Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Old IRA Service.

46.

asked the Minister for Defence if he will be prepared to reopen the cases of Old IRA men who are in a position to satisfy him with evidence that they were active members of the IRA during the years 1919 to 1921, with a view to granting them certificates of service.

The statutory time limit for the acceptance of applications under the Military Service Pensions Acts expired on 18th March, 1955, and for the acceptance of petitions for the reinvestigation of rejected claims on 18th September, 1953. The administration of the Military Service Pensions Acts has long since been completed and amending legislation is not contemplated.

Does the Minister accept that there are outstanding cases in which proof positive can be produced, with evidence of active military service, and that it is very important that they should be permitted?

I am sure the Deputy appreciates that every opportunity was given to people who considered themselves qualified to make application. This was extended on a number of occasions and the situation now is that the machinery for investigation is no longer available.

Why should there be a closing date? If somebody can come up with a positive claim that is quite obvious why can it not be accepted under the existing legislation?

It would be wellnigh impossible to establish proof of qualification at this stage.

If the Minister waits another ten years we shall have no trouble with applications.