HC Deb 05 December 1890 vol 349 cc658-60
MR. M'CARTAN (Down, S.)

I beg to ask the Postmaster General whether he is aware that merchants in Belfast, who formerly used the mail from London viâ Holyhead and Dublin, have of late been obliged to direct their parcels and samples to be sent by the Larne and Stranraer route in order to compete with Dublin; whether he is aware that the English mails, sent by Holyhead, even when the mail train reaches Belfast at the time appointed, arrive too late for business purposes; and whether he can say definitely about what date some arrangement will be made to give the merchants of Belfast and other important towns in Ulster the advantage of having the English mails sent by the Larne and Stranraer route?


An application has been made to me by a Belfast firm for permission to have letters, &c., sent from London to Belfast viâ Stranraer and Larne on their being specially so addressed, but in the absence of any proper arrangement for the purpose I have not been able to accede to their request. There is some misapprehension, I think, with regard to the delivery in Belfast of the English night-mail letters. Those letters, when the mail train arrives punctually, are included in a delivery beginning at 11.20 a.m., and it can hardly be said that this is too late for business purposes. The outward mail for England is not despatched from Belfast until 3.30 p.m., so that there is a reasonable interval for reply by return of post. I am not yet able to make an announcement respecting the proposal to adopt the Stranraer and Larne route for the Belfast mails.


I beg to ask the Postmaster General whether he is aware that, during the present year, a written request for a Sunday delivery of letters from Millisle to Carrowdore was made to the Secretary of the General Post Office, Dublin, by a large and influential number of the inhabitants of the district of Carrowdore, Donaghadee; and whether, considering the general complaints made by the people as to the serious inconvenience which non-delivery of letters there on Sundays causes to the residents of the district, he will consider the advisability of instituting a Sunday delivery of these letters?


In reply to the hon. Member, I have to state that the Sunday post between Millisle and Carrowdore was discontinued about three years ago on a Memorial from the inhabitants receiving two-thirds of the correspondence, and I shall be happy to sanction its restoration upon similar conditions. But the Memorial forwarded a few months ago in favour of the restoration of the Post was found, on careful inquiry, to represent the receivers of only one-half of the correspondence, and, having regard to the regulations which govern questions of this kind, I should not at present feel warranted in acceding to the wishes of the memorialists.

MR. SEXTON (Belfast, W.)

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether the delivery of letters arriving by the Holyhead route about half-past 11 does not necessitate a return of merchants after they have left their offices in order to deal with their correspondence; whether he is aware that if the Larne route were substituted letters would arrive at 10 o'clock; and about what time does he think it likely he will be able to arrive at a conclusion as to the Stranraer and Larne route?


I do not know the habits of the merchants of Belfast, but in any other town letters arriving at half-past 11 would find a merchant in his office. The difference of time by the Larne route, as I am at present advised, is only about three-quarters of an hour, and, therefore, there is not a material difference in that respect. As soon as I have the data, I shall lose no time in arriving at a conclusion as to the respective merits of the two routes.