§ Mr. DEVLIN
asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that the charge made for the inspection of the Census papers in the Record Office, Dublin, in connection with applications for old age pensions is a hardship on many of the applicants; whether he is aware that in many parishes the clergy are put to inconvenience in looking up the baptismal registers in connection with these applications, and are expected to do this without fee or reward; and whether he will take steps to abolish the charge made at the Record Office?
§ Mr. BIRRELL
As stated in the reply given by my right hon. Friend the Attorney-General for Ireland to a question asked by the hon. Member for West Mayo on the 19th November last, no expense need be incurred by claimants in cases in which it becomes necessary to search the Census returns for proof of age, arrangements having been made for the work to be done by Inland Revenue officers. If a claimant prefers to seek himself for evidence in support of his claim he has to pay the usual inspection fee of one shilling. There is no obligation on the clergy to make searches in baptismal registers without fee or reward. Some, no doubt, do so, but others do not. The fees in the Record Office are fixed by the Master of the Rolls with the consent of the Treasury as provided by the Public Records (Ireland) Act, 1867, and I have no power to vary them.