HC Deb 03 July 1905 vol 148 cc740-1

To ask the-Chief Secretary' to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether the Irish Executive have been in correspondence with a committee of the General Assembly of the Irish Presbyterian Church on the subject of appointments under the Crown to members of that communion; whether he is aware that the Rev. D. Reuter, in a report presented on behalf of this committee to the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, stated that a number of appointments had been made through the action of this committee; what explanation, if any, has he to give for the recognition of the religious faith of the applicants as an element in the selection and appointment to places of profit under the Crown; and whether he will lay upon the Table-the correspondence between the Irish Executive and this committee of the General Assembly of the Irish Presbyterian Church.

(Answered by Mr. Walter Long.) Representations have been made to the Irish Government from time to time on behalf of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in support of the claims of members of that Church to appointments in the gift of the Government. Similar representations have been received from various persons in favour of the selection of individuals professing other religious beliefs. All such representations have been duly, acknowledged. I have not seen the report made by the reverend gentleman named in the Question. The fact that an applicant for appointment is a member of a particular religions creed in no way prejudices a fair consideration of his candidature; but the Government, in making such appointments, do not proceed on the principle suggested in the Question, with one obvious exception, namely, the appointment of chaplains. It is not proposed to lay the correspondence referred to upon the Table of the House.