HC Deb 08 June 1899 vol 72 c648

On behalf of the hon. Member for South Down, I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, with reference to the complaint of Mr. Fagan, inspector of industrial schools in Ireland, that the children now committed in Ireland are rather destitute than criminal, whether he is aware that the circulars sent from Dublin Castle discouraging the magistrates from making such committals has raised considerable indignation throughout the country; that the industrial Schools (Ireland) Act provides that such destitute children arc proper subjects for committal under this Act; and that out of 396 boys discharged from industrial schools in Ireland from 1894 to 1896 (both inclusive) 347 are found doing well, and 31 only re-convicted; and out of 49 girls 47 are doing well, and not one reconvicted; and, whether, considering the good results of the present system, the closing of some of the prisons in Ireland, and the reduction of the number of prisoners in several others, he will consider the advisability of withdrawing or modifying the Circular referred to.


The words attributed to Mr. Fagan will be found in his last Annual Report on Reformatory and Industrial Schools in Ireland. These words should be read with the context, when it will appear that in using the word criminal the inspector meant not alone actual criminals, but waifs and potential criminals. The statistics quoted in the question refer not to industrial school cases, but to those of reformatory schools. There is no intention to withdraw or modify the Circular mentioned.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that this new role may possibly lead to the closing of some of these schools altogether?


It is not a new rule at all, and I have no reason to believe that it will lead to the closing of any schools.