HC Deb 13 March 1913 vol 50 cc392-3

asked the Chief Secretary at whose instance and on what statutory authority he subjected the offer of £10,000 towards the fund for university scholarships in Ireland to an irrelevant condition hostile to the Irish language; and, seeing that this condition has been condemned by the general council of Irish county councils, representing those contributing most of the fund, and that all the universities are open equally to all creeds and equally free to encourage the study of Irish, whether he will withdraw the irrelevant condition and make the Grant subject to education conditions only?


No Grant has been offered towards university scholarships in Ireland, but I have, with the concurrence of my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, offered a Grant of £10,000 per annum for scholarships from primary to secondary schools on certain conditions, one of which is that no such scholarships shall be awarded in any county unless that county provides for each of the scholars a scholarship at any Irish university which he may select. This condition is intended to secure that the money provided from the county rates for scholarships shall not be used to put pressure on parents with regard to the choice of a university for their children. It does not in any way discourage the study of Irish by those who wish to pursue it. I have no intention of withdrawing this condition.


Is not the right hon. Gentleman aware that the effect of this scheme is to discourage Irish by sending the winners of these scholarships to universities in which Irish is not taught?


Nothing of the sort. It has no effect whatever in discouraging Irish. It only leaves it to the parents, or to the scholar to choose his own university, and if he wishes he can pursue the study of the language.