Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Beef Incentive Scheme.

11.

asked the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries if he will arrange to have a beef cattle incentive scheme grant paid to a person (name supplied) in County Clare without insisting that she should take out administration of the lands of her late husband, as she cannot afford this at present.

I have been advised that the amount of grants due to this estate is in excess of the sum which may be paid without grant of probate. Accordingly I regret that my Department are not in a position to pay the sum due pending receipt of the grant of probate.

The maximum amount that may be paid, I understand, without probate is £100.

This is an elderly woman whose elderly husband has died. She has a mountainy farm and she does not wish, as many people in similar circumstances do not wish, to take out legal administration. They leave that to a son or daughter. Does the Minister not think that the bureaucratic rules should be eased a little bit? Incidentally, the second test cannot be done until the matter is finalised. She has got cattle there and she is awaiting the further test. In all fairness the bureaucratic rules should be relaxed.

I have sought legal advice from the Department and I am advised that this cannot be paid.

The Minister then would act as a type of collector or forcer——

Deputy Loughnane, I am anxious to help you but we cannot have statements.

I am very anxious to have this money paid if a legal way can be found to pay it.

Why force a poor woman to do something she does not wish to do which is her own business?

I am not forcing her.

Would it be possible to pay the sum of money up to the limit which is permissible without administration? She might be able to use that money to take out administration?

I will certainly look at that aspect.

Surely the Minister will accept that this is a regulation which is operating against the interest of the community which it is his obligation to look after and having regard to recent changes particularly in estate duty liability, that it now is a meaningless regulation and that in cases like this it is quite oppressive. Having regard to that, will the Minister, in spite of the advice he may have given about the legal aspect of it, which I submit is incorrect, see to it that a new limit will be imposed, or alternatively see to it that the operation of the schemes of his Department and his responsibility will not be impeded because of regulations of a kind which, apart from being oppressive, prevent these schemes from operating properly?

I will have another look at this case but the legal advice I have at the moment is that it cannot be paid.

When was the limit of £100 first imposed? Is there any reason why the same sort of facility might not be operated in regard to grants from his Department as has been operated through the Department of Local Government and Roinn na Gaeltachta whereby after sworn affidavit before a commissioner for oaths the Department pay the money and there is no more about it?

The note I have on it here is that the law officers have advised that in the case of a deceased applicant payment of grants under the beef cattle incentive scheme not exceeding £100 may be made to the surviving husband, wife, son or daughter on completion by such person of a form of indemnity. For sums exceeding £100 formal proof of title such as probate of the will or letters of administration is required.