§ Mr. NANNETTI
asked the Postmaster-General whether his attention has been 565 drawn to an order issued by Major-General Bunbury of the Administrative Department of the Irish Command, at the instance of the postal authorities, to the effect that only a small number of soldiers have entered for examination as telegraphists, and urging them to enter for examination with a view to becoming telegraphists; whether that order was issued with his sanction; whether it is his intention to put soldiers into competition with the Civil servants who now perform the duties of telegraphists throughout the country; and whether similar orders have been issued to the military authorities in England and Scotland?
§ Mr. BUXTON
Arrangements made so long ago as 1897 by the Government of the day oblige me to reserve yearly a certain number of appointments as postmen and porters for ex-soldiers or ex-sailors. If some of these ex-soldiers or ex-sailors could qualify to become telegraphists I should consider it advantageous to appoint them as such, since the appointments as postmen which they would otherwise have filled would then be available for telegraph messengers. No question arises of the soldiers being put into competition with the Civil servants who now perform the duties of telegraphists. They will enter by an examination in the same subjects as the ordinary telegraphists, and will have to obtain the ordinary Civil Service certificate. The position and rights of the telegraphists are not thereby in any way affected. I have, of course, no responsibility for orders issued by the War Office.