Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Old Age Pension.

31.

asked the Minister for Social Welfare whether he will introduce legislation to permit the increase in the old age pension of persons whose daughter or step-daughter gives up insurable employment in Great Britain in order to take care of incapacitated old age pensioner parents in Ireland.

32.

asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will now consider introducing amending legislation in connection with the payment of extra allowances to old age pensioners where a member of the family is forced to relinquish insurable employment, to include those who were paying contributions in Northern Ireland and residing in Donegal.

With your permission, a Cheann Comhairle, I propose to take Questions Nos. 31 and 32 together.

I indicated in reply to a similar question by Deputy Gilhawley on 25th March, 1969, that this matter would be examined. The examination has not yet been completed.

I take that as an optimistic and forward looking reply.

Well, it is factual.

My Question, No. 32, relates to people living in the 26 Counties, particularly people living in Donegal and working in the Six Counties. I thank the Minister for saying that he is having the matter examined but I should like to point out that, while the Department are having it examined, the people are living under great strain. Is there no way in which the Minister can step in and short-cut a lot of the legislation which his Department consider necessary?

One section would——

It is a simple question.

In the Social Welfare Bill last year a very limited scheme was introduced to provide for cases where insured persons with an insurance record were remaining at home to take care of invalided parents. That was the first time the scheme was attempted and we have gained a lot of information from it. It is a complete innovation and we are very interested in the results. It is easy to say that people are suffering as a result, but there was no such scheme in operation until a few months ago.

That is no excuse for delay. So few people qualify for the scheme that it should be broadened more, much more than what the Minister envisages. I am simply asking, in light of my experience as a Donegal Deputy, why people working in the Six Counties and who have to give up their employment to come home to look after aged or invalided fathers and mothers do not qualify, in view of the fact that they have not left the country and are still living at home? They qualify in every other respect except that they have their insurance stamps put on in the North.

I am well aware of the good that would accrue from a scheme of that type, but we are examining the scheme and we have looked into it a lot already. It would be difficult to segregate the type of person the Deputy is talking about in making the scheme apply generally.

If there is a need, go and get it done.

Whether they come from Birmingham or Belfast to look after their aged parents why can they not benefit?