§ MR. SEXTON (Belfast, W.)
I beg to ask the Postmaster General what is the amount of the annual contract for carrying the mails from Belfast by steamer to Greenock and Glasgow; at what date was the present contract entered into; what was the date of the first contract, and the amount then paid for the service; and if he can state when the present contract expires, and also the number of years during which the mails were carried by this route without any payment?
§ MR. RAIKES
The annual payment for the Mail Packet Service between Greenock and Belfast, and Ardrossan and Belfast is £10,000 a year. The contract is dated 1st August, 1883, and is to continue in force until 12 months' notice to terminate it has been given on either side. The former contract was dated 16th July, 1849, and remained in force until the 1st August, 1883. No payment was made under that contract, so that the period during which the mails were conveyed free of charge was 34 years.