§ MR. O'SHAUGHNESSY (Limerick, W.)
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland if he is aware that the meetings of the National Board of Commissioners are held once a. fortnight, at which only about one-third, of the members attend regularly, that the other two-thirds attend on an average about once a month, and that as a result the work of the Board is in the hands of the Resident Commissioner and a few of the higher officials; and whether, having regard to this fact, he will take steps to alter the constitution of the Board, so as to. have it composed of persons of a, representative character who would take an active interest in primary education.
§ MR. BIRRELL
The ordinary meetings of the National Education Board are held once a fortnight, but special meetings and Committee meetings are also held at various, times in each year. 1547 The Commissioners inform me that it is not correct to say that only one-third of the members attend regularly, or that two-thirds of the Board attend only once a month. They state that the work of the Board is in the hands of officials only in so far as the officials have been authorised by the Commissioners to carry it on. I am not aware that there is any foundation for the suggestion that the present members of the Board do not take an active interest in primary education.
§ MR. O'SHAUGHNESSY
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland if he can say whether about a year ago the Commissioners of National Education appointed a person from outside the Education Office to investigate cases of alleged inefficiency on the part of the teachers; if so, whether it was owing to the Resident Commissioner or any of the secretaries -of the Board having no practical knowledge of such matters, none of them ever having been an inspector of schools; whether such a person is still so employed; was there any justification for the appointment; and what salary was attached to it.
The Commissioners of National Education inform me that in view of the change in the duties of the chiefs of inspection by which these officers were for the future to be largely engaged in outdoor work, they found it desirable, about five years ago, to bring in one of the other inspectors to the central office to assist in the preparation of certain special work which had previously been discharged by members of the inspection staff. The answer to the second part of the Question is in the negative. An inspector is still employed at the central office, but he receives no remuneration beyond his salary as inspector.