Committee on Finance. - Pensions (Increase) Bill, 1962— Committee and Final Stages.

Sections 1 to 4, inclusive, put and agreed to.
SECTION 5.
Question proposed: "That section 5 stand part of the Bill."

Could the Minister explain this section to us in simple language? I do not know whether the Minister has counted the number of times the word "emoluments" is mentioned in this section. It consists of one sentence and it must be a record from the point of view of length; it runs into 13 lines. Could we have it explained to us in more concise language? Did the Minister ever get a briefing from one of those television people before he appeared on television—short sentences, simple words? The draftsman certainly did not believe in either in this section.

It is not an easy Bill, in the first place, but in this section, if emoluments come into it, on the average three-year period before 1955, when we come to the date when we are calculating this on the 1959 basis——

Would the Minister excuse me a moment? Sir, today this performance is infinitely worse than usual. I do not think my hearing is any worse than usual, but I cannot hear the Minister at all today. This is echoing back at us all the time.

I am sorry.

It is not the Minister's fault. There is something wrong with this apparatus. I should be much happier without it. I could easily hear the Minister without it.

As the Deputy knows, in the case of some civil servants, when retiring, particularly if they are promoted in the last year or so, the pension is calculated on the three-year average. We have to take the same three-year average at 1959 to get the basis of that pension.

If that is the explanation, then the Minister is better than the draftsman.

Why could not the draftsman say that?

He has his own way of putting things.

It is a cod of a section.

Question put and agreed to.
Sections 6 to 11, inclusive, agreed to.
SECTION 12.
Question proposed: "That section 12 stand part of the Bill."

Could we have an explanation now of subsection (2) (b), which is also 13 lines? The draftsman could not even fit it on to the one page. He had to go over the page. I never saw an Act with such long sentences in it.

I think this goes back to the point raised by Deputy Costello. If it were calculated on the husband's pay it would be lower in most cases than the minimum put in the Act. In the 1962 Act there is a minimum of £98 and all widows' pensions came up to that. When we come to the 1963 Act that minimum is brought up to £111.

Is this the section under which it is proposed to give the recent increases? Are we to understand that, whilst these increases are being given under this Bill, they will be taken away in respect of those who are in receipt of non-contributory widows' pensions?

I cannot altogether agree with the Deputy that they will be taken away. There is no concession being made to the contrary. In most cases, if a person gets a wage or pension, it is treated as means under these various Acts. We did exclude these increases already. Under the earlier Acts, we excluded them from the calculation of means. Now, we are not putting that in for the 1962-63 increases. That is the only difference. The reason it is not being put in is that the widow of a Garda is now treated at least as well as, but in most cases better than, the ordinary non-contributory widow.

Subsection (5) has one sentence that is 15 lines long. The Minister may understand it but I defy anybody else to do so.

I probably did understand it when I was reading it. I shall have to go back on it.

The Minister is a better man than we are, if he does.

It is not as bad as the previous sentence but it is pretty complicated. I should like to know what it means.

The same point was made already that where the pension was calculated on an average, now it must be made on a three years' average.

This is a Garda Siochána one, as I understand it.

Yes, Garda Siochána.

Question put and agreed to.
Sections 13 to 21, inclusive, agreed to.
SECTION 22.
Question proposed: "That section 22 stand part of the Bill."

Do I understand it to be the position that recipients of this pension who are not obtaining a widow's contributory pension — a woman may have some small means of her own so that she is not entitled to a widow's non-contributory pension —will get the increase, irrespective of means?

They will get the widow's pension, of course.

The increase?

The increase, too.

And the persons in the non-contributory class will not get the increase?

That depends on means, of course. I could not answer that.

Question put and agreed to.
Sections 23 to 31, inclusive, agreed to.
SCHEDULE.
Question proposed: "That the Schedule be the Schedule to the Bill."

What does Part I, paragraph (h), refer to, please?

An injury case.

Does the Minister mean a Garda who in performance of his duty is injured?

To a civil servant.

To what does paragraph (m) refer?

To the next Clerk of the Seanad.

Paragraph (p) is the present position. Paragraph (p) is since the second Seanad was established, I suppose.

I want to correct that. Paragraph (p) is the Clerk of the Seanad but the other one, paragraph (m), is the ex-Governor-General— now decreased, of course. He was alive in 1962. I refer to Domhnall Ua Buachalla.

It is no longer operative, of course?

No; he is dead now.

Question put and agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment.

When is it proposed to take the next Stage?

Is there any objection to taking it now?

If I ask the Minister to defer it, would there be any chance of having it re-written in simple language?

I am afraid I could not do that. I am not a draftsman.

Then the Minister may have the Bill now.

Bill received for Final Consideration and passed.

Is this a Money Bill?

Is that because local authorities are included?