CEISTEANNA—QUESTIONS. ORAL ANSWERS. - WESTMEATH OLD AGE PENSIONER (QUESTION OF AGE).

SEAN O LAIDHIN

asked the Minister for Local Government whether he is aware that James Fin, Ballinagore, Westmeath, was granted the old age pension in March, 1923, and whether it was withheld subsequently on the question of age, notwithstanding that two older men than himself have sworn affidavits that the applicant, James Fin, is over seventy; further, whether the Minister will have the matter investigated with a view to having the old age pension granted, as Fin has no means of livelihood.

The claim of James Fin, Ballinagore, to the old age pension is at present before the Ministry on appeal on the ground of age, and has not yet been decided. A birth certificate has not been received nor any other reasonably conclusive evidence of age. When a previous appeal was under consideration the two declarations referred to in the question were submitted, but the deponents had not given adequate reasons for their belief that the claimant was the statutory age. The evidence was, therefore, held to be insufficient and the claim to a pension disallowed on the 30th April last.

A decision on the present application will be deferred for a short time to give the claimant an opportunity of submitting further documentary evidence of age or affidavits containing definite statements and reasons therefor to show that applicant has reached seventy years.

Is the Minister aware that many of these poor people are in a very destitute condition? This man is over seventy years of age, and can prove it by affidavit. There are many people in that position all over the country.

I would like to be made aware of that by receiving the affidavits.

The affidavit has been made in this case.