HC Deb 03 July 1884 vol 289 cc1877-8

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether he is aware that at the intermediate examinations in Armagh, the boys were this year examined in a room in the Roman Catholic College, which was conspicuously ornamented by a large crucifix; and, whether the Commissioners had considered whether such a room in an entirely denominational building was unobjectionable in itself, and complied with the Schedule of the Act, which specifies the town hall or other public building suitable for the purpose, and was the figure given in freehand drawing to the junior class the emblem of Irish disaffection, a shield bearing a harp without a crown?


Before the right hon. Gentleman answers that Question, I would like to know whether the emblem here described as the emblem of Irish disaffection—a shield bearing a harp without the crown—is not largely used in the decoration of the House of Parliament; whether a shield bearing a harp without a crown is not opposite the Speaker's Chair, close to the Clock; whether a shield bearing a harp without a crown is not opposite the hon. Member himself on the Gallery over the middle Gangway on the Liberal side of the House; whether it is not to be found oil the Gallery over the Gangway on the Conservative side of the House; whether 30 or 40 such emblems are not to be found on the ceiling of the House; and whether, under these circumstances, the Question of the hon. Member for Armagh is not a combination of bigotry and folly?


The Assistant Commissioners inform me that the room in question has been used as a centre for examination for the last five years. Up to the present year there was also a centre at the Armagh Royal School; but as only a few students from the Royal School came forward this year, the hall at St. Patrick's College was sufficiently commodious for the examination of all the boys. It was, moreover, placed at the disposal of the Board free of charge, and was the only available room which could be had without payment. No complaint has been made to the Commissioners with regard to the existence of religious emblems. Had such a representation been made, they would have taken steps to have them removed or covered in accordance with the usual practice. The figure given in one grade in freehand drawing was a harp and a shield; and it was selected by the Art Master of Hammersmith Training College. I have no doubt he meant the design as a compliment to Ireland. As far as I am able to use my eyes, the Question of the hon. Member for Westmeath (Mr. T. D. Sullivan) must be answered in the affirmative.


With regard to the crucifix, may I ask whether there were any Jews examined to whom the emblem might be objectionable?

[No reply.]