The main object of the Bill is to give members of the Garda Síochána who retired between the dates 1st July, 1940, and 31st October, 1946, exactly the same rights are regards pension as have been given to civil servants under the recent Superannuation Act, that is to say, to give them the benefit of the cost-of-living index number up to 270 instead of the pre-emergency number of 185. Widows of members of the force, where their pensions are calculated on the basis of their husbands' length of service, will also benefit in like manner.
At the start of the emergency, the scales of Garda pay had been formulated on the basis of a cost-of-living index number of 185. This was also the index number on which Civil Service bonus was based. As from 1st July, 1940, Civil Service bonus was formally stabilised by the Civil Service (Stabilisation of Bonus) Regulations at this index number of 185, and remained so until it was formally permitted to rise to 210 on 1st February, 1945. It was stabilised at the latter figure until 31st October, 1946, when the operation of the Stabilisation Orders was brought to an end, and the index number of 270 was applied to Civil Service pay. Garda pay was not formally stabilised throughout this period but it was, nevertheless, kept in step throughout with Civil Service pay.
As the cost-of-living index number rose steadily throughout the stabilisation period from 185 to 290 it will be seen that the consequences of stabilisation was that the scales of pay of the force did not increase with the cost of living as might otherwise have been expected. In the case of men who ceased membership during the period this had an adverse effect on their retiring pay, and, consequently, on their pensions.
Now that pay scales reckoned generally on the 270 index number have been brought into operation as from 1st November, 1946, it is proposed to make compensation by reassessing Garda pensions awarded during the stabilisation period on pay reckoned on the index number applying at the time of ceasing membership subject to a maximum of 270.
There is another provision under Section 8 which provides that where a Guard left the service for political reasons, the period during which he was out will be allowed for pension purposes as was done in the case of civil servants who left the Service for a like reason.