From Oar Own Staff Reporter.
Some pertinent comments on the Government White Paper, "Seamen's Weliare in Ports," were mach. oy Areal...beep Dowitcy, speaking as president of the Apostleship of the Sea. Liverpool, at the annual ineetmg of the society. in Liverpool Town Hall, on Wednesday, last week. The Lord Mayor (Lord Sefton) presided.
'The spirit in which the report had been drawn up gave little hope that the Government would do anything constructive or magnanimous in the matter of the 9p,ritual welt-being of
seafarers, said Dr. Downey. It also threw into high relief the lack of interest on the part of the shipping industry, taken as a whole in the welfare of its employees.
Pointing out that until twenty years ago the held of welfare service for the mercantile marine was covered entire by voluntary organisations, the Archbishop. regretted that so little heed was paid to them in the Constitution of the Met chant Navy Welfare Board. as suggested by the White Paper.
INDUSTRY'S LATE ARRIVAL
Having contributed relatively little in the field ot social weifate work for sailors the slapping industry was now to be. placen in control of all such welfare work whether voluntary or State organised. Moreover the autustry was to be given the powee if it so desired, to declare null and void those very organisations which had done Use work in the past—a truly paradoxical state of affairs. it seemed to be mcrela an act of justice to the voluntary ortonisadons which had carried, and were prepared to carry, the burdens of seamen's social welfare to have at least an equal voice with the shipping industry on the Merchant Navy Welfare Board, and it was to lee hoped that some such counsel would prevail.
The, Report explained that in the past there had men no registration of voluntary organisations, hence any group cif people forming a voluntary body could declare they were working for the wel
fare of the Merchant Navy. There was clearly a need of registration, said Dr. Downey if only to co-ordinate the efforts of the various voluntary organisations and to exercise some control over appeals, but the control coed easily be overdone and the general tendency towards bureaucratic control MIS not a little alai-mine.
SPIRITUAL WELFARE On the subject of spiritual welfare
the Report sates. " It is our viow .1hat this work is outside out mons at reference, but it is an integral part of the whole work of some ot the organisations concerned with -temporal or benevolent welfare.'
The Archbishop's comment was that unfortunately, the Report gave no further consideration to these organisations except so fax as their material welfare work was concerned. " I sug gest," he said, that a standard lel spiritual welfare work is actually attainable, namely, that granted by the Government tu the officers and men of the Royal Navy, should be extended to the Mercantile Marine in recognition of its heroic services during the war. We contend that interest in the spiritual welfare of the seamen is the first essential, even from a purely commercial viewpoint. Solidly devout, religious sailors will ensure to the industry good seamanship in devotion to duty." Rear-Admiral J. W. S. Darling (Flag Officer-in-Charge. Liverpool) paid tribute to the work of Atlantic House, and Fr. G. J. Waring (Port Chaplain). said he saw a happy future for the Apostleship at the Sea.