National Health Insurance Bill, 1929—Report Stage.

Wednesday, 4 December 1929

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 32 No. 13

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General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  I move amendment 1:—

In page 6, before Section 14 to insert a new section as follows:—

(1) Where an insured person, who has given notice of illness within the prescribed time, fails or neglects for a period exceeding twelve months to submit or continue to submit medical or other satisfactory evidence of the incapacity in respect of which such notice was given he shall be treated as if he had recovered from the incapacity as from the end of the period in respect of which he last submitted such evidence, unless either the approved society administering the benefit is satisfied or, in the case of a dispute, it is decided in manner provided by the Acts that the insured person had a reasonable excuse for not submitting or continuing to submit medical or other satisfactory evidence of incapacity.

(2) An insured person shall not cease by reason of anything contained in the foregoing sub-section to be an insured person at a date earlier than the date upon which he would otherwise have ceased to be an insured person under the Acts.

This is to meet amendment No 6 proposed by Deputy Coburn on the Committee Stage.

Amendment agreed to.

[1963]Mr. Briscoe: Information on Robert Briscoe  Zoom on Robert Briscoe  I move amendment 2.

In page 7, lines 37 to 40 inclusive, to delete Section 16.

There is a typographical error on the Order Paper in connection with this amendment. It should read, “lines 33 to 36.” In Section 112 of the original Act dwelling-houses were expressly excluded with regard to examination by an inspector. I do not know for what reason it was sought to bring the ordinary private dwelling-house under the same category as a workshop or business premises. There are various objections to an inspector of the Department coming to a private dwelling-house and demanding to see a domestic servant or other person and to examine her privately. I do not want to go into details. The Minister did not refer to this particular amending section in the original introduction, but I certainly feel that there is great objection to an inspector having the right to go to a private dwelling-house at any time that suits him, to interview a domestic servant or any other person working in the house to the exclusion of the lady who runs the house. He has that right under this amending section. If the inspector can take that person into any room he likes and discuss with her matters which concern the Act, if you like, I think it is very unwise to extend that power which was not given when the original Act was going through. It was objected to on the grounds that I am putting, that it is most undesirable to give an inspector the power to enter a private dwelling-house and go through the form of examination which he is empowered to do under Section 112. Section 112 (c) states that this inspector is entitled “to examine, either alone or in the presence of any other person, as he thinks fit, with respect to any matters under this Act, every person whom he finds in any such premises or place, or whom he has reasonable cause to believe to be, or to have been, an employed contributor or workman in an insured trade, and to require every such person to be examined, and to [1964] sign a declaration of the truth of the matters in respect of which he is so examined.” I have no objection to the inspector making such an examination in a private house provided he has not the right to go into the house and say to anybody in it —it may be a visitor—that he wants to examine that person privately and bring that person into an adjoining room, and go through a kind of “Third Degree.” I wonder if the Minister would consider either withdrawing the section or altering it in the case of a private house, by deleting the words where it specifies that he may examine the person alone.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  Does the Deputy suggest that under the present Act an inspector may walk into a workshop and say to a particular person he wants to examine him alone, take him into a room and put him through, what the Deputy calls, a “Third Degree”?

Mr. Briscoe: Information on Robert Briscoe  Zoom on Robert Briscoe  He has the right under the Act if he wants to. I understand that it is not the purpose underlying this section that the inspector should use that power in a “Third Degree” measure. It is quite clear that there may be a person employed to whom the employer might have said that he was not going to insure him—that if he insisted on being insured he would have to get rid of him. I admit there is that danger, particularly in a private residence. Nevertheless, I say that the privacy of a private residence should not be invaded with so little cause, because of that danger which may be expected in a private house. I do not want to remove the section altogether, if the Minister would put in some phraseology which would give the owner of the house some right in his house in connection with such visits.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  I take it the Deputy does not suggest that there is anything objectionable in the powers given to inspectors with regard to workshops and places like that under the original Act. The only power given is a power to approach the employer and require that he will [1965] give certain information, and if the information is not forthcoming, that the employer is guilty of an offence —power with the consent of the employer to see workmen on his premises and question them with regard to their insurance or otherwise under the Act. What the Deputy asks is to take out this, and the taking out of it would mean that he would refuse to grant power to national health inspectors to approach private persons as to the extent to which they are carrying out their duties under the Act in respect of their domestic employees—power to see the domestic employees of a private person and question them. When the Deputy talks about taking them into a room in a house and putting them through the “Third Degree,” etc., he is not approaching the matter in a commonsense way.

He has not taken into consideration the way in which the section is administered in respect of workshops. He has not taken into consideration that if the inspector abuses his powers in any way he will be open to complaint. The only thing implied in Section 16 is that in order to overcome non-compliance and the financial loss to the insurance system and the unfairness to other insured persons, we are taking powers to approach, and to require all persons who run private dwelling houses and keep domestic servants to get such information from them as will enable us to know whether they are complying with the Act or not. We think that is a very fair and reasonable power to seek. We ought to be left with all the fair and reasonable powers that will enable us to overcome noncompliance.

Mr. Briscoe: Information on Robert Briscoe  Zoom on Robert Briscoe  Does the Minister deny that under paragraph (c), Section 112, the inspector has the right to examine alone any person who is found on such premises, and to examine them without the consent of the occupier of the house?

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  I shall read the section:

[1966]“112.—(1) An inspector appointed under this Act shall, for the purposes of the execution of this Act, have power to do all or any of the following things.” Then paragraphs (a) and (b) follow, and

“(c) To examine, either alone or in the presence of any other person, as he thinks fit, with respect to any matters under this Act, every person whom he finds in any such premises or place, or whom he has reasonable cause to believe to be or to have been an employed contributor or workman in an insured trade, and to require every such person to be so examined, and to sign a declaration of the truth of the matters in respect of which he is so examined.”

The Deputy takes exception to that because the word “or” is not “and.” Then he takes exception to a situation in which a person might go into a workshop and see a person being shown through the workshop by the manager, or looking round the workshop. The Deputy claims that there is power under that section for the inspector to take up such a person and examine him. That is stretching the common sense of the section altogether.

Mr. Briscoe: Information on Robert Briscoe  Zoom on Robert Briscoe  I am not referring to a workshop, but I am referring to a private house. I say that under that sub-section the inspector has power to examine alone any person found in the house without requiring the permission of the owner. The section specifies reasonable hours. What are reasonable hours so far as a house is concerned? He can interview a servant in the house with or without the permission of the owner of the house or the person running the house, and he can speak to that person privately whenever he likes and examine him. I object to the words by which he can examine them alone. I would have no objection to the section if the word “alone” were taken out in the case of a private house.

[1967]General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  Under the section, if a National Health Insurance officer wanted to get into the private part of a workshop and the manager refused him, I doubt if, without going to the courts, he could make a forcible entry. As far as I understand it, if a National Health inspector went to a private house, and if he was told he could not see the owner or was refused permission to see the owner, what he would do would be he would take proceedings, because he had these powers and was refused the right to exercise these powers. It does not say that he would force the door or that he would get in through the window. The whole thing is governed by the introductory part of the clause, which says that for the purpose of the execution of this Act the inspector shall have the power to do things.

Mr. Little: Information on Patrick J. Little  Zoom on Patrick J. Little  May I ask the Minister whether, suppose a person were called upon to speak privately with the inspector and that that person wished to have a witness present, would he have power under this section to have him present?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  The Deputy is on a different point.

Amendment declared lost.

Mr. O'Kelly: Information on Seán T. O'Kelly  Zoom on Seán T. O'Kelly  I move amendment 3:—

In page 8, line 47, to add at the end of Section 22 (1) the following words:—

“but every insured person duly recommended by an approved society for sanatorium treatment and which recommendation has been approved by the medical officer of health for the county or county borough or by the tuberculosis medical officer of said county or county borough shall be entitled to receive from the council of the county or county borough of which the insured person is an inhabitant or from an authorised committee therof, such sanatorium treatment for tuberculosis as the insured person would [1968] have been entitled to receive if recommended therefor by an insurance committee.”

This amendment is practically in the exact terms of one that was down already on a former stage of the Bill. Its intention is to endeavour to secure, as far as we can, that the insured persons by reason of the passing of this Bill will not lose any of the rights that were secured to them so far as sanatorium treatment is concerned. The Minister has drafted another amendment which goes some way towards meeting the demands of those anxious to secure for the insured persons their full rights, but as drafted I take it that his amendment does not give to the insured persons all that we wish to secure for them. The Minister's amendment states: “So long as the total cost of institutional treatment afforded by them in any year to such persons in such year does not exceed three-fifths of the sum distributed in such year as aforesaid, treatment for tuberculosis shall in any year in which the total cost afforded does not at any time exceed the limit hereinbefore specified be entitled to receive such treatment free of charge.” If my construing of that phrase is correct, it appears to me that only in so far as three-fifths of the money concerned, that is, the £27,000 that will be given to the local authority, will the insured persons be guaranteed their sanatorium treatment.

That is the way I read it; if that be correct it does not meet what those of us who are anxious to secure free institutional sanatorium treatment for insured persons, wished to get in putting down a former amendment, and what we had in mind when putting down this amendment. I would like to hear the Minister on that. If that interpretation of his amendment is correct I will be obliged to press my amendment.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  Deputies will remember that I stated that in a large number of counties—as a matter of fact, in 22 out of 27—agreements have been come to between the Insurance [1969] Committee for the county and the county council by which the funds at the disposal of the Insurance Committee are handed over in a lump sum annually to the county council, and the county council apply these sums under their tuberculosis scheme to the treatment—I say treatment as distinct from institutional treatment—of insured persons. There is a regular form of agreement that in each of the 22 cases I have referred to is being entered into. I want to read for the information of the Deputy one or two sections of this agreement. It is a standard agreement. Section 5 states: “Out of the amount credited to the Committee, for the purpose of sanatorium benefit in pursuance of the National Health Insurance Acts, 1911 to 1926, or any Order or Regulation made thereunder, the Committee shall pay to the council a sum calculated at the rate of 1/2 per annum out of every 1/3 so credited to them by the Commissioners.”

In fact, there has been paid to the council 1/3 instead of 1/2, so we are dealing with the payment from the Committee to the county council of 1/3 per insured member. “ The Committee shall also pay to the council out of each 1/3 in addition to the 1/2 such portion of the remaining penny (hereinafter called the ` reserved penny ') as shall be found on the audit of the Committee's accounts not to have been required to meet the Committee's expenditure on the administration of such sanatorium benefit.” That is, 1/3 per insured member has been available out of each sum of 1/2. “ Out of each sum of 1/2 ”—that is now 1/3—“so payable to the council the sum of 8d.”—now under the circumstances the sum of 9d.—“ together with any portion of the reserved penny payable to the council”—in fact, now the sum of 9d.—“shall be allotted towards the cost of treatment of eligible persons in sanatoria or hospitals provided in pursuance of clause (2) (d) out of the 6d. remaining in respect of each sum of 1/2 so credited a sum equivalent to one-fifth of the salary and travelling expenses of the tuberculosis [1970] officer shall be paid in respect of his services and of the tuberculosis dispensary system. Any sum remaining shall be available for the provision of treatment otherwise than in a sanatorium or other institution.”

So that out of every 1/3 per insured member handed over from the Committee in any one of these 22 counties, 9d. or 3/5ths was made available for sanatorium treatment, and the remaining 2/5ths was allowed to cover the services of doctor, the dispensary system and for any other kind of, say, domiciliary treatment. The amendment I propose here in sub-section (2) secures that all the money handed over is to be used for the treatment of persons suffering from tuberculosis, and that the 3/5ths which the standard scheme arranged would be reserved for sanatoria treatment would continue to be reserved, but that the other 2/5ths would continue, as in the past, to be available for domiciliary and dispensary treatment.

Professor Alton: Information on Ernest H. Alton  Zoom on Ernest H. Alton  Of insured persons?

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  Yes, and that is how the mysterious figure of 3/5ths comes into my Resolution. The whole sum will be spent on the treatment of insured persons and it will be spent in the proportions that experience generally and in the various counties has shown to be a proper proportion as between sanatorium, domiciliary or medical treatment. I suggest to the Deputy that amendment No. 8 fully meets the intention of his amendment No. 3.

Mr. O'Kelly: Information on Seán T. O'Kelly  Zoom on Seán T. O'Kelly  I take it from what the Minister says that the status quo, so far as an insured person is concerned, is secured by the amendment.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  The status quo with regard to the spending on insured persons of the amount of money provided here?

Mr. O'Kelly: Information on Seán T. O'Kelly  Zoom on Seán T. O'Kelly  Yes.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  It is.

[1971]Mr. O'Kelly: Information on Seán T. O'Kelly  Zoom on Seán T. O'Kelly  Then I withdraw my amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  With regard to amendment No. 4 it is suggested that amendment No. 16, in the name of Deputy O'Kelly, should be proposed in the following form as an amendment to No. 4, because if amendment No. 4 were carried in its present form amendment No. 16 could not be moved at all:—“ In the proposed amendment before the words ` shall be entitled' to insert the following words: `whose income from other employment does not exceed £200 (two hundred pounds sterling) per annum.' ”

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  I move amendment No. 4:—

In page 8, Section 22 (4), to delete all words from the words “ and who is not,” line 57, to the end of sub-section (4) and substitute the words “ shall be entitled, in the case of an official who has less than ten completed years of service with such committee, to a gratuity calculated on the basis of one-eighth of the amount of his annual remuneration on the 31st day of December, 1929, for every completed year of his service, and in the case of an official who has ten or more completed years of service with such committee, to a gratuity calculated on the basis of one-sixth of the amount of his annual remuneration on the 31st day of December, 1929, for every completed year of his service.”

This is to replace the amendment that Deputy Davin carried in the Committee Stage. As I explained on the Committee Stage, I was prepared under the particular section there, which I showed gave me power to apply to the officials of these committees who are part-time, non-pensionable persons, explicitly subject to a three months' term of notice on dispensation of services, the terms applied to the officials of school attendance committees, persons that to my mind were most closely analogous [1972] to them, but in certain circumstances I wanted to have power left to me to grade up the amount of one-tenth where funds allowed. I propose in this amendment to take powers that in the case of an official of an insurance committee who has less than 10 years' service he be given a gratuity calculated on the basis of one-eighth of the amount of his annual remuneration at the end of the first year, or in the case of an official who had 10 or more years of service the payment of a gratuity calculated on the basis of one-sixth.

Let us consider the case of an official with 15 years' service and an official with 8 years' service. What in effect that means is that an official with 8 years' service will receive under my proposal in respect of every £100 of his present annual emoluments a gratuity of £100. An officer with 15 years' service will receive a gratuity at the rate of £250 for each £100 of his present salary and emoluments.

I have emphasised that these officials are part-time, that to a large extent they are very much part-time, and that in twenty-two counties out of twenty-seven the whole of their funds are transferred to the county council and they instruct the county council who has administration of them. Their other duties are very small.

The Local Government Act of 1929 contains provisions for the paying of pensions to persons who are full-time pensionable employees of local bodies. In the case of a full-time pensionable employee of a local body who has eight years' service and who is being dispensed with because of the abolition of office, he would receive a gratuity of £133? per £100 of his annual full emoluments. So if we compare the officials of one of these insurance committees with a full-time pensionable official of a local authority, each of them having eight years' service, and each of them having his office abolished, the comparison is per £100 of emoluments annually, £100 to the officials of insurance committees and £133? to the full-time pensionable officials of a local body. The full-time [1973] pensionable employee of a local body who has fifteen years' service would be given a pension, but the amount of his pension would be £36? per year for every £100 of his emoluments. We are proposing a gratuity of £250 per £100 of emoluments. If we take a civil servant who has eight years' service he would be going out with less. He would only get a gratuity of £93? per £100. A civil servant of fifteen years' service would only get a pension of £18 15s. in respect of every £100 salary and a gratuity of £50. I submit that I have met the wishes of the House rather considerably in making the proposal that is contained in this amendment, and I would ask the House to accept it.

Sir James Craig: Information on Prof. James Craig  Zoom on Prof. James Craig  Could the Minister give us any idea as to the average salary that these part-time officials were receiving?

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  As well as giving the salary I would like to give the amount that is being administered. I am afraid I cannot take the averages because there are some officials with twelve years, some with four and some with only one year's service. I will take at random the figures here. It is not necessary to mention the particular county. I will take a county where the amount administered by the insurance committee is £341 per annum, if the person has eleven years' service and his total remuneration is £105.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  Is that including bonus?

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  Yes. The compensation based on one-sixth of his gratuity is £192 10s.

Sir James Craig: Information on Prof. James Craig  Zoom on Prof. James Craig  That is very fair.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  We will take three cases where the emoluments at the present moment are £136 10s. in the case of one of them with 12 years' service, administering £758 a year, another with 12 years' service administering £522 a year, another with 10 years' service administering £671 a year. The proposed gratuities [1974] in these cases are, in the first case, £364, in the second case, £341 5s. and in the third case, £227 10s. These are sample cases taken more or less at random.

Sir James Craig: Information on Prof. James Craig  Zoom on Prof. James Craig  I think the Minister is more than fair. I think it is almost amounting to extravagance. At all events, it gives a great deal more than any of us thought when we were discussing the matter on a previous occasion.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  took the chair.

Mr. S.T. O'Kelly: Information on Seán T. O'Kelly  Zoom on Seán T. O'Kelly  In accordance with the suggestion from the Chair, I move amendment 16 in this form:

Before the words “shall be entitled ” to insert “ and whose income from other employment does not exceed £200 per annum.

Our idea is that those who have been acting as secretaries or officials of these insurance committees have other sources of income. In many cases their insurance work has been only a proportion of their work, in some cases a very small proportion. In a number of cases—I do not know how many—this work was done by officials having adequate salaries from public funds. Where persons are already in receipt of adequate salaries—and when I say adequate I mean a living wage, and a good living wage—we do not think, in the present state of the State's finances, it right or proper that such people should get compensation for loss of these offices. These offices, as I say, in such cases as these, are a relatively small part of their work, and the salaries they receive for such work are a small part of their income. They are well able to live. They have employment and incomes as well as this, and we think it would not be fair to the State's purse that compensation such as is suggested by the Minister should be paid. We propose then to limit the payment of compensation to those who have an income from other sources of less than £200 per annum.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  I thought the Minister would have bowed to the wishes of [1975] the House on the last occasion in regard to Section 22 as it now stands, supported by the Schedule. I want to point out to the House, of course, that it is not necessary to do that in the case of Deputy O'Kelly. Deputy O'Kelly and his party voted, without the slightest pressure of any kind from us, in favour of the section and Schedule as now inserted in the Bill. Whatever one can say about the Minister coming to the House, feeling, I suppose, to a certain extent, the effect of the fright he got in the Committee Stage, and attempting to modify the section in the way he has now proposed, I am absolutely flabbergasted that Deputy Sean T. O'Kelly, who is recognised as a shadow Minister, should cooperate with the Minister in making the Minister's own amendment worse than what it was proposed to be.

I say deliberately that the words proposed to be inserted by Deputy O'Kelly make the section, as modified by the Minister, worse than it otherwise would be. Deputy O'Kelly talks about people who have other means of making a living and who have had other jobs in addition to the job they will lose as a result of the passing of this Bill. I quite agree. If we are going to give compensation for loss of office, let it be compensation for loss of office, whether whole or part-time. The compensation will be based on the salary given for whole or part-time employment.

Deputy O'Kelly limits the compensation to those who will have an income of £200 a year or less from other employment. Does the Deputy realise that it is possible for an individual to have a military pension of £350 and yet he can get compensation under this very amendment? Does he also realise it is possible for a certain official who will receive compensation under the Act to have an income from two shops which may bring in anything from £15 to £20 a week? Does he realise that an official who may get compensation may have an income [1976] from a farm, and this income will be added to the amount of compensation that he will get under the terms of the Minister's and the Deputy's amendment? Income from other employment would not mean a pension and income from a farm and income from two shops, whether it be £10, £15, or £20 a week, cannot be proved to be income from other employment. I do not know whether Deputy O'Kelly was well posted in this matter before he put down the amendment. If he knew the facts, I doubt if he would continue to insist on the insertion of the words mentioned in amendment 16. The whole issue is nothing more or less than the giving of compensation for loss of office, the compensation to be based on the whole or part-time salary. Why insert the words that Deputy O'Kelly proposes and that the Minister accepts?

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  Oh, no.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  I understood he did.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  I was wondering why the Deputy was wasting so much time over it.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  Deputy O'Kelly is placing himself in a position that possibly he is not aware of. He talks about the imposition of State taxation. Does he realise that the Minister's modified compensation clause, if it passes, will not impose any taxation at all? As I understand it, the whole of the amount payable under the proposed amendment will come out of surplus funds. A good deal less, and perhaps none at all, will come for those who deserve it if Deputy O'Kelly's words are inserted. I am going to stand over the wording of Section 22 as adopted by the House in Committee. I am flabbergasted at the attitude of Deputy O'Kelly and his Party who voted for Section 22 and who have now changed their minds and are attempting to make the position worse than even the Minister has tried to make it.

Mr. Lemass: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  I am at a loss to understand Deputy Davin's opposition [1977] to this amendment, because he really has not informed us as to the basis of it. It appears he objects to the amendment because it does not exclude persons other than those in receipt of an income in excess of £200. The Deputy talks about Army pensions and incomes from shops or farms.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  I did not say any such thing.

Mr. Lemass: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  The Deputy appeared to be against the amendment because it did not go far enough or did not exclude enough. He said that the passing of the amendment would hit people who did not deserve to be hit. The amendment proposes that compensation for loss of office, in consequence of the passing of this Bill, should not be given to persons in receipt of an allowance or an emolument of £200 a year from other employment. The persons who most deserve to be compensated are those who have smaller annual emoluments than £200. Persons with a larger income than that require and deserve less compensation. It will have to come from insurance funds, because insurance funds will, until they are disposed of, remain the property of insured persons. The surplus that will remain in the funds after compensation has been paid will go back into a joint insurance fund, because these funds are being wound up in consequence of the termination of the insurance committees. These moneys, until they are expended, are the property of the insured persons. The moneys, if not expended, will remain in insurance funds for the benefit of the insurance schemes.

The point at issue is not whether we should on principle compensate people whose offices are dispensed with in consequence of the passage of an Act of Parliament irrespective of whether they want compensation, but whether in the particular circumstances now existing we should commit ourselves to compensate officials for part-time employment when they are in receipt of salaries from public funds in excess of £200 a year.

[1978]Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  Have you not voted for that on the Committee Stage?

Mr. Lemass: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  Deputy Davin knows as well as we do what happened in Committee. There was an amendment in the name of Deputy O'Kelly which was withdrawn after Deputy Davin's amendment was carried. It was not moved.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  It could not be moved.

Mr. Lemass: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  Deputy Davin's amendment was first on the Paper and it was carried, and sooner than disimprove the condition then created we left the whole thing over until the Report Stage. We said we would endeavour to improve the amendment to which Deputy Davin has referred.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  Where is that stated in the Official Report?

Mr. Lemass: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  At the moment I have not the Official Report; I am speaking from memory. The point is whether this House believes that an official of a public body who, in addition to his duties as such, performs part-time duties as an official of an insurance society, and who is in receipt, and will continue in receipt, of a salary of over £200 a year from the local public body, should receive compensation out of insurance funds in consequence of the termination of the part-time office. We do not think so. We think that those who have a salary from other employment of less than £200 should be compensated. Those with a salary in excess of that figure can well afford to maintain themselves without putting this additional charge on insurance funds.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  What about the shopkeepers?

Mr. Lemass: Information on Seán F. Lemass  Zoom on Seán F. Lemass  If Deputy Davin wishes to include the shopkeepers we will support him. Does he wish to include the shopkeepers and the army pensioners?

Captain Redmond: Information on William Archer Redmond  Zoom on William Archer Redmond  From what Deputy O'Kelly has said, the House would be led to believe that this amendment proposes that one whose [1979] income from public service does not exceed £200 would be debarred, whereas the amendment as it stands reads: “ whose income from other employment.” The words “ from other employment ” are very wide. I desire to say that it struck me that the principle of this amendment is most peculiar, that where it is proposed to give compensation presumably for the loss of office, inquiries are to be made into the private income of the person to whom compensation is to be given. I never heard of such a proposal, and such a proposal, to my mind, was never inserted in an Act of the Oireachtas.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  Like Deputy Davin, I am opposing Deputy O'Kelly's amendment. I think it cannot be arguable at all.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  Before you came into the Chair, sir, General Mulcahy moved and Deputy O'Kelly seconded the amendment to——

Captain Redmond: Information on William Archer Redmond  Zoom on William Archer Redmond  Oh, no. That is not what happened.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  Amendment No. 4 is the amendment actually before the House at the moment.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  No. The position is that the Minister actually moved amendment No. 4. If amendment 4 were passed it would have the effect, consequentially, of removing the Third Schedule. Deputy O'Kelly has on the Order Paper amendment No. 16, which in fact is an amendment of the Third Schedule. The only way in which amendment 16, standing in the name of Deputy O'Kelly, could be discussed would be by moving it as an amendment to the Minister's amendment No. 4. The Minister moved amendment No. 4, and Deputy O'Kelly moved amendment No. 16 as an amendment to the amendment. The amendment moved by Deputy O'Kelly to the Minister's amendment is now before the House.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  I oppose amendment No. 16, in the name of [1980] Deputy O'Kelly, because you will have to consider whether a person had private income from investments. Not only that, but you might have to go and see whether he lived in a good, well-furnished house or whether he lived in a house that did not indicate the same degree of wealth. I do not think it is feasible to entertain an idea like that at all, and I am opposed to it.

Amendment No. 16—In page 13, line 13, Third Schedule, Rule 2, to insert after the word “ Committee” the following words: “ whose income from other employment does not exceed £200 (two hundred pounds sterling) per annum ”—put and declared lost.

Mr. O'Kelly: Information on Seán T. O'Kelly  Zoom on Seán T. O'Kelly  Might I ask the Minister whether he would consider any case of officials who have over 15 years' service—would the Minister consider in such cases going a little further? At least I think it would meet all concerned if he would agree to add the abolition year as set out in the Third Schedule, if he has fifteen or more completed years of actual service, with seven years to be added thereto. I do not think that would apply to many people. Somebody showed me a list of persons affected. I think there were only twelve or thirteen people, or perhaps one or two less. That is my recollection of the number affected. It would not affect the funds very materially while it would be a very substantial benefit to those concerned. I think if the Minister would go that far in meeting Deputy Davin and others interested he would probably satisfy all sides of the House.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  I have gone very carefully into this matter, and, in spite of everything that was said at the Committee Stage, very sympathetically into this whole matter. The utmost I say that we can do is what we have put down in amendment No. 4. Those persons who have fifteen years are getting one-sixth instead of one-eighth. I would not be prepared to go any further into the matter to meet [1981] them, considering all the circumstances of their work.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  The Minister appears to have worked out very carefully the figures which he read out to Deputy Sir James Craig as to the cost of paying compensation under his own proposed amendment. I wonder could the Minister give the House the cost of the payment of compensation covering the section in the Schedule as it now stands?

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  I cannot. There is a very material difference in the added years.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  If the Minister was good enough to work it out under his own modified scheme I am sure it would not be unfair to expect that he should produce the figures under the section and Schedule as passed by the House.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  There is a very big principle involved in this. As I argued with Deputies, the class of official, the people we are dealing with at the present moment are almost analogous to the class of official that has been dealt with under the School Attendance Act where the persons, whatever their years of service, got one-tenth of a gratuity based upon one-tenth of the annual salary and emoluments. We have been advanced by certain present circumstances which I would wish to have avoided under which we offer a gratuity based on one-eighth and in other cases on one-sixth. A principle is involved. Next year we are going to be dealing with the principle of the amalgamation of a number of approved societies. You are going to have redundant officials in a very large number of cases. You bring about very great economies of staff. I do not want to open a situation here in respect of part-time unpensionable officials with three months' notice of service, doing a very small amount of work. I do not want to open the principle of giving added years like that and to bring about a situation which, as Deputy Sir James Craig says, would be more than generous. These are not his words, but it would be more than generous on the facts of the case. It [1982] would be argued that the officials of approved societies are full-time officials as compared with these officials. I do not know where the extension of the principle of added years in the case of these officials might lead us when we came to deal with the amalgamation of insurance societies.

Mr. Davin: Information on William Davin  Zoom on William Davin  May I take it from the Minister that neither he nor his officials actually worked out the cost of the administration of Section 22?

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  I am not prepared to say that these figures were not worked out but I have not these figures with me at the moment.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  This is an extraordinary position for the Minister to adopt. He talks about principle, though the House gave expression to the principle already which it desired to be adopted when considering this question of superannuation. I think the Minister should have given some consideration that way and when he came to this House with an amendment I think he ought to be able by quoting corresponding figures under each arrangement to show that the compensation which he proposes to give will be in fact less than under the amendment adopted by the House. He referred to the statement of Deputy Sir James Craig but Deputy Sir James Craig was astonished at the amount of compensation which these officials were going to get under the Minister's proposal. I think that before asking the House to accept his amendment the Minister should be able to produce figures and calculations showing that his amendment is, as a matter of fact, going to be of greater benefit to the State and to the insured persons than that which has been adopted by the House. If a question of principle is involved, the major principle is that the Minister should meet the declared wishes and intentions of the House in regard to it.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  It is perfectly clear that what is proposed is that, as well as giving one-sixth for each particular year of service, years [1983] would be added on and it is the question of the number of those added years that is being discussed. It is an arithmetical sum. If you add on a number of years to the number of years that a person has served you are going to spend more money. In all these matters of compensation for loss of office you have to take in a certain scheme. I have compared the scheme under which we are proposing [1984] to grant gratuities in this case with the scheme under which full-time pensionable employees of local bodies are dealt with and I have shown that, in the circumstances, we are dealing with the employees of insurance committees in a fair and reasonable way.

Amendment by Deputy O'Kelly put and negatived.

Amendment by General Mulcahy put.

Aird, William P.
Alton, Ernest Henry.
Beckett, James Walter.
Bennett, George Cecil.
Blythe, Ernest.
Brennan, Michael.
Brodrick, Seán.
Byrne, John Joseph.
Carey, Edmund.
Collins-O'Driscoll, Mrs. Margt.
Conlon, Martin.
Cooper, Bryan Ricco.
Cosgrave, William T.
Crowley, James.
Daly, John.
Davis, Michael.
De Loughrey, Peter.
Doherty, Eugene.
Doyle, Peadar Seán.
Duggan, Edmund John.
Dwyer, James.
Egan, Barry M.
Esmonde, Osmond Thos. Grattan.
Fitzgerald, Desmond.
Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.
Good, John.
Gorey, Denis J.
Haslett, Alexander.
Hassett, John J.
Heffernan, Michael R.
Hennessy, Michael Joseph.
Hennessy, Thomas.
Hennigan, John.
Henry, Mark.
Hogan, Patrick (Galway).
Holohan, Richard.
Kelly, Patrick Michael.
Keogh, Myles.
Law, Hugh Alexander.
Leonard, Patrick.
Lynch, Finian.
Mathews, Arthur Patrick.
McFadden, Michael Og.
Mongan, Joseph W.
Mulcahy, Richard.
Murphy, James E.
Myles, James Sproule.
Nally, Martin Michael.
O'Connell, Richard.
O'Connor, Bartholomew.
O'Hanlon, John F.
O'Higgins, Thomas.
O'Leary, Daniel.
O'Mahony, Dermot Gun.
O'Reilly, John J.
O'Sullivan, Gearóid.
O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
Reynolds, Patrick.
Rice, Vincent.
Roddy, Martin.
Shaw, Patrick W.
Sheehy, Timothy (West Cork).
Thrift, William Edward.
Tierney, Michael.
Vaughan, Daniel.
White, John.
Wolfe, George.
Wolfe, Jasper Travers.

Aiken, Frank.
Allen, Denis.
Anthony, Richard.
Blaney, Neal.
Boland, Gerald.
Boland, Patrick.
Bourke, Daniel.
Brady, Seán.
Briscoe, Robert.
Broderick, Henry.
Buckley, Daniel.
Carney, Frank.
Carty, Frank.
Cassidy, Archie J.
Clery, Michael.
Coburn, James.
Colbert, James.
Colohan, Hugh. [1985]Kennedy, Michael Joseph.
Kent, William R.
Killilea, Mark.
Kilroy, Michael.
Lemass, Seán F.
Little, Patrick John.
Maguire, Ben.
McEllistrim, Thomas.
MacEntee, Seán.
Moore, Séamus.
Morrissey, Daniel.
Murphy, Timothy Joseph.
O'Connell, Thomas J.
Cooney, Eamon.
Corkery, Dan.
Corish, Richard.
Corry, Martin John.
Crowley, Fred. Hugh.
Crowley, Tadhg.
Davin, William.
Derrig, Thomas.
Everett, James.
Fahy, Frank.
Flinn, Hugo.
Fogarty, Andrew.
Corry, Patrick J.
Goulding, John.
Hayes, Seán.
Hogan, Patrick (Clare).
Houlihan, Patrick.
Jordan, Stephen. [1986]O'Dowd, Patrick Joseph.
O'Kelly, Seán T.
O'Leary, William.
O'Reilly, Matthew.
Powell, Thomas P.
Redmond, William Archer.
Ryan, James.
Sexton, Martin.
Smith, Patrick.
Tubridy, John.
Walsh, Richard.
Ward, Francis C.

Amendment declared carried.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  That disposes of amendment No. 5, as the word “ gratuity ” has already been inserted.

Amendment 5 not moved.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  I move:—

In page 8, lines 63 to 68 inclusive and page 9, lines 1 and 2, to delete Section 22 (6) and substitute the following sub-section:

“ Any moneys required for the purposes of paying gratuities under the foregoing sub-section shall be paid out of any surplus standing to the credit of the Sanatorium Benefit Fund, the General Administration Fund and the administration fund of every insurance committee as at the 31st day of December, 1929.”

Sub-section (5) of Section 22 gives the Commissioners power, with the consent of the Minister for Finance, to make regulations dealing with the Sanatorium Benefit Fund, the General Administration Fund and the administration fund of each insurance committee. Sub-section (6) provides that the moneys that shall be paid for these gratuities shall come from these surplus moneys.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  The amendment should read: “ Section 22, sub-section (5).”

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  That is right.

Amendment put and agreed to.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  May I move another amendment? The amendment which has just been put is being inserted as sub-section (5). The next sub-section will, therefore, require to be changed to sub-section (6).

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  It is a misprint as it stands, as a matter of fact.

Amendment agreed to.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  I move:—

In page 9, line 29, Section 23, to delete the words “ the councils of counties and county boroughs in such manner ” and substitute the words “ such councils of counties and county boroughs and such boards of health and in such manner and subject to such conditions.”

This is merely a drafting amendment.

Amendment put and agreed to.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  I move:—

In page 9, at the end of Section 23 to add three new sub-sections as follows:—

“ (2) Any sum distributed under this section to a council or board who have undertaken in pursuance of the Tuberculosis (Ireland) Acts, 1908 and 1913, the provision of treatment for inhabitants of their district suffering from tuberculosis shall be applied by them in relief of the expenses incurred by them in the execution of the said Acts.

(3) Where a council or board have not undertaken in pursuance of the Tuberculosis (Ireland) Acts, 1908 and 1913, the provision of [1987] treatment for the inhabitants of their district suffering from tuberculosis, any sum which may be distributed to any such council or board under this section, shall be applied by them in the provision of treatment for insured persons within their district suffering from tuberculosis, in such manner as the Minister for Local Government and Public Health shall approve or direct.

(4) A council or board to whom any sum has been distributed under this section and who have undertaken in pursuance of the Tuberculosis (Ireland) Acts, 1908 and 1913, the provision of treatment for inhabitants of their district suffering from tuberculosis, shall not be entitled to recover from any insured person, being an inhabitant of their district, suffering from tuberculosis, the cost of any institutional treatment afforded by them in any year to such person so long as the total cost of institutional treatment afforded by them to such persons in such year does not exceed three-fifths of the sum distributed in such year as aforesaid and every such insured person in need of institutional treatment for tuberculosis shall in any year in which the total cost aforesaid does not at any time exceed the limit here-inbefore specified be entitled to receive such treatment free of charge.”

This amendment has already been discussed on Deputy O'Kelly's amendment. I think it has commended itself to the House.

Amendment put and agreed to.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  I move:—

In page 9, lines 53 to 55 inclusive, Section 24 (2), to delete the words “ shall be credited to the Insurance Committee Officials Compensation Fund so far as they are required for the purposes of that Fund and in so far as they are not so required.”

This is consequential on amendment No. 6. It takes out the words inserted [1988] by Deputy Davin for the purpose of providing funds from which compensation will be paid.

Mr. O'Kelly: Information on Seán T. O'Kelly  Zoom on Seán T. O'Kelly  Is the Minister satisfied that there will be sufficient surplus funds available?

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  Yes.

Amendment put and agreed to.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  I move:—

In page 10, line 25, Section 27, to insert after the word “contributor ” the words “ and which accrued due on or after the 3rd day of January, 1927.”

This meets the point which Deputy O'Kelly raised on the Committee Stage in regard to not going too far in the recovery of arrears arising out of non-compliance.

Amendment put and agreed to.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  I move:—

In page 10, Section 27, to delete all words from the word “ and,” line 26, to the word “ contributions,” line 28.

This corrects and meets the point raised by Deputy Hogan in connection with the insertion of No. 13.

Amendment put and agreed to.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  I move:—

In page 10, at the end of Section 27 to add a sub-section as follows:—

“ If an employer, being a company, fails to pay to the Insurance Commissioners any sum which has been recovered against it in an action brought under the foregoing sub-section, that sum shall be a debt due to the Insurance Commissioners jointly and severally from any of the directors of such company who knew, or could reasonably be expected to have known, of the failure or neglect to pay the contribution or contributions which gave rise to such action, and such sum shall be recoverable as a civil debt in any court of competent jurisdiction and proceedings for the recovery thereof may be commenced at any time within the twelve months [1989] from the date of the order for payment made against such company in such action.”

This meets the point raised by Deputy Coburn.

Amendment put and agreed to.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  I move:—

In page 10, at the end of Section 27, to add a sub-section as follows:

“Where an employer has failed or neglected to pay any contributions which under the Acts he is liable to pay in respect of an employed contributor or has failed or neglected to comply in relation to an employed contributor with the regulations relating to the payment and collection of contributions and by reason thereof the employed contributor or any person claiming through him has lost in whole or in part any benefits to which he would have been entitled under the Acts, and no proceedings have been taken under Section 40 of the Act of 1918 by any person to recover the amount of the benefits so lost the Insurance Commissioners may in the name and on behalf of such contributor recover such amount from such employer, his executors and administrators, as a civil debt in any court of competent jurisdiction.”

This is the amendment I spoke of with regard to the remarks of Deputy Hogan.

Amendment put and agreed to.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  I move:—

In page 13 to delete the Third Schedule.

Amendment put and agreed to.

Amendments Nos. 14,15,16 and 17 not moved.

Question proposed: “That the Bill, as amended, be received for final consideration.”

Mr. Kennedy: Information on Michael Joseph Kennedy  Zoom on Michael Joseph Kennedy  On the Committee Stage of the Bill the Minister made a statement which was tantamount to saying that the committee in Westmeath was not functioning. Since he made that statement I have [1990] made it my business to make inquiries, and I find that that committee is functioning and is one of the best-attended committees under the county council. The only absentees from the committee are the Commissioners' own nominees.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  I do not think the Deputy can say that I said the Committee was not functioning in Westmeath. The facts are that the Westmeath Committee has approximately £446 to administer, that it hands over £446 to the county council, and that the county council administers that for them and expends it on the persons whom the Westmeath Committee nominate to the county council for treatment.

Question put and agreed to.

Fifth Stage ordered for Thursday, 5th December.


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