DAIL IN COMMITTEE. - MILITARY SERVICE PENSIONS BILL, 1924. COMMITTEE STAGE RESUMED.
With regard to amendment 3, of Deputy Duggan, amendment 7 of Deputy Figgis, amendment 11 of Deputy Duggan and a new amendment 11a of Deputy Johnson, it seems to me they are not provided for by the Money Resolution. The Money Resolution is:—
"That it is expedient to authorise the payment out of moneys to be provided by the Oireachtas of any pensions payable under the authority of any Act of the present Session to provide for the payment of Military Service Pensions to certain members and former members of the National Forces and the Defence Forces of Saorstát Eireann."
The National Forces are already defined. Reference is given in the Act itself to the definition, and inasmuch as the Money Resolution has not been amended I do not think it would be possible so to amend the Bill itself as to make the Criminal Investigation Department, the Citizens' Defence Force, and the Protective Force deemed to be members of the National Forces. That is dealing with amendments 3, 7, 11, and 11a.
We can go on with the other amendments.
Yes, and as this is a Government amendment bring in the supplementary Money Resolution.
That would affect two of the amendments. It does not affect my amendment. I want to know if I could put forward reasons why when the others are being reconsidered for the revision of the money resolution this matter might be undertaken, too, in connection with the others. The case for the amendment might be put forward.
It may be more convenient to deal with those amendments together. Amendment 7 proposes that persons who have no service in the National Forces, no matter how defined, since the Truce, are to come under the provisions of this Bill.
It is with this qualification.
I do not want the Deputy to make a speech. The matter is clear enough. The Deputy is trying to introduce persons who have had no service in the National Forces of Saorstát Eireann since the Treaty, with certain exceptions. That is not provided for in the Money Resolution. I think not only that, but although the amendment in the name of Deputy Duggan might be deemed to come within the scope of the Bill, Deputy Figgis's amendment would be outside the scope of the Bill because what was contemplated in the Second Reading was pensions to certain persons who had given a certain service in a certain period, whether you defined them technically or not.
The Deputy will have an opportunity on the new Money Resolution, if introduced, to cover Deputy Duggan's amendment, of arguing for Amendment 7.
I will take that opportunity.
Amendment 3 not moved.
May I ask, in that case, if there is a new Money Resolution to be brought in, that we might get some notice of it—we do not usually get notice of a Money Resolution—in order that an amendment might be framed for the Money Resolution to cover this point.
The Deputy will be in a difficulty there. He cannot frame an amendment to a Money Resolution to meet that point. He can only argue on the Resolution.
Would it not be in the power of a Deputy, with a little dexterity, so to amend a Money Resolution, while not specifically covering a case of this kind, that would leave it still open to include a case of this kind?
In addition to dexterity, would not a Message from the Governor-General be required?
Is it decided that the Government are withdrawing the amendment, and are going to bring in another one dealing with the same matter?
Amendment No. 3 is out of order as not being covered by the Money Resolution, but, since it is a Government amendment, the Government can bring in a supplementary Money Resolution to cover it.
This amendment will merely stand over.
We will finish the Committee Stage now without taking this amendment and others of a similar nature. Having finished the Committee Stage, a new Money Resolution will be introduced, and we will go into Committee again to take amendments depending on that Money Resolution.
Will you repeat the amendments which are ruled out by this ruling?
Amendments 3, 7, 11, and the amendments to 11 in the name of Deputy Johnson; also amendment 30, which is consequential upon amendment 3.
I beg to move:—
In line 33, to delete the word "Army" and to substitute therefor the word "military."
Throughout the Bill it will be observed that in some places service is described as "Army service" and sometimes as "military service." For the sake of uniformity it is better to have the one word used throughout.
Amendment agreed to.
Question: "That Section 1, as amended, stand part of the Bill"—put and agreed to.
(1) Any person to whom this Act applies may within the prescribed period apply in the prescribed form to the Minister, and the Minister may grant to him, subject to the provisions of this Act, a certificate of military service.
(2) The Minister shall refer every such application for a certificate of military service to a board of assessors appointed under this Act to hear all such applications and shall before granting any such certificate take into consideration the report made by the board of assessors and, subject to the provisions of this Act, shall grant or refuse a certificate of military service in accordance with such report.
(3) The Minister may in his absolute discretion refuse to issue a certificate of military service to any applicant who shall have, prior to the making of the report by the board of assessors, been sentenced by a court of competent jurisdiction in Saorstát Eireann to suffer imprisonment with or without hard labour for any term exceeding three months or any term of penal servitude.
(4) This Act applies to every person who—
(a) at the date of the passing thereof or at any time subsequent to the 1st day of July, 1922, is or was serving in the National Forces or the Defence Forces of Saorstát Eireann, and
(b) has at any time rendered military service in Oglaigh na hEireann or in the Irish Volunteers or in the Irish Citizen Army or in Fianna Eireann in any of the periods specified in (a), (e) and (f) of clause 1 of the First Schedule to this Act.
I beg to move:
In sub-section (4) (a) to delete all from the word "at" where it first occurs in line 12 to the word "or" in line 13, and to substitute therefor the words "at any time subsequent to the 1st day of July, 1922, and prior to the 1st day of October, 1923."
Section 2, sub-section (4) (a), as it reads as present, would leave it that a person might join the National Forces to-morrow, or any day between to-day and the time this Bill becomes law, and leave a week or so after the Bill had become law, and if he had service in the pre-Truce period, by virtue of the fact that he had spent this short time in the National Forces he would be entitled to a pension within the terms of the Bill. I take it that is not the intention of the Bill, and the amendment accepts the date, the 30th September, 1923, as the terminating date of what we would call the war period. It means that service in the National Forces, in order to bring a person within the scope of the Bill, must be service between 1st July, 1922, and 1st October, 1923.
Amendment agreed to.
The following amendment stood in the name of Mr. D. McCarthy:—
In sub-section (4) (a) to insert after the word "in," in line 14, the words "or with."
Is not this amendment in the same position as Amendment 1, about which some agreement was reached?
There was no definite agreement reached, except that the President said he will consider it. I would like to know if this is also governed by the Money Resolution.
Can we have a guarantee that the Money Resolution will be such that it will cover this?
If the consideration is favourable.
If we have not the Money Resolution, what opportunity have we of discussing this point?
The Deputy will be in double-harness with Deputy Figgis.
I see this is quite different from No. 1.
It is a similar amendment to No. 1.
It is different from No. 1 in this respect, that service "in or with the Irish Volunteers in Easter Week," for example, is not concerned with the money resolution. But this is service "in or with the National Forces," and that does concern the Money Resolution. It would be ruled out by the Money Resolution. The Deputy is quite right.
It places me in an awkward position. We would have pressed the amendment the other day had we not got the guarantee from the President that he would consider it. If he did not consider it we would put down another amendment. If it is ruled out by the Money Resolution and the President does not give a guarantee to cover it in the new Money Resolution, we will certainly have to press it.
It is against the Deputy in any case. If I gave it favourable consideration in the meantime the Deputy is safe. If, on the other hand, it cannot get favourable consideration, it is barred by the Money Resolution.
I would like to put it to the Dáil as to whether they are in favour of it or not.
Consideration to amendment No. 1 can be given by the President independent of the new Money Resolution. Before amendment 6 can be moved, and before the opinion of the committee can be had upon the subject, we would need to have the Money Resolution amended by the insertion of the very same word "with" as well as "in," so that it will have to be left over for a further Money Resolution which can be objected to by the Deputy if it does not suit him.
If it can be, that is all right.
Amendment 6 not moved.
Amendment 7 not moved.
I beg to move amendment 8:—
In sub-section (4), (b), page 3, line 16, to delete the words "at any time."
These words are superfluous and to a certain extent contradictory.
Does not this amendment fall with the acceptance of amendment 5?
No. 5 is concerned with service in the National Forces and No. 8 is dealing with pre-Truce service.
Amendment agreed to.
I beg to move:—
In sub-section (4), (b), page 3, on line 18, after the words "Fianna Eireann," to insert the words "or in the Hibernian Rifles."
This amendment is consequential on one already agreed to. For guidance may I ask is discussion ruled out now by the previous decision regarding whether others than those specifically mentioned could be included?
The difficulty is this: the Bill is a Bill to provide pensions for certain members of the National Forces. The essential thing is that the person must be a member of the National Forces, as defined; that is to say, a member of certain post-Truce forces. The word "certain" can be interpreted to include all kinds of pre-Truce persons provided they had subsequently service in the National Forces. That is the position. So that as to amendments 1, 2 and 9, dealing with pre-Truce service, it is a completely open question, not affected by the Money Resolution. But they cannot get pensions unless they were in the National Forces after the Truce.
Exactly. The point I wanted to raise was this: whether certain persons who gave national service prior to the Truce, in 1916 we will say, and who, as a consequence of their activities were incapacitated from taking further action, should be included.
That is in amendment 11, and can be adverted to on that amendment, which is not being moved at this stage. It will be moved later.
That will give the opportunity.
Yes, that will give the opportunity, I think.
Amendment put, and agreed to.
I beg to move:—
In sub-section (4), (b), to delete all from the word "in" where it last occurs in line 18, to the end of the sub-section, and to substitute therefor the words "during the week commencing the 23rd April, 1916, or throughout either of the periods specified in (e) and (f) of clause 1 of the First Schedule to this Act.
The effect of the amendment is to define more clearly what the qualifying periods are that will entitle men with pre-Truce service to the benefits of this Bill.
I take it that the import of this amendment is in the word "throughout," so that the whole of the period (E and F) shall have been served through, whereas in the original draft any period served within that period was covered.
Easter Week is a qualifying period, but in either of the other two cases the entire period is specified. That is, there must have been continuous service throughout the period.
Amendment put and agreed to.
Amendment 11 not moved.
Amendment 11a not moved.
Question—"That Section 2, as amended, stand part of the Bill"—put and agreed to.
(1) A board of assessors (in this Act referred to as "the board of assessors") shall be constituted under this Act and shall consist of three members who shall be appointed by the Minister with the approval of the Executive Council and one of whom shall be a person who at the date of his appointment is a Judge of the Supreme Court, High Court, Circuit Court, or District Court of Saorstát Eireann or is a practising barrister of not less than ten years standing.
(2) The board of assessors shall examine every application for a certificate of military service referred to them by the Minister, and they shall for that purpose make all such enquiries, summon all such witnesses, and take all such evidence, whether on oath or otherwise, as may appear to them necessary or proper for the purpose of making a report to the Minister as to the military service of the applicant.
(3) Every report as to military service for any applicant for a certificate of military service shall contain findings upon the following matters, that is to say—
(a) the military service of such applicant in Oglaigh na hEireann or in the Irish Volunteers or in the Irish Citizen Army or in Fianna Eireann; and
(b) the military service of such applicant in the National Forces or the Defence Forces of Saorstát Eireann; and
(c) the period of the service of such applicant in each such force or body as aforesaid.
(4) Every report made by the board of assessors as to the military service of any applicant for a certificate of military service shall be in the prescribed form.
(5) The onus of proof shall rest on the applicant for a certificate of army service, and he shall be at liberty to offer such evidence as may be necessary to enable him to discharge such onus.
(6) The findings of the board of assessors set out in their report shall in all cases be final and conclusive and binding upon the applicant, provided however that the board may at any time re-open any or all of their findings at the request of the Minister on the ground that evidence not available prior to the making of their report had since become available, and upon hearing such additional evidence the board of assessors may amend their report and alter or discharge any findings there in as may seem to them just having regard to such further evidence.
The following amendment in the name of Mr. Seán Milroy was agreed to:—
In sub-section (3), on line 41, after the words "Fianna Eireann" to insert the words "or in the Hibernian Rifles."
Amendment 13 not moved.
The following amendment in the name of Mr. Johnson was agreed to:—"To delete the word `Army,' line 50, and to substitute therefor the word `military.' "
Question: "That Section 3, as amended, stand part of the Bill"—put and agreed to.
(1) The Minister may with the sanction of the Minister for Finance and subject to the provisions of this Act grant to any person to whom the Minister shall have granted a certificate of military service under this Act a military service pension commencing as from the first day of October, 1924, provided however that no person shall receive any such military service pension unless money for the payment of such military service pension shall have been voted by the Oireachtas.
(2) For the purpose of calculating the amount of military service pension which any holder of a certificate of army service under this Act shall receive the military service of such person as found by the board of assessors and set out in his certificate of military service shall be reckoned as the equivalent of the respective periods of years of military service respectively specified in the second column of the First Schedule to this Act, and the total number of years of military service in respect of which any such pension shall be granted shall be calculated in the manner set forth in the said First Schedule and the Second Schedule to this Act.
(3) Every army service pension shall be based upon the rank of the applicant at the time of his discharge from the National Forces or from the Defence Forces of Saorstát Eireann, and shall be calculated in each case according to the rules set out in the Second Schedule to this Act.
The following amendment in the name of Mr. Duggan was agreed to:
To delete the word "army" in sub-section (2), line 9, and in sub-section (3), line 19, and to insert in lieu thereof in each case the word "military."
I beg to move:
In sub-section (3), after the word "Eireann," in line 21, to insert the words "or the rank held by him on the 1st day of February, 1924, whichever of those ranks shall be the higher."
The reason for putting down this amendment is that as a result of the re-organisation that came into force from the 1st April of this year, a large number of ranks were reduced, and men either resigned, rather than accept the particular position that was offered to them, which was lower to the rank they held, or were demobilised subsequent to 1st April, at the time when they held the lower rank. In view of the general circumstances of the time it would be unfair that men, who were simply demobilised as a result of the working of the re-organisation scheme, should receive pensions based on their old rank, while men who had resigned in any particular circumstances in the meantime, or who had been demobilised by the Army authorities subsequent to the 1st April, 1924, should suffer because of a reduction in rank from that date.
There is also another reason, that quite a number of officers or men were demobilised much earlier than those demobilised this year. I take it the principle would be the same with regard to such demobilisations. In the case of officers who were first demobilised, they went out with the rank they held during the active service period. As to the other officers, who came along for reconsideration under the reorganisation scheme, some of them who were kept —and they would represent, I take it, a higher order than those who were demobilised at that time—were reduced in rank. There had necessarily to be a reduction by reason of the smaller army. These officers passed through two stages, the first demobilisation and the second demobilisation, and entered into the third with reduced rank. They had passed through two gaps and had sustained their commissions in the Army. Their right to a pension would be prejudiced in comparison with those who were demobilised earlier. Although it may seem a certain extravagance I think this particular amendment is the only means of restoring to these men the rights that their brothers had who were demobilised earlier, or who had resigned earlier than they did. I accept the amendment.
I think the argument is sound as far as it applies to men who in a technical sense were degraded. That is to say, men who had to accept a lower nominal rank because of re-organisation. It occurs to me that we should be clear the acceptance of the amendment would not apply to reduction in rank owing to other causes perhaps, not to reductions that had taken place up to date, but to future reductions. If for some reason an officer is not deprived of his commission, but is put into a lower rank for some offence, or for some failure, or for some reason which justifies that in the mind of the Minister the amendment in its present form would mean that in any future demobilisation or resignation the pension would depend on the rank the man served in on the first of February, 1924. Whether that is the intention or not I am doubtful, but I think we should guard against it if it is not the intention.
That is the intention, because we regard this particular period for which these compensations are to be paid as one continuous block, but we are not continuing it. If you were to continue it by reason of service, that is to say from the 1st October, 1923, persons serving until the 1st October, 1924, would be entitled to retire with an additional year of service to their credit, and there would then be a case for considering what Deputy Johnson has stated. But, that is not the case. An officer who serves now for three, four or five years and then retires, gets no benefit by reason of the period of service that he gave during the peace conditions.
It is not intended that he should lose any benefit.
He might lose it if we were to accept the interpretation as expressed in the amendment put forward by Deputy Johnson.
I think there is some case for the bringing in on the Report Stage of an amendment to meet the object aimed at by Deputy Mulcahy. Take the case of two brothers. One retired last year as a Major-General, and the other was retained in the Army and continued to serve as a Major-General until the reorganisation scheme was brought into operation, when he was reduced to the rank of Colonel. If he should retire, he would only be entitled to a Colonel's pension, while his brother, who had gone out earlier and, as a matter of fact, had less service, would get a Major-General's pension. That hardly seems fair.
That is what Deputy Mulcahy has remedied.
I am not entirely in love with Deputy Mulcahy's amendment, but if the Government could bring in some provision on the Report Stage that would mitigate hardships of that kind, I think it would be desirable, and I also think it would make the Bill a better Bill than it is.
But the Government is accepting the amendment.
I am sorry. I did not know that.
Amendment agreed to.
Question: "That Section 4, as amended, stand part of the Bill"—put and agreed to.
(1) Every assignment of and every charge on and every agreement to assign or charge any army service pension under this Act shall, except so far as the same is authorised by an Act for the time being in force, be null and void.
(2) No army service pension granted under this Act shall be capable of being taken in execution or otherwise alienated by process of law for the payment of any debts or liabilities of the person to whom such pension is granted under this Act.
(3) Nothing in this section shall prevent the deduction from any pension payable under this Act of any monies which may be due or owing to the Minister by the person to whom such pension is payable.
The following amendment was agreed to:—
To delete the word "army" in sub-section (1), line 25, and in sub-section (2), line 28, and to substitute therefor in each case the word "military."
Question—"That Section 5, as amended, stand part of the Bill"—put and agreed to.
Sections 6 and 7 were agreed to and added to the Bill.
(1) If any person to whom a military service pension is payable under this Act shall at any time during the continuance of such pension be in receipt of any remuneration, pension, or allowance payable out of public moneys, the military service pension payable to such person under this Act shall be suspended to an extent calculated according to the provisions contained in the Third Schedule to this Act while he is in receipt of such remuneration, pension, or allowance as aforesaid.
(2) A person shall not be entitled to reckon the same period of time both for the purpose of a military service pension under this Act and also for the purpose of a superannuation allowance under the Superannuation Acts, 1834 to 1923, but any such person may if he so desires surrender his military service pension under this Act and reckon for the purpose of such superannuation allowance and in the manner specified in the First Schedule to this Act any period of time which but for this section he could have reckoned for both the purposes aforesaid.
I beg to move amendment 18:—
In sub-section (1), line 9, after the word "moneys" to insert the words "whether provided by the Oireachtas, by Local Government Authorities, or other statutory body."
I put forward this amendment with a view to making it quite clear what is intended, and to prevent, if possible, the misuse of this Act. The phrase used in the Bill is "public moneys," and I am not sure what that means. The section says: "If any person to whom a military service pension is payable under this Act shall at any time during the continuance of such pension be in receipt of any remuneration, pension or allowance payable out of public moneys, the military service pension payable to such person under this Act shall be suspended to an extent calculated" according to certain provisions. If that is intended only to deal with money provided by the State, then it leaves the way open for a person in receipt of a pension to be employed by a local authority and to continue in the full enjoyment of a payment from the local authority and of a payment from the pension fund. I am very strongly against the practice, which has been adopted too often, of using a pension as a means of reducing the wage of people by an employer, whether a local authority or a private employer, and incidentally generally reducing the standard: taking advantage, as it were, of a State pension for services rendered in the past to reduce the payment given to a man for services rendered in the present.
If that position is maintained in the Bill I think what we shall find will be that there will be a little cutting in the offer made to a man to take a post at something less than the normal rate just because he is in receipt of a pension. He may be in receipt of a pension of, say, £100, and the normal rate would be £200, giving a total of £300. Well, he will be better off if he works for a local authority for £50 while retaining his full pension: he will be better off by £50, and the local authority will be better off by £50, but the men who are not in receipt of pensions will be prejudiced accordingly. I want to provide that in the case of a public authority employing a man that the man himself will be debarred from offering his services at a lower rate than the current rate, and that there will be no temptation placed before the local authority to employ a man at a lower rate than is current by virtue of that man's pension, and I also want to provide that whatever is applicable in relation to State employment should be made applicable also in the case of employment by local authorities. If public moneys include moneys paid out of the rates or by local authorities in any way, then there will be no need for my amendment, but if public moneys only mean moneys paid out of the State Exchequer, then I want to press my amendment or some other amendment to bring about the same result.
I think that Deputy Johnson's amendment would hardly meet the point he has in view. "Statutory body" is a term which includes quite a number of institutions which do not derive their moneys from the public in the way of rates or taxes or other such sources. I would be prepared to accept an amendment framed somewhat on these lines: "Where provided by the Oireachtas or by means of the poor rate or any other rate imposed by a local authority." I think that provision would meet the taxable and the rateable moneys that come in, and I take it that beyond that Deputy Johnson does not wish to go. Statutory bodies, as I have already stated, include a multitude of institutions of one sort or another, and I think that while we might save money on the pension, our officers would really have their time taken up in examination of cases to such an extent that we would lose as much in that way as we would save in the other, because the cost of the administration would be very great. In this case there is no doubt but that a correction of any abuses that might exist could be easily overtaken, and the provision I have suggested would, I think, meet the case.
I think the Minister's suggestion would meet my purpose.
I will bring up an amendment on Report Stage.
May I remind the President and Deputy Johnson that they both seem to have forgotten the Central Fund, and that it ought to have been put in. Supposing the case of a person eligible for a pension who is a Circuit Judge, he may be appointed Governor-General, so that I think the higher-paid should follow the same rule as the lower, and should be included in the amendment. The Central Fund should be brought in.
Public moneys is meant to mean moneys provided by the Oireachtas or out of the Central Fund. What does the President propose to do in regard to this amendment?
If the Deputy agrees to withdraw it, I will bring an amendment up, in the terms I specified, on Report Stage.
I agree, and I ask leave to withdraw the amendment.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
I beg to move Amendment 19:—
"In sub-section 2, after the word `person,' line 18, to insert the words `who is in the Civil Service.' "
This amendment is intended to make quite sure of the application of the Superannuation Acts, 1834 to 1923.
There is no doubt but that they are in the Civil Service.
They only deal with Civil Service?
Then I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
Question: "That Section 8 stand part of the Bill"—put and agreed to.
Sections 9 and 10 were agreed to and added to the Bill.
CALCULATION OF MILITARY SERVICE.
1. The number of years of Army service counting towards pension under this Act shall be computed as follows:—
For countinuous service from 1st April, 1916, to 31st March, 1917, provided that such service includes active service in the week commencing 23rd April, 1916
For continuous service from 1st April, 1917, to 31st March, 1918
For continuous service from 1st April, 1918, to 31st March, 1919
For continuous service from 1st April, 1919, to 31st March, 1920
For continuous service from 1st April, 1920, to 31st March, 1921
For continuous service from 1st April, 1921, to 11th July, 1921
For continuous service from 12th July, 1921, to 30th June, 1922
For continuous service from 1st July, 1922, to 31st March, 1923
For continuous service from 1st April, 1923, to 30th September, 1923
2. In regard to the year 1st April, 1916, to 31st March, 1917, the equivalent of active service in the week commencing 23rd April, 1916, shall be deemed to be four years, and the equivalent for the remainder of that year shall be deemed to be one year.
3. The following circumstances shall not be deemed to constitute a breach in the continuity of service:—
(a) absence from duty following arrest, imprisonment, internment, or deportation under the Defence of the Realm Act, 1914, the Restoration of Order in Ireland Act, 1920, or any regulations made thereunder;
(b) absence from duty following arrest, imprisonment, or penal servitude in respect of sedition, treason or treason felony prior to 11th July, 1921;
(c) absence from duty by reason of duties necessitating such absence undertaken at the instance or on behalf of the Cabinet of Dáil Eireann or on behalf of the Provisional Government from 21st January, 1919, to 1st July, 1922.
Amendment 20. "In line 3, page 6, to delete the word `army' and to to insert in lieu thereof the word `military.' " Agreed.
Amendment 21. To insert immediately before paragraph 2, page 6, a new paragraph as follows:—
2.—For service rendered during any broken part of any period mentioned in column 1 of paragraph 1 of this schedule there shall be added a corresponding proportion of the total equivalent for that period as set out in column 2 of the said paragraph.
I beg to move this amendment, which, I think, is necessary. Referring to the First Schedule, it says that the number of years of army service counting towards pensions under this Act shall be computed as follows, and it sets out what the different periods allocating a certain number of years as equivalent for pension purposes. Paragraph (h) says "for continuous service from the 1st July, 1922, to the 1st March, 1923, two years," and paragraph (1) says "for continuous service from the 1st April, 1923, to the 30th September, 1923, one year." I am afraid that, standing as it does at present, if a person joins, say, two months after (h) period began and left the army two months after (i) period ended, that instead of getting practically three years credit towards pension he would get nothing, and I feel, therefore, that in order to make matters quite clear it is necessary to insert this paragraph. "For service rendered during any broken part of any period mentioned in column 1 or of paragraph 1 of this schedule there shall be added a corresponding proportion of the total equivalent for that period as set out in column two of the said paragraph."
Before the President answers as to his attitude on this amendment, I hope he will give us some idea what the amendment, if accepted, would cost, because if it does not involve an enormous addition to the cost of the Bill I would like to support it. Of course, as in any scheme of this kind, there is bound to be a feeling of injustice, and the more elasticity you get into the scheme the better. I think Deputy Mulcahy's amendment gives a certain amount of elasticity and would eliminate a number of hard cases. There were a number of people in the South, from Waterford and Cork, who wished to join the National Army before the 1st July, 1922, but they were unable to do so because they were in places that were held by the Irregulars, and even afterwards when these men tried to get to Dublin to join up they were taken off the trains and threatened and made return home. Now, because these people did not join on the 1st July, 1922, they would forfeit two years towards pension. They would find that very hard, because the moment the National Troops arrived in their different places they joined and gave very good service, and I hope that the President will give consideration to this matter.
I, too, hope this amendment will be accepted. It seems to me that the case made by Deputy Mulcahy is a good one, otherwise there might be a good many people penalised unnecessarily.
I assume it is the intention of the Government to accept this. Otherwise applicants for pensions would be in the position of a person going to a bazaar who comes up to the board covered with the oilcloth containing the squares, throws his penny on the cloth, and if he does not get into a lucky square loses his penny.
I was hoping from the representations that Deputy General Mulcahy put to me that quite a small number of persons were concerned in this amendment, but now, having discovered that there is general support for the amendment in different quarters of the House it would appear that there will be a very large number of people disadvantaged unless I accept this amendment. I think the amendment is a reasonable one. It is difficult to fix a period without hitting somebody, but it is our intention to deal fairly. I do not think that the number of cases can be very large, such as were mentioned by Deputy Cooper, where it was impossible for men to join the Army by reason of circumstances over which they had no control. I think it certainly would be unfair that they should be debarred from getting consideration for what services they did give and, in the circumstances, I propose to accept the amendment.
Amendment agreed to.
Question—"That the Schedule, as amended, be the First Schedule of the Bill"—put and agreed to.
CALCULATION OF AMOUNT OF PENSION.
There shall be payable to every applicant in respect of whom a certificate of service has been issued:—
(a) in the case of an applicant who, at the date of his discharge from the National Forces or from the Defence Forces of Saorstát Eireann, was serving as a private or non-commissioned officer, a military service pension calculated at the rate of five pounds per annum in respect of each year of military service as calculated for the purposes of this Act;
(b) in the case of an applicant who, at the date of his discharge from the National Forces or from the Defence Forces of Saorstát Eireann, was serving in a commissioned rank as second lieutenant, first lieutenant, or captain, a military service pension calculated at the rate of ten pounds per annum in respect of each year of military service as calculated for the purposes of this Act;
(c) in the case of an applicant who, at the date of his discharge from the National Forces or from the Defence Forces of Saorstát Eireann, was serving as a commandant or major, a military service pension calculated at the rate of fifteen pounds per annum in respect of each year of military service as calculated for the purposes of this Act;
(d) in the case of an applicant who, at the date of his discharge from the National Forces or from the Defence Forces of Saorstát Eireann, was serving as a colonel or major-general, a military service pension calculated at the rate of twenty pounds per annum in respect of each year of military service as calculated for the purposes of this Act;
(e) in the case of an applicant who, at the date of his discharge from the National Forces or from the Defence Forces of Saorstát Eireann, was serving in a rank higher than that of major-general a military service pension calculated at the rate of twenty-five pounds per annum in respect of each year of military service as calculated for the purposes of this Act.
For the purpose of this Schedule membership of the Irish Volunteer Executive or of the Headquarters Staff of Oglaigh na hEireann at any period prior to 11th July, 1921, shall be deemed to be service in a rank not lower than that of major-general in the National Forces or in the Defence Forces of Saorstát Eireann.
Amendment 22.—"In line 47, page 6, to insert after the word `of' the word `military.' "—Agreed.
Amendment 23. "In line 53, page 6, to insert after the word `year' the words `or part of a year,' " is consequential upon amendment 21, which has already been accepted.—Agreed.
The following amendments were agreed to:—
24. In line 1, page 7, to insert after the word "year" the words "or part of a year."—(Risteárd Ua Maolchatha).
25. In line 8, page 7, to insert after the word "year" the words "or part of a year.—(Risteárd Ua Maolchatha).
26. In line 15, page 7, to insert after the word "year" the words "or part of a year."—(Risteárd Ua Maolchatha).
27. In line 22, page 7, to insert after the word "year" the words "or part of a year."—(Risteárd Ua Maolchatha).
On behalf of Deputy McCarthy I move amendment 28:—
Immediately after the word "Act" in line 23, page 7, to insert the following:—"Where an applicant in respect of whom a certificate of military service has been issued is at the date of the issue of such certificate serving in the National Forces or in the Defence Forces of Saorstát Eireann the date of the passing of this Act shall for the purposes of this Schedule be substituted in his case for the date of his discharge from the Forces aforesaid."
This amendment is moved with the object of enabling young men who were in the Army service since 1916, and who wish to remain in the Army to get their pensions in due course without suffering for having remained in the Army after the date which is set out in this Bill as the dates of resignation and demobilisation.
I will undertake to consider this, admitting it on the principle that any officer at present serving who if he were demobilised or resigned at any date prior to the passing of the Act would be entitled to a pension, but in so far as it would entitle him to a larger number of years of service than those given to officers who have been demobilised or resigned up to date, it is not intended to do so. I do not know whether according to the last couple of lines it is intended that extra service should be given by reason of the fact that a man has been in the Army from the 30th September, 1923, up to date. I am not so sure about the last couple of lines.
Does not the schedule cover that?
I think it is in the interests of the State generally that they should be brought in otherwise we will lose some of the best men who will have to resign or they will lose their pensions.
It is not intended that they should lose. I will have the matter looked into between this and Report.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
In page seven, to delete lines 24 to 29 inclusive, and to insert in lieu thereof the following:—"For the purposes of this Schedule a person who was a member of the Irish Volunteer Executive or of the Headquarters Staff of Oglaigh na hEireann at any time prior to the 11th July, 1921, or who was a member of the Army Council or of the Defence Council at any time subsequent to the 1st July, 1922, and prior to the 1st October, 1923, shall be deemed to have been serving at the date of his discharge from the National Forces or the Defence Forces of Saorstát Eireann in a rank higher than that of Major-General."
In the end of 1922, and before January or February of 1923, a body known as the Army Council changed its personnel on two or three occasions, and this amendment is simply to cover cases of officers of the rank of Major-General at that time who were members of the Army Council, and who held very serious and heavy responsibility. There were only three officers concerned. I do not anticipate that any of them will fall upon evil days, but I think this amendment should be embodied in the Bill to safeguard them, so that if at any time they wanted to apply for a pension they would be entitled to do so under this Act.
Amendment put and agreed to.
Amendment 30 not moved.
To add at the end of the Schedule, line 29, a new paragraph as follows:
"Furthermore, for the purpose of this Schedule an officer of the Medical Services Branch of the National Forces, or of the Defence Forces of Saorstát Eireann, shall be deemed to have that rank which in the Combatant Service carries the rate of pay drawn by such officer of the Medical Services."
This amendment is to prevent an injustice to officers who are in the medical branch of the service. As you are aware, the salary which goes with the medical rank is higher than that attaching to the corresponding rank in the line service. Take the line service. We begin with Lieutenant, then Captain, then Commandant, and next Major. The salary for a Major is precisely the salary for a Lieutenant of the medical service. Similarly the salary of a Captain in the medical service is equivalent to that of Colonel in the line, and if the pensions were calculated on the basis of rank the medical officer who was a Lieutenant would be regarded merely as a Lieutenant, whereas if the equitable method put forward in this amendment be adopted, instead of the mere rank being con-considered, and the formal consideration of the titular position being taken into account, the pension will be computed with reference to the salary, just as it is in the case of all other superannuation allowances.
I am prepared to support this amendment. The future army, no doubt, will take care of itself in so far as relationships or the prestige of the different branches of the service are concerned. It may be that the Engineering or Air Branch will feel that the putting of a clause like this into the Bill is giving the medical profession a status and a position in connection with the Defence Forces that they were equally entitled to. The Medical Service was a specially organised force. They did excellent work, and they were paid special rates because of the particular circumstances under which they worked, and because their organisation was a temporary and a war one. I only know personally two officers who will be affected by this amendment, but the number that would be likely to be affected will be very small for the reasons that they must be pre-Truce men, they must be doctors, and they must have been doctors in the National Forces, and they must be amongst those to be demobilised. They must fulfil each of these four requirements, so that, I think, the number must be very small, and I think it is due to the appreciation that we should have of what the medical service has done during the last three or four years, that we should make this provision in the Bill.
While I do not agree with Deputy Magennis, I should like to support his contention. This is opening a very wide door, but not only are there medical, but legal officers who are paid a special rate. These legal officers rank as commandants, and are paid £2 2s. a day. If these officers were army commandants they would only be paid 18/- a day. The same anomaly that Deputy Magennis indicated in the case of medical officers exist there. But I should think there are very few cases of medical men with pre-Truce services, so that I think the President would be wise, while not restraining his heart from any concession on the lines suggested by Deputy Magennis, to examine the whole subject, and take into account transport, artillery, engineers, and services of that kind receiving special pay.
I do not know that I can give to this amendment the favourable consideration that has been pressed by the Deputies who have spoken. The real purpose of this Bill is not to distribute public moneys, but rather to afford some measure of compensation to persons whose lives have been interrupted at the very moment when they ought to have been arming themselves in some way for the struggle of life. In the particular case of doctors, what did we give them during their service in the National Army? They had a splendid opportunity for practice in the Army, and we paid them, and paid them generously. They served well I know, but during that particular period their lives were not interrupted to the same extent as the ordinary rank and file, and any justification there is for consideration in their case would have to be based on how their lives were interfered with during a certain given period. That case is not made here.
There may be a case made that they ought to have some more consideration than their rank would qualify them for. For instance, if a case were put to me that an officer in the Medical Service of the rank of Lieutenant ought to get a pension that would be paid to a Commandant, there would be some justification for that, but as far as the services of these gentlemen are concerned they were paid professional fees during the time they served. Can the same thing be said of a soldier who, according to his profession, is—I suppose it would be vulgar to say it—in the blood-letting business also, and to pay him according to the number of scalps to his credit? It is not done. It is known that some officers are very efficient. We saw their activity at once, and how well they earned the title of soldier, but in their case their professional qualifications or results were not compensated by an increase of pay, and they have certain disadvantages that the medical men have not— memories that are disturbing—whereas the greater the number of operations the medical man has, the more skilled is he; and many of them would take service in order to practice their skill. I would take steps not to consider the matter as generously as is suggested, but to consider it justly according to the needs of my friend, the Minister for Finance, who, as well as being just, is very often generous.
I do not agree with the President, because men who served in a medical capacity in the Army have been taken from a different walk of life altogether from the ordinary soldier; and they would naturally expect to earn a much larger income. The President says that during this time they have been getting experience. But experience is not building up a practice; it is quite a different thing. They have been taken away from their profession just at the time when they would be building up a practice. The same thing would apply to men in the Army or Navy. When they come out of the Navy or Army they find that they are a spare file, to use a military expression. I do not think the President has met this case as it should be met.
I think Deputy Gorey overlooks the fact that they were not taken away from their profession. They were practising their profession.
I am talking of building up a practice, which is a different matter. I am not referring to using the knife.
There is no question of sacrifice as far as the medical men were concerned. Wherever sacrifice was made it was made by the class that Deputy Gorey referred to as the ordinary soldier—in cases, for instance, where students were taken away from their studies and had to be away for years. I certainly think that the President has met this amendment in the proper way. I think he is doing the right thing. We have got to realise that the medical men were in a privileged position. Other men were brought away from their business and east into the Army, where they were in a different position altogether all the time. I think that the President has met the amendment very fairly.
I would undertake to consider it at the next Stage rather with a view to giving a higher rank. We have certain ranks—Lieutenant and Captain in one; Commandant and Major in a second; Colonel and Major-General in a third; Lieutenant-General, and so on, in a fourth. In this case I would prefer to consider between this and the Report Stage bringing in an amendment which would entitle a medical officer to be rated on a higher scale than to which his rank on the 30th September would entitle him to. We have paid them good salaries. I think it will be admitted that they compare more than favourably with salaries that are paid by important institutions outside the Government service and, in fact, by important institutions inside the Government service. Take the salary that is paid to a medical officer in the service of the Government who held a very important position in the Government service, and you will find that the salary of the military officer who held the highest rank in the military service of the Army during the active service period compares more than favourably with it. You will find that the salary of the medical officer of the Army compares more than favourably with the salary of the Medical Officer of Health of the City of Dublin. I understand that there is a dispute about that, that it is alleged that the Medical Officer of Health of the City of Dublin gets huge fees as Analyst of the City. He does not get anything of the sort. I know it. I have personal knowledge of it. As far as the salaries of the medical officers in the Army are concerned they have been most generously paid; and there is no case for comparing them with the salaries of the ordinary officers whom it is proposed to compensate under this Act.
Would you meet the case by promoting, say, a medical officer from the rank of Lieutenant to that of Captain, and pay him as such?
It is this way. In this particular measure we have, say, five grades, let us call them A, B, C, D and E for the moment. Let us say that the medical officer has the rank of B. We propose to give him in respect of his pension the rights which are possessed by C; if he has the rank of C we would give him the pension to which he would be entitled had he held the rank of D. That is my intention at the moment. I am not sure that if the Minister for Finance were here I should be able to persuade him to accept that proposal.
While the Minister for Finance is not here I accept that in substitution for my amendment.
Will the legal officers also be considered? They were on very much the same sort of terms.
I do not know. General Mulcahy perhaps would be better able to advise me on that subject. I do not know whether any legal officers gave such services as would qualify them for inclusion. I do not think there were any.
I take it that the President is to consider the matter.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Question—"That the Second Schedule, as amended, stand part of the Bill"—put and agreed to.
CALCULATION OF SUSPENSION OF PENSIONS.
1. The extent to which payment of a pension shall be suspended under Section 8 of this Act shall be as follows, that is to say:—
Where the annual amount of the remuneration, pension, or allowance payable out of public moneys is— #
A.—Less than £100, 20 per cent.
B.—Over £100 and not exceeding £150, 30 per cent.
C.—Over £150 and not exceeding £200, 50 per cent.
D.—Over £200 and not exceeding £250, 70 per cent.
E.—Over £250 and not exceeding £300, 80 per cent.
F.—Over £300 and not exceeding £350, 85 per cent.
G.—Over £350 and not exceeding £400, 90 per cent.
H.—Over £400, 100 per cent.
2. Where the total of the amounts payable to such person under this moneys as aforesaid and the amount payable to such person under this Act within the limits specified at 1B, 1C, 1D, 1E, 1F, 1G or 1H would under the terms of Clause 1 of this Schedule be less than the amount which such person would receive if the amount payable to him out of public moneys as aforesaid was at the maximum of the limit immediately preceding, then and in every such case the extent of the suspension of his military service pension shall be reduced so that the total of the amount aforesaid and of his pension shall not be less than that which he would receive if the amount aforesaid was at the maximum of the limit immediately preceding.
In paragraph 1, page 7, to delete lines 37 to 44 inclusive, and to insert in lieu thereof the following:—
A.—Less than £100, 5 per cent.
B.—Over £100 and not exceeding £150, 10 per cent.
C.—Over £150 and not exceeding £200, 20 per cent.
D.—Over £200 and not exceeding £250, 30 per cent.
E.—Over £250 and not exceeding £300, 40 per cent.
F.—Over £300 and not exceeding £350, 50 per cent.
G.—Over £350 and not exceeding £400, 60 per cent.
H.—Over £400 and not exceeding £450, 70 per cent.
I.—Over £450 and not exceeding £500, 80 per cent.
J.—Over £500 and not exceeding £550, 90 per cent.
K.—Over £550, 100 per cent.
There are a number of these amendments which inferentially impose a charge, and this amendment seems to me to be a pretty direct imposition of a charge. I should like to hear what the President has to say about it.
It does impose a higher charge than was intended in the Resolution, but I think the Resolution is sufficiently wide to cover it.
Not the Resolution but the Bill itself.
I think the terms of the Money Resolution are sufficiently wide to cover this.
This is a very definite proposal by a person not a member of the Executive Council to impose an increased charge. Let the Deputy explain it.
It struck me that this Third Schedule was an arrangement to take back with one hand what was given with the other; and a few figures will perhaps illustrate it. Take an officer demobilised with the rank of captain who had served for the period 1919, 1920 and 1921—the period of operations against the British—and who had served for the whole subsequent period from the 1st July, 1922, to the 30th September, 1923. Such an officer would have to his credit six years service for pension purposes, and he would be entitled to a pension of £60 a year. If he obtained a position with a salary of £70 a year attached to it, the proposal in the Third Schedule would mean that £12 would be taken off his pension of £60. If he got a position with a salary of £120 attached to it, £18 would be taken off it. If he got a position with a salary of £220, £42 would be taken from his £60. And the effect of the Schedule would be that his whole pension of £60 would disappear if he was receiving a salary of £420 from public funds. But the incidence of the deduction was not fairly placed. The proposals contained in my amendment would have this effect, that his pension of £60 would not disappear entirely except he was in receipt of a yearly salary of £570; and it runs systematically from 5, 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60 per cent., and so on for every £50 of rise. And to compare the two proposals, the man in receipt of £120 would surrender under my proposal £6 of his £60 pension, and under the proposal contained in the Bill he would surrender £18; if he was in receipt of a salary of £220 under the proposal in my amendment he would surrender £18, but under the proposal in the Bill he would have to surrender £42.
These figures will give the impression that the cut that would be made under the Third Schedule, as it stands, in the Bill is too heavy entirely, and is too heavy around salaries, say, of £220, £270, and £320. I think the President or the Minister for Finance has in a way suggested that he would accept my amendment.
I do not know but these amendments were to some extent responsible for the absence of the Minister for Finance, and I suppose Deputy Mulcahy is taking advantage of the shower. I would be disposed to consider this, not because it is a peculiar mathematical proposition, which is what, I think, the General really represented it. But I do think, having given the matter some consideration, that those years for which we are compensating the persons affected might reasonably be regarded as years in which, if they had not rendered the service which they did, would have entitled them to a very much higher scale than they would be in receipt of, and that their position under A, B, C, D, E, and F, and so on, would be very much stronger than at the present moment. In these circumstances, I think that the case made for a reduction of the amounts, which it was originally intended to deduct, is a fair one, although I would admit that the General scarcely made that sort of a case. I would be disposed to consider this, and if it is not in order to have it moved in its present form, I would bring up an amendment on Report Stage that would achieve the same purpose.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment 33 is consequential on Amendment 32.
Amendment 33 not moved.
Question: "That the Third Schedule stand part of the Bill"—put and agreed to.
Question: "That the Title stand part of the Bill"—put and agreed to.