§ MR. JOHN REDMOND (Waterford)
To ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland if his attention has been called to the fact that the Board of National Education of Ireland have strongly urged, in the interests of education, the absolute necessity of maintaining the training colleges in a condition of utmost efficiency, and have unanimously urged upon the Treasury the necessity of making a free home grant for the Belfast, Limerick, and Waterford Training Colleges; and whether, in view of the fact that the settlement arrived at in 1890 has since been set aside by the action of the Government in granting a sum of £50,000 for buildings for the Government College in Marlborough Street, Dublin, he will take steps to secure that the Belfast, Limerick, and Waterford Training Colleges will not continue to receive unfair treatment in this matter.
(Answered by Mr. Bryce.) The Board of National Education have made representations in favour of a free home grant to the Limerick College, but do not apppear to have made any similar representations in respect of the colleges at Belfast and Waterford. These provincial colleges have all been opened since 1890, 608 with the full knowledge on the part of the promoters that a building grant would not be given to them, and I am informed that the Irish Government and the Treasury have consistently refused subsequent applications on behalf of these colleges for a grant to clear off the loans taken up for building purposes. The grant of £50,000 for new buildings, in connection with the Marlborough Street Training College, was made by the late Government two years ago out of the Irish Development Grant. It cannot be admitted that the making of that grant re-opened the settlement arrived at in 1890. The intention of that settlement was then stated to be to place the three denominational training colleges in Dublin on an equality of treatment as to building grants, with that previously accorded to the undenominational training college at Marlborough Street under the control of the Commissioners. The reasons for making the grant in 1904 were fully stated in this House by the right hon. Member for Dover, March 16th, 1904,† and His Majesty's present Government have had nothing whatever to do with that matter. As regards the future, I can at present only say that the whole subject of Irish education seems to me to require much consideration, and no statement regarding it can be made at this moment. I need hardly add that requests for building grants are matters to be dealt with by the Treasury as well as by the Irish Government.