War of Independence veterans’ widows get €6.5m pension payouts over 6 years

The widows of deceased War of Independence veterans have received almost €6.5m in pension payments from the State in the past six years.

War of Independence veterans’ widows get €6.5m pension payouts over 6 years

The last surviving combatants of the war that took place between 1919 and 1921 died in 2006, but 121 of their widows were still in receipt of pensions in respect of their service last year.

The number of surviving spouses has steadily declined in recent years, falling from 383 in 2009, to 203 in 2012, and 121 in 2014.

The amount of pension payments to the spouses of deceased veterans of the War of Independence has decreased proportionately, reducing from €1.7m in 2009, to a sum of €926,505 in 2012, and €562,899 last year.

New figures confirm a total of €6,470,548 was paid to veterans’ spouses in the six years between 2009 and 2014.

The pension payment was increased by 50% in 2006 to coincide with the 90th anniversary of the 1916 Rising.

The last surviving veteran of the War of Independence, Lieutenant Colonel Seán Clancy, died in September 2006 at the age of 105. The Clare-born soldier had been a commanding officer of the Fifth Infantry Battalion and had served alongside Michael Collins. He was at Dublin Castle when Britain handed power to the new Irish government in 1922.

Last year, 121 surviving spouses shared pension payments of €562,899. In 2013, there were 152 recipients of €724,060. In 2012, a total of 203 individuals received pensions of €926,505 in 2012.

In 2011, a sum of €1,123,686 was shared between 252 surviving spouses, while 316 had received €1,429,615 during the previous year. And in 2009, 383 veterans’ spouses were paid €1,703,783, according to the figures released by the Department of Defence.

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