HC Deb 26 February 1885 vol 294 cc1407-8

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether it is true that Mr. John Butler, late head-master of the Parsonstown Model School, committed suicide by shooting himself with a rifle on Sunday, 7th December, 1884, a few days before the time fixed for the results examination of his school; whether any investigation has been held by the Commissioners of National Education regarding the statement in the newspapers that "apprehension as to this examination had preyed on his mind;" whether any threats of dismissal, reprimand, or other form of punishment had been held out to him by the Commissioners or their officers in reference to this or any previous examination; whether it is the fact that all Mr. Butler's predecessors in the head-masterships were Catholics; and, whether, in departing from the usual line of appointment, events have justified the wisdom and foresight of the Commissioners?


Mr. Butler committed suicide on the 7th of December, 12 days before the date appointed for his results' examination. The Report on the school for the previous year had been unfavourable; and he had been warned that if the next Report were not generally satisfactory the Commissioners would have to consider the propriety of removing him. The Commissioners have received a full Report of the case from their Inspector. It contains no reference to such a cause of the suicide as that stated in the Question; but it points to the fact, of which the Commissioners were not previously aware, that Mr. Butler had been in a lunatic asylum. Mr. Butler's predecessors had been Catholics; but the great preponderance of the pupils in the school were Protestants, and a teacher of this persuasion was selected in accordance with a Regulation made in 1878, that the teacher, as a rule, shall be of the religion of the majority of his pupils. The Commissioners have no reason to be dissatisfied with the operation of this Rule.