Lenihan, Brian Joseph

Thursday, 26 February 2004

Seanad Eireann Debate
Vol. 175 No. 15

First Page Previous Page Page of 12 Next Page Last Page

Public Service Superannuation (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2004: Committee Stage.

The amendment proposes to change superannuation to “pension” and, therefore, instead of “public service superannuation scheme” in the interpretation section, it will read “public service pension schem...More Button

It has no effect and is a textual change to ensure consistency in the language used in the legislation.More Button

This definition sets out the bodies which come within the scope of the Bill. It is a broad definition to ensure that all public service bodies are covered. Due to this, some commercial State-sponsored...More Button

With regard to that interpretation, we seek to change “2001” to “2003” in the references to the Companies Acts 1963 to 2003. This amendment is to take account of the Companies Acts in the definition o...More Button

The rationale for the exclusion of members of the Judiciary from this legislation is that judges are different to other civil servants, primarily because they are appointed under Article 34 of the Con...More Button

In the Courts of Justice Act, wherein the retirement ages of judges are specified. In the Supreme and High Courts, retirement age is 72 and in the Circuit Court it is 70. In the District Court it is 6...More Button

Was the Senator not dealing with the non-scheduled bodies?More Button

If it is not listed a body is not excluded other than as stated in the Bill——More Button

——or if it does not fall within the definition of a public service body. I discussed that provision when I moved the technical amendments regarding the Companies Acts. Some commercial sponsored bodies...More Button

No.More Button

Yes.More Button

We are not aware of any commercial bodies that are included. Essentially, the purpose of the definition is to exclude all non-commercial bodies. The Senator is quite right in what he says about judges...More Button

We are talking about the definition of a public servant in this section. The definition of a public servant might be taken to encompass a judge, the President, the master of the High Court, a taxing m...More Button

I declare an interest as a member of the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission. The staff of the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission are civil servants of the State. They are not civil servants of the G...More Button

I am not quite clear about the secretaries and I would have to check whether each is engaged under a contract to a particular Member.More Button

I agree with Senator O’Toole. I was making clear to Senator McDowell that the staff of the Houses of the Oireachtas are civil servants of the State, but it is far from clear that where a Member engage...More Button

They are not covered, strictly speaking.More Button

We might return to this matter on Report Stage. Civil servants of the Government or of the State are a defined, ascertainable group of persons. I am not clear about whether the group of persons to whi...More Button

I am happy to advise the House that an unestablished civil servant is not covered by this legislation. That is the current position, but they will later fall within the scope of the legislation.More Button

Once they become established they are, by definition, civil servants.More Button

No.More Button

They are civil servants. They are unestablished civil servants. They are not established under legislation; that is why the expression “unestablished” is used to refer to them. They have already arriv...More Button

I understand the intention behind Senator O’Toole’s amendment, but there is an issue of principle involved. In the budget, 1 April 2004 was announced as the effective date after which the new arrangem...More Button

If a person resigns his office he has made a conscious decision to terminate his contract of employment, so he can only come back as a new entrant in that instance. Naturally, if a person is on leave,...More Button

If they have gone for a year without obtaining leave of absence, paid or unpaid, they have resigned from their position.More Button

I am sure the Minister has a high regard for nurses and teachers. I would not entertain the idea that there is any member of the Government who does not have the height of regard for them. I have grea...More Button

Our view about their work motivation has nothing to do with this legislation. The Bill has to deal with the demographic timebomb we face in the future. If there is leave, paid or unpaid, this legislat...More Button

If we amend the definition of a new entrant to dilute it even further, we will give an advantage to a particular group at the expense of other groups who might wish to join the public service.More Button

We would give rights which are above and beyond those provided for in existing employment legislation to other workers in other contexts with regard to the continuity and discontinuity of employment.More Button

I am not aware of the terms of such arrangements for the purposes of today’s debate. However, if such arrangements are contractually in existence and agreed upon, they are not in any way affected by t...More Button

Senators O’Toole and Browne made an eloquent plea on this issue. However, the Minister is of the view that he must stick to the strict contractual link that exists in the contract of employment. The p...More Button

There is also the holding, in the case of such a person, of a statutory office.More Button

There is a statutory office in the case of a garda trainee.More Button

It is not a mere expectation. It is an implied contract that on completion of satisfactory training that person will take up duties and be assigned as a member of the Garda Síochána in a definite post...More Button

The contract implies a legal right, it is not a mere expectation.More Button

It is a right to serve with the Garda Síochána on completion of training. I am not clear if it is written, but there have been numerous court decisions in this area. The position of a member of the Ga...More Button

I do not wish to discuss nurses, but I wish to employ them to illustrate a point, which is, the dangers of extending this category beyond the Garda Síochána to bodies which have expectations. If one e...More Button

The Army cadet is——More Button

I agree with Senators Ormonde and Fitzgerald that a person starting training in any area, including teaching, has no guarantee regarding the jobs market or the terms or conditions that will apply to t...More Button

Public Service Superannuation (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2004: Committee Stage (Resumed).

This is a discussion about the chasm between a defined right, entitlement or status as a member of the public service, whether on paid or unpaid leave, and a mere expectation that having relinquished ...More Button

Subsection (5) deals with the Members of the Houses of the Oireachtas or the European Parliament and holders of qualifying office. A person is not deemed a new entrant once the person was a Member of ...More Button

The category of a public servant is much wider in the legislation than the category of Members of the Houses of the Oireachtas, the European Parliament or holders of qualifying office. The very specif...More Button

Precisely. Secondment usually means that one’s employer continues to pay one but there exists also the concept of unpaid secondment or leave. It usually relates to continuity of payment by the main em...More Button

Section 2(4)(II) refers to the definition of a new entrant. The transitional provisions are referred to in section 2(4). Section 2(4)(b) refers to a person serving in a public service body. It states:...More Button

This is to clarify that the offer of appointment is a binding offer.More Button

The purpose of this is to provide for seasonal workers who are called back each year, for example, temporary clerical staff who are employed seasonally at the passport office. While they may receive a...More Button

They are not new entrants.More Button

Those people are on panels.More Button

In the public service there are many instances of persons who are on panels for relief work and so forth, or work in the passport office. They have accrued employment rights, must be given first refus...More Button

This does not apply to a person who has resigned from the service. It applies to a circumstance where there is an established custom and practice concerning the person who happens not to be at work on...More Button

They are not employed under a contract. We are back to our chasm.More Button

Unfortunately it is neither. Someone who resigns from the public service does not have a right to return to the public service.More Button

There was legislation providing for such rights for those who were disadvantaged by the marriage bar.More Button

I admire the Senator’s industry in constructing this Trojan horse. However, I can assure him that when a person resigns from the public service, a resignation has occurred. This section does not apply...More Button

If they are on the panel.More Button

Senator O’Toole made a point about contracts. A person does not have the same contract if he or she resigns. The same contract applies to a person in seasonal or part-time employment who still has a c...More Button

They are not new entrants if they have an entitlement to be considered as part of a panel. Panels are constituted in a certain way: a person on the panel has a right to be sent for prior to the engage...More Button

The Senator uses the phrase “under contract” but, as he must be aware from his extensive experience in industrial relations, not every employment relationship has a definite deed in a box with a label...More Button

Once that relationship is not terminated, the person cannot be a new entrant. If someone wrote to the Department of Foreign Affairs saying he no longer wished to be on the panel for employment in the ...More Button

Were that person then to re-seek employment in the Passport Office he would be a new entrant.More Button

This is a very technical point. Of course there may be a new contract dealing with the actual payment of wages and the implied terms of the relationship, but there is a wider relationship, with legal ...More Button

A famous jurist once pointed out that most confusions about law derive from the confusion of the physical and the legal. Legal concepts are distinct from physical concepts and they are crystal clear. ...More Button

He should focus on the employment relationship. If he focuses on the terms of the legislation we are considering, he will notice that the phrase “under the same contract of employment” in both context...More Button

Senator Walsh used the word “discrimination”. The Bill is, in a sense, an act of discrimination because it discriminates or distinguishes between the present and future corps of public servants. This ...More Button

In the case of a retired member of the Garda, he or she would be a new entrant on taking up a new position after retirement. That would be a new position and not an extension of an existing position.More Button

They are not affected by the legislation in any sense. If a teacher wishes to stay on, that can be arranged but the teacher does not draw a pension. However, if a different public sector position is s...More Button

Serving public servants who were obliged to retire at 65 years of age could compete again for public service posts provided they wait for 26 weeks after retirement. Then they would be new entrants und...More Button

It is but it is the practical answer.More Button

The intention is to allow the garda to make an election at the age of 55. The important proviso is that although the garda can elect to continue working up to the age of 60, this is subject to the pow...More Button

That is not our understanding.More Button

This relates to the arrangements for prison officers. The pension arrangements for prison governors were the subject of a separate agreement under the conciliation and arbitration scheme. The amendmen...More Button

Notwithstanding the drafting of a particular section, the relevant age is 60 for prison officers and governors.More Button

Yes, 60 shall be substituted for 65.More Button

It is the legislative intention to reflect that distinction. I understand it is defined in the interpretation section of the Bill.More Button

It is still under discussion. This Bill will have a big impact on military pension arrangements. For example, the current retirement age is 40 but this is being raised under this legislation. The purp...More Button

This has always been the case.More Button

In a sense, we are revisiting Second Stage, although the matter arises on Committee Stage. While the current Minister for Education and Science is a determined man, I am not sure he will be a signific...More Button

We are not reneging on anything. It was suggested that the Minister was not engaged. The Minister and the Government engaged with the report of the Commission on Public Service Pensions and acted on i...More Button

Will the Senator refresh my memory?More Button

The Minister made his own decisions on that issue.More Button

Most of his backbenchers were.More Button

Senator McDowell should address his question to Senator O’Toole. This was the precise point I endeavoured to make during the last debate. Specific arrangements will be made in specific contexts in the...More Button

It would not be in the education sector but in a specific arrangement for a specific purpose.More Button

I do not wish to add to what I have already said. I do not know whether Senator Phelan was present when I replied. We are discussing the issue again. It is important to bear in mind that the Minister ...More Button

I will ask the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government to look at it.More Button

It is not covered in the Bill one way or the other. The staff have raised the question of payment of PRSI contributions by those over 65 in future, which will happen if the PRSI regulations are not am...More Button

No.More Button

The Minister has the power to make the determination in the case of a dispute and the Minister would be obliged to follow the rules of natural justice and entertain any representations because he is v...More Button

It does not, but it can be reasonably implied. We will look into it.More Button

These are technical amendments and are proposed because the schedule as drafted does not fully reflect the purpose of section 2(5) whose intention and meaning is that all persons who held an office po...More Button

The revised text fully reflects all the circumstances intended to be covered by section 2(5) of the Bill. The Government amendment stems from the need to clarify the position of former Attorneys Gener...More Button

Public Service Superannuation (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2004: Report and Final Stages.

I wish to make a correction under Standing Order 121. Am I in order making such a request on Report Stage?More Button

In the new subsection (II) inserted in section 5 to insert “behalf of” after “on” and before “the Official Side”. In the new subsection (2) inserted in section 5 regarding the title of the Act of 1919...More Button

I thank Senators both for the discussion earlier in the week on Second Stage and for today’s analysis of the Bill, which was searching, thorough and comprehensive. In its technical aspects the Bill is...More Button

That is my considered opinion having listened to the views of Senators today. Clearly the Minister for Finance and his Government colleagues have reflected on the commission report. The Minister made ...More Button

Last Updated: 09/09/2010 20:26:17 First Page Previous Page Page of 12 Next Page Last Page