§ 11 Mr. P. MEEHAN
asked the Vice-President of the Department of Agriculture (Ireland) (1) if he will state the amount of the annual Grant paid by the Department for the teaching of Irish in the years 1913, 1914, and 1915, respectively; if his attention has been called to the protestations in Ireland against the withdrawal of the Grant; whether the withdrawal was recommended or approved of by the Department; (2) why the Department has abandoned the summer courses for teachers; if he is aware that this abandonment will prevent many teachers from adding to their qualifications and consequently result in serious deprivation of educational advantages in many districts in Ireland; and (3) if he is aware that injury will be caused to education in Ireland by the withdrawal of Grants under Section 3 of the Department's programme; that the withdrawal will result in the closing of schools and abandoning of classes that are of educational importance and will result in financial loss to primary and secondary teachers; if he will say whether the withdrawal was approved of or recommended by the Department; and if he can state the amount of Grants paid under Section 3 of the programme for the years 1913, 1914, and 1915, respectively.
§ Mr. T. W. RUSSELL (Vice-President of the Department of Agriculture,) Ireland
The reductions in their estimate covering the Grants in question were made by the Department at the instance of the Treasury in view of the urgent need for economy, the Department indicating that the reductions would involve a serious set-back to important and progressing educational work and expressing the hope that the estimate would be arranged so as to permit of the resumption of that work as soon as possible. The Grants paid under Section 3 of the programme were: In 1913, £2,696; in 1914, £4,454; and in 1915, £5,241, of which sums £1,067, £2,366, and £3,273, 1113 respectively, were for classes in Irish. The result of suspending the summer courses will be for the time being as stated in Question No. 12. The Department cannot say whether the results mentioned in Question No. 13 will follow the reduction of the Grants, though to some extent results of the kind may be anticipated. The Department's attention has been called to the protestations referred to in Question No. 11.
§ Mr. MEEHAN
Can the right hon. Gentleman say if the Treasury have given any explanation to the Department of Agriculture as to why they selected educational Grants in Ireland as the first subject for retrenchment?
§ Mr. RUSSELL
The Treasury have simply told us of the urgent need for economy, and have asked the concurrence of the Department in making that economy.
§ Mr. MEEHAN
Has the Department intimated to the Treasury that this scheme is one of the best organised in operation in Ireland and that it means the sacrifice of all this if these Grants are withdrawn?
§ Mr. GINNELL
Will the right hon. Gentleman inform the House, in view of the reduction of the work of the Department and of the urgent need for economy, how much has been saved out of the salaries of the higher officers of the Department?
§ Mr. BOLAND
Can the right hon. Gentleman say, if this retrenchment is carried out, when it will come into operation? Are the fees being paid at present?
§ Mr. RUSSELL
I have not the figures here. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will give me notice of that question.