Written Answers. - Pension Entitlement.

William Cotter


100 Mr. Cotter asked the Minister for Defence if he will clarify the position of a separated lady (details supplied) in the event of the death of her spouse, having regard to the EC directives relating to common-law wives; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

The Spouses' and Children's Contributory Pension Scheme for members of the Permanent Defence Force makes provision for pensions for the legal widow and-or dependent children of a deceased member. In a case involving divorce and remarriage, the question of who would be regarded as the legal widow for pension purposes would depend on whether the divorce would be recognised under Irish law. Irrespective of the decision on that question, the children of the first marriage would be eligible for pensions subject to the usual conditions as to dependency, age, etc.

The question of a death gratuity would arise only in the event of a member dying in service. The gratuity would usually be paid to the member's widow (on the basis mentioned above) or, if there were no widow, to his children in equal shares.