Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Unemployment and Disability Benefit.

Thursday, 10 December 1970

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 250 No. 5

First Page Previous Page Page of 91 Next Page Last Page

19.

Dr. O'Connell: Information on John F. O'Connell  Zoom on John F. O'Connell  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when legislation will be introduced to provide for a scheme of pay-related unemployment and disability benefit.

Mr. J. Brennan: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  I am not yet in a position to say when legislative proposals in this matter will be ready.

Dr. O'Connell: Information on John F. O'Connell  Zoom on John F. O'Connell  May I take it that already it is well under way?

Mr. J. Brennan: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  Yes. Do not commit me to a date.

Dr. O'Connell: Information on John F. O'Connell  Zoom on John F. O'Connell  No, but it is under way—within the next six or 12 months?

Mr. J. Brennan: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  I would hope so.

[620]20.

Mr. Tully: Information on James Tully  Zoom on James Tully  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if any instruction has been given to appeals officers in his Department not to allow appeals of young married women after the birth of their first baby who appeal against a decision to disallow their claims for unemployment benefit.

Mr. J. Brennan: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  Appeals officers of my Department are statutory officers appointed under section 43 of the Social Welfare Act, 1952. No person instructs or has the right to instruct them as to what decisions they give in relation to any question that comes before them.

Mr. Tully: Information on James Tully  Zoom on James Tully  Surely the Minister knows he is sidestepping the question? If I may be allowed to put the question I asked in another way, is it not true that in almost 100 per cent of the cases where the young woman applies for unemployment benefit after the birth of the first baby, it is disallowed and if she appeals the appeals officer disallows it again whether or not she is available for employment? Should not the Minister do something about this?

Mr. Desmond: Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  We can provide case studies if the Minister wants them.

Mr. J. Brennan: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  I have answered the question by saying I have given no such instructions. I went further and said that nobody has the right to give them instructions.

Mr. Tully: Information on James Tully  Zoom on James Tully  Are they employees of the Minister's Department?

Mr. J. Brennan: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  They are.

Mr. Tully: Information on James Tully  Zoom on James Tully  Does the Minister say that he has not the right to give instructions or advice as to how his Department should be run by junior officers?

Mr. J. Brennan: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  No. These are appeals officers who have a statutory function which they perform independently. Indeed, their function has been questioned in court and upheld by a High Court Judge.

Mr. Tully: Information on James Tully  Zoom on James Tully  Surely the Minister can say whether or not he has the right to [621] set down the limits within which decisions are given? These people do not think them up out of their own heads. Would the Minister say if he has the right to say what categories can or cannot be disqualified?

Mr. J. Brennan: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  The Deputy knows perfectly well that basic requirements for any benefit of the type he refers to are availability for employment, genuinely seeking it, and capability of doing it.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  Question No. 21.

Mr. Tully: Information on James Tully  Zoom on James Tully  I am sorry to be persistent about this but I asked the Minister was he aware that in every case these persons are being disqualified by officers of his Department? Surely if he wants information he can just ask his colleagues on the benches beside him and they will tell him this happens all over the place. Will he consider speaking to these people and having the arrangement altered?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  Question No. 21.

Mr. Tully: Information on James Tully  Zoom on James Tully  I want an answer.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  There are quite a number of questions on the Order Paper.

Mr. J. Brennan: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  The officers of my Department are acting within the regulations available to them.

Mr. Tully: Information on James Tully  Zoom on James Tully  Thank you.

Dr. O'Connell: Information on John F. O'Connell  Zoom on John F. O'Connell  May I ask the Minister is he aware of one case which I brought to his attention where after her baby was born one girl indicated that she was available for work but she is still being deprived of benefit?

Mr. P. Belton: Information on Patrick Belton  Zoom on Patrick Belton  I have a case like that.

Dr. O'Connell: Information on John F. O'Connell  Zoom on John F. O'Connell  Will the Minister investigate this as a matter of urgency?

Mr. J. Brennan: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  I am not aware of the specific case in question but I am sure there are hundreds of cases where people plead that they are available [622] when we are not satisfied that they are.

Dr. O'Connell: Information on John F. O'Connell  Zoom on John F. O'Connell  Offer them employment. That is the best way.

Mr. J. Brennan: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  That would be very easy.

Mr. M. O'Leary: Information on Michael O'Leary  Zoom on Michael O'Leary  A Cheann Comhairle——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  I am calling Question No. 21. There are a large number of questions on the Order Paper.

Mr. M. O'Leary: Information on Michael O'Leary  Zoom on Michael O'Leary  I want to give notice that, owing to the unsatisfactory nature of the Minister's reply I should like to raise the subject matter of Question No. 2 on the Adjournment.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  The Chair will communicate with the Deputy.


Last Updated: 15/09/2010 06:24:16 First Page Previous Page Page of 91 Next Page Last Page