HC Deb 23 July 1908 vol 193 cc306-7

To ask the Chief Secretary of the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether, in making a grant of £114,000 for the increase of teachers' salaries in National Schools, the Treasury have attached the condition that grants to all small schools having an attendance of less than fifteen shall be withdrawn, thus involving the closing of 225 schools, as vacancies occur in the teaching staff whether the Commissioners of National Education have pointed out to the Treasury that a large number of small schools are an absolute necessity owing to the population being scattered over wide areas, and have twice refused to agree to this condition, and have only accepted it under compulsion; whether this action of the Treasury is an invasion of the rights of the Commissioners to decide what schools should be supported by the State, and will involve the closing of all small Protestant schools in the South and West of Ireland, with the result that Protestant children will receive no State education except at schools under Roman Catholic management and carried on by nuns and members of the Roman Catholic orders, and against the will of Protestant parents; and whether, in view of these facts, he will take steps to withdraw this condition attached to the grants.

(Answered by Mr. Birrell.) I see no necessity for entering into the subject of the Question, seeing that the original Supplementary Estimate has been withdrawn and that a revised Estimate is to be presented. I would ask the hon. Member to await the appearance of the revised Estimate.