§ MR. J. DEVLIN (Belfast, W.)
To ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether his attention has been called to the regulations for motor-men and conductors recently issued by the Belfast Corporation, and in particular to a rule prohibiting such persons from taking any active part in any municipal or general election, whether on or off duty, under penalty of dismissal; and whether, in view of the interference of this rule with the men's rights as citizens, and of the fact that it is not in existence even in Government departments, the Local Government Board will refuse their sanction to its being enforced.
(Answered by Mr. Birrell.) I am informed that the regulations in question 692 were issued by the general manager of the Belfast Corporation tramways for the purpose of maintaining discipline among the employees. I have been referred to a copy of the particular rule alluded to in the Question, which states that motor-men and conductors are expected to refrain from taking active part in any municipal or general election, whether on or off duty, but the penalty of dismissal applies only to a breach of the rule committed while on duty. The right of voting is not interfered with. The necessity for the rule is alleged to have been demonstrated by a recent instance in which a conductor canvassed the passengers in his car. The Local Government Board have no powers in respect of these regulations, which are not subject to their confirmation.