§ MR. BARTON (Armagh, Mid)
On behalf of the hon. Member for South Antrim, I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that the Ballyshannon School Attendance Committee consists of eight persons, and that the Town Commissioners unanimously suggested that the Commissioners of National Education should appoint the Rev. B. Kelly, P.P., the Rev. Canon M'Kenna, P.P., the Rev. S. G. Cochrane, Church of Ireland, and the Rev. Andrew Lowry, Presbyterian, managers of four schools within the townships; whether ho is aware that the Rev. Andrew Lowry is a manager of a large Presbyterian school 380 within the township; whether the Commissioners of National Education acceded to the suggestion of the Town Commissioners; and, if not, why; and in what way have the Commissioners of National Education by their appointments turned the scale in favour of the Presbyterian minority in this township?
THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Mr. J. MORLEY, Newcastle-upon-Tyne)
(1.) The population of Ballyshannon consists of—Roman Catholics, 78.4; Protestant Episcopalians, 15.8; Presbyterians, 4.0; Methodists, 1.8. The Local Authority fixed the number of members of the School Attendance Committee at eight; and the constitution of this committee, as finally settled by the Commissioners, is as follows:—Roman Catholics, 5; Protestant Episcopalians, 2; Presbyterians, I; Methodists, O. The Town Commissioners, after making the appointments of their one-half of the Committee, suggested to the Commissioners of National Education the making of the appointments of the other half by the selection of the gentlemen named in the question; and in doing so the Town Commissioners acted ultra vires, the Act giving them no authority to make suggestions as to the members to be appointed on the Commissioners' half of the Committee. (2.) The Rev. Andrew Lowry is, as stated in the question, a school manager. (3.) The Commissioners did not accede to the suggestion as to the appointment of that clergyman; as the one place on the Committee to which a Presbyterian could be appointed had already been given by the Local Authority to a Presbyterian, who, moreover, was not a manager. (4.) The complaint is, that the Commissioners turned the scale in favour of the Presbyterian minority; but the fact is that the scale was so turned by the Local Authority in their appointment of the one Presbyterian member on the Committee before the case came under the consideration of the Commissioners of National Education at all.