Committee on Finance. - Vote 63.—Army.

I move:

Go ndeontar suim breise ná raghaidh thar £10 chun íictha an mhuirir a thiocfaidh chun bheith iníochta i rith na bliana dar críoch an 31adh Márta, 1944, chun an Airm agus Cúltaca an Airm (maraon le Deontaisí áirithe i gCabhair) fé na hAchtanna Fórsaí Cosanta (Forálacha Sealadacha), agus chun Costaisí áirithe riaracháin ina dtaobh san; chun costaisí Oifig an Aire Cóimhriartha Cosantais; chun Costaisí i dtaobh daoine áirithe do thriail agus do choinneáil (Uimh. 28 de 1939, Uimh. I de 1940, agus Uimh. 16 de 1940, etc.); chun Costaisí áirithe fé na hAchtanna um Chiontaí in aghaidh an Stáit, 1939 agus 1940 (Uimh. 13 de 1939 agus Uimh. 2 de 1940) agus fén Acht um Réamhchúram in aghaidh Aer-Ruathar, 1939 (Uimh. 21 de 1939); chun Cúl-Soláthairtí Leighis d'Ospidéil-Síbhialta; chun Costaisí áirithe de chuid an Fhórsa Cosanta Aitiúil (ar a n-áirmhítear Deontaisí-i-gCabhair) (Uimh. 28 de 1939); chun Costaisí áirithe i dtaobh an Chuimhneacháin Speisialta ar Eirghe Amach, 1916; chun Costaisí áirithe i dtaobh na Comhairle Náisiúnta re Tairmreith Fola; agus chun Deontais do Chuman Croise Deirge na hEireann.

That a supplementary sum not exceeding £10 be granted to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending 31st March, 1944, for the Army and the Army Reserve (including certain Grants-in-Aid) under the Defence Forces (Temporary Provisions) Acts, and for certain administrative expenses in connection therewith; for the Expenses of the Office of the Minister for the Co-ordination of Defensive Measures; for Expenses in connection with the trial and detention of certain persons (No. 28 of 1939, No. 1 of 1940 and No. 16 of 1940, etc.); for certain Expenses under the Offences against the State Acts, 1939 and 1940 (No. 13 of 1939 and No. 2 of 1940) and the Air-raid Precautions Act, 1939 (No. 21 of 1939); for Reserve Medical Supplies for Civilian Hospitals; for certain Expenses of the Local Defence Force (including Grants-in-Aid) No. 28 of 1939); for certain Expenses in connection with the special Commemoration of the 1916 Rising; for certain Expenses in connection with the National Blood Transfusion Council; and for a Grant to the Irish Red Cross Society."

In this Supplementary Estimate, authority is sought to apply savings to the extent of £34,990 on other services covered by the Army Vote to meet an anticipated excess of £35,000 in respect of Grants-in-Aid to the Local Defence Force.

The Grant-in-Aid is normally paid in respect of the original members of the force during February or March of each year. In the case of a member who enrolled subsequent to the 1st January, 1940, the practice up to the beginning of 1943 was to issue the grant (£1) at the end of the quarter in which enrolment took place. Further grants in respect of that member were issued in the corresponding quarter of subsequent years. This practice resulted in the anniversary dates of payment being distributed over the four quarters of the year, and gave rise to administrative difficulties, the principal being the necessity of having four different sets of rolls in each district.

To obviate these difficulties, it was decided that payments would, from the year 1943, be made in February or March in respect of each member serving on the previous 31st December. As regards members in respect of whom anniversary payments fell due in the March, June and September quarters of 1943, it was decided that only a proportionate sum would be paid up to the 31st December, 1943, i.e., 15/- in respect of members enrolled during the March quarters of 1941, 1942 and 1943; 10/- in respect of members enrolled during the June quarters of these years, and 5/- in respect of members enrolled during the September quarters of these years.

Under this arrangement, however, a sum of £1 will also be paid in February or March, 1944, in respect of these members, thus having the effect of the full annual grant and a proportion of such grant becoming payable in the financial year. It is this change in the procedure of payment that is the main cause of the present Supplementary Estimate. This does not mean that the cost of the new procedure is an additional £35,000. It only means that a burden is thrown on this year's Vote of which the Vote for some subsequent year will be relieved.

I wish to draw the Minister's attention to the case of a member of the L.D.F. in Arklow who met with an accident when bombs were dropped there. For the injuries he received in that accident, he first of all received local treatment, and afterwards had to get treatment in a Dublin hospital. The man actually lost £25 in wages following the accident. At the present time he has been certified by a doctor in England, where he is in employment, to be suffering from the unfortunate complaint which arose out of this accident. The Army authorities offered him £11 15s. 0d., which he returned because he considered it an insult. He prefers to go on suffering rather than accept that amount. I think that in these cases, where men not only give up their time but render useful service, as many of them are doing without any reward whatever—some of them, in fact, have given up their annual week's holidays—they should be more generously treated. This was a labouring man who suffered this injury in the course of carrying out instructions. I hope, now that the Minister's attention has been brought to this case, that he will do something for the man in question. He is still suffering from the effects of the injury which, I am told, is likely to be of a permanent nature. The illness that he suffered from recurs periodically. I would ask the Minister to reconsider his case and to grant him a sum that will, at least, compensate him for the loss he incurred while he was out of employment instead of offering him this miserable sum of £11 15s. 0d. I have communicated with the Department on several occasions about this case and have been informed that it was receiving attention. I had a letter from this man stating that he would not accept the amount offered to him. I would ask the Minister to go into the case of every man who has received similar injuries, and see that they are compensated for loss of wages. I think it would be a bad thing not to compensate those men who meet with injuries, especially in view of the fact that at the present time they are giving their services free.

All these cases are governed by regulations which are, I think, thoroughly understood by Deputies. The compensation is on what I would regard as a reasonably generous scale. If the Deputy will let me have the facts in this case I will take them up, and will have a personal reply sent to him.

I thank the Minister and I appreciate his position. I will supply him with the medical evidence in this case and a full statement from the man himself.

Vote put and agreed to.
Progress reported; Committee to sit again to-morrow.