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Dáil Éireann debate -
Thursday, 12 Nov 1925

Vol. 13 No. 3


asked the Minister for Defence if he is aware that Louis Melhorn, 5 Lower Oriel Street, whilst serving in the National Army, met with an accident in September, 1922, in Portobello Barracks; that as a result of an iron plate falling on him he received injuries which later resulted in his foot having been amputated; that repeated applications by the injured man for compensation or pension have been refused, and if he will take steps to see that this man who has suffered considerable pain and loss will be compensated.

I am aware that Mr. Melhorn alleges he sustained an injury to a foot in September, 1922, under the circumstances mentioned by the Deputy. He made a claim under the Army Pensions Act in December, 1923, and, in consequence, was examined by a medical board in February, 1924. He was not found to be suffering from a disability due to the injury mentioned.

Mr. Melhorn's leg was subsequently amputated as a result of tuberculosis. He was again examined by a medical board in March, 1925. On consideration of the board's report I have come to the conclusion that the tuberculosis did not result from the injury stated to have been received in September, 1922. I regret that I am, therefore, unable to make any grant to Mr. Melhorn under the Army Pensions Act, 1923.

Will the Minister consider the advisability of giving this young man the benefit of the Workmen's Compensation Act, and allow him to go to court, when he will produce his own doctor who will prove the connection that exists between the accident and the loss of his foot?

I think the Deputy is very well aware that no soldier is entitled to claim the benefits of the Workmen's Compensation Act.


Am I to understand that if a soldier, in the exercise of his duty, meets with an accident which subsequently means the loss of a limb, that that soldier's case is not provided for in the Army Pensions Act of 1923, and that he has to be thrown out without the ordinary privileges that the civilian has of applying to the court for compensation?

I think the Deputy will understand that I have certain legal powers, and beyond these it is impossible for me to go.

Does the Minister propose to introduce legislation to extend his Army powers?

When the Minister is issuing his next recruiting advertisement will he state these detrimental facts as well as the other side?

This boy was sent to St. Vincent's Hospital, and the report of the hospital authorities in his case is:—"Vol. Louis Melhorn has been examined here in reference to an alleged injury to foot. Both clinical and X-ray examination were completely negative in this respect. His condition is due, in my opinion, to a first degree ‘flatfoot,' which is painful on marching. Gymnastic exercise, etc., during convalescence are desirable."


May I put the question to the Minister, whether he is aware that this boy, from the time he was practically twelve years, was in the Fianna Scouts and did very good work for the movement and had considerable route marching, and that the foot never came against him until he met with the accident in Portobello Barracks due to the falling of an almost red-hot iron plate which he was lifting. This plate fell on his instep, and as a result of that, the injury received brought about the loss of his foot, and I would ask the Minister to see that justice is done in this case.

I am not aware of what the Deputy states.


Will the Minister give the young man the opportunity of producing his own doctors to prove his statement?