Army Pensions Bill, 1962—Second and Subsequent Stages.

I move that the Bill be now read a Second Time.

I shall try not to delay the House unduly in speaking about the provisions of this Bill, which will, I am sure, be welcomed by Deputies inasmuch as it provides for a number of benefits. For the convenience of the House I shall take the sections in order.

A person with pre-true military service who had a wound or disability pension in respect of such service was, as a result of provisions embodied in the Acts of 1953 and 1960, also made eligible for a further or married pension, provided that his marriage took place before the 5th August, 1953. Ordinarily, a person's marriage must have taken place before he received the wound or, in the case of disease, before his service terminated, but the extension to 1953 was specially granted in relation to persons with pre-truce service. They should have applied within twelve months after the passing of the enabling legislation, but, as usual, a few failed to do so, and a further period of twelve months is now proposed in Section 2 of the Bill.

Section 3 makes provision for the reconsideration of cases, rejected under the Act of 1932 but coming within the provisions of the Act of 1937, in which application was not renewed within the time specified in that Act as extended by the Act of 1941.

It has been suggested from time to time that persons awarded gratuities under the Connaught Rangers (Pensions) Acts should, like those awarded pensions or allowances under these Acts, be eligible to apply for special allowances. This is not unreasonable, and the appropriate provision is now being made in Section 4.

Section 5 relates to cases under Section 4 of the Act of 1953, frequently referred to as "Part II cases". That part of the Act of 1953, as amended by Section 8 of the Act of 1959, provided for enhanced allowances in the cases of relatives of deceased persons who had pre-truce service and who were killed in service during the 1916-1923 period or died within four years as a result of wound or disability attributable to service during that period. Only one such allowance could, however, be paid at any one time; it could be paid to the widow, or to one parent, or to one unmarried or widowed sister, or to one permanently-invalided brother or to one son or one unmarried or widowed daughter permanently invalided since childhood. It is now proposed to remove that restriction, and this is being done by Section 5, taken in conjunction with Section 10.

Section 12 of the Act of 1941 provided that where an applicant under the Army Pensions Acts failed or refused to attend before the Army Pensions Board for medical examination after having been given ample opportunity to do so, the Minister could refuse the application, which would not then be capable of being renewed. It is now proposed, by Section 6, to enable such past cases to be reconsidered where the persons concerned so request and the Minister is satisfied that reconsideration would be justified.

Section 7 is a section which, I think, will give particular pleasure. The cases to which it relates are, firstly, those in which a person suffering from disease attributable to service, but with a degree of disability below the 80 per cent. necessary for an "attributability" pension, opts for a final fixed rate pension, and, secondly, those where the disability is not attributable to service but was aggravated, accelerated or excited by service. Neither the final fixed rate pensions nor those in respect of aggravation, etc., at present carry eligibility for married pensions, and the widows and children of such persons are not eligible for allowances where death is due to the pensionable disability. There were valid reasons for this, especially in the case of the final fixed rate pensions, which were intended at the time of their introduction, to be in the nature of allowances for the purchase of medicines, etc. However, it has now been decided to pay married pensions, and widows' and children's allowances, on conditions similar to those which apply in the case of "attributability" pensions and at rates similar to those appropriate to "attributability" pensions of like amount. Section 7 and the Schedules contain the necessary provisions.

Section 8 merely effects amendments of a textual nature, and there is nothing in the remaining sections calling for special comment. I commend the Bill, therefore, to the House.

Perhaps I might mention at this point that, on page 4 of the Bill, at line 13, there is a typographical error; "the 15th day of August, 1953" should read "the 5th day of August, 1953." Might I ask the House to agree to the necessary change being made without a formal amendment?

Agreed.

For the benefits which are conferred I suppose we must be grateful but I would be untruthful if I did not say that the Bill is a very grave disappointment to every one of us. The Minister, having the opportunity of amending the Acts and bringing in a Bill to do so should, in my opinion, have eliminated most of the complaints and disabilities under which many people suffered because they were not covered by any of the sections of the previous Acts.

Again I want to complain that this is another Bill in which we are legislating by reference to previous Acts. There are no less than six Acts referred to in this Bill and for the ordinary person to get a fair idea of what is contained in it he has to wade through all the various Acts and see where they have been amended.

However, we are grateful for the benefits that are conferred. The Bill does take away one of the chief causes of my complaint, that is, that a person who was entitled to a disability allowance but who did not apply at the appropriate time was disqualified. This Bill removes that disqualification and the Minister can now re-examine the cases. I am not sure whether there is an obligation on the applicant to re-apply or whether the Department or the Minister will re-examine the cases from the existing files. It would appear application must be made again in every case. The Minister does not say he will automatically re-examine the cases and that he will notify the person: "Under your application of such a date you were disqualified from receiving a pension. I am glad to inform you that the case is now covered." I should like the Minister to give us some indication on that.

I still think the Minister should take out the qualifying date. As I have said time after time, if a person was ever entitled to a disability pension and if he is entitled to it now, there is no reason why he should not be able to apply at any stage. The only disability he would suffer would be that he would be paid a pension only from the date of his application. It would not be retrospective although there is something to be said for it and you could argue that it should be made retrospective. I shall not push that point but if a person suffered a disability at any time and, for whatever reason, did not apply, any time he did apply, provided he could establish the necessary facts, he should be entitled to the pension from the date of his application.

The Minister knows well that in the history of this country there were many people who did not recognise the institutions of this State and there are still friends of ours and of mine from the old days who still do not recognise them. We all hope wisdom will come to them at some stage. We all hope that they will realise and recognise the democratic institutions of State set up in this country.

I am glad the Minister has taken this opportunity of extending the allowance to one or more dependants of those who died whether pre-Truce or post-Truce. It is something the Minister should do. I only regret he has not taken out the other little bit, that is reference to the Minister for Finance before payment. If the Minister for Defence is satisfied that dependency has been established and that a person should be paid, he should not have to send it to the Minister for Finance for his concurrence.

As in the case of a disability pension, or anything like that, the Minister reaches his final conclusion on the board's report and the Minister for Finance is not brought into it at all as a sanctioning authority. But, in these Part II cases of allowances to dependants, having found the facts, the Minister makes a report and then the Minister for Finance has to concur— and the Minister for Finance can put it aside until the cows come home. That was a bad provision. The Minister has the opportunity of deleting it now and of assuming the full responsibility himself of deciding on the merits of the case.

I am glad the Minister has extended the time for application for wound or disability pensions due to service or aggravated by service. It brings in some very deserving cases that were disqualified or were not qualified to benefit because of the provisions of the Act. I still am not happy that cases such as that of Commandant Collins' widow and Newell of Galway are provided for in this Bill. Let the House know exactly what the cases are. Here is a person who served in the Volunteers, who served in the National Army, who had at least 20 bullet wounds in him. He then gets a disability pension and his wife is provided for with a disability pension. He suffers a mental disorder. He is made a ward of court and is put into a mental home. While there he is treated but he suddenly collapses and he is brought to hospital from the mental home and he dies there without regaining consciousness. The death certificate says he died from diabetes. Because the death certificate did not show that he died from the disability, because the certificate does not show he died as a result of an illness aggravated by bullet wounds, the board finds that that person is not covered.

The same can be said in regard to Newell of Galway. There are several cases. The widows are left without any pension whatever except the social welfare pension. They are entitled to that. They have not to thank the Department of Defence for that. I am not satisfied that these cases are covered at all. Although it is quite clear, in this instance, that it was unconsciousness, everybody who was associated with that case believes that it was as a result of a blood clot that he lost consciousness. The death certificate was given in that way.

There are other cases and, again, it is very difficult to know whether or not they are covered. The Minister has not given us any indication of the type of case he proposes to cover. He should do so when he is concluding the debate. As I say, I am glad and grateful for the benefits which are being conferred but they do not go far enough. The Minister has a great opportunity now. I appeal to him to go to the full limit. Like everything else, the roll call is becoming smaller every day. In a very short time there will not be any necessity for this Bill.

I am disappointed that when the Minister had the opportunity of doing something he did not do it. I am disappointed that, again, it is legislation by reference and that it is not clear what the full benefits are. I want to urge the Minister to deal with the files in his office so that the people will not have to make application again. However, I presume that, if they have to, they will do it.

I suppose we must all be grateful for any improvement made by a Minister in the conditions of people affected by this Bill, no matter how small the improvement may be. Deputy MacEoin referred to the fact that there are so many references to previous Acts that it is difficult to understand what exactly is meant. To somebody like myself, it is almost impossible. Now that there seems to be a spate of legislation to tidy up Acts, is there any hope the Minister might tidy up these Acts and, in doing so, try to cover the people who are at present being treated shamefully by the State because of the fact that they are excluded by a section of one Act or are not included in a section of an amending Act? Something should be done about that. I would ask the Minister to consider it more seriously.

As Deputy MacEoin said, the number is decreasing. Year after year, people are dying off. In another decade, the problem will be a very small one. But, during the ten years to come, it is too bad that so many people will be put in the same position as many people who have written to me. All we have to do is to look at the top of the letter to find that the address is the local county home. That in itself is enough to condemn whatever authority is responsible for looking after those old people.

It is just too bad that people who have given the best years of their lives to fighting for the establishment of the State should be forced into the position that they have to go into the county home at the end of their days. That is bad enough but it is even worse when you find that their complaints are invariably either that they are getting a very small amount from the State or that they made application for various types of allowances and have not got a decision over the years. The Department, apparently, depend on writing to people, asking them to verify. Sometimes the letter is addressed to a person who may be dead. I have numerous instances of letters written to people who were dead, letters written twice, three times or four times, asking about an application. The applications were not, therefore, verified and, because they were not verified, no award was made. The same can happen under this Bill. While the person is living, there is some hope that eventually the information required will be supplied. When it is a question of dealing with the dependants of persons who served, it will be almost impossible to get the evidence required to enable the Department to say whether or not any of these persons is eligible.

I do not want to interrupt the Deputy but he seems to be dealing with special allowance cases and they do not come under this Bill.

I am dealing with all cases. I will deal with one case of a man who was receiving an allowance for himself and his wife. He has two children and because the two children were born more than nine months after he left the service he does not receive any allowance for them. There are hundreds of those cases. Perhaps the Minister would see if something could be done to change that. It does not matter when the children were born; the dependants of this old soldier are entitled to be looked after by the State.

One other matter with which I should like to deal is the question of representations. In County Meath there is a man who was a very responsible person during the fight for freedom. When the Civil War took place he went out of the picture completely and refused to take part on either side. He stood by that principle for years. He is chairman of the Meath Brigade Executive, Old IRA Federation. He was accepted in the Minister's Department as a person who could be trusted to give honest advice and on all his visits to the Department he was treated with courtesy and his advice was accepted. Since the Minister took control not only has his Department refused his co-operation but he has been ordered out of the Department. He has been told in no uncertain terms to get out and not to come back. That is a shameful way to treat somebody who is anxious to assist the State. He is Councillor James Finn, Athboy, County Meath, who was very well known in the fight for freedom. He has no interest in politics and in all cases he has given a completely independent view. I would ask the Minister to look into the matter and see that it does not happen on his next visit to Coláiste Caoimhin.

I welcome this Bill because in it the Minister is making an attempt to make amends. However, he is making amends only to a certain degree. The Bill allows persons who did not apply on previous occasions to apply now. It also provides for allowance of married pensions for those who have pensions under the 1937 Act, an Act which allows for aggravation. Previously only those who could attribute their injuries to service were granted pensions. Now those who are suffering due to aggravation will get pensions. I accept that that is going some of the way but I want to dwell on a point raised by Deputy MacEoin, that is the question of the Bill not being retrospective.

Section 3 probably applies only to one or two people and refers to people who did apply under the 1932 Act. Those people are not people who just did not bother to apply. They applied 22 to 25 years ago but they applied under the 1932 Act. They claimed that their disabilities were attributable to service but the Board disallowed their claims. Although it was later indicated such cases could be met by the 1937 Act the applicants in question never accepted that direction. They persisted that they should have been covered by the 1932 Act. They said their injuries were attributable to service and not to aggravation. Aggravation means that a person had something wrong with him and that by reason of service it was aggravated. The 1932 Act refers to injuries which were received as a result of service. The applicants referred to deny that they had any latent disease or disability at the time and that theirs were cases attributable to service.

They have proof that would stand up in any court. I believe the chairman of the board at the time, a judge, decided in favour of the applicants and held that their case would be accepted in any court but the medical opinion was against the chairman of the board. Nevertheless there is evidence that the chairman was of the opinion that their cases were attributable to service. Here is a borderline case where persons have been suffering for 40 years and it could be proved beyond doubt. However, whether their disability is attributable to service or aggravation it makes no difference. The applicants maintain that their injuries were attributable to service. It was only when they knew that they were up against it that they reluctantly agreed to apply under the 1937 Act. This Bill states that if you can show you had injuries and you can prove they were aggravated due to service you will get a pension from now on. In other words, the applicant will only get something which a man who is now in the Army and suddenly becomes paralysed or develops some disease as a result of service, will get. He would get the same pension under this Bill as the applicants who have been suffering for 40 years. Where is the justice in that?

There is a continuity in this Bill because Section 3 says that if a person applied under the 1932 Act and was refused a pension that person would be recognised for the purposes of the 1937 Act. That means that if a person had applied, his claim is there. There are two or three such people. It would be totally unjust to say to the person who has suffered for 40 years "You will get nothing for all that time but henceforth you will get something". That can happen to the man who was suffering only from last week. I am objecting to that section and I hope it will be made retrospective in those cases where an actual claim was made under the 1932 Act.

I was asked to raise one or two other matters, and I do not know if I am in order in raising them on this Bill. One person told me that although he has a disability pension, he cannot get any free treatment or any free appliances, that he must pay for them. I do not know whether that is true, but if it is true, the Minister should do something about it. The fact that a man has about £3 a week does not enable him to buy appliances and get treatment if he needs it.

Some Old IRA men are in St. Brendan's and others are in St. Kevin's. Many Old IRA men have died in those places. That is most unfair. I have said before that the time has come when a special ward should be provided for those people, and even for mentally affected people. They should be treated as the British treated them and not left stranded, isolated and ignored. There should be special wards where Old IRA men could get treatment. That is the last thing they are asking for in their last years. I have always held the view that the old IRA men got a raw deal and I shall hold that view to the day I die.

There are men who served in the Tan war who did not get any pension unless they were in an ambush, and even men who fought during the Civil War in armed combat, and also went to jail, did not get a penny. Their service was not recognised for pension purposes. It was the same in the Tan war and men who served in those wars, and went to jail, did not get a penny because their service was not recognised. I believe they should get some care and free medical treatment in their old age.

I should like to compliment the Minister on this Bill and on the improvements he has provided for all concerned. Like Deputy MacEoin, there are one or two points on which I am not clear. I have in mind the widow of an Army officer who was a volunteer from 1930 to 1960. He served in the National Army. His health broke down, and I have no doubt in my mind that his service was the cause of his death, but the certificate does not say so. His widow finds herself with a very small pension. I do not know if the Minister will be able to bring her in under this Bill, and others like her, but if he can, I shall be very grateful to him.

The principal reason I rose was to compliment the Minister on being able to introduce this Bill and on being able to get the money from the Minister for Finance. When Deputy MacEoin was expressing his disappointment, I could not help thinking that in 1954 I brought a motion before the House for an extension of the period in respect of medals. At that time unless the medal had been awarded at a very early date, a person did not qualify for a special allowance. That motion was carried——

The Deputy is talking about the Military Service Pensions Act?

I am talking about an extension in connection with the service medals. That motion was accepted by him as Minister, but he was not able to convince the Minister for Finance to give the money. He should be the last to complain about the present Minister. Again I want to compliment him on succeeding in getting the Minister for Finance to help these people, and on behalf of the Old IRA and the people who benefit I wish to extend our sincere thanks to the Minister.

There are two matters to which I want to refer in connection with this Bill. One is the re-opening of cases where a person was refused a pension because it was held by the board that the disability was not attributable to service. As I understand it, under Section 7 of this amending legislation, it will be possible to have those cases reconsidered.

All of us are familiar with cases, particularly during the emergency, where either officers or men found that in many cases after leaving the Army they contracted, I suppose in most cases TB, and in some few cases, some other disability, and when they made application and had their case considered by the board, they were refused on the ground that the disability was not considered to be attributable to service. It is impossible to convince people who suffered a disability subsequently that it was not attributable to or aggravated by service.

As I understand it, Section 7 proposes that it will be possible in the future to have these cases reconsidered and I hope reconsidered in a sympathetic way. Undoubtedly, some of the applicants may have suffered from wettings in the course of their employment, just as they suffered from wettings during their service in the Army. In those cases, it is obviously extremely difficult to decide whether the wettings in the course of duty while in the Army, or in the course of employment, or perhaps not even at work, were the cause of the subsequent disability.

There are certain cases where people were in indoor occupations and in the course of their work, suffered no such exposure to rain or cold, or were only exposed to rain or cold either while on manoeuvres or during the course of ordinary service. I believe this amendment is long overdue, and that it will be welcomed by a number of people who feel they have a very strong sense of grievance about the way in which they were treated after their unselfish service, given when requested, and on the understanding that they would not in any way be allowed to suffer as a result of it.

I do not know how many cases there are now, but there must still be quite a few outstanding cases of persons who applied for disability pensions and who were refused because of the fact that the disability was not attributable to their service in the Army. I hope the proposed amendment is sufficiently wide to cover all those cases and that there will be no doubt about any of them in the future.

In that connection, I believe that adequate publicity, if necessary, by way of advertisements in the newspapers, should be undertaken by the Minister and the Department in order to ensure that if people have to apply again, they will be fully informed. Very often, the proposals in legislation passed here are not apparent to some people, and indeed one of the difficulties with legislation of this sort is that in many cases amendments are made by reference to sections of earlier Acts, and quite a few people may well be unaware of their rights in the matter. Adequate and clear publicity should be given to the scope of the amending legislation.

There is another matter to which I shall refer. It is the question of a small group of retired Army officers who had 1916-1921 service and who were granted the original extension of one year in 1949 provided they had the service medal. They were subsequently granted a further two years in 1954. I mention that because, as the Minister is aware, in 1957 his predecessor changed the regulations and as a result a number of these officers had to retire at an earlier date than was originally anticipated. One of the problems in that connection was that, while the Minister did give at the time the same salary and emoluments for the two years which were taken from them, it had the drawback and disability that what at the time seemed a reasonable enough proposal was altered by subsequent events. This was the first occasion that persons holding service medals had any advantages withdrawn from them. Nevertheless, the proposals to give them full pay and allowances for the full two years instead of the normal pension rate seemed reasonable until increases in salaries and wages were granted.

The position now is that quite a few of these officers find that although they reached the same rank on retirement as some of their comrades who have since retired their pension is substantially lower because of the increases in salary that have been granted. There have been three increases including the eighth round. Although a man was in the same rank and had the same service in some cases, he now has a lower pension. Some of those who subsequently attained the rank were more fortunate because they got some part of the allowances but, in certain cases, officers who retired before any increase in salary was given, although they had given the same service as those who served after them and were also holders of service medals, because of increases in salaries, allowances and emoluments, the results of these rounds of wage increases culminating in the eighth round, suffered a disadvantage. A man who retired, say, last November and held the same rank as his predecessor who retired a year or 18 months earlier, finds he has a pension of anything from £50 to, in some cases, £100 more. In one or two cases the disparity is even greater.

Surely that was never intended. It was a consequence of the decision taken by the Minister's predecessor but I do not believe it was intended. It has certainly caused a great deal of ill-feeling and is, in my view, an injustice. It is inequitable to have withdrawn a benefit which would have entitled these people to their full rights under the Army Pensions Act. I should be glad if the Minister would consider that.

Subject to those comments, like other Deputies, I welcome the improvements that are being made. In the cases I have mentioned certain changes could be made which would entitle the officers with Old IRA service to the full benefits to which their colleagues, who in some cases served for comparatively short periods after them, have become entitled.

I welcome this measure introduced by the Minister to give further relief to retired Army personnel and members of the Old IRA. As one born in the early 1920s I have enjoyed fully the freedom we now have in this country but it is difficult for me or the younger generation to understand the struggle that was required to win this freedom. I urge the Minister to do everything possible to reward in any way he can members of the Old IRA. We should try to give the few remaining everything the nation can afford to provide. They are fully entitled to it.

I come across many cases in my constituency of Old IRA members who did not get any pension until, I think, the 1934 Act. I wonder if the Minister could make up the difference or compensate for it in some way in the future. I congratulate the Minister on what he has done and urge him to do everything possible in the future for the benefit of members of the Old IRA who are still living.

I appreciate the spirit of helpfulness displayed in the remarks made on this Bill. It is essentially a Committee Stage Bill and no doubt the points already made will be repeated section by section in Committee.

There are some misconceptions in regard to the Bill. I should stress that there are two main features in it. One is the provision of married pensions for those in receipt of final flat rate pensions and what are known as aggravation pensions. The other is the removal of the restriction on the payment of allowances to more than one dependant of a person with pre-truce service who lost his life during the 1916-1923 period or died within four years of disability incurred during that period. These two extensions of the existing benefits will cover a number of cases in which Deputies on all sides of the House are interested.

I do not claim that every possible grievance has been remedied in this measure. I sympathise with Deputies who have commented on the difficulty there is in understanding the Bill because of the number of references in it to previous legislation. The reason why there has not been consolidation in one measure is the frequency with which amendments of this code have taken place. If we get a reasonable respite from such amendments it may be possible to consider bringing them all inside one cover.

In reply to Deputy General MacEoin, there is no general re-opening of the cases of those who did not already apply within the appropriate time. The only cases to be re-opened are those covered by Section 3 of the Bill. It is a confined class but, nevertheless, I think that Section 3 meets the cases known to us. There may be others not known to us. I do not think the Deputy is serious when he makes a plea for allowing people to apply for disability pensions at any time. After the lapse of so many years, it would be almost impossible to get the necessary medical and other evidence to relate the disability back to service. In the past, as all the Deputies interested are aware, many opportunities were given for late applications.

With regard to eliminating the Minister for Finance from decisions, I should like to tell Deputy MacEoin that in the 1953 cases, the Minister himself decides whether the applicant was a dependant of the deceased. It is only where the relative was not a dependant but should, in all the circumstances be treated as a dependant, that the Minister for Finance has to be consulted. I do not think that any great cause for complaint has arisen because of that requirement. The Deputy mentioned specific cases by name. Here again we are up against the medical opinion on which decisions are based. If the doctors statutorily responsible for making these decisions say that a man who had a disability pension and who lived a long time did not die from the disability, it is not possible for the Minister, even if he were himself a doctor, to gainsay that opinion. The Minister has no function in that respect.

By moving the qualifying date, I take it the Deputy means the date from which the payments are made, and he also asked for retrospective payment. As far as I know, that has so far not been done and I think it would be difficult to make a reasonable and acceptable case for retrospection, much as I would like to do so myself in certain cases of which I know and to which Deputy Sherwin referred.

Deputy Tully referred to a certain tightening up of the code. I should like it if that could be achieved for the benefit of us all. I have been trying. to master the various Acts and I can assure the House that it is not easily done. If it is possible to do anything with regard to the consolidation of this code of legislation, I can assure them the matter will have my attention as well as my sympathy.

Deputy Tully also referred to a certain verification officer by name and said that this officer who had a good pre-Truce record and who had taken no part in the Civil War was valued very highly in the Department of Defence, but he made the statement that, since I took office, this man has been turned out of the Department. There is no truth in that. If Deputy Tully was aware of that and did not tell me, the blame is on Deputy Tully. Anyway, it is not true.

I want to tell Deputy Sherwin that I have the greatest possible sympathy with him in the cases he has mentioned. Again, what I have already said about medical opinion comes in here. If the doctors say that certain cases are aggravation cases rather than attributability cases, there is no power given to the Minister for Defence to gainsay them. There are cases in which I would love to have the power to do it but I simply have not got it. That is the only answer I can give to Deputy Sherwin. I have gone as far as I can go to ease the sense of grievance that the persons concerned experience. With regard to disability pensioners having to pay for appliances, may I suggest to Deputy Sherwin, if he knows who these men are, to get them to write to the Department and we will see what we can do. I understand that we do help out in those cases and I should be very anxious to attend to the cases of which Deputy Sherwin seems to know.

I do not know if Deputy Gilbride would write to me about the widow of the deceased National Army man who has a grievance in the matter of pension. If he does so, I will give it my best attention.

I think Deputy Cosgrave has not taken quite the precise meaning which it has out of Section 7. Section 7 does not provide for the reopening of applications where disability was found not to be attributable to service. In fact, the Bill does not provide for any general reopening of rejected applications. What Section 7 does is to provide for married pensions in certain cases not already covered. I indicated what they are in my opening statement.

With regard to Deputy Cosgrave's stressing of the need for publicity for the new benefits, the Department will, both by advertisement in the newspapers and by the insertion of a leaflet in the communications that go out to pensioners, ensure that the changes now being brought about will be brought to the notice of those concerned.

The Deputy referred to a matter which cannot be dealt with under this Bill at all, because this Bill is concerned only with questions of dependency and disablement. The Deputy has been referring to married officers who had an extension of service withdrawn in 1957. That matter does not come within this Bill.

I am afraid that I have to tell Deputy Gallagher that retrospection in respect of the 1934 Act is not possible. That is the simple answer to it, but that does not represent any lack of sympathy on my part with his viewpoint. This principle of retrospection has not been applied in relation to any of these Pension Acts. I do not know whether there is anything else I have to say on this second Stage.

I do not know whether or not Deputy Tully referred to this particular matter of the payment of children's allowance in respect of children born after a person's discharge from the Army.

I understand that this has been the general practice in regard to cases of this kind. Perhaps, Deputy Tully might care to write to me setting out in exact terms the point he is making. Perhaps, also he would mention the specific cases and I will write to him about them.

This is a general principle which I asked Deputy Tully to raise in my absence. I have not the details here but in any case it means that this particular person who has an Army disability allowance is not paid any allowance in respect of children born over nine months from the date of his discharge from the Army. It seems, therefore, that any children subsequently born receive no allowance whatever.

I will look into the matter and see what is possible to be done. I cannot commit myself just now. I think I have referred to the remarks of every speaker. I think we will have a good deal of repetition on Committee Stage.

The Minister is looking for an awful lot of trouble.

It is a Committee Stage Bill, really.

Question put and agreed to.

I should like to get all Stages now.

The Minister has admitted that it is a Committee Stage Bill. We will give him all Stages on Tuesday. The Minister admits that it is a Committee Stage Bill. Surely to goodness it is only reasonable to get an opportunity of re-examining the Bill after the Minister spoke on opening and closing? He admits that we are not clear upon several of his provisions.

I think I pointed out that Section 7——

If we give all Stages now, then we will have no opportunity of examining the thing in further detail. I would be anxious to facilitate the Minister. I do not want to hold up the Bill. I think we could give the Bill speedily to the Minister on Tuesday.

The Minister has not any feelings about being facilitated one way or another. I thought I might get Deputy MacEoin to apply the sympathy he expressed for these cases by giving them this little extra time.

You brought it on yourself, Minister.

In what way?

In insisting that it was a Committee Stage Bill. If you had not mentioned that at all, you would have the Bill now.

I do not admit that. He emphasised what I thought myself—that it is a Committee Stage Bill. You can only make proper use of the Committee Stage by examining the Minister's speech on introduction and his reply. We can then understand more fully what the intentions of the Minister are. He says very nicely and gently, I admit, to Deputy Tully that he will examine this. He says if Deputy Sherwin sends him a letter he will look into it but that is not the way to legislate. I suggest that taking all Stages on Tuesday is the better method.

Committee Stage ordered for Tuesday, 24th July, 1962.