§ 10. Mr. J. P. FARRELL
asked why the old age pension has been taken from Edward Prunty, Aghaward, Ballinalle, county Longford, No. 156 in pension officer's register; whether the right hon. Gentleman is aware that this man's entire holding is only about five Irish acres of heavily rented land; that his whole possessions number a cow, a calf, and a donkey; and why is there no special action taken by the Local Government Board to verify the accuracy of the pension officer's valuation, seeing that it is wholly at variance with the man's position in life?
§ Mr. BIRRELL
Edward Prunty's pension was discontinued as the result of a question raised by the pension officer that his means exceeded £31 10s. a year. His farm contains fourteen statute acres and he had three head of cattle in addition to a pig and fowl. Part of the farm was tilled and part of it was sub-let for grazing for £6 a year. The Local Government Board did not accept the pension officer's valuation, but formed their own estimate that Prunty's means were in excess of the statutory limit.
§ Mr. FARRELL
In forming their estimate, did the Local Government Board previously send an inspector to this man's place?
§ 12. Mr. CRUMLEY
asked whether the Local Government Board received from John Donohoe, of Dernagore (Ballyconnell post office, county Cavan), a deed of assignment as evidence in support of his claim to an old age pension; is the Chief Secretary aware that, in reply to an application for the return of the deed, the Local Government Board wrote to the secretary of the Cavan pension sub-committee; that it was returned to claimant on the 15th February, 1912; in reply to a further letter to the Local Government Board, Mr. O'Reilly was referred to the General Post Office for information on the subject; that the General Post Office, on being applied to, wrote that it was the Local Government Board, as senders of the deed, should make application respecting it; that the Local Government Board, on being informed, accordingly wrote that they could not deal further with the matter; and will he take steps to have searches made by both Departments so that the deed may be returned to this man?
§ Mr. BIRRELL
The facts are as stated. The document referred to was returned by post to the claimant by the Local Government Board on 15th February last. The Post Office will now have further inquiry made as to the missing deed.
§ 13. Mr. CRUMLEY
asked whether in or about December, 1911, John Donohoe, of Dernagore, county Fermanagh, was granted an old age pension of 5s. per week by the Cavan Pension Sub-Committee; that the pension officer subsequently objected to this pension, which was reduced by the Local Government Board to 1s. per week, although the claimant placed before the Board a deed of assignment to his son of a small holding of land subject to an annuity of £3 18s. payable to the Land Commission, and reserving only the grazing of one cow, which was claimant's only means of support when the pension was granted; and can the right hon. Gentleman state why the Local Government Board reduced the pension in such circumstances?
§ Mr. BIRRELL
The Local Government Board considered that the claimant's means calculated in accordance with the provisions of the Old Age Pensions Act, 1908, did not entitle him to a pension at a higher rate than one shilling a week. A similar decision was given in the case of a further application made in October last. Before coming to this decision the Board had before them for consideration the deed executed by claimant assigning his farm to his son.
§ 17. Mr. O'DOWD
asked whether the sub-pension committee D. D. of Aclare, county Sligo, recently raised the pension of Bridget Marren, of Montena (No. 1,224) from 4s. to 5s. per week, which sum has since been reduced to the original figure by the Local Government Board; and, if so, whether he will state the grounds on which the Board acted, seeing this woman: has no means of support, she having given over her house and land to her son over three years ago?
§ Mr. BIRRELL
The Local Government Board refused Bridget Marron's application for an increased rate of pension on the ground that her means were such that she was not entitled to any increase of pension. She lives and is supported on a fairly good farm, and, although she assigned the farm with its stock to her son in 1910, the value of her maintenance and privileges were, in the Board's opinion, more than would justify them in allowing her the higher rate of pension.