HC Deb 05 August 1912 vol 41 cc2677-8W

asked on what grounds an old age pension has been refused to Mrs. Norah O'Neill, Killelan, Caherciveen, in view of the fact that she is seventy-five years of age?


Mrs. Norah O'Neill's claim for an old age pension was disallowed by the Local Government Board on appeal on the grounds that her means as calculated under the. Acts were in excess of the statutory limit.


asked the Chief Secretary if he will cause further inquiry to be made into the claim of Francis Farrelly, 81, Bridge Street, Dundalk, for an old age pension, having regard to the fact that the Census Return of 1841 goes to prove that his father and mother were married in 1838, and that the name of his younger brother John is to be found in the Census Return of 1841; and whether he is aware that the local pension committee have carefully inquired into this case, and have passed it unanimously on four different occasions?


The only child recorded in the claimant's family in the 1841 Census Return is John, and the Local Government Board were not satisfied that the claimant Francis was older than him. Before deciding the case, the Board caused a special seach to be made throughout the records of the civil parish of Castlerahan in the 1851 Census Return, but the claimant's name was not recorded. They also had the case investigated locally, but could obtain no evidence to show that Farrelly had reached the statutory age. His last claim was decided on the 11th July, 1912, and the Board have now no power to reopen consideration of it. The answer to the last paragraph is in the affirmative?


asked the Chief Secretary if he will say what the Local Government Board means by stating that in the case of a person who has applied for an old age pension, but whose age cannot be found in the Census or in the local register, they are willing to accept evidence as to applicants' legal right to pension from persons who may be conversant with their lives and who could say, without any hesitation, that the statutory age of seventy had been reached; and, if the spirit of the Act is carried out, on what specific grounds has the Local Government Board refused the claim of Ellen Fleming, of Ballylanders, county Limerick, in face of the amount of evidence given on her behalf by many people, and especially by the Rev. F. Barry, P.P., who is convinced that this woman is beyond the age limit, or have instructions been issued to pension officers to treat the clergy with contempt in such cases?


As I have already informed the hon. Member, the Local Government Board are prepared to consider all evidence submitted to them in cases which come before them on appeal. They did so in Ellen Fleming's case, but the Board were unable to regard the evidence submitted to them as sufficient for the purposes of the Act to establish that she had reached the statutory age. Pension officers are not under the jurisdiction of the Board, and they are not aware of any instructions having been issued to pension officers such as those referred to in the question. The whole point in dealing with anybody's evidence, clerical or lay, in cases of this kind is to consider what are his means of knowledge.