To ask the Postmaster-General if representations have been made to him by persons who were at one time employed by the Dublin Steam Packet Co., and now employed by the London, Midland and Scottish Railway, that when the latter railway took over the mail contract a covenant was entered into according to which such persons should continue to be employed on the mail boats with their base at Dun Laoghaire, and that the railway company have broken its covenant in this matter, employing such persons in Liverpool, Manchester and other places, though their families reside in Dun Laoghaire. And if having regard to the fact that Saorstát Eireann pays its moiety of the mail contract, he will insist that this covenant be honourably observed?
CEISTEANNA—QUESTIONS. [ORAL ANSWERS.] - MAIL BOAT EMPLOYEES.
Representations were made to me early last year by former employees of the City of Dublin Steam Packet Co., who had been affected by the transfer of the contract for the Holyhead and Dun Laoghaire mail service in November, 1920. It is not correct to say that a covenant was entered into under which these employes should continue to work on the mail boats. The undertaking given by the London, Midland and Scottish Railway Co., to which, it may be stated, the British Postmaster-General was not a party, was to find employment for the Packet employees of the City of Dublin Co. not over 60 years of age, and this undertaking appears to have been carried out. There is nothing in the mail contract which would entitle me to intervene with the railway company as regards the duties assigned to individual employees, but, in the special circumstances, I wrote to the company in May last, and pressed that the claims of their Irish employees, whose interests had been adversely affected should be very carefully investigated with a view to obviating hardship. The company in a reply, dated 23rd June, 1922, informed me that of 61 persons concerned who were then in their service, 12 were employed at Dun Laoghaire, and of the remainder, all of whom were engaged on various services from Holyhead, about 19 were on the Dun Laoghaire mail service. The company stated that they were not then in a position to increase the latter number, but they promised to give the matter further and sympathetic consideration. I am communicating with them again, and will inform the Deputy of the result.
also asked how many persons are employed by the London, Midland and Scottish on the boats carrying mails between Dun Laoghaire and Holyhead; and how many of these persons are citizens of Saorstát Eireann? And if, having regard to the fact that Saorstát Eireann pays its moiety of the mail contract, he will insist that the railway company employ its moiety of Irish labour on the contract?
I have no information as to the number or nationality of the persons employed by the London, Midland and Scottish Railway Co. on the Mail Packets between Dun Laoghaire and Holyhead. The mail contract was entered into before the setting up of Saorstát Eireann, and it contains no provision under which it would be possible for me to insist that any proportion of the employees should be citizens of An Saorstát. I am, however, communicating with the railway company in regard to the question of re-transfer to Dun Laoghaire of certain of their employees who resided there prior to the taking over of the contract from the City of Dublin Steam Packet Co.—a matter on which the Deputy has addressed another question to me—and I hope that as a result the number of Irish employees on the Mail Packets will be increased. As a matter of fact, I may say it is likely that this increase will materialise in the very near future.