§ MR. PATRICK O'BRIEN (Kilkenny)
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, as representing the Postmaster General, whether there are at present several acting sorting clerks under nomination for appointment in the sorting office at Limerick, who entered the Post Office under the disamalgamated scheme, and, after spending a considerable number of years in the service of the Department, are now called upon to qualify in telegraphy before being placed on the establishment; and whether, in con- 378 sideration of their long and faithful service, and in view of the fact that persons advanced in years are unlikely to ever become efficient telegraphists, he will place those deserving officers on the established list without the necessary telegraphic qualifications?
§ MR. HANBURY
There are at present four acting sorting clerks at Limerick, who entered the Post Office as auxiliary sorters prior to the 1st February, 1896—the date of the amalgamation of Provincial sorting clerks and telegraphists; and in accordance with the rule of the service, these officers, on being nominated to established appointments in the summer of 1897, were required to qualify in telegraphy before being placed on the establishment. One has already qualified, but the others—although they have known for nearly two years' past that telegraphic knowledge is required of them—have failed to qualify. As an act of grace, they have, within the last few days, been granted three months further probation, in order that they may qualify, and vacancies are being kept open in the hope that they may do so. These officers are aged respectively, 23, 23, and 24 years, and certainly cannot be described as persons so far advanced in years as to be unlikely to ever become efficient telegraphists. In these circumstances the Postmaster General feels that he would not be justified in appointing them without the necessary qualifications.