asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether it is the intention of the Government to mitigate the action of the rule by which the salaries of assistant teachers of the National Schools (Ireland) have, in certain cases, been withdrawn, owing to the low average attendance of scholars consequent on the prevailing distress, the assistant teachers being entirely dependent on their salaries for support?
§ MR. W. E. FORSTER
Sir, I think the hon. Member is not altogether in possession of the facts of this case. The salary of the assistant teachers has not been reduced in consequence of the distress. There were 3,500 assistant 183 teachers on the roll on the 1st of January, and the reduction of 68, which has since taken place in so large a number, has nothing at all to do with the distress. As regards the distress causing a smaller average attendance of scholars, I am very glad to say it has not done so. The average of the quarter ending the 31st March last showed an increase of 25,624, or something over 6 per cent of the whole of Ireland, compared with the average of the corresponding quarter last year. Twenty-five out of the 32 counties show an increase, and in these 25 counties are included all the districts where distress is great. I am very glad to be able to make that statement, and to say that the tendency to attend school is very much on the increase. The same thing occurred during the continuance of the Cotton Famine in Lancashire.