Superannuation Bill, 1954—Second and Subsequent Stages.

Question proposed: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."

The purpose of this Bill can be very simply stated. It is to provide women civil servants with superannuation benefits on retirement similar to those available to men civil servants.

The cost of the Bill in the immediate future cannot be calculated but it will not be significant and, in the long run, it will impose no additional charge on the Exchequer as the benefits which women civil servants will enjoy under the Bill have been actuarially equated to those which at the moment they do enjoy. It is merely a case of giving an equal amount but in rather a different way.

When women began to be employed, the implication of that employment was not understood. This Bill seems to me to be merely a step upon the road which inevitably must be travelled when women are employed, as they are, in the Civil Service. I think it is a step towards justice.

I am very interested in the Minister's methods. It would appear from his remarks that the Department have arranged that women civil servants will appear to get benefits but that, in fact, they will not: that is what I understood from the Minister. If that could be done with other people what a wonderful scheme it would be.

If I am in order—I would point out to the Senator that he is under a misapprehension. It is not a case of giving the people the same and appearing to make it more; it is merely a case of conceding that these benefits be given in the form in which the beneficiaries desire them to be given.

In fact then, they are getting no more than they got before?

They are getting it in a different form and they did got ask for more.

Question put and agreed to.
Agreed to take remaining stages now.
Bill passed through Committee without recommendation, reported, and received for final consideration.
Question proposed: "That the Bill be returned to the Dáil."

I would like to say a word in a general way about superannuation. I believe with the increase in the number of years——

Would not that come under the next Bill?

This is the Superannuation Bill, and if the Senator wants to discuss something arising out of the contents of the Bill he may do so.

Are you not allowing me to say briefly a few words on this?

Yes, if it arises out of the contents of the Bill.

I want to say briefly that the increase in the expectancy of life was referred to recently at a discussion in Dublin—I think the chairman of the Bureau of Statistics was at that meeting, as well as some other people eminently qualified to speak on that subject. They referred to the increase in the expectancy of life. They did not refer to this pending Bill, but I do think in framing future legislation we might consider allowing people to work on longer in the public service. This question has been troubling people not alone in this country but also in Britain and other countries, and I think it is very much more pertinent here than anywhere else, because the time when people get married is later in Ireland than in any other country in the whole world. Very often the time when people reach the age of 65 and are forced to resign from the public service is just the time when their sons and daughters are the heaviest burden on them, and when these people could be of most benefit to their sons and daughters in matters of education, and so on. I would ask the Minister and officials that these matters should be borne in mind when future Bills of this sort are being considered.

I think the public will be gratified at the speech of Senator Burke. I assume, of course, that he is speaking for his Party. Now, we find——

The Minister is going to pick holes in Senator Burke, obviously.

We are not instructed like the Government Party.

The Minister.

We now appreciate that despite all its protestations Fine Gael have become the Party of the old men. I am in that category myself and I have heard with a great deal of personal sympathy the plea which the Senator has made for people approaching patriarchal age. I understand now that the policy which Fine Gael is going to put before the electorate in a very short time——

The general election—no, no.

——is that so far as the Civil Service is concerned their policy is going to be to keep the old men in and the young men out. We do not subscribe to that policy.

It is time some of you were let go out, then.

Question put and agreed to.

And the Minister can go back too, sir.