§ Mr. SHEEHAN
asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether he was aware that a widow, Mary Hickie, of Inches, district of Millstreet, county Cork, applied in November, 1908, for an old age pension, representing herself to be seventy-two years of age, that she was granted a pension of 5s. per week, it being established by the Census Return that her immediately elder brother was seventy-four years of age, that the pension officer stated at the time that he was satisfied she had attained the age of seventy years and over, and endorsed the same on the back of her marriage certificate, that the pension was paid regularly for ten months and then suspended until proof of age was furnished; was he aware that the certificates of two old men over eighty years of age were furnished to the Local Government Board proving Mrs. Hickie was over the prescribed age; and whether, seeing that no parish records existed, would he, in all the circumstances of this case, see that this woman should have her pension continued, and that the arrears should be made good to her?
§ Mr. BIRRELL
Mary Hickie, who stated in her application that she Was seventy-one years of age, was granted a pension in November, 1908, her appearance and her marriage in 1863 being apparently taken as sufficient proof of age. The pension officer, relying on her appearance, was satisfied as to her age at the time, but subsequently raised a question on the ground that her name was not found in the Census Return of her parents' family in 1841. As the other evidence of her age did not appear to be sufficient, the Local Government Board decided against the applicant on appeal. The Census Return records the fact that three children had died before the date of the Return, and 967 these, or some of them, may have come between the applicant and the elder brothers referred to. The certificates of the two old men mentioned in the question are, as I am informed, merely statements of opinion, and are worthless as evidence.