HC Deb 01 August 1918 vol 109 cc598-9
23. Sir J. CRAIG

asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland if a deputation from the education board of the Irish Presbyterian Church pointed out to the Board of National Education on the 20th June, 1916, that certain books on Irish history, sanctioned for use in national schools, were fitted, both directly and indirectly, to foster a spirit of disloyalty, and urged that such seditious text-books should be no longer sanctioned; if on the 20th April, 1917, the Board, in reply to the convener of the primary department of the Presbyterian education board, intimated that sanction had been withdrawn from specified seditious text-books; if the sanction of equally seditious text-books has been continued; if no intimation had been sent to managers and teachers regarding the withdrawal of sanction; and if he is aware that some of these seditious text-books from which sanction has been withdrawn are still being used in national schools?


Before the right hon. Gentleman answers that question, can he give the House a definition of the word "seditious," and say whether the threat by the Ulster Provisional Council to rebel against the King and this Parliament is seditious?


I am not prepared to give a definition offhand. In reply to the question of the hon. and gallant Member, a conference on this subject was held between the Commissioners of National Education and representatives of the Presbyterian managers on the 20th June, 1916. On the 21st November, 1916, the Commissioners withdrew sanction from certain historical text-books, on the grounds that they contained matter to which objection could be made under Rule 124A of the Code. It is not the practice to give general intimation to managers and teachers when sanction for books is withdrawn, as, under Rule 124B, the books to be used in each national school are submitted for approval at the beginning of each school year. The Commissioners are not aware that seditious text-books are used in any national school, but if any such case be brought under their notice they are prepared to take suitable action in the matter.