HC Deb 13 July 1908 vol 192 c382

To ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that there are two secretaries of the National Education Board paid to do work that could easily be done by one competent official, and that, nowithstanding this, many letters from managers, teachers and others remain unanswered for three, six, and even twelve months at a time, resulting in serious public inconvenience; and whether he can say, in view of the foregoing circumstances, upon what grounds the salary of each of these officials has been lately increased to the extent of £100 a year.

(Answered by Mr. Birrell.) There have been two secretaries almost since the formation of the National Education system. I am informed that the duties of the secretaries are of a highly responsible character and extremely laborious, and it would be impossible for the work to be done by one official. Apart from the general work of administration, the correspondence of the office is very extensive. In 1907 the number of letters received from managers and teachers was 24,308, the number received from inspectors and other officials, 13,583, and the number received from other Government Departments, 4,067, making a total of 42,228, exclusive of school reports, returns, and similar matters. The correspondence is dealt with systematically and without unnecessary delay, and comparatively few complaints of delay, arising from oversight, are received. The salaries of the secretaries have been increased because, in recent year3, the duties of these officers have become onerous and complex. It is to be remembered that much of the educational administration which in Engand Scotland devolves upon local authorities is necessarily undertaken in Ireland by the National Education Office.