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Dáil Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 12 Sep 1934

Vol. 53 No. 21

Military Service Pensions Bill, 1934—From the Seanad. - In Committee.

I am recommending the acceptance of the Seanad amendments.

The following Seanad amendments were agreed to:—

1. Section 1. After line 24 the following inserted:—

(f) Cumann na mBan;

2. Section 1. After the figures "1922" in line 29 the words and figures "the 1st day of July, "1922" inserted.

3. Section 1. After the word "July" in line 31 the figures "1922" inserted.

4. Section 3. The word "male" deleted in line 14.

5. Section 3. Two new sub-sections added at the end of the section as follows:—

(2) Where a person who is not a person to whom the Act of 1924 applies and who is not a person to whom, by virtue of the preceding sub-section of this section, this Act applies, has either:—

(a) served in the Forces at any time during the week commencing on the 23rd day of April, 1916, or

(b) served in the Forces continuously during the period commencing on the 1st day of April, 1921, and ending on the 11th day of July, 1921,

this Act shall, notwithstanding anything contained in the foregoing sub-section of this section, apply to such person, but with and subject to the modification that, in respect of such person, the expression "the first critical date" shall be construed as meaning the date during the said week or, if he did not serve during the said week, during the said period, on which he first served in the Forces in such week or such period (as the case may be) and the expression "the second critical date" shall be construed as meaning the earliest date in the period between the first critical date in respect of such person and the 12th day of July, 1921, on which such person held his highest rank in such last-mentioned period in the Forces.

(3) The Act of 1924 shall, for the purposes of this section, be deemed not to apply to a person to whom that Act in fact applies but in respect of whom the Minister is satisfied either that because of such person having served in the Forces he did not apply for a certificate of military service under the said Act or that such person was refused such certificate because of his having been sentenced to imprisonment or penal servitude in respect of an act done by him in the execution of his duty as a member of the Forces.

6. New section. Before Section 16 a new section inserted as follows:—

16.—Where a certificate of military service is granted to any person after the date of the passing of this Act and a pension under the Act of 1924 is granted to such person, such pension shall, notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1) of Section 4 of the Act of 1924, commence as from the 1st day of October, 1934, or the day of his discharge from the Defence Forces of Saorstát Eireann, whichever of those dates shall be the later.

7. First Schedule. After the words "Adjutant-General" in line 48, page 9, the words "a Divisional Officer Commanding" inserted.

8. First Schedule. Line 51, page 9, deleted.

9. First Schedule. At the end of Rule 1, page 11, a new paragraph added as follows:—

(7) None of the foregoing provisions of this Rule shall apply to any person who at any date was a member of Fianna Eireann or of Cumann na mBan and was not at any date a member of Oglaigh na hEireann (Irish Republican Army) or of the Irish Volunteers, and in lieu thereof the following provisions shall have effect in relation to any such person, that is to say:—

(a) any person who at any date—

(i) was a member of the headquarters staff or executive of Fianna Eireann or Cumann na mBan, or (ii) was an officer of Fianna Eireann or Cumann na mBan commanding one hundred members or more of either of those bodies, or (iii) was an officer of Fianna Eireann or Cumann na mBan senior to an officer of either of those bodies commanding one hundred members or more of either of those bodies

shall be deemed to have held at that date Rank D, and

(b) any person who at any date was a member of Fianna Eireann or Cumann na mBan and who is not deemed by virtue of the foregoing sub-paragraph (a) of this paragraph to have held Rank D shall be deemed to have held at that date Rank E.

Agreement to amendments reported.

There is one thing I should like to mention, and that is, under the Constitution (Amendment) Act four military service pensions have been revoked. It is proposed by the Executive Council to restore these —to make a fresh start. I do not want anybody to take this as a precedent, because under the Constitution (Amendment) Act if a person is sentenced by the Military Tribunal his pension is forfeited unless that portion of the sentence is annulled. The Executive Council propose to take that step now in four cases in which the pensions have been forfeited by reason of the recipients being convicted by the Military Tribunal.

Do I understand it is four cases up to date?

Could the Minister say if the moneys already withheld over a period will be restored also?

The law does not provide for that.

Is it not within the competence of the Minister to do that?

It has not been an extra severe punishment to have the pensions withdrawn up to the present date. According to the Act, the pensions can only be granted again from the date of the grant of a free pardon by the Executive Council.

Is the Minister not in a position to antedate the free pardon of the Executive Council to the date on which the sentence was passed?

No. They could not do it according to the law.

I should like to ask the Minister is this the last Pensions Bill that will be introduced into this House. I note that the Minister in the other House accepted an amendment including the Cumann na mBan. Since then I have had people come into my house who stated that they were members of the Casement Brigade and suggesting that they should be included. However, I have very little sympathy with any measures which will tend to increase the number of pensioners in the country.

The Deputy requested permission to ask a question. He may not make a speech.

The Minister has stated that the administration of this Bill will cost something like £400,000 per year. Am I to understand that that is a correct figure?

That does not now arise.

Report of amendments agreed to.

Ordered: That a Message be sent to the Seanad accordingly.