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Dáil Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 15 Mar 1972

Vol. 259 No. 11

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Established Auxiliary Postman.


asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he is aware that men who were employed as auxiliary postmen for many years and were fully insured under the Social Welfare Acts have recently been appointed as established postmen; that they are now insurable only for widows' and orphans' pensions with a consequent loss of contributory old age pension when they retire, although their job pensions will be negligible because of their late appointment; and what action he proposes to take to protect the interests of these men.

I do not accept that an auxiliary postman who, after many years service as such, is appointed as an established postman, must necessarily lose old age—contributory— pension when he retires. If his appointment comes so late in life that his pension as established postman is very small, his social insurance contributions as auxiliary postman should be sufficient to qualify him for retirement pension or old age—contributory— pension at age 70.

I do not contemplate any change in the conditions.

Surely the Minister has not got the facts correctly? Is he not aware that if a man is stamping an insurance card from the time he is 17 years of age until he is almost 60 years of age and if he then is appointed and is no longer insurable under the Social Welfare Acts until he reaches 70 years of age, he cannot qualify for a contributory old age pension or retirement pension and will receive a very small pension from the Department of Posts and Telegraphs? Would the Minister have another look at the facts because I have checked them within the last few days because an officer of this House is in the same position. There is a break.

To qualify for contributory pension a man must have entered insurance before the age of 60, as the Deputy knows, must have 156 contributions, must have an average of 24.

An average over what?

Over the period from his entry into insurance.

Not at all. The Minister has not checked it. He must have an average of 24 over the last 17 or 20 years, whichever is the better.

I find that the last competition for unestablished postman to established post was held in 1970. They were required to have at least three years in an unestablished position.

That has nothing to do with it. Would the Minister not agree that in such cases it is unfair that men should be deprived of pension?

I agree that there can be cases but they would be the exception.

They are not the exception. There is one man in this House, who is not a Post Office employee, who is an employee of this House, who is in exactly the same position because he was a short time non-pensionable and, therefore, he is not entitled to a pension. Will the Minister look at it again and see if the interpretation given by his officials is incorrect or if he does not know what the position is? One or other of you is wrong.

I will have a look at it. The Deputy knows I am most amenable.