Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Free Facilities for British Pension Recipients.

30.

asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will reconsider his decision refusing recipients of British old age pensions free electricity, free travel and free radio and television licences.

Recipients of British and Northern Ireland retirement pensions resident here who are aged 70 and over are already entitled to free travel under the scheme administered by my Department.

The schemes of free electricity and free radio and television licences for which I am responsible are more selective than the free travel scheme but British and Northern Ireland retirement pensioners who qualify for old age pension from my Department may also become entitled to free electricity and free radio and television licences in the same way as other Irish pensioners.

No change in the position is at present contemplated but I am keeping the matter under review.

Very many of these people have their qualifications between British and Irish stamps. Under the circumstances, would the Minister not reconsider the matter immediately?

I have given it a good deal of consideration already. Some cases are quite exceptional and are worthy of sympathetic consideration. Quite a lot do not merit sympathetic consideration. There are other priorities which one would like to meet first.

The amount of money involved is so small that it is not worth while making a distinction between those with an all-Irish qualification and those with Irish and British qualifications. I do not think the Minister will find one person applying who would have all-British qualifications.

Indeed, they would.

Indeed, I do not think so.