To ask the Postmaster-General whether changes have recently been made in the conditions of service of Post Office messengers in Oldcastle, Co. Meath; whether these messengers are now supplied with bicycles or uniforms; whether delivery of telegrams is delayed through lack of bicycles; whether only one messenger is now employed in this office whereas two were formerly employed; whether messengers on reaching the age of 16 years, if suitable, can be promoted to the permanent staff of postmen; and whether any changes of conditions in the Oldcastle office are merely local or whether similar changes have taken place elsewhere.

I find that prior to the year 1912 two regular boy messengers were employed in the delivery of telegrams at Oldcastle, but in that year the positions were abolished, and the delivery provided for by casual messengers. In 1917 the Sub-Postmaster was granted an allowance for providing for the work, and this is the present arrangement.

The Sub-Postmaster states that he employs two messengers and two bicycles on the delivery, and that telegrams are not delayed through lack of bicycles.

The messengers being in the employment of the Sub-Postmaster are not supplied with uniform, and they are not eligible for appointment as postmen. Regular boy messengers in the service of the Department are, if qualified, provided with established appointments as postmen or in other capacities when they reach the age of 19 years.

Similar arrangements for telegraph delivery obtain at some other offices. I am having renewed inquiry made in the case of Oldcastle, and if any improvement in the present delivery system at that office is warranted it will be effected.