§ MR. TIMOTHY HEALY (Longford, N.)
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland if the recent Resolution of this House, declaring that public meetings should be permitted in schools in receipt of State aid has been communicated to the Board of National Education in Ireland; and, if not, will the Government inform the Board that managers who may permit meetings or conventions during the coming election to be held in their schools should now incur no censure nor run any risk of the withdrawal of the grants?
§ MR. GARDNER (Essex, Saffron Walden)
Before the right hon. Gentleman answers that question, I should like to ask him whether the Bill which has been issued this morning dealing with elementary schools in connection with this subject is to apply to Ireland?
§ MR. JACKSON
The Bill to which the hon. Member refers is the Elementary Schools Bill, which, I believe, has just been circulated. I have no objection to communicate to the National Board of Education a copy of the Resolution passed by the House, if the hon. Gentleman thinks it desirable; but I am not aware that they 212 have any power to give effect to it, as the hon. Gentleman is probably aware that there is a regulation which prohibits the use of schools, either vested or non-vested, in Ireland for political purposes; and I do not know what would be the effect of communicating the Resolution to them. I have no objection to that, but I do not think they have any power to enforce it.
§ MR. HEALY
This is not a matter of my desire, but of the intention of the House of Commons. I wish to ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether he has listened to the statement which has just been made, and why it is that this Resolution is not to be given effect to as regards Ireland, because the Bill, as I understand, which has just been circulated—I have not seen it myself—does not apply to Ireland?
§ THE FIEST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR,) Manchester, E.
I do not think it was intended that the Bill to be introduced on this subject should apply to Ireland, because the whole course of education in Ireland has been actually and historically very different from that which obtains in this country. I do not know that there would be compulsory power to compel managers of schools in Ireland, whether they liked it or not, to open their schools for public meetings. My own impression is that when they came to consider the matter they would not only not desire it, but strongly object to it.
§ MR. HEALY
That is not the question. The question is, this House passed a Resolution with regard to schools in the three Kingdoms, which the Government consented to give effect to in a Bill; but that Bill is now before the House and it excludes Ireland, and my question to the Government is this—whether the Resolution will be communicated to the Board of National Education in Ireland; and whether their attention will be drawn to it, or whether the Bill shall be made to apply to Ireland?
§ MR. BALFOUR
At the time that this Resolution was passed by the House, neither by the Mover nor the Seconder, nor by any single gentleman whatever, was there any reference made to Ireland. There was not a word said about Ireland.
§ MR. BALFOUR
If it were communicated it would have no effect, and I see no reason to make a communication which would have no effect.