MR. PATRICK O'BRIEN
On behalf of the honourable Member for South Ros-common, I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, as representing the Post-master-General, whether the postal authorities in Ireland have issued an order forbidding sub-postmasters becoming candidates for the position of county councillor; whether this applies to the office of district councillor; and, if not. what is the reason for the discrimination between the two councils; whether the postal authorities intend to treat a salary of about £6 per annum (as in many cases) to a rural sub-postmaster as a disqualification for lilting an important public position at the call of the electors; and, in case this order, if made, be disregarded, what action it is proposed to take against the offender?
§ MR. HANBURY
The reply to the first Question is in the affirmative. On the introduction of the Irish Local Government Act post office servants were reminded that they were forbidden to become candidates for the county councils. This prohibition, which was laid down by the Government in 1888 for the whole Civil Service, was not extended to district councils or parish councils, for the reason that attendance at meetings of district or parish councils would not, it was considered, be calculated to interfere with post office servants' official duty so 282 much as attendance at meetings of county councils which might take place at a considerable distance from then-offices. The permission to become candidates for district or parish councils was given to post office servants in 1894 on the understanding that in any case in which the duties of the council were found to conflict with those of the post office the Postmaster-General reserved to himself the right to require the officer to retire from the council. As regards the third Question, the Postmaster-General could not undertake to make any distinction between officers with small salaries and those more highly paid. The reply to the fourth Question is that disregard of the rule relating to county councils would in all probability lead to the severance of the officer's connection with the Service.
MR. PATRICK O'BRIEN
Is there any reason why sub-postmasters whose salary is less than £5 per year should be prohibited, while inland revenue officers are not? Is the right honourable Gentle-man aware that an inland revenue officer has already been elected a county councillor?