Dáil Éireann - Volume 286 - 26 November, 1975

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - School Leavers.

19. Mr. Gogan asked the Minister for Social Welfare the number of school leavers over 18 years of age who are in receipt of unemployment assistance.

Mr. Cluskey: The information requested is not available.

[181] Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick (Dublin Central): Would the Parliamentary Secretary repeat the answer? Has he replied to Question No. 19—I did not hear him? Would he repeat the answer?

Mr. Cluskey: The information requested is not available.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick (Dublin Central): Is he aware that there are thousands of school-leavers over 18 at the moment who have been refused unemployment assistance and has he any proposal to put forward as to how he expects them to exist?

An Ceann Comhairle: This is essentially a statistical question, asking for numbers.

Mr. Cluskey: That is not the question which was asked.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick (Dublin Central): That is what Deputy Gogan wants—the number of school leavers in receipt of unemployment assistance.

Mr. Dowling: Does the Parliamentary Secretary say the Government do not know how many people are unemployed, how many people over 18 years of age are in receipt of unemployment assistance, that he has no record of it?

Mr. Cluskey: As the Deputy should know, statistical information is supplied to Deputies from the office of the Taoiseach. The position as far as the Department of Social Welfare are concerned is that due to the way the Department was neglected during the previous Administration, no statistics or very few statistics, could be compiled, no research could be engaged in and only quite recently have we managed to get a sufficient allocation from nil to £20,000 to devote to some research in areas which directly affect recipients of social welfare. We now have Fianna Fáil Deputies who were responsible for this situation being created in the first place looking for details for which they did not provide machinery or the wherewithal so that these could be available to the Department.

(Interruptions.)

[182] Mr. Dowling: Arising out of the Parliamentary Secretary's stupid reply, would he try to obtain this information? If it is as essential as he indicates, why does he not ensure that it is there now or is he also neglecting his job?

Mr. Cluskey: I am glad the Deputy said “also”.

Mr. Dowling: If you have not got the information——

Mr. Cluskey: That precise information is not necessarily essential to the operation of the Department of Social Welfare but other information essential for its proper development is not available either, due to the neglect of the previous Administration.

Mr. Dowling: The Parliamentary Secretary indicated that this information was not there because of neglect.

Mr. Cluskey: Yes.

Mr. Dowling: He then states that the information is not necessary. How stupid can things be?

Mr. Cluskey: Recognising Deputy Dowling as something of an authority on stupidity, I still have to tell him that is not what I said.

Mr. Dowling: I was able to identify you.

Mr. Cluskey: I said that information that is essential for the development of the Department is not available.

Mr. Dowling: You are not at the Labour Party Conference now, talking to the sheep.

An Ceann Comhairle: Order. Question No. 20.