Wigmore October 1985 - Pensions, Ray Burke

WHILE RESEARCHING our cover story we were led to make compariisons between the pension rights of various employments.
TDs: Contribute six per cent of salary. If they lose their seats after eight years they immediately get the pension. New proposals will ensure that if they lose their seat after beetween five and eight years service they will qualify at age sixty.

Pension: one-fortieth of salary mulltiplied by years of service. TD with twenty years service would receive £8,989, per annum.

Ministers: No information on conntributions. If they leave office after three or more years (even if they reetain their Dail seats) they qualify. No age requirement.

Pension: varying percentage rates, between twenty-five and fifty-one per cent, depending on service and status. Minister after three years: £5,033. Minister after eight or more years: £9,059. Ministers are also entitled to a TD's pension.

Nurses: Contributions total six and a half per cent of salary (one and a half per cent of this for widows and orphans scheme). Under an impending scheme nurses will qualify after five years to be paid a pension at age sixty.

Pension: one-eightieth of salary mulltiplied by years of service. Suppose a nurse had somehow reached a TD's salary. She would retire after twenty years with £4,494. A TD with the same service would get £8,989, twice the nurse's pension.

Fire fighter: Contributions, five per cent plus optional one and a half per cent for widows and orphans. Miniimum service for pension, twenty years. Age of qualification, fifty-five.

Pension: after twenty years, quarter of salary. After thirty years, half of salary.

Army private: non-contributory.

Qualification after twenty-one years.

Pension: after twenty-one years £2,965. After thirty-one years, £4,110.

CIE bus worker: present scheme, contribution £2.07 a week. Qualify after twenty years, pension at sixtyyfive. After thirty years, pension of £16.50 per week.

Impending scheme: qualify after ten years, pension at sixty-five. Conntribution £2.97 a week, payment £24.93 a week (£1,296 a year).

Garda: Contribution, one and three-quarter per cent of salary, plus one and a half per cent spouses and chilldren. Minimum retiring age, fifty.

Pension: after thirty years, half salary.

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DUBLIN CORPORATION has a new tactic in its relentless war against the people who put pretty posters on derelict buildings. Usually the posters advertise some concert or other event. Now the Corpo has taken to daubing the date and venue of the event with black paint.

Would that the Corpo had been as vigilant in stopping the speculators from creating the eyesores on which the posters are stuck.

Previous tactics have included emmploying The Brown Paper Man to plaster sheets of brown paper over offending posters. Then the Corpo stuck "cancelled" stickers on the posters. Now they are daubing. "We reserve the right to change our tactics in this war," says Corpo PR Noel Carroll.

Watch out for the napalm.

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THERE SEEMS to be a new wrinkle being worked. A member of the Repeal Section 31 Campaign (which opposes the censorship of R TE) was giving out leaflets at Croke Park during the AlllIreland Final. She was arrested by a traffic garda and taken to Fitzgibbon Street garda station. There she was held for half an hour. She was then released and was told that she would be charged with a breach of the peace. Inquiries by legal advisers suggest that no charges will, in fact, be preferred.

We have long seen how Section 30 is used to suppress protest by spuriously charging people with serious crimes in order to put them on ice for an hour or two. Could someone in what is laughingly called authority over in the Department of Justice please ensure that the breach of the peace laws are not abused to the same extent?

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AN APPLICATION to visit Armagh Jail by a delegation of Trade Union officials concerned about strip searchhing of women prisoners has recently been refused.

The group, which included John Carroll, President of the ITGWU, and Matt Merrigan, President of the ICTU, was informed of this decision, not by the Northern Ireland Office, to which they had applied, but by the British Ambassador in Dublin, Alan Goodison. (High powered stuff indeed.) In a letter, the ambassador stated that only MPs, church representatives and members of the judiciary with a direct interest in the prison, were allowed that type of visit.

The letter went on to say that there had been inaccuracies and untruths in reports about strip searching in Armagh and that the amount of searches taking place was the same as in Enggland. The delegation felt that having access to the prison rather than diploomatic annunciations would give them an insight into the real conditions in Armagh. In an attempt to overcome the ban, the trade unionists are to apply for individual visits to the jail.

Does the declaration from the ammbassador mean that the delegation will have to run for election to Westminster or set up their own church, or become judges or barristers and solicitors, in order to get into Armagh Jail? And does the fact that the British ambassaador to the Republic has taken to annswering queries to the North now mean that in fact he is the British representative to the entire thirtyytwo counties? I think we should be told.

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IN CONTRAST to other months there was little competition for this issue's Person of the Month award. Maybe it was the sudden heat.

There was a last-minute nomination of Charlie Haughey, from some North Dublin supporters of Fianna Fail. They pointed out that Charlie showed considerable gallantry in his recent tussle with the elements off Mizen Head. For two hours he sat with his companions on their lonely and danngerous raft, bringing them comfort and encouragement, when at any moment he could have walked right across the water to safety.

However, the destination of the award had already been decided by the seventeen nominations of Ray Burke, Fianna Fail's Spokesperson for Something or Other.

Ray gets the award for his dedicaation to democracy, fairplay and commpassion. Some protest that his opposiition to the painfully-concocted plan to settle traveller families demonstrates some kind of bigotry. We know that this is not so. Ray is a cultured and civilised man. His energetic moves to scrap the plan and begin the lengthy and even more painful process of conncocting a substitute plan merely reflects his concern to get things right.

Ray also knows that the travellers are hardy people, not sissies like the Dublin liberals, and they will be quite prepared to spend another few winters on the roadside while Ray formulates a new plan, as long as this time he gets it right in accordance with the demoocratically-expressed wishes of that great organisation, Fianna Fail.

We looked up Ray in the Magill Book Of Irish Politics, with a view to finding a few nicely turned phrases. "He was involved in several land deals in the County Dublin area in the early seventies, while he was a member of Dublin County Council. His activities then caused a protracted garda invesstigation - he was interviewed by members of the Fraud Squad on more than twenty occasions. The garda file on the case was sent by the then Attorrney General, Declan Costello, to the Director of Public Prosecutions ... While the presumption must be that there was no basis for a criminal charge arising out of the affair as the DPP did not institute any prosecution, the ethical aspects to the case were never explored. Such an exploration might have dealt with the propriety of elected public representatives earning considerable fees from ventures whose profitability they are in a position to enhance through their activities as public representatives."

And who, we ask, is more suited to working out a plan for halting sites if it's not someone with extensive exxperience of land deals? Go to it, Ray. Congratulations.

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