Committee on Finance. - Army Pension Bill, 1936—Committee and Final Stages.

Section 1, 2 and 3 agreed to.
SECTION 4.

I move amendment No. 1a:—

Before Section 4, but in Part III, to insert a new section as follows:—

Where an allowance is payable under Section 8 of the Act of 1923 to any of the dependents (being dependents mentioned in paragraph 5 of the Second Schedule to the Act of 1923) of any person who was executed in the Rising of 1916, the said paragraph shall in relation to such dependent be construed and have effect, as on and from the date of the passing of this Act, as if there were substituted for the words and figures "£1 per week" the words and figures "£90 per annum."

This amendment covers an amendment tabled by Deputy Moylan.

I think the amendment is perfectly reasonable and defensible. It proposes to increase somewhat the pensions of dependents of those who fell in Easter Week. In another section special provision is made for increased pensions of the dependents of signatories of the Proclamation of Easter Week, and also for pensions to relatives, such as sister, who may not be in any way dependents. In order to link this amendment with the other proposal in the Bill—because it is really an attempt to keep in step with the provision being made for the dependents of signatories to the Proclamation—I suggest to the Minister that he might consider adding a provision and allowance for sister as well as dependents of those who fell in Easter Week. That would make it consistent with the increased provision made for the signatories in an earlier portion of the Bill.

This amendment covers mothers and invalid brothers and sisters. It does not cover sister in good health. Invalid sisters and mothers are covered.

It is not limited to invalids.

Nor sickness.

Is the Minister substituting this for Deputy Moylan's amendment?

Yes. This has the same effect.

I am familiar with conditions in certain cases, and I am glad the Minister has given them consideration.

Question put and agreed to.
Sections 4, as amended, 5, 6, and 7 agreed to.
SECTION 8.

I move amendment No. 2a:—

Before Section 8 to insert a new section as follows:—

Notwithstanding anything contained in paragraph (i) of sub-section (1) of Section 14 of the Act of 1927, the Minister shall not on or on account of the death of any person to whom, by virtue of paragraph (e) of the said sub-section, the said sub-section applies, grant to the widow or any child of such person any gratuity unless his marriage to such widow took place before the 1st June, 1937.

This will cover another amendment in the name of Deputy Moylan, to give a gratuity in a case where a pensioner dies who was a widow but not entitled to a widow's pension. She will get a gratuity of £112 10s. Heretofore, unless a widow was entitled to a widow's pension she got nothing.

Amendment agreed to.
Section 8 to 16, inclusive, agreed to.
SECTION 17.
. . . . .
(5) The following provisions of Section 12 of the Act of 1932 are hereby repealed, that is to say, paragraph (c) of sub-section (1), and sub-sections (4) and (5).

Amendment No.2 is out of order.

I move amendment No. 2a:—

At the end of sub-section (3) to insert the words "but, the Minister may, if such member was not granted a married pension and leaves a widow or children and his marriage to such widow took place before the 1st day of June, 1937, grant to such widow or children a gratuity of one hundred and twelve pounds and ten shillings.

This is to limit gratuities to widows, to persons who were married before 1st June, 1937.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 3:—

In sub-section (5), page 11, lines 62 and 63, to delete the following:—"(c) of sub-section (1)" and substitute the following "(d) of sub-section (3)".

This is merely a drafting amendment.

Amendment agreed to.
Section 17, as amended, agreed to.
Sections 18 to 34, inclusive, agreed to.

Amend ment No. 4 is out of order.

Sections 35 to 38, inclusive, agreed to.
SECTION 39.
The Minister may, with the consent of the Minister for Finance, grant a gratuity (in this Part of this Act referred to as a special gratuity) of such amount (not exceeding one hundred pounds) as he thinks proper to any person in respect of whom all the following conditions are complied with, that is to say:—
(a) such person was not a member of any of the organisations to which Part II of the Act of 1932 applies,

I move amendment No. 5:—

In page 22, to delete lines 51 and 52, and to insert at the end of the section a new paragraph as follows:—

(b) such person was not, at the time he received such would or injury, a member of any of the organisations to which Part II of the Act of 1932 applies.

This is merely a drafting amendment. Persons who were wounded, and were members of organisations, are already covered and this is to make it quite clear that this relates to persons who were not members of the organisations covered.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 6:—

At the end of the section to add a new sub-section as follows:—

(2) No person who is entitled to a pension, allowance or gratuity under the Acts, or under the Acts as amended by this Act, or under any other Parts of this Act shall be entitled to apply for or be granted a special gratuity.

This is to make sure that a person who is entitled to a pension, allowance or gratuity under the other Parts of this Bill or under the other Acts shall not be entitled to claim this special gratuity.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendment No. 7 is out of order.

Section 39, as amended, agreed to.
The remaining sections, Schedule, and Title agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments.
Agreed: That the remaining stages be taken now.
Question—"That the Bill be received for final consideration"—put and agreed to.
Question proposed: "That the Bill do now pass."

On that question, I should like to say that the Minister is probably aware that some of those who took part in the Easter Rising of 1916 are in bad circumstances. During the course of the discussion of the Army Pensions Bill in the Seanad it was suggested that these men should be given a higher rank. The usual pension allotted in these cases, I am told, is about £20 or £24 per year—in some cases it was less than that. In cases where there is such a pension being paid it is held, I am told, to operate against men who are applicants for unemployment assistance. The Minister ought to consider whether that measure should not be amended with a view to giving these men at least what would keep them in some sort of decent circumstances. In any event the holding of such a pension should not debar men either from getting employment or unemployment assistance, or affect the amount they would be entitled to draw in respect of that. It happens that in some cases these men are now in adverse circumstances. While generous provision is being made for some people under this measure, it is a great source of dissatisfaction to men who took the risks these men did at that time, and who have not been particularly fortunate since, that they should be in possession of such a small annual sum as is now granted under the Act.

The question of military service pensions is not strictly relevant to this debate. Even if we were discussing a Military Service Pensions Bill I do not think the cases of hardship to which the Deputy alludes could be dealt with under it. The position is that under the Unemployment Assistance Act the officials in charge have to take into account all moneys received by applicants, no matter from what source, so that in order to do away with the hardships the Deputy alluded to would require an amendment of the Unemployment Assistance Acts. All I can do is to promise to bring his remarks before the Minister for Industry and Commerce.

Question put and agreed to.