Written Answers. - Retired Pilot's Gratuities and Pensions.

146.

asked the Minister for Defence the amount of the gratuity and pension payable by his Department to pilots who recently retired from the Air Corps.

Limerick West): It is not the practice to disclose details of the kind requested by the Deputy since these are regarded as confidential to the individual retired officer concerned.

I may say, however, that under the Defence Forces pensions schemes an officer who retires with not less than 12 years' service qualifies for a pension and gratuity regardless of his age. Pensions under the schemes are not directly pay-related as such but are based on rank, length of service in rank and overall length of service. Maximum pension can be attained long before an officer reaches normal retiring age. For example, a commandant with 23 years' service and six years' service in that rank would qualify for maximum pension as would a Lieutenant-Colonel with 25 years service and three years' in rank. An officer with such service would be in the 41 to 43 years age bracket. Because of their specialised occupation, Air Corps pilots qualify for a 10 per cent addition to the standard rates of pension.

Examples of the benefits available under the schemes to retiring Air Corps pilots are as follows:

(a) Lieutenant-Colonel with 25 years' service and three years' service in that rank — Pension, £11,756 a year (52.3 per cent of pay); Gratuity, £16,502.

(b) Commandant with 23 years' service and six years' service in that rank — Pension, £9,609 a year (49.6 per cent of pay); Gratuity, £13,284.

(c) Captain with 15 years' service and five years' service in that rank — Pension, £4,327 a year (25.2 per cent of pay); Gratuity, £9,357.