HC Deb 10 March 1884 vol 285 cc1022-4

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether his attention has been called to a letter in the Cork newspapers of February 16th, complaining that the Catholic population of the city and county of Cork was not receiving its fair proportion of the benefits of the Industrial Schools Act; whether it is the case that the Protestant industrial school boys charged to the rates of Cork city are to the Catholic boys similarly circumstanced nearly as one to two; whether, in the county of Cork, the numbers of both are nearly equal; whether, in each of these cases, the number of Catholic boys is not entirely under its due proportion, considering the numerical strength of the Catholic community; whether this is due to the fact that the industrial school accommodation for the Catholic boys of the district is unduly restricted by the Treasury; whether the Catholic male industrial school at Greenmount, Cork, could accommodate over fifty boys in addition to those at present certified for; whether Sir John Lentaigne has endeavoured to induce managers of this and other Catholic industrial schools similarly circumstanced as regards accommodation to give him written admissions that their schools could only accommodate the number of children for which they were certified; and, whether, under the circumstances, he will consider it his duty to recommend an extension of the certificate of the male industrial school at Greenmount, Cork, so as to permit that institution to receive sixty additional children?


said, he wished to ask the right hon. Gentleman a further Question, of which he had given him private Notice—namely, Whether the recommendations of the Royal Commission, if carried into effect, would not remedy the inequalities spoken of by the hon. Member (Mr. Deasy), if such inequalities exist?


Sir, the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Deasy), in my opinion, is under a misapprehension in thinking that industrial schools are merely local institutions restricted to the admission of children from the district in which the school is situated, they being open for the admission of children from all parts of Ireland. In the County Cork there are five Roman Catholic schools with 418 inmates, and two Protestant schools with 107 inmates. In the City of Cork there are two Protestant schools with 145 inmates, and two Roman Catholic schools with 293 inmates. I have not been informed whether all the children in these schools are from Cork; but I am making inquiry. On the 1st instant there were, in industrial schools in Ireland chargeable to the Treasury Vote, 5,199 Roman Catholics, or one in every 761 of the Roman Catholic population, and 850 Protestants, or one in every 1,365 of the Protestant population, or nearly twice as many Roman Catholics as Protestants in these schools in proportion to the population. As regards the Greenmount School, Sir John Lentaigne reported some years ago that there was accommodation for 32 more children than at present, provided certain improvements were made; and this extension was, at the suggestion of Canon Neville, the principal manager of the Greenmount Schools, given to establish a separate school at Passage West. As regards the action of Sir John Lentaigne, referred to in the last paragraph but one of the Question, the rules limiting the accommodation were drawn up by legal advice, and Sir John Lentaigne was directed by the Irish Government to secure their adoption. This was done in 1874, and we are considering whether the form might not be altered to meet the objections of the hon. Member; but such alteration would have no effect upon the number for which the Treasury grant would be paid. In reply to the hon. and gallant Member for Cork County (Colonel Colthurst), there is a large number of applications for extensions from all parts of Ireland; but, pending any conclusion which may be come to by the Government upon the Report of the Royal Commission, which is at present under consideration, I cannot give any hope of any extension, nor pledge the Government to legislate on the subject this year; and as the inquiry was not alone for Ireland, but for the United Kingdom, I do not see that the Irish Government can act independently of the English Government.