HC Deb 12 July 1888 vol 328 cc1087-8

asked the Postmaster General, Whether it is a fact that an official letter has been sent to Mr. James Sweeney, Sub-Postmaster of Dungloe in County Donegal, in the following terms:—

"Mr. Sweeney,

"I am directed to inform you that the Postmaster General has had before him papers relating to your case, and of your having been in prison for seven days, and, having considered the matter, Mr. Raikes directs that your office be declared vacant.

"J. W. M'Cormick,

"P.O. Dungloe;"

whether such letter was sent with the knowledge and approval of the right hon. Gentleman; what official evidence (if any) was charged against Mr. Sweeney; whether the party who made the complaint on which the information was granted, Maurice Boyle, was made acquainted with the fact of the vacancy before Mr. Sweeney himself; and, whether the same person is now to obtain the office himself; and, whether the imprisonment in question was not merely for seven days for simply refusing to be sworn at an Inquisition under the Crimes Act?

THE POSTMASTER GENERAL (Mr. RAIKES) (Cambridge University)

Mr. Sweeney was dismissed by my directions because, by his contempt of Court, in consequence of which he was committed to prison, he had, in my opinion, been guilty of conduct altogether unbecoming a public servant. I do not see how any person outside the Service could have obtained this information before Mr. Sweeny. No appointment has yet been made to the sub-office of Dungloe.


asked the right hon. Gentleman, if he would cause inquiries to be made as to whether it was not the fact that Maurice Boyle was the man who made the information upon which the Court was set up; whether Boyle was not now an applicant for the vacancy caused by the dismissal of Sweeney; and, whether, before this occasion, there was any charge or complaint against Sweeney?


said, it was a fact that the complaint on which the information was granted was made by Maurice Boyle. He would certainly inquire before he made an appointment into the qualifications of any persons who might be applicants for the office. As regarded the specific ground on which Mr. Sweeney was dismissed, he was of opinion that it was the first duty of any servant of the Crown to show respect for the law and constituted authority.