Pensions (Increase) Bill, 1962—Second and Subsequent Stages.

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

The Bill provides statutory authority for the pensions increases granted in 1962 and 1963 to various public service pensioners. Civil pensions payable from the Exchequer and from other public funds, are covered in the Bill, including pensions paid by local authorities and harbour authorities, as well as pensions paid by various statutory bodies. Similar increases in Army retired pay, Disability pensions, Special allowances and Military Service pensions are being authorised by separate legislation. The increases in Exchequer pensions, both civil and military, have already been paid in practically all cases under the authority of additional estimates passed on the 18th July, 1962, and the 28th November, 1963.

The White Paper circulated with the Bill explains the provisions in some detail. The unusual feature of the Bill is the departure from the basis adopted in previous pensions increases, which consisted of percentage additions varying with the amount of the pension or the date of the pensioners' retirement, so as to provide a larger increase in the smaller pensions or for the longest retired pensioners. The 1962 and 1963 increases, on the other hand, operated to bring all pensions currently payable to persons who retired before a certain date, up to a level related to a common standard of post-retirement pay. Thus, the 1962 increases raised pensions to 1955 pay level, and in addition, added a further 6 per cent to these pensions and to pensions granted subsequent to the 1955 pay increases but before the general pay increase of 1959. The operative date for the 1959 pay increase in the case of the Civil Service was 15th December, 1959, and for other services December, 1959, or early in 1960. The 1963 increases raised pensions higher still, to 1959 pay level, so that all pensioners who retired before the dates when the 1959 pay increases became operative have now been brought up to the level of pension based on 1959 pay. The older pensioners have benefited considerably from these increases and those longest retired have received a substantial addition to their pensions under the 1962 and 1963 increases over and above the increases already granted to them under the four earlier Pensions (Increase) Acts, 1950 to 1960.

These revisions have been more costly to the Exchequer than any pensions increase previously granted. The estimated total annual cost of the 1962 increases was £820,000 with a further £320,000 for the 1963 increases. Allowing for some savings on account of deaths since August, 1962, the annual cost of the 1962 and 1963 pensions increases at the present time is estimated to be of the order of £1.1 million, and, including the 1964 increases, the annual cost is raised to nearly £1.4 million. The estimated annual cost to the Exchequer of earlier pensions increases was £212,000 for the 1960 increases, £130,000 in 1959 and £180,000 in 1956. The estimated annual cost of the increases granted in 1949 was £240,000.

The number of Exchequer pensions covered by this Bill for the 1962 increases is 10,106 divided into the following categories:

2,709 Civil Service Pensioners at an annual cost of


2,956 National Teachers —annual cost


4,017 Garda Pensioners (including Widows and Children)—annual cost


424 RIC and Miscellan- eous—annual cost


The total annual cost of increases in these pensions in £462,000 to which must be added approximately £42,000 for recoupment of the Exchequer share of the 1962 increases in local authority pensions, making a total of £504,000 for the estimated annual cost to the Exchequer of the 1962 increases under this Bill. The 1963 increases payable under the Bill are estimated to cost a further £211,000 in a full year, of which £48,000 is for Civil Service pensioners, £60,000 for National Teachers, £79,000 for the Garda pensioners and £9,000 for RIC and other small groups of pensioners; the remaining £15,000 is for recoupments to local authorities.

Increases in Army and Military Service pensions, Retired pay and Special allowances, which are being covered by separate legislation, will bring the cost to the Exchequer in a full year up to the figures of £820,000 and £320,000 already mentioned.

I should like to draw attention also to section 29, under which future increases in civil pensions of the type covered in the Bill may be authorised by statutory regulations made by the Minister for Finance and laid before each House of the Oireachtas. This provision will relieve the House of the necessity of passing an Act to validate every new pensions increase. It will not, however, lighten the work of the Minister for Finance, who will always have the task of co-ordinating the many proposals for expenditure which constantly come before him, with the revenue available to him. In this situation the Minister for Finance must hold a balance between the various sectors of the community so that the incidence of taxation and the distribution of benefits will tend to be fair and reasonable.

The needs of pensioners will continue to be sympathetically considered but regard must be had, however, to the overall capacity of our resources upon which, in the final analysis, depend the benefits that can be provided for the various sectors of the community, including pensioners.

I commend this Bill to the approval of the House.

Cuirim fáilte roimh an mBille seo. Déanfaidh sé maitheas, gan dabht, do na daoine atá ar phinsean, na daoine a dhein mórán ó bunaíodh an Stáit agus a dhein mórán ar son an Stáit as sin amach. Tá gá leis an dtairiscint go raghaidh na pinsin suas chomh maith leis an gnáththuarastal. Ní dóigh liom go bhfuil aoinne sa Teach seo a raghaidh i gcoinne an phrionsabail sin. Níl na daoine atá ar phinsean cosúil leis na daoine eile. Ní féidir leo dul ar stailc. Ní féidir leo mórán a dhéanamh chun a gceartanna do bhaint amach.

Tá dualgas orainn anseo, lucht déanta na dlíthe, féachaint chuige go ndéanfar rud éigin do na daoine seo nach bhfuil mórán de mhaoin an tsaoil acu. Tá súil agam, an tráthnóna seo, go n-aontoídh Seanadóirí leis an bprionsabal go mba cheart gach pinsean dul ar aghaidh céim ar chéim leis an tuarastal taobh amuigh.

I personally welcome this Bill. I consider it will do a considerable amount of good and I should like to avail myself of this opportunity of thanking the Minister for the sympathetic way in which he has approached the question of pensions already by the numerous steps he has taken over the past few years. We are afraid, even though the Minister has looked sympathetically at this question of increased pensions, that the increases already given still leave pensioners far behind, in equity, from the point of view of purchasing capacity.

The Minister, in section 29, is seeking power to alter pensions by laying the regulations relating to the alterations before the Houses of the Oireachtas. He is getting away from the Victorian straitjacket in which the legislature has found itself for a number of years — the straitjacket of the Victorian era, where there was little change in price levels, and the cost of living rarely changed. In the post-war era, where there is inflation and soaring prices, it is necessary to face up realistically to the plight of pensioners with regard to the cost of living. If it is necessary to rewrite the value of salaries it is logical and sensible also that the intrinsic value of pensions must also be rewritten from time to time. We are glad the Minister has broken out of the straitjacket and can deal more expeditiously in the future with increases.

Under section 29 of the Bill the Minister in seeking power does not state how, when or what the nature of the increase can be at any particular time. We suggest in the motion, which will be moved later on, that he might write, as guidance to himself and his successors, into that section, the principle that all pensions paid out of State funds to persons who have equivalent length of service and rank should have equivalent value. It is a principle that is fair and equitable and one which nobody can argue against.

The increases granted over the years were totally inadequate to adjust the pensions of people in retirement and bring them to the same purchasing capacity as would be enjoyed by those who retire currently on pension. National teachers would require a 49 per cent increase to bring their purchasing power to that of a teacher who would retire at the present time. That would refer to married men, but in the case of a single man or woman it would require 50 per cent. In relation to the gardaí, it would require 63 per cent. In the case of a sergeant it would have to be 59 per cent and for a superintendent 51 per cent.

In regard to the army, NCOs would require 37 per cent and officers 45 per cent. These figures indicate the position in regard to these people, who are powerless to a certain extent, inasmuch as they cannot take industrial action. They are not members of trade unions who can act for them, and they are dependent on the sense of duty and the moral obligations of the Legislature. All of us here are members of the Legislature. We are all responsible for the levels of pension which are given to pensioners. We here, together with the members of Dáil Éireann, make the law and all of us have an individual duty in this matter.

Many of the people for whom we speak are people who have been there since the foundation of the State. They have seen the State grow and they contributed significantly towards the development and wellbeing of the State. Many of them have no negotiating machinery. They have no conciliation and arbitration machinery to fight their case. The satisfying of the needs of the community is the norm of social justice, not the satisfying of the needs of the few. If people who give service have their needs satisfied from time to time by adjustment in salary levels, so also should the needs of those on pension be satisfied. It is a lopsided approach to social justice to have the needs of one section of the community only satisfied.

The motion which will be discussed later on, I can assure you, is entirely non-political. The level of a person's pension does not depend on, or in any way colour, political principles. The principle enshrined in the motion affects people of all political shades of opinion. It should be looked on objectively. It should be considered that society owes a debt to those who have given honourable and loyal service to the community. A pension is in relation to basic salary and we contend that the State's obligation to a person who has rendered service does not cease when a person steps out of the service. There is a moral obligation on the State to see that that person is protected against rising costs and inflation.

One cannot put a person's service aside as if it were a mere chattel or piece of merchandise. A person who has given service to the State or the community generally is entitled to a share in the prosperity he has helped to create. When a person gives a service he gives part of his personality and his individuality to that service and leaves an imprint on it. This applies to anybody who has helped in the development of this State for the past 40 years. Many people in public life have contributed very significantly to the development of the State and brought it to its present position, which is, indeed, the admiration of many countries abroad.

The principle of broad equivalence with the currently awarded pensions has been respected in many countries. A doubt is cast on this but it is understood from people who have investigated the matter that the principle has been accepted in France and Germany. Pensions are in that way helped to retain their intrinsic values. Due to the turnover tax and the ninth round increases the position of pensions is very precarious at the present time. I saw at a meeting with other Senators here today pensioners from the various services—Garda, army, the teaching profession and so on. It was most pathetic to see people of 70 and 80 years of age coming in at that hour of their life looking for protection against rising costs and inflation. The fact that they have to fight at this hour of their lives is most pathetic to see. Apart altogether from a reasonable increase, there has been the usual rise in the cost of living, as indicated by the February index figure, since 1960 which reads consecutively as 144, 149, 154, 160, 165. There is a gradual rise. I should like to mention that the Minister is looking on the whole question sympathetically, but the measures taken to date have not been adequate.

Pensioners have the right of protection against losses sustained through inflation. They should also be protected, and not placed at a disadvantagevis-a-vis other people who are already in the service. Even if the Minister cannot concede the principle in full today, we would still like an expression of opinion from him that he would at some stage be inclined to have a phased approach to this question. Even though the principle set out in the motion is not in existence in any country, we, as a Christian people, could do a lot in this matter and see that those who have given valuable and honourable service to the community are not left out in the cold.

I should like to begin by acknowledging—in fact, I have been asked to acknowledge—the contribution made by the Minister for Finance to some reasonable and permanent solution of the problem of pensions. I think, in fairness, the Minister should get credit for a number of steps he has taken in recent years to put this matter on a proper and equitable footing. Like Senator Brosnahan, I am sure other members of the House are concerned with the deplorable standard of pensions, generally speaking, payable to employees of the State. They still lag very far behind what, in fact, they should in all justice be entitled to receive under present conditions. I shall not bore the House by repeating the figures already quoted. The figures are on record and they can be checked and they will be found to be accurate. The fact remains that if we were to do justice to this group of people today we would, in fact, require an adjustment of pensions along the lines of something like 50 per cent in some cases to 63 per cent in others and in no case less than 36 to 38 per cent. What we are doing in this Bill, I understand, is making a uniform adjustment of something like five per cent on the present level of pensions. That is a situation, I suggest, about which no responsible member of this House can be absolutely content or complacent.

I suggest that this House should take cognisance of the fact that the people we are endeavouring to cater for in this Bill have given the greater part of their lives, technical skill and knowledge in the service of this State. It should never be forgotten—I hope it never will be forgotten—that many, if not most, of the men and women who are today solely dependent, in most instances, on the meagre pensions paid from State funds for their continued sustenance, if not existence, are the same men and women on whose integrity and skill the very foundations of our State were laid, and with whose help the whole complicated pattern of law and order as well as administration was fashioned and built, over the past 40 years. Even more than we owe to posterity, the present and immediate future generations of our people owe a deep debt of gratitude to our surviving pensioners from all the State services.

It has been truly said that the social conscience of a people can best be judged by the manner in which it looks after the welfare, in the spiritual and temporal senses, of its elder generation. Let it not be said of us, therefore, as Pádraig Pearse said in another context of some of our elder patriots: "We killed them by neglect ... and then went in reverend procession to their graves when they were dead."

Over the period of the past 15 to 20 years, the problem of inflation and its consequent detrimental effect on the levels of pensions, which were generally related and equated to outdated terms of actual money values, has created acute and heartrending difficulties for the overwhelming majority of our State pensioners, in common with all other categories of retired employees. The State, however, has the duty and clear obligation before God and man in seeing to it that its obligation to its former employees in this respect is, at least, fulfilled. That obligation can only properly be fulfilled by equating the current level of existing and future pensions with the corresponding purchasing power which those pensions were primarily intended to provide in the first instance.

It is gratifying to note that the present Minister for Finance has, in fact, publicly admitted the equity and justice of that claim. In his Budget statement of 1962 the Minister foreshadowed a more enlightened approach by the Department of Finance to a proper solution of this problem.

Like Senator Brosnahan, I welcome the provision in section 29 to provide that in future the problem of pension adjustment will not have to await the preparation of new legislation and its introduction both in this and in the other House. That is a badly needed and long overdue reform and I think every member of this House should welcome the provision in the Bill to deal with it.

It does not, however, get away from the fact that the pensions we are discussing are related to 1959 standards, that is, five years ago. Likewise, we should not forget, in addition to the erosion of money values from other directions which we have had over that same period of five years, that there has been a minimum adjustment of 35 per cent on the average income by way either of wages or salaries to every other section of the community. That gap will have to be closed if justice is to be done to the State pensioners. I strongly urge on the Minister the desirability of at least intimating to the House exactly when that problem will seriously be faced by the Department of Finance.

I do not think any over-elaboration of this problem is needed to convince the members of this House that a just case exists for the claim which is made by the State pensioners. In all fairness, if we are to do our job by the people who sent us here we should be first publicly to acknowledge that the claim is just, equitable and overdue. I join with Senator Brosnahan in appealing to the Minister—if he is not in a position actually to make provision in this Bill for the adjustment—to give the House an indication when his Department will be prepared to face up to the problem seriously and determinedly.

I, too, should like to welcome this Bill as a move in the right direction. I welcome it heartily in so far as it increases the pensions payable to State and local government pensioners. The pity is that it has not gone much farther. I should like in particular to say that I agree with section 29 of the Bill which will make it unnecessary in future to bring before the Oireachtas proposals to increase pensions of retired civil servants and Local Government officials. When the Bill becomes law, the Minister will be able to adjust pensions by regulation. That is a most desirable state of affairs.

I am in complete agreement with the motion standing in the name of Senator Brosnahan and others. I wish to give it my full and absolute support. Long before I entered the Seanad I thought for many years that it was only fair and reasonable that the pension of a retired civil servant or a retired local government official should be related directly to the current salary of a successor in office. I have always held that view and I am very glad to be able to speak to a motion and support a motion which advocates that principle.

We are dealing here with the pensions of people who rendered great service to this State and to this country, people such as retired teachers who took over the educational system from the British in the early 1920's and gave us the system of education which we have today. We are dealing with the pensions of superintendents, officers and men of the Garda Síochána who, again, in the same period, took over the maintenance of law and order from the British on the foundation of this State and gave us a new type of police force, an unarmed police force—a police force that has been a credit to the country ever since. It has been admired throughout the world. They were young men, inexperienced men, and men who took over at a very difficult time. The same can be said of the Army and, indeed, the same can be said of the retired civil servants who took over the various Departments of State, and some new Departments, and moulded them to suit the new Administration and the new Irish outlook to the discharge of public duties and public office.

It is really sad to read this circular which we have been sent and to note that it would take as much as an increase of 59 per cent, or 63 per cent in some cases, to bring some of those pensions up to the rate of pension enjoyed by those retiring today. Some years back it was a great hardship on retired pensioners not to enjoy what I might call current pensions. If that were true a few years ago, how much more true is it today when the value of money seems to be decreasing in leaps and bounds, and when the cost of living is, admittedly, rising rapidly. Some years ago that was a gradual process, but now it happens that something that cost a given figure a few months ago costs as much as 25 per cent or even 50 per cent more. Therefore, the hardship of those people is all the greater.

Although the Minister is considerably improving the position in the present Bill, yet he is able to bring the standard of pensions up to the 1959 level only. We must bear in mind that since the 1959 level, we have had the eighth round, in 1961 I think it was, and we have had the 12 per cent this year. Therefore, the pensioners are still lagging behind, and lagging behind very considerably. No one would begrudge the Minister the necessary finances to do justice to these people who have served the State so well. No one would begrudge the Minister the necessary finances to bring the level of the pensions of retired civil servants, retired Local Government officials and others up to the current pension rate.

As I say, I welcome the Bill as a move in the right direction, and I wholeheartedly support the motion.

I rise to support the Bill and to support the principles of the motion. On the question of pensions, it is very difficult to avoid dealing with particular cases, and I should like, in my address, to make a plea on behalf of the professional classes who are in a particular difficulty. I feel I will be able to satisfy the House that in their case special circumstances exist which will require special consideration. I would hope that something might be done to bridge the gap between 15th December, 1959, and 1st August, 1960. As I understand it, all pensions prior to 15th December, 1959, have been subject to a 6 per cent increase under the 1963 Act and now all pensions will be liable to a 5 per cent increase under the current Budget.

I am making a plea to the Minister to consider applying the 11 per cent to local authority officers and servants who retired after 15th December, 1959, and before 1st August 1960. From 1st August, 1960, certain restitution was made to officials of local authorities whose salaries had been depressed in every increase granted since World War II. Those officials were the very men who took over a wholly undeveloped country and, in fact, a devastated country after our freedom was achieved. Without any special training, but with the utmost devotion and enthusiasm, they organised and devised the systems under which our country was built up and rehabilitated. Let me remind the House that there were no "Music While You Work" conditions applying to the service in those times. There was no 48-hour week, or five-day week. I have personal knowledge—and I am sure members of the House will not contradict me —of men who, during that period, worked as much as a 70-hour week, seven days a week. Then when the emergency conditions came, local authorities and public servants gave tremendous service in fuel production, emergency services, in Army and fire fighting units, in the LDF, the LSF and all other services. All those services were willingly given, and without stinting. No questions were asked, and no increases sought. Loyalty and service were the keynotes.

After World War II salaries were first adjusted in 1946. It was described as a salary adjustment, and we can assume that salary adjustment was given after full consideration of the merits of the case. After that, from 1946 to 1st August, 1960, various temporary allowances were granted, but in every case between 1946 and 1960 a ceiling was applied. The professional officials had their salaries clamped down at a certain figure.

Judging by the change of heart in connection with the ninth round, when all increases were applied at every level, it would appear as if we now recognised the injustice that was done between 1946 and 1960 when a ceiling was applied and upper salaries depressed. I have here a reply to a Parliamentary question which will bear out what I have stated. The second round increase after 1946 was given in 1948 and it was 7½ per cent of basic salary subject to a maximum increase of £100 per annum. In other words, there was no increase above or slightly below the salary of £1,400.

The third round applied to 1950. In this case the 7½ per cent was raised to 20 per cent of basic salary, the total temporary allowance payable being subject to a minimum amount of £60 and a maximum of £250—again, no increase being applied to a salary of £1,250. The fourth round, in 1952, raised to 30 per cent of basic salary the previous 20 per cent, or £75, whichever was the lesser. The total temporary allowance payable was subject to a minimum of £90 and a maximum of £325, again keeping the figure of £1,250.

The fifth round in 1955 brought an increase of 10 per cent on the first £300 and 6½ per cent on the balance of existing inclusive remuneration. Again, the ceiling was maintained. The sixth round in 1958 brought a flat increase of 10/- per week not to be given to anybody in respect of salaries of more than £1,240. The seventh round in 1959 gave an increase of 8.4 per cent on the first £343 15s 0d and 5.3 per cent on the balance of existing inclusive remuneration excluding the flat 10/- per week.

The eighth round took place on 1st August, 1960. It was the first time a 20 per cent increase was applied to all salaries without ceiling. Right along, from 1946 to 1960, the upper salaries were depressed. As I have said, in 1960 the 20 per cent increase was granted for the first time all round. That seemed to show that the Government were anxious to make some restitution. Let me say, though, that the 20 per cent in 1960 did not arise from any sudden increase in the cost of living at that time; it was really to make up for the amount of money withheld in salaries from public and State officials from 1946.

Between 1946 and 1960 persons who went off were not all given restitution because the period of restitution begins, or ends, on 15th December, 1959. Officers who went out between 15th December, 1959, and August, 1960, get no benefit. The man who went out after 1960 has his pension based on a salary increased after that date. In a great number of cases the money to pay for those increases, particularly in cases of local authority officers, must be provided by the local authorities and I have no hesitation in saying the local authorities will honour their obligations in this matter if the Ministers for Finance and Local Government give them the necessary statutory authority.

I worked 41 years for a county council. During that time we had neither strike nor lock-out and the local authority paid the maximum salaries and wages they were entitled to pay. I am perfectly satisfied they will do the same now.

Let me point out another matter in connection with pensions which again inflicts grave injustice in certain cases. Civil servants, officers who entered the State employment at the age of 18 or 19 years, are on pensionable service. A professional man of my own profession, doctors and others working under local authorities or the State, after the age of 18 have to go to a university to get their professional qualifications and it is well known to the Minister and members of the House that it is rare for any professional man to get a permanent appointment under the age of 30 years.

Therefore, if he goes into the service of the State or of a local authority his pensionable service commences at the age of 30 years. It is a fact that in computing his pension certain years may be added, but in computing his lump sum allowance no years can be added. Therefore, the person who enters the service at the age of 18 has the required service to enable him to get the full lump sum allowance, which is 1½ times his salary plus half his salary as pension, whereas the professional employee never reaches his maximum lump sum allowance.

The number of officials for whom I speak, particularly those who retired between 1959 and 1st August, 1960, would not be very great but because the number is not very great the injustice is all the more marked. In my county town we have a local paper whose motto is: "Be just and fear not". Thousands of years ago there was another motto:Fiat justicia ruat coelum. If the Minister gives these matters his sympathetic consideration neither the heavens nor the State will fall, and I make my appeal in all sincerity. When dealing with pensions, and in considering the motion before the House, the case of officials who retired between December, 1959 and August, 1960, should be looked into.

As I see it, the Bill does not propose to give any pension increases to any retired servant. It simply authorises increases which have already been paid. The increases which have already been paid, as I see it, restored or brought the level of pensions up to the level of the salaries obtaining in the employments from which the people retired resulting from the seventh round of wage and salary increases, in other words, the level of salaries obtaining in those employments as a result of the increases negotiated in late 1959 or early 1960. Those seventh round increases have resulted in an adjustment in the pensions paid in those same employments, but the pensions were not adjusted until November, 1963, when, no doubt, the ranks of the retired people had been thinned by death.

I am well aware of and acknowledge the Minister's sympathy for the retired people. He has done a great deal and there is every indication that he will do far more but what I want to advance is not a plea for sympathy. I know that sympathy is there. What I want to advance is an acceptance by this House of the right of people who are compelled by reason of the conditions of their employment to retire at a certain age to maintain the standard of living relative to that employment. Let us try to put this in its proper context. Those retired people are not people who have opted out of the community. They are still part of this community, still part of this nation. We have boasted with all the turns and weavings to the left from various Parties at the moment that the prime aim is to advance the economy of the country, advance the wealth and wellbeing of the community, and people, for example, who are in employment can expect through the strength of their organisations and their trade unions to benefit and participate in the development of the economy. I am not simply talking about compensation for the change in the value of money which we now recognise as being inevitable, but a participation or sharing in the increased wealth, in other words, a real advance in their standard of living.

We as a Christian community should be prepared to acknowledge that all parts of the community should share in this advance, not simply people who could do so through the organised strength of their trade unions, not simply farmers who can do so through their own organisation and their acknowledged voting power, but also the other weaker and less well organised sections of the community. What I am trying to advance here is that these people surely have an expectation to participate in the development and increase in the wealth of the country. They should not have to expect that they must wait for four or five years to participate and share in, so far as any of them are left, the advance, because here, as I said, what we are authorising and giving our blessing to under this Bill is an advance given to those people in accordance with the seventh round. Since then there have been an eighth and a ninth round, and I have no doubt that the people covered by this Bill, or as many of them as will survive, will eventually benefit by the eighth and ninth rounds. What I am trying to put to the Minister is that those people should not have to wait, that we, the Houses of the Oireachtas, the Ministers and the Government, should acknowledge that people who retired from employment because they had to retire, because it is a condition of their employment that they retire at a certain age, should benefit by any increase relating to that employment in subsequent years as long as they live. In other words, they have a right to an expectation of the standard of living that they had gained by their work and their development in the community.

I should like to labour this point, that they are not people who have opted out of the community. They are not people who have decided that they do not wish to work any longer and that they will go into retirement. Too many of us assume that people who retire do so willingly and gladly and say: "I am finished working. I am very happy and I will not do anything further." In fact as we all know, that is not the situation. Generally speaking, when they come to retiring age they would much prefer to stay on at work and possibly would be happier, would feel that they would, obviously, be better employed if they stuck on in the job to which they have been accustomed and participated in the work. But they are compelled to retire. The people we are speaking about here, people covered by the motion, are, generally speaking, people who have not opted out but people who have been compelled to retire at a certain age because they have reached that age and have no wish to go out but have been told: "You must go at this point in your life." We in this House should be prepared to acknowledge that that section of the community are entitled to participate in any development of the economy and not simply entitled to have compensation for any change in money values in the cost of living but as well are entitled to have their share in the economic advance which we hope will continue.

I hope that the Minister will see his way to accept this motion. It would be in line with the sympathy he has shown for those people down through the years. I appreciate that it puts him in a difficulty. We all appreciate this because he cannot pull these further benefits out of the air. It means in fact that somebody else has to go a little short. This is simply a sharing out of the well being of the economy. If we give more and a just portion to this section somebody else has to be a little short and get a little less. We in this Christian community referred to by the mover of this motion should be prepared to accept that. We know the difficulty of these people, and equally they have a right and an expectation to maintain the standard of living appropriate to the employment from which they have retired. I sincerely hope that the Minister will find it possible to show his sympathy further and to show that he could accept the spirit at least of this motion.

I just want to say that I welcome this Bill because there is grave dissatisfaction throughout the country among the pensioners in the various national services. A Bill to increase pensions for the various types of people covered by this Bill is a very welcome measure, indeed, and most desirable in the present circumstances of rising prices and increased cost of living, especially in view of the increases that have taken place over the past few months. The Government must accept responsibility for those increases and the increase in the cost of practically every commodity that those people have to buy. After all, the first category to suffer from those increased prices are the people who are living on low fixed incomes. Those are the pensioners.

One section of pensioners, in particular, for whom I really feel, is the members of the Garda Síochána. Those men tackled almost impossible tasks in this State. They were an unarmed force who worked hard and long hours, risking their very lives, in order that the people could live normal and civilised lives. It is a terribly unfair situation where those who risked their lives and suffered great hardship to bring peace back to our country are in receipt of £200 per annum less than their colleagues, probably with the same level of service, who retired only a few years after them.

I am told a garda with 33 years' service, who retired in 1960, gets a pension of £290 per annum and that his colleague, who retired this year with the same length of service, will receive £472 per annum, £182 more than the man who retired only a few years ago. I understand the same injustice arises throughout the different services. Our Constitution guarantees equal rights to all citizens but here we find those who devoted their lives to the service of the country and to building up the State from scrap get the least return for it.

I, personally, think that those who fought for the State in the early years did a tremendous job. They laid very solid foundations and the people who followed them, more or less, had the same hard task. It is regrettable that the people who worked for the State in the beginning should be penalised in this fashion. While I welcome the Bill I do not think it goes far enough, and it is to be regretted that the upward adjustment of pensions is very little. The Minister, of course, can say he is increasing the funds by over £1 million. I think, if the Minister really wanted to, he could straighten out this matter once and for all. I should like, sincerely, to support the motion on the Order Paper over the names of Senators Brosnahan, Crowley, Murphy, Ó Conalláin and Dooge. I feel it is only right, in all social justice, that these pensions should be brought up to the present level of prices.

Maidir leis an gnó atá ós ár gcóir tuigim go bhfuil an chuid is mó againn fábharach don Bhille seo. Ní chuirfidh sé feabhas ar an mBille a thuille cainte a dhéanamh air. Sé an ní céanna a thiocfaidh as. Mar a thuigim féin, ní théann an Bille faid a dhóthain maidir le cúrsaí pinsean agus ba mhaith linn dá raghadh sé níos faide. Tá cúiseanna agus fáthanna leis sin. Táimid ag plé na bhfáthanna gur ceart é a bheith níos fearr ach ar an dtaobh eile den scéal táimid ag fiafraí cá bhfaighfear an t-airgead breise chun feabhas a chur ar na cúrsaí.

Tá a lán ualach ar phobal na hÉireann faoi láthair maidir le cánacha. Tá siad ag dul in aoirde an bhliain seo agus is mór an bille é sin. Ardófar a thuille é má chuirtear a thuille leis. Tá daoine i nÉirinn a chreideann nach ceart rud éigin a thabhairt dona daoine a thug seirbhís don tír san am nach raibh suaimhneas in Éirinn, agus nach bhfuil níos mó tuilte acu maidir le cursaí pinsean. Caithfimid a bheith sásta leis an méid atá ar ár gcumas a dhéanamh. Sé an rud is fearr ná glacadh leis an mBille seo agus an ardú pinsin a thabhairt dona daoine seo. Má chuirimid ró-mhór ar na daoine beidh an ualach ag éirí níos measa agus beidh orthu a thuille airgid do chaitheamh.

Ní dóigh liom gur fiú bheith ag caint a thuille mar gheall air seo. Is fearr glacadh leis agus ansin nuair a bheidh sé ar ár gcumas níos déanaí, a thuille airgid do lorg.

I rise to support the motion. I want to say Senator Brosnahan has so fully and convincingly dealt with the subject that my rising to speak at all is merely to indicate my wholehearted support for the principle enshrined in this motion. I feel everyone in this House is convinced of the justice of this principle. I feel the Minister himself is convinced of it. Therefore, I would be labouring the obvious to go back on any of the arguments that have been introduced in favour of it.

There is no need for me, therefore, to make reference to the sterling service given by people, who are now on pension, to the State, or to bring in figures — everyone can bring in figures—to show that the people who are now retired are being unfairly dealt with by comparison with people at present retiring.

I shall confine myself to one aspect of the case which I think has not been mentioned yet. Pensions are generally regarded as deferred salaries and, particularly in the case of contributory pension schemes, it is obvious that a grave injustice is being done to people who, during the course of their service, pay a valuable premium towards their pension and then, when they retire on pension, find that the money they get in respect of their premiums is much lower in value.

If we look on the question of pensions on that basis, I think the case for equating pensions to those of people currently retiring is completely unanswerable. The figures quoted by Senator Brosnahan are percentages that would require the bringing of pensions to the purchasing power of people retiring now. These figures must shake even a Minister of State out of his attitude of complacency. The most striking group of all was omitted from that list, that which would show the highest percentage required. That is in relation to the secondary teachers.

The reason for that is obvious to anyone who knows the basis on which the secondary teachers' pension is calculated. In the first instance, there was no pension scheme in their case until 1929. Therefore, a year of service prior to 1929 was not calculated as a year of service for pension purposes at the ordinary rate. It was calculated at a reduced rate. For that reason, the people who served in the secondary education branch of teaching over the last 40, 50 or 60 years retire on very reduced pension. While retirement is normally at 40 years' service, it seldom happens they go out with 40 years' service or anything like it. Their case, therefore, would give even a more alarming figure than any of the figures given by Senator Brosnahan. It accentuates the need there is today for something to bring the principle enshrined in the motion into operation and into legislation.

The Bill before us merely gives statutory effect to something that has already been done. Like other Senators, I welcome the Bill in so far as it goes, but with the others, I regard it as quite inadequate. I also commend the attitude the Minister has adopted towards this. He has taken three steps towards alleviating the condition of pensioners. The first is the percentage increase and the second relates pensions to salaries a few years in arrears. The second step has gone some way towards adopting the principle enshrined in the motion. But, even the Minister must agree that it has not gone nearly far enough, and we hope, when he is replying to this debate, he will be in a position to say that he accepts this principle and that he will do all in his power to bring in legislation in the future or, as he proposes to do, make statutory orders to bring about a state of affairs which will leave pensioners without a grievance.

I merely wish to express my approval and support of the motion by Senators Brosnahan and Crowley. I should also like to say that I approve of the Bill which, I think, merely gives statutory effect to what has already been done for a couple of years. I strongly approve of section 29 of the Bill because it gives the Minister power, without coming before the Oireachtas, to make all the changes and all the advances of which different Senators have spoken today. There is no ground left that has not already been covered by speeches already made. I would appeal to the good, warm and sympathetic heart of the Minister to take advantage of section 29 in order to put into effect as far as in him lies, whether immediately or over a period of time, all that has been asked for in the motion before the House.

The Bill, as has already been said, is an instrument authorising increases already paid since last year. Most of the speakers have already indicated that the Minister is in favour of the motion. It is good to hear that because I know the Minister, over the years, has been associated with the pensioners and their deputations and he has been more than courteous to them. He has, to use his own words, with the finances at his disposal, done his best.

It is generally conceded that the lack of money is the cause of the Minister's inability to give effect to parity which the pensioners all over the country are anxious to achieve. It would appear that Deputy Dr. Ryan favours this, but the Minister for Finance finds difficulty in implementing it. I am sure Deputy Dr. Ryan and the Minister for Finance will get together and help the pensioners.

There are 25,000 ex-State pensioners in this country. They have met the Minister, through their deputations from time to time over the past few years, and they have had a measure of satisfaction with each increase they got. Sadly, what happens when he is giving an increase is that a short time after that the increase is of no monetary value to them because creeping inflation carries on despite everything.

It has been said that these pensioners are really servants of the State. The Minister, and everyone in this House, is fully aware of most of the things which have been said so far. Sometimes they bear repetition. At other times, they become boring. But, in a matter like this, everybody acknowledges the fact that just at the moment the current pensioners are the men who participated in the founding, the nurturing and the bringing to adulthood of this nation. We looked at this matter from a Christian point of view. A Senator claimed that if this is treated in a Christian way, then those outside will have pensions comparable to the ranks they hold in the service. I commend that, and every member of this House commends it.

A most extraordinary thing about pensions, whether they are State pensions, IRA or Army, is that there is complete unanimity in both this and the other House on the matter. It is probably unique inasmuch as it is a measure to which there will be absolutely no opposition, no matter what Government introduce it. That is the extraordinary feature of it.

Inflation is a disease that began, I believe, with the century. It accelerated slightly after the First World War and the momentum gathered tremendously from 1946 onwards. In this morning's paper we are told that the £ note of 1951 has decreased by 2d short of one-third. A £ note is now 6/6d less in purchasing value than it was 13 years ago.

Some economists tell us that inflation is a very pleasant experience for those who are organised and can buttress themselves against it because they get more money and are able to meet the increased costs as they come along. We, the mover of this motion and those who support him, speak on behalf of those who have no organisation and no instrument by which they can enhance their financial situation. They are utterly dependent upon the Oireachtas. There is no organisation outside that can strike on their behalf. There is nobody to whom they can appeal except to the Oireachtas and, in the last analysis, to the good nature or the good heart of a Minister who, naturally, says in effect: "Certainly, I shall give it to you, but it is difficult to find the money. I cannot find the money".

We are all over 21 years of age in this House and in the other House also and we know that money can be found for most extraordinary things. I believe that with the good heart of the Minister money can and will be found to implement the concepts embodied in this motion. These 25,000 men are entitled to our support because they produced ordered institutions in this country—not those men over there or these men over here, but these men themselves. They gave their whole lives to this work.

I am also satisfied that no member of this House or of the other House wants to see an old State servant in poor circumstances. In company with other members of the Oireachtas, I attended the representative meeting of these 25,000 people. I was and still am mainly concerned—be it generally known—with Army pensioners. It is unbelievable that there are people who served this nation for 40 years who are now living in what used to be described as shabby gentility. It is up to each and every one of us to do our best to ensure that their economic situation is improved.

Anything that could be said about this has amply and ably been covered both by the mover of the motion and subsequent speakers but there are two matters to which I wish to refer before I conclude. When the organisations constituting the State servants sought parity, they found difficulty in representing the Old IRA pensioner in that field because they cannot compare him with existing grades. With profound respect to those men who have given their services on the various local authorities, these men—some of them are still in this House—gave sterling service for 24 hours a day and never thought of pensions: that did not arise at all. However, that is a difficulty that will confront the Minister if he ever gets around to the happy day when he decides to sort out this parity question.

The Minister could relate the Old IRA pensions to the grades existing in the Army so that when the Army get a raise, then, as time goes on, the Old IRA pensioner will automatically be associated with that Department. Damn it all, if he is not associated with the Department he created, he is not associated with anything. Most of the Old IRA elements are fading away like the proverbial old soldier. The Old IRA are diminishing in numbers day by day. We are fast approaching the time when a couple of thousand pounds will pay for the lot of them. It would be a wonderful gesture on the part of the Minister and on the part of the Oireachtas so to relate these men to the Army grades that they can have some sort of quasi-security in not the twilight but the late evening of their lives.

A number of Army personnel successfully competed in examinations and came into Government service. These men are now suffering a loss of money inasmuch as their pensions are reduced in some measure and in some cases, I think, have actually been stopped. I should like the Minister to go once again into that matter and to adjust it in favour of these men. After all, you can have a pensioner from another Army in a State job here and he does not suffer any disability financially. Why, therefore, should our own men suffer it?

No words of mine can possibly illustrate the gravity of the situation in respect of a great number of these 25,000 pensioners. I commend their situation to the House and to the Minister. As I said earlier, the Bill is, first, an instrument to give effect to pension raises already in operation, and the motion is a plea to the House and to the Minister over the names of a group of Senators, and I have pleasure in supporting that motion.

At election times there is probably no louder catch cry than that of pensions of one kind or another, more often than not, old age pensions. Listening to this debate, I was very pleased to hear no political catch cries in relation either to the Bill or to the motion. All of us in the House are agreed — I hope we are agreed — on the principle of the motion. Even the Minister in his capacity as Minister (as opposed to his personal capacity) sympathetically accepts this form of motion. He said in the Dáil that the needs of pensioners will continue to be sympathetically considered and that he hoped it would be possible to effect further improvements in their position from time to time.

The Minister's difficulty is, of course, as other speakers have said, the difficulty of finding the money. As a number of Senators have said, pensioners as a whole are powerless to make themselves felt. Quite frankly, I did not realise how great was the differential in some pensions until I heard the figures quoted by Senator McDonald. It appalled me to learn that a garda retiring in 1960 will get £182 less than a garda retiring this year. This is at the point virtually of subsistence level. A sum of £182 may not make a real difference to a man who has got a substantial pension of £1,000 a year or more, but what a difference it makes to the man who gets only £290 a year as against his colleague retiring four years later at £472 a year.

This is a factor of great seriousness and of terrible import to the people who are vitally concerned. I do not want to add any more to what other Senators have said. I think the House is in favour of the principle of the motion but I should like to make one suggestion to the Minister. As all Parties are agreed on the principle, indeed nearly everyone in the State is in agreement with the principle, and those who are thinking about it know that the real question is finding the money. If that is true, I believe that the average elector and the average taxpayer would accept some additional tax in a future Budget if it were specifically related to bringing this disparity of pensions into the proper line.

If the problem were properly explained to the people, and if a specific sum were assessed in say income tax—it could hardly be more than 2d. or 3d.; although it might even be 6d., I have not gone into the figures—and if people were told what the position was, I believe there would not be nearly so much political opposition as the Minister, or any Minister for Finance, might think. I make that suggestion because if we are all agreed on the principle, surely there must be some way of putting it into effect, and putting the principle across to the people in a form which they would accept.

Is fíor a rá, ar ndóigh, go bhfuil gach Seanadóir, ar gach taobh den Teach, sásta prionsabail an Bhille agus na tairiscinte do chur i bhfeidhm chun méadú a dhéanamh ar liúntaisí na bpinsinéirí. Tá súil agam go ndéanfar sin de réir a chéile, de réir mar atá lucht íochtha na gcáineach indon é a dhéanamh. Ceist mór leathan é seo nach bhfuil có shimplí is a cheapfeadh duine tar éis bheith ag éisteacht le cuid de na cainteoiri annseo indiu.

D'fhéadfaimís go léir seasamh taobh thiar den Bhille seo, agus don tairiscint có maith, marach an aire ba cheart dúinn a thabairt do luct íochtha na gcáineach. Ní hí an Bille amháin atá i gceist annseo ach an breis airgid a bheith orainn a sholáthair i mbun an tairiscint. Tá níos mó sa tairiscint ná mar atá as Bhille agus tá sé soiléar do gach éinne go bhfuilimíd in aon aigne go gcosnóidh an tairiscint milliún punt ar a laighead. Ba mhaith liom a rádh don Seanadóir a mhol an tairiscint go gcaithimíd fiafruigh uaidh connus a gheobhaimíd an tairgead in a chóir. Tá de dhualgas ar an Teach an teolas sin a fhágháil

Má tá an tAire Airgeadais sásta dualgas mar sin a chur ar lucht íochta na gcáineach, má tá sé sásta údarás a fháil an breis airgid sin a sholáthair, an breis cáineach sin a chur ar na daoine, táimse taobh thiar de agus creidim go bhfuil gach duine a labhair annseo ar thaobh an tairiscint taobh thiar de. Sin é an cheist.

Caitfimíd smaoineadh a dhéanamh ar an méid iar-sheirbhisí atá i gceist ins an tairiscint seo chomh maith leis an mBille. Ach ní féidir an méid atá i gceist sa Bhille a chur i gcomparáid leis an méid airgid breise atá i gceist san tairiscint. Tá na gárdaí i gceist, an tAirm, na múinteóiri scoile. Tá siad ar fad i gceist agus, ar ndóigh, tá na sean-óglaidh i gceist chomh maith. Tá a lán dreamanna eile i gceist. Ar ndóigh, ba mbaith linn ar fad rud éigin a dhéanamh dóibh-san. Táimid ar aon aigne ina dtaobh.

I support the Bill and am very glad it has come before us. As we all know, there was great need for increases in pensions to compensate for increases in the cost of living and for the dwindling value of the £. If the figures quoted by many Senators are correct and there is a disparity of £200 in many pensions, I suggest the Minister would be very wise to look into it. As I said, this is a Bill I wholeheartedly support.

I was not here when the debate opened but I assume from its trend that the Bill has been very well received. I, too, am satisfied it is a good Bill and I welcome it as such. Senator Ó Ciosáin asked where the money was to come from. That question is a hardy annual. If we wanted to buy a new jet in the morning, we could get £1¼ million; if we wanted to buy five of them, we could get more than £6 million without any trouble. In fact I understand we are thinking of buying them. If we send our butter or our bacon to England, we can find money to subsidise it. Therefore, I see no reason why we cannot find the money to give pensioners, who have given such good service to the country, a fair crack of the whip at the end of their days.

I would compliment the Minister particularly on section 29. While people may not benefit from it at the moment, in future when increases are given to meet increases in the cost of living, the pensioners will also get increases without the necessity to introduce new legislation. When the Minister for Finance put that provision into the Bill, I am quite certain he was sincere. It is something we shall learn in the future when compensation is given for an increase in the cost of living—that the Minister will immediately make use of section 29 for the benefit of pensioners.

Everybody welcomes the Bill but I am afraid my welcome for section 29 must be a little guarded. I was astonished to hear members of Parliament being so anxious to welcome the removal of the normal financial procedure from the Bill in favour of procedure by regulation and order. Senator Brosnahan said it was getting rid of a Victorian straitjacket. That was parliamentary control over expenditure, one of the things parliaments have voted for during many years. I should not like the Minister to get a rush of blood to the head and come in here again and say the Seanad was trying to do things by order and not by statute.

Admittedly, it looks very well in relation to a matter such as pensions because it is difficult to imagine Senators or Deputies complaining that pensions were fixed too high. There is, however, one point which Senators would be well advised to remember in relation to the new procedure. It will certainly speed up the readjustment of pensions from time to time but it will mean this is the last occasion on which there can be a debate of this kind in the Seanad. Most of the things said on this Bill would not be in order on a motion to annul a regulation made under section 29. As long as Senators realise that when they welcome section 29, they are welcoming the fact that never again can they have this debate, then they are all right.


It is perfectly true. In future if anyone wishes to discuss a change in pensions, it can be done under section 29 only by a motion to annul.

On the Finance Bill.

Possibly, but at least one avenue of criticism is being removed. In view of the Senators rushing in to welcome section 29, I wanted them to know what section 29 does.

Though the Bill was introduced by me, I agree with what Senator Sheldon said in regard to the Victorian provision—or was it before that? British Parliaments thought that all expenditure was provided by the king and after that by Parliament. In fact when we came to office in 1932, the Government had to get an order from the Governor General before they could spend money. That, of course, disappeared subsequently. These things were regarded as safeguards for the people, the taxpayers. I agree we should not depart too lightly from them but I can assure Senator Sheldon the Seanad will have an opportunity of discussing any increases that may be given to pensioners because any Order made must be laid before both Houses. For that reason, I think that break from the Victorian custom is a good one.

Various figures were quoted and I need not tell Senators who have experience in these matters that outstanding figures are usually quoted. There are occasions when a pensioner who retired some years ago notices that a person retiring now, in the same position as he was when he retired, gets a pension of 50 or 60 per cent higher. That is not usual. I calculated recently what it would cost to implement this motion, to bring every pensioner up to the same level and found it would average out at about 25 per cent. Against that, I had calculated what it would cost to compensate 1959 level pensioners for increases in the cost of living in the meantime. That would only cost about half that roughly. I daresay if it were put to the test and had to be calculated very minutely and accurately my figures might be one or two per cent out but, roughly, that would be how we would stand, that on the comparison of the level of retiring now it would be an average of 25 per cent down but on the cost of living basis it would be about 12½ per cent down. I may not have got the figure quoted by Senator Crowley properly but I think he said that under this Bill an increase was being given to about five per cent. He may have gathered that from my speech but in my speech I took the 1962 Act first and said that all who had retired before 1955 were at the end of the 1955 level and under the 1963 Act those who had retired before 1959 were all up to the 1959 level. The 1964 proposal gave a five per cent increase on the 1959 level and that would roughly bring everybody up to the point at which people retired at the end of 1961. We, therefore, have pensioners generally at the level of those who retired in 1961 and our problem is to deal with them from that time on.

I am in complete agreement with the views expressed in regard to the good service rendered by those pensioners, whether they were civil servants, teachers, gardaí or Army personnel. They all gave very good and faithful service and I appreciate that very much. I would remind the Seanad that since 1957 I have, as Minister for Finance, provided five increases which cost in the aggregate something like £1¾ million. Before my time the total amount of the increases was £420,000 so that I could, therefore, make a case to the Seanad that I have done much better than my predecessors and as well as could be expected in all the circumstances.

I would remind certain Senators who spoke warmly on behalf of the pensioners that when I came to look for £1¾ million they always voted against me. Practically everyone who spoke on that side of the House in favour of those pensioners voted against me. The point we have to keep in mind is that the money has to be got and that sympathy without good works will not go very far.

There are two points we must keep in mind in regard to pension increases. First of all, it has been a Victorian rule, if you like, and observed more or less up to the present, that in Government pay they never take the initiative in starting a round of increases that everybody else would be inclined to follow but they do follow increases given outside as faithfully as they can. They follow the old Irish proverb "Ná déan nós agus ná bris nós". This was a good rule for a Government to take. If the Government were to give better terms to their employees than people outside they could be accused, indeed, of distributing largesse that did not belong to them.

The second point I want to keep in mind is that just as we want to be careful with regard to pay we also have to be careful in regard to our pension schemes. There are many outside firms that have pension schemes established in recent years. All these schemes by individual firms outside are based on a certain contribution, a percentage of the pay, and then the pension is provided based on the number of years' service and on the retiring pay. It is all actuarially done, worked out nicely, and if the pay remains constant over the next 40 years there would be no difficulty and no mistake in the calculation of that pension. The pensions would work out admirably, the money would be there to pay them. Even where pay has gone up in those firms the fact that the contribution has gone up also because it is a percentage of pay enables the fund to stand the increased pensions that those people retire on. But they have never provided for any increase for the pensioners who have gone out, and there is no means of providing for that as far as I can see. Therefore, if we were to set a standard that would be difficult for outside firms to follow we would make great difficulties for those outside firms in preserving their pension schemes. They could, of course, put a higher percentage on their employees, but the employees would know that that was to increase the pensions of their predecessors who had gone out and I do not think that they would be very pleased to contribute to that. In the same way we have an exact parallel to that that when the State is asked to increase pensions the money is coming from the taxpayer and when we ask him for the money he is not very pleased to contribute it. Certainly those who speak for the taxpayer both in the Dáil and here are surely not pleased to do it because they turn us down every time. You always have this difficulty. It may be said, of course, that those who turn us down in the Dáil and here are probably glad that they are beaten because they know that the money is there and they can go back and say to the man drinking the pint: "We voted against the 1d on the pint."

The same as you did in Opposition.

I know that the Senator feels happy about it because he knows that the money is there and that the services have been provided but he can tell the people in Mullingar that he voted against it.

Earmark a specific tax for pensions and see will it be voted against.

I have a note on that too. These are the points which should be kept in mind in considering a change in the pensions that should be paid to people who have gone out. I should say that when a person on this side of the House, as some of our people did, advocates more sympathetic treatment for those pensioners that person is sincere because when I ask for the money he will give it to me, but I cannot say the same about the sincerity of the people who ask for these increases but at the same time would not allow me the money to provide them.

Were you ever refused for pensions?

I was always.

Specifically for pensions?


Did you support any of the proposals in the 1955, 1956 and 1957 Budgets among which money was given for pensions?

It does not prove that I am wrong when the pot can call the kettle black. It only proves that I am right.

We are all black then. I am glad you admit that if we are black you are black also.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

Black or white we should allow the Minister to continue.

It was the Minister who introduced politics into this.

As the mover of this motion, I would appeal to members to look at it objectively and not to bring in their political opinions.

We did not start it.

I am not saying that you did but Senators should try to look at the question objectively and reasonably.

Let the Minister do it.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

The Chair shall endeavour to see that everything is done objectively and calls on Senators to help in that regard.

I would like very much to be objective and I am being objective when I say that this is going to cost £1 million and where will we get it? I would have to put a tax on some items and that is invariably opposed by the Parties opposite.

The Minister did not say he wanted it for pensions. He merely said he wanted £1 million.

The Minister asks for millions for all sorts of schemes with 5 per cent thrown in for pensions.

Let me return for a minute to the figures I quoted in regard to costs.


An Leas-Chathaoirleach

Will Senators allow the Minister to proceed without interruption and not address one another across the floor of the House?

If I put about 25 per cent on pensions, it would be about £1½ million and if it is on the cost of living, it would be about half that amount. When I met pensioners' organisations three, four or five years ago, it was accepted generally by those who spoke for them that it was the cost of living that affected them. There was always talk about the cost of living going up and pensions not going up and I think there was a case for that.

I think it was Senator Carton who made the case that a pension can be regarded as the deferred part of a person's salary. If you look at it that way, I think there could be a case made for the person who retired saying: "I paid a certain part of my salary towards my pension in expectation that for the rest of my life I would get two-thirds or half of that." It would enable him to buy the same amount of goods and services. Perhaps a good case could be made in regard to the cost of living basis and I am inclined to aim at that goal.


Hear! Hear!

It is want of money which keeps me from doing that. I cannot go the whole way. Therefore, we had to get down to a basis first. We could not use the cost of living basis for those who came in in the 1930s or 1920s and retired maybe ten or 15 years ago. We had to bring them all up to the 1959 basis first or around that time. On the 1959 basis, we can deal with a percentage increase whenever we have the money to do it. We can, I hope, relate that percentage increase, as soon as funds permit, to the cost of living. In fact, the increase proposed in this year's Budget of five per cent to those who retired before 1959, and, in fact, up to 1961, was designed to bring everybody up to the end of 1961 level. I hope it may be possible, in future Budgets, to bring them up another two or three years until, eventually, each year we will be able to increase them by 2½ per cent or whatever it may be and keep matters straight on that basis.

Senator Carton spoke about a matter which is not altogether relevant but I will just say this because I know he is very interested in abatements. I am preparing a Bill on abatements and I hope to bring it in here after the summer recess.

Senator Ross said everybody seemed to be in favour of doing something for the pensioners and he thought if we set a specific tax aside for that purpose, the taxpayer would agree to it if he thought it would be devoted to pensioners. I do not want to take from Senator Ross's proposal by saying it is not the first time that suggestion was made. It may, I am sure, be original on Senator Ross's part but it has been made before. In fact, it was made this year in the Dáil in relation to social services. I think the same case could be made for social services. We could name a certain tax, which would bring in £2 million, or whatever it may be and say: "This is for social services." We would expect everybody to agree to that. We would put on another tax for pensioners. Perhaps everybody would agree on a tax to raise money for agriculture so we have only a few odds and ends left. It may amount to a few hundred thousand pounds more and it would be an extremely difficult thing to do from the point of view of accounting.

In Government financing, they always make estimates of what to expect. The estimates may be too high or too low so where you have a saving on one, you have at least built up another one that was estimated too low. I think the system of having a special tax is a very desirable object, but it would be very hard to act on it. We might have to say, perhaps about February, before the year is out, that this tax is exhausted so the pensioners will have to do without an increase until we get a new tax on 1st April. From that point of view, and from an administrative point of view, it would be an extremely difficult thing to do.

I think Senators will certainly agree that if it were once started, there would be so many advocates for so many desirable objects that we should have to have special taxes for many objects and it would be almost impossible to work. I have to say what my attitude is on this motion. I should like to agree to the motion if I had the money, but I have not got it. I would have to say to Senators that they will not give it to me. If they gave it to me I might take a different view.

Anyway, I cannot get the money for the many reasons I have given. I do not want to go back on them in detail but I will just enumerate them. We want to put up a good pension scheme but we do not want to make it impossible for the people outside to go on with their pension schemes.

That means the Minister is against it in principle.

Apart from finance, there are other objections. The person going into the Service gets a pension after 40 years' service of half his retiring salary. Let us suppose he will know that the retiring salary will be given to him in real money for the rest of his life, that is, he will be compensated for the rise in the cost of living. I think that would be a fair guarantee. We are hardly called upon to say that a person who is retiring now should be entitled to get the same pension as the man who retires in ten years' time. If there is an increase in the cost of living, he will be all right. I think these two points should be kept in mind. That is why I could not, as Minister for Finance, agree with the motion.

Perhaps I might be allowed to ask a question arising out of the Minister's speech in relation to the question of the administrative difficulty in putting tax on special objects. I should have thought that the subject of pensions was one on which there is no controversy, whereas on education and health services there might be controversy. I should like the Minister to clarify the figures he has given us. As I understand it, the position is that if pensions were to be increased all at the same level now, it would represent a 25 per cent overall increase. That would amount to £1,250,000.

If the Minister were to grant an increase on the basis of cost of living, it would be £750,000?

Alternatively, that would be so. I think it would be more than £750,000, but not much.

Could the Minister relate that to a figure for increase in income tax at the standard rate in terms of pensions? Perhaps I am catching the Minister at the wrong time.

I am making a mental calculation. We got £35 million at 6/4d roughly. That means that 1/- would bring in about £5½ million, I think.

Question put and agreed to.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

Next Stage?

I am sure the House will agree in view of the general welcome for the Bill to take all Stages now.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

I am asking Senator Brosnahan to formally move the motion without debate.

I move:

That Seanad Éireann is of opinion that all retired public servants and teachers of equal rank and service should, irrespective of the date of their retirement, be paid pensions on the same basis as those payable to public servants and teachers retiring at the current date.

I formally second it.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.

The fact that the Minister has broken down the Victorian straitjacket which required legislation to increase pensions is a good thing. I do not think anybody can reasonably say there will be a rush to spend the taxpayers' money on increases in pensions. That is the experience all of us have had in the past few years. If we had the opposite experience we would not have found it necessary to move this motion today. There cannot be any rush to spend the taxpayers' money on increasing pensions.

In the main, I welcome the Minister's statement about his intentions. His record in the past, in the matter of looking sympathethically at this question of increase in pensions, has been very good, indeed, and the promise contained in his statement on the introduction of the Bill is helpful and encouraging. I should like to say, however, that when the matter was being discussed it was a pity a certain political atmosphere had developed. The matter enshrined in the motion put forward affects all shades of political opinion and it is shortsighted for people in political life to make political issues out of everything. This is a clear-cut principle which should be looked at objectively and in a neutral fashion by everybody.

With regard to the question of sincerity, I proposed this motion out of the blue as it were and there was no suggestion as to how taxation would be passed. I put the motion forward in all sincerity and I am prepared to face up to my responsibility in the matter. It would be shortsighted of me as a person employed out of public funds to uphold legislative proposals for taxation. The motion was put forward in all sincerity. I withdraw the motion because I should not like it to go on record in this House that it was voted against.

Bill put through Committee, reported without amendment, received for final consideration and passed.