Value of maximum pension was significant

Top pension of £350 a year was payable to those of senior rank who served from 1916 to 1923

Fri, Jan 17, 2014, 01:00

The maximum military service pension amounted to a significant income in the 1920s and 1930s.

The huge number of people that applied for the pension is proof enough of its value in a society where incomes were low and jobs scarce.

The top pension of £350 a year was payable to those of senior rank who served from 1916 to 1923. To put that pension in context, the annual salary, or allowance as it was called, for a Dáil deputy at the time, was £360 a year.

To put that in context, the current salary of a TD is €87,258, so a pension of close to that figure would amount to a very substantial income.

Top rate
Some of those who qualified for the top rate of £350 a year, like Sean MacEntee, Frank Aiken and Thomas Derrig, were also in receipt of substantial State salaries as ministers and TDs.

Eamon de Valera, a surviving leader from 1916 and longest serving taoiseach, did not apply for the military service pension although he would have been entitled to the top rate.

There was a huge differential between the amount paid to the leaders of the national movement and the ordinary foot soldiers.The majority of ordinary volunteers applying were classified as privates and were entitled to a maximum pension of £70 a year if they had served all the way through from 1916 to 1923.

Those with the rank of lieutenant or captain could get a maximum of £140 a year, people with the rank of commandant £210 a year, colonel or major general £280 a year, and lieutenant general £350 a year.