Army Pensions (No. 2) Bill, 1960 ( Certified Money Bill ): Second and Subsequent Stages.

Question proposed: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."

Níl foráil ar bith sna hAchtanna ArmPhinsean fé láthair na huaire a cheadódh pinsin, aiscí nó liúntaisí a íoc i leith míchumais nó bás de dheasca galair a thárla d'oifigigh nó saighdiúirí le linn dóibh bheith ar fónamh le hÓglaigh na hÉireann. Bhí foráil den tsaghas sin ag gabháil le seirbhís i 1922-1924 agus i 1939-1946, tráthanna gur ceapadh go raibh coinníollacha eigeandála i bhfeidhm; lasmuigh des na tráthanna sin, ní meastar gur priacal é an galar a bhaineann le seirbhís in Óglaigh na hÉireann in aimsear síochána.

Tá a mhalairt de scéal ann nuair atá buíonta d'Óglaigh na hÉireann thar lear ar sheirbhís leis na Náisiúin Aontuithe agus tá sé beartaithe sa mBille seo na sochair iomchuí a chur ar fáil d'oifigigh, saighdiúirí, comhaltaí de Sheirbhís Altranais an Airm agus comhaltaí den tSeirbhís Séipléineachta, nó ina leith, go dtarlíonn galar dóibh de dheasca na seirbhíse sin.

San mBille seo freisin foráltar go n-íocfar pinsin nó aiscí do chomhaltaí den tSeirbhís Séipléineachta i leith míchumais de bhárr créachta is inchurtha i leith seirbhíse leis na Náisiúin Aontuithe amháin. Tá gach éinne eile cáilithe cheana dos na sochair sin le haghaidh míchumais créachta le linn a seirbhíse—sa bhaile nó thar lear—le hÓglaigh na hÉireann, agus, sa bhealach chéanna, na forálacha sin faoina n-íoctar liúntaisí nó aiscí do chleithiúnaithe oifigigh agus saighdiúirí a marbhaítear i mbun dualgais nó a gheibheann bás de bhárr créachta is inchurtha i leith seirbhíse sa bhaile, bíonn feidhm leo i gcás seirbhíse leis na Náisiúin Aontuithe, comh maith.

Baineann Ailt 1, 2 agus 8 le nithe mar léiriú 7rl. nach gá de mhíniú, bhféidir, ach a rá go bhfuil sé soiléir in Alt 2 go bhfuil feidhm ag an mBille don uile chineál seirbhíse leis na Náisiúin Aontuithe (san am atá thart, fé láthair nó san todchaí) agus nach bhfuil sé srianta dóibh siúd atá anois san Congo.

Forálann Alt 3 (maille leis an Chéad Sceideal) go n-íocfar pinsin d'oifigigh, saighdiúirí agus comhaltaí de Sheirbhís Altranais an Airm le haghaidh míchumais de bhárr galair is inchurtha i leith seirbhíse leis na Náisiúin Aontuithe. Níl de dheifríocht idir na coinníollacha cáilitheacha atá dá bhforáil anois agus iad siúd a bhí i bhfeidhm cheana ach go bhfuil an teora ama d'iarrataisí faidithe ó cheithre bhliain go hocht mbliain. Is de bhárr aithris cúise i nDáil Éireann a deineadh seo.

Comharlaítear dom gur leor é ceithre bhliain mar thréimhse, de ghnáth, le go léireodh galar é féin ach, ar eagla go gcoscfaí ar éilitheoir fhírinneach, toisc tréimhse goir níos faide a bheith ag galar teochreasach, iarratas a dhéanamh dá léireofaí an galar taréis ceithre bhliain, bhíos sásta umhlú dos na hachainíocha a deineadh agus an teóra ama a fhaidiú. Tá gá, ar ndóigh, le teora ama ionus go mbeidh caoi réasúnta ann fáithmheas liachta a thabhairt agus a chinneadh an raibh an galar inchurtha i leith seirbhíse chor ar bith.

Tá comhaltaí den tSeirbhís Séipléineachta á gclúdach in Alt 4 ag na forálacha a bhaineann le pinsin a íoc, de bhárr míchumais, pécu ó ghalar nó ó chréacht is inchurtha i leith seirbhíse leis na Náisiúin Aontuithe. Táthar taréis an teora ama d'iarratas ar phinsin de bhárr galair a fhaidiú anso, arís, ó cheithre bhliain go hocht mbliain.

Foráltar in Ailt 5 agus 7 go n-íocfar d'oifigigh, saighdiúirí, comhaltaí de Sheirbhís Altranais an Airm agus comhaltaí den tSeirbhís Séipléineachta —i dtoscaí nach n-íoctar na gnáthphinsin mí-threora iontu—pinsin modhnaithe le haghaidh míchumais de ghrád níos lú nó nach bhfuil inchurtha in iomlán don tseirbhís, fé choinníollacha atá ar aon dul leo siúd a rialaíonn íocaíocht pinsin den tsaghas sin i leith seirbhíse sna tréimhsí 1922-1924 nó 1939-1946. Beidh an teora ama de ocht mbliain, a bhaineann le hiarrataisí ar phinsin a fháil, i bhfeidhm sna cásanna seo freisin.

Tá sé beartaithe in Alt 6 (maille leis an Tarna Sceideal go n-íocfar liúntaisí nó aiscí cleithiúnaigh do ghaolta oifigigh agus saighdiúirí a gheibheann bás o ghalar is inchurtha i leith seirbhíse leis na Náisiúin Aontuithe agus tá sochair ag gabháil leis—sa bhreis orthu siúd a bhí le fáil tráth de dheasca bás amhlaidh—a cheadaíonn méadú de 50% ar na liúntaisí is iníoctha do bhaintrigh agus do pháisti oifigigh nó saighdiúirí a gheibheann bás le linn dóibh bheith ar seirbhís leis na Náisiúin Aontuithe nó laistigh de cheithre bhliain dá fhorcheannadh, de bhárr galair is inchurtha i leith na seirbhíse sin.

Tá súil agam go mbeidh an miniú seo ina chabhair do Seanadóirí aon phointe deacrachta a thuigsint agus beidh áthas orm ceist ar bith eile a eascradh as an mBille a fhreagairt nuair a bhead ag rá an focail scoir.

The Army Pensions Acts contain no current provision for the payment of pensions, gratuities or allowances in respect of disablement or death due to disease incurred by officers or soldiers during their service with the Defence Forces. Such a provision was applicable in respect of service in 1922-1924 and in 1939-1946 when conditions of emergency were considered to exist but, apart from those periods, disease is not considered to be a peacetime hazard of service in the Defence Forces.

Disease is, however, a hazard of service overseas with contingents of the Defence Forces serving on United Nations duty and the purpose of this Bill is to enable the appropriate benefits to be made available to or in respect of officers, soldiers, members of the Army Nursing Service and members of the Chaplaincy Service who may contract disease as a result of such overseas duty.

Members of the Chaplaincy Service are also being included within those provisions of the Acts which relate to the payment of pensions or gratuities in respect of disablement due to wounds attributable to United Nations service only. All other personnel are already qualified for such benefits arising from wound disablements during their Defence Force service— irrespective of whether the service is rendered at home or overseas—and, similarly, the existing provisions of the Acts for the payment of allowances or gratuities to the dependants of officers and soldiers who are killed on duty or who die from wounds attributable to service at home are applicable to United Nations service.

Sections 1, 2 and 8 deal with matters of interpretation, etc., and are selfexplanatory except that it may be emphasised that Section 2 underlines the fact that the Bill applies to all United Nations service, past, present and future and is not confined to the personnel at present serving in the Congo.

Section 3 (in conjunction with the First Schedule) provides for the payment of pensions to officers, soldiers and members of the Army Nursing Service for disablement due to disease attributable to United Nations service. The only difference between the qualifying conditions now provided and those formerly applicable is that the time limit for applications has been extended from four to eight years. This was done in response to representations made in Dáil Éireann. I am advised that four years is normally an adequate period for a disease to show up but rather than run the risk that, because a tropical disease might have a longer period of incubation, a genuine claimant might be debarred from applying through the appearance of the disease after four years, I agreed to defer to the appeals made to me and to extend the time limit. The necessity for such a time limit is, of course, to provide a reasonable opportunity of a medical diagnosis and determination whether a disease is in fact attributable to service at all.

Section 4 deals with the inclusion of members of the Chaplaincy Service within the provisions relating to the payment of pensions for disablement, whether due to disease or wound, attributable to United Nations service. Here, again, the time limit for an application for a pension in respect of disease has been extended from four to eight years.

Sections 5 and 7 provide for the payment to officers, soldiers, members of the Army Nursing Service and members of the Chaplaincy Service— in circumstances where the normal disability pensions are not payable— of modified pensions for lesser disablement or partial attributability under conditions similar to those governing the payment of such pensions in respect of service in the periods 1922-1924 or 1939-1946. In these cases also the longer time limit of eight years for the receipt of applications for pensions will apply.

Section 6, in conjunction with the Second Schedule, provides that dependants' allowances or gratuities shall be paid to the relatives of officers and soldiers who die from disease attributable to United Nations service and carries a benefit—additional to those formerly available in respect of deaths —which enables an addition of 50% to be made to the allowances payable to widows and children of officers or soldiers who die during United Nations service, or within four years of its termination, from a disease attributable to such service.

I hope that these points of explanation will have helped Senators to understand any matters of difficulty and I shall be glad to deal, when concluding, with any other questions which may arise on the Bill.

I am in agreement with the Bill, about which there is little to be said. It is very welcome. I should like to make just a reference to widows' pensions as outlined in the Bill, and to ask if they will be affected by the normal old age pensions when they become due. The Bill is vitally necessary in many cases, now that some of these men have died, and I suppose the four years given for the development of any tropical disease is a fairly good length of time, so that nobody on this side of the House can find fault with the Bill.

Molaimse an Bille seo. Is dóigh liom go bhfuil riachtanas níos práinne leis ná mar a bhí cheana. Is fíor gur iarracht é chun cúitimh dleathach a thabhairt dona daoine a théann i mbaol chosanta na tíre agus i mbaol mian mhuintir na tíre a chur i bhfeidhm in áiteanna eile.

Níl aon locht agam ar aon chuid dena coiníollacha atá san mBille ach ba mhaith liom beagán eolais d'fháil faoin abairt a bhí ag an Aire—"galar ionchurtha le seirbhís". Cé hiad a léireoidh don Roinn nó don Aire nó do lucht tugtha na bpinsean uatha gur galar é atá inchurtha i leith na seirbhíse ina rabhadar? An iad dochtúirí an Airm a dhéanfaidh é nó an nglacfar le tuairimí dochtúirí eile taobh amuigh den tseirbhís ná beidh freagarthach don Roinn nó don Aire? Sin í an cheist atá agam san gcás seo.

Mar adúirt mé cheana, molaim an Bille. Is rud é atá anois níos práinne ná mar a bhí sé cheana. Bhí riachtanas leis cheana. Leigheósaidh an Bille seo an t-easnamh a bhí ann agus b'fhéidir cúis ghearáin a bhí ag beagán daoine faoi arb éigin dóibh dul as an Arm.

Teastaíonn uaim fháil amach cé hiad a thabharfaidh breith ar an ngalar ionchurtha in aghaidh na seirbhíse atá sa ghalar a bheidh le plé? Cé hiad nó cé uatha a ghlacfar tuairimí ar a shon sin? Molaim an Bille.

Tá mé anbhuíoch dona Seanadóirí faoin dóigh inar ghlacadar leis an mBille seo gan aon chur ina choinne. Maidir leis an dá phointe a d'ardaigh an Seanadóir Ó Siochfhradha, d'iarr sé cé hiad na daoine a réiteoidh an cheist i dtaobh galar i leith serbhíse? Déanfar é sin sa tslí ina déantar é fé láthair, tre mhéan Bhord Pinsean an Airm. Tá Bord fé leith ann agus caithfidh siad a bheith cinnte an bhfuil an galar ionchurtha i leith seirbhíse. Glacfaidh siad fianaise ó aon dhochtúir agus déanfaidh an Bord an fhianaise sin a mheas.

Dúirt an Seanadóir go raibh riachtanas leis an mBille seo cheana. Gealladh go dtabharfaí an Bille seo isteach nuair a ritheadh an Bille úd tríd an Oireachtas chun na dreamanna seo a chur go dtí an Congo i dtosach. Gealladh an uair sin go dtabharfaí an Bille seo isteach.

Ba mhaith liom a rá nach mbaineann sé seo le gnáth-sheirbhís sa bhaile. Ní bhaineann sé ach leis na Náisiúin Aontaithe ó thaobh galair. Baineann na hAchtanna a bhí ann cheana le créachta bíodh siad sa mbaile nó leis na Náisiúin Aontaithe. Ní bhaineann sé seo ach le seirbhís thar lear. Meastar nach bhfuil contabhairt níos mó ar shaighdiúirí galar teacht ortha ná ar dhaoine ar bith eile. Measaim go bhfuil sin fíor.

With regard to the point raised by Senator Carton, old age pensions or the normal widows' contributory pensions will not be affected by this Bill.

Question put and agreed to.
Agreed to take remaining Stages today.
Bill considered in Committee.
Sections 1 to 6, inclusive, agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 7 stand part of the Bill.

In this section, there is a reference to the fact that every application shall be made to the Minister within four years of the date of discharge or termination of membership. Is that membership of the nursing service?

That refers only to membership of the Army nursing service or Chaplaincy service.

Question put and agreed to.
Section 8 agreed to.
First and Second Schedules agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported without recommendation, received for final consideration and ordered to be referred to the Dáil.