Thursday, 5 March 2020
Department of Defence
Defence Forces Pensions
34. To ask the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence further to Parliamentary Question No. 87 of 12 November 2019, when disability pensions awarded in court to military personnel should be regarded as payment in double (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3805/20]
At the outset, I should first explain that disability pensions are awarded by the Minister for Defence under the Army Pensions Acts 1923 to 1980 (as amended) rather than the Courts, as indicated in the Deputy’s question.
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. All aspects of each such case, including, in particular, representations made by, or on behalf of, the individual, are fully considered and a bona fide decision is made in each individual case. The statutory provisions in question relate to members of the PDF only.
The Courts have held previously that the function of the Minister (for Defence) under Section 13(2) is to take the compensation into consideration and to make a bona fide individual decision on the merits of each case. The Courts have also held 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, the Minister, having regard to the circumstances of the case, may decide to take none of the compensation into account.
I am satisfied that the relevant statutory provisions of the Army Pensions Acts were correctly applied in the case referred to in Parliamentary Question number 87 of 12 November 2019.