Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Questions (95)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

95. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the basis on which it is deemed that his Department has a right to continue recovery of a compensation award by the courts some 30 years ago by way of continued 40% reduction in a disability pension from the Defence Forces in the case of a person (details supplied) in view of the fact that the person's alleged liability to his Department has been almost repaid; if it is planned to restore the person's disability pension to full payment; if the practice of reclaiming a compensation award granted by the courts to members of the Defence Forces will be discontinued on the basis that the award was recognition for pain and suffering on the part of the claimant, that this does not diminish with the passage of time and the need to discontinue the practice of recovering injury awards by way of reduction of disability pension payments to the members of the forces concerned; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51791/18]

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Written answers (Question to Defence)

Section 13(2) of the Army Pension Act 1923 provides that any compensation received from or on behalf of the person alleged to be responsible for the act which caused the wounding may be taken into consideration in fixing the amount of any pension, allowance or gratuity awarded to an individual under the provisions of the Army Pensions Acts. The underlying objective of section 13(2) is to take into consideration awards (compensation, pension, gratuity or allowance) made ‘on the double’ from any source for the same disablement and not the recovery of injury awards as such.

In relation to the Deputy’s comments that the annual reduction in the disability pension now exceeds the amount of compensation awarded as a result of civil proceedings, the position is that the adjustment under section 13(2) was decided by the then Minister for Defence following consideration of all of the circumstances of the case, including the annuity value of the compensation awarded. The annuity value was obtained from an actuarial assessment and was based on various assumptions including the date the money was received and the life expectancy of the individual.

I am satisfied that the decision in this case was in line with the relevant statutory provisions.