§ Mr. BOLAND
asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether he is aware that on the 7th September, 1917, an insured labourer named John Sullivan, of Beenbawn, Waterville, handed to Mr. John Hurley, of Scariff, agent for the Irish Land and Labour Approved Benefit Society, three certificates from Dr. Trant, J.P., M.R.C.S., certifying that he, John Sullivan, was unable to work for three weeks, suffering from a whitlow on the finger; that the society refused to pay Sullivan the benefit he was entitled to on the ground that there was no identification number on Sullivan's card; and that Sullivan is illiterate and could not be expected to know anything about identity numbers; whose business it is to supply the identity numbers; whether he is aware that there is only one John Sullivan, an insured labourer, in the townland of Beenbawn, which fact is well known to the society's agent, and where, therefore, the difficulty of identification comes in; whether this Land and Labour Society is bound to supply to each member a book showing the amount to his credit in the books of the society; if so, why has not such a book been issued to John Sullivan; 2156W what steps will be taken to compel this society to issue the hook to John Sullivan; whether the attention of the Irish Insurance Commissioners has been called to this case, and what reply the Commissioners gave; what steps, if any, the Commissioners took to compel the society to pay this benefit; what powers, if any, have the Commissioners over approved societies; and whether he will take steps to amend the law and give the Commissioners the same powers over defaulting societies, on proper proof being presented, as they have at present over defaulting employers?
§ Sir E. CORNWALL
I have caused inquiry to be made into the matter referred to by the hon. Member, and am informed that benefit was withheld during the period in question in accordance with the Regulations dealing with the subject owing to the fact that the member was under twenty-three penalty arrears during penalty year 1916–17, in consequence of his failure to surrender a card in respect of the second half-year 1915. The society state that an insurance book has already been issued to the member, but. he has been informed that if this has been lost a duplicate book will be furnished on application. Under the National Insurance Acts the duty of determining whether in any case benefit is properly payable is entrusted to approved societies. An insured person dissatisfied with the decision of his society is entitled to have the question submitted to arbitration in accordance with the rules of the society, and may finally appeal to the Commissioners under Section 67 of the National Insurance Act, 1911.