Cronin, Jeremiah

Tuesday, 20 July 1971

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 255 No. 11

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Army Pensions Bill, 1971: Second Stage.

I move: “That the Bill be now read a Second Time.” The Bill deals with the provision of allowances for the widows of pensioners under the Military Service Pensions Acts, 1924 and 1934, and service pen...More Button

I am grateful to Deputies for their worthwhile contributions on this Bill. Indeed, it is gratifying that the House has always shown warm appreciation of the veterans of the War of Independence. Of co...More Button

It is only in recent years difficulty has been experienced in regard to verifying officers.More Button

I would say there is difficulty at the moment in relation to the award of medals because of the number of verifying officers who are deceased.More Button

I do not think it is really a valid point.More Button

Deputy Tully also suggested that the allowances should be made retrospective to 1st April or an earlier date. In this respect, the allowances follow the pattern of the social welfare benefits announc...More Button

The social welfare benefits come into effect on 1st October.More Button

There are always good reasons for fixing a starting date and it is, I think, reasonable that these should come into effect on 1st October. This is a very desirable and a very welcome scheme. Deputie...More Button

That is not the point. The Budget provision was in respect of military service pensioners. We cannot vary that.More Button

There had to be a basis of assessment. There will always be exceptional cases and hardship cases. Generally speaking, this is generous in that there are no strings attached and the allowance will not...More Button

I will be glad to inform the Deputy.More Button

The number of qualified widows must be an estimated figure but it will be something over 3,000. The allowances will range from £52.20 to £600 a year.More Button

The lowest point will be £52.20 and going as high as £600.More Button

That is correct.More Button

What will be given will range from £52.20 to £600. There are nominal pensions. Since 1959 Old IRA pensions have been increased by 116½ per cent.More Button

Some of the pensions are nominal because of the nature of the service.More Button

That is so. This scheme, however, is making reasonable provision for widows even though the husbands' pensions were at a very low level.More Button

Obviously there will be difficulties in identifying widows in many cases, but we will advertise and check the Department's records to ensure nobody is omitted.More Button

We will see if that will be practicable.More Button

We will advertise and invite applications. We will leave no stone unturned to ensure every qualified widow gets an allowance.More Button

There are Old IRA pensions lower than £66 a year.More Button

I have covered the main points in the debate so far.More Button

The estimated cost in the current year will be £92,000 and in a full financial year it will be approximately £220,000.More Button

The £110,000 includes the cost of bringing military service pensions up to a minimum of £52.20 a year. I am well aware of the figures. The £92,000 is the correct figure in the current financial year...More Button

Now.More Button

It is not open to me to amend the qualifying conditions for an allowance laid down in the Budget Statement as being applicable to military service pensioners.More Button

I should have thought the House would accept this Bill with open arms; it makes a generous contribution.More Button

Committee on Finance. - Army Pensions Bill, 1971: Money Resolution.

I move: That it is expedient to authorise such payments out of moneys provided by the Oireachtas as are necessary to give effect to any Act of the present session to provide for the granting of allowa...More Button

Committee on Finance. - Army Pensions Bill, 1971: Committee and Final Stages.

I am very disappointed that the Deputy does not know the difference between a military service pension and a special allowance.More Button

A military service pension is given for active service whereas a person who holds a service medal without bar, in respect of IRA membership or participation, is eligible to apply for a special allowan...More Button

Deputy Clinton raised the point that there are people who would be entitled to a military service pension but who did not apply in time and who are not in receipt of a special allowance. In our estim...More Button

I strongly sympathise with Deputy Tully's viewpoint. If it were practicable I would be willing to meet his request. There would be many difficulties involved. I would be surprised if there are any ...More Button

——I am anxious to do the right thing in respect of the widows. I shall have a look at it.More Button

That is not quite correct. It will be a total figure of £110,000——More Button

——inclusive of the cost of bringing up small pensions to a minimum figure of £52.20 a year.More Button

In relation to the present scheme there is, of course, no means test. In fact, pensions of other kinds will not be taken into account. Question put and agreed to. SECTION 2. Question proposed: “That ...More Button

Yes. It will be returnable as income for tax purposes.More Button

I have dealt with that point already. This scheme has a minimum of qualifying conditions. The question of a means test was raised by Deputy Cott and in explanation I said that, in fact, there are no ...More Button

The only undertaking I gave was that I would look with sympathy at the points raised.More Button

Beyond that, I am afraid I could not go. Question put and agreed to. Question: “That the Bill do now pass”, put and agreed to.More Button

Written Answers. - Army Civilian Employees.

The following is the information requested in so far as wages and wage adjustments from 1st January, 1970, are concerned:More Button

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