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Pensioner, Co Down (Address)

Volume 486: debated on Tuesday 10 April 1951

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28.

asked the Minister of Pensions why pension book No. H/8990329 issued to Mr. Richard Walker on 5th February, 1951, gave as office of payment the address Downpatrick, Co. Down, Irish Republic, when, in fact, Downpatrick is situated in the United Kingdom and not in the Irish Republic; and if he will ensure that the official responsible apologises to Mr. Walker for giving him a fictitious address at which to obtain payment of his pension.

I am very sorry for this mistake and have directed that a fresh pension order book and a letter expressing regret be sent to Mr. Walker.

Can the Minister say whether such foolish mistakes were made under a previous Conservative Government?

Very heavy weather has been made of an obvious mistake on the part of one of the staff. He has been admonished; he ought to have been more careful. Surely it is no real crime to say that a man lives in Southern Ireland.

Will the right hon. Gentleman post up in his Department a map of Northern Ireland? Does he not realise how intensely irritating it is to myself, for instance, to receive from Whitehall letters addressed "Belfast, Eire"?

No hon. Member would willingly do anything to irritate the hon. Member; but these mistakes do happen and surely a simple thing of this kind is not worth a House of Commons Question.

May I ask the Minister whether this accident on the part of the official concerned was a case of wishful thinking on his part?