HC Deb 01 July 1880 vol 253 cc1240-1

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, If he would explain to the House under what circumstances and for what reason a retiring gratuity was last year refused by the Commissioners of National Education to Mr. John Coleman, National School teacher, of Knockanore, in the county of Waterford, who, after twenty-five years of efficient service and blameless life and conduct, has been compelled to retire through loss of eyesight, and is now left destitute in his old age, and with no resource but the poorhouse; and, whether an annual sum is not voted by Parliament to meet such cases?


The sum annually voted by Parliament is intended to be given as retiring gratuities to meritorious National School teachers. I am sorry to say that in regard to the case of Coleman it is not correct to say that he had passed 25 years of efficient service and blameless life and conduct. In 1866 serious charges were brought against him, one of them being that he had been convicted of drunkenness in the town of Youghal. The Commissioners were able to go into the application for these annuities in his case, and they found he had been also fined in 1873 for falsifying the ages of his pupils, and that in 1877 10 per cent had been deducted from his results fees. I would ask my hon. Friend and other hon. Gentlemen interested in individual cases whether it would not be better to come to me in the first instance, and if they are not satisfied with my answer they can give Notice of any Question. At present it not only takes up the time of the House, but it leads to statements about individuals which might otherwise be avoided.