MR. PATRICK O'BRIEN
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland—(1) whether his attention has been called to the circumstances under which Head Inspector Sullivan, of the National Board of Education, was promoted from Galway to the 392 South Dublin district in October, 1896, and again re-transferred to Galway within a few days of his arrival in Dublin; (2) whether the custom for many years of having one Protestant and one Catholic Head Inspector in charge of the two Dublin districts has been departed from in this instance by replacing Head Inspector Sullivan with a second Protestant Head Inspector; (3) what are the reasons for depressing Head Inspector Sullivan by sending him back to the district from which he had been promoted; (4) and if he will have any objection to lay upon the Table copies of the Correspondence relating to this case, and of any minutes of the National Board referring to it?
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
I have referred the Question to the Commissioners of National Education who report as follows: Mr. Sullivan's removals were not in the nature of either promotion or depression. On the death of Mr. Connellan, a Roman Catholic, and one of the two head inspectors in charge of the Dublin circuit, Mr. Sullivan was transferred from Galway to the vacancy in Dublin. Subsequently, however, in connection with the question of a better distribution of head inspectors, and with the fact that there had not been a Roman Catholic head inspector in charge of Belfast District for many years past, it was deemed expedient to place that district in charge of Mr. Sullivan, and to transfer a Presbyterian head inspector to Dublin. Mr. Sullivan, however, requested not to be sent to Belfast. For several years the two inspectors in simultaneous charge of the Dublin district were Roman Catholic and Protestant respectively, but this was neither a regulation nor a uniform custom, as for twelve years from 1872 to 1884, two Protestant head inspectors were in joint charge. No idea of depressing Mr. Sullivan entered into the arrangements, which the Commissioners state were made with a view to the educational interests of the county at large. As regards the fourth paragraph, the Commissioners regard as confidential all correspondence between them and their officers, as well as the minutes of the Board relating thereto, and it would be without precedent, therefore, to lay such documents on the Table of the House.