I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, as representing the Postmaster General, whether he can give the date of dismissal of the ex-sub-postmaster of Glencolumbkille, county Donegal, and the date of appointment of his successor; whether he is aware that the head postmaster of the district removed the post office to the house of a man named Byrne, whose house was the most suitable, and whom he recommended for the vacant position, and that a memorial, signed by nearly all the inhabitants, recommending the appointment of Mr. Byrne, was sent to the Postmaster General; and can he explain why the position has been filled by the appointment of a retired sergeant of the Royal Irish Constabulary, who was not a householder; can he say who recommended the present sub-postmaster for the position, and why a Protestant was appointed, seeing that the Roman Catholics are in a large majority in the district.
The situation of the late sub-postmaster of Glencolumbkille, county Donegal, was declared vacant on the 23rd December last, and it was decided on the 26th ultimo to appoint the present sub-postmaster. In the interim Mr. Byrne was placed in temporary charge of the duties (that being the best arrangement which could be made at the time), and two memorials, signed by inhabitants of the district, recommending Mr. Byrne for appointment, were received. Mr. Byrne's premises, however, were not so conveniently situated as the present sub-office: and there were other reasons against his appointment. The appointment of the present sub-postmaster was recommended by persons on whose judgment the Postmaster general can rely; and, having become the tenant of the premises in which the late sub-postmaster carried on the business, and which were central, and otherwise suitable, he was selected for the appointment. The Department is not concerned with a candidate's religious belief, and the appointment in such cases is dependent simply on character and fitness to perform post office work.
Can the hon. Gentleman say whether the person to whom he gave the appointment was a member of the Royal Irish Constabulary at the date of his application and appointment?
I do not know whether that was so or not.
Will the hon. Gentleman inquire?
I will do so if the hon. Member wishes, but it does not appear to me to be of any consequence.
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that this is an Irish-speaking district, and that Mr. Byrne was an Irish speaker?
Order, order! The hon. Member cannot argue the question now.