HC Deb 15 March 1917 vol 91 cc1284-6

asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether he is aware that the Sligo (No. 2) pension sub-committee in the cases of Thomas Curran, pension register No. 533a, and Catherine Curran, pension register No. 736, his wife, of Breeogue, Knocknarca, county Sligo granted to each an additional allowance of 2s. 6d. per week on the war bonus scale, and that on the appeal of the pension officer the award of the local committee was disallowed by the Local Govern- ment Board, although the local pension committee, having considered the matter carefully on 16th October, 1916, and on 15th February, 1917, and with full knowledge of the circumstances of the pensioners, decided that the increase was reasonable; and, seeing that the only means of this couple consist of three acres of inferior land for which they have to pay rent or an annuity, whether he will order a reconsideration of the case by the Local Government Board with a view of having paid to the applicants the allowance to which they are entitled?


The jurisdiction of the Local Government Board is limited to determining the means of the applicants in the cases mentioned, and the joint means of Thomas and Catherine Curran, including their old age pensions and the profits from their farm, exceed 19s. 6d. a week. I have no authority so far as I am aware to order a rehearing, but I have asked for and received from the Local Government Board particulars of the grounds of their decision.


asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether he is aware that complaints are being made from all parts of Ireland against the action of the pension officers, who are directly under the control of the Inland Revenue, and also against the action of the Local Government Board in persistently refusing the claims of old age pensioners to any addition to their pensions in accordance with the war bonus scale of increase of pensions provided by the Government for this purpose; that old age pensioners in Ireland are being treated in this matter differently from old age pensioners in Great Britain; and, seeing that the economic conditions resulting from the War make the necessaries of life, including food and fuel, at least as dear in Ireland as in Great Britain, will he state what steps he intends to take in order to secure equal treatment for the old age pensioners in Ireland with those in Great Britain and the removal of the grievance complained of?


Complaints as to the action of the Local Government Board and the pension officers with regard to the refusal of pensions or increase of pensions are frequently made by and on behalf of those whose claims have been disallowed on appeal. I am not aware that the applications of old age pensioners are treated with less care and consideration in Ireland than in England. I fear that unless all applications are granted complaints are inevitable.


Do the Local Government Board investigate cases before deciding them or do they not simply take the statement of the pensions officer and ask the committee nothing as to the evidence upon which they grant these pensions?


I have looked into a great many of these cases, and certainly, as a general principle the Local Government Board does investigate them. If any particular case is brought to my notice I will see that the circumstances are reconsidered.