Go bhfuil sé oiriúnach a údarú go n-íocfar amach as airgead a sholáthróidh an tOireachtas aon chostaisí fé n-a raghfar fé fhorálacha aon Achta a rithfar sa tSiosón so chun soláthar do dhéannamh chun Pinsín, Liúntaisí agus Aiscí d'íoc i gcás áirithe le baill fé mhí-chumas d'fhórsá Armtha Shaorstáit Eireann agus do Chóghléasanna Mileata áirithe eile agus chun Liúntaisí agus Aiscí d'íoc i gcás áirithe le cúram daoine atá marbh agus a bhí ina mbaill de sna Fórsaí agus de sna Có-ghléasanna san agus chun an tAcht Arm-Phinsean, 1923, do leasú agus do leathnú agus chun socrú do dhéanamh i dtaobh nithe bhaineas leis na cúrsaí roimhráite sin uile agus fé seach.
That it is expedient to authorise the payment out of moneys to be provided by the Oireachtas of any expenses incurred under the provisions of any Act of the present Session to provide for the payment of Pensions, Allowances and Gratuities in certain circumstances to disabled members of the Armed Forces of Saorstát Eireann, and certain other Military Organisations, and for the payment of Allowances and Gratuities in certain circumstances to dependents of deceased members of the said Forces and Organisations, and to amend and extend the Army Pensions Act, 1923, and to make provision for divers matters connected with the several matters aforesaid.
This Bill contains a considerable number of miscellaneous provisions, but its principal provisions are those which allow for the payment of pensions in respect of disablement from disease during active service. In the original Act of 1923 provision was made for wound pensions only, because it was felt that that type of provision was most urgent, and also because such an Act could be administered with a reasonable degree of satisfaction.
The administration of provisions such as those of this Act, for giving pensions in respect of disablement due to disease, will be extremely difficult. It will, in many cases, be difficult to determine whether the disease originated while the person was on military service or whether it was not due to service conditions. There was no medical examination when people joined the Volunteers. There was not a satisfactory system of medical examination when people first joined the National Army, and, in a great many cases, where claims will be made the people probably were suffering from disease before joining the Volunteers or the National Army, as the case may be. Because of the difficulties, it has been considered necessary to restrict the granting of pensions to cases in which the disability reaches 80 per cent. It would not be possible to have the full graduated scale of disablement which we have in respect of wounds. The wound is much more tangible and its origin is much less subject to doubt. The degree of disability can be assessed in accordance with a scale laid down in the Act. That is not possible in connection with disability arising from disease. It is extremely difficult to give any estimate of the annual charge that will arise from the passage of this Bill into law, but attempts have been made, for the information of the House, to arrive at an estimate, and it is believed, both by my Department and the Department of Defence, that the cost when the Act will have been in operation some little time, will rise to about £50,000 a year, but should not exceed that. Deputies will understand from what I have said that there are no data on which to make a close estimate, but the facts, as known, have been carefully reviewed, and that is the opinion of the people who have been examining it in the two Departments.