I move amendment No. 11:
Before section 8 to insert a new section as follows:
"() Section 15 of the Ministerial and Parliamentary Offices Act, 1938, is hereby amended 6y the substitution of `three thousand ponnds' for `one thousand pounds'."
In the enactment mentioned in the Bill there is a repeat of section 15 of the Ministerial and Parliamentary Offices Act, 1938. This Act enables a gratuity to be paid to a retiring Attorney General who has had three years service. The gratuity is specified at half of the salary attached to the office at the date of such cessation. The purpose of this is obviously to enable a retiring Attorney General to resume his practice, which we are all agreed would take some time to get going again. That was in 1938 and since then there has been an increase in the private practice done by the Attorney General. In fact, I doubt if, in 1938, there was any private practice done by the then Attorney General. The Act specified that the gratuity must be paid at half a year's salary unless the person concerned, under section 4, is appointed to any whole-time office, the remuneration of which exceeds £1,000 per annum. The money was provided by the Oireachtas.
In other words, if the Attorney General is promoted to the High Court or to the Supreme Court, then quite obviously there is no suggestion that he is to resume his practice. In fact, he has received the normal promotion that is accorded to an Attorney General who has discharged his duty satisfactorily—he has been promoted to the High Court or to the Supreme Court. The present Bill very innocuously repeals these two provisions —subsection (4) and subsection (5) of section 15 of the 1938 Act and that is out of line with the spirit of this Bill. It is at a time when we are faced with a growing emeroency, where we have a 12 per cent increase, where we have status increases and super-status increases and this goes into the category of the super-super-status increase which is one the Government should not countenance at this juncture.
What should be done is simply to bring the figure of £1,000 per annum, the ceiling laid down in 1938, to a realistic figure. I suggest that the realistic figure be placed somewhere around £3,000, or more, if that is wished but certainly the spirit of the 1938 Act is obvious. All will agree to the necessity for this to enable an Attorney General to resume his practice where he has to do that with a consequent loss, but no one agrees that a hand-out of half year's salary should be given to an Attorney General who receives promotion to the Supreme Court or to the High Court at a salary far in excess of that which he enjoys as Attorney General. Consequently, I move that the figure of £3,000, or any figure acceptable to the Minister and the Government, be substituted for the £1,000 in the 1938 Act.