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Dáil Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 25 Jul 1973

Vol. 267 No. 11

Oireachtas (Allowances to Members) and Ministerial and Parliamentary Offices (Amendment) Bill, 1973: Committee Stage (Resumed).

Question again proposed: "That section 8 stand part of the Bill."

I had concluded before Question Time but I was asked to report progress and, as some progress was made, I reported it.

In the discussion on this section before Question Time I raised certain questions and the Minister gave certain answers. I want to pursue this matter a little further. The Minister, as I recall, stated that there was no provision in this section for the possibility of a Member of Seanad Éireann being Attorney General because if such a provision were to be made there would emerge various anomalies resulting from the previous legislation in this regard which could result in a Member of Seanad Éireann, who was Attorney General, being paid a higher salary than, for instance, a Minister.

I find it difficult to understand how this could happen but if the Minister says that is so I accept it. However, it does seem to me that this is a fault in this section which visualises the possibility of an Attorney General being a Member of Dáil Éireann and not providing for the case where he is a Member of Seanad Éireann when particularly paragraph (a) of subsection (1) of the new section refers to a Member of the Oireachtas. On the face of it the omission of the provision in relation to a Member of the Seanad is, to say the least of it, peculiar when paragraph (a) refers to a Member of the Oireachtas and (b) refers to a Member of Dáil Éireann and there is no provision, as one would expect, in paragraph (c) for a Member of the Seanad.

I am not sure that the explanation which the Minister has given is a sufficiently satisfactory one because it seems to imply that it was not possible to draft an additional subsection which would deal with the situation of a Member of the Seanad. I should also like to ask the Minister what was the position previously when an Attorney General was a Member of the Dáil with regard to his salary vis-à-vis that of a Minister at that time. I ask this question because we are providing here for a difference in salary between an Attorney General who is a Member of the Dáil and an Attorney General who is not a Member of the Oireachtas.

I want to ascertain whether we are simply adjusting in relation to what happened before or whether we are creating a new situation. It would seem to me that it would be helpful in understanding this position if the Minister would tell us what was the position in the past where a Member of this House was Attorney General in relation to his salary vis-à-vis a Minister at that time.

We do not agree that there were any surprises in this Bill but if I try to fill all the loopholes and cure all the anomolies that exist in relation to this I suspect, and I would then be able to admit, that there would be several reasons for believing that there were, or would be, surprises. If the Deputy is not good at mental arithmetic I suggest he take out pen and paper for these figures. The Employer/Labour Conference suggested the Attorney General figure should be £7,213. That was on the basis of his not being a Member of either House of the Oireachtas. It was wrong to visualise the Attorney General not being a Member of the Oireachtas because he has often been in the past. Being a Member now of the Dáil, and full time in his duties, and being excluded from outside occupations of profit, the Attorney General will get his Dáil allowance of £3,416, like every Minister, and his Ministerial allowance of £4,430, making a total of £7,846.

Because of the way in which the legislation governing remuneration of Ministers has been arranged since 1960 the Minister in the Seanad would receive the Seanad allowance of £2,023 plus the ministerial allowance of £4,430, making a total of £6,453. That is roughly £1,400 less than if the same Minister was a Member of the Dáil. Here we have a number of anomalies. If the Attorney General, being full time, were to be paid in accordance with the Employer/ Labour Conference he would get £7,213, but if he were to have the same arrangement applied to him as a Member of the Seanad as would apply to him as a Member of the Dáil, he would end up with only £6,453, or else he would have to be paid the £7,213 which would be more than a Minister would get if he was in the Seanad.

These are obviously contradictory situations and I think there is a very good case for saying that on the very rare occasions that a person is a member of the Seanad and a Minister he ought to receive the same figure of £7,846 because where a Minister is a Member of the Seanad he is required to do exactly the same work as if he were a Member of the Dáil other than march through the lobbies. He is required to be present in this House during Question Time to answer questions. He must move, and deal with all business relating to his Department in this House.

But the Attorney General does not.

I am talking about the Minister situation. The Minister, as such, has to do all these things and yet, because of the particular code that was adopted in 1960, he would receive £1,400 less although in all respects in relation to the way he would have to behave in the discharge of his responsibilities in this House and in the Seanad he would not have one iota less work to do because he was a Member of the Seanad. That is also an anomoly which I believe needs to be cured. We decided that rather than trying to deal with all these things, which would probably require a totally new look at the situation and one which I think is best dealt with at committee level so that all these difficulties could be ironed out, the appropriate thing to do was to deal with the situation which now exists and that is one in which the Attorney General is full time, is a Member of the Dáil and is excluded from participating in any activity beyond public duty which would give him any remuneration. That is the situation which we are dealing with here and I think it is the proper one. If and when some Taoiseach desires to appoint a Member of the Seanad as Attorney General that will be a suitable time and if, in the meantime, we have not corrected this anomaly, that will then be the appropriate time to try to correct it.

It looks from what the Minister has said that no Taoiseach could contemplate appointing somebody from the Seanad as Attorney General as the position stands, but could I remind the Minister that I asked another question; I asked what the position was in relation to any previous Attorney General who was a Member of this House. What was the position of his salary vis-à-vis that of a Minister? Did he have the same salary, a lower salary or a higher salary?

I think the last time we had an Attorney General in this House was before 1960. I am subject to correction on that. At that time office holders received a lump sum and it is only since 1960 that they received two salaries, one as an office holder and the other as a Member of the House. The situation, therefore, would not be entirely comparable.

Allowing for that, how did the income of Attorney General at that time, taking into account his membership of the House, compare with that of a Minister?

It is very, very difficult to compare like with like, as far as I can see. The tables given to me are on the basis of excluding Deputies' allowances in all cases. This is a purely notional table. In 1947 a Minister received £2,125 and an Attorney General received £3,000, including his Deputy's allowance. Remember, at that time the figure was a global figure. There was no notion of separating them.

Was that sum payable to a man who was a Member of this House?

It was paid irrespective of whether or not he was a Member of this House. In 1960 a Minister received £3,000 and the Attorney General £3,500.

He was not a Member of the House.

He could have been a Member. That sum was deemed to include his allowance.

As a Member of the House.

Yes. The position now is that the Attorney General is equal to a Minister. At one time he was above a Minister.

I understood the Minister to say—he will correct me if I am wrong—that in the past the Attorney General was paid more than a Minister irrespective of whether or not he was a Member of this House. What is proposed in this section is that the Attorney General should be paid the same as a Minister, if he is a Member of this House, and should be paid less than a Minister if he is not a Member.

That is correct.

At present the Attorney General is paid less than a Minister whether or not he is a Member of this House.

That is right. He is paid £5,500.

Irrespective of membership.

What is proposed here is to reverse the situation that obtained some years ago where the Attorney General was paid more than a Minister. It is now proposed to pay him less unless he is a Member of this House and to pay him the same if he is a Member of this House. The situation is a little confusing. I think I can say I would accept the proposition that the Attorney General, who is a Member of this House, is analogous to a Minister and should be paid the same. Frankly, I am not quite clear as to how he should be treated if he is not a Member of the House. In one sense it could be argued that he is performing the same function and, as of now, in the case of a Minister, he receives his allowance as a Deputy the same as any other Deputy and then he receives a salary as a Minister on top of that. It could be argued that an Attorney General who is doing the job of Attorney General should be paid a sum as a salary in respect of that job —in other words, equal pay for equal work—and the allowance which he should get as a Member of this House, if he is a Member, is another matter. It may be that the practical effect of applying that would be that you would get no one prepared to be Attorney General if he were not a Member of this House.

As the Minister said, there are various anomalies when one tries to marry the two positions, which may be even further complicated in the case of the Seanad, though I would have thought that it is not enough to say simply that there are anomalies and, therefore, you do not deal with it at all from the point of view of the Seanad. When we are dealing with the possibility of an Attorney General being a Member of Dáil Éireann, and we are referring to a Member of the Oireachtas, we should provide in regard to the Seanad. I have not done the sum but the principle involved, if it does not give a round practical result, would seem to be that an Attorney General, who is a Member of the Seanad, should be paid the same amount as an Attorney General who is a Member of this House less the difference between the allowance to the Deputy and that to a Senator. I have not done the sum, as I have said, but that would seem to be the correct principle to apply. Perhaps the Minister could tell me whether that principle, if applied, would produce an anomaly.

If I understand the Deputy's suggestion it is that, if we take the figures relating to a Minister or an Attorney General—let us take an Attorney General in the Seanad—you get a Seanad allowance of £2,023 and he would have a Ministerial or office allowance of £4,430 which would give £6,453. The Deputy is suggesting that he should in addition get £1,393, which would be the difference—that is, £1,393 less than an office holder in the Dáil.

That is the equivalent amount of the difference between the allowance to a Deputy and that to a Senator. It seems to me that is what it should be.

Now look at the anomaly. The Employer/Labour Conference said the remuneration of the Attorney General should be £7,213 if he is not a Member of either House so, by becoming a Member of the Seanad, he would lose out by about £800 and, if he resigned from the Seanad, he would be £800 better off. That is because of the mixture of the ways we have for remunerating office holders and members of the legislature. We would not be in this difficulty if we did not start in 1960 to cut sums paid to office holders as between their Parliamentary allowance and their office allowance. The more one looked at this and the more one tried to cure a particular anomaly the more one saw the generation of another, and the least of all evils was to choose the remedy we have chosen.

What emerges from this is that we do not pay the same rate for the same job. When we complicate the issue by talking about a Deputy's allowance or a Senator's allowance and regarding that as part of the total salary, we end up, in effect, having to pay a different salary for the same work.

Not really.

Deputy Crowley is prepared to enlighten me on this.

There is a very important tenet here that we cannot violate, namely, the Employer/Labour Conference suggested increases. If the Government decide to take somebody from the Seanad and pay him what is the recommended amount, then they will contravene the Employer/Labour Conference recommendations.

Of course they will.

No, it would not.

If you pay the Attorney General £7,213 you are in keeping with the Employer/Labour Conference recommendation, but you will then be paying him more than a Minister if he comes from the Seanad. You would be paying him £760 more than a Minister, if the Minister came from the Seanad——

That is right.

——because neither Devlin nor the Employer/Labour Conference contemplated an Attorney General being a Member of either House of the Oireachtas, which is not an unusual thing; it happened quite frequently in the past, and we now have it today.

But is it not the Minister's proposal in the section to pay the Attorney General, who is a Member of this House, £7,846?

Is that not £633 above the Employer/Labour Conference recommendation of the figure for the position of Attorney General?

No. Devlin identified that they were not dealing with an Attorney General who was a Member. It could be argued that £7,213 is the appropriate figure for an Attorney General, that if he becomes a Member of this House he ought to get £3,416 on top of it, but I do not think anyone would suggest that. The format we have adopted is one which is as close as is feasible to the existing scheme in which an Attorney General as Attorney General gets paid somewhat less than a Minister. That was on the basis of his not being a Member of the House. All we are suggesting is that if he is a Member of the House he gets a mere

£633 more, which I think is not an extravagant addition having regard to the fact that the present Attorney General, unlike most of his predecessors and certainly his recent predecessors, is totally detached from any outside remunerative occupation of any kind and he is also a Member of this House. I think everybody will accept that being a Member of this House, even if you have not got the ministerial responsibility, adds somewhat to the difficulties and responsibilities of life.

That is all we are doing. We think it is a very fair measure and it leaves some scope in the future for any Taoiseach to decide whether to take his Attorney General from here or from outside life. If he decides to take him from the Seanad, then an anomaly clearly exists. That is something that has to be looked at. However, we are dealing with the present situation, and I would ask the House to accept that that is the appropriate way to deal with it, and we can consider ways and means, with the agreement of all sides of the House as to how this anomaly can be cured in the future.

I cannot entirely accept the manner in which the Minister in certain circumstances would talk about a mere £600, while in other circumstances lesser figures seem to qualify for greater importance in his mind. I agree with Deputy Flor Crowley that it is wrong and must leave room for certain suspicions when, on the one hand, we will quote the Employer/Labour Conference as being the sole criterion, the bedrock on which all decisions are made, and, on the other hand, we can dismiss it and say that they were not asked this or they were not asked that. I understand from the Minister that the figure of £7,213 was recommended by the Employer/Labour Conference as the figure which would be adequate for an Attorney General.

Who was not a Member of either House of the Oireachtas.

If that is so, are we taking it that his membership of this House can be equated with a figure of £633; and, if so, on what basis do we make that calculation? If we are to accept that membership of this House, as far as the Attorney General is concerned, entitles him to an additional £633 because we are told he is devoting all his time to Attorney General duties, does that mean you can make the same case for Deputies who are Members of this House and who are devoting all their time to membership of this House?

This is a situation which cannot be dismissed too readily. It must be decided whether membership of this House is ideally part-time, whether there are some Members who are different from others in their membership and that you cannot make a case for giving a special allowance to one Member as against another because he is devoting himself whole-time to these duties. Is it permissible now to have segregation here, and will the Minister accept that, in the case of those Members of the House who are prepared to indicate that they will become full-time politicians and will perform no other duties, the Employer/Labour Conference recommendations can be put to one side. Will he indicate that he is prepared to look sympathetically at the allowance that may be made to Deputies and Senators, because in the case of the Attorney General the Employer/ Labour Conference were asked to indicate the salary which would be reasonable and just for him? They have given this figure. They were asked to do likewise in the case of Deputies. There was no distinction made as between part-time and whole-time Deputies. I hope that the Minister will clarify the position and, if he can, make a case for an additional mere £600 being paid to a Member of this House who is already, under the recommendations, entitled to £7,213.

Might I interrupt the Deputy on a point of clarification? There was no recommendation that a Member of the House be paid £7,213. There was a recommendation that the Attorney General would be paid——

I am glad the Minister is taking an interest in the proceedings.

That is a full-time Attorney General.

They did not require him to be full-time. This Bill provides that, if a person is a Member of this House and a full-time Attorney General, he will not be paid on the basis of £7,213, but that he will be paid his ordinary Deputy's allowance, the same as Deputy Tunney and myself, of £3,416, and the office holders' pay of £4,430, making a total of £7,846. That is all that is proposed. Deputy Colley has indicated that he did not think this was unreasonable.

We must appreciate the facility with which the Minister can make his own case. That is an attribute we must admire in him but it is extraordinary how phrases slip from him. When he is talking of figures of £7,846 and £7,213 as applying to himself or the Attorney General, he can throw in "the same as Deputy Tunney". Deputy Tunney is making the point that he is not entitled even to half of the figures the Minister is throwing around. What Deputy Tunney is trying to indicate is that, when the Employer/Labour Conference made recommendations, they quoted a figure for the Attorney General of £7,213.

Now it is proposed by the Minister to go contrary to the recommendations made, and give instead a figure of £7,846, on the basis that, because the Attorney General is a Member of this House and will devote himself whole-time to his duties as Attorney General, he should qualify for the £600. He also made the point that membership of this House imposes additional duties on the Attorney General. I concede that point. I contradict the Minister when he says the Attorney General will be a full-time Attorney General. If he is a full-time Attorney General he will not be free to attend to the duties which devolve upon him as a Member of this House. He cannot have it both ways. Is not the case which is being made for the Attorney General that because he has duties devolving upon him as a Member of this House he is entitled to an additional allowance? I suggest that if he is operating as a Member of this House he cannot simultaneously be operating as a full-time Attorney General.

His predecessor had a private practice.

Some of them.

I am accepting the recommendation often made to me by Deputy O'Connell to forget the past. I am talking about the present.

I am sorry.

I am talking about the situation which has been created for one Member of this House as against others, a situation which has been condoned and justified because the amount in question is only a "mere £600". Maybe when you are in the £7,213 category, an additional £600 is a mere sum.

It helps to make you better shod.

I have heard the Minister accuse Members of the Fianna Fáil Party of not being concerned with poor people, or people who are not as well off as others.

As well shod.

As well shod. Will the Minister extend the same consideration, which he is extending to the Attorney General, to other Members of this House who are prepared to indicate to him that they will accept membership of this House as their profession, as their whole-time occupation? Will he accept from the Attorney General that he is devoting all his time to the duties of that office when simultaneously he is getting an additional allowance in respect of his being an elected TD and Member of this House?

I concur with what Deputy Tunney has said. We should put it on record that, for the first time today, the Minister has paid some attention to what was said from these benches. He has not treated the Opposition with the disdain and contempt he has been showing all morning by reading the paper.

Let us be grateful for small mercies.

The reason for this interest is that this legislation is specially framed and introduced to suit a member of his Government. As the Parliamentary Secretary put it, here is a bit of arch trick-of-the-loopery to be put across in this House in order to look after one of the boys in the job. I could not help smiling cynically, after all we have been through with the Minister, when he tried to make the point that, because the poor Attorney General was devoting himself full-time to the affairs of the Dáil, he deserved this princely sum. As Deputy Tunney said, what about all the unfortunate TDs whom the Minister was not prepared to allow to get their just sum?

We voted £916 extra to them today. They voted against it.

You did not vote to Deputies what they were entitled to under the Employer/Labour Conference report.

You voted against any increase.

You did not vote to Deputies what they were entitled to under the Employer/Labour Conference report but——

I would not call you a hypocrite but you voted against any increase.

He violated the recommendations of the Employer/ Labour Conference because the Attorney General happens to be a member of the Minister's party. It would be very interesting to hear Deputy Thornley, Deputy B. Desmond and other Labour Members discussing this one because in their wildest dreams and fantasies they could not support this type of trick-of-the-loopery. If the Minister is serious and makes the case that because the Attorney General is devoting his full time to the affairs of the House he is entitled to extra money, then he has made the case we have been trying to make that so also are TDs entitled to the same treatment.

Before Deputy Tunney spoke, the Minister in referring to the figure of £7,213 said this was the recommendation of the Employer/ Labour Conference and then corrected himself and said the Devlin Report. I wonder could he clarify which one it is?

£7,213 is the Employer/Labour Conference figure.

I just want to be clear that the £7,213 is the Employer/Labour Conference figure worked out on the formula that they recommended.

Worked out on the Devlin formula of the person who is not a member of——

But the mechanical formula was the one in the Employer/ Labour Conference report? That is how the Minister arrived at the figure of £7,213 I take it? The figure given for the Attorney General in the Employer/Labour Conference report is, as at 1st January, 1972, £6,539. I assume that by applying the further formula recommended by the Employer/Labour Conference you arrive at £7,213?

£7,213 is the scale recommended by them. Deputy Tunney argued—a lot of this comes down to nice little debating points but I wish we could get to the substance and then get on to deal with the people's affairs in the Finance Bill; if I am to take up little debating points I will treat them in the way in which they were made——

We deal with the people's affairs too.

He said that £7,213 was the figure recommended by the Employer/Labour Conference and he accepts that. The Deputy's figure on top of that is £3,416. That makes a total of £10,629. Because we do not give £10,629 to the Attorney General we get a lecture from Deputy Tunney about what is a full-time and a part-time Deputy. Really, the level of debate in this Chamber is——

That is not what Deputy Tunney said and well you know it.


The Minister might get away with that remark at a meeting of the L & H now. meeting of the L & H now.

Will Deputies please restrain themselves? Deputies will get ample opportunity of expressing their views. The Minister, without interruption.

It is very interesting to remind the Deputies opposite, who have given most extraordinary and unreliable interpretations of what both the Employer/Labour Conference special committee and the Devlin Report said. This was taken into account when the Employer/Labour Conference special committee dealt with what Devlin said. It said that there was difficulty in dealing with the remuneration appropriate to Deputies. The figures which the Review Body took into account were based upon the reality of the situation—that some Deputies are wholetime and some are not. It has nothing to do with the remuneration of the Attorney General.

The same would apply to the Attorney General.

It is being petty to a miserable degree to try to drag this in. The point was also made by Deputy Crowley that I was not prepared to discuss the situation. I was not and am not prepared on this or other Stages of this Bill to repeat statements I have made either on the Second Stage, on the so-called Money Resolution, which turned out to be a prolonged Committee Stage, or on this Stage. Every possible, miserable mischief is being made by the Members opposite and they can continue with it as far as I am concerned. I have made my explanation and that is the end of it.

Now I would like to speak with your permission, Sir, after that performance. There have been complaints from the Minister for Finance, who has deigned to be good enough to be with us, and there have been complaints from some backbench members of the Government, that this matter is being dragged out. We have had lectures from several of the newspapers about how petty we are in discussing these matters of detail. The reason we have to spend these long, weary hours trying to thrash out these small matters is because of the attitude of the man who sits over there, the Minister for Finance. If you want clear proof of that you have not just to listen to what he said in the last few minutes but also to watch his demeanour while he said it, the bitterness with which it was expressed, the air of complete boredom that he should have to come in, he, Ritchie Ryan, the Minister for Finance, and deal with miserable, tuppence-halfpenny people who are miserable TDs, when he should be about the nation's business. He is about the nation's business and we are about the nation's business because here. If any Fianna Fáil Mini-business here. If any Fianna Fáil Minister had put on the exhibition that we have had from Deputy Ryan over the past two days I do not think my imagination could envisage in full the reaction there would have been from the other side of the House.

We had many an exhibition from you.

RTE would be doing several current affairs programmes on it with their hatchet men.

Deputy Crowley made a valid point that was well worth consideration. The Minister for Finance got up and in the testiest fashion imaginable rounded on him for daring to question something which he did, for daring to ask for an explanation of the many anomalies that seem to arise in this situation. We are setting out and the Minister attempts in this very section to create an anomaly. Anomalies are usually created by legislation governing a particular situation and then some effect arising in the future, which clearly was not envisaged by the section, and then there is an anomaly. Here, before we enact this section at all, we have, on the Minister's own admission, a serious anomaly and the reason he gives for having the section as it is containing this enormous anomaly is simply that he could not work out how an Attorney General should be remunerated if he was a Member of the Seanad. There are 60 Members in the Seanad at any given time. The Seanad usually contains a number of barristers. I do not know how many there are—four, five or six —at any given time but maybe at some future time some future Taoiseach will wish to nominate one of those people to be Attorney General. He will come up against the situation that because of section 8 of this Bill not only will he not know how much he should be paid but he could not be paid anything at all. Paragraph (a) says that if he does not hold office as a Member of the Oireachtas he will get so much and (b) says that if he is a Member of Dáil Éireann he will get so much. It clearly spells it out to any future Taoiseach who might be anxious to appoint somebody from the Seanad as Attorney General that he may not do it. There are only two types of payment which can be made under this proposal to an Attorney General and a man who is a member of the Seanad does not qualify for either. In other words, lawfully and legally he can be paid out of public moneys nothing apart, perhaps, from his salary as a Member of the Seanad, which is small as we know. This aomaly is created by the Minister for Finance setting out deliberately to create it. It is absolutely silly to create a situation in legislation where you have to go back afterwards to rectify it. The only reply the Minister for Finance has given in relation to it is that if and when it ever happens the then Taoiseach can bring in a Bill to deal with it.

Why should some future Government have that obligation imposed on them? How long will such a Bill take to go through both Houses? In the meantime, the man who is Attorney General gets no salary as Attorney General. In other words, he is put in the position of not being able to take on the job. A very serious objection I have to the section is that it sets out deliberately to create a serious anomaly. I have objection to the section on the general grounds on which I object to any of these sections, that they do not comply with the recommendations of the special committee of the Employer/Labour Conference. This is particularly important in the case of the Attorney General because at present he is not entitled to a pension. All that an outgoing Attorney General is entitled to is a lump sum calculated by reference to his salary on the date on which he left office provided that he has had, I think, three years service at that time. Because that lump sum is calculated on the salary that existed on the date on which the last Attorney General left office, that was the 14th March, the lump sum is significantly lower than it would be otherwise and significantly lower than what was recommended by the Employer/Labour Conference.

I have not been asked by the former Attorney General to make this point. I am sure that he has asked nobody to make it because he is the sort of man who would not do so but it is no harm for me to point out that although a serious injustice is being done by this Bill to many, he is the man to whom the most serious injustice is being done. This provision in section 8 is only one of the provisions that have been brought in to suit the present Attorney General.

I admire Deputy Costello and I am sure that he will prove to be a competent Attorney General and Deputy but I object to the principle of special legislation being brought in to cover one man only because, as I pointed out here, either this morning or yesterday, in relation to Attorneys General and the pension that it is proposed to pay them under this Bill, there are several former Attorneys General who will qualify for that pension under the terms laid down and that in several other cases there are widows of former holders of the office who would qualify for this pension but each of those is excluded specifically by the provision which lays down that the section should be deemed to come into force on the 14th March last or, in relation to Attorneys General, who assumed office on or after the 14th March, 1973.

Irrespective of what the Minister may say on those rare occasions that he deigns to talk down to us, the elected legislators of the people, there is special provision in this Bill for one man. It arises on this section and on subsequent sections. Regardless of the merits of the proposals, the principle is wrong. I have no objection to the Attorney General being granted an increase in his salary and I welcome the payment of a pension to a full-time Attorney General but I consider it very wrong that those who have served this nation in that capacity on a full-time basis should be excluded deliberately from the benefits of what is being introduced for the sole benefit so far of Deputy Costello.

I wish to reiterate that I am not being in any way critical of Deputy Costello but I am criticising the Minister and the Government who produced these special sections to deal with one man. Everybody should be dealt with equally. It is not too much to ask that of the House.

Apart from the case made by Deputy O'Malley I wish to make a further case and also one which is really the development of a point raised by the Deputy. Despite the Minister's outburst it might be helpful to him if I suggest that his trouble in this regard stems from the fact that he stated the case for this section wrongly. As I see it, the case for this section is that if an Attorney General is full-time and is a Member of this House he is in an analogous position to that of a Minister and should be paid accordingly. That is a proposition that I would accept but the Employer/Labour Conference report recommended a certain figure for the Attorney General on the basis of the assumption that he would be a Member of this House. It seems to me that the Minister's approach should be to say that the Employer/Labour Conference figure for an Attorney General who is not a Member of this House is £7,213, that there is not a figure for an Attorney General who is a Member of this House, that, therefore, we must construct one and that we believe that the correct figure on the basis of constructing it, should be, since he is to be a Member of the House and a full-time Attorney General analogous to that of a Minister. That is the case that should have been made and one that would not have led the Minister into the kind of difficulty that he is in now in regard to full-time or part-time service in this House or in other positions.

Another point I want to make, and this is the development of one of the points made by Deputy O'Malley, is that I consider it inappropriate that the section should omit a reference to an Attorney General being a Member of the Seanad while providing for his being a Member of the Dáil. The Minister has explained the practical difficulties that arise in relation to any such decision. I appreciate that there are difficulties but I find it difficult to accept that the Minister should not have made a decision as to what way the matter should be dealt with.

Surely the Minister is creating an impossible situation, as Deputy O'Malley pointed out. If this section is enacted in its present form what we are saying is that if a Taoiseach wishes to appoint a Member of the Seanad to the office of Attorney General, he can do so only if that man will act without a salary because it is provided specifically in this section that he will not get salary. If one accepts the Minister's argument, at the very least, ought not paragraph (a) be amended to read "in case the person who holds the office is not a Member of Dáil Éireann" rather than "is not a Member of the Oireachtas"? On the Minister's own case the word "Oireachtas" should not appear and should be substituted by the words "Dáil Éireann". At least that would mean that the section was consistent and that it would not create a situation such as that described by Deputy O'Malley whereby, if the Taoiseach wished to appoint a Member of the Seanad to the office of Attorney General, he would have to appoint somebody who would be willing to act for no salary. There would be no provision in relation to a Member of the Seanad but at least it would be consistent and would not produce this ludicrous situation to which Deputy O'Malley has referred. I suggest that the Minister consider this point because this section as drafted will be ludicrous if it goes through.

This section, like other sections in the Bill, is inserted in its present form because of the barter that went on in the early days of the formation of the National Coalition Government. At that time, when the Taoiseach was unable to fit Deputy Costello into a front bench seat and a ministerial post, quite an amount of bartering went on. I believe, and it is commonly believed outside by those who have read the Bill, that the Government got the full support of many rebellious Deputies because of the concessions granted over and above the concessions granted to Deputies of the Opposition. The addition here is a clear indication of the type of discrimination that went on. Additional moneys are being made available over and above the amount prescribed.

This is typical Coalition-type legislation that provides money for the boys. This is not the first time that this type of barter took place. In the course of the last day or two the members of the public who have been in the Visitors' Gallery and those who have read the papers have become aware that this lopsided legislation is designed to ensure that additional sums of money will be made available to supporters of the Government. This is to retain their support in Dáil Éireann. The figures mentioned were the result of barter. The Government were doubtful if they could retain the support of a very honourable, and, in many ways, hardworking Deputy. Now that he is full-time Attorney General he must find it difficult to deal with Dáil work. A full-time politician must deal with Dáil work exclusively. The position of Attorney General is full-time and therefore the occupant of the post would have no time for the ordinary work of the Dáil. The additional money proposed is an attempt to pacify. It is the result of the horse-trading that went on prior to the formation of the Government. This is the type of legislation that we will get in future where it is "lolly" for the boys at all costs.

I wonder would the Minister deign to comment on the suggestion that we have made in regard to the anomaly being created here and the suggestion about deleting the word "Oireachtas" and substituting "Dáil Éireann"?

As I mentioned earlier, the difficulty you run into there is that you end up in a situation in which the Attorney General, being a Member of the Seanad, gets a higher figure than a Minister who is a Member of the Seanad.

Is the remedy to provide, as we do in this section, that you can only appoint a Member of the Seanad as Attorney General if he is prepared to work for no salary at all? That is the effect of the section.

The cure the Deputy is suggesting is one in which a Minister in the Seanad would receive less than the Attorney General. If the Minister were in the Seanad and were to receive the equivalent of the Attorney General, his total salary would still be less than what he would get if he were in the Dáil. On the other hand, he would receive, in respect of his ministerial responsibilities, in the Seanad, a salary in excess of what a Minister gets by way of ministerial salary for service in the Dáil.

If one were to amend sub-paragraph (a) to read:

If in the case of a person holding the office he is not a Member of Dáil Éireann the sum of £7,213,

would that not mean that if a Member of the Seanad were appointed the appropriate salary for him would be £7,213? The Minister may say that you have to add to that the allowance he gets as a Member of the Seanad. Am I not right in thinking that there is provision in previous legislation to the effect that an Attorney General who is a Member of either House is not to be paid the allowance appropriate to his membership of that House? What is the position of the present Attorney General under the law as it stands?

He gets £5,500.

Is that not the salary appropriate to somebody who is not a Member of this House?

Yes; that is the allowance as a Member of this House.

He does not get the allowance of a Deputy.

No; it is deemed to include it and if he were from the Seanad he would have about £1,000 less than the figure for the Dáil.

Why can it not be provided that if he is from the Seanad he gets, say, £7,213, deemed to include his Seanad allowance? My trouble with this section is, as Deputy O'Malley has pointed out, that it is deliberately legislated to ensure that no Taoiseach can appoint an Attorney General from the Seanad unless the Attorney General is prepared to work without any salary at all. Would the Minister accept that that is the effect of the section?

Not necessarily because I would say that special ad hoc legislation could be passed but the remedy suggested would have this effect, that an Attorney General who is a Member of the Seanad would receive in respect of his office duties £5,190 while a Minister who is a Member of the Dáil would receive only £4,130. That is the effect. If the Attorney General in the Seanad gets £7,213 it would mean he would get his basic Seanad allowance of £2,023 plus £5,190 as the element of his ministerial office and that would put him above the ministerial salary of £4,430 and that would have an effect not only during his term of office but also in relation to his pension because his office pension would be higher than the office pension paid to a Minister.

By providing that he would be paid the salary of a Minister but would lose his Seanad allowance, that would get over the pension problem but whatever anomaly arises surely no anomaly can be as bad as the one created by this section which effectively is legislating to say that no Taoiseach can appoint an Attorney General from the Seanad.

Of course, there is no need to appoint an Attorney General at the same time as the Government are appointed. If it were deemed advisable on some occasion to take the Attorney General from the Seanad I would say that it would have to be dealt with on an ad hoc basis. There is no system, other than a radical total changing of the whole structure of pay for office holders which can get around this anomaly. We are now dealing with the situation as it is. I accept the criticism. It is one to which I was very much alive and every effort we made to cure one anomaly only seemed to generate another. We are now dealing with the existing situation, the one that does as of now no injustice to anybody. I would hope that when we get to the codification of the law that the Deputy referred to we will get back to the system of paying office holders a global sum rather than fragmenting it, which gives rise to trouble of this kind.

We have a situation at the moment in which a Member of the Seanad can be appointed a Member of the Government. We have a situation in which we know how to deal with that salarywise. Can we not treat an Attorney General on the same basis?

We deal with that salarywise in a way which to me is quite wrong, and that is, you pay him only £6,453 although in the Dáil he would get £7,846.

Is that not better than saying in effect that you cannot appoint him at all?

No, I do not think so. It is much better to cure this in future legislation. That is what we would propose to do. I would say, without any disrespect, that if we had endeavoured to do it in this legislation we would have given further grounds for attack. Seeing that there is enough meat for attack in it, I do not think that would have been a wise course to adopt. I do not think you can any longer defend paying a Minister from the Seanad—it is rarely enough one comes from there—only £6,453 when Minister who are Members of the other House will be getting £7,846.

It is better than paying him nothing which is what you would be doing with the Attorney General here.

One might do it for the love of the office.

Surely the thought expressed by the Minister is scarcely one which holds water in this particular case. If a Member of this House is made Attorney General he gets an allowance appropriate to being a Member of this House and the duties that that imposes on him and in addition, an allowance as Attorney General. The two combined represents his overall salary which seems to me to be a fair enough way of dealing with the matter.

If we accept that membership of the Seanad and membership of the Dáil are quite different things as the differential in the allowances paid to Members of both Houses indicates why should that not be logically continued right into the case where a member of the Seanad becomes Attorney General? The figure of £6,453 would be the appropriate figure then. This person would then be given an allowance for being Attorney General and an allowance as a Member of the Seanad. This would give the holder of the office, if he was a Member of the Seanad, a figure less than that which a Member of this House would receive if he was Attorney General.

There is nothing at all inconsistent in that. The matter should not be left in abeyance, waiting for the situation to arise and provision having to be made at some future date. In section 8 the actual figure that the Member of the Seanad, when made Attorney General, may receive should be added. In fact, all we would have to do is to amend clause B by inserting the word "Oireachtas" and deleting the words "Dáil Éireann". That would mean that the Attorney General, if he was a Member of the Seanad, would receive his Seanad allowance and an allowance as Attorney General. The figure of Member of the Seanad, would receive his Seanad allowance and an allowance as Attorney General. The figure of £7,200 for the present holder of the office would be appropriate if such a holder of the office was a Member of the Dáil.

We should rectify the situation now and not leave it until the occasion arises because we would have to spend a number of days again trying to decide on the matter. The amendment which I have suggested provides for all future occasions and covers any Members of the Oireachtas irrespective of which House he comes from. This would be a much wiser procedure rather than leaving the matter open-ended to be debated here at a future date.

If we want to get rid of the anomaly that there is my suggestion is that we just insert that an Attorney General be paid the sum of £7,213 regardless of whether he is from outside of the House or inside the House. If the Minister would find it too difficult to delete too many lines in this Bill I suggest that he insert instead of £4,430, £3,797 which would mean that the Attorney General would then be paid £7,213. In my view that would get rid of all difficulties in relation to the Attorney General.

I have drawn attention to the anomalies and I think that all Members of the House are prepared to concede that there are several anomalies. The worst anomaly of all has nothing to do with the Attorney General but the fact that a Minister in the Seanad would get only £6,453.

That is not an anomaly.

It is because such a Minister would have to attend here in the House to answer questions and handle debates just like everybody else. Could I suggest, if only to meet the points which have been made, that a Minister in the Seanad should receive only £6,453 which is what he would get at present——

He would be receiving portion of that as a Senator.

Yes, he receives £2,023 as a Senator and £4,430 as an office holder. I do not consider that that is appropriate but if the point is being made that that is better than nothing I would be prepared to agree to amend section 8 (b) by inserting after the words "Dáil Éireann" the words "Seanad Éireann" so as to ensure that if a Member of Dáil Éireann or Seanad Éireann holds the office he will receive the extra sum of £4,430.

To insert the words "Member of the Oireachtas" would cover both.

Yes, it would

I do not want to be too difficult but the Minister will appre ciate that a Member of the Oireachtas could be the President.

I suspect that there may be Constitutional difficulties but the President may not hold any other office of remuneration. For that reason I think he would be excluded.

If Members would agree that it would meet the case if "a Member of Oireachtas" replaced "a Member of Dáil Éireann" in provision (b) in section 8 which provides that the sum of £4,430 be paid to him in addition to the allowance to which he is entitled as a Member of either House, I will accept it.

I feel that that would be an improvement of the section as it stands.

Section 8, as amended, agreed to.
Question proposed: "That section 9 stand part of the Bill."

I do not want to go back over all the case we have made but all of the objections which we made in regard to the previous sections dealing with allowances for Deputies and Senators apply equally to this section. The amendment which I put down and which was, for technical reasons, ruled out of order urged that in this case the Chairman of Dáil Éireann, and the Deputy Chairman of Dáil Éireann, should be paid the sums as from the dates recommended in the Employer/ Labour Conference. That is our stand in relation to this section. The Employer/Labour Conference report should be implemented fully and without reservation in regard to the Chairman and Deputy Chairman of Dáil Éireann.

However, in addition to that case which we have spelled out in considerable detail before, there is another matter and that is that this Government, quite contrary to all precedent, decided that it would grab the positions of Ceann Comhairle and Leas-Cheann Comhairle for members of the parties constituting the Government. We felt that at that time, and we still feel, and this is not to cast any reflection on either the Ceann Comhairle or the Leas-Cheann Comhairle of this House, that the Government was not only grabbing all but was making a serious error in taking a long term view of the operations of this House, of the way it has operated in the past, of the approach to power sharing in this House and the efforts which have been made to ensure full support from all sides of the House for the Chair. The Government took another view. As far as we are concerned, for both of the reasons I have outlined, we are opposed to this section.

I am rather puzzled by the suggestion that there is any grabbing of the two positions of Ceann Comhairle and Leas-Cheann Comhairle. There might have been some grabbing, perhaps, in a theoretical kind of way as far as the Leas-Cheann Comhairle's job was concerned. I do not mean that in any way as personal to the holder of the office of course, but surely it was purely a tactical operation by the Opposition which I, though no longer belonging to that party, had advocated as soon as the results of the election became known. They would have been mad as a political party if they did not stand down their own man and thereby narrow the gap by a difference of one in having the Government of the day, as it was then emerging, compelled to choose from within their supporters a member to act as Ceann Comhairle. Having passed that up, and just to set the record straight, I do not think it can be said that the second spot was grabbed and that the first spot was grabbed. Rather, was it the first was declined by the Opposition for very good and sound tactical reasons and the Government, in their wisdom and, perhaps, slightly annoyed at the astuteness of the Opposition, standing by this tactic, decided that it suited their book too, to have the second spot, which they intended to have, as they intended to give the first spot to the Opposition, an offer which the Opposition declined. As I say, for the record, and to sort out my own puzzlement—I heard this assertion made yesterday as well in relation to this particular job—that is my recollection. Fianna Fáil did not want it and indulged in a proper political tactic. The Government had to fill it whether they liked it or not and the Government then were seeking the second spot; they were forced to take the first and they would not part with the second.

On the second post—again this is not raised as a particular personal matter—I would ask the Minister whether he considers the Leas-Cheann Comhairle of this House properly remunerated for the work he is obliged to do and the responsibility he carries in performing the function of his office as Leas-Cheann Comhairle, not to mention the fact that the Ceann Comhairle may, as has happened in the past to my knowledge, be absent for long periods and his duties and responsibilities have had to be undertaken by the Leas-Cheann Comhairle. In my time in this House on two occasions the non-availability of the Ceann Comhairle through ill health created a situation over a long period in which the Leas-Cheann Comhairle had to take over all the responsibilities vested in the Ceann Comhairle, but without the Ceann Comhairle's authority, may I say? So far as I know no worthwhile recompense for these long stints standing in for the Ceann Comhairle was forthcoming.

Apart from that, it must be very clear to the House and to the Minister that an allowance of £1,800, which is set down here as the appropriate new figure for the Leas-Cheann Comhairle, is not a proper allowance when compared with those of other office holders. It does not even maintain the differential that existed. I have not got the actual figures, but I am thinking of the differential as between Parliamentary Secretaries and the Leas-Cheann Comhairle up to the time this Bill was introduced. Can anyone seriously contend that the office of Cathaoirleach in the Seanad is more onerous and carries more responsibility than does that of the Leas-Cheann Comhairle of the Dáil? Can anybody seriously contend that the difference between the allowance to the Leas-Cheann Comhairle should be no greater than £600 more than the allowance for the Leas-Chathaoirleach in the Seanad? Is there any real comparison between the functions these people are called on to perform?

I am not now to be taken as in any way denigrating the functions of the Cathaoirleach or Leas-Chathaoirleach of the Seanad. I am merely making a comparison between their roles and their responsibilities in the Oireachtas in an effort to get across to the House the fact that the Leas-Cheann Comhairle's job carries more responsibility, is more onerous and more time consuming than are the offices in the Seanad. He has many functions to perform apart from those appertaining to this House. He has to act as chairman of various committees. He has got to be in attendance here every day the House sits. He cannot absent himself from the House for any prolonged period. He must occupy the Chair at stated intervals and for stated periods. I do not think he is being properly remunerated for the work he does and the time he gives in comparison with other office holders. Everybody should realise this.

Again, the Leas-Cheann Comhairle must fight to retain his seat in the House. The Ceann Comhairle is automatically re-elected. The Leas-Cheann Comhairle must keep a political organisation going in order to return himself to the next Dáil. He has no free passage into the new Dáil. The Leas-Cheann Comhairle suffers quite a number of disabilities so far as political organisational activity is concerned and there is no recognition of this fact. In addition to what the Ceann Comhairle carries, he has to try to ensure by his political activities in his constituency between elections that he will get back to the following Dáil. This has not been given sufficient congnisance in assessing what is fair and just for the holder of that office. I can see no reason why the office of Leas-Cheann Comhairle should not have the same relationship to a Parliamentary Secretary as the Ceann Comhairle has to a Minister, in other words, that that allowance should be £2,800 instead of £1,800. I think there is a very strong case for the revision of the allowance in this instance.

I do not think there is any need for me—and I do not mean this disrespectfully—to reply to Deputy Colley, because he has acknowledged he has made the same point five or six times throughout the debate, so I mean him no discourtesy in not replying to him again. I would endorse what Deputy Blaney has said in regard to the position of Leas-Cheann Comhairle, and we can speak of the office without regard to the person that is in it, Sir, so I am sure you will understand it is in that sense we are discussing it.

However, the decision the Government took was to apply the rates as recommended by the Employer/Labour Conference. There may be argument about the commencement date. We believe we are right; others believe they are right, but the rates are not in dispute. There were a number of cases in which the Employer/Labour Conference struck a rate below that of the Devlin report, and there were some cases, which we would not like to criticise although we might have some doubts about their wisdom, in which they allocated a figure higher than that recommended by Devlin.

It does seem to me that one of the cases in which they rather unfairly diminished the Devlin award was in relation to the Leas-Cheann Comhairle. The Devlin award for the remuneration of the Leas-Cheann Comhairle, which, of course, would be additional to his Dáil salary, was £2,560. The figure recommended by the Employer/Labour Conference was £1,898, a reduction of £662. I think the duties of the Leas-Cheann Comhairle have been undervalued, not only in periods of illness or absence on official engagements when the Ceann Comhairle might not be available but also in relation to the fact that the Leas-Cheann Comhairle is called in regularly for consultations and exchanges of views on matters when the Dáil is not sitting. When the Dáil is sitting his hours in the Chair here are, I am sure, in many cases far in excess of the numbers of hours for which many of the judiciary would sit. I think it is no reflection on the House to say it must be difficult at times to sit in the Chair and keep fully alive to all the proceedings.

I think we can agree on that.

Having regard to all the obligations of the Leas-Cheann Comhairle and indeed, of the Ceann Comhairle, I consider the awards made of them, and to the Leas-Cheann Comhairle in particular, are less than the duties of their office deserve. However, it is only one of the innumerable matters that have to be considered by the Members of this House. As we pass this Bill I would hope it will not be regarded as a final determination of what should be the appropriate remuneration and facilities for office holders and Members in this House, if the House is to be brought up to the pitch of efficiency which it needs to be, which it is working very far below at the present time. But we must observe the common pattern in relation to the improvements of remuneration in this Bill, and that pattern is the scale of awards given by the Employer/Labour Conference. I would hope the view expressed by Deputy Blaney will be re-echoed at an appropriate time through the Committee on Procedure and Privileges and elsewhere by all Members of the House, so that these anomalies—to use that great in-word—can be corrected.

Would the Minister like to have any other echoes through the Committee on Procedure and Privileges in relation to Deputies allowances?

The Minister will always be anxious to hear the views of the Committee on Procedure and Privileges.

How can the Minister talk about a pattern to which we must conform, when in the next section we are going to step into the unknown in so far as the Employer/Labour Conference is concerned. I do not want to indulge in point-scoring against anybody but sometimes we make moves to confine ourselves when it is convenient. If we accept the recommendations of the Employer/Labour Conference as a pattern, then we should have that pattern all the way through in relation to remuneration, whether it be by way of allowances for secretarial or research work, or else we should feel free if the House thinks fit, and I believe the House would so thing fit in this case—to change that figure upwards. With no disrespect to the Employer/Labour Conference, I doubt very much if the responsibilities of the various office holders, the Ceann Comhairle and Leas-Cheann Comhairle, Cathaoirleach and Leas-Cathaoirleach, of the two Houses of the Oireachtas, were known in detail to the Employer/Labour Conference. The fact that they reduced the Devlin recommendation by such a substantial percentage seems to indicate that they were not alive to the onerous responsibilities of the holders of this office. Since we are proceeding to depart from the Employer/Labour Conference recommendations, whether it is by way of the Minister's own proposals for allowances to the Opposition or to Deputies for secretarial assistance and research or by way of Opposition amendments, there is justification for breaking with the pattern referred to by the Minister. As I say, the next section, certainly the provision two sections down, breaks entirely with the concept of there being a pattern which, for the pattern's sake, he should follow, and, which in the case of the Leas-Cheann Comhairle, does an injustice to the holders of that office by virtue of sticking to the pattern. There is nothing sacrosanct or sacred about the pattern. I believe that this recommendation was made, and such a large cut was made in the Devlin figure, because of a lack of information. We are not sticking to the pattern from section II onwards and, therefore, the merit of keeping to the pattern has already disappeared.

I think the House generally will concede that we are not being fair to the office of the Leas-Cheann Comhairle. We should make an exception in this case, realising that we mean no disrespect to those who made this recommendation, but with a fuller appreciation of the responsibilities that attend upon the position of Leas-Cheann Comhairle.

I want to make two points. I do not want to engage in controversy but for the record, as Deputy Blaney said, he will recall that there have been occasions in the past when the Ceann Comhairle has come from the Opposition party, and there have been occasions when the Ceann Comhairle has come from the Government ranks. There has never been an occasion, until this Government came into office, when both the Ceann Comhairle and the Leas-Cheann Comhairle came from parties forming the Government, parties supplying Members of the Government.

This is the first time this has happened. That is the point I was making. However, I do not want to pursue that. I just want to make the point for the record.

The other matter I want to advert to is this. I think Deputy Blaney is under a misapprehension about the Employer/Labour Conference report but, much more seriously, I think the Minister is under a misapprehension about it. In the discussion on a previous section the Minister made a reference which I intended to pursue but I let it go. He made a similar kind of reference in replying to Deputy Blaney. At the moment I cannot recall his exact words, but the gist of his reference was that it seemed unfortunate that the Employer/Labour Conference had downgraded in some way the recommendations of Devlin.

This is a misconception of the role of the Employer/Labour Conference and what was behind their report. With your permission, Sir, I should like to quote from the Employer/ Labour Conference report at page 2. First they give their terms of reference. They say:

We were given the following terms of reference:—

"To advise in relation to the extent to which effect might be given to the Review Body's recommendations for each group covered in the report on the basis of, and for the duration of, the National Agreement".

As we see our task, we are not called upon to advise on whether we consider the current salaries or the salaries recommended by the Review Body to be fair and reasonable in relation to the duties and responsibilities of the posts and occupations in question. The Review Body were required by their terms of reference to report on the levels of pay for the different groups and they reached their conclusions by the application of various criteria, including comparability and relativities and their assessment of the levels of responsibility. Our terms of reference are different. We are not concerned with levels of pay, but rather with what increases in pay are justifiable during the currency and in the context of the National Agreements. Our conclusions, therefore, take no account of the adequacy or otherwise of the levels of pay which may emerge from the application of these increases.

In all fairness to the Employer/ Labour Conference that should be put on the record of this House. The seriousness of this, in my opinion, is that the Minister has seemed to me, from what he said just now and what he said previously, to be under a misapprehension about the whole purpose of the Employer/Labour Conference report. It may well be that, if he was under that misapprehension, it may explain his approach and why he does not seem to appreciate the reason we have taken the approach we have taken. I would suggest that, if he considers what I have just quoted, he will see, in the context of a report which confined itself solely to determining what should be the scale of pay in any particular position having regard to wage rounds and the terms of the national wage agreements, and without any regard to what was the appropriate rate of pay initially, and having regard to the responsibilities of the job, why it is regarded as being so serious, and such a serious breach of the recommendations not to implement them in full.

The terms of reference were based on a completely different concept from Devlin. I do not disagree necessarily with the case made by Deputy Blaney as regards the position of the Leas-Cheann Comhairle. The Employer/ Labour Conference report did not have regard to the level of responsibility or the duties of the position of the Leas-Cheann Comhairle. It was solely concerned with starting with the base and applying national wage rounds and national agreements. The answer they came up with was what should be paid at different dates and what should be paid today. That is exactly what the report did.

It is clear from what the Minister said that he was under a misapprehension about the purpose of the Employer/Labour Conference report when he referred to it as in some way downgrading the recommendations of Devlin and in other cases, perhaps, going too high. It seemed to me that the Minister was under a misapprehension in regard to the purpose of the Employer/ Labour Conference. I suggest that it is possible that that misapprehension may be the explanation for many of the difficulties we had in this debate on the Bill.

I am not concerned about the money involved, but the principle. To my mind this is a complete violation of the Employer/ Labour Conference recommendations as were other sections of this Bill. Subsection (2) of section 6 provides:

This section and sections 8, 9 and 10 of this Act shall be deemed to have come into operation on the 1st day of July, 1973.

The Minister is creating a situation now which can involve thousands of trade unionists and workers in the Government services and elsewhere. He is indicating in the terms of this Bill that retrospection will not apply. I wonder if a recommendation was made for phased increases for workers in Government services in the same manner and from the same dates as the recommendations in the Employer/Labour Conference report on the allowances to the various people affected by this Bill, how would the Minister react? Does this mean, in effect, that he would see that no retrospection applied to workers in the Government services?

The Deputy must keep to section 9.

Section 9, to my mind, is a complete violation of the Employer/Labour Conference recommendations. The Minister has indicated his desire to keep in line with these recommendations and to ensure that there is no breach of the National Pay Agreement. The Minister has gone outside the terms of the National Pay Agreement in so far as the phased increases apply to this and other sections. This is a broad warning to workers that the Government feel that no retrospection should apply. Workers in the Government service, in trade unions and elsewhere, will examine this in a very critical way in relation to retrospection when it becomes an Act.

Would the Deputy keep to section 9?

On a point of order, may I submit to you that section 7 (2) governs section 9 and that it is not possible to discuss section 9 without reference to that and that this is the point Deputy Dowling is making?

The Minister has now created a precedent. He has indicated that retrospection is a dirty word. If a Government Minister fails to honour the recommendations of the Employer/ Labour Conference in relation to one section of workers it will be looked at in a very critical way. It is the thin end of the wedge to ensure that there will be no retrospection paid to workers in the Government service or elsewhere. It will cause great problems and create quite an amount of industrial unrest when people see a Minister disregarding the Employer/Labour Conference and, by implication, indicating that what they recommended is of no importance. If this is to be the basis of wage negotiations, a serious situation will develop. Prompt action will be taken to ensure prompt payments because any delay will be so serious. This precedent will have wide ranging repercussions. When it is examined in detail I hope the trade union element who have not been very active here today——

The Deputy will appreciate that retrospection as such has been disposed of in section 7. A decision has been taken on that matter already. The opportunity was given, when section 7 was being dealt with, to deal with those matters.

We are on section 9 now and this applies to section 9.

It would be going back on a decision taken in regard to section 7.

I am concerned about the date of payment of the increase to the Ceann Comhairle and Leas-Cheann Comhairle. I think a grave injustice is being done to the Ceann Comhairle and the Leas-Cheann Comhairle.

I can understand the Deputy's concern but he will appreciate the concern of the Chair to keep to the sections as we go.

The principle involved could have large-scale repercussions throughout the economy.

On a point of information—I am in agreement with Deputy Dowling. I did think he was in order to proceed—I wonder would the Leas-Cheann Comhairle explain to us how we can discuss section 9 without reference to section 7?

Section 9 lays down amounts payable to certain office holders. It does not deal with the dates because that has already been decided on in section 7.

But not in relation to the Ceann Comhairle and the Leas-Cheann Comhairle.

It has been decided on in regard to all office holders.

Surely it is in order to refer to the section? It was discussed in other sections before section 7. If that ruling is valid, surely it would not have been in order to discuss it at all until we discussed section 7?

Section 7 (2) applies to sections 8, 9 and 10 and a decision has been taken on that.

On a point of order, an amendment to this section stated specifically that for these positions there should be a retrospective date beyond the 1st July.

Would the Deputy use his good influence with the Minister for Finance?

What the Chair is concerned about is the positions mentioned in section 9. In so far as a date is concerned a decision has already been taken.

Recognising that that ruling is valid, nevertheless this ruling would not—I seek the Chair's ruling on this—preclude advocating that a date earlier than 1st July should be inserted by way of amendment to section 9? If this cannot be done it means that in passing section 7 we passed it blind as to what follows. It is on the assumption that these sections will be passed in some form, not necessarily in the form set down, that section 7 governs them. If a change were to be made in section 9, or in any subsequent section, surely that would not be invalidated by section 7? The fact that they come after means they are capable of change. Otherwise there would be no point in discussing section 9, as a section.

We are not dealing with the date. The date has already been decided.

In such circumstances, does this mean that in future we could have section 1 of a Bill theoretically providing that all the following sections were pre-determined by the decision on the first section of a Bill which might contain 100 sections and that it is merely a farce to discuss subsequent sections? That is an assumption which the House is entitled to change during Committee Stage.

The Deputy will appreciate that we are on Committee Stage and that amendments would have been tabled. There is no amendment in regard to this section.

I am asking the guidance of the Chair as to whether it is correct that any Deputy may advocate that the Minister would amend any of these sections and I am advocating that section 9 should, with the Minister's agreement, be amended at a later stage to the effect that, for instance, instead of 1st July being the operative date for the increases, the date could be an earlier or later one, say, 1st September rather than 1st January.

It is open to the Deputy to make this point but at the moment we are at the stage where there is not the opportunity of doing what the Deputy asks in regard to an amendment.

On a point of order, if section 9 were to be contested in the House and defeated and, consequently, deleted, what then would be the effect of section 7 which refers to sections 8, 9 and 10 being deemed to come into operation on the 1st of this month?

The Deputy is asking the Chair to indulge in a hypothetical exercise.

The issue is very real.

The Deputy should see a good solicitor.

Where can one find one of those?

Deputy Blaney has made some very valid points that are worth considering. I approach the matter before us on the basis that the section is a violation of the Employer/Labour Conference recommendations. I take it that it is in order to pursue it on that basis without mentioning retrospection.

The question of the national pay agreement is one that we all wish to safeguard in full but this section, as is the case in other sections of the Bill, is creating a situation whereby the Minister for Finance can violate the recommendations of the Employer/ Labour Conference. I wonder how the Minister would react if other people in the State services put forward recommendations that have been made on their behalf by the Employer/ Labour Conference. Would he adopt the same attitude in relation to, for instance, Board of Works or Department of Defence employees as he is adopting on this issue? This is a serious breach by the Minister of the Employer/Labour Conference recommendations and one that will have serious repercussions throughout the country. Also, it is a disturbing factor for many workers in the State service because it is a clear indication that the Minister will deal with future increases only from the date on which increased social welfare payments come into operation. This is a serious situation because salaries and wages of other groups are dealt with on a very different basis from that of social welfare payments. Therefore, the Minister's suggestion in this regard is not logical.

I note that no member of the Labour Party has been in the House for some time. Apparently none of them considered it worthwhile to come here and discuss this very serious matter of the Employer/Labour Conference recommendations being disregarded by the Minister. Even at this late stage I ask the Minister to consider seriously implementing those recommendations in full.

The Minister has endeavoured to confuse the House on a number of occasions in relation to the breach of the recommendations.

Notice taken that 20 Members were not present; House counted and 20 Members being present,

One would have expected the Labour Party to have voiced their opinion in regard to this breach of the Employer/Labour Conference recommendations and to give their support to those Deputies who are concerned as to the protection of the national wage agreement. This is creating a precedent that will be grasped by many employers. Where phased increases and retrospection are indicated, the employer will be in a position to state that a Minister has violated the Employer/Labour Conference recommendation in relation to the salaries that would be applied to the Ceann Comhairle and the Leas-Cheann Comhairle. This type of treatment of the Members of this House, particularly the Ceann Comhairle and Leas-Cheann Comhairle who have a difficult job to do, is serious indeed. The principle involved is one that we cannot laugh loudly at. No doubt Deputy Bruton can laugh at people who may be trampled upon by employers and, indeed, by the Minister in relation to State services. This is a vicious Bill, designed to break the Employer/Labour Conference recommendation. Members of the Fine Gael Party may laugh at this breach. There is nothing funny in this breach. It may lead to widespread industrial unrest.

Deputy Crowley is splitting his sides at you.

Deputy Dockrell is an employer and I am quite certain he is delighted that the Minister has breached the Employer/Labour Conference recommendations, as, indeed, are other big employers on the opposite side.

I love to hear the Deputy talking rubbish.

It may be that it was pressure from the employers on the other side that brought about this situation, that the Minister is being asked to breach the Employer/Labour Conference recommendations. This is a serious matter. I would ask the Minister seriously to consider implementing in full the terms of the Employer/ Labour Conference recommendation and thus safeguard the current national wage agreement and those that may be made in future.

The Minister is making it difficult for negotiators in future to arrive at an agreement. He is making it easy for employers to create a situation where retrospection would be terminated at a particular date, where phased increases or phased involvement would be eliminated. This is very serious.

Again, I would point out that there is not a single member of the Labour Party in the House. This is a clear indication of their complete disregard for what they have been so loud in condemning in the past.

The Deputy had an opportunity this morning of voting against the Bill.

We were told yesterday by the members of the Labour Party that, against their conscience, they were voting for the Bill because they had been bought over by other sections of the Bill that we will be discussing at a later stage. They bought over Deputies in this Bill in order to ensure that they would get their support. They are not here now and they should be here.

The Deputy was not here this morning and many of his colleagues were missing this morning.

I am here now. Of course if Deputy McMahon——

Could we please get back to section 9 of the Bill?

In relation to section 9 I would say if Deputy McMahon's contribution is to say: "You were not here this morning" I say that is not what we are discussing. We are discussing section 9 of the Bill. I challenge Deputy McMahon to make his contribution in support of the breach of the Employer/Labour Conference recommendation. I challenge Deputy Bruton, the man who has been laughing so heartily in the House at the breach of the Employer/Labour Conference recommendations, to stand up and defend it. We know that the big employers on the opposite side of the House have pressurised the weakling of a Minister into breaching the recommendations.

We love listening to the Deputy.

Even at this stage serious consideration should be given to the introduction of an amendment that would bring this Bill into line with the recommendations so made.

Last night and even today the Minister made many references to the national wage agreement and to the recommendations of the Employer/ Labour Conference. This was purely for the purpose of the Press and his statements were reported in some of the papers in such a way as to give a very erroneous slant to them. What the Minister is doing is violating the recommendations that have been made. Is there any reason why we should send to the Employer/Labour Conference for recommendations if when we get them we violate them? The Minister has indicated that he wants to keep in line with the recommendations. This is untrue because the breaches are obvious and they have created a precedent that the Minister and the Government may well regret in the days to come because I am quite certain that the workers and the trade union officials who are not hog-tied——

Would the Deputy please try to relate his remarks to section 9?

In regard to that section I am quite certain that when trade union officials and the people outside who are members of the Labour Party examine section 9 and the other sections in depth and see how the Employer/Labour Conference recommendations were violated they will be angry. When they examine them further they will find that their colleagues have been bought over at a price that has been named in various sections of this Bill. We will deal with those sections later.

I am very perturbed that the Ceann Comhairle and the Leas-Cheann Comhairle are treated in this shabby way by the Minister for Finance. I hope the Minister for Finance will mend his ways before the Bill goes through and will ensure that the office holders concerned will get increases in accordance with the Employer/ Labour Conference recommendations. I hope the current national wage agreement and future agreements will not be put in jeopardy as a result of this jackboot activity by the Minister for Finance. Jackboot activity it is as we read this section with the other sections. I hope the Minister will clearly indicate how he will treat workers in Government services, for instance, those employed by the Office of Public Works, the Department of Defence and the Department of Posts and Telegraphs as postmen or otherwise. If the same type of recommendation were to come to him in respect of them would he deal with it in the same way? Would he eliminate the phased increases that have been suggested and so violate the Employer/ Labour Conference recommendation? He is setting a precedent now. He is arming employers, particularly unscrupulous employers, with an argument that can have very serious repercussions on the workers and trade unionists of this country.

The Deputy is indulging in a lot of repetition.

That is quite true and it appears so.

It is self evident.

Repetition is necessary in order to ensure that the Minister fully understands where he stands in relation to the Employer/Labour Conference. If I succeed in getting him to understand that position, then the repetition will be well worthwhile. I hope that when I sit down other Deputies will give their views on the obvious breaches on the Employer/ Labour Conference recommendations. The Minister cannot have it both ways. He is either fully in favour of implementing these recommendations or he is not. On this occasion he has decided to violate this particular recommendation.

At this late stage I should like to ask the Minister to reconsider the situation in relation to the salaries payable to the Ceann Comhairle and Leas-Cheann Comhairle. In conclusion I should like to express my regret that the Labour Party Members have not yet shown up and have given no indication of how they feel about the Minister's proposals. They have done nothing to let the Minister see in public that they have sympathy for this particular breach. By their actions in the division lobbies they indicated that they will condone any type of tactic, any type of approach, any breach of agreement whatsoever, as long as it is done on a political basis and recompense is made elsewhere to satisfy them personally, and them alone.

Deputy Blaney, when speaking on this section made reference to the annual allowance that is paid to the Leas-Cheann Comhairle, £1,898, and to the responsibility, and the time consuming activity of the Leas-Cheann Comhairle and, of course, to the Ceann Comhairle. A comparison was drawn between the figure for the Leas-Cheann Comhairle and that for a Parliamentary Secretary and it was pointed out that it was somewhere in the region of £1,000 less. All of us who have had quite a deal of recourse to the House will appreciate the fact that there is the comparison in ways between the responsibilities of one vis-á-vis the other.

The Minister for Finance will tell us that he must abide by the recommendations of the Employer/Labour Conference in this regard. Deputy Colley has drawn attention to the terms of reference in this but I think that, arising from the discussion we have had on this matter, it appears that the Minister is acting a little less than generously in regard to the Leas-Cheann Comhairle. We can assume that in relation to all sections but he is acting a little less than fairly as far as the Leas-Cheann Comhairle is concerned.

It is because of that that I feel the Minister might, at this stage, reconsider the position. The Minister has conceded that with the volume of responsibility which the Leas-Cheann Comhairle has he would consider that he was entitled to a greater remuneration. He has an opportunity here. I am aware that the Leas-Cheann Comhairle himself has mentioned that the backdating of the allowance previous to 1st July has been dealt and finished with under previous sections but it does apply to sections 8, 9 and 10.

I suggest that the Minister consider the possibility of making that specific allowance retrospective. That would appear to be unfair to the other people covered in sections 7, 8, 9 and 10 but as against that I think that the Minister for Finance would be able to get over that problem because he would know that by making this particular section retrospective he would not be doing something that would hand anything to Members of the Opposition. From that point of view this suggestion might appeal to him. To make sections 7, 8, 9 and 10 retrospective might be of some benefit to members of Fianna Fáil but the making of section 9 retrospective will not be of any benefit to the Opposition.

The Minister might be tempted, for that reason, to do justice and to accept the recommendations of the Employer/Labour Conference. This is why I rose to suggest that in order to be fair to the two office holders concerned in this specific section he should introduce the element of retrospectiveness. Naturally, if he was to do this it would be likely that he could be prevailed upon to introduce it also in connection with section 10 but that is a matter which can be, and will be, discussed when we deal with that section.

I am sure Deputy Lalor would not be setting a trap, or wish to. I accept the generosity of his offer and the remarks of Deputy Blaney. I think they were well justified and I think they reflect the view of this House regarding the office of Leas-Cheann Comhairle. It would seem to me that the way to meet this is not with regard to the past but, if the Opposition were prepared to indicate an increase in the figure of £1,898, then it would apply to the future. In that way the justice that people have seen has not been done could be done.

The figure of £1,898 was the Employer/Labour Conference figure and we have abided by those figures. The Devlin figure was £2,560. It may be that there may be some difficulties in doing this but I think that all sides of the House agree that it is a matter that should be looked at in the not too distant future.

Would the Minister not appreciate that, whatever view we take on both sides of the House, to increase the figure would be a breach of the Employer/Labour Conference recommendations?

But the payment of retrospection would not be in breach of those recommendations.

It would be a breach to increase it. So the Deputies are not making any offer?

Consistently we want to support the agreement. We have made that very clear all along.

What was the object of Deputy Lalor's suggestion?

Is the Minister suggesting that we should breach it?

No, I was inviting the Opposition, if they felt strongly enough about it, to make an offer.

I suggest that that section be made retrospective.

We have offered the section to the House as it stands.

The Committee divided: Tá, 68; Níl, 64.

  • Barry, Peter.
  • Barry, Richard.
  • Begley, Michael.
  • Belton, Luke.
  • Belton, Paddy.
  • Bermingham, Joseph.
  • Bruton, John.
  • Burke, Dick.
  • Burke, Joan T.
  • Burke, Liam.
  • Byrne, Hugh.
  • Clinton, Mark A.
  • Cluskey, Frank.
  • Collins, Edward.
  • Conlan, John F.
  • Coogan, Fintan.
  • Cooney, Patrick M.
  • Corish, Brendan.
  • Cosgrave, Liam.
  • Hegarty, Patrick.
  • Hogan O'Higgins, Brigid.
  • Jones, Denis F.
  • Kavanagh, Liam.
  • Keating, Justin.
  • Kelly, John.
  • Kenny, Henry.
  • Kyne, Thomas A.
  • L'Estrange, Gerald.
  • Lynch, Gerard.
  • McDonald, Charles B.
  • McLaughlin, Joseph.
  • McMahon, Larry.
  • Malone, Patrick.
  • Murphy, Michael P.
  • Costello, Declan.
  • Coughlan, Stephen.
  • Creed, Donal.
  • Crotty, Kieran.
  • Cruise-O'Brien, Conor.
  • Desmond, Barry.
  • Desmond, Eileen.
  • Dockrell, Henry P.
  • Dockrell, Maurice.
  • Donegan, Patrick S.
  • Donnellan, John.
  • Dunne, Thomas.
  • Enright, Thomas.
  • Esmonde, John G.
  • Finn, Martin.
  • Fitzpatrick, Tom (Cavan).
  • Flanagan, Oliver J.
  • Gilhawley, Eugene.
  • Governey, Desmond.
  • O'Brien, Fergus.
  • O'Connell, John.
  • O'Donnell, Tom.
  • O'Leary, Michael.
  • O'Sullivan, John L.
  • Pattison, Seamus.
  • Reynolds, Patrick J.
  • Ryan, John J.
  • Ryan, Richie.
  • Spring, Dan.
  • Staunton, Myles.
  • Taylor, Frank.
  • Thornley, David.
  • Timmins, Godfrey.
  • Tully, James.


  • Ahern, Liam.
  • Allen, Lorcan.
  • Andrews, David.
  • Barrett, Sylvester.
  • Blaney, Neil T.
  • Brady, Philip A.
  • Brennan, Joseph.
  • Breslin, Cormac.
  • Briscoe, Ben.
  • Browne, Seán.
  • Brugha, Ruairí.
  • Burke, Raphael P.
  • Callanan, John.
  • Calleary, Seán.
  • Carter, Frank.
  • Colley, George.
  • Collins, Gerard.
  • Connolly, Gerard.
  • Crinion, Brendan.
  • Cronin, Jerry.
  • Crowley, Flor.
  • Cunningham, Liam.
  • Daly, Brendan.
  • de Valera, Vivion.
  • Dowling, Joe.
  • Farrell, Joseph.
  • Faulkner, Pádraig.
  • Fitzgerald, Gene.
  • Fitzpatrick, Tom (Dublin Central).
  • Flanagan, Seán.
  • French, Seán.
  • Gallagher, Denis.
  • Geoghegan, John.
  • Gibbons, Hugh.
  • Gibbons, James.
  • Gogan, Richard P.
  • Healy, Augustine A.
  • Herbert, Michael.
  • Hussey, Thomas.
  • Kitt, Michael F.
  • Lalor, Patrick J.
  • Lemass, Noel T.
  • Leonard, James.
  • Loughnane, William.
  • Lynch, Celia.
  • Lynch, Jack.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • MacSharry, Ray.
  • Meaney, Tom.
  • Molloy, Robert.
  • Moore, Seán.
  • Murphy, Ciarán.
  • Nolan, Thomas.
  • Noonan, Michael.
  • O'Connor, Timothy.
  • O'Leary, John.
  • O'Malley, Desmond.
  • Power, Patrick.
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Timmons, Eugene.
  • Tunney, Jim.
  • Walsh, Seán.
  • Wilson, John P.
  • Wyse, Pearse.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies Kelly and B. Desmond; Níl, Deputies Andrews and Browne.
Question declared carried.