Wednesday, 28 March 1962
Dáil Eireann Debate
Minister for Justice (Mr. Haughey): I move that the Bill be now read a Second Time. The purpose of the Bill is to increase the salaries of members of the judiciary, and the new rates proposed are set out in section 1 of the Bill.
Judicial salaries were last increased in 1959, and this measure has been rendered necessary by changes in the circumstances affecting judges' salaries which have taken place since that time. It seems appropriate that these proposals, which have regard among other things to what is known as the “eighth round” of salary increases should be considered now, on the virtual conclusion of the “eighth round”, rather than be left in abeyance until some later time.
So far as remuneration is concerned, the position of the various branches of the judiciary in relation to other sections of the community may be said to have been determined by the  Dáil Select Committee on Judicial Salaries, Expenses Allowances and Pensions, which reported to this House on 24th April, 1953. This Committee consisted of twelve Deputies, and examined the question of judicial remuneration in all its aspects. Comprehensive memoranda were submitted to the Select Committee by the various branches of the judiciary. The recommendations of the Committee, which were unanimous, were that the salaries of District Justices and of ordinary judges of the Circuit Court should be increased by £450; and that the salaries of the President of the Circuit Court and of judges of the Supreme and High Courts should be increased by £250. The new rates thus recommended were accepted by the Government and were made effective by the Courts of Justice Act, 1953.
The pattern of judicial remuneration having been provided by the Select Committee, the Government have since 1953 confined their review of judicial remuneration to ensuring in a general way that the pattern is maintained, and that the relationship with other groups in public employment, which secured the seal of approval of the Select Committee in 1953, is substantially maintained. Thus, when by 1959, it became apparent that by reason of increases secured by others since 1953, the judiciary had fallen behind in the matter of pay, the Government sponsored a flat increase for all branches of the judiciary.
Similarly, increases secured since 1959 by other sections of those in public employment make it now necessary to propose further increases for the judiciary, and the Government, having reviewed the changes in the interval, are satisfied that the new rates are fair and reasonable.
In proposing these increases, I realise that some Deputies, and some sections of the press, may be tempted to suggest that the rates of salary for judges are already high and that the money involved in providing the present increases could be spent to better effect for the benefit of other sections of the community. I would therefore ask that the question be approached  with a sense of fair play, and with an appreciation of the facts. Let me point out that, of the 57 judicial persons concerned with this Bill, 52 have salaries which do not exceed those paid to the holders of the highest posts in the Civil Service. These holders of the highest posts to which I have referred have secured, or will shortly secure, the benefits of the “eighth round” increases. It is little more than a month (21 February, 1962) since the Minister for Finance moved a Supplementary Estimate of £600,000 for Increases in Civil Service Remuneration, and there was no opposition in this House to that proposal.
It is no harm to remind Deputies that in his speech on the Vote on Account on 7th March, 1962, the Minister for Finance said that pay increases account altogether for £5.24 million of the additional expenditure in the coming year, and he gave the break-down as follows:—
|Civil Service||£2.5 million|
|Garda Síochána||£.38 million|
|Health Authority Staffs||£.6 million|
As I said, the heads of the Civil Service have salaries comparable to the salaries of 90 per cent of the judiciary and have benefited from salary increases corresponding generally to those now proposed for the judiciary. Nobody has suggested that salary increases should not be extended to the heads of the other public services, and, accordingly, it seems unfair to focus the spotlight of criticism specially on the judiciary who happen to be particularly vulnerable for the reason that their salaries cannot be raised except by special Act of the Oireachtas. By comparison with the other figures I have quoted—£2.5 million, and so on— the £21,000 which is the annual cost of the present proposals in relation to judges' salaries should, I suggest, be viewed with a proper sense of proportion. I hope that this debate will be conducted with restraint and a sense of decorum. It is very necessary that both the persons of the judiciary and their  functions should be treated with respect. The judiciary's independence of the executive is provided for in the Constitution and is a valued safeguard in a democratic state.
The new rates proposed in the Bill have been formulated on the basis of providing, roughly, increases of the order of 15 per cent for justices of the District Court and for ordinary judges of the Circuit Court, and increases of about 12½ per cent for other members of the judiciary. I must emphasise that the percentages I have mentioned were adopted by the Government only as a very general indication of what would be an appropriate improvement. The sums arrived at on the basis of the percentage increases I have quoted have been rounded by the Government, upwards in some cases and downwards in other cases, so as to provide new rates which seem to the Government to be equitable, not only as between the judiciary as a body and the general public, but also as between the various categories and judge and justice. Actually the new rates involve increases varying from almost 17 per cent to 11 per cent. It seems necessary to emphasise what the proposed percentages are as it has been stated erroneously in some quarters that the Bill, if passed, will give judges' increases from 23 per cent to 29 per cent.
If the percentage increases involved in the present Bill were related solely to the eighth round increases granted elsewhere, some of them at least would be open to criticism. It is scarcely necessary for me to mention that members of the judiciary have not got anything like eight rounds of salary increases since the end of the Emergency. Indeed—I want to emphasise this point—their salaries have only been increased on three occasions since they were originally fixed in 1924. Since 1959 there has, apart from the eighth round, been a modest upward adjustment of the salaries of the more highly paid sectors of other public employment. This adjustment was based on a revaluation of work, and was related to increases obtained on the same basis prior to 1959 by the lower grades.
In considering, therefore, what the new salaries of members of the  judiciary should be, the Government have felt that without carrying out any formal revaluation of the work of the judiciary, there is scope on this occasion for increases which in some cases exceed to a moderate extent the improvements which would arise solely from the eighth round. In considering this matter, the Government has not lost sight of the fact that since 1959 schemes of reorganisation of the Circuit Court and the District Court have been brought into operation with resultant economy. The new rates proposed represent, therefore, the Government's considered view of the extent to which, in all the prevailing circumstances, judicial salaries should be soon revised.
Deputies will have observed that the Bill proposes to make the 1st November, 1961, the effective date for the payment of the improved salaries. That date has emerged as the effective date for salary adjustments generally in other sectors of public employment, and it seems only fair to extend to the judiciary a similar degree of retrospection.
Mr. M.J. O'Higgins: We are opposing this Bill. In stating our attitude, I should like to make it quite clear, however, that I second the Minister's recommendation to the House, and I believe it is an important one, that we should discuss the question of judges' salaries in a spirit of fair play and in an atmosphere of restraint and decorum. I should like to say to the Minister I do not know of any reason why we should not do so. I hope that is the spirit in which the House will approach this matter. Certainly the opposition from these benches to this measure is not actuated by any spirit of antagonism to the judiciary or any members of it. We recognise very fully the important part the judiciary play in the institutions of this State and further their role in those institutions. We believe, however, that it is inappropriate that the Minister should within 24 months of having given very substantial increases to the judiciary come back to the House with these proposals.
We should appreciate what the House is being asked to do. The last occasion on which the salaries of the  judiciary were raised was in October or November, 1959. This Bill, under Section 1, when it is passed, is to become operative from November, 1961. That is a period of very nearly exactly two years from the time the last increases came into operation and the time these proposals are to come into operation. In that period of two years, the House is being asked to sanction an increase for the Chief Justice, the holder of the principal post in the judiciary, of £1,150, over the pre-1959 figure. We are being asked to sanction increases for judges of the Supreme Court over the pre-1959 figure of £800.
Mr. M.J. O'Higgins: I am taking the position before the increase of 1959. I think I am correct in saying that, prior to 1959, the salary of the Chief Justice was £4,850. In 1959, that was increased to a figure of £5,335. We are now being asked to increase it to £6,000. My calculation at any rate is that over and above the figure which obtained prior to the 1959 Act, we are being asked to sanction an increase which totals £1,150. Similarly, for ordinary circuit court judges, an increase of £800, for the President of the High Court, £800, and for other High Court judges, £750.
I do not want to be misunderstood in this. I am putting the two together and I am dealing in my total figures with the position which obtained prior to the last increase. The point I am making is that, inside of two years, that is the total increase the Minister is asking the House to give. The increase on the 1959 Act in the case of the Chief Justice is £665; in the case of judges of the Supreme Court and the President of the High Court it is £430; and for other High Court judges, it is £425.
We consider that having regard to the fact that substantial increases were given in 1959, this Bill is inadvisable. We believe that by many people throughout the country it will be regarded as inexplicable. It is right to remind the House that on the occasion on which the House was asked to consider the question of judges' salaries last, that is, under the 1959 Bill, the  then Minister for Justice, who introduced the measure, made it clear that his view, and presumably the view of the Government at the time, was that judges' salaries would not be raised according as the cost of living increased in the same way as salaries of other members of the public service. At column 538 of the Dáil Debates of 29th October, 1959, when speaking on the Courts of Justice Bill, 1959, the then Minister for Justice said:
As Deputies are aware, judges' salaries are fixed on a long term basis and are not revised, to cover changes in the cost of living, with the same frequency as occurs in the case of persons engaged in other branches of the public service or in outside employment generally.
The pattern as far as judges' salaries are concerned is that at roughly six year intervals increases were granted. An increase was granted in 1947; six years later, in 1953, another increase was granted; and again, six years after that, in 1959, after a careful review and study by the Government, another increase was granted.
The Minister who introduced the measure in 1959, to my mind, took very great pains to make the House aware of the fact that the matter had been under very long and careful consideration by the Government and that the step the Government decided to take then in introducing the measure to increase judicial salaries was taken only after a review lasting something like two years and at the request of the judiciary. I endeavoured to follow the Minister fully in his opening statement but he did not make it clear to me that as far as the top grade people in the judiciary are concerned, this measure is at their  request or that they have come to him or to his immediate predecessor and sought increases. Apparently that was not the position last time. Requests were made by the judiciary, I understand, in 1957 and after two years of examination, deliberation and discussing it among themselves, the Government decided on a flat increase of 10 per cent. and introduced the 1959 Act.
The Minister has not convinced me that the same circumstances as existed then exist now and he seems to me to be going back on what I do not like to call an assurance but a very emphatic statement by his predecessor that judges' salaries were fixed on a long-term basis. No one can consider this measure, being brought in 24 months after that statement by the Minister's predecessor, as anything long-term. No one can say that the salaries fixed under the 1959 Act are in fact being treated as having been fixed on a long-term basis when the Minister comes in now with this legislation.
It is quite possible that a strong case could be made for some type of an independent examination of the position—for examination of the district justices following the revision of the work which they have to do and the adjustments of the district court districts to which the Minister has referred. Talking for myself, I do not think I would recommend any opposition to an independent examination of their position, if the Minister had approached the matter on that basis.
It might have been a better basis on which to approach this Act rather than that it should be simply thrown at the House by the Minister without any prior consultation or discussion which would ensure the type of consideration of the measure which the Minister wants to get and which I hope the House will give it—to use the Minister's own expression, to deal with it in a sense of fair play, to discuss it with restraint and decorum.
Mr. Corish: This Bill proposes for judges and justices increases ranging from £325 to £665 per annum and there is a further proposal that these  increases be made retrospective to 1st November last. I have no doubt that the members of the Government Party will once again use the subterfuge of accusing the Opposition of trying to make political capital out of this. The Minister has nodded his head already. That suggestion of the Opposition making political capital out of debates such as this just does not go down any more. When the Singer case was being debated here, the first defence of the Government spokesmen was that the Opposition were trying to make political capital out of it. It seems that the only reply by the Government to any debate of this kind is that we have no argument, that we are merely trying to make political capital.
If the Minister wants to interpret it that way, he is quite entitled to it. He suggests we may not behave ourselves so well in this debate and, in a school-masterly fashion, says he hopes the debate will be conducted with restraint and a sense of decorum.
Mr. Corish: So I have a licence to speak as I feel. It is not clear whether the Minister wants to justify his proposals by relating them to the cost of living as the previous Minister for Justice, the former Deputy Traynor, did when he introduced his proposals in 1959. Nor is it clear whether or not the arguments to be advanced on this occasion are the arguments that seemed to be advanced by the Taoiseach when he spoke in support of the proposals for increases introduced on 29th October, 1959. On that occasion, as reported at column 561 of the Official Report, the Taoiseach said:
In any democratic society, judges occupy, and should be seen clearly by the public to occupy, positions of high authority, of independence and detachment. Independence in the sense that we use that term in relation to judges means something more than freedom from improper Government influence. It means putting them into a position in which  they will be, as far as possible, immune from improper influence of any kind, and it is no exaggeration to say, in my view, that an adequate and indeed a generous basis of remuneration for judges is the basis for their independence. It has always been so regarded here. It is, indeed, so regarded everywhere.
Therefore, we must approach the matter in this way if we are to follow the Taoiseach's line: what price are we here to put on integrity; in short, what price should we determine in the case of judges and justices, be they High Court or Supreme Court Judges, what salary is suggested as being sufficient to maintain that integrity which the Taoiseach says every man who sits on the Bench should have?
It is proposed in this measure to give the Chief Justice a salary of £6,000 per year. Are we not being a bit inconsistent when we suggest that both the Minister for Justice and the Minister for Finance should get substantially lower salaries? I am not telling the Minister for Justice that he and the Minister for Finance are not being paid enough—in fact, I think their salaries are adequate—but it is a fantastic proposal that in the name of integrity and so as to prevent him from accepting bribes as is implicit in the Taoiseach's statement, and in the name of putting him into an independent position, we should give the Chief Justice £6,000 a year. The Minister for Finance has many more far-reaching decisions to make and will certainly have decisions which could have a great impact on every citizen when he announces his Budget proposals here on 10th April next.
I do not think it would be unfair to say that in any democratic State pensioners should be seen to live in accordance with our concept of a democratic way of life. That will always be described as hitting below the belt in a debate of this kind but we must have regard to the feelings of  the people, and there is no point in pleading that these proposals are in respect of only 40 or 50 people and that the total bill for the year will amount to about £25,000.
We have the Taoiseach lecturing the workers with regard to the eighth round increase in wages which they applied for and secured, and talking about the effect it would have on prices and on the agricultural community. Those pensioners were not members of trade unions and could not secure any increases. What effect does the Minister think these proposals will have on pensioners in his constituency and on pensioners throughout the country? What does the Taoiseach mean when he says the judiciary should be immune from improper influence? It has been pleaded here that they have not been receiving salaries commensurate with their dignity and so on. Is it therefore to be assumed that during the period when, as the Taoiseach says, they were underpaid, they were not immune from improper influences? I am sure he did not mean that and I am sure there is nobody here who would suggest that those who sit on the Bench in this country are not of the highest honour and integrity.
I do not think we should appear to put ourselves in a position where we, in turn, would appear to be paying them extra money, generous money, as the Taoiseach says, in order to dispense justice as they should, by reason of their appointments and their salaries. The Taoiseach said their remuneration should be on a generous basis. If we accept that for the judges, for the higher civil servants and for higher-paid people in the country, then, irrespective of the consequences, we should be prepared to accept it in respect of all our people. I mean particularly those who are dependent on small pensions or on social assistance.
Mr. Corish: Wage and salary increases. If salaries of judges and increases they might get should be related to the eighth round of wage increases, I think the Minister and the Government should begin to realise that while on this occasion the eighth round of wage increases was not meant to relate to the increase in the cost of living, it was a successful effort, to a large extent, to give the workers a good standard of living.
Mr. Corish: All right; I shall give the Minister that. Let him make his reference to the eighth round of salary increases but I want to say “salary and wage increases” because salary increases were related to the eighth round of wage increases——
Mr. Haughey: I want to correct the impression the Deputy originally gave that my remarks were directed to justify this increase to the judges because of the eighth round of wage increases. I did not say that.
On the last occasion when this matter was being discussed, the then Minister for Justice said that because the cost of living had increased, it had an adverse effect on the way of life and standard of living of the judiciary  and therefore he proposed to give them a 10 per cent. increase, which he did. That increase was given from 1st January, 1959, and since then, according to Government figures, the increase in the cost of living index has been four points, or 2.72 per cent. If anybody cares to make up the percentages now proposed, he will find they range from 10½ to 17. Therefore, it cannot be argued that these proposed increases are in accordance with the increased cost of living.
Mr. Corish: I did not say the Minister said that. I am afraid the Minister is not listening to me. I said it might be argued, as it was argued on a previous occasion by the former Minister, that the eighth round of wage and salary increases is justification for this proposal.
These increases in wages and salaries merely help to provide a decent standard of living for the workers. There is a tremendous difference in a worker obtaining an increase as they did in the eighth round on a wage of £8 or £9——
Mr. Corish: The Minister says his argument is that there is no comparison. I fully agree with that. I do not think it can be argued that with the salaries they have at present, the judiciary could plead that they had low living standards. Whether the Minister  agrees with that or not, it does not seem that one can have a very low living standard on £4,500 a year, or whatever the figure is now. I know the proposed figure is £6,000. It is proposed here that the Chief Justice should get a new salary of £6,000 a year. At present he has a mere £5,335.
Mr. Corish: The Minister says these unfortunate gentlemen have got only three increases since their salaries were fixed back in 1924 but he omitted to say that since 1953—eight short years ago—the Chief Justice, if we include the present proposal, will have obtained an increase of £1,150. That is a sizeable increase. With all due respects to the judiciary, their integrity, intelligence and qualifications, I do not think it is right, in view of the recent statement by the Taoiseach when he appeared to lecture the workers and to warn them about the haphazard ways in which the eighth round of wage increases was negotiated, that we should condone an increase of £1,150 to an office which eight years ago carried a salary of £4,850. It is proposed in respect of the Supreme Court Judge that as compared to his salary in 1953 he should get an increase of £800 per annum and so on down to the Circuit Court Judge for whom it is proposed, with the two increases, that of 1959 and the one proposed under this Bill, that the increase should be £675 per annum.
Everybody will agree that we should pay the judiciary well, that we should pay the Chief Justice, the Supreme Court Judges, the Circuit Court Judges and particularly the District Court Justices decent salaries, but it is out of all proportion to suggest that in respect of one of these gentlemen he should over a period of eight years have applied to him or to his position a salary increase of £1,150. The present salaries from the District Court Justices upwards range from £38 per week to £107 per week for the Chief Justice. I do not suggest that he should live on £10 per week, or £8 or £15. One wonders what in the present day that sort of money means, or does it  mean that it all goes back in income tax?
Mr. Corish: Why give it to him at all then? Why give bad example to the unfortunate poor people who have been admonished by the Taoiseach and members of the Government to live according to their means? The Taoiseach and the Government are admonishing this country as a whole that it should live in accordance with its means. There is no point in telling us, as the Taoiseach did on the last occasion, how much they would be paid in Northern Ireland or Britain. According to what the Taoiseach himself always says, we should pay them in accordance with our ability to pay.
Mr. Corish: The Minister will then leap out of that and say that this is a mere £20,000, and therefore it means that the more exclusive the group in this country the bigger the salaries they should have. It is very bad example to those who were told last week that their case for an increase could not be put to conciliation and arbitration, their allowances could not be linked to the cost of living, and that they would have to wait over to the Budget. The argument was made by the Minister for Finance last week in respect of office workers and civil servants in general that their wages were subject to agreement by conciliation and arbitration and that increases in respect of them were not a matter for the Budget, but in respect of pensions they could not be linked to the cost of living, they could not be subject to either conciliation or arbitration, but they should be left over to the Budget.
Suppose the Minister for Justice suggested now that these proposals be left over until the Budget, would not that be a very good gesture, to see whether or not the country could afford these colossal increases—for the Chief Justice from £5,335 to £6,000 per year. I suppose that on the 10th April when the Minister introduces his Budget if  he has any residue he may apply it to the old age pensioners and those dependent on social welfare and social assistance.
I have said that the salaries of these gentlemen range from £38 to £107 per week. The new proposals mean that their salaries will range from £45 per week for a District Justice to £120 per week for the Chief Justice. I have a certain sympathy for the District Justices. I do not think that anybody could argue that their salaries, which at the present time range between £1,900 and £2,000, are over paid, especially in view of the fact that their salaries in 1924 were in the region of £1,000, and as far as my Party are concerned they would be prepared to support some increases for those lower judges, but we think it is out of all proportion to what Government spokesmen have said and what the Taoiseach has said in recent months to apply such huge increases as these to some who have—I use the words deliberately—colossal salaries at the present time.
It is often argued that if they were not on the Bench they would be earning twice as much in the courts. I think that is cod, and with all due respect to the Governments who appoint them and to those gentlemen themselves, the plain fact is that they are on the Bench because they were useful to political Parties. The Taoiseach has admitted that. He did not say that in the same words as I am saying it now, that they were useful to political Parties, but he did on the last occasion refer to definite political appointments of members of the judiciary, and it is a well-known fact that those who presented themselves and canvassed for Party purposes but failed, or who have been T.D.s, have got the reward of being appointed to the Bench. It is ridiculous to say in respect of the majority of them that they were earning twice those salaries when they were in practice in the Four Courts or wherever they operated.
Therefore, I want to say on behalf of the Labour Party that we are opposed to this Bill, though not opposed to the idea of increases for certain lower paid grades, particularly  those of the District Justice class, and we think it is fantastic that in a period of eight years when the Minister for Finance boasted that there has not been a great increase in the cost of living the Chief Justice of this country, or the Office of Chief Justice, should have applied to it an increase of £1,150 since 1953.
Mr. Blowick: My remarks will be very brief. At the outset, I want to say that I for one stand for remunerating the judiciary at a level that will maintain their integrity, and that that integrity must be maintained at whatever price if the ordinary citizen is to have the justice and fair play he is entitled to in a democratic State such as ours. I also want to say that I will adhere to the Minister's request during his opening speech that this debate should be carried on without recrimination or anything that would not be helpful. But I cannot see for the life of me why it is proposed to give the Chief Justice a salary of £6,000—or £114 a week. I think that is absolute nonsense. We are not a wealthy country and we have no enormous mineral wealth we could exploit, we have no oil or anything of that kind that would allow us to give salaries even to the judiciary such as those proposed in this Bill.
So far as the justices in the lower paid sections of the judiciary are concerned, I fully agree that they are deserving of some increases. I know of some cases of hardship in the lower grades of the judiciary, but I cannot see why these enormous salaries are granted to the High and Supreme Court Judges. The Government have lost their head. Account should be taken of the fact that there are many people in this country who are not members of trade unions and who have not an effective weapon to demand increases in remuneration in one way or another. There is a huge section of people—383,000 farmers and their families—who pay for everything in the country, including the cost of this Bill, and vast numbers of workers who are not joined in any union to protect their interests. I may mention the 380,000 farmsteads out of which the people are being forced to flee simply because the Government  have made up their minds to keep the cost of living down by compelling the farmers to sell their produce at prices lower than the cost of production. It is on their behalf that I raise my voice here.
I was never one to begrudge a man proper remuneration for his brains or his brawn. If a reasonable increase were proposed and a proper case made for it, I certainly would support it, but the Minister has not brought in a reasonable demand, and he has not supported it or attempted to support it beyond saying that there has been an eighth round increase. In his opening speech, he gave absolutely no justification for this increase.
I am opposing this measure, not because I disagree with paying the judiciary in a proper way, but because there is a vast number of people who are being forced to fly out of the country by a completely lopsided Government policy. Too much is being given to too few, and the rest are regarded as the hewers of wood, drawers of water, and the quarriers of the gold for others, and there is no consideration for them.
Mr. S. Dunne: It is time somebody said, contrary to what a number of members of the House seemed to think, that this is not the King's Inns Past Pupils' Union, or indeed an extension of the Solicitors' Debating Society. This is Dáil Éireann. Accusations have been made with regard to the making of political capital, but what politician or what member of the House can claim not to have sinned in so far as making political capital is concerned? Is it not part of our function to show up what we consider to be the deficiencies and inadequacies of those who oppose us? If such efforts are to be termed the making of political capital, the only alternative is complete and utter silence—and silence gives consent.
I want to say very definitely—and I make no apologies whatsoever for saying it—that I think it is disgusting that the Government should make this proposal to improve the lot of people who, to my mind, are not doing too badly at all, at a time when the most helpless sections of the community are  feeling the brunt of economic hardship. I refer particularly to the old age pensioners who have to live on 30/- a week. When we think of 30/-a week in contradistinction to a salary of £114 a week, what can we say except that a Government which propose to implement such a proposal at a time like this have a death wish and are seeking their own destruction. Not only is there to be an increase but there is to be retrospection as well. It is not sufficient to give £20 a week but they say: “let it go back to November”. How hard it is for an old age pensioner to get a few weeks' retrospection!
I agree with what Deputy Corish has said about the fallacy of the colossal alternative earnings which are allegedly available to the legal luminaries. He also put his finger on a very good point with regard to the suggestion that we must purchase integrity. It is common knowledge that when vacancies occur on the Bench at any level, they are chased assiduously by the Party followers of every Party and that, contrary to the Government finding it difficult to fill vacancies when they arise, the problem that besets them is to determine which person of the many who apply they will put into the position. It is not a question even of purchasing ability. From my own slight brushes with the law it seems to me that there are numerous people walking the corridors of the Four Courts who could discharge the not too onerous duties equally as well as anyone else.
I should say that of course the district justices seem to me to have an entirely separate case from the case of the judges of the higher courts. The district justices perform a very difficult job. As one who has had an opportunity of observing it in action, I can say that the district court has to deal probably with every aspect of legislation, from charges related to unlighted bicycles to capital charges. To my mind, the district justices have to work pretty hard and there may very well be a case—there probably is a case—why they should be given an increase to help them to live more easily.
 Surely no one can suggest that a salary of £5,300 is inadequate and must be increased by another £800? I do not see the logic of that. As I say, the Government seem anxious to commit political felo de se. That is indicated in their recent actions and speeches. Also, their prognostications as to what the future holds would seem to bear out that idea.
This proposal, to my mind, is no more than a gesture which was referred to very aptly in a different context in the editorial of this morning's Irish Times, the last sentence of which reads: “The hungry sheep look up and must be fed.”
Dr. Browne: As other Deputies have pointed out, this is a sugarcoated pill for some of us in so far as there is a certain justification for some of the proposals in the Bill. While accepting that there is some need for an increase in the remuneration of the lower echelons of the judiciary, I do not think we can be too easily fooled into supporting the suggestion that some people in our society because they are living on £5,000 a year are feeling the pinch and are so hard up that we must increase their salaries.
The Minister makes no justification whatsoever for his proposals, particularly in relation to the increases for the Chief Justice, the President of the High Court, the Supreme Court Judges and the High Court Judges. As for the circuit court judges, there is obviously a shading off between their needs and requirements and what it is desirable to pay. One feature of the Government's activities over the years has been their insistence on establishing without question a case for any increase put forward and their reluctance when a case is established to accept it. We have had experience of their behaviour, and indeed of the Minister's behaviour, when members of the Garda attempted to point out to the Minister that there was a serious need for an increase in their pay. We all know the summary way in which the Minister dismissed those claims and, indeed, some of the men who made them.
Dr. Browne: They did, after a short struggle which they won. The Minister asks us here, as Deputy Dunne suggested, as if he were talking to some schoolboys' debating society, to see that this debate is conducted with a sense of restraint and a sense of decorum. This sort of supercilious lecturing by the Minister is completely unnecessary if the Minister did not have a guilty conscience about the proposals which he has put forward here.
All of the salary increases to which the Minister referred were justified before arbitration machinery or the Labour Court or by union activity and justified on the plea that there had been an increase in the cost of living and that it was desirable to improve the standard of living of the average salary and wage earner. No case can be made at all by any honest person of any standing that these people on £4,000 or £5,000 a year or more are feeling the pinch or that they are in need of added or increased remuneration, that they are finding it difficult to pay their bus fares or their food bills, or to clothe themselves and their children—most of whom are grown up—or pay school bills, or pay for school books or that they are trying to afford a holiday, or on any of the usual grounds put forward to justify a demand for increased remuneration.
It seems to me that when one cannot justify it on those grounds, some other valid grounds could be advanced by the Minister and they have not been so advanced. He has not attempted or dared to suggest, and I hope he will not, that we should try to put the salaries of these people on a par with the salaries paid outside the country because he would then leave himself open to the establishment of that principle in relation to every other section of our society. One of the oddest arguments I have heard advanced is the suggestion that in order to maintain the  integrity of the judiciary, it is necessary to pay them particularly well. I am not in favour of underpaying anyone and equally I am not in favour of overpaying anyone. That is the main objection we must have to this Bill, certainly in relation to the parts which I have mentioned.
The Minister suggests that we should try to retain a sense of fairplay. I am prepared to accept a sense of fairplay about the Supreme Court or the President of the High Court, or whoever it may be, if the Minister will have a sense of fairplay about other sections of the community, the people whom he and his colleagues have repeatedly said they cannot afford to help more than they are helping at the moment. I mean of course the pensioners, whether they are the Civil Service pensioners we were talking about a week ago, or old age pensioners, or widows, or the people on unemployment assistance or unemployment benefit. All these people are people about whom the Minister does not appear to be greatly concerned. What about a sense of fair play for these people?
Does the Minister not know as well as I know that there are people in the country who are starving to death on 30/- a week, suffering from advanced gross malnutrition, who go to bed hungry every night, who are not able to clothe themselves properly, who often find themselves without fuel or light. I know this from my own experience. I have seen these people lying in beds in unheated and unlighted rooms, in bed from 4 o'clock or 5 o'clock in the afternoon, all night, until the following day, because, I suggest to the Minister, a sense of fair play does not operate for them. The Minister, however, is suggesting that we should remember our sense of fairplay where people are paid £4,000, £5,000 or £6,000 a year.
I suspect that these people are well able to look after themselves. I would plead with the Minister, as a member of the younger generation who should know and understand and appreciate these problems as well as the rest, that he should ask the Government to consider the position of these people, to  establish a new order of priorities and to leave the well-off as they are and try to do something about the many under-privileged already in our society.
I am surprised at the suggestion that one can be sure of getting a high quality judge only if one pays him this extravagant salary. That is contrary to my experience. As some other Deputy mentioned, as far as we are all aware, once there is a vacancy on the Bench, it is the multiplicity of candidates that bedevils the situation and not the scarcity. Even then, there might be something to be said for high salaries because I accept that the judiciary have a very special position in our society and I have no wish to attack or to criticise them as individuals. I am merely suggesting that there is a priority and that they are fairly low in the order of priority at present. But to suggest that one has to pay very high salaries in order to keep the standard of integrity, the quality of the members of the judiciary, is not, as all of us know, in accordance with the facts——
Dr. Browne: It has been referred to by another Deputy that it was important in order to get a high quality judge, to pay these extravagant salaries. All of us know that the qualities of the appointments——
Dr. Browne: If the quality of the appointee were the highest consideration, then I think there would be a good case for making salaries particularly attractive, but we all know of our own experience that, at a certain phase of government, the appointees to the Bench are members of the Government Party, whether Fianna Fáil on one side, or Fine Gael, on the other. This necessarily means that people are appointed for their political loyalties and not necessarily for their legal ability. That is not to say that there are not judges on the Bench who are very high quality lawyers.
The general principle is still true that the Government do not wish to make these salaries for the exclusive purpose of ensuring they will be the highest qualified appointed on the Bench. That is one of the least qualifications, the most important being the political loyalty of the appointee. Therefore, I do not think it would be justified on that score. I can well accept the Minister's assurance that there is a barrister acting in the courts who would not bother to take a Supreme Court judgeship.
Dr. Browne: ——where we have particularly the man we were dealing with yesterday. I can well understand the position where he is allowed to be  a part-time barrister. He is a State servant of the £3,000 or £4,000 a year order and then he is allowed to make another £4,000 or £5,000 in private practice. Of course, that is a situation in which——
Dr. Browne: Everybody knows that case exists. There are other cases, presumably, of barristers making £7,000, £8,000, £9,000 and £10,000 a year. My reading of that is that the whole system of law in this country is completely unbalanced and badly needs serious overhaul.
Dr. Browne: For God's sake, let Deputy Booth not come into it. There appears to be an attempt by the Government to elevate these people into a semi-deity position in our society. They are just ordinary people like the rest of us with the ordinary needs and requirements. I do not see why——
Dr. Browne: It is very kind of the Minister to say so. I left it open to him to pay that pretty compliment. I am surprised he did so. It is not such a very long time since a man, said to be very famous in Ireland, said that a thousand a year was quite enough for a man to live on.
Dr. Browne: I honestly believe that there is a limit to the needs of anybody in our society. I see people earning £3,000 or £4,000 a year. However, there are figures in excess of that which are exorbitant, extravagant and immoral. I do not pretend to be an authority on morality: I do not wish to deal with any further.
I have a great sympathy for the district justices. I think that if there is a case for an increase for any of the judiciary it can be made in relation to the district justices. The summary court is about the only court, I think, the ordinary people can afford to go to as far as they want to go to law. It does a good job. It is simple, honourable, and has a high standard of integrity, on the whole. It has, I think, reasonable standards of judgments, courtesy and humanity. They are courts of which we can well be proud. Their turnover of work is very considerable. I think they well earn their salaries. I would not be against giving these hard-working men some increase in their salaries.
It seems that we have tried to elevate the High Court and the  Supreme Court members of the judiciary into sorts of deities in which we surround them with idolatry, pomp, panoply and ceremony. Part of it is this attempt by the Minister to remove these people from ordinary assessments, to put them above ordinary judgments and to set them apart from all the rest of us. The attitude is that these are people who are not to be judged by the ordinary standards of whether they can afford to pay for the necessaries of living. It is about time we stopped to consider the position. I would have hoped that a young Minister would take an opportunity of pointing out to the judiciary that there is too much of bells, bows, buttons, wigs and gowns.
Dr. Browne: They seem to set themselves up above everybody else, whether it is a question of salaries or the funny fancy-dress they wear when in court. All of these things seem to be an attempt to establish the demi-god tradition, as far as the judges are concerned.
Dr. Browne: It is an inferiority. It is a hangover from the times when our people were, through no fault of their own, illiterate and without education and they could be frightened by this bogyman in long hair and fancy dress.
Dr. Browne: Other countries succeed in seeing that justice is meted out without all that sort of nonsense—— France, to a certain extent and certainly America does. The whole attitude of the Minister in elevating these members of the judiciary to their sacrosanct position is that they will be  above criticism. To ask why they are getting this money, if they made representations, if any arbitration occurred, who sat on it, if the Labour Court intervened, what case they made, and so on, is out of the question. When I asked about the matter, it was as if I had questioned God, as if I had made some absurd remark.
Dr. Browne: Fair enough. We make progress, but slowly. The trouble is that there is a record in this House of Governmental behaviour in relation to increases in salaries and wages, which makes this whole proposal outrageously irresponsible. Only seven or eight months ago, we found ourselves debating a Bill which proposed to imprison for five years men who had asked for increases in wages. I refer to the electricians in the E.S.B. The Taoiseach was most vehement in his condemnation of these workers for what everybody believed to be reasonable demands for increases in wages to meet the needs of the men, women and children who would otherwise have gone hungry, unclothed, under-clothed, deprived of simple luxuries or the bare necessaries.
The reaction of the Taoiseach and of the Government of whom the Minister is a member was a downright repudiation of that claim. We know now that that was the most important industrial conflict which took place for the past ten or 15 years because if the Taoiseach and the Government had got away with what was in effect a wages standstill order, it would have been applied to the rest of society and there would not have been any eighth round increase at all.
Dr. Browne: However, only last September, the Government turned that claim down. In spite of the poor case made here for increases to the judiciary, that need could not be established to the satisfaction of the Taoiseach on behalf of electricians and on behalf of these relatively underpaid workers. It is not my particular  job to argue the case of the farming community but only a couple of weeks ago we heard the Taoiseach deliver a most downright condemnation of the farming community's appeal for a greater share in the national income and the national wealth. He pointed out to them that until they increased production, they could not get any money out of the national income. That is really both parts of our society—the industrial side, on the one hand, and the agricultural side, on the other. Both were lectured and blackmailed by the Taoiseach. Finally, he had to lecture to them because he found he could not get away with his bullying tactics. He asked the farmers not to seek any increase in the total takings from the national income.
Let me speak of the old people and the pensioners. One of the curious things is the suggestion that the payment should be retrospective to last November. I may be wrong but I think the Government gave money to some of the pensioners last year or the year before. We know they had to wait five or six months—until 1st August—before they could get it. As somebody pointed out, only last week the Minister for Finance told us we could not consider paying the Civil Service and other pensioners what we were going to pay them until we had the Budget, when we would know what was available. All that repressive attitude to wage and salary increases, the condemnation by the Taoiseach of those who asked for increases without guaranteeing to increase productivity——
Dr. Browne: All that adds up to create the impression in the House and outside in the country that the Government wish to discriminate in favour of the already privileged in society. I know well that if you were to take the total sum, multiply it by ten and divide it among the old age pensioners and the other pensioners, it would probably not increase their allowance by one farthing a week, a month, or a year. I know that well but that is not the point. The point is, to improve  on an old phrase, that the Minister, as far as the public is concerned, is not only doing an injustice but he is taking steps to see it will be seen that an injustice is being done to these pensioners. I think the Government in their appeal to the House for these increases are completely out of touch with the feelings of the public and that the public do not want their present Supreme Court judges to get these considerable increases in their salary scales.
I asked a question recently in order to find out what the comparable increases were between the different sections of our society. From 1955, the differences in the amounts paid were: industrial workers, £144 increase on the average; agricultural workers, £79 increase over the same period; and old age pensioners, £22. Now the judges in that same period got something over £500. Obviously, there is a very serious discrepancy between the awards made over that time to those people. I honestly do not believe they can be justified on any standards. I do not believe that a society such as ours, which can only afford to pay 30/-a week to old age pensioners, can justify paying anybody in our society £6,000 a year.
Mr. M.P. Murphy: As referred to by previous speakers, it is indeed peculiar that the Minister should in the course of his opening remarks insert the sentence: “I hope that this debate will be conducted with restraint and a sense of decorum.” During my membership of the House I have never known of any other occasion upon which a Minister made such an opening remark. Why did he make that remark? What grounds had he for making it? Why should the Minister worry if some Deputies in the course of their contributions did not restrain themselves if he were in a position to make an adequate reply? It seems to me that the reason for its inclusion is that the Minister has a guilty conscience about this measure. He feels it is not justified. To ensure against the debate that he knows will ensue on such a matter, he inserts those opening remarks that we should restrain ourselves and discuss it with decorum.
As a member of the House I protest  against that. Each Deputy here is entitled to address himself to any question that arises and there is as much restraint and decorum on this side of the House as there is on the Government side. It is also noticeable that since the Minister made his opening statement there have been contributions from about five or six Deputies but no member of his own Party has offered to speak. One would think that having listened to four or five speeches based on the same arguments more or less, some member behind the Minister would make a case in support of the Minister's Bill. That has not been done. Of course the reason is obvious, that there is no case to make in support of this measure.
We all recognise the importance of the judiciary and realise they must be adequately paid. All of us on the Labour Party benches firmly believe they are adequately remunerated at present. It is not so long, October, 1959, since the former Minister brought in a measure here giving substantial increases to all members of the judiciary. We felt that when those increases were approved by a majority vote in this House, there would be no need for a further measure for a long time to come. Indeed, we were surprised to learn a few months ago that the Government had in mind to provide further increases for this sheltered section of our community.
The fact that the number affected is small is immaterial. What we must consider is whether the expenditure proposed is warranted or not. In the case of the first member of the judiciary mentioned in the Bill, the Chief Justice, the Minister tells us that a salary of £5,335 is not adequate for that post. On what grounds does the Minister make that suggestion? In the course of his address here, he gave very few grounds to substantiate that argument. I respectfully suggest that any citizen of our State in receipt of more than £100 weekly is adequately remunerated, having regard to our economy.
The Minister states that the salaries of the Supreme Court judges and of  the President of the High Court, at a figure of £4,070, are inadequate, that in order to make them adequate and in order to give these members of the judiciary a reasonable standard of living, it is incumbent on this House to approve a further increase of £430. Similarly, we must increase proportionately the salaries of the other judges. Mention has already been made by members who addressed the House of the reasons for these increases. Some of them referred to the statements made by the former Taoiseach, Deputy Lemass, when he took part in a debate in October, 1959, in relation to increasing judges' salaries.
Mr. M.P. Murphy: Yes, the former Government. The Taoiseach's statement on that occasion was that they must be immune from improper influences. That was the main argument he put forward for the increases proposed two years ago. Surely no Deputy has reflected more in this House on the judiciary than that remark reflects on them, the inference being that unless they are given big salaries, they may not be immune from improper influences; in other words, they may take bribes and be guilty of corruption in one form or another? I do not believe that integrity can be bought and that we should follow the lead of 1959 that, unless we pay these people more for their services, they are liable to corruption and improper influences.
The same could be said of the Taoiseach himself who incidentally has a much more difficult job. I maintained here in 1959 that he had a much more difficult job and much more difficult work to carry out on behalf of the country than the Chief Justice, the members of the Supreme Court or the President of the High Court whose proposed salaries will be £2,000 more than his in the case of the Chief Justice and £500 in the case of the others I mentioned, I want to  assert again that I see no justifiable reason, even though it seems to be the practice since the foundation of the State, for paying these people salaries far in excess of that of the Taoiseach or the other members of the House who are in charge, say, of the Departments of Finance, Industry and Commerce or Agriculture.
In the mathematical calculations of the Government and in the statement made here by the Minister for Justice to-day, the Chief Justice is worth in money both the Minister for Finance and the Minister for Agriculture. I do not know whether the Minister will agree with me that he is or not, but I think he is not.
The argument made here in regard to the Chief Justice is that we must pay him a salary of £117 weekly, if we are to deal fairly with him, and that it is a reasonable rate of remuneration, having regard to what the Government Party would describe as the onerous nature of his duties. That would be all right if our economy warranted such big salaries. We cannot afford to imitate other countries such as America, Britain, France or possibly Western Germany, who are much better off and have much better resources than we have, in the payment of members of our judiciary or in the payment of any other sections of our employees.
If it is accepted that we should do so, then it should also be accepted that the average standard wage in rural Ireland of from £6 to £6 10s. weekly in the case of ordinary manual workers should be proportionately increased to the average standard wage, say, in Britain, of an ordinary unskilled labourer of from £12 to £13 weekly. However, there is no mention of that. The Government are not so anxious as to how the masses of the people, the ordinary workers, who have to exist week in and week out on such wages, are going to live and buy their bread and butter, their tea and sugar, their clothing, and so on, all of which, with the possible exception of clothing, cost them just as much as they cost the Chief Justice or the members of the Supreme Court.  What are the Government's intentions regarding increases of salaries for other sections of the community? We know their viewpoint on wages but what about the vast number of self-employed people who have made application for increased emoluments in the present session of this Dáil? What about the farming community, vast numbers of whom have to work and live on uneconomic holdings? Recently, we had a question addressed to the Minister for Agriculture asking if there was any possibility of giving an increase to the dairy farmers and the Minister informed us that it would upset the economy of the country if he were to give any such increase. The agricultural section of the community were told that they were well off enough at present; that we had no extra money to give them for their milk, pigs and other produce and that whatever money we had was needed to give a few extra pounds to the judges.
On this very day, the case for the worst off section of the community, the incapacitated and disabled people who cannot provide for themselves, was put before the House. My colleague, Deputy Casey, asked the Minister for Health if it would be possible to allow some increase in the maximum allowance granted to disabled persons. The present allowance is only £1 2s. 6d. per week but the Minister told us that he had no money and that these people must continue to exist on this 3/- a day. He added that if there was extreme hardship, they might have a chance of getting a little extra in home assistance. It is unfortunate that the Minister for Health should make that statement in this House on the day that a Minister of Government should tell us that a man with £101 a week is not sufficiently remunerated and that he should get £655 a year more. It is an outrageous proposal to bring in when many sections of our community are finding it difficult to make ends meet. It allows one section of the community to live in luxury and affluence.
We must bear in mind when dealing with this section of the community,  and I mean no reflection on them— the former Parliamentary Secretary laughs but I do not see anything funny about this; I do not know how the people down the country will take this measure, having regard to the representations made a few days ago about the price of milk——
Mr. M.P. Murphy: There is no need for the section of the community with which we are now dealing to provide for the rainy day. The Department takes good care of them in their old age. In examining the financial records for the past year, I note that the pension or retirement allowance of one of these judges is around £50 a week. The case cannot be made that they must save from their income to provide for the rainy day. We are looking after it for them.
In addressing ourselves to this question, we must remember that we are living in a country with a population of roughly two and four-fifth millions and that a large number of our people are engaged in employment of an uneconomic nature. There are those who have no continuity of employment and those who have continuity but whose wages are only from £6 to £9 weekly. Then we have a large number of farmers throughout the country who find it hard to make a living and the small business people in the towns and villages who find it very difficult to meet their commitments. Then there is the big percentage of our people, about 60,000 or 70,000 annually, who have to fly from the country to gain a livelihood. This is the country that is supposed to provide £117 a week for the Chief Justice and almost £100 a week for the other senior judges.
I would be very fortunate if I could have that amount of money spent in West Cork. It would give regular employment all the year round to 18 men. While we recognise that these  judges and highly-placed public servants must be remunerated in accordance with their status, I believe that there is no justification for Dáil Éireann to assert that the Chief Justice is entitled to 18 times as much as the ordinary worker in this country. The Minister can make up that sum for himself. The maximum rate of wages for county council workers in Cork county is £6 8s. 6d. a week.
Mr. M.P. Murphy: You are working it on a percentage basis and if a county council worker got a 10 per cent. increase, he would get 12/- a week. The Chief Justice gets an increase of £600. The Minister will agree with me that the salary he proposes for this man is £5,650 more than the average income of the people I refer to. It is going to cause a great deal of unrest in the country. Other workers who have contented themselves with smaller increases than they felt they were entitled to and the other sections of the community who are crying out for redress will ask questions to which the Minister and his Party will have great difficulty in replying having regard to the fact that they have brought in this measure.
Mr. M.P. Murphy: In your absence, Sir, it arose and was deemed to be relevant. For your information, it arose also on the last occasion this matter was debated here in 1959; it was ruled then that the matter was relevant. I do not think Standing Orders have changed very much in the last two-and-a-half years.
Mr. M.P. Murphy: It has been contended that if these men had not accepted the call to the judiciary, their incomes would be far higher than they are. The Minister informed the House, during your absence, Sir, that a number of legal men who were approached and asked to accept appointments as judges refused to accept them.
An Ceann Comhairle: I want to make it perfectly clear to the Deputy that he will not succeed, by any sidewind, in discussing the appointment of judges. That is a constitutional matter and it may not be raised in this manner on this Bill.
Mr. M.P. Murphy: Sir, we are discussing the proposed increase in judges salaries under this Bill. We have the Minister's statement that the Government intend to provide for increases in the salaries of the judiciary. The Minister outlined their reasons for giving these increases. As I have mentioned already, in the course of his statement here, the Minister brought it to our notice that he found, I think, some difficulty in getting some members of the legal profession to accept positions as judges. That has been dealt with by a number of speakers and, unless the rules of this House changed within the past half-hour, the matter is relevant. It was dealt with at length.
Mr. M.P. Murphy: I am not discussing the appointment of judges; I am discussing the Minister's statement. Will the Ceann Comhairle tell me I am not entitled to comment on a statement made by the responsible Minister in charge of this Bill? I have already mentioned the nature of the statement twice to the Chair. I think I am entitled to refute that statement, as every member of this House is entitled to refute it if he feels this increase is not warranted; and the Minister having raised the matter in the first instance, I think I am in complete conformity with the rules of this House in commenting upon it.
To come back to what I was saying, Sir, before you interrupted me, the Minister told us—I think this is quite relevant—that legal men who were asked to accept appointments as judges did not accept them. I say here and now that that statement is untruthful, that it is incorrect, that possibly in one or two cases there was a refusal for quite exceptional reasons; for some of the reasons already mentioned by a previous speaker, they did not accept.
Mr. M.P. Murphy: I support the case made by the previous speaker, who pointed out that when an appointment is to be made to these badly remunerated positions on the Bench, there is a great deal of canvassing, and canvassing of a political nature. Down through the years since the foundation of this State, appointments to the Bench have been made on a political basis by successive Governments. The Taoiseach addressed himself at length to this question in the course of the debate in 1959. He said in the course of that debate, when dealing with the question of appointment to the Bench, that he believed it was only right—I am quoting his exact words—and proper that the Government should have the appointment of judges. I expressed the opposite viewpoint, and I have it in mind now to elaborate on that, if elaboration is in conformity with the rules of the House.  Some time ago, I made a claim here that members of the judiciary should be appointed on a somewhat similar basis to——
An Ceann Comhairle: I have already indicated to the Deputy that he may not discuss the appointment of judges. I am giving a ruling and, if the Deputy wishes to disobey the ruling, he will have to challenge it in the proper way. I am asking the Deputy to cease speaking about the appointment of judges and the method of appointment of judges.
Mr. M.P. Murphy: Since you constrain me from expressing views which I think I am entitled to express, I agree with your ruling, Sir, and when the opportune time comes, I shall possibly refer to the need for a change in the manner in which the Chair discharges its duties in this House.
Mr. M.P. Murphy: I am sorry that the trend of my remarks was disrupted by the intervention of the Chair, but that is something I accept. I am here representing a rural constituency. I believe I am interpreting the viewpoint of the people I have the honour and privilege to represent here in opposing as forcibly and as vehemently as I possibly can the passage of this  measure. It is not necessary for me to repeat the grounds of my opposition. I believe the proposed increase in salaries for these people is absolutely outrageous. It is not in keeping with the maxim laid down by the Minister's Party in 1932 when it was stated publicly that no man in this country was worth more than £1,000 per year. It may be said that money has since depreciated in value. Taking that fact into account, a salary of £6,000 for the Chief Justice and the substantially increased salaries for the other members of the judiciary are not in keeping with the depreciation in the value of money.
It may be contended by some that it is quite in order for a rural Deputy to get up here and exploit this measure. The Minister implied in his opening statement that that tactic might be adopted for political purposes. There is no political purpose in any statement made from these benches. We believe there is an obligation on us to make these statements. If we remained silent, we would not be fit to represent the people who sent us here; we would not be doing their job by expressing their viewpoint here. If there is money to spare, it would be much better to give it to the thousands of workers— wage earners and self-employed workers—who have to exist on very inadequate incomes, to the people who were the subject matter of discussion earlier today in this House, the disabled and the infirm, who the Minister for Health thinks can exist on 3/- per day without any difficulty. It would be far better to think of such sections of the community rather than people receiving £100 a week or little short of it.
Mr. Booth: I should like to revert to the point made by the Minister introducing this Bill that it was one that should be dealt with quickly and with decorum. Unfortunately, his warning has been found to be very well warranted as, subsequent to Deputy O'Higgins resuming his seat, most, if not all, of the speakers have tended to rant rather than discuss.
Mr. Booth: Most certainly not. I do not say I agree with everything Deputy O'Higgins said, but he dealt with the matter in the manner I would expect of him. Other Deputies dealt with the matter in the manner I would have expected of them. It is a wrong way to approach this matter to reduce this to a discussion as to how much per week the Chief Justice is worth. In any question of such appointment what we have to consider is the market conditions, if you like, to try to find out what a man of the capabilities we require could otherwise earn by his own efforts. If we find, as we do, that a leading member of the Bar, a really top-rank man, can earn by his own efforts an income of £5,000, £6,000 or even more, it is obvious that the Government in an effort to persuade such men to accept office on the Bench must be prepared to pay the market price. It is just as easy as that.
I know it is always very hard not to envy the salary of a man getting more than we are. That is a human feeling, but we should not allow it to influence us in considering a measure such as this. It is essential that the judiciary should be composed of men not only of the highest integrity but of the highest ability. Men of that standard of integrity and ability do command a high price, because those qualities pay off handsomely in practice at the Bar. Let it be clearly understood they have achieved that eminence through very hard work and through their own brilliance in their profession. As the Minister stated in opening, it is more than unfair to use this debate as an attack on the judiciary simply by reason of the fact that, under current legislation, we may not increase the salary of a judge without bringing the matter formally before the House.
Comparisons have been made— and not without reason—between the salaries paid to members of the judiciary and those paid to the Taoiseach and members of the Cabinet. Of course, it is always much more embarrassing for people to  vote money to themselves. Personally, I think it is quite wrong that the Taoiseach should be paid at the rate at which he is being paid and others with less responsibility are paid far more. That is because people go in for political life with a sense of vocation and are prepared to accept office at a lower figure. I am sorry it is so. When it comes to a question of the remuneration of people in Government employment we should treat the matter with great delicacy and should remember at the same time that, without any comment whatever, we have agreed to increase the salaries of other leading civil servants.
I would refer in particular to Secretaries of Departments who up to the 15th December, 1959, were being paid at the rate of £2,647 per annum. It could quite easily be said that that is an iniquitous amount to be paid to anyone in view of the low rate of payments to old age pensioners. But there is a certain amount of sentimentality in putting the matter in that way. Even if we took away their salaries altogether and asked the Secretaries of Departments to work voluntarily, that would not affect the rate of payment of old age pensioners at all. Here again you are up against the question of the market price of the best men and women available. Consequently, we have the salary payable to Secretaries up to the 15th December, 1959, as £2,247. From the 15th December, 1959, this amount was increased to £2,825. Nobody made any comment about that. That was a reasonable, proportionate increase in view of the other increases in wages and salaries. Again, on 1st April, 1960, the salaries of Departmental Secretaries were raised to £3,000, again without comment; and with effect from 1st November, 1961, their salaries were again increased to £3,375—a total of three increases in three years and a total increase of £728 per annum.
In view of all this song and dance about old age pensioners, disabled persons and other social welfare beneficiaries and the fact that they were not referred to at all when these salaries were increased, I think there is a certain amount of insincerity about raising the matter now. Certainly  I do not think it is possible to throw that in the teeth of the Fianna Fáil Party, which has so consistently increased all social welfare benefits year after year and which has a record second to none in that regard. Nobody can ever say that a Fianna Fáil Government were lacking in consideration for those of the community who are in need or who are less fortunate. The basic trouble is, of course, that to raise social welfare benefits by even 6d. or 1/-, which is an almost insulting increase, costs such a phenomenal amount of money.
Let us remember, also, when considering these increases, that there is a question of income tax and sur-tax involved. I admit that an increase of £365 per annum does look very large indeed. But the trouble with large salaries is that if you wish to increase them at all, you have to increase them nominally by a very large amount if the increase is to be effective at all. Take the case of the Chief Justice with an increase of £665 per annum. With his salary before the increase he is bound to have exhausted all his allowances and to be assessed at the full rate of tax and sur-tax. Consequently, on his increase of £665 he will pay £210 11s. 8d. in income tax, at the standard rate of 6/4d., and in surtax, £166 5s. at 5s. in the £.
Mr. Booth: So that of his £665 increase, he will have the doubtful pleasure of handing back, or of having taken off him before he gets it, £376 16s. 8d. Therefore, his net increase of salary is down to £288 3s. 4d. It may be said that is far too much. That is a matter of opinion, but do not let us fool ourselves by thinking for a moment that the recipient of this increase, if and when he gets it, will really have an extra £665 in his pocket, because he will not.
All these matters are confusing the whole issue, however. If you take a county council worker, a married man with two, three, five or six children, and he gets an increase of £1 a week,  that is a net increase because his allowances still keep him well clear of the income tax level. It is when you get into the higher income bracket that income tax and surtax take such lumps out of your income that any increase at all must be vastly inflated in order to be real.
Several Deputies have stated that it is quite unreasonable to fix this rate of salaries. That is assuming the Government and the Minister simply sat down and thought of a figure which would be big enough to keep the Chief Justice at a reasonable standard of living. That is not the way it worked out. It is a matter of what is the price you have to pay in order to get the best men. That is exactly what was done, nothing more, nothing less, but if you are prepared to say you would rather the judiciary were chosen from the members of the Bar who are less competent, who have proved themselves to be less competent, I would be greatly surprised because, in spite of the rude remarks made by certain people about the judiciary, the fact is that even Deputy Oliver Flanagan must appreciate that we have got to respect them and that in order that we should respect them we have to ensure they are the best people available.
The only way you can do that is by paying them. We are doing that here in a reasonable way and even if we did not pay any increase it would not be to anybody else's benefit. It would not reduce the rate of income tax, it would not reduce the rate of tax on cigarettes, spirits, petrol, it would not increase the old age pensions. So by avoiding this increase of salaries, we would not benefit anyone but we would be doing a bad day's work for the country. The greatest effect of democracy is a competent and satisfied judiciary, a judiciary which has the final word even over the interpretation of the Constitution. For those reasons it is essential that high standards should be maintained at any cost, and with market prices as they are and earnings very high at the Bar among those who are best qualified, we have no alternative but to do as we have done. I have no apology to anyone for this  measure which I support without any reservations whatsoever.
Mr. Donnellan: Anything I say on this measure is impersonal as far as the Minister for Justice is concerned. He is one Minister of the present Government for whom I have a certain amount of respect because on any occasion I called on him I found him a very reasonable and charitable man. As far as I am concerned may he long reign there. But he has my sympathy for having to come into this House with a Bill of this description, having to listen to the Orange flute being played, to Deputy Booth standing up and giving members of this House a lecture. We do not want any lecture from Deputy Booth. I was here twenty years before I ever heard of him, and I will be here 20 years after he is dead, with the help of God.
He comes along here to tell the House that we despise the judiciary. Far from that, I have as much respect for them as Deputy Booth has, probably more in a way. Nevertheless, he tells about the income tax they pay and, of course with a sneer, he gets back to the road worker. He does not understand anything about the road worker or the agricultural worker or any other worker in this country. Of course it is with a sneer that he gets back to that level—down from the Chief Justice with his salary of £6,000 a year to the road worker, and he says the road worker does not pay income tax. The road worker lives under the law and is bound under the law to pay income tax if he is liable for it just as the Chief Justice must pay it. But as far as Deputy Booth, or any of his kith or class are concerned, we would have a law for one type and the other sections would be ground down.
Mr. Donnellan: And that is what I am doing and always have done, as you, Sir, know well. The Minister said in introducing this Bill that he hoped the debate would be conducted with restraint and a sense of decorum. I wonder why the Minister said that.
Mr. Donnellan: The Minister said this was a valuable safeguard to a democratic State. He is quite right in that. I wonder, though, if any increase we give the justices will, as Deputy Booth promised, improve their ability and their integrity. Deputy Booth referred to the market prices. I wonder will we get better judges? We have always got those selected by whatever political Party are in power. If this side of the  House are in power, they appoint their own, as do Fianna Fáil in their turn. That appears to be the rule.
Mr. Donnellan: It is a system that has been handed down over the years. I wonder will this improve the position? I do not believe it will. I am afraid the Minister deceived the House in his statement when he said at least four people could not accept judgeships on account of the salary. Is that right?
Mr. Donnellan: I put it to the Minister that it was not on account of salaries that they would not accept these appointments. The Minister was deceiving the House by saying so, whether deliberately or not. I do not believe it was deliberate. They would not accept the posts for the simple reason that on reaching the age of 75, they must retire, whereas by remaining in their profession, they can carry on for ever. That is the position.
Mr. Donnellan: What do we expect the country to come to? Are we not driving it to rack and ruin? At the rate we are going, the day will come when we shall have to ask people from outside to come in and run the country  before we run it out of existence. Just imagine £500 a month, £117 per week! Working three days a week, it is £39 per day. Working five hours per day, it is £8 an hour. That proposal comes from the side of the House that in my young days propounded: “Nobody is worth more than £1,000 a year.” Of course, changes have come and the very man who said that is now drawing £13,500 per year.
Mr. Donnellan: I am asking the House to reject this proposal. Fianna Fáil are rushing headlong towards their downfall. Only yesterday, the Minister for Justice was brought in here on a motion concerning certain legal business and that is the very Minister who, while he himself works six days a week all through the year for £2,000 a year, comes in with a Bill for one of his servants—a servant of the Department—and asks this House to pay him £6,000 per year. Does the Minister think he is a twopence-ha'penny boy? I do not think he is—far from it. I think he is belittling himself by doing what he proposes. He should be the first man to oppose this.
It may be all right for Deputy Booth to say the Minister should not increase his own salary. Probably Deputy Booth is one of those who could spend his time here giving lectures such as he gave tonight and could afford to do it for nothing. Many of us could not afford that and it would be a bad day that the country would be ruled by people of that description. They would have things all their own way and could give £6,000 to every Tom, Dick and Harry they liked.
Last week, I had a question down to the Taoiseach relating to the farming community and Fine Gael had a motion relating to pensions and we were told: “Wait until we see what  is in the Budget.” The people drawing over £5,000 a year at present cannot wait until 10th April, two weeks away. Not alone that, but these increases are to be retrospective to November 1st, 1961. When a mean, miserable increase was given to Deputies not so long ago, it was not retrospective. Why was that? We are Deputies elected by the people and that is a hard court to get through. It takes a good man to do so every time. I think Fianna Fáil have gone daft and that more lunatic asylums are necessary.
I believe Fianna Fáil will get their answer in the near future and the sooner, the better. When they go back to the people, they will find that it is not on £6,000 a year the people are trying to live but that many are getting, not the 30/- a week old age pension we hear about, but only 15/- a week to keep body and soul together. The same applies to widows and orphans and agricultural workers of whom many thousands have left the land in the past two years. This Bill is not for them but for the judiciary. Only the judiciary and Deputy Booth's class, the big investors, are benefiting. Fianna Fáil have gone that way now but they will soon be told where to get back to.
Mr. Sherwin: I know that if I take the same line as most Deputies who have spoken, the wags in town will give me a cheer and I shall not have to do any explaining, but if I support the Minister's proposals I shall be taking a hard decision and I shall have to do a lot of explaining. I have decided to do it the hard way. I like taking the hard way. It is easy to go the other way as many do.
I know that the judges are not popular any more than jailers or executioners, or for that matter, Teachtaí Dála are popular. Do not forget that when it was suggested that we should get an increase, after 13 years, the crowd said “No”. Little does the crowd know that 80 per cent. of the Teachtaí Dála must have over £2,000 a year. If all the Teachtaí Dála were asked to give a pledge to live on £1,000 a year, 90 per cent. of them would resign. So  now, do not focus on the judges for what they have and give the impression that the Teachtaí Dála are satisfied. They are not satisfied. If they had to give up all their business, and so on, and do with £1,000 a year, there would be 90 per cent. resignations next week because they could not live on it, for the very good reason that, being Teachtaí Dála, they have certain commitments which the ordinary man in the street has not got.
I had an argument with a woman about two years ago at a time when I was getting £12 10s. a week and she was getting about 30/- a week. She said: “You, with the awful amount of money.” She was comparing my miserable amount with her 30/-. Her money was hers but mine belonged to everybody. I could not go anywhere but I was touched for a bob or two. If I went into a pub with some pal, a few people would come over to me and I would have to give them a few pints. Everywhere I went it was the same thing. If it is a poor person with no seat in his pants, there is nothing about it. We have to dress up.
Mr. Sherwin: I am making a good case, Sir. I am making the case that, just as we require a certain amount of money to carry out our duties, so do High Court judges require a certain amount because they have to live at a certain standard, too. However, they have a much higher standard than we have. They are people who are supposed to live apart from the rest of us. They cannot mix with the rest of us for fear they might be lobbied, or for some other reason. They have to live in big houses, houses with a high rateable valuation. They have to go around in cars. If they want a drink, they must go to a hotel. If they go anywhere, it must be the tops because if they associate with the rest of us, they are in danger of being lobbied or touched or squared about some case, which is true.
The difference is that those people require a high income, so as to be able to live independent of the rest of us and in spite of us, so that they can do justice without any danger— because, in spite of what is said, we are all the same. Judges are not special beings. They are just like you and me. Before they became judges, some of them were politicians. They hobnobbed with the rest of us. They had their beer and they backed a horse. They are not any different from the rest of us.
Whether we like it or not, deep down in all of us, there is this surge to break the law and grab more than we should grab and wipe our neighbour's eye and that applies as much to the judge as to the rest of us. We select a small number of people and give them a good salary so that they will be beyond those temptations which many of us are not. That is the reason those people get a high salary. I am sure there is a prejudice against them because they are members of the legal profession or perhaps because members of the legal profession are not very favoured with the public because it is true that they rub it in and take advantage of poor people. Once they become judges, they cease to practise and they depend just on a salary and they are not supposed to engage in any other business.
Mr. Sherwin: I believe that is their job. About the year 1955, I was in court for possession. I was on the floor, too, you know, and I was on public assistance at the time. I had a little business and there was an order for possession because of rent. I went to court and, naturally, I owed rent. They did not get possession. I was told to pay a certain amount and then to pay off the arrears. When the person who brought me to court claimed costs, the judge came to my assistance, without being asked to  do so. He said: “Wait a minute. You have junior counsel here and I do not think it was necessary. I shall not give you costs but only for yourself: that is all.” He did that. He protected me at a time when I was on the floor.
I am satisfied that in many ways judges do protect the poor against avaricious members of the legal profession as well as the public. Their job is there. They have a big job and there are only a handful of them. I am satisfied they require a decent salary and it is a fact that if you were to break it down, if this increase they are getting was “divvied up”, all the old age pensioners would not get a farthing a week. In fact, the total amount is £22,000, and members here make no objection to the district justices getting an increase, so that, actually, the amount at stake is probably about £5,000. That is what we are debating. If you break that down, you will find that 60 per cent. of it will go back in taxation. Therefore, you are asking about a miserable £3,000.
Mr. Sherwin: I am making the case because I make it a practice to look on both sides of the case. Always and ever here in legal debates or anything else, I look on both sides of the case. I know it would be very popular to say: “Have a bash at the judges; I will not lose any votes.” I might lose a few votes by supporting the judges but I will lose none by having a bash at them. Therefore, I am taking the hard road. It is largely a waste of time and a lot of argument over a couple of thousand pounds which are being given to people whom it is necessary to keep apart from the rest of us so that they will judge  people without any fear or favour whatsoever.
I have read of numerous cases in the American courts where judges were regularly brought into the back room by political parties and things were more or less fixed behind the scenes before the case came before the court at all. That happened in America and it happened elsewhere. It is all right to say that money should not count. Every man, they say, has his price. Whether you like it or not, these men must be above temptation. They are just human and the proof of that is that if any of you read of the trials at Nuremberg, the break down was that all of those fellows made a whack out of it. It was proved that Hitler at least never made a penny. He was dedicated; he was not interested in money. But the rest of them were all lumping it up with treasures and pieces of art. It is the same with judges. There may be an odd person who is dedicated but we do not legislate for special humans; we legislate for human beings. Therefore, so as to put the human beings in the judiciary above temptation of any sort, we must pay them, and well. I believe that in spite of any prejudice against the legal profession, once they take the oath, they become the protectors of the poor. That is my opinion and that has been my experience.
Mr. Desmond: Many members have put up different pleas but it has been left to Deputy Sherwin to take the outstanding part in suggesting that the gentlemen concerned will fall through the back of their trousers through faulty material, and will be unable to go with certain friends at night, unless they get this increase.
Before touching very briefly on a few points in connection with this proposed wage increase, I wish to reply to Deputy Booth. Deputy Booth wondered what we would do with such a small sum as £21,000. I could tell the Minister what we could do with it. We would be very pleased in County Cork to get it even as a token grant towards all the damage that was done there a couple of weeks ago and in respect of  which the Minister for Local Government and the Minister for Finance refused to come to our assistance.
As regards the proposal, for a while back all over the country, we have heard discussions about the eight round of wage increases. What strikes me forcibly is the difference in this claim. I am sure, as one of the leading lights in an industrial concern, Deputy Booth would agree with me that in regard to any wage increase that has yet been decided upon, whether it be the eighth round or any other round, it has always emanated from the trade union movement on behalf of the workers, or from a group of workers themselves or from representatives of the local authorities on behalf of the workers employed by the local authorities.
In considering this claim, therefore, we must understand that the position is somewhat different. Over the years, the workers have never got wage increases from their employers without having asked for them and without a series of negotiations between the trade union representatives and the employers. It is natural to assume that the representatives of the employers always like to strike the best bargain they can. Can we try to strike the best bargain here? We do not know. I am seeking information on that.
There is no claim from any organisation on behalf of the people concerned in this proposal. There is no case as to whether the figures put before us here by the Minister are based on the increase in the cost of living or anything else or on some of the problems to which Deputy Sherwin referred.
Mr. Desmond: Yes, I have read that. However, the Minister should have based the case on sounder arguments. I can assure him of one thing, that if he were the representative of such a group and went before the Labour Court, he would not get more than 5/- per week. The Minister should be in a position to put before the House a better case than that which he has put before us.
 In any wage demand, no increase is ever thrown away by the employers. The employers base their opposition on two or three points. The main point, of course, is: “Industry cannot stand up to your demand.” That is one answer. Another point is whether or not they would be safe in fighting the demand of the workers, basing the possibility of a fight on the old theory of supply and demand. If they thought they could draw unorganised labour from other fields, then perhaps it might strengthen their case against the demand for such a wage increase. I do not think the Minister could say that in this case the supply and demand of the labour concerned would affect us.
Mr. Desmond: Take the case of any wage demand that is presented to a wage tribunal or to the Labour Court. Deputy Booth laboured the point that Secretaries of Departments got increases to which we did not object. The arbitration scheme runs through the Civil Service and we must all agree that if the junior member of the staff is entitled to an increase, so also is the Secretary of the Department. The Secretary of a Department, whether we like it or not, is in a far more onerous position than perhaps his own Minister and he is not a part-time employee. He works the full 12 months except for the few weeks' leave he has.
The wage demand of the ordinary worker presented to the Labour Court must be based on the increase in the cost of living. The representatives must  be able to show increased costs for overalls, the various tools the tradesman uses, whether for carpentry or anything else. They must be able to show the number of points by which the cost of living index has gone up.
Mr. Desmond: In regard to this claim, can any such increased costs be shown? Would the wear and tear of the gown be taken into consideration? I do not know what such items cost. Would part of the demand include depreciation of such articles? I presume in such a position a man would not use an ordinary biro? Has the Minister taken that into consideration? I am sure he has, but I wonder what figure he would allow for all that.
Mr. Desmond: The Minister should not be ratting on the members of the Cabinet because it took a long time for them to do anything for the young Guards. There must be a young Franco in the Cabinet. This case has no comparison with other proposals that have come before this House. It has no comparison even with the case of a secretary of a Department or even with the other case mentioned by Deputy Booth when he spoke of income tax and surtax. The ordinary road worker who recently got an increase of 10/- a week in Cork now has to pay income tax. And we have to go back to Cork and tell them that they have got to pay income tax on that 10/-.
 This matter will be no help to the general public. The various members of the Cabinet, from the Taoiseach down, have bemoaned increases in wages. They have stated that if there were to be increases in wages, there would have to be increased output. If there is to be increased output in the courts, it is going to cost more. You will have an increased number of Guards going to the courts, increased numbers of barristers and solicitors attending there and increased numbers of witnesses and messengers and the cost of all that is to be added to the £21,000. The Minister should have realised that he has no justification for this proposal, whether it is his own or whether it had the full backing of the Cabinet from the Taoiseach down. He should remember that while the people holding these positions are important, they are no more important than any other section of the community as human beings.
We can get on with the officials of the various Departments and they in their turn will help us to find an answer to the problems presented by us to them on behalf of our constituents. But in this case the only concern with these people is not to find but to fine the unfortunate people who go before them.
Mr. Colley: Occasions such as this show up clearly where responsibility lies in this House and where it does not. The Labour Party representatives have spoken very clearly against any increase for the judiciary, except for the district justices. They are in favour of increases for industrial workers, for Civic Guards and for civil servants. Why are they opposing the increases to the judiciary? They say it is because the members of the judiciary have enough already but I ask them where do they draw the line? Is it at £500, £1,000, £1,500, £2,000, £2,500 or £3,000? I suggest that the reason they approve the increases that have been granted in the eighth round and oppose the increases to the judiciary is very clear and is becoming clearer as we listen to the debate. The judiciary are a small body and their votes do not count. It is popular to oppose an increase for the judiciary who are already admittedly well paid.
 We have had people here talking about the old age pensioners and comparing their plight with the position of the Chief Justice to whom it is proposed to give £6,000 a year. Anybody who makes that argument is doing it with his tongue in his cheek. If such people pretend to be honest about it, I ask them to be logical and I ask them if they are suggesting that the old age pensioners should be paid the same as the Chief Justice. No one is suggesting that, so I suggest it is plain dishonesty to try to bring that argument into this debate.
Most of the speakers who have opposed the Bill have said that they would favour an increase for the district justices. They have pointed out that the district justices work very hard and do a good job. I am greatly surprised that members of the Labour Party have taken this line as I always thought that where there was a differential laid down and that the Labour Party would not be in favour of breaking down that differential. It seems to me that as far as the Labour Party are concerned one set of principles are to be applied to one section of the community but not to anybody else, especially when the other section have not got many votes.
The Minister has been accused of not giving any reasons to the House for his introduction of this Bill. I should like to recall the Minister's opening statement when he referred to an all-Party Committee which sat in this House in 1953 and which made recommendations on the whole range of judicial salaries. He also said that the Government had endeavoured to base this present measure on those recommendations, allowing for the variations in the value of money since that time. Nobody referred to that statement made by the Minister. I would ask Deputies who suggest that these increases should not be given to tell us do they disagree with those recommendations or do they say that this measure is not in accordance with them.
If they want to argue along those lines, it is quite legitimate, but I would suggest that some of the arguments made here are purely for the purposes  of political capital. I say further that Deputies have been making political capital out of this Bill with a vengeance. That is a very easy thing to do on a Bill such as this. It is very easy to exploit ill-feeling and, human nature being what it is, most people would not favour granting an increase to a man with over £5,000 a year in order to bring him up to £6,000 per year. It is very easy to exploit that situation; but anybody who is prepared to treat this matter responsibly, and to go a little further than a mere surface assessment, will naturally consider the circumstances in which the increase is being granted and will also consider the arguments put forward by the Minister in his opening statement.
I suggest that it takes leadership, statesmanship and courage for the Government to introduce a measure such as this. No political kudos will come to Fianna Fáil because of this Bill. We have no illusions about that. Thank God, we have a Government who are prepared to exercise both leadership and courage when these are necessary to ensure that the institutions of this democratic State are kept safe from any danger of collapse. I thank God we have such a Government.
Mr. Carroll: I decided not to intervene in this debate, but, having listened to some of the speakers, I feel it is obligatory upon me now to give some indication of and justification for the action I shall take in regard to this Bill. Reference has been made to the eighth round increase. A previous Government here were very unpopular when they brought in a wages standstill order. Listening to some of the Opposition speakers, one would almost imagine that what they want now is another standstill order.
When this State was founded, a certain ceiling was set on the salaries of members of the judiciary. I have never heard anyone down through the years complain about that. Unlike Deputy Sherwin, I have not had an opportunity of familiarising myself with the way Supreme Court judges live. On every occasion in this House, however, I have supported increases,  and I have added the advice that better wages bring about a better standard of living and a better standard of living inevitably means increased production. There has not been increased production in some fields of our economy because the workers feel they are not getting sufficient wages.
The suggestion was made that the judges' case should be submitted to the Labour Court. It takes a lot of courage to suggest that the judiciary should join a trade union and possibly take strike action. Quite a number of people might be pleased at that.
Mr. Carroll: This increase, retrospective to November 1961, represents an increase of 12½ per cent. I do not think the public will worry unduly about that increase. On the voting on this issue, one wonders if there may be the possibility of an election. Well and good, if we have an election. I certainly agree with Deputy Colley that the Government, realising that would be the issue, are to be admired in introducing this measure.
It would be the popular thing for me to say that district justices should, of course, get an increase, but the Labour Party will not suggest that because the workers get an increase, the foreman should also get an increase. That is the only analogy I can find as between district justices and Supreme Court judges. When a man goes in to buy a suit of clothes, or anything else, he does not wear a badge to indicate whether he is a justice or a builder's labourer.
Mr. Carroll: I do think of them, and the people of Dublin think about them. I trust the Deputy is not suggesting I am forgetting the unemployed. In the past I supported the increases given by the Government. I  was quite voluble about them. I cannot be such a political acrobat as to vote against an increase on this occasion. There is no need for me to justify my attitude. It is the attitude I have adopted throughout, and it is the attitude I shall, I hope, adopt in the future.
Mr. Leneghan: I have often heard it said that adversity makes strange bedfellows. It would appear now that opportunity makes even stranger ones. One sees Fine Gael, the richman's Party, and Labour, allegedly the poorman's Party, aligning themselves in this year of 1962 simply for what they believe to be political advantage— political advantage that I can assure them will bring them nothing. Anybody of commonsense or intelligence, when he sees these two Parties aligned like this, knows automatically what to do. It would not take a great deal of argument to convince any sane person where right lies.
The leader of the Fine Gael Party has done so many twists that he must now be one of the chief performers in the country. I wonder do his colleagues realise, or are their memories so short that they fail to remember, that this same gentleman was responsible in 1932 for putting Mr. de Valera into office as President of the Executive Council.
Mr. Leneghan: It is no harm to remind those who forget about people's pasts. It happens to be true. Deputy Dillon voted for Mr. de Valera in 1932. It is remarkable the turns and twists he has taken since. He had an opportunity for yet another one this evening. The main reason why Fine Gael oppose this measure is that they have not got a very big share in the judiciary. If they had a good number there, they would not be opposing this measure, and no one here is so foolish as to believe they would.
Mr. Leneghan: They are all Fianna Fáil and, whoever was responsible for that, was a very just man. It may be the popular thing to make a case against the judges. Reading the papers, particularly those truthful ones, one is told that any senior counsel with any reputation at all can easily make up to £10,000 or £15,000 a year. I take it that any man who is a judge would have been quite a reputable senior counsel and would have been able to make a very good livelihood, had he never become a judge. It appears to me that by becoming a judge, he lost a tremendous amount of money. In all fairness, if we are to have able people in the judiciary, the very least we must do is to compensate them. None of these people has denied that he has been able to make up to £10,000 or £15,000 a year. As far as I know, so far no judge has been able to make anything like that; so the people who became judges must have been tremendous losers financially.
That is the simple way I look at it. It may not be a very serious matter for a county councillor in Mayo, Limerick or Dublin to take a turkey from someone for doing a bit of soft work, but it would be a ridiculous situation if our judges had to do likewise. Anything we can do to place the judiciary beyond suspicion is a step in the right direction. It may not be a popular thing to vote for this measure, but I am going to vote for it. I do not like hypocrisy. The attitude towards this has been completely hypocritical. There is no shadow of doubt about it. It is simply because the Parties opposing it have the impression that most members of the judiciary do not now and probably never did belong to their Parties that they are opposing it. Any step we can take to put the judiciary beyond suspicion is something we are bound to do. The cost is not so high. To give a shilling or two shillings to the old age pensioners would probably cost a hundred times as much.
Mr. Mullen: The attitude of the Labour Party has been fairly well explained but, having regard to some of the things that have been said, I feel I should comment. We must ask ourselves whether this is the opportune time to increase judges' salaries. I believe it is not. This case should be put back for trial, because we must remember we are surrounded by a multiplicity of other immediate problems. We must have regard to the attitude of the man-in-the-street. The effect on him of such a lavish increase will, I submit, be all the more frustrating when he has regard to all that is happening around him. Deputy Sherwin indicated, perhaps rightly so, that the cost of these increases would approximate to a farthing each for old age pensioners. That is not the point. Now and then, when it suits us, we have regard to principles and we often say a principle motivates our actions. We should not pretend any longer that we can afford to pay such high salaries and increases when there is such a miserable situation at the other end of the scale. I was intrigued by Deputy Sherwin's reference to the wags in the town. I believe there will be a lot of tongues wagging about this.
Deputy Colley sincerely said it took courage to take a stand of this kind. I sincerely believe, however, it is inopportune to make this move. I am not thinking of lining up with Fine Gael or indeed Fianna Fáil. We must get down to a realisation of the people's problems, the problem of the fellow on the lowest rung of the ladder. Reference has been made to the salaries of Ministers and T.D.s. We must look further down the ranks. Deputy Colley took the Labour Party to task and talked about differentials. He said he understood it to be a principle of trade unionists to maintain differentials. Indeed it is. But if the Chief Justice gets an increase of £665, how can you maintain differentials in respect of old age pensioners, widows and orphans and unemployed? When we talk about maintaining differentials, it appears some people do not understand the modus operandi of trade unions. Deputy Colley has a fair knowledge of it. When a trade  union sets out to maintain differentials it has regard to what the fellow at the top has and what the fellow at the bottom has. If you increase the fellow at the top, the fellow at the bottom seeks to get somebody to maintain the differential. I am not suggesting the Labour Party should advocate an increase of £665 for all recipients of benefits.
Mr. Mullen: I am talking about maintaining differentials. I am not talking about percentage increases at all. Deputy Carroll talked about the experience of people going into a shop to buy the same loaf of bread. That is a good argument for maintaining differentials. We should realise by now that well-paid people are not dependent on hand-outs to meet the cost of an increase in the loaf of bread. I have had to listen to the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Lands admonishing the Labour Party for taking this or that line. He is always talking about taking up lines, and I think at times he is going around in circles. I am wondering where he will stop. The Labour Party have firm convictions in regard to various problems and, as we are entitled to do, we give expression to them. Simply because we do that, it is wrong for somebody to say “This is a new expression of ‘The Twist.”’ The latest definition of “The Twist” is our friend, Deputy Leneghan.
Mr. Mullen: I often wonder when people set out to express themselves, why they do it by ridiculing other people. Were I to start castigating Fine Gael or the Labour Party and were I to take the side of Fianna Fáil, I would join Fianna Fáil.
Mr. Mullen: I make no money out of being a Deputy at all. I do not get my salary. I am not in this game for money. I represent the working class people. I will not deny Fianna Fáil have the right to purport they represent the working class people or the right of Fine Gael to do the same, but I believe it is about time those people who say they are in very close touch with the feelings of the people and the wishes of the people stopped looking out for a band wagon to climb on.
Deputies spoke about the eighth round increases and pointed out that the salaries of judges had to be related to the cause of these increases but I think by now almost every Deputy realises that the eighth round increases were initiated and accepted so that the standard of living of the workers would be raised. Is it seriously suggested that the judges are so badly off that we have to improve their standard of living? I am not against the judges getting an increase sometime in the future but I submit to the Minister and the Government that they seem to be putting the cart before the horse. Let them, first of all, set about looking after the people who  are in immediate need and, having done that, we will cease being a nation of hyprocrites.
Mr. Corry: If we come to examine what has happened even in respect of Deputies, and how often they were told it was not an opportune time for increases in their allowances, we can go back a very long number of years. I believe the Opposition have the wrong end of this stick. Law in this country is no longer for the poor man. It is a rich man's job because law in this country has become so expensive that it is completely outside the capacity of the ordinary individual who is looking for any kind of justice.
Mr. Corry: If the budding judge over there will keep quiet, I might be able to tell him something. I read in a newspaper last week of an unfortunate man who had won his case in the lower court but, rather than face being pauperised if the case went against him in the High Court, he dropped it.
Mr. Corry: I am suggesting that the people would have far less objection to judges, justices and others getting salary increases, if these people were in line with every other profession—doctors, engineers and the rest of them—if they had to go before the Appointments Commissioners and there be judged on their qualifications, and if we did away with this situation  where you have the briefless barristers climbing on to political platforms——
Mr. M.J. O'Higgins: I do not want to dispute the ruling of the Chair, but is the Deputy not entitled to develop his point that he would agree with this Bill only if there is a change and that he would disagree with it, if there is not?
Mr. Corry: I do not want even that briefless barrister to help me. Deputies from any Party in this House will find themselves inundated every day with appeals: “There is a vacancy for a district justice here. Would you mind seeing the Minister for me?”
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Deputy is not entitled to pursue that line any further. It has no connection with the Bill before the House, which deals with the question of salaries of justices and judges. The method of appointment does not arise.
Mr. Corry: If that is the ruling, I shall obey it. I have made the point that I think I am entitled to discuss this matter but the Chair says I am not. I shall take another opportunity of dealing with it.
Mr. McQuillan: I have not a great deal to say about this as those who have spoken have covered the issue from all angles, but I think sufficient emphasis was not placed on two or three points and I should like to deal with them now.
I think Deputy Colley made the best possible case for these increases, but although he is a very able Deputy, in my opinion, since I have seen him in the House, I do not think his case would impress anybody outside, except, perhaps, the judges who are to get the increases. It is all very fine to use this Chamber as a debating society and score minor points over one another and I am afraid a number of Deputies who have come here in recent years and climbed the ladder very suddenly have a wrong impression of what the House is meant to be. It ill becomes any Deputy who, in a short time here, is jumped up to a Ministerial post, with no experience of the tough procedure of being a backbencher  with his ear always close to the ground, to utilise his new post as a means to deliver a homily or a lecture to the members of the House who were elected by the people. When any Minister proceeds to give a lecture, he is lecturing the community, not the Deputies——
Mr. McQuillan: I have been in the House for a number of years and I can say I never had any experience, under any group who formed Governments in those years, of the Taoiseach or a Minister coming in before a debate and warning or admonishing Deputies that they should act as decent, respectable men and not lower the tone of the debate. I know that at the end of a debate or discussion, when there were rather tough speeches, Ministers at times referred to the attitude of certain Deputies. A Minister is fully entitled to do that. If he gets a few hard knocks, he is entitled to reply, but no Minister, in my opinion especially the present Minister for Justice, is entitled to lecture Deputies on how they should conduct themselves.
Much play has been made here by the Minister and some who support the Government with the suggestion that the eighth round of increases is one reason why it was imperative for the Government to bring in this Bill to give this extra salary to the judges. Is the Minister who has taken that line disowning everything that has been said by the Taoiseach and by the former Taoiseach on the question of what the judiciary are entitled to? It was stated in black and white by his leader that the salaries and emoluments of the judiciary should not be tied to, or associated in any way with, yearly increases given to other groups of the community arising from wage or salary  demands, and the question of a seventh or eighth round of increases, according to the Taoiseach, should have no bearing on what the judges are paid.
That was the line taken back in 1953 when a Select Committee of the House examined the question of the emoluments of the judiciary. Not alone was that view taken then but the same line of thought has run through the speeches and statements of the Taoiseach here.
To-day we have the Minister blandly suggesting that when there was an eighth round of salary increases, it would appear that the judges are entitled to their share of the national cake. On what leg does he stand? Is there a complete change of policy with regard to judges? Do we take it now, if there is a demand next year which will be described as the ninth round, that it will be decided by the Government that the judges will have to get another increase? The Government themselves are responsible for the criticism that has been offered here and for the long discussion. They are responsible if there is any criticism of the judiciary. Personally, I do not think there has been, but if they are used more of less as a cockshot in the political fight here, the Government are responsible for putting them into the cockpit because if they had stuck to what the Taoiseach argued over the years, the increases for judges would come over lengthy periods.
The argument here was that any adjustment in the salary scales of the judiciary should be on a long-term basis. These are the words of the Taoiseach. But the Minister comes here and seeks to justify this new increase on the ground that only a very limited number of increases were given since 1924. That is true. I think this is only the third since 1924.
Mr. McQuillan: The fourth is the present proposal. I agree that is a  limited number of increases but there was a purpose behind that, and it was that each increase given was to operate for a considerable period. If we look at the 1953 figure, it is not unreasonable to say that around 1959/60 there should have been another look at the payments and emoluments of the judiciary. But, having taken that look in 1959 and having regard to the Taoiseach's view that these adjustments should be on a long-term basis, I find it hard to understand now, only two years afterwards, these very big increases being sought.
For the record, I want to have it clearly established in the House that the third increase was given in 1959. On 1st January, 1959, the Chief Justice got an increase of £485. The judges in the Supreme Court got an increase of £370. The President of the High Court got an increase of £370. The judges of the High Court got an increase of £335. Circuit Court judges got an increase of £260. That was not a bad increase at all in 1959. The intention, when that increase was given in this House, was that there would be no other increase until after the lapse of a long period. Yet, within a period of two years, the Government have decided to give a further increase, on top of those increases. Since 1st January, 1959, the increase to the Chief Justice amounts to approximately £1,100. The increase to the Supreme Court judges is well over £700. The increase to the High Court judges is again, on my reckoning, well over £700 per annum. The increase to the circuit court judges is over £600.
If we look at those figures, I think we will agree there is no justification whatever for giving, inside a period of two years, from 31st December, 1959, to 28th March, 1962, an increase of £1,100 to any individual in this State on the basis that the cost of living has gone up or that his status has disimproved as a result of increased salaries paid to other sections of the community.
I do not think a case has been made by the Minister. He himself may have been quite satisfied but I  cannot accept the argument that he has put up here that you must pay well for the services of the legal man who is going to be a judge; that you must pay for that at a level which will measure up to what they are likely to get in the practice of the law outside. I should be very interested to find out from the Minister whether or not it is a fact that the four people whom he has mentioned here have refused to accept appointments on the bench——
Mr. McQuillan: ——if the four men he has mentioned who are members of the Bar. on financial grounds, would not take up appointments on the Bench, although they were offered those appointments.  That is the question I want to ask. If we take up the line Deputy Booth has taken here, that the market conditions must be taken into consideration, I can only say I think it is a dreadful description to use when we are talking about justice. Is this a question of principle that is involved or is is just the stock exchange that we are discussing?
Are we to regard judges and members of the judiciary and members of this House on the basis that you cannot get them unless they are paid at a certain high level? If we do not pay them at that level, they are prone to temptation and are prepared to accept bribes—is that the basis on which we are discussing this very important Bill? If it is, may I remind the Minister of the quotation from the Americans when they were dealing with the oil sheiks of the Middle East? They said: “It is very easy to bribe the sheiks but the costly thing is to keep them bribed.”
Mr. McQuillan: I do not think it is a fair line of thought in this House in relation to judges that unless we paid them some outrageous blown-up figure which certain members of the Bar are alleged to be making outside this House then we cannot attract them. It has been suggested that there are quite a number of men in legal circles who are making £10,000 a year in this country. Deputy Dr. Browne has commented on that. My only comment is that if that is true, there is something wrong. The Minister's Deputy, Deputy Corry, put his finger on it when he said it is outrageous that such charges are imposed on the community. If it is asserted that a man can make between £10,000 and £15,000 a year at practice at the Bar, and if we are to depend for our appointments to the judiciary on competition of that nature, I can only say I do not think it is true. I think the number of men who go to that figure are very limited indeed. I would say you could count them on the fingers of one hand.
Mr. McQuillan: Therefore, I do  not think it is a fair line of argument to pursue, in order to convince the public, that members of the Bar are making such big money outside that we have to pay the judges at a level that will attract them.
There is one other point on which I desire to dwell. This is not a question of attracting the best men from practice at the Bar. If the machinery for the appointment of members of the judiciary were of the nature suggested by Deputy Corry, and to which I do not intend to refer at any length, I would say the question of emoluments then should be considered coldly by a neutral independent body such as the Labour Court—call it what you like. However, when the selection is being made, it is purely on a political basis. Therefore, although I do not suggest that incompetent men are selected, it is quite apparent that a man who is the wrong colour, and who may be the most qualified and the most fitted for the job, because of his colour, is left out.
The cat has been let out of the bag here. A number of Deputies on both sides of the House agreed with Deputy Leneghan when he suggested that there is a lot of jealousy between the political Parties in connection with these appointments. I am afraid there is. It is a bad thing to have such jealousy and it is a bad system. I shall not refer to it any further than to say that all the things happening here and the discussions are brought about because of that system. If the appointments were made purely on the basis of qualification, there would not be half the criticism.
Undoubtedly, in spite of the fact that it is a bad system, I do not deny that good men come in. However, I think it cannot be denied that the very best possible men that would be available are just unfortunate enough not to get there because they are not prepared to play ball politically. I do not think any man who goes on the Bench should have to play ball politically with any organisation in this State.
I wish to comment on what I might call the junior group in the judiciary, that is, district justices. If there is any  case to be made for an increase, it is to be made for them. I am not advocating that here but I believe there is a possible case for investigation. I think it should be done by the method adopted in 1953, the setting up of a Select Committee. In 1953, that committee made recommendations which were brought into operation by the Courts of Justice Act, 1953. What is wrong in 1962 with setting up such a committee again? That is what should have been done instead of the Government's making up their minds, and saying: “The eighth round has been given to the higher civil servants; we shall have to give something to the judges.” I do not know how it was done but it would appear to the public that the Government decided, without any deep thought, that the time was ripe, after a short interval of two years, to increase the salaries of the judiciary.
Therefore, the Government have left themselves open to this discussion. Undoubtedly, there will be political reactions and I welcome them not for the sake of the Fine Gael Party, the Labour Party or anybody else but on the basis that first things must come first. Even if this increase were only £2,000 or £4,000, that is immaterial. There is an order of priorities we must establish. Not alone must we do justice to the community but we must appear to do it, and we are certainly not doing it in regard to the weaker and poorer sections when they see the Government are able to find the money for this increase. Even though it is not a big sum, they will say, as they are entitled to say and as we shall say for them, that they are forgotten, that when it comes to a question of principle, that principle does not count when it comes to an issue like this in respect of a section of the community with whom they are most in touch.
As regards district justices, they are the nearest to the people. They are the real courts of this country. Any hard work that is done in the district courts. The district justice has to be an all-round man and when we see such a big differential between the salary of the district justice and that of the bigwigs, there is room for examination,  as far as a Select Committee is concerned, of that differential which has been established by the Minister, in view of the kind of work performed by that group. Let us not forget their job is just as responsible as that of the High Court judge. They also dispense justice, they are broadminded and—I was going to say merciful—understanding. These district justices are closest to the people. Let me remind the Minister that there is no necessity, in regard to the dispensing of justice in the lower courts, to have them dressed up in the flummery and ceremonial apparel which is attached to the Circuit, High and Supreme Courts. The ordinary person going into the district court sees the district justice as a normal man and there is no question of lack of respect for the court.
Mr. McQuillan: I do not intend to pursue it, except to say that, apart from the salaries for which we are making provision, there is also a very big item which has not been taken very much into consideration in this discussion, namely, the expenses attaching to their batmen and the wearing apparel of the judges. All that is part of the expenses of the upkeep of the court. The Minister should bear that in mind when taking into consideration the increase in the cost of living, that provision is made already under some other heading besides this special Bill for these incidentals. Even in the Minister's own section as far as the Garda Síochána is concerned, there is not a true reflection of the cost of these courts.
If the Minister wanted information from me as to what it cost to keep a circuit court judge going in Roscommon, I could assure him that not alone was he getting this whopping big salary but he had a batman to look after him. In addition to that, from Tuesday to Friday, four days of the week, there were at least 12 hefty, healthy young members of the Garda Síochána rounded up from stations ten and 12 miles away to provide a guard of honour at 11 o'clock in the morning and to bow him out at 5 o'clock in the  evening. Does the Minister think that sort of thing in a town like Roscommon is justice? The Minister would be doing a good day's work if he got rid of all that kind of humbug which does not add anything to the dispensing of justice.
Let me conclude on this note. I do not know how many Deputies who were listening to the Minister's opening statement heard the clock sound. I noticed it and I think a number of other Deputies noticed that while the Minister was delivering his opening address, the tick of that clock increased in intensity at least tenfold until he came to the climax of his statement. It is the first time I have heard it in years.
Mr. McQuillan: All I can say to the Minister is that it must be a warning that the sands of time are running out for this Government and a warning to the young Minister to remember that the gods must be with him to give him and him alone this chance to change his mind before it is too late.
Mr. Tully: I suggest this is a very inopportune time to bring a Bill such as this before the House. Apart from the fact that it asks for a colossal increase for people who already have colossal salaries, it also shows to the country at large that the Government can find money for certain things which they think important and cannot find money for other things which the people think important. The Minister made one statement by way of interruption when Deputy Corish was speaking. He said, if I heard him correctly, that the judges would not get very much of this increase as it would be absorbed in income tax.
Mr. Tully: Would it not have been more honest for the Government to make that quite clear when the Bill was being introduced and say to everybody: “They will get only so much; the remainder will go back to the Government. We are giving them this increase so that they can say they are now getting £6,000 a year.” It is unfortunate the Minister did not preface his remarks with that statement because it might have made a difference to some of the speeches made here.
I want to reiterate what previous speakers have said—that we in the Labour Party believe the district justices are entitled to more money than they were getting. We believe that they should receive an increase because they are the people in this country who, in co-operation with the Guards, administer justice. They sit regularly and people come before them with the strangest cases. They have to decide these cases on the spot. They get a certain amount of co-operation from the solicitors for the prosecution and the defence but they have to make up their minds on the spot as to what should be done, what the law is and they have to temper justice with mercy.
If they had to carry out the strict letter of the law, as is done in the higher courts, there would be an awful lot of people in jail in this country. The result of their work is that we have a relatively law-abiding country as compared with other countries not so far away. For that reason, we believe that district justices are entitled to increased salaries. The suggestion that anybody, no matter who he may be, is entitled to get an increase dating back to last November of an amount equal to what an ordinary working man would earn in two years, even if most of it is to be paid back to the income tax authorities, is something which we cannot swallow, and for that reason we are opposing the Bill.
Mr. Haughey: I suppose it was inevitable that certain things would be said in this debate. It was inevitable that comparisons would be made with old age pensioners and with social welfare classes generally and that we  would be told that these increases are extravagant, unwarranted and unjustifiable. It was inevitable that we would be told that this small country cannot afford these extravagant salaries. Having anticipated that these things would be said, I am still entitled to be more than a little surprised at the fact that they were said so often. They are the stock arguments that are available to be used when a proposal of this nature comes before the House, a proposal which everybody knows is necessary and must go through but from which there is some political kudos to be gained by opposing it.
Deputy Corish suggested it was unfair to imply that the Labour Party or any other Party were opposing this measure in order to achieve political gain. It may be unfair but I am afraid I have no other alternative but to believe it. What other conclusion can I come to when I see the Minister for Finance coming into this House less than a month ago and proposing salary increases to the higher paid officials of the public service amounting to £600,000 and the Supplementary Estimate carrying those increases being passed without a word of protest from any Deputy? Then I come in with a proposal which costs only £21,000 at the outset and which ultimately will not cost the Exchequer anything like that amount and I find all this opposition to it. A sum of £600,000 goes through quickly.
Mr. Haughey: It is a natural tendency of people to be envious of highly-paid people and I accuse the Opposition of playing on that simple human emotion and trying to make political capital out of it. A man who is only earning £9 or £10 per week is going to resent an already highly-paid member of the judiciary getting an increase. It is difficult to explain to such a man why this is necessary and the Opposition are doing their best to make sure that the people will be as envious as possible.
Mr. Haughey: Deputies are not so innocent that they do not know that £1,000 a year in the 1920s or 1930s is not worth £1,000 any more. If somebody were earning £1,000 in the 1920s or 1930s, he would need to be earning a lot more than to-day to maintain his position.
Mr. Haughey: I am conscious of the political implications of increasing judges' salaries. I know it is not a  popular thing to do and I know there is a certain amount of political disadvantage for the Government in bringing in this measure. I am as good a politician as the next and I know what the ordinary man thinks about the highly-paid public servants, whether they are members of the judiciary or not.
What am I to do? Am I to run away from my duty? I do not like giving Deputy Dr. Browne and Deputy McQuillan the opportunity of making these griping, emotional, sentimental speeches on occasions such as this, but I certainly will not shirk my duty just because I have to give them that opportunity. I know the right thing to do, and I am doing it. Fine Gael know the right thing to do, and Fine Gael are more in touch with this situation than I am. They know in their heart of hearts that what I am doing is right. There was some talk about discussions in our Party. I should like to know what is the real thinking of the Fine Gael Party and of their leader. I should like to know what went on at their Party meeting.
Mr. Haughey: When this State was set up, people had a better sense of responsibility than they have to-day. They set up a certain salary structure for judges. I am sure it was not as easy to do that then as it is to-day, but they realised the importance of the judiciary and they created a certain salary structure commensurate with that importance. To-day, we are not even maintaining that structure vis-à-vis other sections of the community because every single member of the judiciary is relatively worse off than he was when salaries were originally fixed in 1924.
There is a peculiar anomaly in this matter. Our people have an implicit faith in judges. Time and again, when an independent inquiry is set up, there  is a demand that a judge should preside. Any time some impartial duty has to be carried out, people turn automatically to judges. As a politician, I have often resented the underlying implication that members of political Parties cannot act impartially or preside impartially over some arbitration or commission of inquiry. But one can always trust a judge. That is the underlying implication. People believe in the independence and impartiality of the judiciary. They value it but, somehow or other, when it comes to being paid for, they just do not want to pay. That feeling is there and the most unpopular thing one can do is to come in here with a proposal to increase the salaries of judges. I should like Deputies and people generally to be realistic about this. We value our judiciary, their independence and integrity. Let us make up our minds that, if we want to keep them that way, we must pay them.
Mr. Haughey: At least half of that £21,000 will come back to the Exchequer in income tax. We are left then with a sum of £10,000. Even the Labour Party and Deputy McQuillan are prepared to give the district justices what we are giving them and, therefore, as Deputy Sherwin rightly pointed out, we are down to a figure of about £3,000 or £4,000. What would one do with £3,000 or £4,000 if we threw out this Bill? It would not be worth a thrawneen to any section of the community. I want to make it quite clear that in giving this increase to judges, we are not taking anything from any other section of the community.
Mr. Haughey: It would not give the smallest section of the community an iota of an increase. This sum would not be worth anything to them. I want to get that message across. This money would not be of any use to any other section. It is so small it would be valueless. We are not taking anything from the old age pensioners—they are in a class of their own—or anybody else in order to give these increases to the judges.
People talk about an order of priorities. The suggestion was that I was coming in here pouring out money to the Chief Justice and depriving some old age pensioner of something. That is ridiculous. Does everybody not know that the tradition is now well established whereunder the Minister for Finance at Budget time informs the House as to what he can make available for social welfare classes. There is no priority. That is done every year at Budget time. It will be done again this year.
Mr. Haughey: Deputy Mullen is, like myself, a good Dubliner. I must assume he is sincere in his approach. He made a certain case. I have been trying to analyse it. If it is not just political tactics that is behind the opposition to this proposal, what is it? No Deputy could seriously suggest it is the amount involved. What  is it? Is it that we are giving bad example? There might be some force in that argument if we came along in a time of no change whatever in salaries and wages and gave a whopping increase to the judges, but that is not the position. This proposal comes along at the end of the queue for the eighth round increase. All sectors of the public service have got, or are on the verge of getting, their eighth round increase. There is, therefore, no question of giving bad example. It is not the amount of money. It is not bad example. What is the objection? Is it just that there is political capital to be made because of the human resentment on the part of ordinary people against rises for highly-paid individuals?
I want now to deal with members of the Bar and what they earn. I said —I repeat it now, and the Fine Gael front bench know that it is true—that there are at least three or four men at the Irish Bar who are earning so much money they would not take a Supreme Court judgeship. In those circumstances, how can anyone argue that the judges are being over-paid? Deputy McQuillan made an eloquent plea that we want the best men appointed to the bench. He agreed we have good men under the existing system, but he said we had not got the best. Surely he is arguing for me there. If he wants the best, then he must be prepared to pay a Supreme Court or High Court judge as much as and more than he can earn at the Bar. That is subject to one slight qualification: there is prestige in being a member of the Bench, and that compensates to some extent for a fallen income.
Mr. Haughey: There are all these considerations. Nevertheless there has been one case in recent years where a High Court judgeship, or a Supreme Court judgeship, was offered to a distinguished member of the Bar, a man whom everybody would like to  see on the Bench, and he turned down the offer for financial reasons. I am surprised to see the Labour Party coming in here, as some of the Deputies in the Labour Benches did, and advocating more or less that we should give these jobs to the lowest bidders. That is a rather peculiar principle.
Mr. Haughey: The argument was advanced that we would not necessarily have to pay very big salaries to judges because we would get people to do the job anyway. That argument was put to me today from the Labour Benches.
Mr. Haughey: The implication was made on a number of occasions today that the argument that you had to pay this salary to get good judges was not valid because you would get people anyway. I am glad the Labour Party are reacting violently and rejecting any such suggestion.
I also want to say a word about an argument which has been discussed a couple of times, about propriety. I do not think that is really the most serious aspect of the problem—the argument that we have to pay judges substantial salaries in order to keep them free from corruption. I do not think that is a really relevant argument.
Mr. Haughey: I do not care who used it or when. I am giving my own view. I think this is more in the sense of what the Taoiseach said: Originally, in the nineteenth century when judges became paid by the State, their salaries were set at such a level as to make them completely independent and free from any possibility of corruption. Up to that time, a judge lived to a large extent on the fines he could collect. The original basis of judges' salaries was designed on that conception: that jugdes should be paid so well and so generously that they would be free from any element of corruption. We should still have regard to the mainteance of that principle, but I do not think it is as important today as it was originally. I am not advancing it as the reason for these increases.
A number of Deputies have spoken as if a salary of £6,000 were unknown or unheard of here. We all know that is not true. In a number of sectors of the public service, men are earning £6,000. Indeed, we all know that in industry and commerce generally, a number of men in this community are earning £5,000 or £6,000 a year. Deputy Murphy from Cork is not  present now. I understand that in some of the agricultural organisations dealing with farmers' produce, and owned and run by farmers, a salary of £6,000 is not unknown.
Mr. Haughey: Let us not fall for this type of argument that £6,000 is an outrageous salary and that the only man in the country who is getting it is the Chief Justice. It is just not true. More discussion seems to be directed to the remuneration of the Chief Justice than that of anybody else. The point was made again and again that the Chief Justice is getting an increase in salary of £665. I admit he is, but that is largely a status symbol increase. By the time income tax and surtax are taken off, the net increase to the Chief Justice will be £289. That is a very relevant factor Deputies should keep in mind when considering this matter.
Deputy Murphy told me that the Chief Justice will now be earning as much as two Ministers and asked me did I think that was right. I am not too anxious to say whether I think it is right or wrong at this stage. I want to point out that at the moment the Chief Justice's salary is equivalent to that of two Ministers. In other words, he is worth two Ministers. Before the war and right up to 1946, he was worth two and a half Ministers. At least his position is not getting better.
Mr. Haughey: Now he is coming down. He was equivalent to two and a half Ministers; and now he is worth only two. Somebody—I think it was Deputy Tully—very rightly asked, if the amount of money involved here is so small, why are we bothering? There is a very important aspect of this. Do we not all know that a man's work or  value is judged by what he earns? It is a human and natural thing and it is something which is very common here—to look down on a man who does not earn as much as you do. I think that applies at all levels of our society. It applies among tradesmen, labourers, professional classes — particularly professional classes. It is there and we must face up to it. For that reason, we cannot let the judiciary slip behind the other classes with whom they are normally comparable and with whom they started out exactly comparable when they began in 1924. A question of the prestige, honour and traditional integrity and respect of the judiciary is involved in this.
I have a duty and the Government have a duty to see to it that our judiciary are maintained and continued in the high respect in which they are held by our people. Admittedly, I agree that they will retain that respect mainly by their conduct in the courts and by the manner in which they discharge their judicial functions. But being the sort of society we are and the type of people we are, a very important part of that is bound up with the salary a man earns. If we are to keep our judiciary in their proper place in the community, we must keep them at their proper salary levels and we must make sure judges are maintained pari passu with the other sections of the community with which they are mainly comparable.
We have a duty to do in this regard and we shall do it, whether it is politically popular or not. Ultimately, when the chips are down, I do not think this decision will be unpopular. We are doing our duty. Fine Gael knows that very well and Deputy Sherwin, who has an unerring instinct in these matters, knows we are right. I may say that I had no idea of what Deputy Sherwin was going to do until he started on his sound, commonsense speech in the House. As I said, the Government in this Bill are doing their duty courageously and I invite all men of principle and goodwill to follow me into the Division Lobby.The Dáil divided: Tá, 67; Níl, 61.
Blaney, Neil T.
Brady, Philip A.
Burke, Patrick J.
Calleary, Phelim A.
Collins, James J.
Corry, Martin J.
Crowley, Honor M.
Cummins, Patrick J.
de Valera, Vivion.
Egan, Kieran P.
Gogan, Richard P.
Kennedy, Michael J.
Lalor, Patrick J.
Lemass, Noel T.
Leneghan, Joseph R.
Millar, Anthony G.
Moher, John W.
Ó Briain, Donnchadh.
Ó Ceallaigh, Seán.
|Barrett, Stephen D.
Browne, Noel C.
Burke, James. J.
Clinton, Mark A.
Costello, Declan D.
Crotty, Patrick J.
Dockrell, Henry P.
Dockrell, Maurice E.
Donegan, Patrick S.
Esmonde, Sir Anthony C.
Flanagan, Oliver J.
Harte, Patrick D.
|Hogan, Patrick (South Tipperary).
Hogan O'Higgins, Brigid.
Jones, Denis F.
Kyne, Thomas A.
Murphy, Michael P.
O'Donnell, Thomas G.
O'Higgins, Michael J.
O'Higgins, Thomas F.K.
O'Sullivan, Denis J.
Reynolds, Patrick J.
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