This Order is necessary, owing to the contemplated change in the commissionership of the Gárda. Articles 1, 2 and 3, as Senators will observe, are purely formal. Article 4 is intended to ensure that the Gárda Síochána Pensions Order of 1925 should apply to the present commissioner. The wording of Article 3 of the 1925 Order was somewhat ambiguous and left some room for doubt. Article 5 covers the period of approved service which is set out in this Article as 25 years in the case of the present commissioner and 30 years in the case of any future commissioner, that is, a commissioner who joined the force after 19th October, 1925. The Article provides that when a commissioner has completed such period of service he may retire on pension, but only with the consent of the Minister if he has not attained the age of 60. Under the 1925 Order the commissioner, irrespective of service, could not retire on pension except on medical grounds before the age of 50 years.
Article 6 enables, in the case of the present commissioner, a period which he served in the D.M.P. prior to his dismissal in July, 1921, and from the period of such dismissal to the period of reinstatement, to be reckoned as approved service for pension purposes. The provision is identical with what is contained in Section 3 of the Superannuation and Pensions Act of 1923, and the Dublin Police Act, 1924, which apply to other members of the Dublin Metropolitan Police who were dismissed for political reasons prior to the Truce and were subsequently reinstated. The Article also permits the Minister for Finance to add a period not exceeding ten years. Article 7 is intended to cover the case of a civil servant appointed without break of service to the post of commissioner. It provides that in such a case the full period as served may be reckoned as approved service. Under the 1925 Order only three-fourths of such service served after the age of 25 could be reckoned.
As I stated in the other House, some of those Articles are necessary. The Article dealing with the break in the service is necessary to deal with the case of the present commissioner. The present commissioner joined the D.M.P. in January, 1911, and he was dismissed for political reasons on the 24th July, 1921. From July, 1921, to May, 1922, he was engaged in intelligence work, and from May, 1922, to May, 1923, he was Secretary to Civil Aviation Organisation. In May, 1923, he was appointed Secretary to the D.M.P., a recognised Civil Service post, and he was finally reinstated on 21st April, 1925. The Article dealing with that is necessary so that we may get over the breaks that were caused by his dismissal for political reasons and so that he may get continuous service. That has been followed in other cases—people dismissed from the D.M.P., as it was then. In addition, we are adding three years. That is to bring the period up to 30 years—to give the present commissioner 30 years' service. By getting over the breaks in his service after he was first dismissed for political reasons, he would have 27 years' service, and we are adding three years to that.
It is stated that ten years may be added. That is a round figure suggested by the Department of Finance. There is no point in that, and Senators need not worry about it. Every year after 20 years' service counts as two years up to 30 years. That would mean that the Commissioner or a member of the Gárda who serves for 30 years actually gets credit for 40 years. He cannot get more than that, because the maximum pension to any member of the Gárda Síochána is 40-60ths, or two-thirds. The last paragraph provides for where the appointment of a civil servant is made, and the contemplated change is that, when the present Commissioner retires, the Assistant Secretary to the Department of Justice will succeed him.
I should like to say here, as I stated in the other House, that I recognise the very onerous duties that are imposed on a Commissioner of the Gárda. I recognise the great difficulties with which he has to contend from time to time, and I should like to avail of this opportunity to pay a tribute to the present Commissioner for the services he has rendered, and to express my deep appreciation of those services.