HC Deb 06 April 1897 vol 48 cc608-9
MR. J. P. FARRELL () Cavan, W.

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland (1) whether action by the Commissioners of National Education in. Ireland is usually taken upon the advice of their official executive council; (2) whether the representations made to the Board on behalf of the work-mistresses in Irish national schools was or has been referred to this body, and was it for their proposals in relation thereto the Board, was waiting before giving a reply to the representations; (3) can he state the names of these Gentlemen; and (4) are their salaries on the Irish Estimates; if so, under what head?


The action of the Commissioners is entirely independent, and is taken on the merits of the cases that come before them. The representations made on behalf of the workmistresses from time to time have been considered by the Board. My right hon. Friend has already stated that certain proposals in relation to the remuneration of the workmistresses were made by the Board to the Irish Government, but that the Treasury, having given these representations their best consideration, were unable to sanction the proposals of the Commissioners. I have no information as to the third paragraph, and as regards the fourth paragraph the hon. Member will observe on reference to the Estimates that the only paid Member of the Board whose salary is on the Estimates is the Resident Commissioner.


I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland (1) whether he is aware that in many poor districts in Ireland workmistresses in Irish national schools have to supply out of their slender earnings most of the materials upon working on which their young pupils are trained; (2) whether at examinations the children from fourth to sixth class have to exhibit articles worked by them at home for the examination of the inspector; (3) whether in the poor districts the workmistresses have usually to purchase material so that their pupils may be qualified for examination; and (4) will these matters be inquired into with a view to relieving the workmistresses of the burden?


The Commissioners of National Education are not aware that the fact is as alleged in the first paragraph. No such obligation exists as is suggested in the second paragraph. With regard to the third and fourth paragraphs, if the hon. Member will supply me with particulars of any case in which it is reported that a workmistress is required to purchase materials, the matter will be inquired into, and steps taken to discontinue the practice.