MR. PATRICK O'BRIEN
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, as representing the Postmaster General, with reference to the examinations for male sorters held in London, can he state when the last examination was held, what number of candidates presented themselves, and how many of those came from Ireland, whether he is aware of the inconvenience and cost to Irish competitors at these examinations in having to travel in numerous cases over 500 miles, and whether, seeing that similar examinations were held at times at Inverness, Stornoway, and other places for the convenience of Scotch competitors, he will arrange that examinations will in future be held in Dublin.
§ MR. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
The last examination for the situation of male sorters in London was held on the 30th May, 1901. On this occasion 257 candidates presented themselves, of whom 65 are believed to have come from Ireland. Eighty-five were successful, including 23 of the Irish candidates. Three of these competitions have been held each year during the past four years, and the average number of vacancies has been 172 per annum. They are held in London only, and Irish candidates who elect to compete for such appointments are under no disadvantage which is not shared by all others who do not reside in London; but having regard to the terms of service, and particularly to the early and late hours of attendance, the Civil Service Commissioners have not considered it advisable to give facilities which would tend to attract to these competitions persons whose homes are not in 57 London. No competitions for these or any other appointments are now held in Stornoway, and though important competitions for other posts have sometimes hitherto been held at Inverness, they are held also at Galway and Limerick.