HC Deb 15 April 1913 vol 51 cc1814-5

asked the Vice-President of the Department of Agriculture (Ireland) when the Royal Veterinary College of Ireland was founded; whether it is intended to transfer the control and management of the same from the board of governors to his Department, the reasons for and terms of the proposed transfer, and when the same will take effect; the present staff of the college and how their status will be affected; and whether he is willing to lay Papers upon the Table to enable Members to consider the propriety of the proposed transfer?

Mr. T. W. RUSSELL (Vice-President of the Department of Agriculture, Ireland)

The Royal Veterinary College of Ireland was founded by Letters Patent bearing date 27th May, 1895, but no funds were made available until the establishment of the Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction for Ireland. From the money placed at the disposal of the Department by the Agriculture and Technical Instruction (Ireland) Act, 1899, a, sum of £15,000 was allocated for buildings, fittings, and equipment, in connection with the Veterinary College. The Department subsequently, with the concurrence of the Agricultural Board, made additional capital Grants for these purposes, bringing the total to £27,350, and gave further assistance in the form of annual Grants. The Department have offered to take over the financial and administrative control of the college, and this offer has been accepted by the board of governors. The Department have had recently under review the situation in Ireland as regards the future of veterinary administration and education, and have resolved that it is desirable to make certain important advances in this respect. The corps of veterinary surgeons for the Department's service, and that of the local authorities under the Diseases of Animals Acts, as well as for general practice in Ireland, are now mainly trained in this college. At present the college is in an insecure financial position—depending mainly on the fluctuating item of students' fees—and is inadequately staffed and equipped. The Department are convinced that in these circumstances to take charge of the college and to put it in a state of thorough efficiency and permanent security is a matter of real and urgent necessity. This course has accordingly been decided on, the Department's intention being: (a) To become entirely responsible for the maintenance of the college, the payment of its staff, the necessary upkeep and development of its equipment and buildings, and to do all that might be practicable to bring the college up to the highest degree of efficiency in every respect, and to maintain it at that level; (b) to establish the college research laboratory on a basis of adequate efficiency, both for the educational requirements of the college and for the purposes of independent investigations, and to facilitate its co-ordination, in regard both to work and to opportunities, with all other work in connection with veterinary research done under the auspices of the Department. The present board of governors have consented to be constituted as an advisory council for the purpose of advising the Department on matters connected with the educational policy of the college. The transfer will be effected as soon as the necessary legal formalities can be completed. The present staff of the college consists of the principal, who also acts as professor of pathology and bacteriology, two whole-time professors, one of medicine and anatomy and the other of surgery, and one whole-time demonstrator. The other subjects of the curriculum are dealt with by part-time teachers, i.e., teachers whose time is not solely at the disposal of the college. Steps will be taken, both by the governors and by the Department, to see that the interests of the existing staff are adequately safeguarded.