Friday, 26 May 1933
Dáil Éireann Debate
Mr. McGilligan: By no means. It is well to let the House hear the circumstances under which this motion is made. When this measure made its appearance, I understand that there was discussion as to the length of time the Committee Stage would take and an agreement was come to that, some time prior to 10.30 on Wednesday night, whatever amendments had not then been fully discussed would be in some way disposed of, that Government amendments would be moved and passed and that by reason of that the House would not sit on Friday. When we came to round about 9.30 on Wednesday night, this matter was raised and it then emerged that the agreement that had been come to—whether it included the Centre Party and the Independent Group I do not know—did not include the Labour Party.
Mr. McGilligan: I must say what I have to deduce from what came out in the House. It is all subject to argument and correction. Deputy Norton indicated that he was not going to be bereft of his rights to move certain amendments and the second amendment which stood in his name was the very important one which related to civil servants. Just before Deputy Norton announced his intention of moving that and a previous amendment, the Minister for Finance had indicated that he, apparently, had a view of the agreement which I did not find borne out by anybody else. That was that amendments which were not moved might he reinserted on the Fourth Stage, if they were fundamental and of vital importance. The question was raised as to who was to be the judge of that and there was no answer.
Mr. McGilligan: It was quite clear that that was the Minister's intention. Under those circumstances, of course, there was a new situation but, nevertheless, that could have been fought out at a later stage. The amendments could have been inserted and discussion could either have proceeded on them or there could have been some compromise with regard to them. Deputy Norton, at any rate, in exercise of what he considered to be his due right, moved the amendment relating to the civil servants, and the members of this Party were then in this position that, once that amendment had been moved, the discussion had to proceed and, if the amendment were defeated, under the rules of this House, it could not be set down again for Report and, consequently, we should have had to leave ourselves without any opportunity of discussing the very vital matter of the civil servants, because  no agreement by the Minister, no assent on his part, that it was a vital amendment could have had it reinserted on the Paper once it had been moved.
Under those circumstances, after the discussion on the amendment had been initiated by Deputy Norton, Deputy Cosgrave, from this side, spoke, and Deputy Davin then moved to report progress and should have been in occupation of this House when it resumed this morning. The House, therefore, found itself in a dilemma. I say that it appeared that that dilemma had arisen from the fact that the Labour Party had not been included in the agreement that had been, come to and, as it was Deputy Norton's name which stood to the amendment in relation to the civil servants and, as he chose to exercise his rights about moving it, we would have to let the discussion go on. Under those circumstances we met to-day. There was no suggestion ever made, I think, to any member on this side of the House that, in the absence of the other agreement, the situation was to be that we were to meet on Friday and continue beyond the ordinary hour until this measure was concluded. There has been no reason about urgency given here in relation to this measure. In fact, there can be no question of urgency because, in a later section of the Bill, the deductions which are being legalised by this measure, if it ever passes, are being made to operate as from a date a good while since passed.
There has been no question of urgency and the Minister for Local Government to-day found it impossible to raise any argument as to urgency. His only answer is that it is necessary to get the Committee Stage of the Bill through. If that is an answer and if that is a reason, it means that we can have a late sitting every time there is a Committee Stage of any Bill because it is, presumably, necessary to get the Committee Stage through. There has been, at any rate, such a regard for the conventions of the House up to date that, when a motion of this sort is made, some argument is put forward as to why the House should accept it. Instead, we get simply a statement  from the Minister in charge that they want to get the Committee Stage through to-day. Why? Are the other stages going to be taken at a particular period, and if so, what is the period? And why must they be taken by that period?
If the paragraphs in Section 7 of the measure were not there, I could understand the Minister's anxiety to get this thing through as speedily as possible, so that he might then begin to operate his axe, but the axe has fallen on a good many of these people and, I think, the majority of the people who have to suffer eventually unless this foreshadows the dropping by the Government of portion of Section 7 which it might well be advised to do. I cannot see any reason for urgency in this at all and, certainly, there has not been put to the House openly any reason for dealing with this in the way it has been dealt with. I am going to vote against the motion to sit late as it is put to the House at the moment. If there is an explanation given, my opinion may be changed.
Mr. MacEntee: When an agreement was arrived at that, in order to facilitate Deputies of all Parties, the House should not sit on Friday, it was understood, as forming a vital part of that agreement, that the amendments which were on the Order Paper for the Committee Stage of this Bill should be finally disposed of. It was not intended that that arrangement should operate to deprive any member of the House of the opportunity of moving an amendment of vital importance but it was intended to ensure that, if the private convenience of Deputies was considered, Government business was not going to suffer thereby.
What happened? We had two days on the Committee Stage of this Bill. The Labour Party, undoubtedly, did not encroach unduly on the time of the House, but there were three Deputies who seemed to have definitely made up their minds to put a coach and four through the agreement—they were the Deputy who has just spoken, Deputy McGilligan, Deputy O'Sullivan and Deputy Belton. They spoke at interminable length almost, and, at least, at unendurable length,  on every possible amendment. They spoke three or four times on certain amendments, obviously with the idea of impeding the progress of the Bill through Committee Stage and, obviously, with the idea of ensuring that, at the last moment, certain amendments would not, as implied in the agreement, be disposed of, but would be resurrected on the Report Stage, when we should have a repetition of the debate. I appreciated what had happened in regard to the Labour Party's amendments, and in order to meet the situation that had been created—deliberately created—by Deputies McGilligan, O'Sullivan and Belton, I rose at 9.30 and indicated that the Government were prepared to make a concession in regard to this agreement; that we were not going to stand to the letter of it; and that if any Deputy wished to withdraw his amendments at that stage we, provided the amendments were of vital and significant importance, as, undoubtedly, any amendment affecting a definite category of public servants would be, any amendment such as stood in the name of Deputy Costello were prepared to facilitate the consideration of them—I indicated that any amendment of that nature could be reintroduced on the Report Stage and that, in order to facilitate the discussion of such amendments, I should be prepared to agree to the recommittal of the Bill. That was indicated definitely and clearly at 9.30. I think that that was an extraordinary concession. I think that it was a very generous gesture, in view of the agreement that had been reached. But it was not availed of.
It is quite true that Deputy Norton moved his amendment, but he moved it declaring that he was not a party to the agreement. Others who could not get up and declare that they were not parties to the agreement, those who had made themselves parties to it, and who, in view of what had occurred during the day, were bound, if there were disabilities arising out of the agreement, to accept and endure them as we had endured them when in opposition—these other Deputies refused to honour the agreement. They put up  men to debate this matter when everything that could be said in regard to the amendment might have been said on the Report Stage. In view of that, the Government had no option but to see that, at least, those who were parties to the agreement would abide by it, with all its facilities and all its disabilities.
As I have said, we must get this Bill through the House. We have been told on several occasions during the debate that we are acting illegally. Very well; if we are acting illegally, that makes it a matter of extreme importance that this Bill should become law at the earliest possible moment in order to legalise the position.
Mr. MacEntee: In order that we may legalise the position. We know that we are not acting illegally. We know that, once the principle has been accepted the Minister for Finance in a matter like this, where the disbursement of public moneys is concerned, can quite easily, by regulation, fix the salary of everyone in the public service.
Mr. MacEntee: The urgency is that we are told we are acting illegally; that some person, incited by such foolish statements, might challenge our action in the court. We are not going to waste the people's time, the people's money, and the time of important public servants in contesting frivolous and vexatious actions of that sort. We would have to contest such an action if anybody were foolish enough to bring it. We are going to put it beyond the power of anybody to do that and that is why this Bill becomes a matter of extreme urgency.
Mr. Norton: The Minister is much more agreeable this morning than he was. The other night I offered to withdraw the amendments standing in our names on the understanding that these amendments would be resubmitted on Report Stage and the Bill recommitted. The Minister was prepared to agree to that provided he was the judge of what was vital. As a matter of principle, I  objected to an interested Minister being the judge of what was vital. I was perfectly prepared to leave the question to the Chair. The Minister is going a fair distance this morning towards accepting the wisdom and equity of my point of view. My only regret is that he was not so amenable and reasonable on Wednesday evening. I hope that the Minister has not been disturbed by his own orations on that evening. He was certainly very vexed on Wednesday evening and he was not nearly so reasonable as he is now. Like Deputy McGilligan, I cannot understand what is the case for urgency in regard to this measure, except it is that the Minister's normally impeccable soul is disturbed now by the sinfulness of what he is pretending to do under the Bill. We had an intimation this week from the acting Vice-President— the Minister for Justice—that certain deductions had already been made and when he was asked on what authority these deductions were made, there was no reply, but just a bland smile. What is the explanation? There was no suggestion by the acting Vice-President that the Government had power to make regulations to reduce the salaries or wages of people affected by this Bill. The only case for sitting late to-day is that the Minister for Finance is stunned by the number of illegal things which he is doing, or purporting to do under this Bill. The Minister can do the illegal things and take the responsibility, but he is not entitled to excite everybody over his illegal actions. There is no case for urgency at all, seeing that the Minister is already collecting the money. By doing so, I believe he is acting illegally, but he has salved his own conscience.
Mr. Cosgrave: An agreement was arrived at on this matter. That agreement, so far as can be judged, was not made with all the parties who have a right to express an opinion on these amendments. The Minister made a rather foolish statement on Wednesday and the contribution of Deputy Norton on that occasion was almost equally foolish. Deputy Norton ought to have known, even if the Minister did not know, that the Minister has got no right to say what amendment is in order on Report Stage, that if we go into Committee to consider amendments on Report Stage, the Minister has no discretion as to what amendments will be considered. That is for the Chair. The Chair is the custodian of the rights of the members of the House and no member of the Ministry can direct the Chair as to what is in order. Deputy Norton might have exercised a little more discretion when refusing the offer made in the foolish statement of the Minister. The Minister has stated that time was wasted by Deputies McGilligan, O'Sullivan and Belton. He mentioned Deputy McGilligan particularly. Deputy McGilligan came into the House at 3 o'clock on Tuesday and left it at 8 o'clock.
Mr. Cosgrave: Deputy McGilligan did not occupy the time of the House during the whole of that period. He spoke for half an hour on Wednesday, and that is the waste of time, I suppose, that we hear of. We have no information from the Minister as to the length of time he wasted, and he intervened on more than one occasion. In the natural course of events one could understand that he did not concern himself with the subject at issue as much as Deputy McGilligan. We have a proposal to sit late to-day, and the Minister says he has a perfect right to issue regulations settling all this business. I must say that I have not been convinced of the competence of the Minister in respect to these regulations. Taking the matter in its true perspective, we have spent two  days, and it is now proposed to sit until 12 o'clock to-morrow night, dealing with a saving of £270,000. We were pressed by the Government——
Mr. Cosgrave: This Bill deals with a saving of £270,000. We were asked to consider the spending of £31,000,000 on a discussion that lasted two days. That is the Government's estimate of value, two days for £31,000,000 and four days for £270,000. There need not be any further comment.
...a commissioned officer in or a chaplain to the Defence Forces of Saorstát Eireann, a member of the Gárda Síochána, a teacher in a national school, or in any capacity in a preparatory college, or in any other civil capacity whether permanent or temporary, in the public service of Saorstát Eireann...
There was an amendment down to exclude civil servants but it was not fully debated. I want to speak of the  civil servants. The general lines of the case in regard to civil servants was made by Deputy Norton in his amendment, and also by Deputy Costello. It is well, seeing that the statements made by Deputy Norton and by Deputy Costello did not get anything in the way of notice in contrast to what the Minister's statement against civil servants got, to comment on various matters connected with the bodies being “cut.” I think it is only proper, at least, to let the public know the outlines of the civil servants' case. Civil servants have been prevented by Ministerial action from having any kind of meetings at which a case could be made. Civil servants were previously the pets of the Minister for Finance when he was in Opposition, and one of the Minister's colleagues accepted the situation so far as it was revealed to him by civil servants, that he went on a deputation to Government Buildings in relation to their case. The Minister for Finance and the Minister for Industry and Commerce now suggest that it would involve civil servants in politics to have any association with Parliamentarians, although both of these Ministers vigorously took up the case before. The Minister for Industry and Commerce thought it fit to proceed to Government Buildings on a deputation to urge their case. Of course the situation is now changed, and I can well imagine that the Minister for Finance does not want to meet civil servants under the present peculiar circumstances. I can well understand, no matter how on public platforms the Minister for Industry and Commerce may consider himself capable of getting away, that when it came to a meeting where he would be subjected to examination and cross-examination in a room by people who know their business, and who know the facts of the case, it would be embarrassing for him to have such a meeting.
When the Minister for Finance was speaking about the Civic Guards on Tuesday he tried to justify the case for a cut in their salaries. He made the point on Tuesday entirely on this, that the cost of living had gone down, and that being so, salaries which were  fixed when the cost of living was much higher could now bear a substantial cut, as long as it bore some corresponding relation to the drop in the cost of living. After that argument I said I would await with interest the application of the same argument to the case of civil servants. Civil servants have had their emoluments decreased year by year as the cost of living has fallen. Notwithstanding that, and notwithstanding that that was the foundation of the Minister's case against the Civic Guards, he now proceeds to put in force against civil servants, not merely the drop in the cost of living, but the reduction in their other salaries consequent upon that, and also an additional hacking of their salaries. Civil servants get what is called to their prejudice a “bonus,” a word which was unhappily chosen. It conveys, or at least it can be made to convey, to people down the country the idea that it is something gratuitously given, something which has not been earned. It bears the stamp throughout the country of extra moneys gathered in in profit during the year by a business, which is then distributed in a handsome way amongst the employees of a firm. The mentality which would ordinarily run to equation of these two things has been played upon by the Minister and his colleagues for many years past. One of the most successful posters for election purposes was a special type of sheet issued and displayed at every election about civil servants' salaries.
The bonus was talked of and farmers in the country were asked to compare their bad circumstances, when they were very much better than they are at the moment, with the position of civil servants living on the fat of the land in Dublin and who were not only in receipt of a salary, but who had to get in addition a bonus, something gratuitously given for services that could not have been considered to have been rendered. There has been amongst the more provident of the civil servants for years past a movement, almost amounting to an agitation, to have the bonus and salary consolidated, because they realise that they  are a mark for every politician who wants to play down to the lowest instincts of the people and that this use of the word “bonus” prejudices them. There has been for years a growing feeling that the sooner this word is got rid of the better, and I quite agree. A difficulty arises as to the point at which the salary has to be stabilised and the conditions which will operate about that time.
Civil servants did not always enjoy a bonus. The bonus was thought of about the end of the year 1919 and it came into operation about 1920. It was fixed in a particular way. It was not meant even to equate the rise and fall in the cost of living. It was not ever thought it would do that, because it is not based on the budget of the civil servant. It is not based even on the budget of the lower-paid grade of civil servant; it is not based even on the moneys and how he expends them. It is proposed here to reduce civil servants' salaries although this bonus of theirs goes down while the cost-of-living figure goes down and we are asked to do it at a time when the Minister indicates that he has received no less than four reports from a Committee which he set up to consider the matter. None of the reports has been presented to the House; the members of the House do not know what the members of the Committee have said. Probably it would cause Government embarrassment to have these reports made public. No matter how embarrassing it may be, once the information has been collected it should be made public.
Civil servants have contended for many years that the way in which the index figure in regard to the cost of living has been computed is not accurate. From what I know of the matter, although I cannot say that it has been examined completely and entirely, I must disagree with that contention. I must say that the cost of living is accurately compiled from a greater survey of commodities than in any country in the world, with the exception possibly of two countries. I know that it covers a wider range of goods and includes more things than is the case in many countries. It  includes figures taken from a greater number of places, relative to the size of the country, and it is definitely in its compilation as accurate a figure as can be got. But that it bears a relation to the civil servant's cost of living I have never held. The only complaint that the civil servants might have is that they made a bargain with regard to the bonus and its fixture with relation to the cost of living without thoroughly understanding what it meant.
At any rate, they had a contract. They had certain rights apportioned to them and they knew what the situation was. That contract is now being broken. They have lost considerably in recent years over the decrease in the cost of living. Those of them who have to live in the city may very easily complain that the cost of living figure is too largely based upon country conditions and with too little attention to conditions in the city. There are administrative difficulties meeting that and there is not an absolutely first-class case on it. At any rate, the gross emoluments of civil servants have gone down very much in recent years. They, therefore, have been for years in the position which the Minister referred to as not holding in the case of the Civic Guards. Their salary has varied according to the change in the cost of living. Despite their losses, despite the breaking of their contract, they are now being cut more. I cannot see the justice of that. I cannot see the justice of the operative section of this measure, Section 6.
What is the morality in picking out for cuts a certain group of people distinguished only by this fact, that their salaries are more within the grip of the Executive Council than anybody else? If there was a situation in the country which demanded economies by way of cuts—it would seem as if certain boasted economies have now been abandoned—what is the morality of picking out one, two or three classes in the community above anybody else? Has any argument been given as to why these people are being picked out? The only argument that could have  been made was that they were getting excessive moneys previously. That argument in relation to every one of these groups, Army officers, Gárda, civil servants and teachers, has been negatived by the Minister. He said with a great deal of pathos in regard to every one of them that he wants it understood that he does not consider their salaries excessive. If they are not excessive what is the morality of picking out these people? To my mind the reason is they are more under the grip of the Executive Council. “Their salaries are there ready for cutting and, therefore, let's cut them.” That is not morality.
A civil servant does occupy a position peculiar in the community. I have in mind now the group of civil servants generally; the transferred officers are a special group by themselves. Men enter into ordinary business outside with the knowledge before them that they have to submit to the ups and downs customary in trade and commerce. They know that the business world is affected by cycles of prosperity and depression. They know that different businesses are differently affected from time to time and there has been no cure found by economists for having conditions equalised and made stable in the business world. The man who goes into business goes in knowing all that and he is a aware that he will be called upon from time to time to make sacrifices and to receive less because conditions in trade change. The people who go into the Civil Service go into it with completely different ideas. They do opt for a certain amount of security. To anyone who considers the calibre of people in any country, and particularly of people in the Civil Service, there is not the slightest doubt about it that the men who occupy the better posts in the Civil Service could, if they had ventured into the business world, be in receipt of much greater salaries than what they are now earning in the Civil Service. Like other classes, university professors in particular, they opt rather for a certain amount of equilibrium in their lives, a certain amount of security, rather than the ups and downs of the business  world. They do not want to be hit by the slump when the slump comes and they do not demand any share in the boom when the boom comes along. They are in mid-way point all the time.
That position has been disturbed. It is not merely that their old time security has gone, but they are shown to occupy the most precarious position in a community. They are subject to the same taxation as everybody else. If the cost of living goes down and the things they buy become cheaper they gain. If things go up they lose. If there is taxation of their incomes they pay the same as any other member of the community. In fact they pay better than any member of the community because they pay compulsorily and with compulsory regularity. They are subject to all the impositions of the State and now they are picked out for cuts, and not on the ground that their salaries previously were excessive or that their salaries were unfairly large in relation to the rest of the community, but solely because they are the people nearest to the hands of the Government and because when the Government in its blindness thinks fit to hit at somebody these are the nearest to their hands. That is the position of the Civil Service community generally. No case can be made against them on any equitable grounds, whether on the grounds of their salaries being too heavy or otherwise. The only possible reason for cutting their salaries is the one I have given, namely, that they are nearest to the hands of the Government.
I have referred to the transferred officers. I quoted already what the President said of these civil servants. He said these civil servants are safeguarded. The President asked, with annoyance at the time, was there any suggestion that there was not good faith in dealing with these civil servants. The President wound up in answer to a point that had been made by saying: “It is not open to the legislature to repeal, alter or amend the Act which safeguards them because it embodies an international document and there was an international agreement about them.” Deputy Norton was so far taken by the President's  words on that occasion that he said that he thought the civil servants were in a better position, because he said “we have now heard from the President,” and he put it on another ground that they were in a better position under the Act than under the vague words of the Treaty. But he also said: “We have got an assurance from the President that there is no intention to defeat them of their rights.” This debate took place on 19th May, 1932. We have had it clearly revealed in relation to these people that there is going to be not merely a breach of the contract that subsists ordinarily between civil servants and the State but over and beyond that a breach of an international document which the President quoted too as it fortified him in the arguments used on 19th May last year.
Mr. McGilligan: There is a special contract in relation to the transferred officers. We gave the Ministry two opportunities to show clearly that there was no intention to defeat these civil servants of their rights and twice that opportunity has been refused. It will come again. There is a further amendment which embodies in a phrase very much of what the Minister for Finance said this morning was the exact position, and that can be moved at some stage either to-day or later in order to enable the Minister to make up his mind on this matter. There is an amendment to this section put down in Deputy Corry's name. It is amendment 35.
Mr. McGilligan: I gathered it was not moved. I am not sure it was withdrawn in order to be inserted in the Report Stage. It would have been interesting to see the support which Deputy Corry would have got from his Party for this amendment, which was one to delete the sub-section. That sub-section excludes judges from the scope of this measure. I wonder why was it withdrawn? I gather there has been no explanation in regard to it given here. There may have been an explanation at the Party meeting. I wonder would the Minister care to say at this point what his intentions are with regard to the judges who are to be excluded, that is to say, the Judges of the Supreme Court, the High Court, the Circuit Court and the District Court? Or does his anger against this favoured group of transferred officers in the Civil Service not go forward to the judges? At any rate, there was an attempt made by a Deputy of the Minister's own Party to have this particular exclusion of the judges removed. It ended in the Deputy being removed temporarily from the amendment, but the Minister must have some intention with regard to the judges. Does the exclusion of them from this measure mark the Government's mind in their  case, or is it merely a postponement of the evil day for them? Has the Minister been carrying on any negotiations with the judges?
Mr. McGilligan: I am confining myself to sub-section (3) of Section 6 of the Bill. This sub-section (3) proposes to exclude judges and I want to know why the exclusion has been arranged, or have there been any negotiations on the matter with the judges?
Mr. McGilligan: I was asking if there had been any negotiations with the judges. When discussing the matter afterwards it would be well to know whether there was a case put to them, or whether there was a suggestion put to them that they should submit to the cut as well as any other section. We want to know what was the attitude of the judges, or did they indignantly refuse to accept the cut? Has the attitude of the judges been mollified by their exclusion from this measure?
Mr. McGilligan: I am not arguing that the judges' salaries should be cut. It is not that it would be illegal to cut them, or that it would be breaking an agreement, or what the President called when speaking on this question, breaking an international agreement.
Mr. McGilligan: In Section 5 we are doing something which the Minister himself, although he bombasts a little about it, knows to be illegal, and the Attorney-General left the House lest he might be called upon to answer as to the legality of the proceeding. The section as it stands, with the exclusion in it, means, as I say, that certain  people have been not merely asked to make sacrifices, but are having sacrifices put upon them and are picked out, not on the common ground previously, that they were in receipt of salaries more than this State could pay, or which were more than equitable, or which the State should pay in relation to salaries generally earned in the State, although in common with everybody they suffer from the same vicissitudes of life and taxation which the Government imposes on all sections of the community, but simply because they are close to the hand of the Government. By reason of that fact they are going to have their salaries slashed when other people are left immune. That is a grossly immoral proceeding, and for that reason I shall vote against the section.
Mr. Moore: With regard to certain statements made by Deputy McGilligan, I wish to say that, so far as the rank and file of the Government Party are concerned, they do not consider that the Bill bears the implication that he has read into it. Particularly, we should not like the Civil Service generally to take seriously the statement that their old-time security is gone. In my opinion, that is a very dangerous remark for any Deputy to make, and could cause nothing but harm if accepted by the masses of the Civil Service. There is just as keen an appreciation in the ranks of the Government Party as in the ranks of Cumann na nGaedheal, or any other Party, of the very important work done by the Civil Service, and of the ability with which that work is done, particularly amongst the higher ranks. We do not regard this Bill as threatening the security of the Civil Service, and, particularly, we do not accept the statement that the Government have decided on these cuts simply because the Civil Service were easy prey, because they were in the grip of the Executive Council.
We regard this Bill as an unavoidable part of the effort to meet the present very grave crisis in the country. We think that in that sense the Civil Service ought to be grateful to the Government. We think that the proposals  might well be regarded as a method of securing the Civil Service, that the Civil Service generally is wise enough to realise that if farmers were to be allowed to go through the present period of depression without State assistance, if the unemployment that is so general throughout the country was to be ignored by the Government, and no effort made to meet such problems out of public funds, that far from the old-time security being there, that old-time security would be very much threatened. In that sense, I think, the Civil Service are wise enough to realise that by asking them to make this sacrifice, which we all hope may be temporary, they are being in a sense guaranteed their security and that the State in which they have such an interest is being guaranteed its security.
Deputy McGilligan talked about breaking contracts and the serious thing it was to break a contract with the Civil Service. Undoubtedly, it is a very serious thing to break a contract with the Civil Service, and if the present period were altogether normal, and if the country were not face to face with a very serious crisis with regard to its main industry and with regard to unemployment, there would be no excuse for breaking the contract. Deputy McGilligan, however, should remember that he was a member of a Government that broke another contract affecting a large number of people in this country. Years ago the State had said to a number of old people: “We are going to give you a reward for the services you rendered to the State; we are going to give you a certain allowance which will give you certain security and enable you to live in comparative ease for the remainder of your life, which may not be very long.” When the Deputy's Government was in a difficulty much less serious than the present difficulty, considering the time it occurred, they did not hesitate to say to these old people: “We cannot afford to keep that contract with you and we shall have to take a certain amount of the allowance off you.” Similarly, with regard to the teachers, they did not hesitate to break the contract made and to tell them  that they would have to make some sacrifice to meet the requirements of the State.
I want again to make it clear with regard to this Bill that there is no lack of appreciation on this side of the House of the great services the Civil Service renders and that we regret very much that the Bill has to be passed. We think, as I said, that civil servants themselves fully understand why it is necessary. I hope sincerely they will not accept the statement made by Deputy McGilligan, that it means any attack on the security which they are entitled to expect in their employment.
General Mulcahy: I am glad to hear the heart and not the head of at least one Fianna Fáil Deputy speak in appreciation of civil servants. But in asking civil servants to believe that this measure does not interfere with their security, that it does, in fact, save the civil servants from being wiped out of existence entirely at the hands of infuriated farmers, I should like the Deputy to direct his head a little to the situation. The Deputy said that these are quite abnormal times. Last year we had an emergency tail to the Budget. So far as I can see, the only bit of an emergency tail left to this year's Budget is this Bill, which proposes to find, in a special way, as a temporary measure, and only as regards this year, £270,000 odd from different classes of persons, including £57,000 from civil servants. It would help us if Deputy Moore would address himself to the point involved in the statement that this is a temporary measure and refers only to this year and that the cuts would not be carried over into next year. Having now spoken with his heart, I should like to hear the Deputy speak with his head on that subject. I appreciate the fact that he recognises that what he calls the present very grave crisis is much more serious than the last crisis created by the Deputy and his colleagues which brought about the necessity for cutting old age pensions to which he refers.
I do agree that the present is a much graver crisis than the crisis he  speaks about. I would welcome some kind of expression of opinion from him that it is not going to extend over the 31st March next, and that civil servants and those who are concerned in this Bill may contemplate returning, from the 1st April next, to the economy they have been accustomed to. There is no analogy between the old age pensioner's position and the position of a civil servant, whether he is a junior or a higher civil servant. We are dealing with men in the Civil Service, in the Guards and in the Army, who have family responsibilities, who have arranged the economy of their household, both as regards its present day economy and from the point of view of the education of their children, the placing of them in life, insurance and so on. All these are matters that have to be and have been taken into consideration by the classes referred to here. Those men have entered into insurance commitments so as to take care of the future of their wives and families; they have entered into the possession of house property, and are keeping up a certain standard of life. They are at the present moment very much concerned as to whether they have definitely to depart from the standard of provision that they are making for their families, and from the standard of existence in which they are keeping their families. The Deputy will understand that, if this Bill is going to be continued in any shape or form, those men would take, right away, the necessary action to save themselves from becoming a particular type of bankrupt. It is unfair to ask them to carry on those commitments in the hope that the Bill is only a temporary measure. They would be encouraged to carry on their present commitments by the statements that Deputy Moore has made, and it is unfair to allow them to do so if Deputy Moore sees no possibility in the present situation of this Bill being dropped this year. Judging from Deputies' attitudes, and judging by their policies, I see no possibility of the frame of mind on the far benches changing with regard to these economies next year. There is no possibility of that, because, judging from the general financial position,  they are going to be more stringent in their economies next year.
General Mulcahy: Only in a very small way. I am dealing with the point that Deputy Moore makes that this Bill establishes the security of civil servants. I want to know whether that remark means that it establishes their security in that they will not be torn limb from limb by infuriated farmers coming up here to find the civil servants who have all this money, or whether the reference to security means that the civil servants can go on supporting themselves and their families in the general conditions in which at the present moment they are supporting them, with the assurance that what is stamped on this Bill, namely that it is only a temporary measure, is in fact an assurance that can be relied upon. I see nothing that would enable me to offer any such assurance as that to civil servants. If there are Deputies on the far side who think they are in a position to offer it we ought to hear more specifically and in more detail from them.
Mr. MacDermot: Those who hastily make use of such expressions as breach of contract are doing a bad service to the principle of sanctity of contracts. Deputy Moore, a few moments ago, made a comparison between civil servants and old age pensioners. He implied that if you give a man an old age pension you enter into a contract with him. I do not want to labour that point, but I think very little reflection suffices to show that that is not true; that nobody persuaded the man to consent to live beyond a certain standard by the representation that if he did he was going to get so much for the rest of his years; nor is it true to say in general that an alteration in the emoluments of civil servants involves a breach of contract. When a man spends money in educating his children for the Civil Service, and when a youth goes into the Civil Service he has, it is  true, set before him a schedule of salaries and pensions and he forms a general idea of what lies before him in those respects, but there is no hard and fast undertaking by this State, or by any other State where a Civil Service exists, that those conditions will not be altered. They may be altered for the better, they may be altered for the worse, but they are not unalterable. Consequently a Bill that introduces cuts for the Civil Service is not, to that extent at any rate, in any sense a breach of contract.
The support that I feel obliged to give to the Government in introducing these cuts is given less confidently, less enthusiastically—well, I do not suppose it would have been enthusiastic anyway—and less cheerfully even than it would have been given were it not for the fact that, at the very time they are reducing existing civil servants as regards their emoluments, they are creating a large number of new civil servants. They have committed themselves to policies that impose great expense on the community in that respect. Whereas in the old days they complained a great deal of the hosts of officials quartered on the country by the Cosgrave Government they are busy adding day by day to the number. One's general outlook towards this section, as towards the whole Bill, is determined by one's view as to the gravity of the financial outlook of this country. I am one of those who consider that that outlook is exceedingly grave, and that there is some substance in Deputy Moore's statement that a measure like this makes at any rate in the direction of security for civil servants and others affected by it, because we know that in some other countries where financial follies are allowed to go too far salaries have been stopped altogether for a section of public servants, and the same thing might easily happen here if we go along on the path of prodigality which we have been and still are pursuing. I am quite conscious of the fact that this cut will impose hardship. In general my feeling about the Civil Service in this country is that it is not over-paid but that it is over-staffed  and that economy should proceed along the lines of a drastic reduction in numbers rather than in salaries. However, in all the circumstances of the case I can feel no hesitation whatever in opposing the amendment.
Mr. McGilligan: I just want to refer very briefly to Deputy Moore's intervention in regard to my statement that the old-time security of the civil servant had gone and also the speech which followed by Deputy MacDermot backing him up. Deputy Moore's argument seems to be this: “The old-time security of the civil servant is not gone completely, but only just a very little. The Government has had to face a crisis this year which necessitated their old-time security being broken in on to that small extent.” Does Deputy Moore think that that is security? He argues that that is really a safeguard and Deputy MacDermot thinks so too. Is this not a pointer to the way for future economies? Supposing that this time next year we are in a worse position—and undoubtedly we are going to be worse; we have exhausted the Road Fund sort of borrowing this year and we are going to rely on other funds that may not exist next year. Next year we are going to be very near the situation of Austria and Hungary. Undoubtedly then the signpost is erected this year for more economies still from the Civil Service. President de Valera in his speech on the Second Reading of the Bill said so. The Minister for Finance on the Second Reading said so in these words: that he wanted to warn the Dáil that although the term of the measure was limited to this year, there was no security that it would not be applied next year—applied with greater severity next year.
Deputy Moore also took exception to the statement and attempted to deny it on behalf of his Party, that civil servants were being cut because they were easy prey. Is that not the reason for imposing the cut? Can Deputy Moore give us any other reason than that? Were they cut because their salaries were too high? That has been denied by the Minister for Finance even in  imposing the cut. Why else are they being cut? Has any other reason been given for the civil servant being picked out?
Mr. McGilligan: Very good. Let us deal with that question—picked out for sacrifice by taxation. The general citizens of the country have also to make sacrifices by taxation. Are civil servants immune from taxation?
Mr. McGilligan: In a very temporary way, but I warned you that you cannot live on a bankrupt stock. When you are realising your capital assets for trade purposes you will always get certain results from a bankrupt sale. You will be well off for a few months, but you will pay for it afterwards. Certainly as far as increased taxation is concerned, that falls equally on every section of the community. I ask again is there any reason why civil servants should be cut except that their salaries come under the control of the House and under the control of the Government, that they are the nearest to hand, and that therefore you are going to have a slash at them? If Deputy Moore does not want it to go out that civil servants' rights are being sacrificed to meet the emergency, let him give us any positive reason why civil servants are being picked out. Deputy Breathnach has left the House. He was here when Deputy MacDermot was speaking, and when Deputy MacDermot made an intervention in Deputy Moore's speech, I was going to call his attention to a remark which Deputy Breathnach made to the  teachers on the day on which they held their one-day strike protest. He said at the public meeting that it should be remembered that the war which necessitated this cut was being fought for the farmers and that the farmers should not expect other classes to bear the brunt of it. Will Deputy Moore argue that outside with Deputy Breathnach and come in and tell us the result afterwards?
I still adhere to the point that the old-time security of the civil servant has gone and the phrases that are being used here in an attempt to show that it is not gone, only emphasise that particular point. They are being picked out only for one reason, that they occupy a position nearest to us. If there is a greater crisis next year, they will still have salaries to be whacked and they will get it and they know they will get it. That is an important matter to them. Surely once we have started in this particular path of progress, if it is progress, once we have trodden it we can go over it again. It is the easy thing to do and these people will still be there, nearest to our hand, to be whacked.
Mr. McGilligan: Let us put the argument then founded on justice. Now there is a breach of contract. There is not, I agree, a contract of the rigid sort either in regard to the old age pensioners or civil servants as a group. If I have used that phrase it is not applicable in the narrow sense of the term but certainly the circumstances of the lives of civil servants led them to believe that they were going to be in a particular position and that whole position has been shattered. When Deputy MacDermot talks about the sanctity of contracts I have again to point out that the President said in the House last year that there was a contract. I asked if there was going to be a breach of faith. Once again I have to refer to a question put by Deputy Cosgrave in reference to an Act which gave these people certain rights in which he asked whether it was open to the Legislature at any  time to repeal, alter or amend that Act. The answer given was: “It is not, because it is embodied in an international document. There was an international agreement.” I used the word “contract” in regard to these people's position and I say there is a breach of the contract. There is a breach of the contract in this Bill and if they go before the Compensation Tribunal this Act will be pleaded against them as abrogating that contract because when I asked the Minister for an assurance that that would not be done, I could not get it.
Mr. McGilligan: Deputy MacDermot in a recent speech talked about civil servants having been quartered on the country. I would expect him to take the opportunity afforded by this Bill to make his point of view clear as to how civil servants have been quartered on the country and not to content himself with the statement he has made that the Civil Service is over-staffed. I should like something more than a mere statement. People who have given good and faithful service to the community should not be subject to that type of criticism unless the person who offers that type of criticism is prepared to substantiate his statements and to produce figures to substantiate them. That is the one thing that Deputy MacDermot has consistently failed to do, to produce any details or figures to support that statement. The Minister for Finance could teach Deputy MacDermot a lesson on that. He preached as much about the over-staffing of Departments as Deputy MacDermot is disposed to do at the moment.
Mr. MacDermot: On that point I should like to say that I used the word “quartered” as a quotation. If he will cast his mind back he will find that I said the Fianna Fáil Party used to complain a great deal about the number of officials quartered in the country by the Cosgrave Government.
 I was not using that expression as my own words. I said my impression was that economy in relation to the civil servants should be directed to reducing their numbers rather than their salaries. I want to put this point to Deputy McGilligan who talked of the old-time security of the civil servant. I say it is a myth if it means that the civil servant was ever secure against the consequences that might flow from the ruin of the country. It is not this Bill that introduces the element of insecurity. What introduces the element of insecurity to civil servants is the danger of expenditure becoming so inflated that the country manifestly cannot bear it. If a general line of policy is followed by the Government of the day which makes for the ruin of trade and prosperity then civil servants cannot hope to escape if it goes on long enough. If the ship goes down every class will go down with it, and it is beyond the wit of man to make such arrangements that in that sense civil servants would have security.
Mr. McGilligan: I would like to answer these two points. Civil servants have revealed to them now their insecurity above every other class of the community, because as the situation gets worse it becomes clear to them that they are going to be the first to be attacked as far as the Government is going to make an attack upon anybody. They are to be pulled in, not on the ground of the justice or injustice of their claim, but because they are near at hand to have their salaries cut.
Mr. McGilligan: Their expenditure has not been inflated. It may be deemed to be inflated because the means of providing for their expenditure have gone down. But that will hold next year if it goes further down. That is their insecurity.
Mr. McGilligan: Not by reason of the Civil Service. The Deputy who will explain the phrase “quartered in the country” talks about numbers without giving the facts, and quoting statistics as to the numbers and without giving comparisons. Until he does that he would be well advised to stop talking of over-staffing and of hordes of officials. I think that Deputy MacDermot is as little qualified, from the time he has spent in this country, to judge whether the civil servants in the country are too numerous, as he is qualified and capable of judging what are the requirements of the farming community in this country. He has as much practical experience of the one as of the other. If I went to any country after many years of absence from it, and if after a period of two years I set myself up as being an expert upon the agriculture of the country, or upon such matters as the Civil Service of the country, I certainly, in any nation that has a reputation of having a sense of humour, would provoke a gigantic smile at the suggestion.
Mr. McGilligan: Nobody in this House ever accused Deputy MacDermot of being an expert. The withdrawal is now as complete as it can be made. We are told by Deputy MacDermot that there is an exceedingly grave financial crisis in this country. The Deputy suggests that the way to meet that grave crisis was to cause a greater crisis. And his only solution of the difficulty was to state now that if the boat is sinking— I do not follow his logic, at any rate— we must see to it that nobody goes overboard and swims ashore. Everyone is to be battened down between the hatches and we will all drown together. That is the great solution, that when the boat is sinking and we are calling to the crew “all hands to the pumps” we must tell them, as the first kick-off, “we will have to cut your salaries.” That is what Deputy MacDermot thinks to be statesmanlike and politic in this grave crisis.
I am glad to see that Deputy Breathnach has returned to the House. I have referred to a speech he made at the teachers' protest meeting and to his promise that while this section was under discussion he would be only a visitor to the House, although I may add a distinguished visitor. Will he repeat to the House, and for the benefit of the multitude on the Farmers' Benches here, what he said on the occasion of the one-day protest meeting, to the effect that as this economic war was being undertaken in the interests of the farmers it was only equitable that they should bear the brunt of the struggle. Deputy MacDermot, though not a farmer, speaks for the farmers.
Mr. McGilligan: Would the Deputy agree with what Deputy Breathnach said when he made something approaching to a cross-roads speech? I want to recall that phrase, either to have it withdrawn or justified or explained. Deputy Victory has refused to answer for it. Will Deputy Breathnach now take the floor?
Mr. Moore: I do not think Deputy McGilligan has in his last speech  established himself as a friend of civil servants. I think he wants to put civil servants into the position that no matter what takes place in the country or no matter what way the general community are living they should be able to say we can afford to be indifferent; we are not affected by such a paltry thing as the complete disappearance of the dairy farmers; we need not mind what amount of unemployment prevails in town or country. That would be putting civil servants into a position that would be very unfortunate for them and that no civil servant desires to be put into.
Mr. Moore: If Deputy McGilligan could introduce a system by which the wealth of the country could be turned into cash so that revenue might be easily collected he would have solved the whole problem. If he could find some remedy for the position by which people could have great wealth but not money enough to meet their liabilities, we would obviate the need for this Bill. If Deputy McGilligan and Deputy Norton and others who are opposing this Bill could solve that problem for this country they would be doing a great deal for the whole world. But you have the position at the present moment that a great many of our population are dependent upon the production of, say, butter, for their livelihood. We have also the position that that commodity is fetching 62/- per cwt. to-day compared with 115/- in 1930. You have the position in the country that wool and mutton have fallen from 33? to 50 per cent. lower than the prices that prevailed last year.
Mr. MacEntee: I am glad that Deputy MacDermot has returned to the House to participate in what, I hope, may be a useful discussion in so far as it may clarify Deputy MacDermot's mind, not on the question as to whether the young lady of the Centre Party wished to make an alliance with the tiger of Cumann na nGaedheal but as to whether, in effect, there has been any breach of contract with the transferred officers and whether Deputy MacDermot's acceptance of the contention, that that phrase might properly be applied to the position of the transferred officers, was justifiable.
I cannot say whether either Deputy MacDermot or Deputy McGilligan know what really is implied by the 1929 Act which has been referred to here. I am quite prepared to believe that Deputy McGilligan knows very well what is in the Act, because he is always prepared to prostitute his knowledge of the facts to the political exigencies of the situation in which he finds himself. But I doubt if Deputy MacDermot ever read the Act. I should like the Deputy to correct me if I am wrong in that assumption.
Mr. MacEntee: The Deputy says he has not read it. The position, therefore, is that the Deputy has not read the relevant statute, but he is quite prepared to say that there has been a breach of contract in regard to the transferred officers. What is the position of the transferred officers? It is a complete fallacy to declare that the transferred officer must be maintained in exactly the same position in the Civil Service as he was in at the time of the change of Government. That was never contemplated by Article X. On the contrary, Article X contemplated that, possibly, a number of these people would not be maintained in the Government service at all. But it did provide that if the Government desired to get rid of them, or if they themselves wished to leave the Government service, they would be entitled to  certain concessions and given special consideration. There was a long dispute as to what was implied by that Article.
Mr. MacEntee: I was not here when the Minister for Education was speaking but I am quite prepared to say that he did not say that. First of all—I do not want to get off the present aspect of the case for the moment—but I doubt whether any transferred officer has contractual rights in this measure at all as distinct from statutory rights. There can be a distinction drawn between the position of the transferred officer in relation to the Free State Government—a Government with which he never entered into any agreement whatever; he has done with its predecessors; there was something carried over, but it was carried over by statute and not by contract. Possibly Deputies would appreciate the effect of Section 5 of this Bill better if they would think over that aspect of the question in its relation to transferred officers.
To get back to what I was saying; there was an agreement in the Treaty that if certain officers elected, of their own free election and volition, not to remain in the service of the new Government, they could leave its service; but on the other hand if the Government, of its own election and volition, decided not to retain these people in their service it also could get rid of them. In either case they were to be given certain rights and certain additional benefits over and above the rights of those who might come into the service subsequent to the Treaty. There was, as I said, some dispute as to what that implied, but that dispute or difference of opinion was ultimately settled by an agreement which was subsequently embodied in an Act and given effect to by the Civil Service (Transferred Officers) Compensation Act of 1929; and the relevant section of that Act is Section 14. The sub-section which is  particularly pertinent to the present debate is sub-section (2) of that section which says:—
“Whenever a transferred officer to whom this section applies... is required to perform duties which are not analogous to and are an unreasonable addition to his duties at the time of his said transfer ....”
Now, no transferred officer, under this Bill, is being required to carry out other than his present duties. There is no unreasonable addition being made to his duties and he will continue to carry out duties which are reasonable and analogous to those he was carrying out at the date of his transfer. But there is something being done, and that is this, possibly:—
I quite admit and concede with the utmost readiness that a transferred officer may hold that this Bill does alter his conditions of service to his detriment. He may hold that. I am not prepared to admit that it does in fact do so, but he himself may hold that it does alter his conditions of service to his detriment. If he does hold this, he has a remedy, which is set forth as follows:
“such officer shall be entitled to retire if he so desires from the service of the Government of Saorstát Eireann subject to his giving to the Minister notice of his desire so to retire and subject to his right so to retire being either admitted by the Minister or affirmed by the Board.”
Those are the rights which the transferred officer has—the right to retire, following the Minister's concession of that right or in the event of the Minister's refusal, then that he is so entitled to retire if that right is affirmed by the Board. There is nothing in this Bill which stops a transferred officer from exercising the only special right he has, and that is to go to the Compensation Board and ask them to determine whether, owing to changes in the conditions of his employment, his position has been altered to his detriment. There is nothing in this  Bill which proposes to alter, amend or repeal the Act of 1929. Therefore, I submit that if Deputy MacDermot—I am not asking him to accept the position merely as I have stated it now— but if he will examine it in view of the facts which I have set before the House I am convinced that, if he does so, he will find that he will not be justified in applying the term “breach of contract” or that he will not be entitled to say that this Bill effects a breach of contract with the transferred officers. As I have said, there are quite a number of very abstruse legal issues to be determined as to whether there is a contract at all in regard to transferred officers. I freely admit that they have the statutory right which I have indicated to go to the Compensation Board and get the question determined whether they are being asked to discharge duties which are not analogous to those they were discharging at the time of the change of Government; whether there is an unreasonable addition to their duties, or whether the general conditions of their service are being altered to their detriment. They have that right.
In view of the public pledges which it has given and in view of its desire to be meticulously careful, where contracts or agreements are concerned, not to damage the reputation of this State, the Government would not dare to prejudice the position of transferred officers one iota in this regard, and the Government is not doing it. But the Government must, because it has a duty to the citizens as well as to the civil servants, be careful to safeguard the rights of the citizens. Therefore, when the matter does come before the Compensation Board I am not going to have my hands tied before hand by any declaration which I might make in this House. We hold ourselves perfectly free to appear before that Board, and to put before it any points which we think the members should have in their minds when giving a decision. We are not going to ensure by legislation that the decision of the tribunal will be a certain decision and no other, and that is what we are asked by the Opposition to do in regard to Section 5. We were  asked to determine beforehand that these conditions had been altered. The Board will be perfectly free to do justice between the transferred officers and the State. We are going to leave it free to do that, but in discharge of our duty to our citizens we are going to make the best case we can to safeguard the Exchequer, the farmers and the taxpayers.
I am sorry Deputy McGilligan has left the House. There is nothing more repulsive, to my mind, than the spectacle of Satan rebuking sin. He opened the first of his long speeches on this section by saying that civil servants were in the unhappy position that the Minister had prohibited them from having a public meeting. It is quite true. We do think that it is exceedingly undesirable that in matters of this sort civil servants should organise a public meeting and should invite the leaders or members of political parties to address them. Not merely do we think that, but our predecessors in office thought it also. Deputy McGilligan was a member of the Executive Council with my predecessor, Mr. Blythe. In August, 1931, Mr. Blythe, who was then Minister for Finance, in connection with a meeting which civil servants announced to be held in the Metropolitan Hall, Dublin—a meeting which was to be addressed by certain Deputies of this House—told them in no uncertain terms that any civil servant who attended that meeting would be very severely dealt with. The civil servants of that time recognised the position. They approached those Deputies who had consented to speak and asked them not to go to the meeting. Deputy McGilligan said that I would not permit civil servants to hold public meetings and have the leaders and members of political parties address those meetings. I will not, because I will not have interested parties dragging civil servants into politics.
There is one thing that, so long as I remain in office in any Government, I am determined upon, and it is to undo the evil of the past ten years. So far as I have any control over any public  service in this country I am going to see that it keeps out of politics, not merely on the side of one party but on the side of all parties; on the side of the Government Party as well as on the side of the Opposition. If that public meeting had been held this year this issue, whether civil servants were being properly or adequately paid, was going to become a political issue. The moment any question relating to the Civil Service becomes a political issue, so much the worse for the Civil Service, because when it is the votes they will have to control, and as taxpayers will cheesepare and cheesepare until the public servants in this country become what they are in other countries, dependent not on emoluments which they honestly receive, but on tips and pourboirs and all sorts of hidden and illegal subventions. That is why in the interests of the State and in the interests of the Civil Service that I for one, at any rate, will not countenance the holding of a public meeting by the Civil Service if it is going to be addressed by the leaders of political parties upon an issue that is receiving the attention of the Dáil.
Mr. MacEntee: The Deputy can have one name, my own—in my inexperience and lack of appreciation of the facts. At any rate I want to say this, that I was subsequently asked by the civil servants not to speak.
Mr. MacEntee: Yes, and in office now, with a fuller appreciation—I quite frankly admit it—of other aspects of this and other questions, and with the added responsibility of having to hold the balance evenly between the taxpayer on the one hand and the public servant on the other, trying to provide the wherewithal by which the public services may be carried on.
Mr. MacEntee: I never had civil servants addressing letters for me, and any subscriptions received by me directly or indirectly from any civil servant were returned to him even before I was in office.
Mr. MacEntee: I am not giving way. It is quite true that I refused to allow civil servants to have a public meeting, but I did not refuse to meet them. These cuts were thought to be necessary last year. As I indicated when making the financial statement for this year, it might be argued that on the normal Budget of the year, leaving out of account the particular circumstances of the economic war, there was possibly a deficit in last year's Budget, a deficit which would just have been balanced by the amount we had hoped to secure from economies in the salaries of public servants. All last year, a large part of my time was taken up considering memoranda received from various Civil Service organisations, prepared and submitted by the Civil Service Representative Council, to which I went to hear what the representatives of the Civil Service had to say for themselves, to listen to the debate of both sides on the matter and, myself, to make a statement in regard to it, so that it is not right to say that the Civil Service have not had an opportunity of putting this matter before the Government and the Minister for Finance. There have been prolonged discussions with various people who are competent to speak for the civil servant. There have been the meetings of the Civil Service Representative Council and there have been the very numerous and voluminous memoranda which have been prepared  and submitted by the various organisations who are competent to speak for the civil servant, all of which had been studied by me before the decision was arrived at to include civil servants within the ambit of this Bill.
What is the principle on which they have been brought in? When Deputy McGilligan was speaking, he said that the great thing about those who entered the Civil Service and those who took up professorial life was that they opted for equilibrium. Precisely, and what is the position then? We find that so far as the primary producers of this country are concerned—and I am not accepting everything that Deputy MacDermot might say in regard to the consequences of the economic war, and certainly very little of what Deputy McGilligan might say in regard to it, because he has no personal knowledge of the subject, even less knowledge than Deputy MacDermot in the two years he has been in the country, has been able to glean regarding it. It is that while their real income, in terms of commodities, may have declined a little, their cash income has declined very much more. What on the other hand is the position of those who are in the public service? Leaving out of consideration the increases in cash income which would normally accrue to them from length of service, or because of promotion, and taking the case of the civil servant in August of 1931, or, if you like, in 1923—even if he did not receive promotion, and if he did not receive any increment his basic salary, as apart altogether from his bonus, has remained constant in terms of money; that is, his cash income has been constant, but his real income, in terms of commodities, has very much increased.
Mr. MacEntee: Will the Deputy please not interrupt? As I said before, I got a lesson in manners from an Opposition Deputy sitting on the Front Bench, and I am afraid I shall have to apply to the Deputy the same term that was addressed to me if he interrupts again.
Mr. MacEntee: As I was saying, if we take the position to-day as compared with August, 1931, we find that the value of the basic salary of the civil servant, apart altogether from the bonus which is a diminishing element as the salary of the civil servant increases, has increased by at least 10 per cent. since August, 1931.
Mr. MacEntee: So far as the basic salary is concerned, therefore, if I can proceed without further digression, the position is that the real value in terms of commodities of that portion of the civil servant's salary has increased by at least 10 per cent.
Mr. MacEntee: The position is that the civil servant, we are told by Deputy McGilligan, has opted for equilibrium. Do I take it that Deputy Belton, who is a very strong advocate of the farmers, even if not a very logical one, says that the emoluments of the civil servant should not merely remain  undisturbed at their present level, as compared with the farmers, but should be considerably increased? I should like to know that because Deputy Belton has posed here as a farmer——
Mr. MacEntee: ——because if Deputy Belton is going to argue now that we are doing an injustice to the man who, in the words of Deputy McGilligan, has opted for equilibrium under this Bill, by restoring the equilibrium which existed in August, 1931, and bringing the real income of the civil servant, in terms of commodities, back to the position which existed at that time, he can only justify his opposition to the proposals in this Bill on the ground that he is prepared to advocated that all civil servants' salaries, whether they be above the limit of £300 or below, should be increased by 10 per cent. throughout the scale. If Deputies will study the Schedule in this Bill carefully, they will see that it has been compiled on this basis, that, taking into consideration the reduction of the total emoluments of the civil servant due to the fall in the cost-of-living bonus from 1st January, as well as other factors, the maximum deduction is about 10 per cent. In fact, it is a little more at the top of the scale but the figure that was worked to and which it was endeavoured to arrive at and, at the same time, to compile a scale that would be easily operative, was the figure of 10 per cent.
To get back again to this question of opting for equilibrium, what was the equilibrium which the transferred officer opted for? It was this—that his position would be maintained at the same level, that his inclusive salary would be maintained at the same level as was that of the British civil servant. That was the very best he could have hoped for at any time. If he had not transferred himself and if he had remained in the service of the British Government, he would be enjoying the British salary and bonus, possibly, but he would have lost all the exceptional opportunities for promotion which  have come his way during the past ten years. In fact the very most he would have been certain of is that he would have been paid his basic salary and his bonus according to the British cost-of-living figure. But what has been the position? The man who “opted for equilibrium” has come into the service of this State and, since he came into it, the cost-of-living figure here has been calculated in such a way that it has been consistently almost eight points over that of the British Civil Service for the past ten years, so that he has been very much better off than if the mere equilibrium had been preserved. He is, therefore, in such a position to-day when the State is in its present necessitous condition, he can do something to help it.
The State is quite justified in asking him to do that without any advertence to the question whether there has been a breach of contract or not, because his contract did not provide for payment on the basis of the Irish cost-of-living figure. It is a very moot question whether there was a contract at all or not. Judicial decisions on that point are very uncertain. There is no question here, so far as we are concerned, of breach of contract with any man. There is no question of disturbing the equilibrium. It is a question of restoring the equilibrium which had been disturbed and not a question of doing any injustice to the Civil Service.
Mr. Norton: Some of the statements made in the Minister's speech tempt me to intervene in the debate. The Minister finished his speech by saying that it was highly doubtful whether there was any real contract between the transferred officer and the Government. I do not know whether the Minister has consulted the Attorney-General on that matter, nor do I know what the legal decisions are to which the Minister referred. But if the Minister will read Article 10 of the Treaty, he will find that it is specifically laid down that the Government of the Irish Free State agrees to pay compensation——
Mr. Norton: The Minister says that this is an agreement between States and that the civil servant is in no way a beneficiary in a contractual sense under that agreement. Before the Minister came into the House, somebody ought to have given him the judgment of Mr. Justice Meredith in 1924. If he had had an opportunity of reading that judgment in the Wigg-Cochrane case, he would not have made that obvious misstatement. Quite clearly, the civil servant has a contractual right. That has been decided in this country and it has been enshrined in the Civil Service (Transferred Officers) Compensation Act, 1929. It is admitted in that Act that there is a contractual right on the part of the civil servant and, in any case, Mr. Justice Meredith has decided the matter for the Minister.
The Minister said, justifying his recent Hitlerite decision to prohibit civil servants from holding a meeting in Dublin and enabling leaders of political parties to hear their views—a decision in gross defiance, in my opinion, of the terms of the Constitution of this State —that in 1931 the Cumann na nGaedheal Government forbade a meeting which civil servants proposed to hold. Again, I should like the Minister to consult his advisers and find out, with that canniness for looking up files so frequently displayed by him, if there is any evidence that a meeting was prohibited by the Cumann na nGaedheal Government in 1931. If the Minister examines that matter, he will find that his statement here to-day is completely incorrect. There was no attempt by the Cumann na nGaedheal Government to prohibit the holding of that meeting. It is true they did issue a letter to the organisers of the meeting referring to what they called “the proprieties of the Civil Service,” but there was no attempt made to prevent the holding of the meeting. If the Minister is going to speak further on this section, I hope he will correct himself in that respect.
The veneer of the Minister is peeling off pretty quickly these days. We have seen the Minister in a mood to-day on  this question of the Civil Service much different from the mood in which he was in 1931. The Minister, in 1931, was quite prepared to go to this meeting of civil servants, which was actually held in Dublin, and, with that silver-tongued oratory for which the Minister is distinguished, especially on platforms, he was quite prepared to tell the civil servants how strong a supporter he was of their legitimate claims. The Minister says now that he has a fuller appreciation of his responsibilities on that matter and other matters since he became Minister for Finance. Quite frankly, I think that the Minister had much more sense of responsibility round about 1931 than he has displayed in this House during the past week on this Bill. Personally, I prefer his sense of responsibility then to the flamboyant speeches he has delivered on this Bill during the past few days. We must go back to 1931 to get a true picture of the Minister and the Minister's Party. In 1931, when the cost-of-living index figure was 80—it is now 55—the Minister for Industry and Commerce went, as Deputy McGilligan said, with an all-Party deputation to the then acting Minister for Finance in the Cumann na nGaedheal Government to ask that the bonus-cut should be suspended——
Mr. Norton: Pending an inquiry into the methods of ascertaining the cost-of-living figure and its application to basic salaries—two things which the Minister has since conveniently forgotten. The present Minister for Industry and Commerce went on an all-Party deputation to the then acting Minister for Finance in the Cumann na nGaedheal Government to urge the suspension of the reduction then pending in the cost-of-living bonus. The total remuneration of civil servants then was much more than it is now. We had the present Minister for Finance prepared to speak at this particular meeting in Dublin, and demonstrate his sympathy with the civil servants, not merely in his own constituency but outside it. We had the present Minister for Industry and Commerce pleading eloquently for a suspension of the reduction, then threatened, of the cost-of-living bonus.  If that means anything, it means that both the present Minister for Industry and Commerce and the present Minister for Finance were satisfied in 1931—not so many years ago—that there was no case then for a reduction of the remuneration of the civil servants who are attacked in this Bill.
The Minister speaks about equilibrium. He contends that, speaking relatively, the basic salaries of civil servants have appreciated between August, 1931, and now. Why did the Minister take 1931? Everybody knows, and the Minister's advisers should have told him, that the basic salaries of civil servants are intended to be remuneration for the work which they have performed on the basis of the 1914 cost of living. It was intended that the cost-of-living index figure should be an addition to basic wages and salaries, by way of providing some compensation for the increase in the cost of living over the July 1914 figure. The Minister was quite wrong, and quite unfair in talking about basic salaries having appreciated, because every examination during the past 19 years has always been on the basis that the basic salary would be the normal pre-war salary under pre-war conditions. What does it work out at?
Under this Bill people with a total income of £300 will be cut. I would say, off hand, that that means the basic salary of £220 will be cut. That basic salary was intended to relate to pre-war conditions. I want the Minister to imagine the case of a civil servant in receipt of £220 pre-war living in this city with such an addition as he got as compensation for increased cost of living. On the pre-war basic salary of £220 he is allowed £80 per annum to compensate him for the increase in the cost of living. I suggest to the Minister that if he were offered a choice between £220 in July, 1914, or £300 per annum in May, 1933, he would have no hesitation in plumping for the £220 in July, 1914. The £80 addition to the pre-war basic salary would be grossly inadequate compensation. Notwithstanding that, the Minister comes to the House with a Bill designed to slash the basic salary, at a time when the person in receipt of that salary complains that he is not  getting an adequate allowance for the increase in the cost of living over the pre-war figure.
The Minister talked about an equilibrium. It looks as if the Minister was constituting himself the sole guide of what the equilibrium was for the Civil Service. I suggest that the Minister might dispense with the grandfatherly role. He knows that at a meeting of the Civil Service Representative Council and others the Minister was told that they hated these proposals. I understand from the Press that the Minister had promised to intervene, and I think even the President had to intervene, when the secretaries of departments and higher placed civil servants, who are not members of staff organisations, told them how much they hated these proposals. In the face of condemnation of the Minister's proposals by civil servants, and even by secretaries in his own Department, who condemned the proposals, the Minister sets himself up as the person to be the judge of equilibrium in relation to the salaries of civil servants. The Minister wants to fix the equilibrium for other people, while everyone he wants to fix the equilibrium for hates his method of applying this equilibrium to basic salaries.
The Minister discoursed for a long time on the right of transferred officers. In relation to the people dealt with in the section I say he is doing a very bad day's work for the public services, and in relation to the transferred officers in the Civil Service he is doing an exceptionally bad day's work. These people have the right to go before the court set up under the Civil Service (Transferred Officers) Compensation Act, 1929. From what I know, I am satisfied that many of them will go there. I am satisfied that they will have no hesitation whatever in proving their claim for compensation under the Act having regard to the cut proposed to be inflicted upon them. I heard the Minister say that this was a temporary measure, only for one year. But he is going to force people to go before the Civil Service Compensation Board to seek enhanced compensation there, and to retire from and be lost to the Irish Free State for ever, and  all because of economy proposals which are only to last twelve months. I say to the Minister that when at the end of the financial year, or at such suitable date as one could take a reasonable review of the position, he reckons it up he will find when he compares the amount he will save in the “cuts” on the one hand, with what will be lost to the State in compensation, what will be lost to the State in experience and ability, and what it will cost to employ new officers to replace those experienced civil servants, the Minister will have a very bad balance sheet in relation to these transferred officers. As I suggested on Wednesday when the Minister talked of the £250,000 bankruptcy it cannot be cured in the way contemplated in the Bill. The Minister knows that perfectly well. I think this House would be treated to a different dissertation from the Minister if he were still occupying a bench on the opposite side, instead of having become intoxicated with his responsibility as Minister for Finance.
For the fourth time I want to read what the President and the Minister for Finance said in February, 1932. The present President of the Executive Council issued a manifesto to the electors in which he said:—
One of the items included in the programme of Fianna Fáil was a declaration in these terms, not by any mere tenth-rate cross-road apologist or orator in the Fianna Fáil Party, but by President de Valera. This is one item in the programme that he wanted a mandate to proceed to:
“We do not propose to seek economies by restricting the social services or by cutting the salaries of the middle and lower grades of the Civil Service. These salaries are in most cases barely sufficient to meet the costs of the maintenance of a home and the support and education of children.”
Mr. Norton: Speaking in the Town Hall at Rathmines just previously, the President stated that people in receipt of salaries of £300 or £400 were  getting nothing excessive. It is proposed under this Bill to cut these non-excessive salaries.
Mr. Norton: We had the Minister standing up on Wednesday evening and asking whether any responsible Deputy would say that an unmarried Civil Guard, living in the circumstances of an unmarried Civil Guard with £160 per annum, could not suffer a reduction. I pleaded guilty that night to being an irresponsible Deputy for the purpose of challenging that grotesque contention of the Minister. This Bill is a definite breach of the promises given by Fianna Fáil to the electors. It is a definite breach of the policy and the programme for which they sought a mandate from the electors. Because it is a definite breach of that programme, because it is unfair to the people dealt with, because it makes a special attack on a special section of the community, and because it will not secure the Minister's attempt to deal with the situation, I am opposed to this section and will vote against the Bill.
Mr. Belton: As a person not so interested or as well versed in the operation of the bonus and the cost-of-living figure, I have become confused with the points made by the Minister and elaborated by Deputy Norton. The Minister made the point that a civil servant whose salary did not change from 1931 up to the present time would in actual commodity value have an increase to-day of about 10 per cent. My interpretation of the cost-of-living bonus is that it is to meet contingencies arising out of commodity values, and that it would vary with the index figure. If the Minister's statement is correct, obviously the cost-of-living figures were either not correctly calculated or the civil servant has got more than he was entitled to. If the discrepancy in salary arising out of the fall in prices was not rectified by the sliding scale of the bonus, then something must be wrong. I have always taken it that the index figure and the rise and fall in the bonus given to civil  servants were co-related and that whatever alteration might ensue for the civil servant from diminution or otherwise in commodity values, it was rectified by the bonus. I could not follow the Minister's reasoning on that point.
Deputy Norton defined a basic salary. My interpretation of a basic salary is a salary that would be payable under the conditions obtaining in July, 1914. The bonus regulates the increased or decreased cost of living. The Minister made a strong personal appeal to me. He said: “Does Deputy Belton argue that farmers' incomes should come down and that civil servants' salaries should go up?” I never even attempted to argue anything of the kind. The Minister mentioned other Deputies who, he said, attempted to speak for the farmers but who had a limited knowledge of farming conditions. I agree with the Minister. I am not going to argue that the farmers' incomes should come down and the civil servants' incomes should go up. But the propositions are altogether distinct. If the farmer's income is pulled down, is it the Minister's case that the civil servant's income should come down? You cannot pull down the incomes of public servants, even though it will be argued they are in sheltered occupations, without affecting the whole field of salaries and wages. The Minister should throw off the mask. I do not mean that in any offensive way or that he is trying to conceal anything; but he should declare that the time has come to reduce all salaries and wages and thereby lower the standard of living. If he reduces the salaries of public servants and follows up that by reducing the wages of all wage-earners in the country to the level of agricultural incomes, he might then find equilibrium at that very low level. But would we then be any better off than we are now? Why should not the Minister endeavour to set a high standard instead of a low one? Why should he not, as an alternative to those proposals, endeavour to raise the standard of those who are down, to build on the section of the community whose wages are low and bring them to the level of those he now proposes to cut?
 The Minister got eloquent and almost excited on the question of the civil servants' public meeting. He did generously enough admit that when he agreed to accept a similar invitation two years ago, he accepted it through inexperience, but now, owing to all the experience he has acquired since, he would not attend such a meeting and, as far he was able, he would not allow such a meeting. He also made the declaration that while he has anything to do with the Government he will never tolerate a public meeting of State servants to be addressed by leaders of political parties. I have not had the experience of the Minister; I have not felt the weight of public responsibilities such as he has and, while I might criticise the Minister's actions in a lot of things, I do admit that in that declaration of his he is not very far out from my view of how to handle a situation of that kind.
I could not follow him in the line he took when he argued that transferred officers here have an advantage because the cost-of-living index figures as calculated here is eight points higher than in England and those transferred officers have the advantage of the eight points. Well, I do not see what advantage that was, except the Minister would expect those transferred officers to live under the cost-of-living conditions that obtained, say, in London, or in some part of England, while deriving the bonus payable under the cost-of-living index figures here. Surely when those transferred officers had to live under the conditions governing the cost of living here they were entitled under the conditions of the transfer to an increased bonus.
Mr. Belton: In other words, they should accept the English cost-of-living figure. If we accept the principle at all surely the equities of the  case are these:—That when living here under those conditions they are entitled to whatever increase in the cost of living there is over 1914. If we admit the principle at all we must admit that, even if there is the technicality that the English figure was specifically in the contract or agreement that took place. But I do not think that the Minister should make much of a point out of that. One thing in the trend of the Minister's campaign on behalf of this section with which I join issue with him and with the members of his Party including Deputy Moore is that because the farmers and the agricultural population are reduced to a certain level we must reduce the salaries of the civil servants.
I doubt if, in the circumstances of last year, there is a farmer in the Free State who lost more than I did, and, with my experience, I oppose that line of argument. You are not going to make a country better by pulling the rich down to the poor man's line. The way to help the country is to lift the poor to the rich man's line or to the comparatively rich man's line. On the broad principle I oppose the section on that. The Minister has said that I am a strong advocate though, perhaps, an illogical advocate of the farmer. I am not going to take his view of what logic is. But I am an advocate of agricultural conditions and I want to lay emphasis on agriculture as distinct from the farmer or farm labourer. From the purely industrial standpoint I am an advocate of the importance of agricultural conditions and the development of agriculture without regard to any particular interest or any section or class engaged in that industry.
There has been a lot of shouting about the farmers' conditions here. We have here people who claim to be able to speak for the farmer or the agriculturist. But if you take them over a tillage field these very advocates would not be able to tell you the names of the different kinds of crops grown on that field. I think I can speak for the farmers and for farming. I have produced every kind of cultivated crop grown in this country  and I know the remuneration for producing those crops now is less than it was within the living memory of anybody in this country. That has been the case for the last year.
The remedy for that situation is obvious. The Government have asked us to give the remedy. Why, the remedy is sticking out. Farming conditions generally have worsened by 10 per cent. in the last two years and on top of that there is this 40 per cent. tariff. That is the snag, that is the fly in the ointment. It is for the Minister to get out that fly. What good is it for me if I have, say, a number of civil servants living within a few yards of my gate, to see that a portion of their salaries is taken off them? Does that operation make me any richer? I do not mean that now in the personal sense. I am a farmer representing agricultural interests and those civil servants who live near my gate represent in a measure the whole body of civil servants. Now it would be only human if I as a farmer found I was not able to pay my way and saw these men going off to golf I might like to see them get a cut in their salaries. I would like to do it, perhaps, but would it bring any money into my pocket to take the plus-fours from those civil servants? Surely that would be no remedy. As a matter of fact, if we take the long view of it, it would have the opposite effect. If you take the lower and the medium civil servants who are the backbone of and by far the most numerous of the civil servants and a body to whom I belonged at one time you will see how this works out.
I notice there is no provision made for that unfortunate class, under the head of which I would come in the special provisions made for those civil servants who were victimised by the British. They are still victimised even by this Republican administration. Those transferred officers who are ranked as transferred officers and have gone back to the civil service have not the rights of transferred officers which the Minister acknowledged are statutory. That volume of civil servants has taken on commitments here; they have families growing up and they want to  educate them. They have purchased houses under the hire purchase system; they are committed to insurance policies and for loans to the banks and to the Dublin Corporation. I might as well remind the Minister that the great provision he is making in his Budget under the Small Dwellings Act amounts to £200,000 whereas the Dublin Corporation have handed out £400,000 in the last 12 months under that Act. This money is largely going to civil servants. If their emoluments are cut down how are they to meet that situation? How will the rates in Dublin go against that £400,000?
The Minister for Finance has a very onerous job, a most onerous job, and above any member of the Cabinet he is a Minister who requires to take a very long view of any action, especially of such an act as he proposes by the present Bill. He should examine the possible repercussions of his action. He is depriving this body of their rights, he is breaking a contract with them. Though they made contracts with these civil servants, they are now breaking them. Those civil servants have made contracts themselves, and they have entered into commitments. They will now find these more onerous because of the deductions in salaries, instead of, as their anticipations were, increases in salaries. The only argument the Minister can put up to justify that policy towards the civil servants is this, that the farmers' salary is low and that public servants' salaries must be brought down to the farmers' level. There is no intelligent farmer in Ireland who will accept that contention from the Minister. There is no farmer in this House who will get up and say that there is any volume of agricultural opinion behind this argument of the Minister. I hope that will not be trotted out here any longer. Even on public bodies, where increases of salaries were given in the last few years, any effort that was made to go slow came from those members who were not supporters of the present Government. It is the supporters of the present Government on the local bodies who are always out for increases and for spending money. Now, the poacher has turned gamekeeper, and we are going not only to make cuts  where there might be inflated salaries, but in all salaries. By an inflated salary I do not mean a big salary, because a man with £1,000 or £2,000 a year may not have an inflated salary. He might be worth £3,000. The value of his salary is the value of his return to his employers. A man is worth £2,000 who brings in £2,500. He is a paying proposition; but if he has only £100, and brought in only £95, he would be a losing proposition. Of course, it will appeal to the mob to say that the man with £2,000 should be reduced, but it will not appeal to anyone who thinks over the matter.
These cuts in salaries will have a disastrous effect. I hold that the policy of developing and retaining the home market for ourselves is, in many respects, a good one. In certain circumstances, and under certain limitations, it is a sound national policy. We are told by the Government that that policy is being developed. I do not hold that it is; but it would be outside the scope of this debate to challenge it. Let us assume it is being developed on right lines. The price level in the home market will depend upon the purchasing power of that market. We are told that the productive side of our economy is down to the tightening of belts, to the hair-shirt and bawneen level. The only remedy that the Minister has embodied in this Bill is to bring the civil servants down to the bawneen level. Will that increase the price of one cwt. of potatoes, one barrel of oats, or one pint of milk to the farmers? Will it not reduce it? We are told that our farmers are on the bawneen level and we want to reduce the others to that level. The farmer will still, presumably, be producing and selling in a market that has no money to buy his produce. What condition will the farmer be in then? It is a signal that we are on the verge of bankruptcy. If we continue on that road, there is nothing in the world to keep us out of bankruptcy. Surely the Minister should have a higher and a more far-seeing mentality than that which will raise a cheer at a country cross-roads. The poverty is there. I know it, because I am up against it. But if a County Dublin farmer sends produce to the  Dublin market when a strike is on he knows by his return that the money was not there to buy his stock, and the price went down. If the price is cut permanently, will we not feel it when we send our produce to the market? What is put forward as the quid pro quo for agriculture is to bring down the civil servants and the wage-earners in the towns to the poverty and the bawneen line of the farmers.
I could show the Minister market returns for ten years showing the abrupt rise and fall in prices because of the fact that a strike was on here or a strike across the water that affected us here. I am sure that Ministers and the members of the Government Party do not want to take one shilling off civil servants if they can help it. I am not arguing that they want to reduce the salaries of civil servants, teachers, or anybody else, if they can see a way out of it. They say, “Look at the condition of agriculture.” I am with them on that point. Then they say, “We must share and share alike.” The line they are going on is no use to agriculture. Of course, it might put some sense into many senseless people that use political cries. It may make them think. It will make them remember that it is not sound politics or sound patriotism to shout for a sacrifice when the other fellow is making the sacrifice. It might be good and healthy in the moulding of a sane public opinion to make these people know what the tightening of belts means. It may do good in that way. If that good could be done without inflicting suffering on the body economic of this country, I would certainly support it, but it will do far more damage than any little transient good it will do in that direction.
If the Government apply themselves to lifting those who are down, lifting the agricultural industry, I am sure there is no Deputy who is fit to be a member of this House who would not give the Government whole-hearted co-operation. I put that view to the Ministry and I should like them to consider it. I should like them also to consider this, and if they cannot believe it they should consult some members of their own Party: That  there is not a demand amongst the agricultural community for the cutting down of the salaries of any persons for the sake of cutting them down. Why should there be? Public servants are recruited largely from the agricultural population. It is no consolation to the agricultural population to find that their own children who go into the Civil Service, the Civic Guards or the teaching profession are to have their salaries cut. They do not want it. What they do want is that their own lot should be improved; not that the lot of other people should be lowered. People come in here, say they represent agriculture, and say they want salaries to be pulled down. There is none of them here now, but when you take up the paper next Monday you will see all the speeches they have made about it, appealing to the mob, but they will not face the real issue and face it in the right way.
I would finally, a Leas-Chinn Comhairle, ask the Minister not to believe the false rumour of a demand coming from agriculture to pull down the salaries of anybody, but there is an insistent demand coming from agriculture to raise the emoluments of the agricultural community, and the standard of living of the agricultural community. That is the line to which the Minister and his Government should apply themselves. They should apply themselves to raising the standard for us all instead of lowering the standard of those who have enough to eat to that of those who have only half enough to eat.
Mr. Byrne: I do not intend to delay the House any more than a minute or two. I rise to correct a statement made by Deputy Belton, and I think the Minister for Finance led the House to believe that he thought the same thing. It was stated that the Civil Service meeting was prohibited because leaders of parties, or members of the Oireachtas, who were invited, were going to address the meeting. That is not so. I had a definite assurance from the representative of the Civil Service that the various people invited to that meeting were being invited in order to hear the case  of the civil servants against the cuts, and that they were not going to be asked to speak at all. I think that was a very wise guarantee given by the representative of the Civil Service, and it is not right that anyone should think the meeting was called to give public men an opportunity of speaking there.
Mr. Belton: If I may say so, a Leas-Chinn Comhairle, my impression was that public men, leaders of political parties, were invited to speak at that meeting. The Lord Mayor, Deputy Byrne, has stated that they were not invited to speak; that they were invited to come there and listen. I think that was a very correct thing, and if I had been invited I would have been glad to go there.
Mr. Byrne: So far as I am concerned I am against the whole Bill. I think it is an unwise Bill. The cuts are not going to do anybody any good. Between the cuts and the increased taxation I think that civil servants are being asked to bear more than they can.
Mr. Costello: I should not intervene at this late stage on this particular section were it not that I am very anxious to correct a statement which the Minister for Finance made, in reply to my statement in moving the amendment, with reference to the transferred officers. I understood him to say that I had based the case of the transferred officers on pure expediency. I did not base the case of the transferred officers on pure expediency, nor did I base on pure expediency the case of the civil servants against the cuts contained in this Bill. The primary ground on which the civil servants can stand strongest in this case is the ground of justice. When I mentioned expediency I showed conclusively that this Bill, which is supposed to be an economies Bill, so far as the Civil Service is concerned, would result not in a saving of public funds but in a very considerable loss to public funds. I was in hopes that that argument would appeal to the  Government, when arguments founded on justice would not appeal to them. The case of the civil servants is strongly based on considerations of justice, and justice alone. I have always understood that if a contract is made between two parties and one of them, finding himself in the position of being the stronger, breaks that contract, thereby doing damage to the other party to the contract, he is guilty both in law and in morality of a grave injustice. That is what is being done by this Bill. It might possibly be well if the Government would refer this question of justice in connection with all the cuts contained in this Bill to some moral theologian and get his opinion on that aspect of the case.
Deputy Belton has just described the Executive Council as poacher turned gamekeeper. I would prefer to describe the Executive Council as gamekeeper turned poacher, because the Executive Council are supposed to be guardians of the rights and liberties of all sections of the people of this country, and instead of upholding the rights secured to civil servants by their contracts, and by the Act of 1929, they are raiding their funds, and raiding the money that they or their predecessors promised they should get for the duration of their lives. It is ridiculous for the Minister for Finance to put forward the argument that no proper case has been made on behalf of the civil servants. When it is pointed out that those people came over here and were prepared to give their valuable services to this State rather than stay in the British Civil Service, and rather than accept the inflated pension which they could have accepted ten years ago, it is no argument to say that we are not able to afford the so-called inflated salaries that are given in the British Civil Service.
The Minister for Finance does not know the history and does not know the practice of the Civil Service in England if he thinks that even British civil servants receive inflated salaries. Why should the British Civil Service, even before the Treaty, offer to some obscure son of a farmer from Kerry or Cork an inflated salary because he  passed an examination? Once the system of competitive examination was introduced as a principle in the British Civil Service all questions of inflated salaries immediately went by the board. The only consideration which affected the British Treasury in fixing the salaries was what was the lowest possible figure at which they could get the best brains for the job. The British Treasury and the British Government did not lay themselves out to give an inflated salary to the son of an Irish farmer who passed a stiff examination to get into the British Civil Service.
We recognise their rights. We recognise the contract that was made with those people when they went up for those examinations, and passed them in the teeth of the greatest competition in the three Kingdoms. When they went up for those examinations they went up on certain conditions: “if you pass this examination and are called up you will get a certain salary for your life.” That contract is broken, and is broken by this Government. It has broken not merely the contract that was originally entered into with the civil servants, when they passed their examinations, but the contract that is contained in what was described last May by the President of the Executive Council as a Statute embodying an international agreement. If you look at the terms of Section 14 of the Civil Service (Transferred Officers) Act, 1929, you will see that the agreement embodied in that document referred to by the President as an international agreement is broken by this Bill, because Section 14 of that Act provides that transferred officers should hold office on the same tenure and by the same terms and conditions as they held before transfer from the British Civil Service, and it is provided in that section that the word “conditions” shall include conditions as to salary. Recollect this, that in Article 77 of the Constitution the word “tenure” only is to be found. Article 77 of the Constitution guaranteed to transferred officers that they would have the same tenure in the Irish Civil Service as they had in the British Civil Service, and the word tenure does not include, or was possibly capable of being interpreted  as not including, conditions as to salary. When the discussions were going on between the Government of the Irish Free State and the representatives of the Irish Civil Service in 1929 an agreement was come to that the word tenure in Article 77 of the Constitution should be given its proper and extended meaning to include conditions as to salary. The Government of this country promised the civil servants by Section 14 that they would, while they continued in the Civil Service of this country, have the same salary as they had when they were transferred.
That was a promise made to the Civil Service at the time by properly accredited representatives of the Government to properly accredited representatives of the Civil Service, made for the purpose of securing to this country a contented Civil Service. This Bill is breaking that promise, and that contract, and a breach of contract is an injustice. It is a wrong both legally and morally, as I said at the start. That is the greatest strength of the Civil Service case, that they had their contract. Some of them had a statutory contract. That contract and the statutory contract are being broken by the Bill. Any contract that is broken by the stronger party to the contract without the consent of the other party means nothing more than the perpetration of a very grave injustice, and that is what is being done to the Civil Service in this Bill.
Mr. Derrig: I do not admit, and I think no Minister will admit, that there is an injustice in this Bill. Deputy Costello can make whatever legal points he wishes. This question regarding the transferred officers has been fully discussed, and I am not going to enter into it now. I want to say what I said yesterday, that the Government placed before the country at two successive elections its policy regarding economies in the public service, and we are carrying out that policy. We are not carrying it out without having considered the question most carefully and in great detail since we first came into office in February, 1932. Prolonged investigations and  inquiries have been made. The Executive Council has devoted a great deal of attention to the matter to see, that while carrying out their policy in justice to the people generally and to the agricultural community in particular, that no injustice would be done to any section. Civil servants under £300 remuneration are getting away under the Bill. As regards the services generally, my opinion is that the scale of cuts set out in the Bill is moderate in all the circumstances. The Executive Council at the present juncture has no more desire to antagonise civil servants or to be unjust to them than to be unjust to any other section of the community. We want to treat all sections of the community fairly. At the same time one would imagine from the speeches made from the Opposition side that these were savage cuts. When one compares the cuts with the cuts that have been made in other countries which are wealthier than ours, I think those concerned have reason to congratulate themselves on the moderation of the Government in the whole matter.
Deputy Costello has also tried to make some capital out of the point made by the Minister for Finance that in this country we cannot afford to pay the same salaries as in Great Britain. For many years, in fact for generations, we have stated, not alone the present generation of politicians but the last generation also, that this country with the administration it had to bear under the British régime, was hopelessly overtaxed. With the coming of self-government these services had to be increased and are constantly increasing. Yet when an effort is made to make economies it is noticeable that those who talked so loudly outside the House and in the House about the failure of the Government to effect reductions in taxation and in expenditure, do not put forward a single constructive suggestion as to what should be done. I suppose if the Government had come forward and demanded that old age pensions should be reduced or that some other social service which makes provision for the poorer sections of the community should be cut, those who talk so loudly  about persons in sheltered occupations would have perhaps less to say.
The Government is responsible for carrying out its policy fairly and squarely to all sections of the community. This House is asked to pass this Bill purely as a temporary measure to meet an emergency. If circumstances improve next year it is not anticipated that it will be necessary to continue the cuts. I do not think I need delay the House further on the Bill. In my opinion too much time has already been given to the question. There is not a Deputy on the Government side as well as on the Opposition side who could not get up  to say that the cuts are perpetrating an injustice. We know that these measures involve a certain amount of hardship. They are disagreeable but they have to be carried and the House, having given its sanction to the principle of the Bill on Second Reading, should realise that we have given very close thought to the whole matter and that we have devised the most moderate and equitable scale possible. I think the House ought to be satisfied with that in view of the fact that the measure is purely an emergency one.
Browne, William Frazer.
Keely, Séamus P.
Kelly, James Patrick.
|Kennedy, Michael Joseph.
Lemass, Seán F.
Little, Patrick John.
Lynch, James B.
Maguire, Conor Alexander.
Murphy, Patrick Stephen.
O'Kelly, Seán Thomas.
Pearse, Margaret Mary.
Ruttledge, Patrick Joseph.
Ward, Francis C. (Dr.).
|Alton, Ernest Henry.
Bennett, George Cecil.
Cosgrave, William T.
Costello, John Aloysius.
Davitt, Robert Emmet.
Doyle, Peadar S.
Esmonde, Osmond Grattan.
McFadden, Michael Og.
McGuire, James Ivan.
O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
Pattison, James P.
Redmond, Bridget Mary.
 The motion was declared carried.
(1) From all salary which, during the current financial year is earned by and payable to each person to whom this Part of this Act applies, there shall be made a deduction calculated at the rate stated and in accordance with the provisions contained in the Schedule to this Act which are applicable to such person.
(2) From every of the grants mentioned in Part VI of the Schedule to this Act which is made during and in respect of the current financial year, there shall be made a deduction calculated at the rate stated in the said Part VI.
(3) The deduction to be made under this section from the salary of any person shall, so far as may be practicable, be made rateably from every payment of such salary made in the current financial year.
(4) Where the salary of a person to whom this Part of this Act applies includes allowances or benefits given otherwise than in money, the deduction to be made under this section from such salary shall (though calculated on the whole of such salary) be made only from the portion of such salary which is paid in money.
(5) Every deduction made before the passing of this Act from salary paid to a person to whom this Part of this Act applies which would have been a lawful deduction under this section if this section had then been in force shall be deemed to have been made under this section and to be and always to have been lawful accordingly.
(6) All sums deducted from salaries or grants under this Part of this Act or deemed to have been so deducted shall be retained in the Exchequer and be available for any purpose for which moneys in the Exchequer are lawfully available.
Amendments 38, 39 and 40 not moved.
Mr. Derrig: With regard to the withdrawal of amendments it must be  understood there is no intention to recommit the Bill.
Mr. McGilligan: They are not withdrawn, they are simply not moved.
Mr. Costello: I move amendment 41.
Before sub-section (2) to insert the following sub-section:—
The amount of such deduction as aforesaid shall in the case of a married man whose wife is maintained by him be reduced by a sum representing 25 per centum thereof and in the case of a married man or a widower having a child or children maintained by him be reduced by a sum representing ten per centum thereof in respect of each such child.
I move this amendment not with any feeling that it is going to meet with any success although it contains what ought to be an obvious piece of justice. If a cut is to be imposed at all at least the Ministry which puts itself forward as an advocate of allowances for families, for wives and children, should recognise the same principle in relation to this particular cut. All that this provides is that if a “cut” is to be made you will recognise that a married man has responsibilities and that he is less able to bear them than a single man. This amendment merely proposes that some allowance—not necessarily, perhaps, the amount mentioned in the amendment—but at least that some recognition ought to be given or some allowance made for the fact that a married man has more responsibilities than a single man. Accordingly, I, without very much hope, appeal to the Government to recognise that bare justice should be done to married men with families.
Mr. Derrig: The amendment is inadmissible because, as Deputy Costello himself has pointed out, the Government had already made provision under the Income Tax code for family allowance. The code of the Civil Service does not permit of differentiation as to pay and there never has been differentiation in the  Service as between the married and unmarried civil servants. Take the case of the Gárdaí. There is at present, before the “cuts” are made operative, no differentiation in favour of the married men. We are making a differentiation in the case of the Gárdaí in favour of the married men. If Deputy Costello's amendment were accepted, the married Gárdaí would lose the benefit of that differentiation.
As regards the teachers, I think the House will agree that it would be impossible to justify the extension of this principle to the teachers because a good many of the teachers, for example, are married to teachers.
Mr. Costello: It certainly came as a surprise to me to hear that there was no differentiation as between the married and unmarried civil servants. I may be wrong in my recollection. I may have entirely forgotten what I know to be a fact, that civil servants who are not married get less in certain cases than those who are married. In view of what the Minister has said with regard to his own employees, it seems to me that he does not know the conditions under which he is employing them. The Minister said that I had recognised, by the reference I made to the Income Tax Acts that the Government have fulfilled their duty in this matter. He has forgotten that civil servants pay income tax and that this “cut” that it is proposed to put on them is a penal tax which they are asked to bear over and above the income tax which they pay just the same as persons outside who have the same income have to pay. That is forgotten, and we are told that it is not possible for people to pay any more income tax. An additional three pence in the £ on income tax would produce the whole amount that is proposed to be obtained by this Bill. A person with a salary of £1,000 a year outside in commercial or professional or other pursuits is not able to bear that three pence in the £, but the civil servant, with the same salary, is asked to bear 20 times that amount by this Bill! That is an aspect of the case that the Minister have conveniently overlooked. This is nothing  but a penal tax on a certain class of the community who pay their ordinary income tax the same as other people, and the idea of saying that a civil servant is able to pay a penal tax and that a person outside the Service is not able to bear it appears to me to be ridiculous nonsense.
Mr. Derrig: Most of what the Deputy has said is ridiculous nonsense, because he and others conveniently forget that the vast majority of the married people do not come under the scope of this at all since the vast majority of them are under the £300 limit. As regards the differentiation, there is, as far as I know, no differentiation as such in pay between an unmarried and a married civil servant. There is a separate scale of allowance but the principle of differentiation in regard to pay, as between the married and unmarried civil servant, has not been admitted. They are on a different scale or different allowances.
Mr. McGilligan: There is no differentiation in the payments made to them, but they are on different scales—is that it?
Mr. Derrig: Yes.
Mr. McGilligan: What happens to the wives of civil servants when they reach the higher paid ranks? Are they all murdered?
Mr. Derrig: I do not know, but it might be a subject of profitable investigation.
Mr. McGilligan: The Minister said this amendment would not affect 75 per cent.
Mr. Derrig: I did not.
Mr. McGilligan: Well, the greater percentage. The Minister said the vast majority of the married men were  under £300. What happens in the case of the unmarried men?
Amendment put and negatived.
Mr. Costello: I move amendment 42:—
Before sub-section (2) to insert the following sub-section:—
The amount of such deduction as aforesaid shall in the case of any person who has made an insurance on his life or the life of his wife or for the purpose of making provision for his children be reduced by the amount of any premium payable by him in respect of such insurance.
Again I move this amendment without any hope of its being even considered on its merits. I want to make this one observation, however, that the only method by which civil servants can make provision for their wives and families in the event of anything happening to them is by effecting an insurance policy on their lives. They have done that and in the vast majority of cases they are already committed to an annual expenditure extending over the whole period of their lives. This provision, cutting down their salaries, in a number of cases will probably prevent them from being able to maintain those policies in the future and another grave injustice will be done to this class of public officials. People outside, even professional men in some instances, have something in the nature of an asset which they can pass on to their families. A solicitor has the good-will of his business to leave to his family; sometimes even a doctor has the good-will of his practice to pass on. The only professional men who have no asset to pass on to their successors are the members of my own profession and in that way we resemble the civil servants. It is quite clear that the only way for the civil servant to pass on something to those who succeed him is by effecting an insurance policy on his life, and all the amendment asks is that regard should be had to that fact.
 I may say in this connection that another effect of this “cut” on the civil servants, which has been completely lost sight of by the Ministry, is the way this “cut” will affect their credit outside. Bankers who advanced them money on the security of their houses or of their policies of life insurance, in the faith and on the recognition of the fact, hitherto scrupulously observed, that the salaries of civil servants would never be interfered with, now find themselves faced with the position that the Government is going to cut the salaries of the civil servants this year and may probably do it next year and the year after and, consequently, they are going to tighten the credit that they have been in the habit of giving to civil servants.
Mr. Derrig: All these arguments would hold good as regards a great many other aspects of the life of the civil servant, such as the cost of educating his children and so on. The general position of civil servants and the other classes affected by the Bill was gone into very closely by the Executive Council and the scheme which is embodied in the Bill, while, as I said before, of a moderate character, was also considered to be equitable and fair to all sections. Deputy Costello's amendment would mean that the case of every individual civil servant would have to be gone into. In fact, it would negative whatever action has been taken by the Government already to implement these “cuts” because the case of every individual civil servant would be opened up in order to ascertain what amount of insurance he carried and so on. There is no information, I am informed, in Government offices as to whether in fact civil servants have insured themselves or what the amount of the policies may be, so that in a matter of this kind I think the Deputy will have to recognise, no matter how much he may be opposed to the Bill, that the House has definitely taken a decision that it is to be implemented during the present financial year. If  it is going to come up later on for discussion I dare say the point that Deputy Costello has made will come up for consideration, but I cannot hold out any hope that during the passage of the present emergency Bill we could possibly include this. It would be very difficult administratively, but apart from that, while we must sympathise with the civil servants who have these insurance policies the Deputy has given no reason why we should differentiate in a Bill of this kind between one class of civil servants and another solely by reason of insurance. For example, certain civil servants may consider that insurance is not worth while. Lots of people do. They just prefer not to insure as they have their pension rights.
Mr. Costello: The Minister has stated that this amendment would cause very grave administrative difficulties. I understand that it is the practice in the Civil Service to deduct from the salaries of civil servants, at certain stated periods in the year, the amount of their insurance premiums, so that the particulars as regards civil servants who are insured and their premiums are departmentally available. The Minister made some point as to why there should be any differentiation between those who have not and those who have effected life insurances. Those who have not an insurance on their lives spend the money that other persons spend keeping up their policies in some other way. If they are thriftless they spend it on themselves. If they are thrifty they spend it in investments which they think will bring them in perhaps a better return than insurance, but that is their look-out. Life insurance is the normal method adopted by civil servants for making provision for their families, and why the point should be made that differentiation makes any difference whatever in the context of this amendment, I fail to see.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment 45 not moved.
 Amendment 46 postponed.
Amendments 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52 and 53 not moved.
Professor Alton: I move amendment 54:—
Before sub-section (6) to insert the following sub-section:—
Notwithstanding anything contained in this section, the deductions from the salary of a non-pensionable civil servant shall be calculated on a basis of three-fourths of the aforesaid salary.
The Minister for Education, when dealing a moment ago with an amendment moved by Deputy Costello, asked for some reasons why differentiation should be made between classes of civil servants. Here is a case where differentiation should be made. It cries for differentiation on the grounds appealed to so often here and elsewhere of Christianity and Socialism. This amendment relates to so-called temporary civil servants. They are gentlemen of professional qualifications. Most of them, I think, are attached to the Land Commission. They are in the unfortunate position that they have no security of tenure and no pension. Men in that position, if they are reasonable men and good citizens, do not live up to the last penny of their income. They are bound to make some provision for their old age, and, if they are married, for their children. I think that in their case it would only be fair that the deductions should be calculated on 25 per cent. of their salary. I suggest that in the amendment, but I do not hold rigorously to that figure. Perhaps if the Minister could not accept the 25 per cent. he would make some concession. I think there is a very strong case for making some differentiation in the case of these civil servants.
Mr. Costello: I desire to add a word or two in support of Deputy Alton's amendment. The Deputy has mentioned, as an instance of the class of civil servants whom he desires protection for by the amendment, people  employed in the Land Commission. I take it that he was making special reference to those who are employed there as examiners of title. The position of these men is that a definite contract for a definite monthly sum was entered into with them by the Government. A definite arrangement was made. They have no security of tenure and they are performing very important work. They are performing work which is of a very highly skilled nature as anyone who has ever had anything to do with conveyancing knows. If they make a single mistake it will cost the State a very large amount of money, probably more than all their salaries put together. They are being paid comparatively low salaries. They left their professional occupations relying on the specific contract that was made with them that their salaries would be a certain definite amount as long as they were retained in the Service.
Mr. Derrig: I think Deputy Alton will recognise that in a Bill of this character it is very easy to point out anomalies. There may be anomalies but the Executive Council, as I have already explained, have done their best to make the Bill fair and equitable as between different sections of the public service. With regard to the determination of the portion of a non - pensionable civil servant's remuneration which, when he becomes established, might be determined to be portion of his pension contribution, so to speak, or what portion of his remuneration might be deducted from him on a strict basis by reason of the benefit that has been conferred on him in giving him a pension, if that had to be worked out in conjunction with the present Bill, which is of a temporary nature, the Deputy will recognise that very great calculations would have to be made. I doubt if there is any definite basis by which the Department of Finance could determine, when a civil servant passes from the unestablished to the established basis, as to what portion of his remuneration might be described as being attributable, for example, to pension.
 Generally speaking, as regards this amendment it is like a great many other amendments. If it were accepted it would hold up the whole purpose of the Bill. The Government have made out this scheme in order to effect certain economics, and the amendment, like a great many other amendments, while a case might be made for it, has two defects. It makes a differentiation for which, although, again, there might be a case, and for the introduction of a new principle, to some extent, at this stage—a principle to which if we gave way in one case, we would have to give way in other cases—and, in addition, the amendment would reduce considerably the amount of economies the Government seek to secure in the Bill. For that reason, I fear the amendment cannot be accepted.
Professor Alton: Surely, the number of such civil servants is not very large? I shall do the Minister and the Executive Council the justice of believing, as I do believe, that they have brought in this Bill unwillingly. It is not pleasant for them to have to dock the salaries of these, the most useful citizens in our State——
Mr. McGilligan: That is what they call only temporary insanity.
Professor Alton: ——but I should like to point out to the Minister that he has not met my arguments at all. His only argument is that they must cling to the letter of this Bill, and I would ask the Minister seriously to consider whether that clinging so fiercely to every word and line in the Bill is not a little suspicious. It is rather like the way in which the gentleman of rather easy habits will cling to the lamp post. He does not support the lamp post, but he thinks it may disguise his own instability. I think the Minister's position is unstable, and I should like him to discuss the matter on its merits, away from the terms of the Bill.
Mr. MacEntee: A person in the unstable position pictured by the  metaphor would not be able to discuss anything on its merits. He would probably take a very rosy view of his own argument.
Mr. McGilligan: That is very like the Minister.
Mr. MacEntee: Precisely.
Mr. Norton: The Minister should not be so derogatory of himself.
Mr. MacEntee: Since we are in that unstable position, I think we are entitled to all the benefits and advantages of it. This Bill does not propose to cure anomalies. It merely proposes, as I have said already, to secure economies where they are to be found. There is no reference in the Bill to non-pensionable civil servants as a class. Their remuneration has been fixed with all due regard to their present position and I cannot see how any special case can be made for them at this stage. The Bill is dealing with practical realities. The matter of pay in relation to pension is not the only anomaly that might exist between groups of persons. We do not purport, and we never pretended to smooth away any anomalies or inconsistencies that there might be in the existing situation. We are not responsible for it. We have inherited it. We are going to deal with it simply as it is and, on that basis, I cannot see how it would be practical, apart altogether from the question of abstract justice, which might be argued, to accept the principle in the Deputy's amendment.
Professor Thrift: I do not see that there is any difficulty in that connection or in the connection referred to by the Minister for Education. I think there is a principle which, on the face of it, requires recognition by the Minister. It is quite clear that, when the remuneration of these non-pensionable officers was fixed, attention was paid to the fact that they were getting remuneration for a limited period of a  non-pensionable kind. Nobody would ask, at present, for any exact calculations but I think we might reasonably ask for a recognition of the fact that their remuneration would have been different if it entitled them to pension rights when they came to pension age. This is an opportunity, at very small cost to the Exchequer, to recognise this principle, and a very valuable principle, that the acceptance of remuneration on a certain scale for a limited time of a non-pensionable character means that that remuneration is of a larger kind than it would be if it carried pension rights with it. The mere acceptance of the principle is what is of importance. I do not attach any actual value to the 25 per cent.; it can be 20, 15 or 10 per cent. There could be some recognition of the fact that the salary they are getting is something which should enable them to make provision for the future when, in the ordinary way, they would be provided by the State with pensions but, under this non-pensionable employment, they have to make provision for that themselves. That is a thing, I think, the Government ought to do, as a matter of principle. No exact calculation is required but some recognition of the principle would be of value.
Professor Alton: I should like to know if the Minister would think over this and see if there is any possibility of doing something by Report Stage. I should be sorry to see the Minister, who is an idealist, becoming the stern, practical, iron realist he wants to be on this Bill. I want to save him from himself.
Mr. MacEntee: I am sure that no man can do that for another.
Mr. McGilligan: That is right.
Mr. MacEntee: That is why the Deputy is where he is, notwithstanding our four years' endeavour. I have given this matter a good deal of thought. As I said, it is not the purpose of the Bill to remove anomalies, and it is not  its purpose to create anomalies. If I were to accept the principle of the amendment, I should be faced with the position of the other services, between whom and the class of civil servants mentioned here some analogy might be made. Accordingly, I am afraid that, while I have a certain amount of sympathy with it, and can see the force that lies in the principle, acceptance of it would create an anomaly which would have very serious consequences from the point of view of the Exchequer, and an anomaly with which we should probably have to deal. Accordingly I cannot see my way to go any further.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment 55 not moved.
Mr. MacEntee: I move amendment 56:—
In sub-section (6), page 4, line 23, after the word “Exchequer” to insert the words “or the appropriate fund under the control of a Minister (as the case may require)” and in line 24, after the word “Exchequer” to insert the words “or such fund (as the case may be.)”.
This is a drafting amendment. Some persons receive remuneration out of a fund under the control of a Minister other than the Minister for Finance. Deductions of salary made in such cases would have to be credited to the fund and not to the Exchequer. It is desired that we should have some discretion in that matter. This amendment is necessary to enable me to exercise that discretion.
Amendment agreed to.
Section 7, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Amendments 57 to 60 inclusive not moved.
Section 8 ordered to stand part of the Bill.
 Amendments 61 to 70 inclusive not moved.
Section 9 ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Where a grant is made annually, under statute or otherwise, out of the Central Fund or moneys provided by the Oireachtas to a university, college, or other educational institution (not being a secondary school) or to a board, commission, company, association, or other body (whether corporate or unincorporated) and such grant is wholly or partly available in the hands of such institution or body for the payment of the salaries of persons employed by such institution or body, there shall be deducted from the amount of such grant which falls to be made in the current financial year such sum as the Minister, after such consultation with the governing authority of such institution or body as he shall think proper, shall determine having regard to the proportion of such grant ordinarily applied to the payment of such salaries, to the deductions from salaries to be made under Part II of this Act, and to the other circumstances of the case.
Amendment 71 not moved.
Mr. MacEntee: I move amendment 71a:—
In lines 10 and 11 to delete the words and bracket “a university, college, or other educational institution (not being” and to substitute the words and bracket “any educational institution (not being a university, a university college or.”
Amendment agreed to.
Amendments 72 to 77 inclusive not moved.
Section 10, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.
 SECTION 11.
Where a grant is made annually, under statute or otherwise, out of the Central Fund or moneys provided by the Oireachtas to any local authority or to any committee or other body the members of which are appointed wholly or partly by a local authority and such grant is wholly or partly available in the hands of such authority or body for the payment of the salaries of persons employed by it, there shall be deducted from the amount of such grant which falls to be made in the current financial year such sum as the Minister, after consultation with every other Minister who appears to him to be concerned, shall determine having regard to the proportion of such grant ordinarily applied towards the payment of such salaries, to the deduction from salaries to be made under Part II of this Act, and to other circumstances of the case.
Mr. MacEntee: I move amendment 78:—
In line 25, after the word “or” to insert the words “a fund under the control of a Minister or out of.”
As the section stands, deductions can be made only from grants made to local authorities out of the Central Fund or from voted moneys. Grants made out of Departmental or statutory funds are excluded. This amendment brings such grants within the scope of the section.
Amendment agreed to.
Amendment 79 not moved.
Mr. MacEntee: I move amendment 80:—
In lines 28 and 29, to delete the words “in the hands of such authority or body” and in lines 29 and 30, to delete the words “the salaries of persons employed by it” and substitute the word “salaries,” and in line 35 to delete the word “such.”
This amendment is designed to make possible, where local authority grants  are made to subsidiary bodies, such as committees, for the local authority to make a deduction in respect of such salaries as would be payable by the subsidiary body.
Mr. Norton: Does this include the Road Fund?
Mr. MacEntee: It would cover a grant from the Road Fund.
Mr. Norton: Would it give power to reduce the wages of people engaged on work undertaken under the Road Fund?
Mr. MacEntee: No, because deductions could not be made without my approval, and approval would not be given in that case.
Mr. Norton: Would that apply to relief schemes also?
Mr. McGilligan: So far as the Act is concerned, it will allow that to be done.
Amendment agreed to.
Amendments 81 and 82 not moved.
Section 11, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.
(1) Whenever a deduction is made under this Part of this Act from a grant, the body to whom such grant is made may make, from the salaries earned and payable in the current financial year by and to persons in the employment of such body, such deductions as such body shall, with the approval of the Minister, think proper having regard to the amount of the deduction so made from such  grant, the proportion of such grant ordinarily applied towards the payment of such salaries, and to the other circumstances of the case.
(2) Before giving an approval under the foregoing sub-section of this section, the Minister shall consult with every (if any) other Minister who appears to him to be concerned.
Mr. MacEntee: I move amendment 82a:—
In sub-section (1), line 38, after the word “under” to insert the words “any of the foregoing provisions of.”
Amendment agreed to.
Mr. MacEntee: I move amendment 83:—
In sub-section (1), line 39, to delete the words “the body to whom such grant is made” and substitute the words “any board, authority, committee, or other body receiving (directly or indirectly) such grant or part thereof,” and in line 44, before the word “the” to insert the words “or such part thereof,” and in line 45, before the word “ordinarily” to insert the words “or such part thereof.”
Amendment agreed to.
Amendments 84 to 87 inclusive not moved.
Mr. MacEntee: I move amendment 87a:—
At the end of the section, page 5, to add a new sub-section as follows:
(2) Where a board, authority, committee, or other body (hereinafter referred to as the first-mentioned body) receives (directly or indirectly) any such grant as is mentioned in the first sub-section of this section or part of any such grant, and another body (hereinafter referred to as the second-mentioned body) is entitled in  law to demand and receive the whole or any portion of its expenses from the first-mentioned body, the second-mentioned body shall for the purposes of this section be deemed to be a body receiving a part of such grant.
This is another purely drafting amendment which has been prepared on the suggestion of the Department of Local Government and Public Health. Its object is further to clarify the position as respects subsidiary bodies financed by county councils. The position has already been dealt with on amendment No. 83, but the Department of Local Government and Public Health, on further consideration, feels that even with that amendment it is open to question whether a subsidiary body which obtains its funds by demand made on a county council receives, even indirectly, any portion of a grant paid to the county council. In other words, the Department fears that it might be argued later that the grant loses its identity on being merged in the council's general funds and before it is paid over to the subsidiary body. The amendment gets over this difficulty by providing that when one body receives a grant and a second body is entitled to the grant or part of it, by way of expenses, the second body shall be deemed to be a recipient body.
Amendment agreed to.
Amendments 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93, 94 and 95 not moved.
Question—“That Section 12, as amended, stand part of the Bill”— put and agreed to.
Mr. MacEntee: I move amendment 95a:—
Before Section 13 to insert a new section as follows:—
Where a grant is made annually, under statute or otherwise, out of public moneys to a university or a university college, there shall be  deducted from the amount of such grant which falls to be made in the current financial year such sum, not exceeding 5 per cent. of the amount of such grant, as the Minister shall determine.”
Amendment agreed to.
All sums deducted under this Part of this Act from annual grants shall be retained in the Exchequer and be available for any purpose for which moneys in the Exchequer are lawfully available.
Mr. MacEntee: I move amendment 96:—
To delete all from the word “annual,” line 50, to the word “Exchequer,” line 52, and substitute the words “any grant shall be retained (as the case may require) in the Exchequer or in the fund from which such grant is made and be available for any purpose for which moneys in the Exchequer or in such fund (as the case may be).”
Amendment agreed to.
Amendments 97, 98, 99 and 100 not moved.
Mr. MacEntee: I move amendment 101:—
In Part I, page 6, above the line “per cent.” to insert the lines:—
“Where the annual rate of salary does not exceed £100—4 per cent. per annum of the salary.
“Where the annual rate of salary exceeds £100.”
Amendment agreed to.
 102 and 103 not moved.
Mr. MacEntee: What is the position with regard to amendments 28 and 29?
An Ceann Comhairle: They cannot be moved, because they fell consequent on amendment 27 being defeated.
Amendments 104, 105, 106, 107, 108, 109, 110, 111, 112 not moved.
Mr. MacEntee: I move amendment 113:—
In Part III, page 6, after the words “salary scale” at the end of paragraph (a), to add the words “and no deduction shall operate to bring the salary (after deduction) payable to any teacher below the amount of the salary (after deduction) payable to any other teacher whose salary (before deduction) was at a lower point on the same salary scale than the salary (before deduction) of the first-mentioned teacher.”
Amendment agreed to.
Amendment 114 not moved.
Mr. MacEntee: I move amendment 115:—
In Part III, page 6, paragraph (b), to delete the word “assistant” where it occurs in the phrase “untrained assistant teachers.”
Amendment agreed to.
Amendments 116, 117, 118, 119, 120, 121 not moved.
Mr. MacEntee: I move amendment 122:—
In Part IV, paragraph (a) to add at the end of the paragraph after the  sign and figures “£1,600” a new line or lines as follows:—
“In no case shall the annual rate of a salary be reduced by deduction to less than £300.”
Amendment agreed to.
Amendment 123 not moved.
Mr. MacEntee: I move amendment 124:—
To delete Part V.
Amendment agreed to.
Mr. MacEntee: I move amendment 46:—
 In sub-section (2), page 4, line 1 and also in line 4, to delete the figures “VI” and substitute the figure “V.”
Amendment agreed to.
Amendments 125 and 126 not moved.
The Schedule, as amended, and the Title ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Bill reported with amendments.
Report Stage ordered for Friday, June 2.
The Dáil adjourned at 3.40 p.m. until 3 p.m. on Tuesday, May 30, 1933.
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