HC Deb 13 April 1976 vol 909 cc1127-8
8. Mr. Brotherton

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if British nationals are entitled to draw unemployment benefit in the Republic of Ireland.

Mr. Harold Walker

The Social Security Act 1975 does not permit any person to receive British unemployment benefit in respect of a period during which he is in the Republic of Ireland. Under EEC rules an unemployed British national who goes to the Republic of Ireland in order to seek employment there, may, in certain circumstances, be provided with unemployment benefit by the Republic, at cost to Great Britain, for a period not exceeding three months.

Mr. Brotherton

Is it not a disgrace that on the other side of the coin literally hundreds of people can come from the Republic of Ireland to this country and draw large sums in employment benefit? Will the Minister undertake to have this law changed as quickly as possible?

Mr. Walker

The hon. Gentleman, whose comments I have seen in the Press and heard on radio, seems completely to misunderstand the position. In order to qualify for unemployment benefit, the applicant must first satisfy the contribution conditions; he must sign on at least weekly, and he must be available immediately for work. I have put a letter in the post to the hon. Gentleman so as to dispel some of the ideas that are, perhaps, leading him into this anti-Irish vendetta.

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