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Seanad Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 7 Nov 1956

Vol. 46 No. 11

Superannuation Bill, 1956 (Certified Money Bill)—Second Stage.

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

The purpose of this amending Superannuation Bill is to enable a retiring civil servant to surrender, subject to certain conditions, part of his pension for his wife or for one dependent nominated by him. A woman civil servant may provide a pension for a dependent. I am sponsoring this Bill, which introduces a new feature into the superannuation code, in response to requests from staff representative bodies and I am glad to have the opportunity of promoting this much desired measure. The pension payable under this Bill to the wife or other dependent of a civil servant will be the actuarial equivalent of the part of his own pension which he surrenders—so that in essence the civil servant is being given an option to distribute, within limits, the pension awarded to him or her under the Superannuation Acts. No charge will be imposed for the administrative costs involved. These costs, which should not be very great, will be borne on public funds.

The key section of the Bill is Section 3, which enables a civil servant to surrender part of his or her pension in return for the grant of a pension to a wife or to one specified dependent. Regulations are to be made under the section to provide for administrative procedures. A statutory declaration will be required in proof of financial dependency and certain penalties are prescribed for the making of a false declaration.

Section 1 of the Bill contains the necessary definitions, the most important of which is that of "dependent" and Senators will notice that there is no reference there to the wife. That is because the provisions of the Bill apply specifically to her.

Section 4 provides that the pension to a wife or dependent shall be the actuarial equivalent of the amount of pension surrendered. Actuarial tables showing the equivalents for various amounts according to the age of the civil servant and the beneficiary are being compiled and will be made available to all retiring civil servants. Where the beneficiary is a wife, an option is provided in Sections 5 and 6 for payment of her pension as from the date of her husband's death, or alternatively, from the date of her husband's retirement, at a rate which will be doubled after his death. The rates of pension will vary with the option.

Section 7 enables a life pension under the Act in favour of a young person to be converted into an annuity for a limited period of years. This will be done only on the application of a parent or guardian and where it is considered that this step would be in the best interests of the beneficiary, for example where a short-term annuity at a higher rate would be of value during a period of maximum expenditure on education.

Section 9 imposes certain limits on the amount of his pension which a retiring civil servant may surrender. This is to ensure that he shall not on the one hand divest himself of an unduly large proportion of his pension or, on the other hand, surrender so little that the beneficiary's pension would be trifling in amount.

The benefits of the Bill will be available to civil servants retiring after the appointed day which will be fixed by order under Section 2 of the Bill. It is necessary for me to fix a date by Order so that during the interval the regulations and necessary actuarial tables can be brought into final form and effect.

The remaining sections of the Bill are consequential and enable the Bill, as such, to be fitted into the superannuation code or to provide for due administration.

The Bill provides for a benefit which has been requested for a long time and, while providing that benefit, at the same time it does so in a manner which will mean that in the long run there will not be any additional charge on public funds. I hope, therefore, it will commend itself to the House.

Ní mórán atá le rá ar an mBille seo agus ina theannta sin, is dóigh liom gur de thoradh scrúduithe an Aire Airgeadais agus na Roinne leis na daoine atá údarásach ar son na Stát-Sheirbhíseach a rinneadh é. Mar gheall air sin, is dóigh liom nár cheart cur ina choinne.

No doubt this Bill is a well thought out measure and I suppose it is as a result of discussions that have taken place between the Minister for Finance and his Department and Civil Service representatives that it has been brought before the Oireachtas. I do not know exactly how it is going to work out and there may be many people who would question the advisability of some sections of it, but at the same time if this arrangement has been approved by the Civil Service representatives, I suppose that should be good enough for us.

Not merely approved —requested.

Very good. I regard it then more or less as an enabling Bill. It will enable civil servants who retire on pension to avail themselves of the provisions of this Bill, but they need not do so, if they like. It is purely optional. As to the question of surrendering part of the pension I have not bad time to study the Bill as well as I would like to, but is there any provision in it for the commutation of portion of the Civil Service pension; in other words, that some portion of the pension could be commuted to a bulk sum in certain instances at the discretion of the retiring civil servant in question? I do not know if there is.

The question of dependency also comes in. Part of the pension can be surrendered for the benefit of the pensioner's wife and one dependent, as the Minister said, one specified dependent, and I take it that it is the pensioner who will specify the dependent and that there can be only one dependent. I take it that it will be up to the retiring civil servant to prove the dependency of the individual concerned by declaration, affidavit, or whatever one likes to call it. This Bill will come into operation as and from the appointed date, but we have not yet been given the appointed date. I suppose in no circumstances will it be made retrospective because it could happen that there would be people retiring at the present time, members of the Civil Service, and members would have already retired, who might like to avail themselves of its provisions.

Would there be anything wrong in extending it to existing Civil Service pensioners? I know that would open up a big field and the same argument has been put forward in connection with retired teachers. Pensions has been a controversial matter for a long time and I do not think any satisfactory decision has ever been arrived at. In any case, perhaps it would be as well if the Minister would give consideration to this question of taking existing Civil Service pensioners into account. There is also the question of State servants generally. I do not know what repercussions this Bill will have on State servants, apart from civil servants.

Army and Gardaí?

Army, Gardaí and so on. I do not think it can be argued that this will involve additional expenditure, except whatever administrative expenses will be involved. It will be, one might say, an adjustment of the pension as between husband and wife and dependent. We have no objection to the Bill from this side of the House, seeing that it has been given the consideration that the Minister tells us and has been requested by the Civil Service and the Civil Service representative body.

I think we all agree with what the Minister said and what Senator Kissane has said about welcoming this Bill. It is quite obvious that it meets a case which has been made by the civil servants, and that it will be appreciated by them, and consequently will be approved, I think, by all of them without exception. Therefore, we in this House will, I assume, unanimously accept the general principles behind the Bill.

It does seem to me, however, that this is a Bill which is pre-eminently capable of improvement in such a deliberative body as ours. I noticed that in the Dáil the whole discussion was contained in two speeches, including that of the Minister, and that the Committee, and all other stages went through in about four and a half minutes. I feel there are some clauses and some points of general principle which we ought to discuss before we pass this Bill and it is my contention there are some amendments—not very big ones—which might nevertheless be made.

I should like, first, to consider the general principle of a pension. The general principle behind granting a pension is a recognition of the fact that the salary is not sufficient to save on in order to provide for the old age of the worker concerned. Therefore, the employer—in this case the State— grants, over and above the salary, a pension on retirement. The point has been made before, in relation to superannuation of local authority servants, that many people accept posts with relatively low salaries because of the advantage they carry with them of having a pension at the end. That is an understandable attitute of mind— accepting a post at a relatively low salary because it gives both security of tenure and a pension at the end of it.

If you ask any of our civil servants why they were content to be civil servants when, in the business world, the commercial world, the world of the professions, they might reasonably, with their training and ability, have expected to earn more, £ for £, outside, I think, some would reply that the pension is a valuable part of the salary. I think, that is basic, and it is the pension is a valuable part of the salary. I think that is basic, and it is related to some of the things I want to suggest presently.

If the salary is not big enough to permit saving for old age, I would argue that, similarly, the pension deriving from such a salary to the retiring civil servant is not big enough to allow him to save for the surviving years of his partner, his wife, his widow. I think that is clearly demonstrated. The pension itself, being much smaller than the salary, would not be enough to enable him, out of that pension, to provide for whatever remaining years there would be for the surviving partner, or for the dependents, if the retired civil servant dies. Therefore, the Government has quite rightly decided to introduce this Bill to allow a civil servant to make over, in advance, portion of his pension, which is part of his right, which is part of his salary, which is fully earned by him, which is not a charitable grant made to him by a kindly Government. He is enabled by this Bill to make over part of that pension to be dependent should he die.

Basically, I take it that the salary given to a married civil servant is regarded as big enough to support himself, his wife and his family. I say it is "regarded" as being sufficient. That might be open to private discussion. Nevertheless, the general assumption is that the salary paid to the married civil servant is big enough to support himself, his wife and family and is intended to cover such expenditure. Therefore, I would contend that the pension is calculated with a view to making it big enough to support the retired pensioner and his wife—one may assume, perhaps, that the family is self-supporting by that time.

I would contend that, just as the wife might be taken to have a right to a share of the man's salary, so, too, the wife has a right to a share of his pension. Although the pension is not paid to her, in common equity and in common justice, the pension right ought to vest in the wife as much as in the husband. Consequently, I would say there ought to be a continuing right, if the husband dies, in respect of the surviving years of the widow. I would say that this Bill does not quite recognise that, but recognises at any rate the right of the pensioner to give some of his pension to his widow, should he die. I cannot help wondering whether that is sufficiently generous. The Minister has made it clear that the State will not lose any money by this measure. They have worked it all out. It has been done on an actuarial basis. The basis is that the civil servant may make over some of his pension rights for the sake of his widow and family, but we are not going to lose a farthing by it; there will be no loss to the State.

I feel that, although civil servants have requested this Bill, yet if they were not civil servants, shall we say, they might be inclined to say, when both Houses of the Oireachtas, have passed it, "Thank you—for nothing", because what we are giving them is the right to give some of their own money to some of their own family. I feel, therefore, that this right by itself is not sufficient—in other words, this giving of the right to a civil servant to provide for his widow out of his own pension rights, sacrificed in advance is not enough. The idea behind it is good but it is not couched in sufficiently generous terms. To make quite clear what I mean: I should like to see a widow being granted half the value other deceased husband's pension as an automatic right. That would cost the State money, of course. However, I would like to feel that the Minister would be prepared at least to give that proposal some consideration—the recognition of the right of the widow to some pension in her own right. I should say that the ordinary expenses of life will be for her at least half what they were when her husband was alive, if she is the surviving partner.

I should like a Bill which, quite simply, would allow the Government to pay half the civil servant's pension to the surviving partner. My criticism is not of the basic principle of the Bill, but of its being hedged round with exclusions and exceptions which will be found in the Bill as it is at present framed. I think it would be unfair to say that the major aim of the farmers of the Bill has been to see to it that the State does not lose anything by it. Nevertheless, one feels that they have not given much away—by conceding the right to a man on his retiral from the Civil Service to give some of his pension money away to his family. The State is not giving anything at all. The Minister has told us just now that there will be no loss to the State.

I should like now, therefore, to examine some of the precautionary clauses with which this Bill is surrounded. I would refer to Section 3, sub-section 4 (b) which reads:—

"a person shall not be entitled to make a surrender under this Act unless the Minister decides that the person is of sound health."

That means that this surrender has to be made before retirement, and that a civil servant whose health is not first-class will be excluded by the conditions of the Bill. A civil servant who is not in sound health will not be covered by this Bill! The Minister has to be satisfied, after medical examination, that the person who wants to make this kind of surrender of his own pension right—for which he has worked and for which he has made sacrifices in terms of salary—is in sound health: he will not have the right to give that up if he is not in sound health.

What civil servants are most likely to be actively and urgently concerned with this right to make provision for their dependents and widows, should they die? They are those very civil servants who are not in sound health. More, by far, than those who are in good health, those who are not in good health will be worried, will be concerned, and will wish to avail themselves of the power granted by this Bill to provide, out of their own hard-won pensions, for their widows and dependents. However, by this clause they are excluded. I feel entitled to call that kind of discrimination and that kind of "hedging round" ungenerous. Those who will most feel the need of this newly-granted right are automatically deprived of that right by the Bill itself! I feel that that is a bad principle.

I notice also, and it is a related objection on my part, that, under Section 3, this surrender right shall be granted to male established civil servants retiring on or after the appointed day "otherwise than on the ground of ill-health". That is another section of the Civil Service to be excluded from the use of this Bill, namely, civil servants who retire, not on reaching the retirement age, but by reason of ill-health. This may be ill-health contracted in the course of their duties as civil servants. If they are bound for medical reasons to retire on grounds of ill-health, they will not be allowed to make over any of their pension in this way to any of their dependents or their widow.

Furthermore, I notice that in Section 3, sub-section (4) (f) we find:—

"Where a person is required to undergo medical examination under the regulations, the person shall be responsible for payment of the fee for the examination."

The Minister requires that the person shall undergo a medical examination, but the civil servant pays the fee. That is a very small point and probably only a question of a guinea or two, but I wonder if the basic principle is sound. Who asks for the medical examination? The Minister. Who pays for it? The victim, the person being examined. It may be an unnecessary request; the examination may prove that there was no need for it. It may be a case of over-caution on the part of the Minister requiring such an examination, but the civil servant is the person who has to pay for it. Oddly enough, I note under Section 12, sub-section (2) that

"...the sums received by the Minister in respect of medical examinations for the purposes of this Act shall be paid into or disposed of for the benefit of the Exchequer in such manner as the Minister may direct."

These few odd guineas will go to the Exchequer. I think that rather odd: I should like to see this Bill giving rights to the Minister to pay for any medical examinations he sees fit to prescribe.

Furthermore—and this point is related to this question of the health either of the retired pensioner or of his dependents—I notice in Section 7, sub-section (2) (c) that, in the case of the substitution of a certain pension grant for another form of grant, the Minister may require the dependent to undergo medical examination and so on. In paragraph (b), before that, the Bill says that a substitution shall not be made unless the Minister decides that the dependent is in good health. Apparently you are not allowed to make a child, a dependent of yours, the beneficiary of an annuity under this kind of Bill, unless you can show that your child is in good health.

I wonder if the Minister has considered fully the implications of that. Clearly, of course, if the child is suffering from some disease from which it may die before being able to benefit from whatever annuity or pension is made over to it by its father, this clause will protect the child and protect the pensioner; but supposing the child is suffering from a mental affliction. That child may live for very many years; it cannot be said to be "in good health"; and so the pensioner will be precluded from making any provision for it under the terms of this sub-section. Again, perhaps the full implications of that have not been considered.

There is one other point before I ask two questions. It is in connection with the definition of the dependents. This is in Section 1, sub-section (1), line 15. The dependents are pretty widely defined. I am not going to read them out but you will see that almost every legitimate possibility is catered for, every person fairly near to the pensioner. It includes his father, mother, step-father, step-mother, son, daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law and so on. I should like to make a plea that two others be added to this list. I know that the Minister said in the Dáil that the list was made pretty wide, and that it was felt there had to be such a list because it could not be endlessly extended. I should like to see the addition of the mother-in-law and the father-in-law. The mother-in-law is regarded as a subject for music hall comedy, but I would suggest that in real life the mother-in-law is the person who is frequently turned to in times of stress. I could imagine a case of a pensioner who was a widower and whose wife's family—his father-in law and mother-in-law—were living with him and whose mother-in-law in fact had been of the greatest assistance to him in the bringing up of his motherless children. It is quite obvious that in such cases such a mother-in-law and such a father-in-law will be very really dependents, a very close part of the family; yet under this Bill, although such a mother-in-law may, in fact, be the only surviving dependent, in the real sense of the word, the children having grown up, she is not included in this clause, nor is the father-in-law included, and they cannot be beneficiaries under this Bill.

I would stress here that, as Senator Kissane has said, this is an enabling Bill, giving discretionary power. Nobody is forcing the pensioner to give up portion of his pension to his father-in-law or mother-in-law—or to his father, mother or wife for that matter—but it enables him to do so. I contend that there would be cases of hardship were the mother-in-law or the father-in-law to be excluded from these clauses, and I should like to see an amendment accepted which would allow them to be included.

There are just two questions I should like to ask the Minister before sitting down. One is in relation to Section 4. The Minister has quoted portion of that section and has explained that the pension under this Bill shall be "of such value as, on the date of retirement, is actually equivalent", and so on. I should like a little explanation of that. I take it that that means the pension will be calculated on the average expectation of life of the pensioner at such and such an age, or of the ordinary average person. It is stated here that the Minister is having tables drawn up in connection with this problem. I should like a little more explanation from the Minister as to the basis upon which these tables will be drawn up. Are they to be average tables relating to a cross-section of the population, or are they to relate to particular professions; or, in other words, how is the expectation of life to be calculated?

I should like to ask the Minister will these actuarial tables not be upset by the fact that by this Act we shall have excluded from its jurisdiction people in bad health? I wonder if the Minister has adverted to the fact that the exclusion of civil servants in bad health means that the people to whom the Act will apply are all people presumed to be in good health and who would consequently actuarially be expected to have a longer expectation of life than if the Minister did not, by the terms of the Bill, exclude those who were not in a good risk, who were in poor health. Will the actuarial tables take that into account?

My second question relates to Section 9. I should like to ask whether Section 9 is necessary at all? It seems to me to be a clumsy section. Its aim is to see to it that the pensioner does not give up too much or too little. I do not intend to read the whole section, but I would ask Senators to read it themselves and to ask themselves whether it is not clumsy and whether it is unnecessary.

One final question I should like to ask in connection with Section 3, sub-section (4), paragraph (e). I feel this paragraph is not very happily phrased and I would like to know whether it could not be redrafted? It reads as follows:—

"Notice of a surrender shall become null and void if, on a day on which the person wishing to make a surrender under this Act is an established civil servant, either that person or the proposed grantee of the pension under this Act dies,"

The meaning of that is, I think, fairly clear: if a person dies before he can fulfil this surrender, the whole thing becomes null and void, but I wonder if that could not be expressed in simpler terms and if the intention could not be more clearly expressed? As I say, I believe this is a good Bill, but hedged around with too many precautionary devices. I should like to see it slightly more "givish", more generous, and I should like to see amendments made along the lines which I have suggested.

I, of course, welcome this Bill It appears to me to be in a form rather similar to what is in most industrial schemes and from such experience as I have had of such schemes, I do not feel the Bill is hedged around with so many difficulties as Senator Sheehy Skeffington has suggested. Most of the precautions in it are what are ordinarily found necessary in such a scheme.

In sub-section (3), I wonder would it be possible not to make the limitation to one dependent. One might easily have the case of a civil servant with several young children, and, as I understand it, under this Bill, he could make provision for only one of them. In that connection, I turn to clause 7 which, I think, is a very wise clause. I understand that clause to mean that where there is a minor child, instead of that child receiving a pension for life, which might be quite a small thing, the Minister will have power under certain circumstances to substitute larger payments during the period of the child's youth and education.

Like an educational insurance policy.

I agree, and I should like to compliment the Minister on that, because it is not a provision familiar to me in ordinary pension schemes. I think it is an extremely wise thing that, instead of the child receiving perhaps quite a small pension for the whole of its life, which might not be very much use to it, the Minister has power under that section to make a larger payment. Senator Sheehy Skeffington referred to clause 3 (e) and commented upon the possible ambiguity of the wording: "...on a day on which the person wishing to make a surrender dies", the person being a civil servant. I wanted to criticise that clause in another way. It does seem to me that it might be implied from that that if a person was not merely wishing to make the surrender but had actually taken steps in that direction of some kind and were then to die, the benefit might be lost. That, of course, raises the question of the date on which the person may make these provisions. It seems to me that it might be a fair thing to say that a person, knowing he would have to provide for his wife, widow and dependents, should be able to make these provisions and that once he does so finally, his death before the date of retirement should not upset these provisions. I think, as drafted, sub-paragraph (e) is a bit ambiguous and would want to be clarified. I do not think its meaning is quite clear. There are some minor points on which I should like to amend the Bill such as the deletion of the final bracket of paragraph (c), in sub-section (4) of Section 3. The printer provides a bracket at the end but forgot there was no bracket at the beginning, but these are minor matters.

I welcome this Bill. I think it is an excellent measure which will be of very great advantage to quite a large section of the community. There are considerable administrative difficulties, but apparently the Minister is satisfied they can be got over. I agree with a good deal of what Senator Sheehy Skeffington said as far as the position of a dependent is concerned. I do feel that the widow should have some definite rights, so far as State pensions are concerned. In other countries, it is the practice that where a pensioner dies, his widow automatically continues to receive for her life something in the nature of 50 per cent. of the pension. It would be very desirable if we were able to do that right away in this country and I hope it will be economically possible to do it; but in the meantime I welcome this measure and I regard it as making a very good start in attempting to make better provision for the dependents of pensioners. It is something for which I feel we have made in many ways inadequate provision in our legislation.

I am very disappointed with some of the conditions outlined with regard to dependents qualifying. I look at this whole Bill as something which will enable a man to make provision for his wife and children, if he feels he is not going to be there as the breadwinner. It therefore seems that the whole purpose of the Bill is to some extent defeated, if there are to be these very stringent conditions in regard to medical examinations. I can remember one case where a man whose health was not in very good condition, elected in the interests of his family not to have a retirement pension so that certain grants or pensions would fall to his dependents in the case of his death. There was at that time no medical examination.

I could understand that there should be an inquiry into the man's health and that it should be ascertained if he were physically fit at the time; but putting the whole thing on a medical examination basis as, for example, in the case of an insurance policy, I think entirely defeats the whole idea of the Bill. Really, it makes the measure of very little value in the case where it would be most needed. I wonder if the Minister would be prepared to reconsider some of the conditions which he is apparently going to lay down, so far as the medical examination is concerned in regard to the pensioner and his dependents?

Possibly no member of this Seanad has views more divergent from mine on many matters than has Senator Sheehy Skeffington, but in a democracy one of the things that makes it so pleasant is that one can hold different views from other people and express them vigorously. Senator Sheehy Skeffington and I have expressed divergent views vigorously on many occasions, but, notwithstanding all that, I am particularly glad to see him back here to-day restored, I hope, to complete good health after his serious illness.

I thank the Minister.

Senator Kissane opened the debate and asked me whether it is possible to commute portion of the pension. The Senator is aware that, under the ordinary superannuation arrangements, a civil servant on retirement gets partly a lump sum gratuity and partly a pension. The lump sum gratuity can be allocated in certain ways. The pension is what we are dealing with in this Bill and we do not provide in this Bill that any part of the pension can be commuted. It will hardly be necessary to do so, in view of the existence of the lump sum gratuity arrangements.

Quite frankly, I have not given consideration to whether it will be desirable to extend these terms to the Army or the Garda Síochána. The usual practice in respect of State servants, taking them in that wider sense and not in the other sense, is that legislative matters will be dealt with in respect of the normal civil servants, first of all, and after legislation has been considered for civil servants, consideration will be given to the question whether it is desirable to extend that to other persons, such as the Senator suggested, the Army and the Garda, who are paid by the State. The Minister for Defence and the Minister for Justice will not be slow to come at me if the representative bodies in those cases are anxious to consider this problem.

Senator Sheehy Skeffington, I am afraid, completely misconstrues two things—one in principle and the other in administrative detail. I do not accept in principle his view in relation to pensions. I do not think that payment of the amount required is intended to maintain a civil servant, his wife and family. It is on a slightly different basis—the basis that at that age the family has grown up. A contract of service in any business, whether State or anything else, presupposes decisions on certain basic principles on which the quantum of the payment should be made. A very different quantum would be made if as suggested by Senator Sheehy Skeffington and Senator ffrench O'Carroll the quantum of the payment must provide not merely a pension for the person who is employed, but, in addition, a pension for his widow. The actuarial difference would be very substantial and would involve a much bigger charge for superannuation on public funds. The contract does not provide for that.

In that respect, I must make it quite clear beyond question that in the present circumstances I cannot accept at all any suggestion that would mean there would be additional charges on the Exchequer for payments to State servants in the manner suggested by some of the Senators.

The second point on which I and Senator Sheehy Skeffington differ is this: I do not think the Senator understands the administrative method by which this surrender will take place. We have not got actuarial tables based on experience in the Irish Civil Service, but there are special tables available for our consideration in respect of service based on the British Civil Service and for a scheme similar to this. Those tables, based in that way, got over the difficulty in relation to what is known in insurance parlance as bad lives. The whole purpose of the provisions as regards health here is that the actuarial tables are framed on the basis of a person in good health.

If, therefore, we were not to restrict the application of this Bill to persons of good health, we would be applying for the purposes of this Bill tables suitable for a person of good health but operative for a person not of good health. One could, I suppose, consider loading the actuarial tables in the same way as life insurance policies are frequently loaded. That would make a great deal of difference and difficulty in relation to the administrative costs, and I think it would be wise first, whatever about moving on to that at a later stage, if we got this scheme in operation in relation to the ordinary form of administration.

It is commonplace, of course, in life insurance that a person insures, or more strictly accurately, is anxious to insure, at the actuarial table rates equivalent to a good health even though he is not a good life. It is for that reason, apart from industrial insurance, that the ordinary company requires a medical examination, but the whole basis upon which this Bill is framed would be lost if it were not for the medical examination, because that and that alone provides the actuarial tables that will be used and, in fact, the actuarial tables correct for the applicant in question.

There were some other comments on drafting, notably in relation to Section 3, sub-section (4) (e), raised by Senator Sheehy Skeffington and Senator Cox, from different angles. I think it might be better if we left discussion on that until the Committee Stage. I must confess I was a little bit started by Senator Sheehy Skeffington's suggesting that, though that paragraph was badly drafted, it was quite clear what it meant.

After being read four or five times.

If a clause is quite clear when it is read, even four or five times, it is still well drafted. I am not quite satisfied that it is even so clear as the Senator suggests. Perhaps that is something lacking in my interpretation of it. We will consider it between now and the Committee Stage. The point in relation to Section 7 is exactly as set out by Senator Cox. It is an endeavour to import into this scheme something analogous to the insurance policy that can be taken out to provide for the education of one's children. It is an endeavour to translate that type of protection into the framework of this allocation of pension scheme.

Senator Sheehy Skeffington indicated that he would wish to move certain amendments, and of course I am absolutely at the disposal of the House for the purpose of considering amendments on the Committee Stage, but if the House would not mind, in that event, I would ask that the Committee Stage be not until this day fortnight as I expect to be engaged in the Dáil during the whole of next week.

Will it be possible to have this Bill amended at all?

Would the Minister answer a question? In ordinary commercial insurance practice, if I choose to buy over the life insurance of somebody else, am I not subjected to a medical examination?

It is not on your life; it is on somebody else's life.

Why should the dependents or the pensioner be subjected to a medical examination when he has actually sold his policy?

I am afraid the Senator has not understood the section. There is a change in the life assured; it is not merely a change of ownership in the policy.

Question put and agreed to.

This day fortnight.

The House must consider this Bill within 21 days.

I have no objection. I should like to know if the Bill is to be regarded as a certified Money Bill?

I shall be available to take it to-day or to-morrow, but I am afraid I will not be available next week.

Is the Minister considering introducing something in the way of recommendation to this Bill?

I am not, I understand that Senator Sheehy Skeffington is anxious to put something down.

Will we be within the 21 days in taking the Committee Stage on this day fortnight?

Would 7 o'clock this evening be too soon?

I do not mind.

I would remind the House that they cannot introduce amendments which would involve additional expense.

I understood the Minister to assure us that this Bill would not put any charge on the State. I was a little surprised to hear that it is a certified Money Bill.

This is definitely a Money Bill.

It is not necessary to put a charge on the Exchequer, if it deals with funds. This deals with the allocation of funds out of the Exchequer and on that account is a Money Bill.

I take it that the altering of rights which we give under this Bill to a civil servant to transfer some of his own money to somebody else could not be interpreted as increasing the charge on the State.

This is of no value. It is a certified Money Bill and this day fortnight would be the last day for us to consider it.

We have discovered now that to take the Committee Stage within three weeks, we must take it on the 21st of this month. The three weeks begin from the day after we receive the Bill.

Is not the position that if the 21 days pass, I have the right to go to the Dáil and ask for a motion? I need not go; I do not want the Bill in such a hurry that I cannot wait the extra two days. I am quite prepared to wait.

No; not in the case of a Money Bill.

Committee Stage ordered for Wednesday, November 21st.