§ COLONEL SAUNDERSON (Armagh, N.)
To ask the Postmaster-General whether the postmaster at Portadown has reported a certain learner as unfitted for his duties; whether this learner was employed in duties usually entrusted to more experienced officers; whether any 1032 charges of breach of regulations preferred against him were due to want of training; whether he is aware that the next learner on the list is a nephew of the postmaster; and, if so, whether he will cause strict inquiries to be made into this matter.
(Answered by Lord Stanley.) Reports of an unsatisfactory character have been received respecting a sorting clerk and telegraphist on probation at Portadown, to whom the Question of the hon. Member apparently refers. He has been employed on such duties as usually devolve upon an officer of his standing and which are necessary to enable him to qualify for the confirmation of his appointment, with the exception that for a portion of his probation, when under eighteen years of age, he was employed on night duty. The officer in question alleges that some of the irregularities were due to want of experience; but it is reported that the number of irregularities committed by him is greatly in excess of those committed by other officers of similar standing. It is true the learner who in ordinary course would be recommended to succeed the officer in question, if his appointment is cancelled, is a nephew of the postmaster. Before such an appointment is made the necessary inquiries will be instituted and the appointment, if made, will be subject to the officer seeking transfer to another office on attaining nineteen years of age if his uncle is still postmaster at Portadown. The whole matter is now under consideration.