4. Captain CRAIG
asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether his attention has been called to a resolution unanimously adopted at a public meeting recently held in Newry, claiming for primary education a Supplemental Estimate of £500,000, and to similar resolutions adopted by various managers' associations, by the General Council of County Councils, and by the Commissioners of National Education; whether the populations of Ireland and Scotland are practically the same; that the Grant for primary-education in Scotland is £350,000 greater than the Irish Grant; that the central committee of the teachers' organisation has asked for a Supplemental Estimate; that the salaries of Irish teachers are 50 per cent. below those paid to Scotch teachers; whether a Grant of £185,000 has been diverted from educational purposes; and what action he propses to take in the matter?
§ Mr. BIRRELL
I have received many resolutions in favour of increased expenditure on Irish education. For reasons which I have more than once stated, no accurate comparison can be drawn between the Votes for Public Education in Scotland and Ireland. I understand that the average salaries of Irish teachers are nothing like 50 per cent. below those of Scottish teachers. The difference between the population of the two countries is small, but the attendance of pupils for which provision is made in the Estimates is 58 per cent. higher in Scotland than in Ireland. The allocation of the Grant of £185,000, which is the equivalent of the additional Grant paid in England and Wales for educational purposes under the English Education Act of 1902, is provided for by the Ireland Development Grant Act, 1903. As the Development Grant was gradually encroached upon for Irish land purposes, the recurring charges for education originally placed upon it were transferred to the Vote for Public Education, Ireland. The sum voted for elementary education in Ireland per head of population has increased since the financial year 1902–3 from 5s. 8d. to 7s. 10d., or 38 per cent., while the corresponding figure for England and Wales has risen from 5s. 5d. to 6s. 11d., or 28 per cent. In effect, therefore, Ireland has received both the Grant of £185,000 in connection with land purchase, and an equivalent of the additional Exchequer Grants in England and Wales as well. The claims of education 744 in Ireland have received, and will continue to receive, my most careful consideration.
§ Sir J. LONSDALE
Will the right hon. Gentleman not admit Scotland receives in proportion to its population at least 25 per cent. more than Irleand?
§ Mr. BIRRELL
The amounts payable depend upon the average attendance, and owing to the average attendance in Scotland being 58 per cent. higher than in Ireland, the amounts they receive no doubt are greater.