This Bill is necessary to make statutory provision for increases in pensions and allowances, following the 1963 Budget, which have been paid since 1st November, 1963 under the terms of a Supplementary Estimate approved by Dáil Éireann on 28th November, 1963.
All pensions, allowances and gratuities under the Army Pensions Acts, 1923 to 1962 are being increased under the provisions of the Bill and net cost to the Exchequer is £28,000 per annum. Disablement pensions unrelated to pay and married pensions are being increased by 5 per cent as are allowances payable to widows, children and other dependants of deceased persons. Officers whose disablement pensions are related to pay and who retired before 16th December, 1959, are receiving increases which will bring their pensions up to the level of an officer retiring on 16th December, 1959.
Gratuities payable to widows on remarriage and to persons with wound disablements of less than 20 per cent in degree are being increased by 40 per cent approximately. These gratuities have not been increased since 1956 and the various percentage increases in pensions and allowances since then are now being applied to them.
Special allowances are being increased by £4 per year. Increases in certain Social Welfare benefits and in military service, Connaught Rangers and disablement pensions are being disregarded in the calculation of means for special allowance purposes. These latter concessions to special allowance recipients are not of course included in the Bill. They are dealt with by way of amendment to the joint directions governing the grant of special allowances.
I would like to point out that this Bill does not provide for this year's Budget increases which will become payable from the 1st October next. Separate measures will be taken for this purpose.
If Senators require any further information about the Bill, I will endeavour to supply it when concluding.