HC Deb 06 March 1912 vol 35 cc367-8

asked whether the pension officers in the Clifden, Roundstone, and Spiddle districts of Connemara are able to speak the Irish language; and, if not, will he recommend the replacement of these officers by men who have a knowledge of the language, which is spoken almost exclusively by the claimants for old age pensions?


The three pension officers at Clifden, Roundstone, and Spiddle do not speak Irish. They have no difficulty, however, in finding an English-speaking relative or neighbour to act as interpreter for a claimant who does not speak any English, and I am assured that the interests of such claimants are in no way prejudiced by the officer's ignorance of Irish. The Board of Customs and Excise, in selecting pension officers for Irish-speaking districts, do give a preference as far as possible to Irish-speaking officers; but it is not possible to ensure that all pension officers in these districts should know Irish.