Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Blind Pensioners Allowance.

Thursday, 7 March 1974

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 270 No. 14

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6.

Mr. C. Murphy: Information on Ciaran P. Murphy  Zoom on Ciaran P. Murphy  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he is aware that a blind pensioner (name supplied) [2381] in County Wicklow is suffering a reduction of approximately £350 this year in allowances; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey  Zoom on Frank Cluskey  The person named in the question attained pensionable age, which is 69 years since July last, on 4th November, 1973, and has since been in receipt of an old age contributory pension at the rate of £13.70 weekly. The blind pension of £7.80 weekly which he had previously been receiving ceased to be payable as under the Social Welfare (Amendment) Act, 1960, a blind pension and an old age contributory pension are not payable simultaneously. Disability benefit which had been in payment also ceased as this benefit is not payable after attainment of pensionable age. I will have the matter examined.

Mr. C. Murphy: Information on Ciaran P. Murphy  Zoom on Ciaran P. Murphy  Would the Parliamentary Secretary not agree that this person is expected to take a 30 per cent reduction in his income arising from a bad decision, or a hasty one, made by the Government?

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey  Zoom on Frank Cluskey  It depends on which Government the Deputy is referring to.

Ruairí Brugha: Information on Ruairí Brugha  Zoom on Ruairí Brugha  There is only one Government in office at present.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey  Zoom on Frank Cluskey  The present circumstances——

Mr. C. Murphy: Information on Ciaran P. Murphy  Zoom on Ciaran P. Murphy  On a point of information——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Let us not have an argument.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey  Zoom on Frank Cluskey  The Deputy asked me a question.

Mr. C. Murphy: Information on Ciaran P. Murphy  Zoom on Ciaran P. Murphy  On a point of information——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Deputy Murphy should not interrupt Question Time in this fashion. He should allow Question Time to proceed. I shall have to rule the Deputy out of order, completely, if he perists. The Deputy should obey the Chair or leave the House.

Mr. C. Murphy: Information on Ciaran P. Murphy  Zoom on Ciaran P. Murphy  On a point of information——

[2382]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  The information is forthcoming if Deputy Murphy will wait.

Mr. C. Murphy: Information on Ciaran P. Murphy  Zoom on Ciaran P. Murphy  On a point of information——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Deputy Murphy, please do not upset Question Time in this fashion. Allow Question Time to proceed.

Mr. C. Murphy: Information on Ciaran P. Murphy  Zoom on Ciaran P. Murphy  Would the Parliamentary Secretary agree——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  I shall have to rule the Deputy out of order completely if he persists. Allow Question Time to continue.

Mr. C. Murphy: Information on Ciaran P. Murphy  Zoom on Ciaran P. Murphy  A Cheann Comhairle——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Deputy Murphy, please obey the Chair or leave the House.

Mr. C. Murphy: Information on Ciaran P. Murphy  Zoom on Ciaran P. Murphy  May I have the information I asked for?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  The information is forthcoming if the Deputy will wait.

Mr. C. Murphy: Information on Ciaran P. Murphy  Zoom on Ciaran P. Murphy  I wish to have information from you, actually. I believe it was the present Government that introduced this reduction in the qualifying age.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  The Chair is not responsible for these matters at all. Please let us go ahead with Question Time.

Mr. C. Murphy: Information on Ciaran P. Murphy  Zoom on Ciaran P. Murphy  May I have my reply?

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey  Zoom on Frank Cluskey  To the Deputy's supplementary?

Mr. C. Murphy: Information on Ciaran P. Murphy  Zoom on Ciaran P. Murphy  Yes.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey  Zoom on Frank Cluskey  As I stated in the reply, under the Social Welfare (Amendment) Act, 1960, a blind pension and an old age contributory pension are not payable simultaneously. As I further indicated to the Deputy, I am aware of the hardship caused not alone in this case but, unfortunately, over many, many [2383] years to many people and I am having the matter examined.

Mr. C. Murphy: Information on Ciaran P. Murphy  Zoom on Ciaran P. Murphy  Arising from the Parliamentary Secretary's reply——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  I will allow the Deputy one further supplementary.

Mr. C. Murphy: Information on Ciaran P. Murphy  Zoom on Ciaran P. Murphy  Would the Parliamentary Secretary not agree that this particular case arises from the decision of the Government to reduce the age from 70 to 65 years?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  The Deputy is engaging in an argument. Question No. 7.

Mr. C. Murphy: Information on Ciaran P. Murphy  Zoom on Ciaran P. Murphy  Would the Parliamentary Secretary not agree it was a hasty decision on the part of the Government in view of the difficulties involved?

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey  Zoom on Frank Cluskey  Not only was it not a hasty decision but it was one that was long overdue. Unfortunately, the party which the Deputy supports did not see fit to do it.

Mr. Kelly: Information on John M. Kelly  Zoom on John M. Kelly  If the Deputy's party were back in office would the age be 70?

(Interruptions.)

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Order please.

Mr. Kelly: Information on John M. Kelly  Zoom on John M. Kelly  Would the Deputy's party put the age back to 70? That is all we want to know.

(Interruptions.)


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