Saturday 16 December 2017

Scorpion sting soldier settles pension-entitlements action

Tim Healy

A MAN left with a serious heart condition after he was stung by a scorpion while serving as a soldier with the Irish Army in the Lebanon nearly 33 years ago has settled a court action over his pension entitlements.

William Moran, Battery Heights, Athlone, Co Westmeath, was stung in 1980 while on duty for the UN, the High Court heard.

Last April, his lawyers got permission to challenge a decision by the Minister for Justice Equality and Defence to only award him a disability pension from 2006.

The court heard that following his service in the Lebanon, he bought himself out of the Army. He was later diagnosed with congestive cardiomyopathy and went on on a waiting list for a heart transplant.

He applied for a pension in 1985 but the Army pensions board decided that while he was suffering from a 70pc disablement, it refused his application, saying there was not enough evidence to link his condition to the scorpion bite.

He was told he could re-apply if new evidence became available.

After a number of years, such evidence did become available and he re-applied to the minister who referred his case back to the Army pensions board. It found his condition was attributable to the bite, counsel said.

The case went back to the minister who decided he was entitled to a pension backdated to June 2006, but no reasons were given for the choice of this date.

In his action, he sought an order quashing that decision and for the minister to reconsider it.

Yesterday, his counsel Feichin McDonagh told High Court President Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns the minister had now accepted his illness was the result of the scorpion bite and his client was no longer seeking those orders. Costs had been agreed between the parties, he added.

Last night, Mr McDonagh said his client was satisfied with the settlement and was never looking to blame anyone.

"He doesn't want to be critical of anyone," he said.

Irish Independent

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