To ask the Minister for Defence if he is aware that a number of wives of soldiers serving in the National Army were this week ejected because of arrears of rent, such arrears being stated to be due to the circumstance that they have not for many weeks received their separation allowances; and if he will inform the Dáil, further, what measures are being taken to relieve the considerable discontent that exists with regard both to the granting of such separation allowances and to the regular receipt of such allowances when granted.
CEISTEANNA—QUESTIONS. - SEPARATION ALLOWANCES.
I am not aware of any such ejectments, and it is difficult to believe that any such ejectments have been carried out, or that the payment of Dependents' Allowances to the wives of soldiers serving in the Army where the man has been properly recruited, and the claim has been properly made, is in arrears, even in a small number of cases. There is special and adequate machinery for dealing at once with any specific complaints that are made. There are claims in which payment of allowances is in a number of cases in arrears, because of difficulty in verifying that the claim is a proper one—these are claims in other than married cases, namely, in respect of a father or a mother, or some other relative stated to be a dependent, totally or partially, on a man now serving in the Army. Arrangements have now been completed for the payment without prejudice, in all such cases, of three payments at intervals of a fortnight, of £1. It is anticipated that all claims of this nature will have been fully investigated and arrangements made for the regular payment of any allowance due by the end of the 6 weeks over which these three payments will be made. Difficulties have now arisen in connection with the delivery of the letters containing the periodical cheques for these allowances as a result of the Post Office strike. In the greater part of the country these difficulties have been overcome. In Dublin it has been attempted to interfere with the delivery of those letters. At Ringsend, on Sunday last, a messenger engaged in the delivery of these letters, and who had delivered 900 of them by bicycle in 2 days, was forcibly attacked, and his bicycle smashed up. The interference has, to some extent, interfered with the current delivery, but it is hoped to be able definitely to announce to-morrow that for the present any Dependents' Allowance letters, not duly delivered, may be called for within stated times at Portobello Bridge Post Office.