Ceisteanna—Questions Oral Answers. - Army Pensions Scheme.

70.

asked the Minister for Defence if he will consider amending the 1970 Army pensions scheme so as to include all widows of ex-Army personnel not at present covered by the 1970 pensions scheme or by the 1937 Army pensions scheme; and if he will so amend it that they will become eligible for the full amounts under the scheme.

Broadly, the position is that widows of retired officers of the Permanent Defence Force have, for many years, been eligible for pensions under the Defence Forces (Pensions) Scheme, 1937. In recent times, serving officers were offered an alternative contributory scheme, with higher benefits, for which they could opt.

Widows of ex-non-commissioned officers and privates come under the Social Welfare Acts and consequently the schemes administered by my Department do not apply to them.

It is not proposed to amend the existing arrangements.