Privileged Injuries: Defining Disability Among Veterans Of The Irish Revolution (1916-1923

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Following its War of Independence from Britain (1919-21) and subsequent Civil War (1922-3), the Irish Free State government introduced disability pension legislation to compensate revolutionaries and soldiers who had been wounded, and the dependants of those who had died, in the conflicts. The legislation was initially limited only to physical wounds but this remit was extended in 1927 to cover mental illness and disease contracted during active service. In expanding eligibility in this way, the Irish Free State went against the trend internationally among the belligerent nations of the First World War, where disability pension eligibility was circumscribed considerably during the 1920s, with psychiatric cases often being downgraded or excluded entirely. This article explores the evolution of the opposite trend in independent Ireland, exploring the reasons for the initial privileging of physical wounds and locating the decision to expand eligibility in the variables governing veteran privilege identified in the work of Martin Crotty, Neil Diamant and Mark Edele.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages20
Early online date15 Jul 2022
Publication statusEarly online date - 15 Jul 2022


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