirement. My Party is concerned for the social welfare officers in their particular plight and we feel this provision should be removed since in the case of local government employees, vocational teachers and others, the maximum notional period is ten years, regardless of the age at retirement. We believe social welfare officers should be placed on the same basis as other redundant civil servants and given the opportunity to make up as much as possible of the 40 years' established service necessary to qualify for a full pension.

I ask the Minister to have particular regard to that latter point. In declaring these men redundant, he should be generous and he should award the notional period of service required to bring them up to the maximum years of service thereby permitting them to draw the full pension. It would be inequitable, unfair and unjust to put these men out on the unemployment scrapheap and opportunity should be taken now to avail of this measure to safeguard their position. We must avail of this measure now since we may not get another opportunity for many years to come.

I should like to hear the Minister's views again on this matter. I should like to know if he has given consideration to the particular plight of the social welfare officers, the same consideration as he has given to other very deserving cases. Indeed, we applaud such consideration. Many of these people are losing their employment because their positions are being abolished. Others are losing their employment because of the introduction of efficiency methods which the Minister and his Department regard as necessary. Before we decide on matters of efficiency or the abolition of posts, we should, first of all, consider the human factor involved and we should provide alternative employment, without loss of benefits or salary scale, or, alternatively, retire these people on the maximum pensions, availing of this particular section in this measure to add years of service, if necessary, thereby ensuring that these will have a sufficiency on which to maintain themselves, their wives and other dependents.

First of all, up to this the Minister had power to retire men where positions were declared redundant. They were retired on the pension they would get if they were going out voluntarily on sickness or age grounds. That was often done in the past. This scheme is brought in to give better terms to men who have been declared redundant. They may get up to ten years added to their service for pension purposes. They may also get a half-year's severance pay, as it is called. If we were to go further than that it would not pay. It would be better to keep them there doing nothing.

Would the Minister consider raising it from ten to 15 years?

Then it would be better for us to keep them, even if they did not do anything. It would not pay.

Even adding only five years extra.

There is no compulsion actually. No officer will be compelled to go. An officer may accept these terms and go; if he does not want to accept them, he may stay on. The number who have agreed to accept the terms will, I think, meet the redundancy problem fairly substantially.

If they accept the offer to stay on, will they be left in the same districts?

The number that have accepted the present terms will bring about a situation in which there will be practically no redundancy. There may be a few but their pay will not be reduced.

I want to refer to another category. It may even be an individual case. The Minister has power in this section to designate organisations. A case has been brought to my notice of a person who served for 19 or 20 years in the Civil Service. He held an appointment in the Museum. Subsequently he was appointed to a position in Galway University. Prior to that appointment, he wrote to the Department of Education requesting a statement that in due course an appropriate pension would be paid to him in respect of the 19 years in which he had worked as a civil servant. I understand that this was covered by the Superannuation Act of 1914 which provides that in certain circumstances public money may be expended to pay a pension to a civil servant who transfers to other employment. The circumstances are that (a) the transfer is made with the consent of the head officer of the Civil Service Department; (b) the officer recommends the eventual pay of the pension; and (c) that the new employment is approved employment, that is, recognised as employment to which the Act applies, thus meriting the required recognition from the head officer mentioned and the Department of Finance.

This particular person was subsequently informed that the Department of Education regretted that the application could not be acceded to and it is suggested now that the Minister should designate universities in the bodies or organisations so that they would come within the scope of the transfer arrangements and, secondly, by safeguarding the rights of pensioned officers transferring to the universities from posts in the Department of Education, the pension rights earned for whatever number of years in the Civil Service would be included with the subsequent service in the universities. This particular case is not unique. There have been transfers, not very many, in the past from the Civil Service to the universities. A number of persons employed in the National Library and the National Museum transferred. Others have not transferred because of this pension difficulty. I think this case, and similar cases, could be regarded as cases in which the work is of national importance.

A person engaged on historical or archaeological research in the Museum who transfers to a university position puts his experience and his knowledge at the disposal of the university and its students. Indeed, these people should be entitled to avail of such experience. I should be glad, therefore, if the Minister would consider providing in this case, or in any other similar cases, that universities will also be included where persons had the prescribed qualifications and service.

I think I know the case the Deputy has in mind. Designation, I am afraid, would not solve the problem. Really, what should have been done there in the beginning is that he should have sought—I do not know whether we could agree to it or not; that is another matter—transfer to approved employment. Whether he sought it or not, I do not know, but I think that was not done. Designation, therefore, would not cover the case.

Would there be any prospect of making retrospective application or of approving retrospectively if an application were made? Perhaps the Minister would consider it?

Yes. I would not like to promise anything. All these cases are very difficult.

I should like to follow up what Deputy Cosgrave has adverted to. I do not know if what I have to say is relevant at this stage. I have in mind certain categories of persons who, we feel, ought to be included in this measure. I dare say the Minister has already taken them into consideration—to what extent I do not know. I have particularly in mind certain teachers of Irish under various committees—cultural committees and vocational committees—in the early part of this century, who were engaged on work for the Gaelic League and other such national bodies and eventually graduated into vocational committees or some such bodies.

As an instance of the type of cases we have in mind, there is a man who taught Irish in many parts of the country in the early part of the century as an organiser for the Gaelic League and who cycled throughout the land while engaged on that very noble task of reviving the national language. He eventually found a place for himself as teacher of Irish in Tyrone and worked there from 1910 to 1911. He taught Irish and operated as an organiser in Mayo and Galway from 1911 to 1917. He was a teacher of Irish under Offaly Vocational Committee, as a technical instructor, from 1917 to 1920. He was teacher of Irish under the Kildare Technical Committee from 1920 to 1924 and taught with the Limerick Vocational Education Committee from 1926 to about 1931 and then found a position for himself in the Civil Service. He has now retired.

Having regard to the great national work which this man performed in the interest of the State and for and on behalf of the State and who was paid very largely out of State funds, would the Minister have particular regard to a claim on his behalf as being a person who could be and should be included for superannuation purposes under this Bill?

Perhaps, a Leas-Cheann Comhairle, I am taking some liberties in elaborating on a particular case but, if the Minister requires further details in relation to the matter I shall be happy to supply them.

The matter is not relevant to the section.

Would the Minister consider the case at any juncture in connection with this Bill?

We will consider it but it would be better if the Deputy raised it on another section.

Question put and agreed to.
SECTION 7.

Amendment No. 17 in the name of Deputy Cosgrave has been ruled out of order as tending to impose a charge on State funds.

Amendment No. 17 not moved.
Section 7 agreed to.
SECTION 8.

Amendment No. 18 in the name of Deputy Cosgrave has been ruled out of order as tending to impose a charge on State funds.

Amendment No. 18 not moved.
Section 8 agreed to.
SECTION 9.

Amendment No. 19 in the name of Deputy Cosgrave, amendment No. 20 in the names of Deputies Cosgrave and Dolan and amendments Nos. 21 and 22 in the name of Deputy Cosgrave have been ruled out of order as tending to impose charges on State funds.

Amendments Nos. 19 to 22, inclusive, not moved.
Section 9 agreed to.
Sections 10 to 14, inclusive, agreed to.
SECTION 15.

I move amendment No. 23:

In page 15, lines 49 to 52, to delete subsection (2) and substitute the following new subsection:

"(2) On the recommendation of the Minister for Education, given with the concurrence of the Minister, the Civil Service Commissioners shall—

(a) grant to a person to whom this section applies a certificate of qualification in respect of his position,

(b) grant to the person referred to in paragraph (a) of subsection (1) of this section a certificate of qualification in respect of his former position as Assistant Professor of Painting in the National College of Art."

This is one of the categories I mentioned that were brought in for pension purposes of those who have been working under the State for a long time as professors and assistant professors in the School of Art. The section as drafted does not cover a case where a man was promoted from one post to another. It happens that the present professor of art was first appointed as assistant professor of art and, as the section stands, he could be pensioned only on his few years as professor. The amendment would cover the period from the time he was appointed assistant professor of art.

Amendment agreed to.
Section 15, as amended, agreed to.
SECTION 16.

Amendment No. 24 in the name of Deputy Cosgrave is out of order.

Amendment No. 24 not moved.
Question proposed: "That Section 16 stand part of the Bill".

There were two amendments tabled in my name to this section which have been ruled out of order but I want to raise a particular case with the Minister. The purpose of the amendments was to cover a particular case. So far as I am aware, there is only one such case but there may be others. It is the case of a person who is at present employed in the Houses of the Oireachtas and who has Old IRA service and is the holder of a service medal. This person was arrested in the pre-Truce period. He subsequently had service on the staff of Dáil Éireann and also on the staff of the Provisional Government. Due to some difficulty in compiling the records during that period, he lacks a particular period for maximum pension purposes.

The object of the amendments, which were ruled out of order because they involved a charge on public funds, was to ensure that the service he had on the staff of Dáil Éireann and also on the staff of the Provisional Government and the fact that he was unable to take up a particular appointment because of his arrest, would qualify him for pension purposes under the Superannuation Acts, 1834 to 1936. I am sure it will be possible for the Minister to get details about the person concerned. We have all had experience of his services in the Oireachtas as a member of the Dáil staff. We have had ample experience of his satisfactory work and service, and his capacity to perform whatever duties were assigned to him in whatever positions he held. I feel, therefore, there is a strong case for sympathetic consideration to ensure that his full service will count for pension purposes. I should be glad if the Minister would consider this case and ensure that the necessary steps—either by way of amendment or administrative action—are taken.

I think the rule which has operated in these cases has been very just. Under the 1923 Act—and it was more or less re-affirmed in the 1936 Act — the service of any civil servant who worked for Dáil Éireann before the Truce is counted as established service. If the service was after the Truce, it is unestablished. For service with the Provisional Government, the same rule applies. Most of those people were established about 1926, and those who had unestablished service did not at that time get any credit but those who had established service were fixed up from the pre-Truce time.

I do not feel inclined to change that rule. I do not know where we would make the distinction. Would it be the time of the Treaty, or the Provisional Government, or 1923, or what time? I think the present rule is perhaps the fairest on the whole. I think I have an idea of the person Deputy Cosgrave has in mind, but I should like him to send me a note to verify it, because there were considerable difficulties about that case. There was difficulty about verification.

Thank you.

Question put and agreed to.
SECTION 17.
Question proposed: "That Section 17 stand part of the Bill."

Can the Minister say what kind of cases he has in mind here, and how many such cases are likely to arise?

I think the case raised by Deputy Treacy might be to some extent covered by this, but I am not sure that it would be altogether covered. Some civil servants lost their positions particularly around 1923 and during the Civil War. Then, again, when the tests came in, in 1931, some civil servants were dismissed and afterwards came back. This is an attempt to make things right so far as we can. We are giving them unestablished service from that time until they were established. Some people were dismissed for political reasons and after some years, came back again. They will count as established from the time their colleagues were established. That is the fairest thing we can do.

How many will be affected by this?

Abour four or five altogether. All the Acts down the years have been dealing with them. An Act was brought in by the Government in office before us—I think the Deputy was not here then; it was about 1929 or 1930—which reinstated people who had been put out during the Civil War. Another Act brought in in 1936 by a Fianna Fáil Government brought in a certain number. I think there are only a few left.

Roughly, when were they dismissed?

I think it was the time when civil servants and local officials were asked to sign a declaration— about 1927 or 1928.

Will this section integrate them for pension purposes?

There are only about four or five.

This deals with the last survivors of that period ?

Some of them are ready to go on pension now.

There are about three or four persons involved in the categories for whom I made an appeal earlier. The Minister seemed to indicate that there was some hope of dealing with them under this section. Will he indicate that he may be able to deal with them sympathetically ?

Some of them are fixed up under this.

There are only about three or four of them.

There were quite a number of people called itinerant teachers. When they got jobs—as they nearly all did—under the voluntary authorities, their pensions were fixed. Generally speaking, they were allowed a certain amount of unestablished service as itinerant teachers. I should like the Deputy to send me a note about the person he mentioned.

I want to raise the case of a person who was appointed a temporary full-time clerk in the office of the Kildare county registrar. The position was not pensionable. He was appointed in 1940, and continued in that position until 1950. He then got an appointment as superintendent assistant officer for Carlow County Council, following an interview with the Local Appointments Commission. He commenced work on 15th May, 1950. Later in 1950, or early in 1951, persons in temporary employment with the Department of Justice in county registrars' offices—in similar positions to the position he left—were appointed full-time civil servants with pension rights, provided they passed a qualifying examination and an oral Irish test.

This person had passed an oral Irish test on the date of his appointment as superintendent assistant officer. If he had not left his position in the county registrar's office in Naas and taken the new post in Carlow, at a higher salary, it is very likely that he would have qualified in the test, and his earlier service as a temporary full-time officer would have counted for pension purposes. As it is, he has lost the ten years' service in Naas, and he is now entitled only to his service since his appointment in Carlow. I could send the Minister a note and perhaps he would have the case investigated.

The Deputy can send me a note, although it sounds like a case for the Minister for Local Government.

Question put and agreed to.

Amendment No. 25 is out of order as it would tend to impose a charge on State funds.

Amendment No. 25 not moved.
Sections 18 to 22, inclusive, agreed to.
SECTION 23.

I move amendment No. 26:

In page 19, after line 48, to insert the following new paragraph:

"(d) a person who holds the office of Comptroller and Auditor General."

Amendments Nos. 26 and 27 may be discussed together.

The Superannuation Act of 1956 gave an option to the civil servant that he could on retiring sacrifice portion of his pension and provide a pension for an adult dependant if he or she outlived him. Some civil servants have availed of that and gradually we added to the classes that could avail of it, the Land Commissioners, property arbitrators, employees of the Industrial Development Authority and now we are asked to include the Comptroller and Auditor General. There is no reason why he should not be able to avail of it the same as anyone else. The State does not lose anything on it. It is an actuarial calculation. If a person is entitled to a pension of £1,000 a year, if he so wishes he may take only £750 and give £250 to his wife in case he dies before her.

Does that put the Comptroller and Auditor General on the same footing as other civil servants?

How many have availed of it?

Not many.

The Minister knows the reason why. People are given the opportunity under the 1956 Act of saying that they would hypothecate portion of their pension to their widow in the event of their dying. When such a civil servant reached the age of 65 he got only a fragment of his pension while the other fragment was given to his wife. Very few of them could afford to allow half the pension to the wife or any portion of the pension to the wife because the pension is at most half pay and if they divided the pension between themselves and the wife it was really down to quarter pay. That is what they had to exist on and it is because civil servants know that a quarter rate of pension could not keep two people that very few of them availed of the provisions of the Act. It was to that fact I was adverting when this matter was discussed on the Second Stage and I do think there is something to be said for revising the whole superannuation code to provide that when the civil servant dies his widow will not be left with compensation which amounts to no more than one year's salary.

Take the case of civil servants who have served the State for 40 years. If they die in their last week of service or in their first month of pension, the most the widow gets is roughly a year's salary. That is the only recognition the State gives in respect of the long and, perhaps, very meritorious service of her late husband. Something should be done to ensure that the widow will get some kind of pension after her husband dies or at least will get a pension for some period after her husband's death. Some of the private companies already do that for their employees. I have an idea that some of these semi-State companies do it as well but at all events the tendency is in that direction, namely, to try to sustain the widow after the breadwinner has died. That is particularly necessary where the widow is without children to help to maintain her. The Minister should undertake to consider this on a more liberal basis with the staff side of the conciliation council in the hope that it will be possible to get agreement enabling such a pension to be provided without imposing any heavy burdens on anybody. Does the Minister hold out any hope that he will at least discuss it?

I am interested in what the Deputy says but we cannot do anything under this Bill on those lines.

I am satisfied if the Minister will provide the legislation.

Such a matter would require a great deal of further consideration. I am sure a lot of consideration was given to this in 1956. This whole question was considered and agreement reached between the staff and the Department of Finance.

Only the top level staff. The lower people recognised that this was——

I think the whole staff was represented there.

Maybe at the meeting, but, of course, they knew these plums were well out of their reach. The fact that they did not avail of it is evidence.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 27:

In page 19, after line 48, to add the following subsection:

"(2) A pension under section 28 of this Act or 1923, No. 1 under the Comptroller and Auditor-General Act, 1923, shall be deemed, for the purposes of the Superannuation Act, 1956, to be a superannuation allowance."

Amendment agreed to.
Section 23, as amended, agreed to.
Sections 24 and 25 agreed to.
SECTION 26.
Question proposed: " That Section 26 stand part of the Bill".

I raised on the Post Office Estimate the delay which takes place between the date the officer retires and the date on which he gets his pension. He is paid weekly but nobody who retires gets a pension the following week or the week after that. When a person is approaching the age of 65—and the Post Office have records which indicate to them when he will reach 65—there is no reason in the world why that person's pension should not be paid the week after he retires because that is a substitute for pay. All the calculations are made by the Post Office Department. They are sent to the Department of Finance for checking. The Department of Finance has not an inexhaustible staff and one can understand that the staff would not be able to devote the instantaneous attention that is necessary in this case but I do suggest to the Minister that he should tell the Department of Posts and Telegraphs or any other large Department, but certainly a Department like the Post Office, that it should calculate the pensions of people whose retirement is already well signalled to them in advance so as to ensure that these people will be paid promptly. There may be an error but that can be ironed out later. The main thing is to ensure that every man who retires will be paid his pension promptly.

The object of this provision is to delegate to Departments the whole matter of calculating pensions payable where there is nothing out of the ordinary. They will pay the ordinary pension without having recourse to the Department of Finance at all. In future it will be much quicker.

When Departments are being given this authority I would ask the Minister to advise them to pay pensions the week after the person retires.

It will be much quicker now.

Would that apply to military service pensions as well?

As regards the military service pension, the calculation is over and done with.

Question put and agreed to.
Section 27 agreed to.
SECTION 28.

I move amendment No. 28:

In subsection (2), page 21, line 7, to delete "service as a whole-time member of the Authority," and substitute "pensionable service,".

There are three amendments which deal with the Industrial Development Authority. In amendment No. 28, we are putting in "pensionable service" because if it were not put in, it might be ruled that service after 65 was pensionable. That is a technical drafting amendment. In the second amendment, we want to get a legal definition of "whole-time". The members of the Industrial Development Authority are whole-time in the ordinary sense but, naturally, they have to be members of other boards because of their position and this is to ensure that acting on boards other than that would not deprive them of their pensions. The third amendment deals with the point that the Chairman of the Industrial Credit Company is also a member of the Industrial Development Authority. Therefore, this will apply only to the chairman of the Industrial Credit Company in this category of pensions.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 29:

In subsection (5), page 21, after line 44 and before paragraph (b) to insert the following new paragraph:

"(b) For the purposes of the foregoing paragraph, in the case of a member of the Authority with respect to whom no direction has been given under subsection (7) of Section 4 of the Industrial Development Authority Act, 1950, his service as a member of the Authority shall be deemed to be service as a whole-time member notwithstanding the fact that he holds, or has, whether before or after the passing of this Act, held, a position as a part-time member of the board of a body approved of for the purposes of this paragraph by the Minister and the Minister for Industry and Commerce."

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 30:

In subsection (14), page 23, line 43, to insert "subsection (7) of" before "this".

Question proposed : "That Section 28, as amended, stand part of the Bill".

Will paragraph (3) of the section apply retrospectively?

No, it is not retrospective.

There was a member of the Industrial Development Authority who rendered a number of years' service and gave very good service. Whilst he was serving, the question of his inclusion in a pension scheme was raised and it was said that in due course provision would be made for the members of the Industrial Development Authority from the superannuation point of view. Unfortunately he died before the scheme was brought in.

I know the case.

Are his next-of-kin likely to be covered?

No, I do not think so.

Would the Minister mind looking at it? They should not be punished because of the delay and certainly there has been a lot of delay in introducing this for the IDA members.

I admit that.

He had longer than five years' service.

He had longer service at the time of his death than any serving member, except the chairman.

We will consider that, anyway.

Question put and agreed to.
SECTION 29.

I move amendment No. 31:

In subsection (1), page 24, line 7, to delete "3,650" and substitute "3,460".

I said on the Second Reading that a plea had been made for our old colleague, Stephen Jordan, and the case was put that we should bring him into the scheme of pensions for Dáil members because he had Easter Week service. I first circulated that amendment and then I began to think that it is not necessary for Deputies or Senators to have Easter Week service and, therefore, it was hardly appropriate to single out an individual and that it would be better to put in the number of days. As far as I can make out, three or four would qualify under this but I am doubtful if any of them would qualify under the means test, so I do not think it would cost much and it is only fair that we should give the other three or four their chance.

Will Ex-Deputy Jordan be covered by this?

He will.

Will the Minister say what kind of means test he has in mind?

When we started this, I had three Deputies from each Party —some of them are Senators now— and I always met them when I wanted to talk about this and what we had in mind was bringing in the man from up to about £7 a week.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendment No. 32 is out of order since it tends to impose a charge on public funds.

Amendment No. 32 not moved.
Section 29, as amended, agreed to.
SECTION 30.
Question proposed: "That Section 30 stand part of the Bill."

Was this an omission from the previous Act or has it any special significance? Is it just providing for winding-up if winding-up is agreed upon?

When we brought in the Oireachtas (Allowances to Members) Acts, 1938 to 1962, we forgot to have a clause that it could be amended by a Resolution of the two Houses and also in regard to the winding-up. This is to ensure that the scheme can be amended by Resolution rather than have to bring in a Bill every time.

And the provision for winding-up?

I hope that will not be required.

Question put and agreed to.
Sections 31 to 36, inclusive, agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments.
Report stage ordered for Thursday, June 20th, 1963.