Tuesday, 8 March 1966
Dáil Eireann Debate
Mr. Ryan: asked the Minister for Defence if, having regard to the hardship caused to ex-soldiers by reduction of their pensions on their children attaining certain ages, he will have steps taken to remove existing restrictions on such pensions to bring them in line with other State pensions which are not so limited; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Mr. Ryan: asked the Minister for Defence if he will state in respect of each of the last five years the number of ex-soldiers who have had their pensions reduced on the death of their wives or on their sons attaining the age of 18 years or on their daughters attaining the age of 21 years.
It is presumed that the Deputy has in mind disability pensions payable  to ex-soldiers under the Army Pensions Acts. These consist of a basic pension in respect of the man himself and, if he is married, further sums in respect of his wife and each son and unmarried daughter under the age of 18 years. At one time, there was, in addition to the basic pension, a flat rate of married pension rather than separate sums for the wife and each eligible child, but the separate elements were introduced as being generally more beneficial. Under this system, the greater the number of children, the higher the total pension becomes. As the earning capacity of the pensioner has been reduced by his disability, the payment in respect of the children represents a contribution towards their maintenance until such time as they could, in the ordinary course of events, be expected to earn their own livelihood.
I am not aware of any similar types of pension payable to former members of other State services, that is, pensions containing separate additional elements in respect of wives and children. But where, for instance, children's allowances continue to be paid to former State servants because the children are still under a prescribed age, the allowances cases when they reach that age, and I presume that the Deputy would agree that there must be some age limit for payments in respect of children.
The numbers of ex-soldiers whose disability pensions were reduced during the last five calendar years because of the death of the wife or eligible children or because of eligible children attaining the prescribed age are 1961—14; 1962—16; 1963—18; 1964—17 and 1965—8.
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