Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Free Fuel Scheme.

100.

asked the Minister for Social Welfare the total number of people who qualify for the free fuel scheme in County Dublin.

The total number of persons in Dublin city, Dún Laoghaire and Balbriggan who received turf under the fuel scheme during the week ended 2nd March, 1974, which is the latest date for which returns are available, was 23,968.

Persons residing elsewhere in the county do not qualify for fuel under the scheme.

101.

asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will take steps to ensure that persons in receipt of disabled persons' maintenance allowances in urban areas in County Wexford will be eligible for the free fuel scheme.

Persons in receipt of disabled persons' maintenance allowances in the urban areas in County Wexford in which the fuel scheme is in operation are eligible for fuel under the scheme if they are also in receipt of home assistance. Generally speaking home assistance is payable in these areas to persons with dependants who are receiving disabled persons' maintenance allowances and in these circumstances they also may receive fuel under the fuel scheme.

Does that refer only to dependants? What happens to a person who is disabled but has no dependants?

He does not qualify under the existing scheme.

Can something be done?

He could only qualify if he was in receipt of home assistance. I doubt if anything could be done in the immediate future. The fuel scheme as it now operates is in my opinion a most unsatisfactory scheme. The matter is being examined in its entirety.

Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware in Dublin city at the moment there are several old age pensioners who because of the petrol shortage and other reasons were unable to have their fuel delivered to them? They have an accumulation of dockets entitling them to fuel but they fear they might not get it after the 31st of this month. Will any special consideration be given to them?

As the Deputy is aware, the administration of the free fuel is a matter for the local authority.

Are the local authorities or the various health boards free to make their own regulations with regard to the free fuel?