Dáil Éireann - Volume 374 - 28 October, 1987

Private Members' Business. - Oireachtas and Ministerial Pensions Bill, 1987: Second Stage (Resumed).

The following motion was moved by Deputy Colley on Wednesday, 14 October 1987:

“That the Bill be now read a Second Time.”

Debate resumed on amendment No. 1:

To delete all words after “That” and substitute the following:

Dáil Éireann, conscious of the fact that the whole question of pay and conditions of Oireachtas Members, including pensions now paid to former office holders, is before the Gleeson Committee, declines to give a Second Reading to the Bill, and, in doing so, invites the Gleeson Committee to consider the option of paying all former office holders an additional increment for each year of service as an office holder, and paying pensions, which should be on [1730] a contributory basis, to office holders only on their retirement from the Houses of the Oireachtas.”

—(Deputy Noonan, Limerick East).

Mr. G. Mitchell: I had just commenced speaking when the House adjourned last week and I want to repeat for the record that I favour the abolition of pensions for serving Dáil Members. However, a much wider question has to be addressed. If the present system of payments for Members of the Oireachtas, especially those with long service, is terminated, then the whole area of parliamentary allowances must be examined in tandem. This is the weakness of the proposal put forward by the Progressive Democrats who, in my view, have addressed one question without addressing the other. For that reason I strongly suspect their motives in bringing this Bill forward and I believe that is a reasonable suspicion to express. The Progressive Democrats want the abolition of the Seanad. They have doubts about the need for a President and want to reduce the number of TDs. This is a useful subject for debate but it has to be considered with the other proposals they are putting forward.

The most common complaint I receive from my constituents at election time is that they do not see me often enough, despite the fact that I am supposed to have the reputation in this House of spending more time in my constituency than the average TD. I admit that I spend a lot of time in my constituency but I also find a lot of time to spend in this House. I wonder if it is in the best interests of democracy to go along the line suggested by the Progressive Democrats. If we do, it could happen that 51 Members could elect a dictator. I am very anxious that we do not undermine our parliamentary democracy.

The cost of running the Parliament — the Dáil, the Seanad, staff and pensions — in 1987 will be £13 million. This contrasts favourably with the expenditure for the Department of Health, £1,169 million, the Department of Social Welfare, £1,560 million, the Department of [1731] Defence, £301 million, the Department of Education, £1,100 million and the Department of the Environment, £865 million. Exactly how much is the abolition of these so called pensions to save the State? The reality is that it will cost the State and it is important that this be outlined in this House. If these pensions are abolished TDs would have to be properly remunerated. Many of us run our parliamentary careers like the self-employed with a turnover of approximately £20,000 a year, taking into account all allowances and income. Out of this £20,000 we have to pay for our cars, the use of our home telephones for parliamentary and public purposes, internal travel in our consitituency and many other things. None of us is paid extra money to take on additional responsibility whether it be front bench responsibility or the chairmanship of a committee. This would not be tolerated anywhere in the public or private service.

Let us abolish these pensions, but let us reward people for service, for being spokesmen, for chairmanships and so on. Let us be consistent with what is being done elsewhere in the public service. It should not be said on the one hand that we should not be treated differently from members of the public service, and then treated differently. If we abolish pensions we will have to address both sides of the equation.

Many of the most vociferous critics of Parliament never have anything to say about other institutions. One of those institutions, the Judiciary, which in my view is grossly in need of reform, has been the subject of defensive action by Members of this House on many occasions. In a democracy it is only right that Parliament should be open to criticism but is it necessary for Members to promote their own interests by abusing this right and attempting to make a virtue out of it? There are, in this Parliament, representatives of doubtful democratic origin and it seems that the Progressive Democrats are increasingly competing [1732] with these people for that strange segment of the people who do not see the need for a Parliament.

Our people need to be reminded of the fact that this is one of only 15 parliamentary democracies left. Until very recently many Members would have put Fiji on that list. In my view the existence of this House, of Seanad Éireann, of the Presidency, of Members with long service and also of new Members is something to be cherished. A democracy has to be paid for and if we look at the Estimates we will find that the amount allocated to the Houses of the Oireachtas is miniscule when compared with other Departments. I believe we get good value for the money spent.

I accept that there is need for reform in this House, but not necessarily when compared with other Parliaments. Let us look at the House of Commons with 660 Members and the House of Lords with 2,000 plus members and the village squire system. Is it being said that Members of the British Parliament work harder than we do? Where is the better Parliament with which people are comparing us? Members of the House of Commons get better remuneration than TDs, they have better pensions and they work shorter hours. Most of them do not start work until the afternoon because of commitments in the City. That is not so in this House.

With what parliament are we comparing ourselves? People constantly tell us we should not spend so much time on constituency business and perhaps they are right, but the fact is — and I have checked this with Members of other Legislatures — they all get social welfare queries. In the House of Commons Members representing marginal constituencies, highly paid Members of the Tory Administration, have computers in their offices so that they can get in touch directly with the computer file in the Department. In places like America, Senators send birthday cards to their constituents.

Miss Harney: They do the same here.

[1733] Mr. G. Mitchell: Maybe Christmas cards. Is that the system people want introduced here? Before we run down this House we should know what we are comparing it with. It is fair to ask which parliament in the world pays its members less than the Members of our Parliament. In which parliament in the world is service less recognised than here?

It may be the case that because of the multiseat constituencies there is too much competition but competition is the spice of life. In my view there is a lot wrong with the way our democratic institutions work but more than Parliament is involved. Parliament has to be corrected because of what we see as the need for reform of the Irish system. Were I a Member of Parliament in Britain I would want to reform the British House of Commons and were I Member of a parliament in other countries I would want to reform the way they do their business. I am not saying we need to be reformed vis-à-vis other states but vis-à-vis the needs of our people. If we want a reformed and active Parliament, the Members of that Parliament are entitled to be paid.

I do not intend to make any personal remarks about any Member who contributed to the debate but I must point to the reason Deputy Geraldine Kennedy gave as the reason the Progressive Democrats brought forward this Bill, the fact that they had promised such legislation during the election campaign. They also promised a 25 per cent tax rate during the election and, therefore, I expect that when the Finance Bill is introduced we will see their proposals on that promise. I believe we should abolish these pensions until retirement or until a Member leaves the Oireachtas but in its place we should have proper pay and facilities, proper increments for Members, proper research facilities, severance pay like any other workers in industry get when they are made redundant and a qualification for redundancy benefits where appropriate. It is reasonable to look for such a package. We cannot look at one side of the equation only; we must address the whole question.

Members of the House were awarded [1734] a 15 per cent interim increase because the independent arbitrator felt we were underpaid. I am not suggesting we should take that increase because pay restraint is essential in these difficult times but we must address the whole question of pay of Members of the Oireachtas so that those who have given up lucrative businesses, lucrative practices or who cut off their opportunity for advancing their careers outside the House, or Members who are married with young families and big mortgages, are remunerated at a reasonable level taking into consideration their responsibilities. They should not have to stand up and justify their pay as no other public servant is expected to do.

It is extraordinary that some Members say that we should not be treated differently at all but yet go about making sure that we are treated differently to other public servants by requiring Members to justify their pay. I support the view that the whole matter should be sent to a review commission who should be asked to report before budget day. We should not miss this opportunity to send the entire question to such a commission because I have no doubt that Parliament would benefit and, consequently, the people. We should not take one aspect in isolation because that is not in anybody's interests.

Mr. Kemmy: Unfortunately, the debate has generated more heat than light and that is to be deplored because it presented a good opportunity for Deputies on both sides to make a worth-while contribution on the issue. I will be objective and dispassionate in my remarks because I am well aware of the sacrifices Members have to make in terms of time, money and hard work to become a Dáil Deputy. My chances of becoming a Minister are fairly remote and, sadly, I do not see much prospect of a socialist Government here in my lifetime. I wish it were otherwise. In that sense I can speak objectively on this issue, although I should add that if the other proposal of the Progressive Democrats, to reduce the number of Dáil Deputies was carried my [1735] chances of getting a pension as a Member would be somewhat diminished.

Miss Quill: The Deputy can join us; we are open to members.

Mr. Kemmy: This is my third time to be elected to the Dáil and in those three terms I have hardly served two years. The prospect of not getting a ministerial or Deputy's pension does not frighten me because at 51 years of age I have managed to keep myself without any pension and I am confident I am resourceful enough to do so for the rest of my days.

Some of the remarks made during the course of the debate were bitter, personal and too narrow. I am not a Matt Talbot type of politician in that I do not believe that people should have to live on herring soup or have to sleep on railway sleepers. I do not think a person is a better individual for doing that and I do not see that that has much to offer to anybody in the modern world. I do not think politicians should go around wearing sackcloth and ashes as if they have something to apologise for or to be ashamed of. To be a public representative is an honourable calling and we should be paid accordingly.

It is worth pointing out that we are living in a time of national economic crisis and as public representatives we have a responsibility to account for our stewardship. We may think we are removed somewhat from the people but they watch us carefully and this debate is no exception. The people will watch how we divide on this issue. At a time of massive unemployment, emigration and widespread poverty it is important that we should set an example and a headline. It is important that we are not divorced from the people. I listened carefully to the contribution of a former Minister, Deputy Cooney, in his defence of the ministerial pension being retained by a serving Deputy but I was not too impressed by his arguments. He made the point that a Deputy's salary is not that impressive and that a Minister might make commercial contacts during his [1736] term of office to be used when he ceases to be a Minister. I do not think that is a good argument; there is nothing logical about it. In my view it is a spurious case because if a person is that way inclined, in or out of office, I would not have much hope for him.

Ministers who lose office are not destitute because they have their Deputy's salary and they should not be treated any better, or worse, than other Members. Most of those elected to this House are resourceful people. In some cases they have pulled themselves up by their boot straps and some of them have unusual backgrounds that I will not go into now. I would not have any great sympathy for them or shed tears for them. I am sure many of them would be able to survive on their Deputy's salary.

The figure involved, £120 per week or £6,000 per year, is a fairly small amount in the overall context and it may not be very much for Dáil Deputies but we must not forget that some CIE workers after 40 years service received about £15 per week pension up to recently. I am sure Deputy Carey will endorse that. It is only recently that those workers got an improvement on that position. Many people who work for 40 years do not get any pension and we must keep that in mind when discussing this issue. We must set an example. We cannot complain about abuses throughout the country, as we do on a daily basis in the House, without cutting out our own abuses.

One difficulty I have about the Bill is that there is selective morality involved in it. While abuses should be rooted out, we should not start with this one. There are other abuses of public and private money and we should go after them. There are many abuses of the tax system. Lester Piggott got three years last week for tax evasion but I wonder how he would have fared here if he had been found guilty of a similar charge. I have not heard of anybody here going to prison for three years for tax evasion although tax evasion takes place here on the same scale as in Britain. We should also consider the morality of low wages. The hotel industry and cleaning firms are notorious [1737] for paying low wages. I do not see many Bills coming before the House asking for minimum wages.

I should also like to refer to what the Phoenix magazine calls the “Lazarus League”, people who go out of business today and open up again tomorrow although sometimes they owe £750,000 to small suppliers who are then put out of business. That sort of morality cannot be defended and the sooner we have legislation to stop those kind of abuses the better. I hope we can bring legislation before this House which will cut out abuses of public money.

For the past six months the Government have been saying, loudly and repeatedly, that we are all paying ourselves too much and that that has been the case for a long time. This Bill is one way of demonstrating how honest and effective the Government are. There is no point in the Taoiseach and his Ministers saying we are paying ourselves too much if they do not do anything about it. It is important that they set a small headline in this respect and it will be a good day for the country if the Bill is passed. It will be seen as a good, albeit a small, start in the long haul of trying to eliminate abuses, malpractices and waste of public money. I will vote in favour of the Bill.

Miss Quill: I have been encouraged while listening to the very sensible points made by Deputy Kemmy. My only regret is that the people who will be voting on this issue did not see fit to come in to listen to what people like Deputy Kemmy had to say. Dare I say that perhaps if they had come in it might have influenced their vote?

Deputy Kemmy spoke about selective morality — and rightly so — but selective morality is little better than no morality. As he said, let this be the first step in the direction of more comprehensive morality where matters of paying ourselves and other people with taxpayers' money is concerned. I will remind the House that when the Progressive Democrats were formed nearly two years ago it was mainly as a response to the fact that the country [1738] at that time was on the verge of bankruptcy. We had in Government a group of people who, while analysing the situation every day, failed to take any action to correct it. Money which should have been invested for the future of the country was flowing out from the infamous “black hole”. No action of any kind was taken. There was a group of people on the Opposition benches who failed lamentably to fill the role of a constructive Opposition. They continued to advocate measures which would have made a bad situation infinitely worse.

Part of the reason for our being here in the House tonight is the reaction among ordinary people in every county who said to people like Deputy Des O'Malley and Deputy Harney and others who were in Fianna Fáil at the time — “For God's sake, will you break ranks, get up and do something to bring the country back from the brink of bankruptcy.” They wanted a return to solvency and sanity. I am glad the call was answered and a new party was formed. Because of their policy and the promise made by them during the course of the election campaign, the PDs brought this Bill before the House very early in the existence of their party.

Nothing has moved me more than the generous response made at the outset of the discussion on this Bill by Deputy Desmond O'Malley, our leader, and by Deputy Molloy——

Mr. Howlin: It was Hobson's choice.

Miss Quill: That is an opinion with which I do not agree. When I talk about Deputy Des O'Malley and Deputy Molloy I am not talking about a member of the Ford Corporation or Chrysler in America. I am talking about ordinary people with ordinary family commitments and very ordinary incomes. It takes a lot of guts and courage for a man to go home to his wife and children — who are at a most expensive stage of their education — and to tell her that he is sorry he will have £8,000 less next year to buy food, clothes and shoes. That takes a lot of commitment. I am very happy [1739] to be sitting behind such people at this important juncture in our history.

A great deal has been said and a good deal left unsaid in relation to this Bill. As politicians, we owe it to ourselves to accept this Bill. We owe it to the reputation of this House. Since the foundation of the State there has not been a time when politicians and politics were viewed with such cynicism as at this time. It is up to politicians to put that right as nobody else can do it. We can do this by supporting this Bill and nobody else can do it for us. As a new Member it is not my ambition to analyse the reasons for the cynicism; suffice it to say that it exists and it must be killed. If we do nothing else except that, we will have done a good turn for the reputation of the House and of politics in general.

I caught the tail-end of what Deputy Gay Mitchell said, that this is a miniscule kind of saving, that nothing very important would accrue and, because of that, he did not think it worth while to pursue the debate in any kind of constructive way. That is very regrettable because Deputy Kemmy was right when he said it is the first step. It is a very significant first step. It will be seen by the public as a first step and the measure of support we get for the Bill will determine in the eyes of the public how serious we are about that first step. It will also encourage the PDs to bring in a series of other measures which will cause us to move in the same direction.

The issue is not just how it will reflect on the Exchequer or the economy but how it will reflect on ourselves and our standing among the public whom we voluntarily elected to serve. We must not forget that any working person in receipt of a salary ought not at the same time to be drawing a pension. It is as simple as that. All the arguments in the world should not take from that simple truth which the public perceive, that a person who is working and in receipt of a salary should not also be in receipt of a pension. We plan for pensions which will keep us at the end of an active life. That is the way it ought to be at every level but [1740] that principle must be established and the leadership must come from the House.

As for saying it would not make a major difference to the Exchequer, I would not dismiss the difference it might make. After all, the money for this pension is paid for by the taxpayers and if a referendum was carried out among them asking if they could think of a better use for that money I have no doubt that with one voice they could all think of a better use to which the money could be put.

Many of them could point to the fact that this money would be better used for developing better services for the elderly who have suffered so badly from recent cutbacks. Many would say they would prefer to spend the money in developing some kind of proper care for the homeless children who are now haunting the streets of our cities. Others would like to pursue a more independent course as citizens would probably say: “Give this money to the Office of the Ombudsman and retain his budget at last year's level because we want to be free to pursue our grievances in our own way so that we will not have to go like gombeen men and women to the doors of politicians”. They might say: “Give that money to the National Social Service Board to enable them to retain the level of services that they have retained since their inception.” Those are some of the many ussues to which the taxpayers' money could be put.

I would like to say a great deal more but other speakers wish to contribute and I do not want to take up their time. During the course of the debate on this Bill I have been saddened on many occasions, especially by the fact that the Government party who are doing an extremely good PR job for all their own measures have failed to put in anything more than the most minimal appearance in the House during the discussion on this Bill. To date only one speaker from the Government has contributed and that was the Minister for Finance, Deputy MacSharry, who made a very trite, routine kind of speech on the matter. That is some leadership from a Government who are doling out to every sector of the community all sorts of cutbacks and [1741] measures to save money. It is sad that they will not even face the discussion that has ensued from the tabling of this Bill. They will not even come in to hear what we have to say. That is exceptionally sad and the loss is theirs.

As for the manner in which the Fine Gael Party have approached this Bill, I can only say that this House must have hit rock bottom, culminating with the speech of Deputy Fitzpatrick last week when clearly his attitude to the whole business was that women in this House ought to take less by way of salary or other benefit than the male Members of the House. The following day during the course of a radio programme when he was questioned on the matter — whether or not it was in an effort to explain the matter I do not know but he certainly succeeded in compounding the insult — his belief that certain people should be paid less than others was extended to people without children, whether they are male or female — as he put it, people without chick or child.

Later during the course of the same discussion, in which I took part, he seemed to indicate that what he really wanted to say was that those of us who are new in the House should be paid less than those who are hanging around the House for a very long time and whose thinking has been decidedly stale. That was his line of argument and a great number of people in the community were exceptionally upset by it, as was I.

During the course of the weekend I waited in vain for the Leader of the Fine Gael Party to make a statement on the matter and to distance himself publicly from the utterances of Deputy Fitzpatrick but this he did not do. By not doing so I can only conclude that this is now official Fine Gael policy, nouveau Fine Gael, post-Garret FitzGerald, policy. Maybe they think women should not be in the House at all, perhaps that is what they are trying to say. I have to say to them that this, taken in conjunction with the general level of the debate by them on this Bill, marks them out as people who are thinking in terms of a country that existed at least 50 years [1742] ago. It is very sad for all the people of Ireland that we have a major party in this House whose thinking is so out of date and so out of touch with the reality of the times in which we live. It is with sadness that I say that it reminds me of the way the Bourbons of France carried on long after the revolution was over or the Stuarts of Scotland or England. It was said of Charles II that he never forgot anything and he never learned anything either. It is very sad that major parties in this House are not prepared to come to terms with the reality of the times in which we live.

While listening to some of the opinions that came from the Synod of Bishops in Rome this week one got the impression that they were a group of subversives having the underground meeting compared with what has been said by some of the people in this House during the course of the discussion on this Bill. However, I would say to the two major parties in this House that all is not yet lost. There is an opportunity this evening for both parties to redeem their honour and they can do so by supporting our Bill. They will do more for their reputation and for the reputation of the House by doing so than by making utterances on other issues and they will not regret it.

Mr. P. O'Malley: I welcome the opportunity of speaking on this Bill which I regard as a fundamentally important measure. It puts Deputies in this House under a spotlight and is forcing us to face up to the perceptions of the public as to how we organise ourselves and conduct our affairs in this House. This Bill is the first of a series of reforming measures which my party intend to introduce in this House. Politicians of all parties are often heard lecturing on how they want things changed. The main point of this Bill is that we cannot lecture others about such matters if we are not prepared to take the first reforming steps ourselves.

Certain Members of this House, on previous nights when this Bill was being debated, have tried to heap scorn on this measure and indeed Deputy Quill has referred to this in her contribution. I [1743] resent the accusations made by Deputies Cooney and Fitzpatrick in their contributions last week when they variously described us as being opportunistic and said we were indulging in political gimmickry by introducing this measure. Deputy Fitzpatrick, as Deputy Quill has said, went on to make what can only be described as unworthy remarks about members of my party and I can only presume he did so to divert attention from the real issue which is that we must reform ourselves and ensure that the public whom we serve get better value for the money they spend on us in running the Houses of the Oireachtas. It is worth noting in passing that both Deputy Cooney and Deputy Fitzpatrick are former office holders and as such would be directly affected by the outcome of this Bill if it were passed. It seems that fact more than anything else might account for the stance they have adopted in relation to it.

As other speakers have said in this debate, in purely money terms this Bill could be described as being quite insignificant in that if it were passed it would mean a saving of less than £300,000 to the Exchequer. That is not an inconsiderable sum when one considers the savings that the National Social Services Board and the office of the Ombudsman are being required to make. The Bill had far wider implications than the amount of money which would be saved. As I said earlier, it has more to do with restoring confidence on the part of the public in the way we politicians conduct our affairs.

No-one can deny that there is an anomaly when people who are in receipt of a salary for specific work are also drawing a pension for that work. That is an anomaly which undoubtedly needs to be rectified. We cannot continue to decry abuses of the social welfare system and continue to condemn those who operate in the black economy on the one hand, if we do not rectify this anomaly and put our own house in order first. Last week, the Dáil spent four days debating the 1988 Estimates involving cuts in public expenditure of the order of £485 million [1744] which we agree are generally necessary in the interests of sorting out the public finances. But in making these cuts in public expenditure many very necessary services have had to be curtailed, witness indeed the effects of these cuts on the education budget, on the National Social Service Board and on the Ombudsman's office. It behoves us in that context to look at ourselves as legislators and ask ourselves are we practising what we preach and is the public getting full value for the money they pay us to represent them.

The primary purpose of this Bill, as I have said already, is to rectify an anomaly. A pension, by definition, is a payment somebody receives on retirement. There are many people in this House who are far from retirement age and who are in receipt of this pension. It is a weird practice. It was established by a committee going back approximately 50 years. It is time that system now came into the modern age because it does not apply anywhere else. It is an anomaly that has to be rectified.

I note that when the Minister for Finance was making his contribution to this debate he said that the pensions payable to former office holders were not a matter in which the recipients should be seen to be the arbitrators. The recipients and every Deputy in this House must have a say in this matter by their votes. It is the people who will be the final arbiters on this matter when they are asked to adjudicate on it in due course. I can see some merit in the argument that has been put forward by speakers on other occasions on this Bill that a new pay structure other than the present one is needed for Members of the House which takes into account the length of service people have given. There is in fact another anomaly here where back benchers who have served, say, for 20 years and never held ministerial office get the same pay as someone who has only been newly elected to the Dáil. Of course, they get a lot less pay than others of their colleagues who are now on the back benches but were fortunate enough at some stage to hold ministerial office.

[1745] I would say, however, that any proposal to change the pay structure must be in the context of a package of other reforms relating to this House and the way in which it operates. A new pay structure should not give rise to a net increase in expenditure by the Paymaster General for the overall Oireachtas salaries and expenses. If that were the case, the only way in which it could be achieved would be to reduce the number of TDs, pay them a better salary and tax them on an equal basis with every other worker in the State.

Mr. Carey: Hear, hear.

Mr. P. O'Malley: My constituency colleague, Deputy Jim Mitchell, felt that the salaries of TDs should be sufficient to attract professional and business people into the Dáil, and I do not disagree with that.

Mr. Carey: And working men, too.

Mr. P. O'Malley: I take it that Deputy Carey is a businessman and I am delighted that he was attracted into the Dáil. I do not disagree with what Deputy Mitchell was saying in that respect. He said also that of the 14 Progressive Democrat TDs none of us was a businessman. I would like to assure him that indeed several of us are, including myself. I would also say that it was not the salary that attracted us in here but the principles on which this party was founded, particularly principles such as the reforms we have advocated in this House on former occasions, and one of which we are debating here tonight.

In the real world outside many workers have to face redundancies because of financial constraints. I do not see why this House should escape the compulsory redundancies that are being imposed on others in the private and public sectors. The membership of the Dáil is too large. At present the Constitution allows for between 20,000 and 30,000 per Deputy. The lower ratio, the 20,000, is always used and that gives rise to the present high number of Deputies we have in this [1746] House, a total of 166. That situation could quite easily be changed. It does not need a referendum to alter that. The Government could arrange for the higher ratio to be used; the net result of that would be that we would have a reduction of Deputies in this House of the order of 40. At the moment we seem to have about four to five times more representation than in the UK and that seems to apply as well to many other international fora such as this.

The public would welcome such a reduction because the present size distracts from our main role as legislators and encourages clientelism and the messenger boy approach to the work we do in our constituencies. In my own constituency — and I am sure it is the same in every other constituency — the system is that one is forced to compete for votes on the basis of favours done for constituents which are probably their right anyway. It would be much more appropriate that we Deputies would devote our time to our main role as legislators and get our votes based on policies. Speaking as a Deputy in what could be described as a marginal seat, I have no hesitation in advocating a reduction in the number of seats in my constituency for the reasons I have already outlined. In my opinion a reduction in the number of TDs, apart from saving money for the Exchequer and enabling the introduction of a better pay structure and a realistic pension scheme, would depoliticise the whole practice of getting people something that is their right in the first place; the messenger boys would be made redundant.

The purpose of this Bill is to rectify a glaring anomaly where people in receipt of salaries from the same employer are getting a pension at the same time. It is also the forerunner to a number of other reforming issues that my party intend to introduce in this House. Two of my colleagues have already set an example in the matter of their pension entitlements. It is up to each Deputy in this House to consider fully the implications of this Bill before deciding which way to vote. I would urge them to support [1747] this Bill by the vote they take here tonight.

Mr. McDowell: I was just reflecting on the empty seats around this House this evening and thinking that we do not so much face a grand Coalition of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil Deputies on this issue as a grand Coalition of mahogany and leather. It is the empty seats in this House that are the most notable feature in this debate. We were listening to a debate on the status of children and the urban trendy brigade of one of the political parties of this grand coalition were here in numbers but as soon as this issue arose they departed. Why is that? Why is there this total difference in attitude towards attendance at debates in this House when an issue of this importance comes before the House to be decided and debated on? Why, suddenly, did a group of Deputies who were anxious to participate in debate on a social issue, on an issue in which perhaps there are good headlines to be made, suddenly flee the House and leave it to the mahogany and leather to speak for them.

Mr. Carey: I hope the Deputy is not including me in that. The Deputy was very much absent last week when the Estimates were being debated.

Mr. McDowell: Rough deal would probably sum the Deputy up. But, with respect, the reality is that this debate has been boycotted not out of any sense of principle but by reason of shame, by those who know they have been sent in here to defend the indefensible and have made a very poor job of it on occasion. It has been boycotted by those who do not even want to hear the indefensible being defended in their name. It is being boycotted by those who are in receipt of these pensions and by those who hope one day to receive these pensions.

Why has this boycott been imposed? It was done to try to minimise this debate, to try to reduce its importance in the eyes of the public, to do it dishonour so that the media would in turn regard the matter [1748] as of no consequence. But those tactics have fallen flat on their face on two counts, first because the people of this country do regard this as an important issue, and second because we will not permit the empty benches to run this debate into the ground. We will not permit people to absent themselves from reality to absent themselves from discussing an issue on which people feel so strongly, and to absent themselves from the judgment of the people in the last analysis. I assure you, a Cheann Comhairle that this is not the end of this Bill. It will be brought back again and again to haunt those people who know that it is a correct measure. We will not sit down and walk away from this measure if neither Fine Gael nor Fianna Fáil support us here tonight and if the Bill is defeated. We will not decide that that is the end of the matter and move on to some other topic. We will bring this Bill back as soon as the provisions of this House and the Standing Orders of this House render it proper to do so, and we will wrap this measure around the thick and brass necks of those Deputies in this House who feel that by ignoring it it will go away. It will not go away; it will remain centre stage in this House, in the media and at the next election. We will not let the issue die. We were sent here with a strong mandate to bring this measure before the House and we will ensure that that mandate is not eroded by the passage of time or by the movement of history or events in the life of this Dáil.

The present system was defended by the Minister for Finance in a most unmoving speech, if I may say so, by reference to a report which was made 50 years ago by the Shanley Committee. No good reason was offered as to why 50 years later the people of Ireland, who resent bitterly this improper use of public funds, are wrong and the Shanley Committee still should hold sway over our affairs. The curious thing about the contribution of the Minister for Finance to this debate was that it was virtually identical with that offered by his predecessor when this Bill was first brought before the House. At that stage, because the [1749] Progressive Democrats had not enough members to see it through, it was thought safe by Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael not to oppose it. Once we have the Members, once we have the clout in parliamentary terms to bring this measure before the House and force the issue, then we realise where these people stand who were all sweetness and light on the first occasion, who said that they had no opposition to offer to the Bill and that it should be read a Second Time. When it comes near to becoming legislation and their votes really do count, we realise where they stand. Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael last year could posture as parties which did not oppose the measure. This year we see them for what they really are. The ideological teeth they bare on occasions turn out to be dentures removed at night time for comfort. I suggest we are now seeing them for the flabby frauds they are.

Mr. N. Treacy: Speak for yourself.

Mr. McDowell: Forced to decide how they are going to cast their vote, now we see where they stand on the issue. Last year, when the Progressive Democrats could not put the matter to a vote, when we had no entitlement to Private Members' time and had five Deputies, they said that there was nothing wrong with the Bill and that they would offer no opposition to its setting a first reading. That is hypocrisy. It stinks and the people of Ireland know just how badly it stinks. They know how much nonsense has been gone into in posturing on the issue last year and changing that posture this year. We will never let this issue rest. Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil will find we will keep coming back to the issue, putting it in front of them very much like a child who will not eat its meal. It will come back the next morning cold, and will be all the more unpalatable the second time, and coming towards the next election it will be all the more damaging. As that time appears, we as a party will become all the more determined to expose the hypocrisy which has gone for a political stance on this issue.

I have no great view that any individual [1750] Member of this House has a higher moral quality than any other Member. I resent the suggestion that in some sense the Progressive Democrats, in advocating fearlessly that there should be parliamentary reform, are arrogating to themselves a monopoly of political virtue. I further resent the suggestion which has been made quite vociferously on occasions by people who should know better that in some sense it is wrong that a Member of this House should make criticisms of its structures and methods because he owes some kind of loyalty to the institution itself and that loyalty to the institution involves silence on its faults. That is the beginning of the end for democracy. That is not loyalty, it is complicity. As far as this party are concerned, we will not be in complicitous in the suppression of debate on the way in which our democratic institutions work. We will not be cowed by those who accuse us of some form of disloyalty when we criticise the way in which this House works.

It will be easy, and it has been done, to say that every one of us comes from some walk of life where there is some flaw in the institutions with which we normally deal. That was levelled at this party, and in particular, at myself, when I offered some views as to how this House might be reformed. The reality is that every single measure before this House must be judged on its own merits. Deputy Kemmy made the salient point that this perhaps is only one small instance of where reform should be made and that there are plenty of others. But where else can we start to reform except among ourselves? If we start reforming others without reforming ourselves we shall be taken for what we are, unwilling to take punishment but quite willing to mete it out, unwilling to make sacrifices but quite willing to impose them on others, unwilling in any way to suffer for what we believe in while we make others suffer for what they do not believe in. That is the perception of politics which is being suggested by the Fine Gael attitude in this debate. I reject it and so do all right thinking Members.

This measure has a considerable [1751] number of consequences. It does not just mean that Members of this House should be deprived of their pensions while they hold office, it applies also to the Judiciary. It is not considered correct that the members of the Judiciary who are paid on one basis should have their total emoluments varied this way or that on the basis that 20 or 30 years ago they held office as Ministers in Government. Most people would not accept that as a correct way of remunerating our Judiciary. If we are talking, as Deputy Mitchell suggested, about reforming the Judiciary, does anybody really believe that is a fair and proper way to remunerate the Judiciary?

I should also point out that this Bill, if enacted, will also apply to the Presidency. The Chair directed on the last occasion that the President himself could not be brought into this debate and I am respectfully bound by this ruling. I accept it. However, I believe it is a feature of this Bill that if it is enacted it will have the effect of depriving the President of his statutory entitlement to a pension. That is one of its consequences and I cannot shy away from it. I presume I am not in any way trespassing on the privileges I have as a Member of this House in pointing that out. I shall confine myself to saying it is a great thing that it would not actually have that effect in this case because of the sacrifices already being made.

This measure will not go away. It is coming to stay and will be passed. What will make it pass in the last analysis is the pressure of public opinion. It is here, it is bearing down on this House. This measure will pass and I am quite satisfied that the longer Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael avoid the issue or pretend that it is not there, the greater will be the approbrium in which they are held and the greater the contempt when they finally change their minds.

Mr. Power: I did not intend to speak but, having listened to some of the speeches that have been made, I feel obliged to speak. I want to make it clear [1752] that I am opposed to this Bill. I have no axe to grind in doing so because, unfortunately, I have no pension. I spent two periods in Government and I understand the job which a Minister has to do and how much work he has to do. It is a very demanding job both physically and mentally. Up until now, you did that job in the knowledge that if you completed a certain term in office you would receive a pension. It is very wrong for someone to try to change the rules during the course of a game and to be very selective with those for whom you are trying to change the rules.

During one of those periods of office we decided to forego an increase which was granted and I do not remember anyone saying that we were great to do so at that time. I notice that any time an increase was accepted it made headlines in the newspapers and the media are very quick to pick up things such as that.

At a meeting which I attended recently I heard of one description of the Press Gallery of the Canadian Parliament and such a description would also be remarkably applicable to this House. The Press Gallery in the Canadian Parliament were described as being a group of people who sat all day on a hill overlooking the battle but took no part in it and then came down at night to shoot the wounded. Not alone would they shoot the wounded but they would also desecrate the dead.

It should be pointed out that certain people may be lucky in that they do not have to give up a profession that they cannot easily return to but there are those, and I am not one of them, who have to make sacrifices and who have to divorce themselves completely from their business interests to devote themselves totally to politics and a ministerial post. If we want people of a proper calibre to do that job we cannot denigrate them as has happened here. As I said, the Bill appears to be very selective and it is geared to improving the image that the public have of this House. I do not think the negative self criticism which we have heard will be of any help towards improving the image the public have of [1753] Deputies. After 18 years in this House I can say that financially I am worse off — maybe, mentally I am better off — than when I entered this House and my bank manager will confirm this. If we want decent representation it is quite obvious that we will have to pay decent remuneration.

We have been accused of boycotting this Bill because we have not spoken on it on every occasion. We have somehow being blamed for the empty seats in this chamber. If the Deputy as a performer cannot fill the arena he should not blame us. Last week, I brought visitors into this House and they were unfortunate in having to listen to a long speech which was read and which was far from edifying. I also want to know why politicians are being singled out in this Bill. Why have Army personnel not been included? There are more Army personnel in my constituency than anywhere else. Why are Army personnel entitled to a pension and why have they not been mentioned in this Bill? Why have ESB workers or the legal eagles not been mentioned in this Bill either? Why are we being so selective?

I want to say that I am very pleased to oppose this Bill and I have no qualms about doing so. There are those who have lots of money, who get regular sweeteners and who do not have to make sacrifices as the money they receive for a day in the Dáil would in no way compare with the money they would receive for speaking elsewhere who have the gall to come into this House to say that our attitude really stinks. That is the height of hypocrisy. I have been told that the Progressive Democrats have said that they will keep coming back. Only time will tell whether they are right.

Mr. D. O'Malley: I am glad that Deputy Power came into this House to speak on this matter because it would have been almost too much to find that nobody has spoken from the Fianna Fáil benches except the Minister for Finance. I find myself in a curious position towards the end of this six-hour debate on this Bill in that I am the eleventh Progressive [1754] Democrat speaker. Last week in the debate on the Estimates which went on for four full days we had a struggle to get three speakers in and the fourth and fifth speakers whom we had lined up were unable to speak. It is indicative of something that it should have been so relatively easy for us or anyone else over the last two weeks to speak on this Bill.

Deputy Jim Mitchell who spoke last week said that he believed if a referendum were held in the morning on this Bill it would clearly be passed and he thought that the majority might even be about two to one. I can tell Deputy Mitchell that he is wrong because if a referendum were held on this Bill tomorrow morning, the majority in its favour would more likely be 99 to 1. If this House regards itself as a representative one, representative of the people, does it care anything for the view of the people because the view of the people, by a 99 to 1 majority, is that this Bill should be carried. What does this House think it will achieve by flying in the face of the people in a matter such as this? Does it not realise that any so-called victory that will be won in the minor battle which will take place here at 8.30 p.m. tonight will be a pyrrhic victory and that the real war will be fought on the doorsteps of Ireland and that those who might be victorious in this small battle tonight will not necessarily be victorious in the real war which will take place out in the real world.

The people hold a strong view about this anomaly and feeble efforts were made to justify it. They cannot understand how people serving in this House and who are being paid to do so are also in receipt of pensions for activities which were connected with their being Members of this House. A number of Deputies, including Deputy Power, asked why this Bill does not apply to Army personnel. It does not apply to them for this reason. This Bill only applies to ministerial pensions and if someone has served as a Minister in the Government I find it very hard to see how he is going to undertake service in the Army. So far as people who have served in the Army are concerned, we [1755] have been asked why those who leave the Army and who receive a pension for their service are not being deprived of their pension under this Bill. What retired Army Officer receives a pension for serving in the Army? That is the answer to that question.

Before moving on to make some of the points that I wish to make in support of this Bill I want to deal very briefly with some of the points which were made against it. I have listened to all of the speeches during the six hours of debate and taken notes where appropriate. The opposition to the Bill is curious and feeble to say the least of it. One of the tests of a Bill such as this which seeks to make some kind of change and which tries to decide on whether there should be reform at a given time is to assume that there is no parliament and that somehow or other Ireland is suddenly fashioned from nothing and that we have to have a parliament. Do you think we would have one which operates in the way this one does? Do you think that we would have built into it the kind of anomalies which exist here at present and which will be defended, if not by speeches, by quick votes tonight. On the Government side, we heard earlier in the debate, a civil service-type speech from the Minister for Finance, Deputy MacSharry. I say “civil service-type” advisedly because that is precisely what it is. It is almost the same speech as that delivered on Wednesday, 12 March 1986 in Seanad Éireann by Deputy Jim O'Keeffe, then Minister of State at the Department of the Public Service, when replying on behalf of the then Government to a motion on this very point in the names of Senators Ross and B. Ryan, which motion was defeated in the Seanad by 24 votes to 14, the two parties voting against it in the Seanad being Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael. They are now feebly putting up many of the same arguments here.

I am happy to find this evening — thanks to Deputy Power's brief intervention — that there is another voice on these extensive and empty benches that was able to speak. I thought there was a [1756] grave danger that the only speaking that would be done now on behalf of Fianna Fáil would be done in a room on the second floor here by the man who, in the past, has described himself as the voce of il Duce.

It makes me think back to when I was first elected to this House — just under 20 years ago now — when there were men who sat on those benches like MacEntee, Smith, Aiken, Lemass and a few more of them. They were the kind of men who did not need any voce on the second floor to talk for them. If they wanted to say something they would come down into this Chamber and say it and, whether it was popular or not, it would be said. What have we now? Eighty empty seats here. I salute Deputy Power for having had the courage to at least come in and express a view. On the other hand, with Fine Gael, we had four or five speakers, three of whom, curiously, went out of their way to say that these anomalies of Ministerial pensions being paid to people in this House, the Judiciary and elsewhere were wrong. In fact in the ten minutes in which he spoke this evening, Deputy Gay Mitchell said four times that he disagreed with these pensions. Then he implied that he was voting against this Bill. Deputy Noonan, the Fine Gael spokesman on Finance, has an amendment down which suggests that this matter has been referred to the Gleeson Committee and, therefore, should be forgotten about in this House. I checked with the Department of Finance today. They tell me that this is not so, that the terms of reference of the Gleeson Committee do not provide for that committee to make any recommendations on pensions paid to former office holders.

The Minister for Finance, in his speech, had referred at great length to the Gleeson Committee. He did not say so but tried to imply that they were looking at the matter and that anything referred to a committee should not be looked at by this House. Of course it has not been referred to that committee. I am sure there are a lot of people who wish it would be because, in that way, it is swept under the carpet. I thought it [1757] curious that the Minister for Finance, among other things, should say:

.....they are free from any charge or suggestion that in some undefined way they can unfairly manipulate the system for their own financial gain.

that is, speaking about Members of this House and these pensions. That is precisely what we are doing. If we vote down this Bill this evening that is precisely what we are doing. Earlier he had said, at column 320 of the Official Report of 14 October 1987:

As I have already said, the pensions payable to former Ministerial and other office holders are not a matter in which the recipients should be seen as the arbitrators.

But Members of this House are seen as the arbitrators. They have the choice this evening. They can exercise that choice. They should remember that they are the arbitrators if they vote down this Bill because they will be voting to continue the payment of these pensions to Members while they are Members of the House.

At column 317 of the Official Report of 14 October 1987 the Minister for Finance had this to say:

The arrangements which are now in operation for nearly half a century have played their part in maintaining both the quality and stability of our political institutions.

I wonder would the quality and stability of our political institutions, in particular of this House, not be very much greater if these kinds of unacceptable anomalies that people outside cannot understand or tolerate where done away with? Would passing this Bill not be exactly the sort of thing that would raise the dignity and credibility of this House rather than have it the way it is?

Deputy Power, like some others, was pained at the apparently low standing in which some speakers suggested politicians were held. If Deputy Power is pained by that I can only tell him that [1758] that is the view widely held in this country. This is one of the first things we can do here to correct and change it, and I suggest we do it. Why it is important for this House to take a step like this is that this is the primary democratic institution in this country.

An Ceann Comhairle: I am sorry to interrupt the Deputy but he will appreciate that, about now, I would — in accordance with normal procedure — be asking the mover of the motion, Deputy Anne Colley to reply. I take it that Deputy O'Malley is utilising that time and is now replying to the debate?

Mr. D. O'Malley: Yes, Sir, I am replying on her behalf. This is the primary institution in this country. The reform of any other institution has to begin here. God knows, there is need for reform of institutions in this country. But we have no moral authority to reform any other institution until we reform ourselves. Of all the ways in which we must reform ourselves this constitutes the most glaring and silly anomaly. It may cost the taxpayer only £250,000 but it is totally and grossly unjustified because of the nature of the way it is paid.

Let us look at the reform that should be carried out in this country, at the reform necessary in the courts, in the whole legal system and the way things operate. People who have been elected to this House from the Four Courts have often said to me: I thought things were bad in the Four Courts but, by God, I never believed they could be anything like they are here. It is true. We have no moral authority to change or reform other institutions until we begin to put this House in order.

Even in the silliest ways this House seems so unwilling to change. For example, on last Friday afternoon there was a debate on noting the Estimates for next year. In order to take a decision on that the Members of this House had to spend precisely 70 minutes traipsing up and down those stairs when, in any other Parliament or place, it would be done in [1759] perhaps three or four minutes electronically. I remember, I think ten years ago, making a suggestion that that be changed and I was told: no, it could not. That thinking was there in the minds of Deputies Cooney and Tom Fitzpatrick when they spoke last week, their view that because this system has been here for 50 years, therefore it must be good, therefore it should not be changed. How different they are from people of a younger mentality. It can be summed up by saying that if they could say this Shanley Committee, on which so much emphasis is laid today, had reported 100 years ago, then the whole thing would be twice as valid as it was when they reported 50 years ago.

In passing I want to express my anger, at and my repudiation of remarks made by Deputy Tom Fitzpatrick last week, in particular in relation to Members of my party, in particular to the female Members of my party. It may seem difficult for Deputy Tom Fitzpatrick to imagine that there could be a political party 29 per cent of whose Deputies are women but that is a fact of life. I reject absolutely his insinuation that such people are amateurs in some way, or that they come into this House or engage in politics as a hobby. They have an enormous contribution to make, they have made an enormous contribution and will continue to do so.

Deputy Tom Fitzpatrick — and I suppose it shows the paucity of the arguments advanced on this matter — went on to say that what Deputy Molloy and I had done was, and I quote “a dirty, mean little political gimmick”. I am not sure whether he also includes the President of Ireland in that phrase but, assuming he does not, I can say to Deputy Fitzpatrick that the making of a charge like that reflects far more on him than on the people about whom or against whom he purports to make it.

We have had a curious argument from Fine Gael. Three of their Deputies, including their spokesman, put forward the argument that this whole thing was anomalous and should be done away [1760] with, but they thought it should be referred to a committee and dealt with in a somewhat different way and put somewhat on the long finger. They were at great pains to tell us that what the Bill was trying to do away with was wrong. On the other hand, Deputy Cooney and Deputy Fitzpatrick said that it is perfectly right. We saw a strange division there in which they spoke with two voices and had different ways of looking at these things.

The point was made about Deputies' pay, which is unsatisfactory, as few people know better than I, and I will have extra cause to know it from now on. We were asked why we did not cope or deal with that in this Bill. We have no power to introduce a money Bill and that is what would be necessary in that context. The PDs see an absolutely valid case for having a much more reasonable and rational system of payment for Deputies if it were done in the framework of the institutional reform we propose. We cannot see the jusification nor the need for a Seanad in this country and we do not accept that we need the number of Deputies who sit in this House at the moment at one per 20,000 when the Constitution allows one per 30,000. If these kinds of changes were made and if the number of Ministers of State — which has become a bit of a joke as they are tripping over one another and getting into all kinds of rows about what to do and what not to do because they are seriously under-employed — were reduced to a reasonable figure, the saving overall might not be huge but it would be very valuable because it could be multiplied many times over in terms of the example it would give of a preparation on the part of people in this House to share sacrifice.

In the recent national plan or public sector pay agreement, as a result of the reduction in the Estimates — which I agree with — and an increase in public sector pay, the vast majority of the people are being asked to tighten their belts. Two categories and two only were not. One are the great majority of the public service who retain their jobs, other than the 10,000 who have to be let go in [1761] order to pay increased wages for those who remain. Apart from them and Members of this House everyone is expected to make sacrifices. Is that right?

I refer again to the primacy of this House and the entitlement of people to look to this House for leadership and example. Even if individual Members here are called on to do things that by normal standards might be looked on as almost unreasonable and irrational to set an example, then it behoves ordinary Members in this House to do that and I am glad to say that some have done it. However, here tonight we are not voting on whether to save £250,000, we are voting really on the question of whether all people are prepared to pull together or whether only those in the real world outside these gates are expected to make sacrifices while the people in here who make the rules make no sacrifice. Not alone do they not reduce what they have, they maintain what by any normal standards is indefensible and was not defended within this House. That is the decision that is going to be made. It will be about £250,000, but this Government or Fine Gael, if either of them were prepared to respond to the challenge that we throw down to them now, could revolutionise the thinking and could create here a real consensus that would get all the people pulling together for the first time in a very long time. This is precisely the time in our history and in our fortunes as a nation that we need to do that. Tonight we are giving an opportunity to this House to redeem itself in the eyes of so many people and to vindicate its position as the primary institution in this [1762] country. It is not often that that opportunity is afforded here; it is not often afforded on a single net issue like this, but this is a point on which people can make judgment, on which they will make judgment and will continue to make judgment for many years to come.

Therefore, I ask the House, irrespective of Whips or anything else, to realise that there is something fundamental here. This is not just an ordinary Bill or an ordinary law that will affect a small number of people and save a small amount of money. This effects some Members of this House. It gives them an opportunity to put their country before themselves. I hope they do not fail to grasp that nettle.

An Ceann Comhairle: There is an amendment in the name of Deputy Michael Noonan (Limerick East) to delete certain words and substitute certain words. I am putting the question: “That the words proposed to be deleted stand”.

Miss Kennedy: I do not think there is any need for——

A Deputy: Is the motion defeated?

Mr. D. O'Malley: The amendment is defeated.

An Ceann Comhairle: The question is that the words proposed to be deleted stand.

The Taoiseach: Put the question again.

Question put: “That the words proposed to be deleted stand”.

The Dáil divided: Tá, 30; Níl, 113.

Clohessy, Peadar.

Colley, Anne.

Cullen, Martin.

De Rossa, Proinsias.

Desmond, Barry.

Gibbons, Martin Patrick.

Gregory, Tony.

[1763]McCartan, Pat.

McCoy, John S.

McDowell, Michael.

Mac Giolla, Tomás.

Molloy, Robert.

O'Malley, Desmond J.

O'Malley, Pat.

O'Sullivan, Toddy.

Harney, Mary.

Higgins, Michael D.

Howlin, Brendan.

Kavanagh, Liam.

Keating, Michael.

Kemmy, Jim.

Kennedy, Geraldine.

[1764]Pattison, Séamus.

Quill, Máirín.

Quinn, Ruairí.

Sherlock, Joe.

Spring, Dick.

Stagg, Emmet.

Taylor, Mervyn.

Wyse, Pearse.


Abbott, Henry.

Ahern, Dermot.

Ahern, Michael.

Allen, Bernard.

Andrews, David.

Aylward, Liam.

Barnes, Monica.

Barrett, Michael.

Barrett, Seán.

Barry, Peter.

Begley, Michael.

Boland, John.

Boylan, Andrew.

Brady, Vincent.

Brennan, Matthew.

Brennan, Séamus.

Briscoe, Ben.

Bruton, John.

Bruton, Richard.

Burke, Liam.

Burke, Ray.

Byrne, Hugh.

Calleary, Seán.

Carey, Donal.

Collins, Gerard.

Conaghan, Hugh.

Connaughton, Paul.

Connolly, Ger.

Cooney, Patrick Mark.

Cosgrave, Michael Joe.

Coughlan, Mary T.

Cowen, Brian.

Creed, Donal.

Daly, Brendan.

Davern, Noel.

Deasy, Austin.

Deenihan, Jimmy.

Dempsey, Noel.

Dennehy, John.

de Valera, Síle.

Doherty, Seán.

Doyle, Avril.

Dukes, Alan.

Durkan, Bernard.

Ellis, John.

Enright, Thomas.

Fahey, Frank.

Fahey, Jackie.

Farrelly, John V.

FitzGerald, Garret.

Fitzgerald, Liam.

Fitzpatrick, Dermott.

[1765]Taylor-Quinn, Madeline.

Treacy, Noel.

Tunney, Jim.

Walsh, Joe.

Fitzpatrick, Tom.

Flaherty, Mary.

Flanagan, Charles.

Flood, Chris.

Flynn, Pádraig.

Foley, Denis.

Gallagher, Denis.

Gallagher, Pat the Cope.

Geoghegan-Quinn, Máire.

Griffin, Brendan.

Harte, Paddy.

Haughey, Charles J.

Hegarty, Paddy.

Higgins, Jim.

Hilliard, Colm Michael.

Hyland, Liam.

Jacob, Joe.

Kenny, Enda.

Kirk, Séamus.

Kitt, Michael P.

Kitt, Tom.

Lawlor, Liam.

Leonard, Jimmy.

Leyden, Terry.

Lowry, Michael.

Lynch, Michael.

Lyons, Denis.

McCreevy, Charlie.

McGinley, Dinny.

MacSharry, Ray.

Mitchell, Gay.

Morley, P.J.

Moynihan, Donal.

Naughten, Liam.

Nolan, M.J.

Noonan, Michael. (Limerick East)

Noonan, Michael J. (Limerick West).

O'Dea, William Gerard.

O'Donoghue, John.

O'Hanlon, Rory.

O'Keeffe, Batt.

O'Keeffe, Jim.

O'Keeffe, Ned.

O'Kennedy, Michael.

O'Leary, John.

Power, Paddy.

Reynolds, Albert.

Roche, Dick.

Shatter, Alan.

Sheehan, P.J.

Smith, Michael.

Stafford, John.

Swift, Brian.

[1766]Walsh, Seán.

Wilson, John P.

Woods, Michael.

Yates, Ivan.

Tellers: Tá, Deputies Harney and Kennedy; Níl, Deputies Flanagan and Farrelly.

Question declared lost.

An Ceann Comhairle: I am putting the amendment in the name of Deputy Noonan (Limerick East). The question is: “That the proposed words be there inserted”. The amendment reads as follows:

To delete all words after “That” and substitute the following:

“Dáil Éireann, conscious of the fact that the whole question of pay and conditions of Oireachtas Members, including pensions now paid to former Office holders, is before the Gleeson Committee, declines to give a second reading to the Bill and, in doing so, invites the Gleeson Committee to consider the option of paying all former Office holders an additional increment for each year of service as an Office holder, and paying pensions, which should be on a contributory basis, to Office holders only on their retirement from the Houses of the Oireachtas.”

Question put and declared carried.

Motion, as amended put and agreed to.