§ MR. VESEY KNOX
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland (1) whether the Commissioners of National Education enforce their Rule No. 117, which directs that the district inspector after each visit shall communicate with the local manager in case he shall have observed any violation of rule or defects; (2) whether the district inspector in Belfast reported alleged defects in the St. Brigid's Infants' Schools to the Board in March, 1897, without communicating with the manager; (3) whether, in December, 1897, the principal teacher was depressed and fined without the manager having received any previous notification of the alleged breach of rules for which she was 1225 punished; (4) whether the Lord Lieutenant has received a memorial from the manager making many serious and detailed statements regarding the treatment of the principal teacher; and (5) whether a formal and public inquiry will be held into the whole matter?
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
The Commissioners inform me that the rule referred to in the first paragraph is enforced as far as practicable. Owing to the severe pressure of work on the inspectors the rule cannot be enforced rigidly. The fact is as stated in the second paragraph. The inspector was unable to call on the manager at a convenient hour, but his statements were at once communicated in writing to the manager from the office of the Commissioners. The fact is not correctly stated in the third paragraph. The irregularities were explained to the manager several weeks before the penalty was inflicted. The memorial mentioned in the fourth paragraph has been received. The matter has already been fully inquired into, and twice considered by the Commissioners. It was for fraudulent practices, clearly established, that the teacher was fined and depressed in her classification, and I see no reason for suggesting to the Commissioners that a further inquiry should be held in the case.