§ Sir JOHN LONSDALE
asked if the right hon. Gentleman is aware that the Meath County Council on Monday last, by twelve votes to six, decided that the university scholarships provided out of public funds should be tenable only at the National (Roman Catholic) University, and that condidates for such scholarships must pass in Irish; if any of the Irish county councils who have attached similar 527 conditions to their schemes of university scholarships have modified their schemes in consequence of his declaration in November last that such restrictions were not in harmony with the spirit of the Irish Universities Act, 1908; and if he intends to take any steps to prevent Protestant students being penalised and the non-sectarian universities in Ireland being boycotted by Nationalist county councils?
§ Mr. BIRRELL
I have seen a newspaper report of the proceedings of the Meath County Council on the occasion referred to. I have no information as regards the second paragraph, nor have I any control over the county councils in the matter; but, as I have already stated, I have some hopes of being able to establish a scheme of scholarships to enable boys to pass from primary to secondary schools, and ultimately to compete for county scholarships at the universities. Such a scheme will only be possible if the county councils refrain from drawing invidious distinctions between the different universities, all unsectarian, in Ireland.
§ Sir J. LONSDALE
If the right hon. Gentleman is unable to secure fair play to the Protestants under the Irish Universities Act, how can he expect the Protestant minority in Ireland to trust their liberties to the Nationalist party?
On what grounds does the right hon. Gentleman base his statement that the National University of Dublin is non-sectarian?
§ Sir J. LONSDALE
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Dublin Corporation have stipulated that scholarships are to be held at Trinity College only if the Irish language is taken?