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Seanad Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 20 Jul 1949

Vol. 36 No. 20

Defence Forces (Pensions) (Amendment) Scheme, 1949—Motion.

I move:—

"That the Defence Forces (Pensions) (Amendment) Scheme, 1949, prepared by the Minister for Defence, with the consent of the Minister for Finance, under the terms of the Defence Forces (Pensions) Acts, 1932 to 1949, and laid before the Seanad on the 20th July, 1949, be confirmed."

This is an amendment of the Defence Forces Pension Scheme. You remember that when I was last before the Seanad it was with a Bill to authorise the extension of that scheme to chaplains. This is a scheme to extend the pension requirements to chaplains and there is just one distinction in it with regard to chaplains which does not apply to ordinary officers. The ordinary officer is in full commission and when he is disabled or broken in health through injury then the disability pension is open to him to get a pension for the disability. In the case of chaplains that does not apply so we are taking powers in this scheme to ensure that if the retirement is due to ill health or disability the pension will be payable after ten years' service instead of 20 as in the case of the officer.

There are just one or two other minor things which I think will be acceptable to the Seanad. Article 7 ensures that the widow or children of an officer will not be deprived of pension because the officer died before fulfilling the present conditions of being in receipt of retired pay. Heretofore if the officer died before retirement and not actually in receipt of retired pay the widow lost her rights. We are now altering that so that if he died with an entitlement to retired pay the widow will not be at a loss. Article 9 removes the qualification, for a soldier's married pension, of being in receipt of the marriage allowance at the time of his discharge. Heretofore the position was that if a married soldier was not in receipt of a marriage allowance and he went on indefinite leave for which he gets no pay or marriage allowance and if he died during that period marriage allowance would not be paid. We are rectifying that, as I think was necessary in this scheme. Finally, in Article 16, in the case of certain area administrative officers, for the purpose of pension, ten years are added to their service but the question of married gratuity was overlooked. I think these are some of the main provisions in this scheme.

May I remind the Minister of a case recently where a medical man died while on indefinite leave through ill health and there was nothing for his wife and two children with the result that she had to go and take up work? I wonder whether the Minister could make this legislation retrospective to meet cases such as that.

If I got particulars of the case in question I would have it looked up and see what could be done. I cannot give a reply to the matter off-hand.

Question put and agreed to.