To ask the Minister for Defence regarding the army’s widows and orphans pension, the reason contributions continue to be deducted from members after the 31 year contribution period; the reason any overpayments will be repaid at the rate at which members paid 31 years ago as opposed to at the current higher rate paid by members; and if he will make a statement on the matter.


* For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 9th December, 2014.



Minister for Defence (Mr. Simon Coveney, T.D.):

The pension scheme rules provide for the compulsory deduction of contributions on an ongoing basis from serving members in respect of all pensionable service up to the date of retirement/discharge.  Where at retirement/discharge an excess of contributions arises any excess contributions are refunded, if appropriate, starting with the initial contributions deducted when the individual commenced membership of the schemes.  Benefits payable under the schemes are based on the final remuneration payable to the member; therefore it is appropriate that contributions are also based on the most recent remuneration paid to the member. The contributory pension schemes for beneficiaries of deceased military personnel are essentially the same as those applying elsewhere in the public service.