Thursday, 19 September 2019

Ceisteanna (47)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

47. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence further to Parliamentary Question No. 34 of 13 June 2019, the basis within which the Department of Defence sees fit to undermine the decision of the courts in circumstances in which members of the Defence Forces have received compensation for injuries received while they were serving members of the Defence Forces by reducing their pension entitlements up to and beyond the extent of an award made by the courts on the basis of pain and suffering, injuries received and disability thereafter; if the cases referred to can be re-examined on the basis that the decision of the courts is final and binding and attempts to circumnavigate this are illegal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38211/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

The Army Pensions Acts provide for the grant of pensions and gratuities to former members of the Permanent Defence Force (PDF) in respect of permanent disablement due to a wound or injury attributable to military service (whether at home or abroad) or due to disease attributable to or aggravated by overseas service with the United Nations.

Section 13(2) of the Army Pensions Act, 1923, as amended, provides that any alternative compensation received for the same injury or medical condition for which an award is being made under the Army Pensions Acts, may be taken into consideration in fixing the level of disability pension or gratuity that might otherwise be awarded under the Army Pensions Acts. 

The underlying objective of Section 13(2) is to take into consideration compensation paid 'on the double' for the same disablement.

All aspects of each such case, including, in particular, representations made by, or on behalf of, the individual, as well as the annuity value of the compensation received (which is based on an actuarial assessment) are fully considered and a bona fide decision is made in each individual case.

The Deputy may also wish to note that the Courts have held (in a High Court judgement) that the Minister (for Defence) may take into consideration that part of the damages which can properly be regarded as general damages or that part which can properly be regarded as referable to loss of earnings, or both these parts, as he considers proper. Alternatively, he may decide to take none of the compensation into account.

I am satisfied that my Department has acted in accordance with the relevant statutory provisions and I do not consider it necessary or appropriate to carry out a re-examination of such cases.