asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he will state what unemployment benefit Martin Gibbs, labourer, of Longhall, Kilconnell, who was employed for sixteen weeks under the Galway County Surveyor between August 1st and December 3rd of last year, is entitled to; further, if he will state what sum has actually been paid to him through the Ballinasloe Labour Exchange, and also whether he is aware that in order to obtain payment Gibbs was compelled to travel from his home to Ballinasloe, a distance of nine miles, on five occasions, and whether it is intended to introduce further legislation with a view to improving the Unemployment Acts.
CEISTEANNA—QUESTIONS ORAL ANSWERS. - UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIM.
Mr. O'HIGGINS (for Minister for Industry and Commerce)
Martin Gibbs, Longhall, Kilconnell, claimed Unemployment Benefit at Ballinasloe Branch Employment Office, and benefit was allowed in due course in respect of all the contributions to his credit. As the claimant had only 16 contributions to his credit, he could only receive benefit for 16 days. Payment was duly made to him of all benefit due, namely, £2. It was necessary that the claimant should attend at the Branch Office, Ballinasloe, to lodge his claim. His subsequent attendance to give evidence of unemployment and to receive payment could have been dispensed with if he had made application to have payments made to him through the post.
In many cases persons claiming benefit prefer personal attendance at the local offices of the department to the transaction of their business through the post.
With regard to the last part of the question, the Unemployment Benefit payable under the Unemployment Insurance Act is proportioned to the number of contributions paid for the unemployed persons, and it is not proposed to make any alteration in this provision.
Is the Minister aware that this unfortunate man had to travel 90 miles before he got his £2?
I am not aware of that, but I will take the Deputy's word for it.
Will the Minister make arrangements to obviate the inconvenience that is caused owing to men having to travel backwards and forwards for the miserable pittance which they receive under the Unemployment Act?
That is for the appropriate Minister to consider. Perhaps the Deputy would put down a separate question.