Mental Treatment Bill, 1944—Committee (Resumed).

Before we enter the Committee Stage of this Bill I would like to know what is the difficulty in having the Bill referred to a special committee for the purpose of considering it with that closeness which it needs to get? Apparently, the Parliamentary Secretary wants his Bill by Friday. He knows he is not going to get it by Friday. He knows that the various amendments are calculated to occupy the time of the House to a very considerable extent. What difficulty is there in referring the Bill to a special committee?

It surely would have been more orderly to have that matter decided before the Committee Stage was entered upon than to have it raised after 72 amendments have been disposed of.

The matter was raised before the Committee Stage was entered on. The Tánaiste on that occasion said: "Let us see how far we can get," on that particular evening, "and then we can review the matter." I am availing now of the Tánaiste's invitation to review the matter by raising the question now. I am doing so in order to ascertain why the Bill cannot now be referred to a special committee.

We cannot enter into a discussion on that now since the matter has been decided by the House.

How has it been decided by the House?

To-day's business has been ordered by the House.

Why does the Parliamentary Secretary adopt that kind of churlish attitude on the matter? The Tánaiste told us, before we entered on the Committee Stage of the Bill, that we could go a certain distance that evening, and then consider the question of referring it to a special committee. Now we are threatened that the Bill must be passed by Friday, and that Private Members' time must be taken in order to ensure the passage of the Committee Stage of the Bill. Does the Parliamentary Secretary think it is fair to bludgeon the House into the position in which it has got to pass this Bill in order to preserve its rights to have a free Private Members' discussion, because that really is what he is doing?

Originally, when this matter was raised we from this side offered to support the setting up of a special committee to deal with this Bill. It appeared to us a reasonable thing to do, particularly in view of the fact that we have so many Private Members' motions on the Order Paper. If these motions are not discussed before Easter it is more than likely there will be no chance of disposing of them until we reach the summer. A number of them deal with very important matters—some with matters that cannot be discussed on the Estimates. We have an example of that in the motion which proposes the setting up of a council of education in accordance with the recommendation made by the Commission on Vocational Organisation. That is a matter that would require legislation. It cannot be dealt with on the Estimate for the Department of the Minister for Education because, if raised then, we would be told that it was a matter requiring legislation. Obviously, from the point of view of public policy, that is a motion that ought to be got out of the way before the Estimates are reached.

That is a matter which was decided by the House a few minutes ago. The point now being made is, whether this Bill should be referred to a special committee or not.

What is open for discussion now——

Is amendment No. 73.

There is the undertaking that we had from the Tánaiste the last day that when he saw how far we had gone with the Bill he would take into consideration the progress made, and decide whether the Bill would go to a special committee or not. I would like to know whether the Government have given any consideration to that undertaking. Has the Parliamentary Secretary given any consideration to it? What are the reasons for turning it down in view of the urgency with which the Minister for Industry and Commerce pressed to-day that all this business would be given to the Government before the House rose for the Easter Recess?

Surely the House is aware that it has already decided to deal with this Bill in the ordinary way?

No. We have no information.

When was it decided, and by whom?

Has it not been ordered for to-day?

It was left open to us, even by Deputy Mulcahy's Party, as to whether we would refer this Bill to a special committee or not. After considering the pros and cons of it, we came to the conclusion, having regard to all the circumstances, to go ahead with the consideration of the Committee Stage of it in the ordinary way.

The Parliamentary Secretary says all the circumstances. Would he indicate a few of them?

The orderly dispatch of business, for instance. As far as I could see, even if the Bill had been referred to a special committee, the amendments could not have been got through more quickly than they were when considered in the ordinary way in Committee here. Besides, I understand that the House has already decided on the order of business.

The House has decided that public business be not interrupted at 7.30. I would like Deputies to understand that the question now being discussed cannot be treated as though the House were in Committee. We will be in Committee on the Bill, but not on the question as to whether or not it will go to a special committee.

I would ask the Chair to bear with me since we are rather at a disadvantage in this matter. The Tánaiste, on the last occasion, gave us an assurance that the matter could be considered when we had got through with this particular Bill during the time that was then available to us. The Tánaiste is not here this evening, and, therefore, we cannot call him to witness the accuracy of the quotations that we are making from his speech. We have to deal with the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Local Government, and he, apparently, is mute of malice this evening. He will not tell us why the Bill cannot be referred to a special committee. The Parliamentary Secretary to the Taoiseach knows that no later than to-day I again urged that this Bill should be referred to a special committee. He knows that every week since the Bill was first circulated we have been urging the same course. This, obviously, is the type of Bill which should go to a special committee. The proposition is not new to the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Local Government, and yet we have not been able to get from him any explanation as to why, even now, the Bill could not be referred to a special committee. Our only desire in this matter is to expedite business and to preserve the rights of Private Members in the House.

I must ask the House to come now to amendment No. 73.

I think we will have to get the Tánaiste to spank the Parliamentary Secretary after having spanked two Ministers yesterday.

He would not touch me; he knows I am a good boy.

Debate resumed on amendment No. 73:
In sub-section (2) (a) (i), line 40, and in paragraph (a) (ii), line 43, to delete the words "twenty-eightieths" and "two-eightieths" respectively and substitute therefor the words "twenty-sixtieths" and "twosixtieths".—(Deputies Cafferky, and Blowick).

This amendment deals with a proposal to substitute sixtieths for eightieths in calculating superannuation. The same proposal occurs in several other amendments. I take it that the Committee is satisfied to decide the principle on No. 73, and that the decision on amendment No. 73 will govern amendments Nos. 74, 75, 79, 83, 84, 90 and 95.

On the last occasion when the Bill was in Committee I was speaking to this series of amendments which will be determined by the decision on amendment No. 73. On that amendment, therefore, we are debating the whole principle of the superannuation scheme which it is now proposed to substitute for that in the 1909 Act in so far as existing serving officers will opt to come in under the present Bill when it becomes an Act. Pressure has already been exercised to try to get the Parliamentary Secretary to appreciate the point of view, not only of those who are speaking from these benches, but of the men and women who are directly concerned by any provisions we may embody in the Bill. The Parliamentary Secretary stated on the last occasion that he was reinforced in his attitude in regard to the provisions of the Bill concerning the officers and servants of mental hospitals by the support of the Labour organisations of which these officers and servants are members. While the Parliamentary Secretary did have interviews with representative deputations, I think he is trying to convey to the House a good deal more than was said by the deputations or is in the minds of the members of these Labour organisations. The very fact that many of the amendments to the sections dealing with superannuation, particularly the provisions for the calculation of the lump sum and annual allowance, have been submitted in the names of Deputies who are connected with these Labour organisations indicates that there is not that degree of satisfaction. In so far as the officers and servants of mental hospitals are concerned, I have already pointed out, and I think it is the correct position, that they do appreciate the general approach of the Government towards superannuation, inasmuch as they propose to provide for a lump sum on retirement. That is a principle which is good in itself and which is acceptable to and appreciated by these men and women, but there is a great difference between appreciation of a principle and giving effect to that principle in actual figures. It is in regard to the actual basis of calculation that dissatisfaction is expressed by the men and women who will be affected by these provisions and it is in respect of the basis of calculation that most of the amendments have been submitted.

So far as I can follow the Parliamentary Secretary's attitude in this matter, he has not attempted, so far at any rate, to give an adequate explanation as to why, if we desire to introduce a good and beneficent principle into the scheme of superannuation for these employees, we should do so in such a way as to penalise them, as we undoubtedly do. In the course of the Second Reading debate, the Parliamentary Secretary stressed the fact that he and others who were concerned with this problem were of the opinion that it was a good thing to provide a lump sum for men and women going out on pension, when there would be a break in their normal life, because the change in many ways would impose, not a burden, but certain obligations upon them, in the meeting of which a lump sum would be very helpful.

Everybody appreciated the point of view expressed by the Parliamentary Secretary on that occasion, but let us take one of the arguments that he has put forward to justify the present basis of calculation. When I referred to this matter of the lump sum, the Parliamentary Secretary said they could go and buy a farm. If the lump sum is provided to meet certain difficulties which arise in the case of these men and women when they leave active service and retire on superannuation, how is it, at the same time, to be available for investment either in a farm or business or in some form of security? Either they will use the lump sum, or portion of it, or they will retain it as savings. They cannot use it for the two purposes. Let us consider it as a means of investment, in one of the cases that has been worked out, the case of a man retiring after 25 years' service. He receives a lump sum of £189. Take a round figure of £200. The amount of interest he would receive on that under the most favourable conditions would be £10 per annum. The actual difference between the annual allowance that he would receive under the present provisions of the Bill, £70, and the sum he would receive if he remained under the 1909 Act, £92, is £22 per annum. The interest on the investment of his lump sum would cover only half of that, so that, instead of the lump sum being liquidated in a period of nine years, it simply means that it would carry on for 18 years. At the same time, in order to secure that he will not lose the benefit of the lump sum over a short period of years, he has to deprive himself of the whole value of the lump sum, according to the point of view of the Parliamentary Secretary.

When the Parliamentary Secretary considered a change in the superannuation code, I do not think he had in mind the provision of a lump sum for investment or for the purpose of helping in the establishing of a small business or buying a farm. I think he was quite satisfied to regard it from another point of view: that these men and women had been engaged in a particular service, that many of them were accommodated on the estate of the particular institution, that they were provided with uniform and other emoluments and that at a certain date that particular form of life would cease as far as they were concerned and they would then have to go outside the institution to obtain housing accommodation and, to a certain extent, possibly, provide themselves with extra civilian clothes and that generally the lump sum was intended to cover the period of the change from one condition of life to another and the commitments that they would have to meet. I think that was the point of view he had in mind. At least, that is what occurred to me when I was listening to him on the Second Reading, when he laid particular stress on this principle. I think that is a good attitude, which everybody, including the men and women who may obtain the advantages of it, appreciate, and I think that to revert from that attitude and to regard the lump sum as being merely provision of a form of savings for investment or to assist in establishing a business is a retrograde step which the Parliamentary Secretary should try to avoid.

I impressed upon him the other day that if we did accept the point of view that he expressed in the course of the debate—not only was he dealing with a superannuation scheme under this Bill, but he also had proposals almost complete for a general levelling up of salaries and conditions in certain of the mental hospitals which would impose an additional burden of some £80,000 on the rates—that, if he is going to do these particular things, which will effect an improvement in the superannuation code, at least we could agree upon one thing, that if we are not going to give these officers and servants improved conditions as against the 1909 Act, at least let us see is it not possible to give them the same conditions in so far as actual money is concerned. I am aware that, in relation to the series of amendments we are now discussing, the acceptance of these amendments and the embodying of them in the Bill would in actual fact mean that an attendant who went out on superannuation under the Bill, as amended by these various amendments, would receive an increased financial return as against what he is entitled to under the 1909 Act. I can see, therefore, that there is a certain difficulty facing the Parliamentary Secretary from the point of view of accepting these amendments. But surely it would be possible to preserve the principle of the lump sum as set down in the Bill and to find some percentage which would be the ceiling in regard to the annual allowance which would provide the men and women in the service with what they would receive in the aggregate under the 1909 Act and nothing more.

I do not know what the percentage would be exactly, but in a later amendment I have put down the figure of 60 per cent. instead of the present ceiling imposed under Section 75. Possibly it may be less. But, at least, if we meet them on a basis of equity so far as these men and women are concerned, there possibly could be some agreement. I would strongly press that point of view on the Parliamentary Secretary, because, in discussing these amendments, we are, as I said, discussing the whole basis of this particular part of the Act deal ing with superannuation and what we are saying now will cover our position in regard to a whole series of amendments on questions that arise later on in this part of the Bill. If we could get some indication from the Parliamentary Secretary, even though he is not prepared to accept these particular amendments where they change the actual percentages for the purpose of calculating superannuation, that he was prepared to consider so adjusting the ceiling provided in Section 75 as to allow the officers and servants to receive in total over a certain period of years the same sum of money by way of allowance and lump sum that they would receive over the same period of years by way of annual allowance alone under the 1909 Act, it would help.

I do not think it is fair to suggest as an interpretation that could be put upon it that, if we level up the salaries and other conditions of service in certain mental hospitals to the standard which we all think should be provided and should have been provided many years ago, portion of the cost of that must be contributed out of superannuation sums to which men and women are entitled and that, if they do not wish to make that contribution, because of the provision now made, their only alternative is to remain under the 1909 Act and therefore lose the benefit of this very important change that the Parliamentary Secretary has introduced in the Bill by the provision of a lump sum. I would strongly urge the Parliamentary Secretary to reconsider this matter in the light of equity towards these men and women, not with the idea of giving something more than they are entitled to at present, but rather giving them what they would now receive under the 1909 Act, in accordance with the new principle of the lump sum introduced in this Bill.

Mention has been made that in certain cases the whole benefit of the lump sum would be liquidated over a certain period of years. I asked the Parliamentary Secretary on the last day two questions (1) to indicate the average age at which those employees retired on superannuation; and (2) what was the average period during which they drew their superannuation or pension. He answered the first question, but did not answer the second one, and the second one, of course, is the most important. If we take the case I have been referring to of a man with 25 years' service under the existing Act, his pension would amount to £92 per year. Under the Bill as it now stands, he would receive a lump sum of £189 and an annual allowance of £70. The result would be that in nine years the value of the lump sum would be liquidated in so far as that covered the difference between the sum to which he would be entitled under the 1909 Act and what the Bill provides. Over a series of cases, so far as I can see, the period during which the lump sum would be liquidated by covering the deficit varies from six years up to 14 years at the outside. I am sure that if we got official figures we would find that the average number of years during which these persons drew the annual allowance after retirement was something around ten to 12 years. That means, therefore, that in a number of cases where the lump sum will be liquidated in six, eight or nine years on the average, those individuals would continue to lose. As we know, the average is not an indication of the actual conditions, but it is quite possible that many individuals will have the benefit of the lump sum liquidated in a period of from six to ten years and will continue living on the annual allowance for possibly another 12, 15 or 20 years. For each year they live they will be losing sums running from possibly £15 to £25 per year merely because, in applying the good principle in the Bill, we have been shortsighted enough not to try to arrive at a basis of calculation which would provide equitably for these men and women not only as between them as employees and the committees of the local authorities, but also as between them and any future entrants under the scheme and as between them and the State in so far as they were covered by the 1909 Act.

I do not think that any of us on these benches want to try to use this particular part of the Bill to gain something to which these people are not entitled under the 1909 Act. But we object very strongly to having this principle introduced in such a way as to deprive men and women of considerable sums of money and, if they are not prepared to accept the conditions, merely to leave them with the alternative of remaining under the old Act which we feel, and the Parliamentary Secretary has expressed the same view so far as the provisions of the Bill are concerned, requires very drastic improvement.

Deputy Larkin has gone into this matter at great length. The Bill really makes it a personal matter, because it may suit one employee to take the lump sum and it may not suit another employee to take the lump sum. I should like to give a few figures, taking a man's basic salary as £120 a year. A man retiring under the 1909 Act with ten years' service will get £24 a year pension; under this Bill, he will get £15 pension and a lump sum of £40. That lump sum would be liquidated in five years.

Now, take the man who becomes ill and who has no other choice but to come out on pension. The provisions of the Bill would not be very considerate in his case. If that man, by any chance, lived on and took up some other employment, the Parliamentary Secretary would be wise if he could leave open a choice for the man concerned. Then we have the man retiring after 34 years' service. His basic salary is only £20 and his pension under the 1909 Act is £80. Under this Bill, the pension would be £60 with a lump sum of £80. It would mean that an ordinary healthy man retiring at 55 years of age would have his lump sum liquidated when he would be 64 years of age.

There is a feeling in the two institutions I am in touch with that they would like the Parliamentary Secretary to consider leaving this as optional. It is purely and simply a personal matter and what will suit one man going out may not suit another. I would recommend the Parliamentary Secretary to give the matter his favourable consideration.

There has not been anything contributed to the discussion to-day that we have not had in one form or another when this matter was before the House the last time we were in Committee. The position is very simple. Staffs of mental hospitals can have the superannuation terms of the 1909 Act without any difficulty whatever, but they cannot have those terms combined with the terms proposed in the Bill. As I said before, I have discussed this matter with representatives of the staffs and the impression was very definitely conveyed to me that the superannuation provisions of this Bill were much more acceptable to the staffs than the terms of the 1909 Act. If I had thought for one moment that the terms embodied in this Bill were not as acceptable, I certainly would not have drafted superannuation proposals as outlined here.

The 1909 Act provides that a mental hospital attendant, male or female, can retire on full pension of two-thirds salary and the estimated value for pension purposes of their emoluments, after a certain period of service. It is now suggested that, in addition to that two-thirds, we should provide a lump sum. They cannot have it both ways. I am quite willing to give them the two-thirds provided under the 1909 Act, but I cannot at the same time provide the lump sum. This scheme will give a maximum pension of half the salary and the estimated value of the emoluments, plus a lump sum amounting to one and a half year's salary, and emoluments. If the House can assure me that it would be more satisfactory to abandon that lump sum idea altogether and that, instead of the half, we give the two-thirds, I am quite willing to consider it.

There are many other provisions in the superannuation code set out in this Bill of very far-reaching consequence that are not set out in any of the previous superannuation codes applying to this class of service or to any other class of service. The superannuation provisions in the Bill before the House are the most generous provisions that have been made for any servant of the State or any servant of a local authority. Of course, I can understand that, no matter how generous the provision is, it may be necessary as a popular gesture for certain Deputies to plead for something more. I have no objection to that and do not wish to criticise that attitude at all. Perhaps that is inevitable, but I want to tell the House that I have been as generous in these superannuation terms as it is possible to be and, except for very minor amendments, I cannot go any further.

It would be well that the House should realise that the superannuation provisions proposed here are considerably better and provide substantially greater cover of one kind or another than is given even in the case of prison officers. I am sure Deputies are aware of that. If it were necessary to do so, I could compare section by section of the 1909 Act and the terms of the Bill before the House, or I could compare the terms of the Prison Officers' Superannuation Code with the terms in this Bill. However, I take it that those Deputies who are interested in this matter have acquainted themselves with the provisions in those other codes and that they do realise that a more generous superannuation code has never been submitted to this House on behalf of any section of servants of the State or of local authorities.

Deputy Larkin did give a halting appreciation of that, but I think it might be more generously accepted by the House as a whole. Deputy Larkin talks about penalising the staffs. We are not penalising anybody. Existing staffs are given a choice under the Bill as to whether they will remain under the 1909 Act or accept the superannuation terms embodied in the Bill. There is no penalisation there. Surely I am not to be asked to offer alternative codes of superannuation and leave a man to decide as to which code he will accept, when he is due to retire? I do not think that is a reasonable proposition and it is not one I am prepared to entertain. I do not think that, under any insurance. code, it would be left to the time of retirement from active duty for a man to determine whether he would take a lump sum and a smaller pension or a larger pension without the lump sum. If one could estimate with accuracy how long one was going to live it would be easy enough to decide which code would suit the better, but one has to take a chance on that. If they live to be 100, which is unlikely, taking it all round, they would lose under this Bill, but if they die at any reasonable time—and we are told, and it is true, that they lead a very strenuous life and are not likely to live to an old age—the earlier they die the more they will benefit.

You ought to put that in the Preamble.

There is enough in the Preamble. Deputy Burke has emphasised the desirability of having the option as to which code should be accepted. The option has been provided already in the Bill, as far as existing members of the staffs are concerned. An option cannot be provided in regard to future entrants to the service.

The Parliamentary Secretary said he met union members. He did. Did he not turn down almost all the proposals that the deputation put forward? There were over 2,000 members concerned.

I am afraid they did not tell the Deputy the whole truth. It is a slight exaggeration.

That is what the staffs are thinking about at the present time.

They do not understand it.

It was interesting to hear the Parliamentary Secretary admitting that the amount of benefit to be derived depended on whether the mental hospital employee will die early or late.

Everybody knows that.

He pointed out that the mental hospital employee would benefit by dying earlier, but it is reasonable to argue that the longer the person lives, the weaker that person gets and the less able he is to look after himself. Therefore, it is reasonable to suppose that that person should be in receipt of the necessary pension in order to help him through his weaker years. But the reverse is the situation and, as the person grows older, the less pension he receives. It could be argued that, if a person retires at 55, he or she would be capable of supplementing the allowance in some way but, as he or she gets on in years, and reaches 76 or turns 80, then he or she will not be able to supplement the allowance by any form of work. Therefore, it is desirable that instead of reducing this allowance it should be increased but, obviously, the Parliamentary Secretary did not see that.

Question put:—"That the words proposed to be deleted stand".
The Committee divided: Tá, 50; Níl, 30.

  • Aiken, Frank.
  • Allen, Denis.
  • Bartley, Gerald.
  • Beegan, Patrick.
  • Blaney, Neal.
  • Boland, Patrick.
  • Brady, Seán.
  • Breathnach, Cormac.
  • Breen, Daniel.
  • Brennan, Thomas.
  • Breslin, Cormac.
  • Buckley, Seán.
  • Burke, Patrick (Co. Dublin).
  • Butler, Bernard.
  • Carter, Thomas.
  • Colbert, Michael.
  • Colley, Harry.
  • Daly, Francis J.
  • De Valera, Eamon.
  • Flynn, Stephen.
  • Fogarty, Andrew.
  • Fogarty, Patrick J.
  • Rice, Bridget M.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Ryan, Robert.
  • Furlong, Walter.
  • Hilliard, Michael.
  • Humphreys, Francis.
  • Killilea, Mark.
  • Kilroy, James.
  • Kissane, Eamon.
  • Lemass, Seán F.
  • Little, Patrick J.
  • Loughman, Frank.
  • Lydon, Michael F.
  • Lynch, James B.
  • McCann, John.
  • McCarthy, Seán.
  • MacEntee, Seán.
  • Morrissey, Michael.
  • O Briain, Donnchadh.
  • O Cléirigh, Mícheál.
  • O'Connor, John S.
  • O'Grady, Seán.
  • O'Reilly, Matthew.
  • O'Rourke, Daniel.
  • O'Sullivan, Ted.
  • Sheridan, Michael.
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Ward, Conn.

Níl

  • Bennett, George C.
  • Cafferky, Dominick.
  • Cogan, Patrick.
  • Coogan, Eamonn.
  • Cosgrave, Liam.
  • Dockrell, Henry M.
  • Dockrell, Maurice E.
  • Donnellan, Michael.
  • Everett, James.
  • Finucane, Patrick.
  • Giles, Patrick.
  • Halliden, Patrick J.
  • Hughes, James.
  • Keating, John.
  • Keyes, Michael.
  • Larkin, James (Junior).
  • MacEoin, Seán.
  • McFadden, Michael Og.
  • McMenamin, Daniel.
  • Mulcahy, Richard.
  • Murphy, Timothy J.
  • Norton, William.
  • O'Driscoll, Patrick F.
  • O'Leary, John.
  • O'Sullivan, Martin.
  • Pattison, James P.
  • Redmond, Bridget M.
  • Reynolds, Mary.
  • Roddy, Martin.
  • Spring, Daniel.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies O Ciosáin and O Briain; Níl: Deputies Halliden and Keyes.
Question declared carried.

That amendment disposes of amendments Nos. 74, 75, 79, 83, 84, 90 and 95.

Amendments Nos. 74 and 75 not moved.

On behalf of Deputy Pattison, I move amendment No. 76:—

In sub-section (2) (b) (ii), line 52, to add the word "or", and also the following new paragraph:—

"(c) an allowance, the annual amount of which shall consist of—

(i) twenty-sixtieths of his yearly salary or wages, and

(ii) where he has been in the service of a mental hospital authority for twenty-one or more completed years, two-sixtieths of his yearly salary or wages in respect of each of the twenty-first and the subsequent (if any) of such completed years, subject to a maximum allowance not exceeding two-thirds of such yearly salary or wages."

The object of the amendment is to give an option in regard to accepting a lump sum or an allowance on retirement. Many persons might prefer to have a lump sum, and I ask the Parliamentary Secretary to accept the amendment.

I cannot accept the amendment. As I said when speaking on the amendment just disposed of, the staffs will have to decide whether they will accept an annual allowance, plus a lump sum, or an annual allowance alone. Existing staffs will have that choice under the Bill, and if the superannuation code provided in the Bill is adopted by the House, future entrants to the service will have no option but to accept the terms set out.

This amendment will govern the underlying principles of amendments Nos. 82, 85, 91, 97 and 138. The matters arising on these different amendments can be discussed on this amendment.

Amendment put.
The Committee divided: Tá, 27; Níl, 49.

  • Cafferky, Dominick.
  • Coburn, James.
  • Cogan, Patrick.
  • Coogan, Eamonn.
  • Cosgrave, Liam.
  • Fagan, Charles.
  • Giles, Patrick
  • Halliden, Patrick J.
  • Keating, John.
  • Keyes, Michael.
  • Larkin, James (Junior).
  • McFadden, Michael Og.
  • Mulcahy, Richard.
  • Murphy, Timothy J.
  • Dockrell, Henry M.
  • Dockrell, Maurice E.
  • Donnellan, Michael.
  • Doyle, Peadar S.
  • Everett, James.
  • Norton, William.
  • O'Driscoll, Patrick F.
  • O'Leary, John.
  • O'Sullivan, Martin.
  • Pattison, James P.
  • Reynolds, Mary.
  • Roddy, Martin.
  • Spring, Daniel.

Níl

  • Aiken, Frank.
  • Allen, Denis.
  • Bartley, Gerald.
  • Beegan, Patrick.
  • Blaney, Neal.
  • Boland, Patrick.
  • Brady, Seán.
  • Breathnach, Cormac.
  • Breen, Daniel.
  • Brennan, Thomas.
  • Breslin, Cormac.
  • Buckley, Seán.
  • Burke, Patrick (Co. Dublin).
  • Butler, Bernard.
  • Carter, Thomas.
  • Colbert, Michael.
  • Colley, Harry.
  • Daly, Francis J.
  • De Valera, Eamon.
  • Flynn, Stephen.
  • Fogarty, Andrew.
  • Fogarty, Patrick J.
  • Furlong, Walter.
  • Hilliard, Michael.
  • Humphreys, Francis.
  • Killilea, Mark.
  • Kilroy, James.
  • Kissane, Eamon.
  • Lemass, Seán F.
  • Little, Patrick J.
  • Loughman, Frank.
  • Lydon, Michael F.
  • Lynch, James B.
  • McCann, John.
  • McCarthy, Seán.
  • MacEntee, Seán.
  • Morrissey, Michael.
  • O Briain, Donnchadh.
  • O Cléirigh, Mícheál.
  • O'Connor, John S.
  • O'Grady, Seán.
  • O'Reilly, Matthew.
  • O'Rourke, Daniel.
  • O'Sullivan, Ted.
  • Rice, Bridget M.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Sheridan, Michael.
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Ward, Conn.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies O'Leary and Spring; Níl: Deputies Ó Ciosáin and Ó Briain.
Amendment declared negatived.

The decision on amendment No. 76 governs amendments Nos. 82, 85, 91, 97 and 138.

Question proposed: "That Section 64 stand part of the Bill."

This particular section is probably the basic section of this part of the Bill. The efforts that have been made by Deputies on various sides of the House to have certain of the objectionable principles that they see embodied in the section removed have been treated, as far as I can see, in a somewhat facetious manner by the Parliamentary Secretary. Certainly, the arguments he has put forward to support the point of view expressed in the Bill bear very little relation to the arguments that have been advanced in favour of an alteration of the basis of calculation of superannuation. When we said that persons going out on pension would, after a period of years, lose financially under the provisions of this Bill as against the provisions of the 1909 Act, we were somewhat lightly told that that is correct if they live to be 100 years of age. I do not know what exactly is the percentage of centenarians in the country at the moment. I am sure not many of the mental hospital attendants will come within that category but, on actual figures, taking the retiring age as being 55, it means that many of these persons would commence to lose financially even at 61 years of age. Many of them live to be over 70 and even 78 and 80 years of age. So that we would have the position that recipients of allowances under this Bill would continue to lose financially for a period of anything up to 20 years.

Why not take the 1909 terms then instead?

If we are embodying in this Bill what the Parliamentary Secretary and I agree is a good principle, the principle of a lump sum, why cannot we have a basis of calculation which will give them the same amount that they would get under the 1909 Act in this different form, instead of penalising them? We are not asking for anything more. It is only a question of fixing a ceiling. One of the amendments sought to do that by fixing the old ceiling of the 1909 Act. It is quite clear that, if it were calculated on that basis, they would gain, even on the basis of the annual allowance, without taking the lump sum into the calculation at all. I can understand the Parliamentary Secretary's reluctance to grant on the one hand a lump sum and, at the same time, to grant the same annual allowance or possibly even an increased annual allowance under the present Bill as against the 1909 Act, but surely we could calculate the average period of years during which these persons would enjoy their superannuation allowance and give them such lump sum as would take a reasonable period to liquidate, not the short period that it would take at present under the Bill, a period as short as six years. The longest period I have seen has been 14 years. Even in the case of a person with very long service and enjoying a fairly high rate of salary, the benefits of the lump sum are liquidated in a comparatively short time—nine or ten years. That viewpoint has been pressed.

This section is a basic section for many of the following sections dealing with various alternative conditions under which payments can be made by the committee in the case of sickness or injury arising out of discharge of duty. So that whatever we decide on this particular section will probably be the guiding or determining principle. Even at this moment, I would urge the Parliamentary Secretary to see if it is not possible to meet the point of view we have put forward and to give, not an improvement, not any financial increase, but merely the same average financial return as would be obtained under the 1909 Act in so far as annual allowance is concerned, to calculate it on the average period of years during which these persons would receive superannuation allowance and to calculate it on the basis of a lump sum and annual allowance instead of annual allowance only. If the Parliamentary Secretary were to do that, he would find that the benefits of the Bill would be appreciated.

When I say that many of the men and women who have been discussing the provisions of the Bill have suggested that they should be allowed to exercise an option, not within six months of the passing of the Bill, but even immediately prior to their retiring on superannuation, as to whether they would go out under the 1909 Act or under this Bill, the Parliamentary Secretary will realise that there is some perturbation in their minds in regard to the provisions in the present Bill. I have personally heard many of them express the view that if the Bill goes through in its present form, without some amendment of this particular section, they would prefer to remain under the 1909 Act. Of course, the Parliamentary Secretary's answer to that is that they can remain under the 1909 Act and that they are not suffering any disability, but I would urge him to try to follow up the viewpoint that he expressed to the House when he introduced the Bill, namely, that in this Bill we were approaching the whole problem of the treatment of mental disease in a new and more enlightened manner, both from the medical side and also, he submitted, from the point of view of our attitude towards the men and women who gave valuable service in caring for these sick people. One of the points that he claimed credit for was the provision of a lump sum. It is only right and proper that if we do accept that as an advance on the previous conception of superannuation, at least, it should be made possible for all existing servants to enjoy that new and enlightened principle without financial loss to themselves. It is not a fair or equitable proposition to say that, if you do not like this new provision, you can remain under the old Act. When we are improving on the principle of the Act, we should be prepared to do that so long as it does not result in any increased financial commitment on the part of the local authorities and does not cause any financial penalisation of the recipients.

Question put and declared carried.
SECTION 65.

I move amendment No. 77:—

In sub-section (1), page 29, to delete paragraph (c) and substitute the following paragraph:—

"(c) who either—

(i) has been in the service of a mental hospital authority for less than 20 years, or

(ii) is less than 55 years of age."

This is a drafting amendment.

Amendment agreed to.
Amendments Nos. 78 and 79 not moved.

I move amendment No. 80:—

In sub-section (2) (a) (i), line 17, to delete the words "one-eightieth" and substitute the words "two-eightieths".

This amendment is moved for two reasons. It deals with the case of officers or servants who resign or otherwise cease to hold office or employment on account of having sustained or contracted any physical or mental injury or illness in the course of their duties and who have less than 20 years' service. In the case of an officer who goes out at the normal retiring age set down in the Bill of 55 and who has 20 years' service, he would be entitled to have his annual allowance calculated, in so far as his 21st and his subsequent years of service are concerned, at two-eightieths. It is submitted that, in the case of an officer or servant who goes out with less than 20 years' service and who possibly may have as little as 11 years' service, that some increased rate should be granted to him over and above the one-eightieth: and as there is but a slight dividing line between, say, 19 years and 21 years, and as this results in the difference between one-eightieth and two-eightieths of salary for the purpose of calculating superannuation, this distinction should be wiped out and he should be afforded the same basis of calculation in respect of his salary as is provided in the case of other officers for their 21st and subsequent years.

There is the other point of view, too, that should be considered, that here we are dealing with short-service men going out through illness or injury. In certain cases they may have a comparatively short service. They are to be provided with an annual allowance and a lump sum. So far as the lump sum is concerned, if their service is comparatively short, the lump sum will be comparatively small and not of great value to them. As we are dealing with the case of officers and servants who may be suffering from the effects of injury or illness over a certain period, it is submitted that the annual allowance should be of such nature as would afford them some reasonable support and recognition of their service during the period while they are trying to establish themselves in civilian life. In that case, I submit that the main emphasis should be placed on the annual allowance rather than the lump sum and, for this purpose, that the figure in the amendment of two-eightieths should be accepted in place of the one-eightieth provided for in the Bill.

I support the amendment. We are all aware that a large number of attendants in mental hospitals are subject to illness and accidents which may not occur in an ordinary business outside. As Deputy Larkin pointed out, these people may have a very short service and may be suffering from grave injury for which, if they were in outside employment, they would receive full compensation from their employer under the Workmen's Compensation Act; whereas, under the Bill, if they have only a short service, they receive only a very small amount. I, therefore, think that a case can be made for exceptional treatment for employees with short service who may meet with an accident or contract some discase in the course of their employment.

I cannot recommend the acceptance of this amendment to the House, but I think that the principle which the Deputies who have spoken have in mind is fairly dealt with in Section 71. Section 71 sets out that, where an officer or servant of a mental hospital authority is injured, otherwise than through his own misconduct, while discharging his duties, he shall be entitled to certain superannuation provisions. But the important principle is incorporated in Section 71 that a mental hospital authority can, with the consent of the Minister, add years to the years of service, subject, of course, to the maximum limitations set out in the Bill. Section 71 applies to any officer or servant and deals with injury. A similar provision is made in regard to registered officers who contract illness in the service and have to retire on grounds of illness. Provision is made for the addition of years to their service. Not only that, but a most radical and far-reaching departure will have been made in that regard when the amendment that stands in my name has been accepted by the House, as I have no doubt it will be, to the effect that illness of an incapacitating nature contracted in the service will qualify an attendant in future for superannuation.

Deputies who have been in touch with the staffs of mental institutions have been aware that the new principle which I have just referred to will have very far-reaching consequences. Many cases have come to light in the past where attendants and nurses have contracted illness of an incapacitating nature, but they were not deemed to be entitled to superannuation, because it was held that the illness could not be deemed to be attributable to the nature of the service. We are now getting right away from all that in the provisions of the Bill and we are providing that illness, from whatever cause, contracted in the service, will entitle a person on retirement to superannuation. As I have said, the mental hospital authorities, with the consent of the Minister, can add years up to the limit set out in the Bill. That very far-reaching provision should meet the reasonable requirements of the House and, in the light of that, I do not think Deputy Larkin will seriously press his amendment but, if he does, I must resist it.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendments Nos. 81, 82, 83, 84 and 85 not moved.
Section 65, as amended, agreed to.
SECTION 66.

I move amendment No. 86:—

In sub-section (1), page 29, to delete in line 49 the words "twenty-five" and substitute the word "twenty" and to delete in line 50 the words "sixty-five" and substitute the word "sixty".

This amendment is intended to enable an officer or servant who is not registered to be superannuated when he reaches the age of 60 years and has had 20 years' service. As Deputies know, the Bill provides for 65 years, with 25 years' service. Similar amendments stand in the names of Deputies O'Leary and Corish.

Amendment agreed to.
Amendments Nos. 87 and 88 not moved.

I move amendment No. 89:—

In sub-section (2) to delete paragraph (a), lines 55-58, and substitute the following:—

"(a) an allowance during life, the annual amount of which shall consist of—

(i) twenty-five eightieths of his yearly salary or wages, and

(ii) where he has been in the service of a mental hospital authority for 25 or more completed years two-eightieths of his yearly salary or wages in respect of each of the 25th and the subsequent (if any) of such completed years, and".

The main purpose of this amendment is to try to reduce the distinction that has been indicated in the Bill as regards the calculation of the superannuation in respect of registered officers and non-registered officers. In Section 64, in the case of registered officers, we provide that the allowance should be calculated on the basis of one-quarter of his yearly salary, plus, where the service exceeded 20 years, an addition of two-eightieths to his yearly salary for each year over the 20th.

In the case of a non-registered officer we provide for an allowance, based on one-eighth of his yearly salary in respect of each year of completed service and in the same manner, in respect of the lump sum, we provide a lump sum in the case of a registered officer, based on twenty-thirtieths of his yearly salary, plus two-thirtieths for each year additional to the 20th. In the case of a non-registered officer we have the single basis of calculation, based on one-thirtieth of yearly salary, in order to arrive at the lump sum to which he is entitled.

We recognise that, in the approach to the question of superannuation for a person engaged in the service, there has been a distinction between registered and non-registered officers and established and non-established officers. The distinction is based on whether, in the normal course of their duties, they are engaged in the care of patients or not. That distinction is in many ways most difficult to apply. It might be quite easy in the case of certain clerical officers whose duties are confined to the office, where only members of the staff or of the public may have access and where patients do not intrude. However, very many of the non-established and non-registered officers who carry on the daily work of the institution are not normally required as part of their official duties to have the care and safety of patients placed upon them, but in actual fact during many hours of the day they are in constant touch with the patients. Many of them have to take on the responsibility of guiding patients in a particular work or exercising certain supervision over them. For all practical purposes, the manner in which their duties have to be performed at certain times does not differ in any way from that of the established officer.

I do not know whether, in an earlier amendment which the Parliamentary Secretary moved, he had this particular difficulty in mind. If I recollect correctly his statements to the House the last day, I think he does recognise that there is a difficulty in this respect. In so far as we are merely following the old precedent of dividing these two sections of employees on the old basis and applying that to the basis of calculation for their superannuation, we are not accepting a viewpoint that is already more common than it used to be. I submit that, in so far as these officers are engaged in many ways on similar duties to those of established officers, a more equitable basis for calculating their superannuation should be provided in the Bill than is set out in Section 66.

With reference to the non-registered officers, I hold that very many of them, during the time they are on duty, are almost as much in touch with the patients as any other class of servant. I hold that any man or woman in the employment of an institution, while inside its walls, no matter in what capacity, is definitely associated with the patients of the institution and so has some responsibility towards them at some time or other, whether it be as chief clerk or storekeeper or in any other capacity. They may have patients working with them in some occupational or clerical work to occupy their minds, or in other capacities too numerous to mention. I respectfully suggest to the Parliamentary Secretary that he should consider having all employees in an institution on a par. It would at least do a good deal to put a stop to the differentiation which some of them object to so much.

I cannot accept the principle embodied in this amendment, nor do I think it is necessary that I should do so in order to meet the case made by Deputy Larkin. Deputy Burke goes a little further and wants all employees of mental hospitals, whether engaged in clerical work or in the care and charge of patients, to be on an equal footing so far as superannuation is concerned. I cannot concede the principle that a clerical officer or any officer engaged in the service of a mental hospital authority, whose duties do not entail the care or charge of patients, has a case for special treatment that could not equally be made for a clerical officer occupying a similar post under another local authority.

The type of case that Deputy Larkin has referred to particularly is in a somewhat different category. We had some discussion about that on the last day we were in Committee. In so far as the members of the staff, whose normal duties entail the care and charge of patients, are concerned, we have not any difficulty. They will be registered automatically. The officers and servants in the employment of the mental hospital authority who, on occasion, have the care and charge of patients, will have to be afforded special consideration. We cannot here define the degree to which it would be necessary to devote their attention to the care and charge of patients in order to qualify. Each case must be determined on its merits. Generally speaking, if the classes of persons under discussion are engaged, as has been suggested, in occupational therapy, and in charge of patients while so engaged, they would, in the ordinary course of things, be admitted to the register.

The Bill provides machinery under which an appeal can be made to the Minister if the local authority declines to admit such people to the register. I think that is the most effective machinery that we can set up. There would be a full inquiry in any case of doubt, or where an employee of a mental hospital authority feels aggrieved as a result of his failure to become registered. The administrative view has, so far as I am aware, and I have a pretty long experience of it, always been rather generous. The employee has been given the benefit of any reasonable doubt and that policy will continue to operate; but beyond that I cannot go.

That is very reasonable.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendments Nos. 90 and 91 not moved.
Section 66, as amended, put and agreed to.
SECTION 67.

I move amendment No. 92:—

In sub-section (1), to delete paragraph (c) and substitute the following paragraph:—

"(c) who either—

(i) has been in service of a mental hospital authority for less than 20 years, or

(ii) is less than 60 years of age."

This is a drafting amendment.

Amendment agreed to.
Amendments Nos. 93, 94, 95, 96 and 97 not moved.
Section 67, as amended, put and agreed to.
SECTION 68.

I move amendment No. 98:—

In line 31, to delete the word "which" and substitute the word "whom".

This also is a drafting amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 99:—

In lines 33-34 to delete the words "may, in their discretion" and substitute the word "shall".

I consider that the section, in its present form, is unsatisfactory. The view I take is that an officer or servant who has had anything up to five years' service and who dies, has contracted certain rights and these rights should be regarded in the nature of a debt which has to be discharged and the discharging of that debt should take place automatically to the relatives or the dependents. This is all the more important because the section continually refers to the mental hospital authority, and in the mind of the ordinary person that is presumed to be the committee of management. In effect, so far as wages and conditions of service are concerned, that is not the case because, primarily, wages and conditions of service are matters for the county or city managers, as the case may be. An important matter of this kind should not remain in a permissive form. The final obligation is centred in the persons of the city or the county manager. Certain rights have been secured and the Bill should ensure that they are carried out.

I think amendments Nos. 101 and 104, both in the name of Deputy Everett, can be discussed with this amendment.

I should like the Parliamentary Secretary favourably to consider this amendment and make the position more definite than it is. As a matter of fact, a number of employees have taken severe exception to the word "may". They would prefer the word "shall" inserted there. It does not seem right that you should be at the discretion of anybody; you are just getting what you are entitled to—your rights.

I should like to know whether the mental hospital authority will have the right to exercise the same discretion in a case of this kind as they have in other cases. For example, in the case of increasing the number of years' service for pension purposes, will the mental hospital authority have discretion to recommend to the Minister that an award or a grant shall be raised because of special circumstances connected with the death of the servant of the hospital authority? If that discretion is exercisable, I suggest to Deputy O'Sullivan that it would be better to allow the wording of the section to remain.

Section 68 stands by itself.

Then the mental hospital authority will not have the right to exercise the same discretion as under previous sections, that is, to recommend to the Minister an increase of a grant to a widow?

Not under this section. I think the Deputy should refer to Section 73. He will have to read a number of these sections together Under Section 73, you can grant to the widow such allowance for life as is considered proper. There is a special provision there.

The amount specified in these sections cannot be varied?

Not in Section 68, but you can make an allowance under Section 73 without regard to this section. The powers of Section 73 are not governed by this. On the amendment, I should like to point out that its principle is not in any way objectionable. In fact, as Deputies are aware, some lawyers hold very often that "may" means "shall" or "shall" means "may". It is a difficulty of administration that is anticipated here.

"...may, in their discretion, pay to the legal personal representative of such officer or servant..."

In the ordinary course of things, that discretion would be exercised in favour of the dependent or legal personal representative, but there are circumstances in which it might not be possible to exercise it. There might be no legal personal representative who, in the opinion of the mental hospital authority, was entitled to any such payment. There might be nobody except, perhaps, the solicitor acting on behalf of the next-of-kin. The legal personal representative might be a ne'er-do-well or, perhaps, an inebriate. These are the considerations which operated in my mind when the section was being drafted. The intention is that in ordinary circumstances the normal procedure would be to make the payment to the personal representative, but it is felt safer to allow discretion lest some set of circumstances should arise which, if there was not that discretion, might give rise to an embarrassing position.

I can see the Parliamentary Secretary's difficulty with regard to this section, but I do not think he has altogether cleared up the position. What occurs to me first is: what is the purpose of the section in granting such lump sum to the legal personal representative? Is it intended to be in the nature of what would be given in other cases by way of annual allowance to the dependent of a man or woman who died, or is it intended to be a means of meeting burial expenses and liquidating any personal debts and so on left behind, because the nature of the purpose to be met largely determines the way in which we should approach the matter?

It is quite clear that if we make it mandatory and say that such a sum shall be paid to the legal personal representative, we might find that the legal personal representative was someone who never knew the deceased person, who had no particular connection with him and who would not undertake any responsibility of a financial character in relation to debts. That, to a certain extent, gives rise to a difficulty if the word "shall" is inserted. But if, on the other hand, the Parliamentary Secretary tells us, as the lawyers often tell us, that the word "may" implies "shall", is it not far better for us to try to get a correct drafting which will avoid these loopholes for lawyers?

I did not put that forward as a firm view. I merely mentioned that lawyers sometimes hold that view.

I do not think the purpose of the section is quite clear. I take it that what we are dealing with is the case of a man or woman who dies and who would qualify in the normal way under the section and who leaves a widow or dependent child, or possibly a brother, sister, mother or father who in some way is dependent on him or her. Also I think we also have in mind the case of a man or woman who dies, leaving small personal debts to be met—the ordinary things which we in the trade union movement have to deal with every day. We protect ourselves by laying it down that in the payment of mortality benefit the main responsibility on the union is to see that benefit is utilised as it is intended to be utilised, for the proper interment of the deceased, and we actually claim the right to apply the money to that purpose as against paying it out to some legal personal representative who may even allow the deceased to be buried by the public assistance authorities. If we could be clear as to the intention of the Parliamentary Secretary in relation to this section, it might possibly be easier for us to agree with him on the phraseology, but, as it stands, the word "may," with its implication of a possible refusal, creates in our minds the feeling that we are leaving a loophole which should be closed.

I might also point out the different procedure in relation to this and the other sections to which there are amendments. In Section 68 we are dealing with an officer or servant who has five years' service or longer and who dies in the service of a mental hospital authority. We say that he may be provided with a lump sum or a year's salary. Section 69 deals with the case of officers or servants who have to relinquish their positions because of injury sustained in the discharge of their duties. In the first case, we leave it entirely to the discretion of the mental hospital authority to make a grant, while, in the other case, under Sections 69 and 71, they may exercise this discretion only with the consent of the Minister. In regard to both these latter sections, we are dealing with a different type of case altogether—the case of an officer who sustains an injury or contracts illness. In the case in which there is probably 100 times more reason for making some grant, by way of lump sum or allowance, to an officer because of illness which he contracts in the service, we lay it down that it can be done only with the consent of the Minister, but in the case of a person who dies, as we all must die, it is solely at the discretion of the mental hospital authority. It does seem to me to indicate a certain confusion and it would be much simpler, if we felt that there is an obligation in respect of certain of these officers, either because of their service as such, or because of illness contracted or injury sustained, that it should be mandatory to meet it and there should be no element of doubt about it.

I wish to compliment the Parliamentary Secretary again on this section generally, because, under the 1909 Act, a man had to die from a specific disease before his widow got anything. This section is one which will definitely encourage every married official to choose to be dealt with under this measure, because no matter what a man dies from while in the service, his widow will get something, whereas, under the 1909 Act, as I say, a man had to die from a specific disease. Unless the doctor who certified death gave the appropriate certificate, his widow or dependents got nothing. If the Parliamentary Secretary would finish off his good work by agreeing to insert "shall" instead of "may" everybody would be delighted.

It is difficult to make the matter much more clear than I have already made it. Section 68 may be regarded as more or less an omnibus section, giving general powers. The intention behind the section is to provide for the contingency of a dependent who might not be a widow or orphan, if such a dependent could exist at all. I think it is rather a generous gesture to try to cover such a contingency, and, in the circumstances, it is well that we should leave a discretion to the mental hospital authority to determine whether a grant ought to be made. It might be a matter of an aged parent— quite a number of degrees of relationship could be envisaged in which such a grant would be desirable. In the case of amendment No. 101, as Deputy Larkin points out, the position is somewhat different. A mental hospital authority may, in their discretion, make certain payments.

Amendment No. 101 deals with a person who is permanently incapacitated, by reason of injury, from performing his duties. If such a person receives compensation from some other source—he might, perhaps, be entitled to compensation under the Workmen's Compensation Act—the mental hospital authority would be entitled to exercise a discretion as to whether they would make a payment under this section. They would take that into account. Apart altogether from that possible contingency, that other sources of compensation might be available, Deputies will observe that the section provides that they may "grant to him such annual allowance and lump sum as in all the circumstances of the case they consider proper." There is not much point in putting a statutory obligation on them to make a payment so long as you give them a discretion as to the amount of the payment. Deputies say that if we put in the word "shall" instead of the word "may" the mental hospital authority will then be obliged to make a payment, but it will be such a payment as they think proper. I think that, in all the circumstances, nobody will suffer any hardship or injustice by leaving the entire discretion with a mental hospital authority, subject to the approval of the Minister. I do not think the mental hospital authority will abuse that discretion, nor do I think that they will perpetrate an injustice on any of their staffs.

We would prefer to see the Parliamentary Secretary approach this question from the point of view that the individual has acquired certain rights. If he agrees that that should be the basis of the application of the section, then I suggest he need not unduly concern himself as to what takes place when a man dies, or to whom payment should be made. I take it that he is in agreement with the general principle that a payment should be made. There must be some basis on which the payment is founded. I presume it is the basis of service. On this question of discretion, it may be that you will have unsatisfactory decisions given from time to time. Would it not be in the best interests of the mental hospital authority itself to take the long view? If the Parliamentary Secretary accepts the main principle behind those amendments it should not be beyond the wit or the resource of the Parliamentary draftsman to prepare an amendment along the lines that we are seeking. If he will give the House an assurance to do that at a later stage, I am sure it will satisfy the House.

I am prepared to do that in relation to amendment No. 99, but not in relation to amendments Nos. 101 and 104.

In amendment No. 101 we are dealing with a specific case where definite qualifications are laid down. First of all, the officer or servant of the mental hospital authority is injured otherwise than through his own misconduct while discharging his duties; the injury is directly attributable to the nature of his duties; he is certified by the appropriate medical officer to be permanently incapacitated by reason of the injury for performing his duties, and he has been in the service of the mental hospital authority for less than ten years. Each of these conditions is very definite and specific, and can be considered by the mental hospital authority. The Parliamentary Secretary has pointed out that two questions arise. The first is the power to make a payment and, secondly, to determine the amount of it. He takes us to task because we challenge the provision where the power to decide to make a payment is left subject to the discretion of the Minister. We are not questioning at all the discretion given to the mental hospital authority in regard to the amount of the payment. If, however, we have definite conditions governing the granting of the amount, surely there is no need to have a provision to the effect that payment shall be subject to the consent of the Minister. The Parliamentary Secretary says that he does not think there is any fear that this power will be used in an unfair way by a mental hospital authority.

No amendment has been tabled proposing to remove the Minister's discretion. It is really a question of "shall" or "may."

As I have already pointed out, we are dealing here with the specific condition laid down in the section. While we do that, we still leave a discretion to the mental hospital authority. I think it follows, logically, that once these conditions are set down, and that once an applicant complies with them, the payment of the amount should be made mandatory. With regard to the point raised by the Parliamentary Secretary of payments being made from some other source, such as under the Workmen's Compensation Act, that, of course, would not apply in the case of ordinary illness. If that particular difficulty had to be dealt with, it might be met by a redrafting of the section, excluding compensation payments.

What about my amendment?

Perhaps it might shorten the debate if I were to intervene now. It is not worth wasting the time of the House——

We do not want to waste the time of the House.

In fact it was a waste of the time of the House to discuss the amendment at all because it could be rendered completely ineffective if the mental hospital authorities so decided. They will determine such amount as they think proper. They have the fullest discretion, so that I think this is nonsensical.

How can they decide?

If we put a statutory obligation on them to make a payment can they not make a payment of any dimensions they like? There is nothing to prevent them complying with the law. What I would prefer they should aim at is to comply with the spirit of the Act rather than, so to speak, take them by the back of the neck and say to them: "You must make a payment; the law compels you to make a payment." I think it is much wiser to leave the discretion to the mental hospital authority, seeing that it will determine the amount.

Amendment No. 99, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment No. 100 not moved.
Section 68, as amended, put and agreed to.
SECTION 69.

I move amendment No. 101:—

In sub-section (1), lines 53 and 54, to delete the words "may in their discretion" and substitute the word "shall".

The Parliamentary Secretary has already pointed out the difficulty of making a grant to a legal representative. Under this amendment, I want to have it made mandatory on the city manager, who will be the hospital authority, to pay the compensation which a worker is entitled to. I am moving that he shall, with the consent of the Minister, pay the compensation. If a case is brought under the Workmen's Compensation Act, the arbitrator might say that it is not a case that comes under the section. I feel that the Parliamentary Secretary should make it conditional, where the man meets with an accident, that the local authority shall, with the consent of the Minister, pay the money.

Does not the Deputy see that it really means nothing, because the local authority will determine the amount—"such sum as in all the circumstances of the case they consider proper". What is the use of saying that they must make a payment?

One man is the local authority in this case.

That is not the point.

We must face the facts. One man is the local authority in this case.

But cannot the same one man determine the amount?

He may not determine anything. If I were satisfied that he would determine an amount and act in accordance with the spirit of the Bill I would not move the amendment to substitute the word "shall". We all have different opinions. The city manager may have different views from the Parliamentary Secretary and he may not recommend any amount. The Minister would have no function in the matter unless it was recommended by the city manager.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Amendments Nos. 102 and 107 go together. Amendment No. 107 should be discussed rather than 102. Therefore, 102 may be marked not moved.

Amendment No. 102 not moved.

I move amendment No. 103:—

In sub-section (3), page 31, lines 13 and 14, to delete the words "discharge of his duties" and substitute the words "service of such authority".

Sub-section (3) enables a mental hospital authority in their discretion to grant an allowance or lump sum to any registered officer or servant with more than five years' service and less than ten if he is permanently incapacitated by reason of illness contracted otherwise than through his own misconduct or negligence. The amendment proposes to delete the words "discharge of his duties" and substitute the words "service of such authority". I dealt with this amendment earlier to-day when discussing other amendments. I am sure Deputy Burke will appreciate more than anybody else in the House the far-reaching effect that this amendment will have. It is really one of the most radical amendments in the whole code, although it looks innocent enough in the form in which it appears. In fact, regardless of the nature of the illness, regardless of the circumstances in which it was contracted, if a person is incapacitated in future, he or she will be entitled to come under the superannuation code.

I welcome the amendment. The words "discharge of his duties" might have been interpreted in any way. I am satisfied with the amendment and I think everybody concerned will be satisfied.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendment No. 104 falls with amendment No. 101.

Amendment No. 104 not moved.

I formally move amendment No. 105:—

Before sub-section (4), in page 31, to insert the following new sub-section:—

(4) For the purpose of this Act it shall be assumed that every person whose name is registered in the register maintained under this Part of this Act was in a condition of good health at the time of such registration.

It is possible that this amendment may be unnecessary in view of the Ministerial amendment No. 103. I had in mind in drafting this amendment the type of case that has been very common in other services, where a person develops tuberculosis and, on submitting a claim, is informed that he was affected with the disease before he entered the service, although on entry he was subjected to a very rigorous medical test. In view of the amendment which has been moved by the Parliamentary Secretary, I take it that that position would hardly arise under this Bill. I am not quite clear as to that because the word "contracts" is retained. It might be argued that if a person did not actually contract the disease in the course of his service with such authority he would not be entitled to come within the provisions of this Bill and that in so far as it was proved that he had a particular disease before he entered the service he was excluded from the benefits of the Bill. My amendment was intended to deal with the case of officers who pass a medical test on entry to the service and who, therefore, in the normal course would be accepted as being in good health and, at least, free from the more serious forms of disease, particularly pulmonary disease which, in certain institutions, seems to take a very heavy toll of these men and women. If in later years they are compelled to retire because of illness contracted during service with the authority, the argument should not be used that that illness was latent in them before they entered the service.

It does not arise now.

Is there not a medical examination at the time of registration?

There is a medical examination when they enter the service. I think the amendment of Deputy Larkin has lost its force by reason of the amendment which the House has already accepted. Apart from that, even if that amendment had not been passed, I would have opposed this amendment, because I doubt if it is in the interests of the attendants themselves. They would be subjected to very exacting examination in future if that principle were embodied in the code. We need not worry about it now, because under my amendment, if they contract illness in the service, they are entitled to retire and to enjoy superannuation rights regardless of the nature of the illness.

Can the Parliamentary Secretary envisage a case arising where it might be said that the person had the disease before entering the service?

It would not be administered in that narrow way.

It is being administered in that way elsewhere.

It has been a bone of contention. It has given a lot of trouble in administration because of the fact that an effort has always been made administratively to link up the illness with the nature of the occupation. That created a very difficult administrative position, because it was often a matter of opinion between medical men as to whether in fact the conditions of service contributed to or were responsible for the nature of the illness. Now we get away from that. If the officer or servant gets ill, we are not concerned as to what effect his occupation may have had in producing that illness; if he is a sick man and unfit to work, we propose to look after him.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment No. 106 not moved.

I move amendment No. 107 in the name of Deputy Pattison:—

In sub-section (4), line 29, after the word "service" to add the words "and in the case of an officer or servant having contracted tuberculosis in the discharge of his duties the allowance and lump sum granted shall be calculated on the basis of twenty-five completed years of service".

This amendment proposes that in the case of an officer or servant contracting tuberculosis in the discharge of his duties, a lump sum shall be granted to him calculated on the basis of 25 completed years of service. It is admitted that there is no occupation in which officers are more liable to contract tuberculosis than that of mental hospital attendants. If you take the record of some of these institutions in County Dublin you will find that a very large percentage of the attendants, although having undergone a very stiff medical examination before being put on the staff, after a few years are certified by the medical officer as being incapable of discharging their duties because of tuberculosis. It has been admitted that they have contracted that disease in the course of or arising out of their employment.

I could not agree to accept the principle of making special provision for people suffering from a particular disease. We have other plans in mind and other schemes under way for dealing with tuberculosis. Mental hospital attendants will be eligible under these schemes the same as anybody else. Our approach to the matter raised by the Deputy in this amendment I think logically would be that, if an employee is ill and unfit for duty of has to retire because of ill-health, it is much the same to us whether it is rheumatism, heart disease, bronchitis or tuberculosis; that the matter that must count with us is his degree of incapacity and the fact that he is no longer able to provide for himself.

Even if contracted in the course of his employment?

It does not matter where he contracted it. If he is ill and unfit for duty from any cause, he comes within the terms of the Bill.

Amendment put.
The Committee divided:— Tá, 23; Níl, 53.

  • Browne, Patrick.
  • Cafferky, Dominick.
  • Cogan, Patrick.
  • Davin, William.
  • Dockrell, Henry M.
  • Donnellan, Michael.
  • Everett, James.
  • Finucane, Patrick.
  • Giles, Patrick.
  • Halliden, Patrick J.
  • Keating, John.
  • Keyes, Michael.
  • Larkin, James (Junior).
  • McAuliffe, Patrick.
  • Murphy, Timothy J.
  • Norton, William.
  • O'Driscoll, Patrick F.
  • O'Leary, John.
  • O'Reilly, Thomas.
  • O'Sullivan, Martin.
  • Pattison, James P.
  • Reynolds, Mary.
  • Spring, Daniel.

Níl

  • Aiken, Frank.
  • Allen, Denis.
  • Bartley, Gerald.
  • Brady, Brian.
  • Brady, Seán.
  • Breathnach, Cormac.
  • Breen, Daniel.
  • Brennan, Thomas.
  • Breslin, Cormac.
  • Buckley, Seán.
  • Burke, Patrick (Co. Dublin).
  • Butler, Bernard.
  • Carter, Thomas.
  • Colbert, Michael.
  • Colley, Harry.
  • Daly, Francis J.
  • De Valera, Eamon.
  • Flynn, Stephen.
  • Fogarty, Andrew.
  • Fogarty, Patrick J.
  • Furlong, Walter.
  • Hilliard, Michael.
  • Humphreys, Francis.
  • Killilea, Mark.
  • Kilroy, James.
  • Kissane, Eamon.
  • Lemass, Seán F.
  • Beegan, Patrick.
  • Blaney, Neal.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Little, Patrick J.
  • Loughman, Frank.
  • Lydon, Michael F.
  • Lynch, James B.
  • McCann, John.
  • McCarthy, Seán.
  • Morrissey, Michael.
  • O Briain, Donnchadh.
  • O Ceallaigh, Seán T.
  • O Cléirigh, Mícheál.
  • O'Connor, John S.
  • O'Grady, Seán.
  • O'Reilly, Matthew.
  • O'Rourke, Daniel.
  • O'Sullivan, Ted.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Ryan, Robert.
  • Sheridan, Michael.
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Traynor, Oscar.
  • Ua Donnchadha, Dómhnall.
  • Walsh, Laurence.
  • Ward, Conn.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies O'Leary and Spring; Níl: Deputies Ó Ciosáin and Ó Briain.
Amendment declared negatived.
Amendment No. 108 not moved.
Section 69, as amended, agreed to.
SECTION 70.

I move amendment No. 109:—

Before Section 70 to insert a new section as follows:—

70—(1) A mental hospital authority shall, with the consent of the Minister, grant to any officer or servant in their service, who has been in the service of a mental hospital authority for not less than ten years and—

(a) who is removed from his office or employment for a cause other than misconduct or incapacity, or

(b) whose office or employment is abolished, or

(c) whose position has, in the opinion of the Minister, been materially altered to his detriment owing to changes in his conditions of service made without reasonable cause, and who resigns his office or employment with the consent of the Minister,

such annual allowance and lump sum as in all the circumstances of the case they consider proper.

(2) Where an officer or servant of a mental hospital authority becomes entitled to be granted an allowance and lump sum under this section, and he would, but for this sub-section, also be entitled to an allowance and lump sum granted pursuant to Section 64 or Section 66 of this Act, such officer or servant shall not be entitled to the latter allowance and lump sum, but, without prejudice to Section 71 of this Act, the allowance and lump sum which are granted to him under this section shall not be less respectively than the allowance and lump sum which he would have been granted under the said Section 64 or the said Section 66 (as the case may be) but for this sub-section.

This is a new section, to enable an officer or servant with not less than 10 years' service to obtain an allowance and a lump sum where his services are terminated by reason of the abolition of his office or employment or reorganisation of the service.

Amendment agreed to.
Section 70, as amended, agreed to.
SECTION 71.

I suggest that amendment No. 110 is the same as amendment No. 99 and two others.

Amendment No. 110 not moved.

I move amendment No. 111:—

In sub-section (3), page 32, line 15, to delete the words "discharge of his duties" and substitute the words "service of such authority".

We have already dealt with the principle embodied in this amendment. Sub-section (3) deals with the case of an officer or servant who is registered and who loses his employment through illness and who has been in the service for 10 years or more, and entitles him under Section 65 or Section 67 to an annual allowance and lump sum. Sub-section (3) of Section 71 enables the mental hospital authority to increase the annual allowance or lump sum in the case of a registered officer who contracts the illness otherwise than through his own misconduct. The amendment proposes to delete the words "discharge of his duties" and substitute the words "service of such authority". We have twice to-day discussed the far-reaching principle embodied in this amendment—that, in future, any illness or injury sustained in the service of the authority will entitle the officer or servant to benefit under the superannuation provisions.

Amendment agreed to.
Amendment No. 112 not moved.
Section 71, as amended, agreed to.
SECTION 72.

On behalf of Deputy Corish, I move amendment No. 113:—

In sub-section (1) (b), line 45, before the word "refuses" to insert the word "unreasonably".

The purpose of this amendment is to provide that where, under sub-section (3), a person is in receipt of an allowance under Sections 67, 69 or 71, he should not be called upon unreasonably to submit himself to medical examination. In other words, if he unreasonably refuses to submit to medical examination, the mental hospital authorities shall be entitled to cease payment of the allowance. It is a recognised practice in dealing with workmen's compensation cases, especially where a person has not got suitable advice, to submit him to continuous demands for medical examination. The purpose of the section is to provide that a person in receipt of the allowance shall reasonably submit to this requirement and provide reasonable medical proof of this claim to the continued receipt of any such payment. It is largely in this case a drafting amendment, to which I can see no great objection. It is merely a safeguard and does not in any way prohibit the mental hospital authority from requiring the recipient of the allowance to submit to such medical examination as is necessary from time to time, but it does afford some protection to the recipient against unreasonable demands.

I am not prepared to assume that the mental hospital authority would unreasonably ask a recipient of an allowance to submit himself to examination. I think it is eminently reasonable to provide that the mental hospital authority be entitled under law from time to time to ask recipients of allowances to submit to examination. If we have any such term as "shall not unreasonably refuse" I think we are going to store up for ourselves considerable difficulties in administration. I do not know how we could determine whether the refusal was reasonable or unreasonable. If we were to accept the amendment, we would have to concede two assumptions that I would prefer not to concede. The first is that the mental hospital authority would act in an unreasonable way. Perhaps with greater reluctance would I concede that the medical officer who would be called upon to examine the person would act in an unreasonable way. You would need to have collusion between the mental hospital authority and the medical officer called upon to carry out the examination in order to provide the setting for the type of injustice Deputy Larkin anticipates. I do not think there is any ground for it whatever. I do not think it would be desirable to insert such an amendment in the Bill.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 114:—

In sub-section (1) (c), lines 53 and 54, to delete the words "certificate of the medical practitioners" and substitute the words "cancellation thereof".

This amendment and amendment No. 115 are consequential on each other. Amendment No. 114 merely seeks to regularise the position that might obtain between the granting of the certificate and the question of cancellation; it seeks to ensure that in the interim period the allowance would not be withdrawn, that is, the allowance in connection with incapacity. Amendment No. 115 is the more important one. It reverses the position which the Bill seeks to take up, and asks that the allowance should not be withdrawn until a suitable appointment has been offered to the individual affected. That ensures that the individual's rights would be protected and he will have the offer of an appointment before his allowance is cancelled.

I am prepared to consider amendment No. 114 and I will look into the matter between this and the Report Stage. I am not so favourably disposed towards amendment No. 115. That amendment must inevitably raise a rather difficult administrative principle, inasmuch as the authority may not have such a post in their gift at the time. The conception behind the amendment is all right; the principle is not objectionable, but the actual administration of it might entail some difficulty if we were to put this statutory obligation upon the hospital authority. Naturally, if the hospital authority determine, after medical examination, that a person in receipt of an allowance is, in fact, able to work, they will offer the most suitable work they have to that person, but to put them under an obligation to offer a particular type of work might be difficult to discharge.

I am sure the Parliamentary Secretary will recognise that in Section 72 he uses the words:—

"...and the authority may, in their discretion, offer him a position in their service of a kind and at a rate of salary or wages at least equal to that enjoyed by him when formerly in their service."

The only difference between the Parliamentary Secretary and myself is that I am anxious to ensure that the man's allowance will continue until such stage as that section of the Bill can be implemented.

Yes, but we must consider the possibility that that seems to open up, the danger, and perhaps the certainty, of a dispute between the recipient of the allowance and the hospital authority as to the suitability of the employment that the authority might find it possible to offer.

Perhaps we had better dispose of amendment No. 114 first. I take it that amendment is being withdrawn on the understanding that it will be looked into?

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 115:—

In sub-section (1) (c), to delete all words after the word "practitioners" in line 54 to the end of the paragraph and substitute the words: "Provided, however, that the authority shall not cancel the allowance before offering to him a position in their service of a kind and at a rate of salary or wages at least equal to that enjoyed by him when formerly in their service."

We are dealing with persons who, on the certificates of two medical practitioners, are in a position that their incapacity has ceased. That is a somewhat different type of case to cases arising under the Workmen's Compensation Act, where a person is certified for light work. The question arises whether the work provided by the employer is of a suitable nature. In this case the person presumably has recovered full capacity to perform his duties. The only question is whether there is a vacancy of a kind and at a salary similar to what he possessed when he went out, not the actual suitability of the employment from the point of view of the person's capacity.

In this regard we should pay attention to the type of case with which we are dealing. We are dealing not only with the case of a person who, through contracting ordinary illness in the service of an authority, is incapacitated, but with the case of a person injured in the service of the authority. If a person is injured in the service of the authority, and, therefore, in discharge of his responsibilities towards patients, and if he is certified as having recovered and we say he is no longer entitled to the allowance made to him, surely we should not allow a gap to be created between the cancellation of the allowance and his restoration to employment?

We have a certain obligation to him and, while it may be quite true that the wording of my amendment could give rise to disputes as to whether the employment is suitable or not, I think the main question would be, if it is the case of an attendant, that the employment offered to him should be of a similar nature. I think the overriding question should be that the salary or wages would not be less than what he was in receipt of at the time the incapacity commenced.

That leaves a broad field to the hospital authority. If they were to offer employment to him as a worker in a boiler house, or offer him manual work which he might not be capable of performing because he was accustomed to another type of work of a lighter nature for a long period, then a difficulty would arise. So long as the employment would be of a similar nature there should not be any difficulty from the point of the recipient accepting the employment. Where we are dealing with men or women who have sustained injuries, it would be unjust and unfair to permit the cancellation of the allowance and thereby possibly create a gap until such time as employment was offered. Nobody wants to take up the position that the authorities will adopt an unreasonable attitude, but it is always possible, once a person gets caught up in an administrative machine, that a certain delay might take place without any bad intent.

I presume that, in these cases, the determining factor would largely be the resident medical superintendent, or the city or county manager. It might also be conceivably left for consultation with the full committee. The committee might not meet for a month or so, which would mean that there would be a period during which this person would be without any financial support, except what he might have saved, what his relatives might provide or what he might obtain from the public assistance authorities. That would be a very invidious and objectionable position, and, whatever may be the difficulty in accepting the amendment, I think the Parliamentary Secretary should agree that the principle we are trying to get at is good, that men who have sustained injury in the service should not be penalised by the creation of a period between the cessation of their allowance and the date on which they are able to take up employment.

Question—"That the words proposed to be deleted stand", put and declared carried.
Amendments Nos. 116 and 117 not moved.

I move amendment No. 118:—

In sub-section (2), page 33, line 7, to delete the words "sixty-five" and substitute the word "sixty".

This is a corollary to a previous amendment.

Amendment put and agreed to.
Section 72, as amended, agreed to.
SECTION 73.

Amendments Nos. 119 and 124 are the same in principle.

I formally move, on behalf of Deputy Spring, amendment No. 119:—

In sub-section (1), lines 20 and 21, to delete the words "and was directly attributable to the nature of his duties".

If the amendment were accepted, a pension would be payable whether the injury was directly attributable to the nature of his duties or not. We can scarcely accept such an amendment, as we have already dealt with the principle involved in it on various previous amendments. There is really nothing more that can usefully be said on it.

Is the principle quite the same? In sub-section (1), we deal with officers and servants as a whole, and we require that the injury shall be directly attributable to the nature of their duties. In sub-section (3) where we deal with registered officers, we require that it shall be in the discharge of their duties, and I think the Parliamentary Secretary has an amendment down to that sub-section.

This relates to death from injury received in the discharge of his duties. It deals with a special category of cases. We cover illness and injury contracted in the service in the other sections, but this, is meant to deal with a specific type of circumstance, say, of an attendant who is attacked by a patient and sustains fatal injury.

Suppose we take the case of a tradesman working in an institution. His duties normally do not require him to have any contact with the patients but, in the course of his duties, he finds it necessary to frequent a certain part of the institution in which there are patients, is attacked and dies as a result.

I think it would have to be held in such circumstances that it was attributable to the nature of his duties. Otherwise, he would not be exposed to the danger.

It was only lately that I saw a case in respect of which it was argued that he was not required to go there, that he went there at his own risk.

I shall look into it and see if there is a point in it.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment No. 120 not moved.

I move amendment No. 121:—

In sub-section (3), page 33, lines 37 and 38, to delete the words "discharge of his duties" and substitute the words "service of such authority".

This is consequential on a previous amendment. It meets the point in amendment No. 122.

Amendment put and agreed to.
Amendments Nos. 122 to 124 inclusive not moved.

I move amendment No. 125:—

In sub-section (1), line 54, after the word "widower" to insert the words "or widow".

It is not necessary for the Deputy to make a case for this amendment. I admit the principle of it and will deal with it on Report. I shall circulate an amendment to cover the point.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 126:—

In sub-section (3), page 34, line 11, to delete the words "discharge of his duties" and substitute the words "service of such authority".

This amendment is consequential.

Amendment put and agreed to.
Amendments Nos. 127 to 131 inclusive not moved.

I move amendment No. 132:—

In sub-section (6), to add at the end, line 30, the following words: "or where the child is continuing its education on the attainment of the age of nineteen years".

The Bill sets out that the allowance payable under this sub-section shall cease finally on the attaining by the child in respect of whom the allowance is granted of the age of 16 years or earlier death. The Parliamentary Secretary will appreciate that where both parents are dead and the child is solely dependent upon whatever allowance he gets under this Bill, his secondary education, at any rate, will not have been completed at the age of 16. In a case where the parents intended to give the child a secondary education, the Parliamentary Secretary should consider continuing the allowance until he child will have completed it, which would be at about the age of 18. If no allowance is to be given once the child has reached the age of 16, it would be too had if it had to depend on relatives or friends.

It would be far worse if we had not covered the case at all.

I agree, But I would ask the Parliamentary Secretary to go a little further so that the child will get the benefit of a secondary education. There is no need for me to stress the importance of education to-day.

I welcome the very enlightened and intelligent advance which amendment No. 132 represents. The Parliamentary Secretary has pointed out that the child is to be looked after until it reaches the age of 16 years. That is a good advance on the provisions in the 1909 Act. Where a parent in the employment of a mental hospital authority dies in the discharge of his duty, leaving his children dependent on the mental hospital authority, I am sure that the latter will use its discretion for the benefit of the children. Perhaps something further might be done so that the children would be looked after until they got a job. Perhaps a little more could be done for such children on the lines indicated by Deputy Cafferky.

Would the Parliamentary Secretary not consider giving a certain discretionary power to a mental hospital authority in the case, say, of children who had won scholarships to secondary schools or more advanced educational establishments? If a child succeeded in securing the benefit of a scholarship provided by a local authority it would be very unfair if it had to relinquish the scholarship because of any consequences flowing from this mandatory sub-section. Under the sub-section there is a discretionary power given to the mental hospital authority to reduce, increase or restore allowances. Why not provide for the exercise of a discretionary power in exceptional cases such as I have referred to, especially where you have studious, intelligent children who have secured for themselves the very limited educational advantages afforded in the way of scholarships? Why not enable them to take advantage of those scholarships rather than place obstacles in their way?

I think when it is realised that I have provided in the framework of the Bill reasonable economic shelter for the children of the deceased officers of the mental hospital authority, the House ought not to press me to go as far as this amendment asks. We are seeking to make provision for the children until they reach the age of 16 years. The amendment is a nice gesture all right. I welcome it particularly from Deputy Cafferky speaking on behalf of the Farmers' Party. Once again, I have to say that the cost of the extension of the financial provisions to cover the widow and the orphan, and the injured or ailing breadwinner will fall upon the local rates. The proposals which I have in mind regarding the improvement of salary conditions will, as I have already said, throw a very substantial additional burden upon the rates. I would not consider that a very convincing argument in itself were it not for the fact that the provision which I am making in the Bill is a reasonable one. As Deputy Burke has said, it is a substantial advance on any provision made previously.

Apart from these important aspects that have to be taken into consideration, the fact remains that the local authority has ample statutory power to provide educational facilities for the orphans of mental hospital attendants just as it has for the children of any other section of the community. It seems to me that, if we concede the principle in relation to the orphans of mental hospital attendants, we cannot logically resist it in relation to the orphans of other officers and servants of local authorities or, indeed, of the State authority. Now that we have the Farmers' Party with Fianna Fáil taking the field with some Labour support and some support from Fine Gael, we ought to be able to revolutionise the conditions of employment in the local services, if we all stand together. I am the only resistor to the generous treatment that is being offered by the various sections in this House.

As I said earlier, I do anticipate some criticism when the huge cost of the new salary scales which will fall on the rates, and which I estimate will amount to £80,000, comes to be considered by the local authorities. We ought to be reasonable and ought to leave well enough alone. We ought to be satisfied. It is discouraging to a representative of the Government, no matter how generously he treats any section of the community, to be asked "why are you not more generous?", and that comes from Deputies who can be very critical of the cost of Government, whether it be in regard to the mounting cost of the rates or of the taxation that is necessary to maintain the services of Central Government.

The proper approach to this question, I suggest, would be this: if it is thought desirable that special educational facilities should be provided for the classes under discussion, the proper way to do that is to see that the local authority, in the exercise of its powers and functions in relation to the provision of scholarships, will be more generous. In fact, the local authorities have a very wide discretion at the present time in that matter, but when they come to consider the relative merits and claims of the orphans of mental hospital attendants with the claims of other sections of the community, they may decide that the orphans of the former have already been reasonably provided for, and that, perhaps, some of them have been better provided for than many of the ratepayers are able to provide for their own children.

The Parliamentary Secretary seems to be very much worried as to the action of the ratepayers, particularly when I advocate anything that, to his mind, will mean an increase in the rates. I was not concerned at all about an increase in the rates when I put down this amendment. It never crossed my mind.

It should have.

I would like to remind the Parliamentary Secretary that I believe that even this Bill, when it becomes law, will never function properly until the cost of maintenance is made a national charge.

The Deputy may dismiss that idea altogether from this mind.

It may materialise one day, if not under the present Administration.

No, nor under any subsequent Administration.

Do not tell the ratepayers that.

That will be my explanation for the amendment when I come to discuss it in public.

I was thinking it would.

The ratepayer does not object to money being wisely spent. What he objects to is the unwise spending of money. When the Estimates come up for discussion I shall point out where economies can be effected which may make up the extra capital needed for the administration of this Bill. I hope the Government will put the economies into effect and apply the saving to the administration of this Bill. Apart from that, I feel our purpose should be, not merely in relation to the children of mental attendants, but in relation to all children, to give them every opportunity to secure better and more modern education. Orphans of mental hospital attendants should be cared for under this Bill. I admit that the Parliamentary Secretary has gone a long way but it is no use going two-thirds of the way.

If the Parliamentary Secretary had gone the full length, there would have been no need for my amendment. I am sure he will admit that 16 years is not a sufficiently high age for the completion of studies to such an extent that the boy or girl would be able to take up a position in the Civil Service, or any other State organisation. Nineteen years is the minimum age, and it is because of that that I tabled this amendment. I have no apology to offer for doing so, and I think the Parliamentary Secretary is taking a narrow view of it in representing to the House the increased expenditure involved. The Parliamentary Secretary should take more courage, and if he has done a lot of things that are wrong, he should do a few things that are right. If he accepts my amendment he will not lose his seat at the next election on that account. He may head the poll. There is no need for him to worry as to how we are going to explain this to the farmers when we face them at a local or general election.

I am delighted with the Deputy.

I am quite, prepared to face them, and to explain how this exorbitant rate has taken place, and how it can be reduced. The Parliamentary Secretary knows as well as I do how it can be reduced. I have often pointed out in the House how that can be done. I can look up the records of the House, and make the Parliamentary Secretary blush.

Not yet. The Deputy does not know how hard a job that is.

I was wondering why Deputy Cafferky was so generous. He has given me the explanation. He says he is going to make it a national charge instead of a local charge.

I hope Deputy Burke will support me.

The Bill does not do that.

Is the amendment withdrawn, or shall I put it?

Put the amendment.

Amendment put and declared lost.
Section 74, as amended, agreed to.
SECTION 75.

There are a lot of amendments here and they cannot all be put. That is the tragedy. I make the suggestion that we take a decision on Nos. 135, 136 and 137 and, if Deputies are not satisfied, they will have an opportunity on Report. Amendment No. 133 suggests a maximum annual allowance of two-thirds of the salary. I think Deputies will admit that that is conditioned by the proposal, which was negatived, that the superannuation would be based on sixtieths rather than eightieths. It is hardly feasible, I suggest, to qualify for a half salary rate as pension on eightieths; still less to exceed it. Amendments Nos. 133, 134 and 140 need not, therefore, be moved. Amendments Nos. 135 and 136, which increase widows' allowances, can be discussed together, the question to be put, of course, that "one-third" stands. Amendment No. 137 will then be taken, the decision thereon excluding Nos. 138 and 139. Amendment No. 139, I think, is in any case, largely based—Deputy Larkin will admit—on his proposals in amendment No. 80. That is the best, I think, that can be done to fit in the amendments—to discuss Nos. 135 and 136 together and to have one decision and then to take No. 137, governing Nos. 137, 138 and 139, and if there is any point omitted it might be tried on Report. Do Deputies agree to that?

Is No. 133 not being moved?

We cannot fit them all in, and I suggest that for the present we drop this. As I have said, I do not think that a pension at the two-thirds rate can now arise, but that may be entering into the merits of it.

On behalf of Deputy Everett I formally move amendment No. 135:—

In sub-section (1) (a) (i), line 35, to delete the words "one-third" and to insert the words "two-thirds".

I suggest that we might discuss together amendments Nos. 135 and 136 and that one question will be put, that the words "one-third" stand.

I move to report progress.

Progress reported; Committee to sit again.

Deputies may note that we are taking amendments Nos. 135 and 136 and then 137, 138, 139 together on 137 and, if any point has been omitted, it will be considered on Report.