§ Mr. VINCENT KENNEDY
asked the Chief Secretary if he will state what investigation the Local Government Board for Ireland made in reference to the age of Catherine Feeley, Drumcask, county Cavan, an applicant for an old age pension, who was granted a pension of 5s. a week by the Bawnboy sub-committee on 21st December, 1908, against which the pension officer appealed on the question of age and which appeal was upheld by the Local Government Board by their decision of 24th June, 1909; is he aware that the claimant forwarded to the Local Government Board on the 25th June, 1909, an extract from the Census Return for the year 1841, showing she was then six years of age, consequently now 74 years of age; and, having regard to the fact that the Local Government Board for Ireland have the Census Returns for 1841 and 1851 searched before adversely deciding in appeals on questions of age, he will now that neglect has occurred direct that Catherine Feeley shall receive full pension as from, the 1st January last, in accordance with the decision of the local pension sub-committee?
§ Mr. BIRRELL
I understand that the pension officer reported to the Committee that this claimant's age could not be traced in the Census Returns of 1841 or 1851. Before deciding the case the Local Government Board communicated with the claimant asking her for any evidence she could produce as to her age, and with the aid of certain particulars which she furnished had a further search made in the Census Returns, but no trace again could be found of her family. As no other evidence was furnished by her the Board were obliged to uphold the pension officer's appeal. It is the fact that after the Board's decision was issued an extract from the Census Returns was submitted as stated, but as the Board had given their 743W decision it could not be reconsidered, and the claimant was informed that it was open to her to make a fresh claim, and it must be remembered that the onus of furnishing proof in such cases rests with the claimant I have no power to give the direction suggested in the last paragraph of the question.