§ 89. Mr. DANIEL BOYLE
asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland, why the old age pension of Francis Craig, Ballinabull, Crossmolina, county Mayo, has been reduced from 5s. to 3s. per week; and, if the reduction has been made on the question of means, will he say how the calculation has been made?
§ Mr. BIRRELL
The pension was reduced on a question raised as to the pensioner's means. The estimate of his means was formed from a consideration of the stock and crops on the pensioner's farm, which comprised six acres of good, well-tilled land, and carried two cows, four calves, three sheep, sixteen pigs and thirty-seven fowl.
§ 90. Mr. DANIEL BOYLE
asked the Chief Secretary whether he will explain why the old age pension claim of Mary Mulloy, Crossmolina, county Mayo, has been disallowed on appeal by the Local Government Board; will he indicate what evidence, in the absence of documentary proof of birth or baptism or inability to be traced in the Census records, will an applicant be required to produce to satisfy the Local Government Board; and will statutory declarations by two old age pensioners proved to be themselves over eighty years, and who have known the applicant all her life, be accepted as satisfactory proof of age?
§ Mr. BIRRELL
Mary Mulloy's claim was disallowed for want of sufficient evidence of age. Each case is dealt with on its merits, and the Local Government Board cannot bind themselves as to what evidence would be accepted as sufficient in the absence of baptismal certificates or other documentary proofs of age. They are most willing to accept any trustworthy evidence which would warrant them in holding that a person had attained the statutory age. Uncorroborated expressions of opinion of old age pensioners would not in every case be conclusive evidence of age. All would depend upon the means of knowledge possessed by the deponents. People who say they have known somebody all their lives often, on examination, have to admit a much shorter acquaintance.
§ 93. Mr. AUGUSTINE ROCHE
asked whether Peter M'Donald, 74, James Street, Dundalk, has been refused an old age pension; whether he has made a most careful search for his age both in the parish register and in the Census records, but without success; whether he produces a marriage certificate showing he was married forty-nine years ago, and also an affidavit which states that he was born more than seventy years ago; and whether, under these circumstances, where no age can be found, the Board will reconsider the case?
§ Mr. BIRRELL
The facts are as stated in the question. The Dundalk Pension Committee disallowed M'Donald's claim on the ground of insufficient evidence of age, and their decision was confirmed by the Local Government Board, who have no power to reconsider the case.