Seanad Éireann - Volume 73 - 18 July, 1972
Ministerial and Parliamentary Offices Bill, 1972 ( Certified Money Bill ): Second Stage.
Question proposed: “That the Bill be now read a Second Time.”
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance (Mr. Lemass) Noel T. Lemass
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance (Mr. Lemass): The report of the Committee of Inquiry  into Ministerial and Other Salaries, in 1937 recommended that a Parliamentary Secretary should qualify for a gratuity on ceasing to hold office, but it considered that a similar recommendation in favour of the Leas-Cheann Comhairle was not warranted. The Ministerial and Parliamentary Offices Act, 1938, subsequently provided that the office of Parliamentary Secretary would attract pension rights rather than a gratuity, but it made no provision for the Leas-Cheann Comhairle.
Despite the difference in the treatment of the offices by the committee it is evident from its report that there was appreciable support for equating both offices. Indeed, the committee stated that the duties of the Leas-Cheann Comhairle were onerous and for all practical purpoes demanded whole-time attention. This continues to be the position and justifies taking steps now to make the office pensionable. Accordingly, the Bill equates the offices of Leas-Cheann Comhairle and Parliamentary Secretary for the purposes of pensionability and covers any past holders of the office, if alive, or their widows, with effect as from a date not earlier than the passing of the Bill.
Mr. Alexis FitzGerald Mr. Alexis FitzGerald
Mr. Alexis FitzGerald: On behalf of the Fine Gael Party I have no hesitation in welcoming this Bill. The office of Leas-Cheann Comhairle is generally occupied by a senior Deputy. To be elected to that office he must be a popular Deputy. To be successful he must be impartial, detached, objective and informed. Considering these desiderata it is right that the office should at least be equated to that of a Parliamentary Secretary who is generally a much more junior Deputy. I unhesitatingly recommend the Bill to the House and welcome it.
Mr. Lemass Mr. Lemass
Mr. Lemass: I am very happy to hear Senator Alexis FitzGerald's remarks. The Seanad will agree, I am sure, that the lower House has been blessed by the impartiality of all our deputy-speakers. I commend the Bill to the House.
Question put and agreed to.
Agreed to take remaining Stages today.
Seanad Éireann 73 Ministerial and Parliamentary Offices Bill, 1972 ( Certified Money Bill ): Second Stage.