Thursday, 10 December 1970
Dáil Eireann Debate
Mr. 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: 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: 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. Tully: Surely the Minister can say whether or not he has the right to  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. 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?
Dr. 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?
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