Spouses of War of Independence veterans got €8m in 10 years

Pensions vary depending on husbands' medal status or holding of special allowance

War of Independence veteran Lieut Col Sean Clancy. He had been a commanding officer with the Fifth Infantry Battalion, and had served alongside Michael Collins. He died in    2006  aged 105

War of Independence veteran Lieut Col Sean Clancy. He had been a commanding officer with the Fifth Infantry Battalion, and had served alongside Michael Collins. He died in 2006 aged 105

 

The surviving spouses of deceased War of Independence veterans have received almost €8 million in pension payments from the State in the past 10 years, new figures have revealed.

The last surviving combatant of the war that took place between 1919 and 1921 died in 2006, but 41 widows were still receiving pensions in respect of their husbands’ Army service during the conflict at the end of last year.

The recipients, whose average age is around 92, were paid a total of €262,507 in tax-free pensions during 2018.

This reflected a 50 per cent increase that was implemented in 2016 to mark the centenary of the Easter Rising.

Pension amounts paid to the veterans’ widows vary depending on factors such as whether their husbands were medal-holders or if they had been in receipt of a special allowance before they died.

The average payment was €6,300 last year. The pensions are historically tax free, and are paid in addition to other benefits, such as State or private pensions.

The number of living spouses of War of Independence veterans has fallen sharply in recent years. In 2009 a total of 383 beneficiaries received over €1.7 million in pension payments. The number had fallen to 121 in 2014.

The last surviving veteran of the war, Lieut Col Sean Clancy, died in September 2006 at the age of 105. The Clare-born soldier had been a commanding officer with the Fifth Infantry Battalion, and had served alongside Michael Collins.