Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Increase in Allowances.

andJack Lynch asked the Minister for Health if, in view of the hardships being suffered by recipients of infectious diseases allowances and disabled persons (maintenance) allowances as a result of the increase in the cost of living, he will take such steps as are necessary to increase these allowances at an early date.

Rates of infectious diseases maintenance allowances, which are considerably higher than any other rates of non-contributory benefits, were last increased in the latter part of 1952.

The disabled persons maintenance allowances were first introduced little more than a year ago.

I am not satisfied that there is any pressing need for a revision of the rates.

Would the Minister agree they are surely entitled to an increase when compared with other sections in the community? They have to get extra nourishment as well as everything else. Surely this is a poor way to carry on the good work that was done for years by other Ministers?

I am aware that these allowances under the infectious diseases maintenance allowances were last increased in 1952. They were fixed originally in 1948. From 1948 to 1952 the cost of living rose by 23 points and the increase given in 1952 only took place after an increase in the cost of living of that 23 points.

But this is the end of 1955. Has not the whole community been looking for increases because of the increase in the cost of living? Has not the Government stated it will agree to increasing wages to meet that rise in the cost of living? Are the T.B. sufferers and the people in receipt of these allowances to get nothing?

I am pointing to the fact that in 1952 it took an increase of 23 points in the cost of living for my predecessor to give an increase of something from 15 per cent. to 20 per cent. and to tell him that there was a pressing need for such an increase. Since that the cost of living has increased by six points only.

Then the labour organisations' demands are all "hooey" so.