Written Answers. - Social Welfare Benefits.

Michael Ring

Question:

727 Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs if unemployment benefit will be restored to a person (details supplied) in County Mayo in view of the fact that he is genuinely seeking employment and his commitment to the fire service does not hinder this search or his ability to work in any way. [19329/00]

To qualify for an unemployment payment a person must be available for and genuinely seeking work. Reviews of recipients' efforts to find work are carried out on an ongoing basis. Part-time firemen may qualify for unemployment benefit but, like other recipients, they must meet the basic requirements of the scheme.

In the context of a recent review of his entitlements, the person concerned was asked to provide details of his efforts to find work. Based on his response a deciding officer disallowed his claim from 23 February 2000, on the grounds that he was not available for or genuinely seeking work. The person concerned appealed this decision to the social welfare appeals office. On 9 May 2000, an appeals officer upheld the deciding officer's decision.

Under social welfare legislation decisions in relation to claims and the insurability of employment must be made by deciding officers and appeals officers. These officers are statutorily appointed and I have no role in regard to making such decisions.