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Verifying Applications
1913 - 1923

Under the Army Pensions Acts - The Army Pensions Board

With the passage into law of the Army Pensions Act, 1923, The Ministry of Defence moved to set up machinery and procedures for the administration of that Act.

On the 13 June 1923, General Richard Mulcahy submitted a memorandum for the decision of the Executive Council proposing the setting up of an Army Pensions Board. The Board would examine all claims under the Act and advise the Minister for Defence as to the award, if any, to be made in each case.

Following the agreement of the Minister for Finance, an Army Pensions Board consisting of a Chairman-to be of Judicial or legal training, a representative of the Adjutant General and a representative of the Department of Finance was approved. The Ministry of Defence would supply the Secretary to the Board.

In tandem, it was agreed to set up a Medical Board within the resources of the Army Medical Service, the chairman of which would attend as necessary at meetings of the Army Pensions Board to advise on medical aspects of any particular case.

By June 1924 it was recognised that there was a requirement for a Referee or an Appeals procedure and the President of the Executive Council and Minister for Defence, Mr. W.T. Cosgrave, T. D., appointed four surgeons- Mr. R.C.B. Maunsell of Mercers Hospital, Mr. H. Barniville of the Mater, Mr. D. Kennedy of St. Vincent’s and Mr. J.L. Keegan of Jervis Street Hospital-to take it in turns to sit on the Army Pensions Board and review the assessments of the Medical Board.

Certain difficulties arose over time in the working of the Army Pensions Board as constituted and it was decided to formally establish the Board by statute in the Army Pensions Act, 1927 (Sections 5 & 6).

The first appointees were announced on 29 August 1927 as follows:

Chairman: Mr. George Nicolls, B.A. Solicitor. Member Mr Charles Dickson, M.D. FRCPI. Member: Major Thomas McKinney, Deputy Director Army Medical Service.

Reports and findings of the Army Pensions Board are to be found as part of individual veterans cases in the files of the Military Service Pensions Collection. Also, some Administrative files are found and are released as part of the collection.

Under the Military Service Pensions Acts — Board of Assessors and Referees

1924 — Providing for the payment of military service pensions

The Military Service Pensions Act, 1924 established a Board of Assessors, consisting of three members. Its purpose was to examine every application for a certificate of military service referred to them by the Minister for Defence and report as to the military service of the applicant. The Chairman was to be a Judge of the Supreme Court, High Court, Circuit Court or District Court or a practising barrister of not less than ten years standing. All three members were to be appointed by the Minister with the approval of the Executive Council. The board was constituted on 4 October 1924 and finalised its deliberations in October 1928.

1934-extending the scope of the legislation

The Military Service Pensions Act, 1934 removed certain restrictions operating under the previous legislation and provided scope for veterans not previously qualified to apply for a certificate of military service. The Act provided for the establishment of a Referee and a four member Advisory Committee to sit with the Referee and assist him in the exercise of his function under the Act.

The Referee was to be a Judge, selected under the same professional stipulation set out in the Act, 1924 and the Advisory Committee would consist of two members, who had held high rank in the Forces before the 11 July 1921 and two other members to be nominated by the Minister for Finance and the Minister for Defence respectively.

As the Referee and Advisory Committee set about their work of examining applications for certificates of military service it was found that a number of applications received by them would properly have to be considered under the provisions of the Act, 1924. Accordingly, acting on the advice of the Attorney General, the Board of Assessors was reconstituted, with the Referee acting as chair and the two senior former IRA officers’ as members, and met from time to time as required. The reconstituted board of assessors, the Referee and Advisory Committee concluded their investigations on 31 July 1947.

Public Notice 1945

Procedure followed in relation to adjudication of claims for Military Service Certificates under the Military Service Pensions Act, 1934. Issued by the Department of Defence and published by the Stationary Office, Dublin, 500 copies, February 1945. This notice was issued following representations and/or complaints from various Old IRA organisations and associations on behalf of veterans refused certificates or complaining of undue delay in the processing of applications

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1949-providing for new applicants and review of refused cases

The passing of The Military Service Pensions (Amendment) Act, 1949 saw the Referee and Advisory Committee reconstituted and this time they would operate up until 30 September 1958.

This website contains the names and details of periods in office of the persons appointed to the original Board of Assessors , the Referees and Advisory Committee , the Reconstituted Referee and Advisory Committee during the period from 4 October 1924 to 30 September 1958.

Some of these persons are relatively well known in public and professional circles and had played a part in the activities of the period leading up to the establishment of the State and its evolving history. Given the importance of these individuals and the appointments they filled under the relevant pension’s legislation, it was decided to provide as much biographical and career information as could be gathered for a more rounded view of the workings of the pension award process.

An outline of the civilian structures within the Ministry/Department of Defence from its establishment in 1922 is vital to understanding many of the processes and procedures mentioned in the files in the collection.

For more information, view a brief history of the evolution of the civil side of the Department in its first decade.

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