§ Mr. JAMES O'KELLY
asked the Chief Secretary on what grounds the Local Government Board for Ireland sanctioned and allowed the appeals of the pension officer against the decisions of the Strokestown sub-committee in granting a pension of 5s. a week to Patrick M'Grath, of Curcreigh, Cloonyquin, county Roscommon, and by their decision reduced the pension to 3s. a week in July, 1912, and again in April of the present year, although the local sub-committee, after careful investigation, were satisfied that the embarrassed financial circumstances of the said pensioner entitled him to a pension of 5s. a week; is the Local Government Board aware that the said pensioner holds between five and six acres of land at the yearly rent of £3 18s. 10d., Poor Law valuation £6, and that he was in receipt of a full pension from the commencement of the Old Age Pensions Act; and, in view of these facts, will the Local Government Board grant a full pension to this pensioner together with a remission of the money detained?
§ Mr. BIRRELL
The facts are as stated, except that the pensioner's farm comprises over nine acres, and not between five and six, as mentioned in the question. He had two cows and two calves, and the Local Government Board estimated his total means to exceed £23 12s. 6d. a year. He was accordingly not entitled to a higher rate of pension than 3s. a week. As the question has been determined, the Board have no power to reopen the case or make the pensioner any refund.
§ Mr. JOYCE
asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether his attention has been called to the case 2056W of Mrs. Bridget Coughlan, of Limerick, who made a claim for an old age pension on 2nd September, 1912, which, after full investigation by the pensions committee of the Abbey Ward, was granted; whether the pension officer appealed against this decision on the grounds that the applicant had not produced any evidence of her age; whether he is aware that she could not do this as there was no record of her age; whether a birth certificate of a younger sister was sent to the Irish Local Government Board, which showed that this sister would be sixty-eight years old in June next, and that there was another birth between the two sisters; is he aware that four old age pensioners in the parish of Mungret, county Limerick, have certified that this poor woman is over seventy years of age; and whether, taking all these circumstances into account, further consideration will be given to the claim of Mrs. Bridget Coughlan with the view of granting her the pension?
§ Mr. BIRRELL
The facts are as stated. There was no evidence, however, to show whether Bridget Coughlan was older or younger than the sister referred by the hon. Member, and there was no information as to the alleged birth of another sister between these two sisters. Uncorroborated statements by other old persons cannot be regarded as evidence of age, and in any case, as the Local Government Board have decided the claim, they have no authority to reopen consideration of this case.