HC Deb 08 August 1901 vol 99 cc64-5
MR. JORDAN (Fermanagh, S.)

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether his attention has been called to the case of the Spearstown National School, county Donegal, which was on the Commissioners' roll for thirty-two years, during which time it was under one teacher, who had a clean record; and, seeing that it has now been struck off the roll, can he state under what rule the Commissioners acted in doing so; is he aware that the motion to strike this school off the roll was carried by a majority of two votes only; that this school still has such an average attendance as to justify a claim for a grant from the National Board; and that the teacher would have been entitled to full pension in about eighteen months, but that the action of the commissioners has imperilled his whole pension, or at least will diminish his pension; whether the action of the Board is in accordance with the principles of the national system of education; and whether steps will be taken to rectify this state of matters.


This school has, for many years, received grants from the National Board. The attendance, however, fell from forty-five in 1895 to thirteen in 1901. At their meeting on the 18th June, the Board decided unanimously to give aid to one only of the two schools in this locality. I do not, however, think it would be proper to give the voting of the Commissioners on the occasion when the grants were withdrawn from the Spearstown school. They have power under Rules 94 and 102 of the Code to discontinue aid to a national school. Schools with an average attendance of even less than thirteen are aided by the Board in exceptional circumstances, but the granting of such aid is discretionary with the Board. The pension of the teacher is not imperilled by the action of the Board; his retiring allowance will be somewhat less now than it would be if he did not retire until he reached the age of sixty-five. He is at present in his sixty-fourth year. The Government cannot take any action in the matter, as suggested.


May I be permitted to say that the question has been practically re-written at the Table without consulting me, although I am constantly in the House.


The question in its altered form has been on the Paper several days without objection.