§ 67. Mr. J. P. FARRELL
asked the Postmaster General whether he was consulted and sanctioned the decision of the Irish Department to inaugurate a policy of wholesale reduction of the public postal facilities granted by his predecessors; whether he has, in pursuance of this policy, deprived all Midland and Western Ireland, except in the case of towns on the main lines, of a second postal daily service; whether he has sanctioned the closing of a number of small post offices, in many cases without notice, which involved a hardship on many poor people without any compensation or gratuity of any kind; whether this policy has resulted in depriving many poor men of their principal means of living; and whether he will direct inquiry to be made into the question of compensating in some manner people who have suffered from this policy?
A policy of curtailment of postal facilities has been carried out with my sanction in Ireland, as in other parts of the United Kingdom, as a necessary consequence of the need for economy in national expenditure and the depletion of staff due to military requirements. Ireland has, if anything, been more favourably treated than other parts of the United Kingdom. I shall be glad to inquire into any specific case in which hardship appears to have been caused to any person employed by the Post Office. But it is not the practice save in exceptional circumstances to close a post office except on the death or resignation of the holder.
§ Mr. FARRELL
Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether it was he who suggested these reductions to the Irish Post Office or the Irish Post Office suggested them to him?
Obviously the local individuals responsible in the various districts make recommendations to me, having been advised by me that certain economies are necessary if they can see their way to recommend them.