IN COMMITTEE ON FINANCE. - VOTE 65—ARMY PENSIONS.

I move:—

Go ndeontar suim ná raghaidh thar £96,877 chun slánuithe na suime is gá chun íoctha an Mhuirir a thiocfidh chun bheith iníoctha i rith na bliana dar críoch an 31adh lá de Mhárta, 1929, chun Pinsin Chréachta agus mhí-ábaltachta, Liúntaisí agus Aiscí fé sna hAchtanna Arm-Phinsean, 1923 agus 1927, agus chun sintiúisí agus costaisí iolardha mar gheall ar a Riara san agus chun Pinsin d'íoc fé Acht na bPinsean Seirbhíse Mileata, 1924.

That a sum not exceeding £96,877 be granted to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1929, for Wound and Disability Pensions, Allowances, and Gratuities under the Army Pensions Acts, 1923 and 1927, and for sundry contributions and expenses in respect of the administration thereof and to pay Pensions under the Military Service Pensions Act, 1924.

On this Estimate, it is not, of course, possible to criticise the legislation under which the payments are made. We are opposed to that legislation, and our intention, therefore, is to oppose the Vote of any money to carry out the enactments.

A few days ago I was told that I could bring forward under this Vote some definite cases to which I then referred, the cases of the families of volunteers in the national service. There are thirteen such families in portion of my constituency. The treatment that has been meted out to the families of these volunteers is not in keeping with what one would expect from even the present Government. These are the families of men who lost their lives on active service for the country. In many cases the position is that a father or a mother was totally dependent on their boy who was killed. The amount of compensation paid was £100 and £150. When discussing some of these cases the other day the Minister stated that he did not want to give anything for what he called emotional loss. We are not asking for emotional loss, but I consider that while the families of spies in the district are getting compensation to the extent of £1,200 and £1,500, and while on the other hand the families of Republican soldiers who lost their lives on active service are now in a state of penury and starvation, and are dependent on home assistance, such a position as that is a disgrace to any Government. I think it is very unfair and very unjust the way in which these families have been treated. I want to know definitely from the Minister if he is prepared to re-open those cases. I am in a position to put definite cases to the Minister where the families of volunteers who lost their lives in fighting in the cause of the Republic are now drawing home assistance, and I want to know from him if he considers that that is just or right? I consider that it is a blot, a dishonour, and a disgrace to the Executive Council and the Government that such a thing should exist, and I ask the Minister definitely to re-open these cases.

I suppose the Minister will say, when I have concluded, that he has no knowledge of the definite cases that I am going to raise. I want to assure him that I am not raising these cases on this Vote without having previously interrogated the Department concerned, both by interview and letter, endeavouring to get some redress for the grievances which I am now going to enumerate. In one case a soldier, while actually on the parade ground, was struck by the muzzle of a rifle on the eye and rendered unconscious for some time. He got sleepy sickness and was discharged. But we are told by the Ministry concerned that that ex-soldier is not entitled to any pension. The man has almost lost his reason, and he is incapable of presenting a case for himself. I have gone to considerable trouble to get a case stated for him. I have tried to get one soldier who is prepared to make a statement, but the other soldier concerned is not prepared to make a statement because it was he who struck the ex-soldier and is afraid of military discipline. The order was given to shoulder arms, a rather awkward movement, and it was while doing it the soldier inflicted the injury in the case I have mentioned. This man is afraid to make a statement for fear he would be subject to disciplinary action. I have no opportunity of focussing attention on this case except by bringing it before the Minister. I have repeatedly tried to bring it to the notice of the Department concerned, but have failed.

There is another case where two men were discharged as insane. One has been a few years in a mental hospital and is in a pitiable position. I saw him in the hospital. He is now ready to be discharged, but can get nothing in the shape of gratuity or pension to put him on his feet again in the civil world. He was sent home with an escort of a corporal and two soldiers. We are now told that this man was not insane in the Army. If not, why was he sent home in this manner? There is another case of a soldier who, after an ambush, suffered from the delusion that he was being pursued, and he went insane. In this case we are again told the same story, that he did not go insane while in the Army. He was handed over to the mental hospital. These are three of the most glaring cases that have come under my notice, and I think it is not fair that they should not get more consideration than the Department of Defence has given them. I want to assure the Minister that I did not take advantage of this opportunity to bring these cases without having tried on several occasions to get some redress for these men, but I have failed miserably.

There are two pre-Truce cases I brought before the notice of the Department of Defence. One was that of Stephen MacDermott, killed at Lough Lynn, in County Roscommon. No gratuity or grant was given to his parents because it was said they were not dependent on him. They were dependent on him at that time, and if he was alive they would be still more dependent on him now. There is the case of Peter Coyne, who was on active service during the Black and Tan time. It can be proved he lost his health on active service. The difficulty in his case, according to the reply of the Department, was that he had not made application in time. This man was not in touch with people who could post him as to what he ought to do, and I think the objection made in his case should not rule him out. He is a physical wreck now, but simply because he did not know how to go about it he received no compensation. These two cases should be reconsidered.

With regard to Deputy Corry's cases, I think that if he took one or two sample cases and would write explaining them we could examine them more closely. The principle at that time was really to pay for money losses and not for any other losses. Of course, mistakes may have taken place. With regard to the British supporters, it may be that ridiculously large sums were paid to them, but these were sums paid by the British Government, and we have nothing to do with them. They did not come out of our fund. With regard to some of Deputy Hogan's cases, up to the 1927 Act, where people were discharged insane, nothing could be done for them, but they come within the scope of the 1927 Act. Provided the Medical Board or the Pensions Board would certify that the illness or incapacity was due to military service they would get compensation. I do not know whether application has been made and the cases have actually been before the Board under the 1927 Act.

Mr. HOGAN

They have been before the Board or the Ministry since the 1927 Act was passed.

If the Deputy will give the names I undertake that he will get as full an answer as can be given.

Mr. HOGAN

I will try the Minister for Finance this time.

I will give the Deputy an answer, but I do not know what it will be. With regard to Coyne's case, that seems to be a very unfortunate one, for the time for application is limited by the Act. That hits some people very hard. With regard to the case of Stephen MacDermott——

Mr. BOLAND

Nothing whatever was given in his case.

It is parallel with the cases that Deputy Corry mentioned.

Mr. BOLAND

If I can prove it was a fact that the man had people dependent on him, that should be sufficient.

It would certainly be a case where we could examine the facts.

I would like to bring under the notice of the Minister the case of Denis MacCarthy, of Thurles, who was shot by Black and Tans, but got no compensation. I would like the Minister would see what he can do in this case. This man has tried for compensation time and again, but never got anything.

I will take a note of that.

The Committee divided: Tá, 83; Níl, 53.

  • Aird, William P.
  • Alton, Ernest Henry.
  • Anthony, Richard.
  • Beckett, James Walter.
  • Bennett, George Cecil.
  • Blythe, Ernest.
  • Bourke, Séamus A.
  • Brennan, Michael.
  • Broderick, Henry.
  • Brodrick, Seán.
  • Byrne, Alfred.
  • Byrne, John Joseph.
  • Carey, Edmund.
  • Coburn, James.
  • Cole, John James.
  • Collins-O'Driscoll, Mrs. Margt.
  • Colohan, Hugh.
  • Egan, Barry M.
  • Esmonde, Osmond Thos. Grattan.
  • Fitzgerald, Desmond.
  • Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.
  • Good, John.
  • Haslett, Alexander.
  • Hennessy, Thomas.
  • Hennigan, John.
  • Henry, Mark.
  • Hogan, Patrick (Clare).
  • Hogan, Patrick (Galwav).
  • Holohan, Richard.
  • Jordan, Michael.
  • Keogh, Myles.
  • Law, Hugh Alexander.
  • Lynch, Finian.
  • Mathews, Arthur Patrick.
  • McDonogh, Martin.
  • McFadden, Michael Og.
  • McGilligan, Patrick.
  • Mongan, Joseph W.
  • Morrissey, Daniel.
  • Mulcahy, Richard.
  • Murphy, James E.
  • Murphy, Joseph Xavier.
  • Conlon, Martin.
  • Connolly, Michael P.
  • Cooper, Bryan Ricco.
  • Corish, Richard.
  • Cosgrave, William T.
  • Craig, Sir James.
  • Crowley, James.
  • Daly, John.
  • Davin, William.
  • Davis, Michael.
  • De Loughrey, Peter.
  • Doherty, Eugene.
  • Dolan, James N.
  • Doyle, Edward.
  • Doyle, Peadar Seán.
  • Duggan, Edmund John.
  • Dwyer, James.
  • Murphy, Timothy Joseph.
  • Myles, James Sproule.
  • Nally, Martin Michael.
  • Nolan, John Thomas.
  • O'Connell, Richard.
  • O'Connell, Thomas J.
  • O'Connor, Bartholomew.
  • O'Donovan, Timothy Joseph.
  • O'Hanlon, John F.
  • O'Leary, Daniel.
  • O'Mahony, Dermot Gun.
  • O'Reilly, John J.
  • O'Sullivan, Gearoid.
  • O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
  • Reynolds, Patrick.
  • Rice, Vincent.
  • Roddy, Martin.
  • Shaw, Patrick W.
  • Sheehy, Timothy (West Cork).
  • Thrift, William Edward.
  • Tierney, Michael.
  • Vaughan, Daniel.
  • White, Vincent Joseph.
  • Wolfe, Jasper Travers.

Níl

  • Allen, Denis.
  • Blaney, Neal.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Boland, Patrick.
  • Bourke, Daniel.
  • Brady, Seán.
  • Briscoe, Robert.
  • Buckley, Daniel.
  • Carney, Frank.
  • Carty, Frank.
  • Clery, Michael.
  • Colbert, James.
  • Cooney, Eamon.
  • Corkery, Dan.
  • Corry, Martin John.
  • Crowley, Fred. Hugh.
  • Crowley, Tadhg.
  • Derrig, Thomas.
  • De Valera, Eamon.
  • Fahy, Frank.
  • Flinn, Hugo.
  • Fogarty, Andrew.
  • French, Seán.
  • Gorry, Patrick J.
  • Goulding, John.
  • Hayes, Seán.
  • Holt, Samuel.
  • Houlihan, Patrick.
  • Jordan, Stephen.
  • Kennedy, Michael Joseph.
  • Kent, William R.
  • Kerlin, Frank.
  • Killane, James Joseph.
  • Killilea, Mark.
  • Kilroy, Michael.
  • Lemass, Seán F.
  • Little, Patrick John.
  • Maguire, Ben.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • MacEntee, Seán.
  • Moore, Séamus.
  • Mullins, Thomas.
  • O'Dowd, Patrick Joseph.
  • O'Kelly, Seán T.
  • O'Reilly, Matthew.
  • Powell, Thomas P.
  • Ruttledge, Patrick J.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Sexton, Martin.
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Tubridy, John.
  • Walsh, Richard.
  • Ward, Francis C.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Duggan and P.S. Doyle; Níl: Deputies Allen and G. Boland.
Question declared carried.