War of Independence veterans and spouses to receive 50% pension boost

 

The two surviving War of Independence veterans and 750 veterans' spouses are to get a 50 per cent boost to their pensions, Minister for Defence Willie O'Dea has announced.

The €120 extra per month payment, which was approved by Minister for Finance Brian Cowen following representations from Mr O'Dea, will be backdated to April 1st.

The increase was proposed to mark the Easter Rising's 90th anniversary: "I believed was a timely opportunity to recognise the tremendous efforts and sacrifices they made for our country," Mr O'Dea said.

The two surviving veterans of the War of Independence are the 104-year-old Lt Col Seán Clancy from Dublin, who was born in July 1901 and the 103-year-old Private Daniel O'Donovan, from Tralee.

"The boost, I hope, will be of some benefit to the recipients. It is intended as a small gesture by the Government to show our gratitude on this anniversary year.

"I took a personal interest in securing this increase . . . it will go ahead effective from 1st April, 2006. The last increase was in July 2004," Mr O'Dea said.

In 2000, former minister for defence Michael Smith increased pensions by 50 per cent and gave a €500 lump sum to the 2,000 veterans and spouses of veterans then still alive.