§ MR. THOMAS O'DONNELL
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that certain clerks in the Irish Agricultural Department who have up to twelve years service, and whose salaries are approximately £90 a year, were recently notified, in response to an application for advancement, that such application could not be entertained in view of an intimation from the Treasury in February, 1903, to the effect that the time had come when the recurrent applications should cease, and 635 the sanctioned scales should be left to their operation; will he state whether the communication conveying this refusal was brought under the notice of the secretary; and will he say whether the Treasury intimation referred to relates only to the clerks mentioned; and, if not, whether he can explain why, while refusing to submit to the Treasury the application of the latter, recurrent applications have since been made for increases in the salaries of better paid officials of the Department; and whether he will see that such interpretations are not put upon Treasury communications as may act to the detriment of any of the Department's employees.
§ MR. WYNDHAM
The clerks referred to in the first part of the Question were employed in a temporary capacity only before their appointment, within the past few years, to the permanent establishment. In the former capacity their services were determinable at a week's notice and they had no prospects of advancement. They are now pensionable officers, and their promotion carried with it other substantial advantages. The Department considered their further application, but felt unable to recommend it to the Treasury. The decision arrived at was the decision of the Department, and it would be entirely subversive of official discipline to discuss the grounds upon which it was come to, or admit or deny that it was brought to the notice of the secretary. The Department must use its own discretion as to the communications it may make to the Treasury on behalf of members of the staff. Each case is dealt with on its merits, and there is no foundation for the suggestion that it acts to the detriment of any of its employees.