§ MR. O'REILLY
asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland, Will the sum taken in the Estimates be sufficient to pay for as many children as it may be expected will be sent to Reformatory and Industrial Schools now certified, or which may probably be certified in the currrent year; how far the Circular issued in July last, on his own authority, by the Inspector of Industrial Schools, to the managers of Roman Catholic Industrial Schools in Ireland has been acted on, whether it has been cancelled, and whether in future the discretion entrusted to magistrates by the Act of Parliament will be left unfettered by any restrictions as to sending children to particular certified schools capable of receiving them; and, might not the number of children a school is fitted to receive be with advantage included in the certificate, as is done in England?
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
said, in reply, that he had reason to believe that a sufficient sum had been taken in the Estimates to pay for as many children as it might be expected would be sent to reformatory and industrial schools now certified, although it was just possible that the Reformatory Vote might not be sufficient. With regard to how far the Circular issued in July last, on his own authority, by the Inspector of industrial schools in Ireland had been acted on, whether it had been cancelled, and whether in future the discretion entrusted to magistrates by the Act of Parliament would be left unfettered by any restrictions as to sending children to particular certified schools capable of receiving them, he had to state that it had never been acted upon with any great stringency, and that for the last six months it had not been acted upon at all. He was not, however, aware that it had actually been cancelled. If his hon. Friend referred, as he imagined he did, to the Correspondence that took place between them in the autumn of last year, he had to state that he was not prepared to abandon altogether the position he then took up. Although the Act seemed somewhat peremptory on the subject, he considered that, as being responsible for the administration of the Act, Parliament expected 1513 him to exercise some control over the number of children placed at the public expense in industrial and reformatory schools. There was no occasion—nor was there, he believed, any such intention—for imposing any restrictions whatever on the discretion of magistrates in that respect. It would be an improvement, no doubt, if, as the hon. Gentleman had suggested, the number of children a school was fitted to receive was included in the certificate, as was done in England, where it was practicable to do so; and, if possible, it should be so done in Ireland for the future.