§ CAPTAIN M'CALMONT (Antrim, E)
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury whether, with regard to the establishment of an accelerated mail service to and from the North of Ireland by Larne and Stranraer, and in consideration of the fact that the matter has now 796 been under the consideration of the Government for some 12 months; that public meetings have been hold in Belfast under the presidency of the Mayor, and in other large towns; that Memorials have been forwarded from numerous Public bodies, as well as one signed by Her Majesty's Lieutenants for the Counties of Antrim and Londonderry, and by the Members of Parliament for those counties; and that a large and representative deputation waited on the Postmaster General in June last, all in favour of the route being subsidised without delay, he is now in a position to make any statement with regard to the matter?
§ THE SECRETARY TO THE TREASURY (Mr. JACKSON, Leeds, N)
The question of an accelerated mail service to Belfast and the North of Ireland has been receiving the most careful consideration of the Postmastar General and the Treasury. At this moment the Postmaster General is considering a suggestion recently made to him to send a portion of the mails by Greenore so as to give a later hour for posting in certain districts. The information obtained appears to point in the direction of an acceleration which could be obtained by utilising for a large portion of the mails the service by Kingstown. The estimated cost of the Larne and Stranraer route is very large. I am aware that my hon. and gallant Friend believes that an increased expenditure of about £15,000 a year would suffice. No proposal, however, in any official form, has been made for less than £25,000. I am inclined to think that it would be impossible to have an improved service to all parts of the North of Ireland at a less cost. I shall be glad to tell the hon. Gentleman anything further if he will speak to me.
§ In reply to Mr. LEA (Londonderry, S.),
§ MR. JACKSON said
It is the duty of the Government to consider in what form and at what cost the best service can be provided. There is every desire to improve the mail service to Belfast and the North of Ireland, but it is necessary that certain communications should take place before a conclusion is arrived at. I hope very shortly to be able to make an announcement.
§ COLONEL WARING (Down, N.)
Are we to consider that the question of con- 797 veying the mails by way of Greenore has been seriously considered?
§ MR. JACKSON
My hon. and gallant Friend is to understand exactly what I said. I stated that a suggestion had been made to my right hon. Friend the Postmaster General, that a certain portion of the mails might be sent by that route which would enable letters to be posted at a later hour than is possible by any other route. My right hon. Friend is endeavouring to ascertain if it is possible to make a selection.