HC Deb 01 March 1861 vol 161 cc1210-2

said, he wished to ask the hon. Member for Youghal (Mr. Butt), When it is his intention to bring the Motion which stands in his name, respecting National Education in Ireland before the House? More than a year ago a most decided opinion had been expressed in every part of Ireland in regard to the question on the subject of National Education. He was aware, however, that the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for Ireland was opposed, or indifferent, to public opinion in Ireland on the question. The right hon. Gentleman had thought proper to make some paltry concession in regard to the Educational Board, in the hope, if possible, of putting a stop to the agitation; but he could assure the right hon. Gentleman that nothing but a sweeping change in the whole system would give satisfaction to the people of Ireland.


said, he believed he was giving utterance to the opinion of the majority of the people of Ireland when he said that the course adopted by the Government on this subject was very unsatisfactory. The small concessions alluded to by the hon. Gentleman would only go a short way, if any way at all, to satisfy the people of Ireland in regard to the administration of the National System of Education. It was very desirable that a discussion upon the subject should take place as soon as possible; and he hoped the hon. and learned Gentleman would select an early day for the purpose.


said, he was much obliged to the hon. Member opposite for putting the question, inasmuch as it would give him an opportunity of again expressing his anxiety to bring forward the question at the earliest possible moment. He had given notice for a day that had now passed by. He was, however, advised to postpone his Motion in consequence of the absence of the majority of Irish Members at the commencement of the Session. He had moved for Returns at the close of last Session, which he deemed of great importance, as tending to throw light upon the working of the system of National Education in Ireland. For some reason or another those Returns, although moved for so far back as August, had not as yet been laid on the table. He had given notice of his intention that evening again to move for those Returns, in the absence of which he should be unwilling to introduce the subject to the House. The hon. and learned Member for Dungarvan (Mr. Maguire) had suggested to him to postpone his Motion until that hon. and learned Gentleman had had an opportunity in the first instance of stating the course he advocated in connection with this subject. The House would recollect that the Estimates were under discussion at an unusually late period of the last Session; and from a desire to give the hon. and learned Member for Dungarvan the opportunity he sought for, he (Mr. Butt) had been unable to secure a day for his own Motion. He hoped, however, to obtain a day before Easter to submit his question to the House. But if it should be found inconvenient to discuss the matter then he should certainly take the earliest opportunity, immediately after Easter, of bringing it forward.