Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Employment on Relief Schemes.

asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he is aware of the position at the labour exchanges where men with small I.R.A. pensions and British pensions are debarred from signing the register and, therefore, cannot get work on relief schemes; and if he will make investigations to remedy the situation regarding matters of this kind.

Men with small I.R.A. pensions and British pensions are not debarred from signing the register at employment exchanges nor is it the position that such men cannot get work on employment schemes. The area from which men for such schemes are to be recruited is specified by the employing authority and in the submission of men from that area, which so far as they are available is confined to recipients of unemployment assistance, the rate of unemployment assistance payable is the determining factor in the order of their submission.

Does not the Parliamentary Secretary agree that that being so the men referred to in the question are debarred?

If you do not, you are wrong, because it does debar them.

The Parliamentary Secretary states that the rate of unemployment assistance payable is the qualifying test for employment. In view of the fact that the people referred to in the question lose their priority because of their pension, how does he say they are not debarred? The people concerned, who are receiving 5/- or 6/- a week in pension, cannot get anything like the maximum amount of unemployment assistance. In many cases their pensions debar them from any unemployment assistance at all. How can they qualify for work then?

The question of the order of priority depends on the amount of unemployment assistance paid. The fact of a man being in receipt of a small pension does not debar him. It merely means that a person in receipt of the largest amount of assistance gets priority over a person in receipt of a pension.

Does not the Parliamentary Secretary think that there are so many persons possessing such a qualification that the prospects for people lower down on the list are practically nil?

Nevertheless, it is obvious that in giving employment to such people it is the most necessitous that must be given priority.

The Parliamentary Secretary is quibbling with the whole question.

I certainly am not.