HC Deb 25 June 1908 vol 191 cc111-3
MR. MULDOON (Wicklow, E.)

I beg to ask Mr. Attorney-General for Ireland whether his attention has been drawn to the fact that the Post Office, in a case of complaint by the Great Northern Railway Company of Ireland against the Postmaster-General in relation to the carriage of Irish mails, has refused to accept service in Ireland; whether this refusal is based upon the alleged ground that, under the 65th Rule of the Railway and Canal Commission, 1889, the Crown is domiciled in England; if so, whether the effect of this contention of the Post Office is that the Crown is not domiciled in that part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland railed Ireland; and, if this be the fact, at what precise date did the Crown cease to be so domiciled.

I beg also to ask the Postmaster-General whether, in all cases of Irish and Scottish railway and other companies having disputes as to the remuneration for carrying mails with the Post Office, the Department requires that such disputes shall be heard in England, upon the ground that the domicile of the Crown, under the 65th Rule of the Railway and Canal Commission, 1889, is in England; whether, seeing that this practice had a prejudicial effect upon the shareholders in such Irish and Scottish companies, as well as the public in those countries, he will say whether this practice is insisted upon in the interests and for the convenience of the permanent officials of the Post Office in London; and whether he will take any steps to prevent the inconvenience involved in currying out this procedure.


The Attorney-General for Ireland has asked me to reply to the hon. Member's Question addressed to him as well as to that addressed to myself. The 65th Rule of the Railway and Canal Commission to which the hon. Member refers provides that proceedings before the Commissioners shall take place in England where the defendent has his principal place of business or head office in England. The principal place of business or head office of the Postmaster-General is unquestionably in England; and, consequently uner the Rules of the Commission claims by Irish and Scottish railway companies against the Postmaster-General for remuneration for the carriage of mails are heard in England. On this ground, the solicitor of the Post Office in Ireland was instructed to refer the claim of the Great Northern Railway Company of Ireland to the General Post Office in London. No question of domicile arises in connection with claims preferred before the Railway Commissioners against the Postmaster-General. I am not aware that any prejudicial effect has arisen from the operation of the Commissioners' rules.