HC Deb 29 June 1972 vol 839 cc1645-6
12. Rev. Ian Paisley

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the number of members of the former Royal Irish Constabulary living in the Irish Republic in receipt of British Government retirement pensions; what is the amount of each pension according to retirement rank; when these pensions were last reviewed; if he is satisfied that, as £195 per annum is the amount above which, in the Republic, no other pension is payable, these pensions are adequate compensation for the service given to the Crown in Ireland; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Carlisle

Four hundred and eighty one. I have no reason to think that the awards, most of which were compensation allowances for loss of office, are inadequate for the purpose for which they were intended. The amounts vary according to length of service and rate of pay. United Kingdom pensions increase legislation applies to them.

Rev. Ian Paisley

Does the hon. and learned Gentleman agree that these members of the old Royal Irish Constabulary gave signal service in a very difficult period in Irish history? Does he also agree that the value of the £has decreased since these pensions were last reviewed and that it is likely still further to decrease, probably very rapidly? Would he also agree with me that because there are so few of these pensioners it would be a good gesture by Her Majesty's Government to do something for them, especially as there is a very low standard of social services in the Irish Republic?

Mr. Carlisle

I have no doubt as to the service which these men gave. The position is that these are compensation allowances which were paid at the time of the 1922 Act, that they are all subject to this country's pensions increase Acts and that the purchasing power of the original awards has been maintained. We believe therefore that they are adequate for the purpose for which they were intended. They are dealt with under the same rules as apply to any other retirement pensions in the public sector.