HC Deb 19 March 1900 vol 80 cc1193-4

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that, although an Act was passed abolishing religious tests in Trinity College, Dublin, in the examinations for sizarship, for which it is alleged Roman Catholics may enter, the Irish professor, who is a member of and in receipt of income as professor from a society founded to induce Roman Catholics to change their religion, instead of examining in Irish literature, sets students the doctrinal parts of the Protestant version of the Scriptures; and will the Government consider whether any steps should be taken to prevent such practices which may constitute an evasion of the statute.

*See The Parliamentary Debates [Fourth Series], 21st Feb., 1899, Vol. lxvii., page 51; 15th June, 1899, Vol. lxxii., page 1189.

I have referred this question to the Vice-Provost of Trinity College, Dublin, who has informed me that the Irish Society, to which allusion is made, was established in 1818 for providing the Scriptural education and religions instruction of the Irish speaking population chiefly through the medium of their own language. In or about 1843 this society raised by subscription a fund for founding and endowing a professorship of Irish in Trinity College. The amount subscribed, which was invested in Government securities, produced only £70 a year. The Board of Trinity College undertook to increase the endowment to £100 a year, it being made a condition that the professor should be subject to the jurisdiction of the Board in the same manner as all other professors, and the power of appointment to the professorship was vested in trustees who are independent of the society. The Vice-Provost states there is no foundation for the assertion that the professor "instead of examining in Irish literature sets students the doctrinal parts of the Protestant version of the Scriptures," as a reference to the examination papers, which are published each year, will show. The copy of the Scriptures used is the same, I understand, as that used at examinations of the Royal University by the Rev. E. Hogan, S.J., and passages set for translation are very often taken from the works of the Rev. G. Keating, another Roman Catholic Divine.