HC Deb 04 April 1892 vol 3 cc561-2

I beg to ask the Postmaster General whether he is aware that Mr. Cleary, the official in the Post Office, Dublin, who committed suicide under distressing circumstances, has left a widow and nine children almost destitute; whether, after working for upwards of a year from twelve to fourteen hours a day, he made application to the Post Office authorities for payment for extra hours, which he estimated at a sum of £54, but that no money on account of this claim was paid to him; whether during his 20 years' service in the postal department there had been any record against him till after his application for payment for extra hours; whether Cleary, having worked for many years as sorter in the American mail train between Dublin and Queenstown, was offered an indoor post in the General Post Office at a salary of £50 per annum less than the salary of his original appointment, on the understanding that his acceptance of the post would tend to promotion, and that when vacancies arose in the positions of senior officers he was passed over, although recommended by the senior superintendent; and whether, having regard to these circumstances, he will make some allowance to Cleary's family for his work over hours?


Mr. Cleary has left a widow and nine children, but, as I am informed, not destitute. As I have already stated, to three of these children employment has been given in the Dublin Post Office, and they earn between them 37s. a week. The remaining children are too young to be employed. There is no record of Mr. Cleary having worked twelve or fourteen hours a day, and there was no necessity for him to do so; but consisting as his work largely did of outdoor inquiries, the number of hours he took to perform it was very much in his own hands. In connection with this kind of work it is not usual to pay for overtime; and when, six years ago, Mr. Cleary asked to be so paid, his request was not complied with. There was no record against Mr. Cleary until June last, when he was censured for a trifling offence. Mr. Cleary was for several years employed as a sorter in the Dublin and Queenstown Travelling Post Office. In this capacity he received, over and above his wages, a trip allowance of 7s. a trip. In November, 1884, he was promoted to be overseer, when, as he ceased to make trips, his trip allowance ceased. As sorter his wages were 46s. a week, and as overseer he received wages of 52s., rising to 62s. The acceptance of this promotion by Mr. Cleary was optional, and of course there was no understanding or promise that further promotion should follow. In August, 1891, however, Mr. Cleary was promoted to the class of Clerks, and his salary was raised from 62s. a week (£161) to £170, rising to £190 a year. He appears to have expected promotion to the still higher position of assistant superintendent, but for this he was not recommended. There is no ground for making any retrospective payment on account of his service.


I beg to give notice, Mr. Speaker, that on a future occasion I shall call attention to this cruel case.