CEISTEANNA—QUESTIONS. ORAL ANSWERS. - UNEMPLOYMENT PAYMENTS IN BLARNEY.

asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce whether he is aware that many workers employed at the Blarney Woollen Mills, who were discharged from their employment on April 25th, 1924, did not receive unemployment benefit till May 14th, 1924, and whether, in view of the hardship caused by the delay in payment, he will take steps to obviate such delays in future; further, whether, in view of the fact that workers in Blarney have to travel six miles to make a claim for benefit, and that there are close on one thousand insured persons in this district, he will consider the setting up of a Branch Office in Blarney.

Special arrangements have been in force for some years whereby workers discharged in considerable numbers from the Blarney Woollen Mills are not required to attend at the Employment Exchange for receiving benefit. Under this arrangement the manager of the Employment Exchange sends an officer to the mills on the first day of unemployment, and thereafter payment is made at the mills at regular intervals.

I understand that over 400 workers were discharged from employment on the 24th April last. The procedure which I have indicated was applied; the workers received their first payment of benefit on the 14th May, and have been paid regularly since. According to the Acts, no benefit could have been paid until the workers had been unemployed for six days. Having regard to the large number involved, some time was occupied in authorising and computing their claims. These operations had been completed by the 6th May; the employers were notified accordingly, but were not able to collect the workers at the mills and pay benefit earlier than the 14th May.

With reference to the second part of the question, having regard to the special arrangements which can be put into operation to meet the convenience of any considerable body of unemployed workers in Blarney, who desire to claim unemployment benefit, I do not consider that there is any necessity for setting up a branch office at that centre. Benefit is normally paid by post to any claimant who resides over six miles from the nearest local office of the Department, unless the claimant prefers, as often happens, to attend personally at the Exchange to receive benefit.