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Overseership, Belfast

Volume 161: debated on Tuesday 13 March 1923

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asked the Postmaster-General (1) whether he is aware that in a recent case of promotion to an overseership on the postal side at Belfast a Roman Catholic of unblemished record and outstanding ability, who has been acting on the higher duty since October last, has been passed over; whether any order has been issued prohibiting the promotion of Roman Catholics to supervising posts in the Belfast post office: if not, whether any check will be applied to recommendations from Belfast to prevent Catholics from being victimised?(2) If he is aware that of the total number of supervising posts on the postal and telegraph establishments at Belfast post office, only 11 per cent. are held by Roman Catholics; whether there is a system of exclusion of members of that faith from the supervising posts at that office; and whether, seeing that the future staff will be recruited mainly, if not exclusively, from boys originally admitted as telegraph messengers, he proposes to take any action with regard to the system of selection which practically excludes Roman Catholic boys from these positions?

In connection with the recent promotion to an overseership at Belfast seven officers were passed over, two of whom are understood to be Roman Catholics. The religious belief of members of the staff is not taken into account in connection with questions of promotion; and I have no information as to the percentage of supervising posts held by Catholics. Boy messengers are recruited through the Labour Exchanges, and it is open to any suitable boys to register whatever their religion.