HC Deb 08 July 1913 vol 55 cc228-30

asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether any opposition to his scheme for allocating the pro- posed Grant of £40,000 for secondary education in Ireland has come from any public body in Ireland; whether, on the contrary, they have all unanimously approved of it and requested him to press it forward, and, if so, on what theory of representative or democratic government does he refuse to carry out his scheme?


I have received many resolutions from public bodies praying that the Grant may be made immediately available, but, not being experts in education, they have, as a rule, wisely refrained from discussing details. As I have already explained, the delay in this matter has been due to the difficulty in arriving at a scheme which will be satisfactory to an important educational body representing by far the greater number of the teachers concerned.


Will the right hon. Gentleman say, in order to facilitate the discussion of this matter, how soon he will lay these Papers?


The Papers will, I think, be laid on the Table to-morrow. They will, at all events, be obtainable at the Vote Office on Friday at the latest.


If the right hon. Gentleman cannot carry out the scheme in its entirety, will he carry it out in part, and make it applicable to those schools willing to adopt it?


That is a question I will most carefully consider.

86. Mr. F. HALL

asked the Chief Secretary for Irelandt he source of the information on which he based his recent. statement that no city in the Empire was worse supplied with schools or more in need of education than Belfast; and the number of elementary school places in Belfast, Dublin, and Cork, and the percentage of places to the population of those cities?


My statement as to the primary schools in Belfast was based on the facts stated in a memorial to the City Council presented on the 1st May last by the representatives of the Protestant churches of Belfast, from which it appeared that, while there was in the city a school population of at least 77,000, there was a deficiency in accommodation of 20,500. This deficiency is chiefly in the Protestant schools, while it seems generally admitted that in the case of the =Roman Catholics—one-fourth of the population, and certainly the poorest portion —no such great deficiency exists; and, indeed, it was stated that the Roman Catholic population were amply provided with schools—although this is not a statement I am in a position positively to affirm. With regard to the latter part of the question, if a comparison is made between the national school accommodation and the children of school age—say, between five and fifteen—Dublin appears to have accommodation for 71 per cent. of its children, Cork for 81 per cent., and Belfast for 69 per cent.; but, so far as Dublin and Belfast are concerned, this comparison is misleading, because the professional and leisured classes form a much larger proportion of the Dublin population than is the case in Belfast; the industrial classes form only 24 per cent. of the population of Dublin, whereas they form 33 per cent. of the population of Belfast; and it is also to be remembered that school accommodation is provided to a much greater extent in Dublin than in Belfast by bodies who do not accept or receive aid from the National Board—for example, the Christian Brothers' schools, and some schools under the control of the Church of Ireland.


Does the right hon. Gentleman think that speeches such as were delivered on 27th June at Bristol are likely to facilitate matters?


That does not arise out of the question.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the rate of illiteracy in Cork is double that in Belfast?


That is not the case.


It is.