HC Deb 15 June 1891 vol 354 cc406-7
MR. KNOX (Cavan, W.)

I beg to ask the Postmaster General whether it is the fact that a postmistress has been appointed to take charge of the post office in Cavan; whether he is aware that until little more than a year ago a man was always in charge of the office; whether, during the term of office of the late postmistress, many larcenies were committed, for one of which a young man is undergoing 12 months' imprisonment; whether there were many and frequent complaints during the same time at the lack of organisation and control in the office; whether he is aware that the Town Commissioners, by resolution on 1st Ma, and by frequent representations through their Chairman and Vice Chairman since the office became vacant, have protested against the appointment of any woman, and have called for the appointment of an efficient male officer; whether similar representations were made to the Solicitor to the Post Office on the occasion of the recent conviction for larceny; and whether, if a woman has again been appointed, the appointment will be cancelled?


Speaking generally, the statements implied in the hon. Mem- ber's question are correct. As regards the conclusion which appears to be drawn, however, that a woman is not capable of managing a post office efficiently, this is certainly not the experience of the Department. In Ireland alone there 29 head postmistresses, among whom there are some who in point of activity and capacity leave nothing to be desired; and, speaking for the United Kingdom generally, I am glad to say that the post offices which are presided over by women are by no means the least efficiently managed. From the special training which from her childhood she has had in the office of her father, the postmaster of Belturbet. I shall be much surprised if Miss Mahaffy, whom I have appointed to Cavan, will not discharge her duties efficiently and to the perfect satisfaction of the inhabitants.