§ Mr. T. P. O'CONNOR
I would like to ask the President of the Board of Trade a question of which I have given him private notice, namely: (1) Whether he is 1255 aware that the City of Dublin Steam Packet Company, which carry His Majesty's mails, have recently capriciously declined to carry theatrical scenery or baggage after having done so for the past twenty-five years; (2) whether he is aware that this action prevents the important theatrical companies visiting Ireland; (3) whether he is also aware that there is Irish money, exceeding half a million, invested in theatres and music-halls in Ireland, which, by the action of the City of Dublin Steam Packet Company, is being seriously jeopardised; (4) whether he is also aware that if the City of Dublin Steam Packet Company continue in their present attitude that practically the whole population of Ireland will be debarred from sharing in the pleasure of witnessing the important theatrical events as enjoyed by the inhabitants of Great Britain; and (5) whether, in view of the fact that the carrying of His Majesty's mails creates more or less a monopoly to the City of Dublin Steam Packet Company and having regard to their action, the President of the Board of Trade should not give some consideration to the advisability of making the continuation of the present mail arrangements conditional upon the reinstatement of the usual transport facilities?
Representations were made to me some months ago by the Theatrical Managers' Association with regard to the withdrawal of facilities hitherto given to theatrical companies by the City of Dublin Steam Packet Company for the conveyance of theatrical scenery on the mail steamer leaving Dublin on Sunday for Holyhead. The Board of Trade have been in communication with the company, but I regret to say the company have not seen their way to restore the facilities referred to. The Board of Trade have no compulsory powers in the matter. The mail contracts are a matter for the Postmaster-General, to whom I will communicate the suggestion in the last of my hon. Friend's questions.
§ Mr. T. P. O'CONNOR
May I ask if my right hon. Friend has any reason to believe that this action on the part of the City of Dublin Steam Packet Company has in any way been induced by representations from the Postmaster-General?
No, Sir; so far as I know, there is no reason to believe any 1256 Government Department has actuated the City of Dublin Steam Packet Company in refusing to take these portions of their usual cargo. They have done so of their own free will, I understand.