HC Deb 26 February 1906 vol 152 cc799-800
MR. O'SHEE (Waterford, W.)

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland (1) whether he is aware that Mr. Matthew J. Byrne was recently employed as temporary horticulturist by the County of Waterford Committee of Agriculture and Technical Instruction, but that the Department refused to sanction his further employment; (2) whether, seeing that the curator of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin, reported to the Department that he was perfectly satisfied with Mr. Byrne's technical knowledge of the practical details of gardening and horticultural matters about March, 1905, he will explain why Mr. Byrne was subsequently tested again; (3) whether he is aware that Mr. Byrne's experience has been acquired, not only in the Colonies and the United States, but at the Athy Model Farm and Royal Albert Institute, Glasnevin; (4) that the County Waterford Committee, in December, 1905, gave him a testimonial for his energy and attention to his duties during the six months he had been employed by them, and up to the time at which the Department declined to sanction his permanent appointment; (5) whether he is aware that Mr. Byrne was declared to have failed to pass the second test on the ground that he was unaware of the scientific names of three weeds, one of them being ordinary Scotch grass; (6) and will he say whether Sir Horace Plunkett was aware, when this decision was given, that Mr. Byrne had been connected with the National Registration Association in South Dublin, in which he was an elector.


(1) The Answer to the first inquiry is in the affirmative. (2) Mr. Byrne was examined a second time, because the Department had promised the Waterford County Committee to make a second test, and because they were not satisfied that he possessed the necessary qualifications. The examiner in the first test had expressed a qualified opinion as to Mr. Byrne's technical knowledge. (3) The Department do not doubt the statement as to Mr. Byrne's previous experience. (4) The Waterford County Committee, at Mr. Byrne's request, gave him a testimonial as to his attention to work, but it is not recorded that the testimonial contained any reference to his fitness. (5) It is not the case that Mr. Byrne was rejected because of his ignorance of the scientific name of weeds. His experience of Irish horticulture had been gained forty years ago before he went abroad. (6) The Answer to the last inquiry is in the negative.