§ MR. SEXTON
I beg to ask the Postmaster General whether, on the retirement, last July, of Mr. Wilson, sub-postmaster at Ligoniel, Belfast, his successor in the premises and business, Mr. William Smyrl, who had been for five years contractor for the conveyance of mails between Ligoniel and Belfast, agreed, upon the request of Mr. Shepherd, postmaster at Belfast, to allow the premises to continue to be used as the post office; whether, upon the suggestion of Mr. Shepherd, Mr. Smyrl sent in to Mr. Shepherd an application for the sub-postmastership, which Mr. Shepherd promised to recommend, and a memorial, signed by nine-tenths of the residents of Ligoniel and the vicinity, in support of the application; whether, no reply having been sent either to Mr. Smyrl's application or the memorial on his behalf, the place of sub-postmaster was given to Mr. W. A. Bell, whose shop was declared by the surveyor, on inspection, to be unsuitable, by reason of inadequate accommodation; whether inquiry has disclosed the fact that the memorial on behalf of Mr. Smyrl never, reached the Secretary of the General Post Office, to whom it had been addressed; and what explanation can be given of this circumstance, and of the transfer of the post office, against the wish of the inhabitants, from commodious premises, used for the postal service for over 40 years, to premises officially declared to be unsuitable for the purpose?
§ SIR JAMES FERGUSSON
The statement in the first paragraph is believed to be correct. The memorial referred to in the second paragraph does not appear to have reached the Department. The postmaster of Belfast made no such promise as is alleged. The appointment was conferred upon Mr. Bell because (1) Mr. Smyrl was reported to own a public house at some distance off; and (2) Mr. Smyrl's premises are not so centrally situated as those of Mr. Bell. The surveyor has not declared Mr. Bell's shop to be unsuitable by reason of inadequate accommodation.