HC Deb 15 August 1901 vol 99 cc1073-5
MR. MACARTNEY (Antrim, S.)

I have a question which I desire to put to the Chief Secretary connected with the Queen's College, Belfast, in reference to two appointments of professors which have been made there some little time ago. Those interested in Queen's College believe that some injustice has been done to these two professors who have been appointed, and the chairs they hold by the terms of their appointment. These appointments have been limited to seven years. I find that, without exception, the appointments to those very same chairs, three of which have been made in quite recent years, have been permanent appointments, and that the same thing has taken place in connection with appointments at Queen's College, Galway. I say that there is no reason whatever for this limitation. My right hon. friend told me that this was either a case of misapprehension or a misunderstanding, and I should like to ask him whether the misunderstanding arose from a recommendation made in Belfast, or whether it took place by some superior authority. I say that, apart from the fact that these appointments have been made, so far as my examination goes, permanent in Galway and Belfast without exception, there is no reason whatever for limiting them in Belfast, for neither in the new university of Birmingham or any other university is there to be found any analogy for limiting such appointments. Such limitations are contrary to the practice of the medical profession, and they must lead to inferior men applying for these appointments. I ask my right hon. friend to consider whether these men cannot be placed upon the same footing as their colleagues occupy in Cork and Galway.

I want also to say a word on the question which has been raised with regard to the residual grant. I have gone into four or five instances of the non-payment of the balance of the residual grant, and I am convinced that an error has been committed by somebody in authority. The matter is a very complicated one, but I will put it broadly in this way. There are innumerable instances in which amounts which vary from three months to fifteen months in special instances are still owing, in my opinion, to national school teachers. My sugges- tion is that the Chief Secretary should appoint an independent accountant to examine the books. If it is an error in book-keeping they will not be satisfied by the opinion of the department which made this error. Therefore, I would ask him whether he cannot this time appoint an independent accountant to go into these intricate calculations. I believe that if my right hon. friend were to take that course it would go a very long way to allay the feeling of irritation which exists at the present time, for which I think there is a certain amount of justification, and which irritation has been created by the general dissatisfaction which at present exists. The new regulations are in my opinion very inadequate, and certainly they deprive the existing school teachers of the prospects of preferment which they had a right to look forward to, and which they could obtain in the past.