Dáil Éireann - Volume 159 - 25 July, 1956
Additional Estimates. - Vote 67—Increases in Pensions.
Mr. Sweetman Mr. Sweetman
Mr. Sweetman: I move:—
That a sum not exceeding £120,000 be granted to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1957, for payment of increases in certain pensions, etc., in respect of public service.
The purpose of this Estimate is to seek the approval of the Dáil for increases in the pensions of certain retired members of the public service and to permit the increases to be paid in advance of legislation. Deputies will recall that in my recent Budget statement  I outlined the increases intended and I mentioned that legislation to give effect to them was being prepared. Last week I introduced the Pensions (Increase) Bill but, as it would not be possible to have the Bill enacted in the present session, I would propose, on the authority of this Estimate, to pay the increases as they fall due, that is, with effect from 1st August next. I intend to have the text of the Bill circulated during the recess.
Deputies are aware that the superannuation of State servants generally is determined by length of service and salary at retirement. The cardinal principle is that an agreement has been made initially with the pensionable officer that when he retires his pension will be a due proportion of his retiring pay. Nothing in this agreement implies any contractual obligation on the employer to increase the pension by reason of anything that may happen after a pension has been calculated and awarded in accordance with the agreement. This principle was, however, modified exceptionally on two previous occasions—in 1947 and again in 1949, when certain pensions increases were granted to alleviate hardship caused to pensioners of long standing by steep rises in the cost of living. Because of further advances in the interval for which serving employees of the State as well as other sections of the community were compensated, the Government decided at Budget time that a measure of relief should be afforded to public pensioners. This measure, weighted in favour of the lowest pensions and estimated to cost the State £180,000 in a full year, is the most that can be spared for the purpose in this time of stringency.
The proposed increases will be payable with effect from 1st August, 1956, to certain retired civil servants and national and vocational school teachers; to retired and dismissed members of the Royal Irish Constabulary and to certain former members of the Garda Síochána, as well as to the widows of such members. The Estimate covers also certain ex-members of the Defence Forces in receipt of retired pay or pension, as well as certain recipients of wound or  disability pensions or dependents' allowances under the Army Pensions Acts and the Connaught Rangers (Pensions) Acts. Finally, there is a sum representing the State's contribution towards corresponding increases in the pensions of certain former employees of local authorities. In using the qualification “certain” I mean that the pensions to be increased will be those only of persons in the categories I have mentioned who retired before the operative date of the general pay increase of 1952, which for most classes was 1st November of that year.
The following are the increases proposed: where the pension does not exceed £100 a year, 15 per cent.; if it exceeds £100 but not £125, an increase of £15; between £125 and £150 a year, 12 per cent.; between £150 and £200 a year, £18; over £200 but less than £300, 9 per cent.; and over £300 and less than £450, £27. If the pension is over £450 a year, I propose to increase it now by 6 per cent., without imposing any ceiling. A pension already increased under the Superannuation Act, 1947 or the Pensions (Increase) Act, 1950 will be raised by the percentage or addition appropriate to the total amount already payable. There will be an overriding limit on the increases, so that no pensioner who retired before 1st November, 1952 will be given such an increase as would afford him a larger pension than a colleague's of equivalent service and salary who retired on or after 1st November, 1952, on a pension which reflected the pay increase of 1952.
I should add that pensioned secondary teachers will receive the same treatment as pensioned national teachers. The cost will be chargeable to the Secondary Teachers' Superannuation Fund, subject to the necessary amendment of their pensions scheme. I also propose to extend the benefit of the increases to recipients of widows' and children's allowances under the Ministerial and Parliamentary Offices Acts and to the beneficiary under the Clerk of Seanad Éireann (Compensation) Act, 1939. The latter pension has not been increased since it was originally granted.
 When this Estimate has been passed, revision of the pensions affected will be proceeded with as rapidly as possible.
Vote put and agreed to.
Dáil Éireann 159 Additional Estimates. Vote 67—Increases in Pensions.