I propose to take Questions Nos. 233 and 249 together.
Historically the concept of forfeiture of pension benefits has been provided for under legislation such as the Forfeiture Act 1870 and Offences Against the State Act 1939. The terms of some pension schemes also envisaged circumstances where a pension might be forfeited. However this concept of forfeiture has been the subject of significant legal developments in the past 20 years or so - e.g. provisions within pension schemes relating to forfeiture being found to be ultra vires (Lovett .v. the Minister for Education: 1996), the striking down of relevant sections of the Offences Against the State Act 1939 as unconstitutional (Cox .v. Ireland: 1992), the repeal of the Forfeiture Act 1870 (Criminal Law Act 1997), earned pension being considered as a property right within the terms of the Constitution. It must also be recognized that the executive/administrative arm of the State cannot take actions which would effectively usurp the judicial function. I do not propose to request Government to hold a referendum on any amendment to the constitution.