§ MR. J. DEVLIN (Belfast, W.)
To ask the Postmaster-General whether he can state the number of Post Office employees in Ireland who have gone on sick leave during the present year suffering from tuberculosis; whether he is aware that Dr. Fitzgibbon, the medical officer to the department, has recently stated in Dublin that the Post Office officials work under conditions which favour the development of tuberculosis; 371 whether any steps will be taken, to afford these officials better conditions of work, especially in regard to space, ventilation, and shorter hours, so as to mitigate the tendency to contract or to develop this disease; and whether he will consider the practicability of the Government making a contribution towards the establishment of sanatoria for members of the postal service in Ireland who have contracted this disease.
(Answered by Mr. Sydney Buxton.) I have not yet obtained the figures asked for, but will send them to the hon. Member as soon as possible. Dr. Fitzgibbon informs me that, in the remarks to which the hon. Member evidently refers, he spoke of the early morning hours of attendance which are inseparable from Post Office work as favourable to the development of tuberculosis when taken in conjunction with the defective ventilation of the homes of many of the Post Office staff in Dublin. He did not imply that tuberculosis was more prevalent among that staff than among the general public in Dublin, but asserted the exact opposite. Schemes for making sanatoria available for members of the postal service in Ireland have been brought before me, and if a practicable scheme is arranged by all those concerned I shall be glad to facilitate its execution in the same way as a similar scheme in this country has been assisted. I do not think, however, that I should be justified in proposing a grant from public funds.