§ EARL CAIRNS
, who had the following Notice on the Paper:—To ask Her Majesty's Government Whether the scheme for the organization of the Royal University, Ireland, has been presented to this House, and, if so, why it has not been printed; and whether, before any Bill is introduced affecting the surplus funds of the Irish Church an estimate will be laid before Parliament of the amount which will be appropriated for the Royal Irish University, showing the expenditure estimated under separate heads?said, since he had given Notice of this Question, he had ascertained that the scheme for the organization of the Royal University was presented by the Senate to this House in the last Parliament; and that, although it was not printed at the time, copies had been supplied to the House since then. He would, therefore, confine his Question to the latter 1110 part of the Notice. What he wanted to ask the Government was this—a scheme had been prepared and money would be required to work it. No statement had been made as to the amount which would be appropriated. He should like to ask whether the Government could produce any estimate of the amount of money which would be required to carry out the proposed scheme?
§ LORD CARLINGFORD
said, before answering the Question of the noble and learned Earl, he should like to say one word about the nature of the scheme. It did not appear, as he understood it, that the scheme had any binding force whatever upon anyone. He did not understand that the scheme had any legislative character whatever. It was, of course, of great importance on account of the information which it conveyed to the Government and to Parliament, but no legislative power was contained in the scheme. It was possible that the germ of legislation would be found in it; but the matter must come before Parliament in the shape of statutes, rules, and orders, which would be made by the Senate of the University as soon as they were aware of the means which would be at their disposal; and, under the Act of Parliament of 1879 and under the Charter, these rules and orders, before they had any validity, would require the Royal Assent under the Sign Manual, and would have to be laid before both Houses of Parliament. Thus by the provisions of the Act of Parliament and the Charter, both the Government and Parliament would have very ample means of control over the action of the University. If, indeed, the scheme had anything in it essentially objectionable, or if the Senate of the University had violated the conditions laid down in the Act of 1879, it would before now have been the duty of Her Majesty's Government to make objections, and the Senate would have no power of revising the scheme or of presenting a new scheme; but, as a matter of fact, Her Majesty's Government had not found it necessary to make any objections of the kind. All that could be said against the scheme, he thought, was that there was, perhaps, a certain amount of largeness in it, an apparent want of limit, which, it might be, would require some notice and control on the part of the Government. He thought 1111 the noble and learned Earl did not need to have much occasion for alarm, because the Government and Parliament had control over the rules and orders which might be hereafter made with respect to the standard of examination; and if that standard was not sufficiently high it would not be accepted. The prizes would depend upon the standard to be selected, and the standard would be included in the rules and orders. The Government would shortly be prepared to lay before Parliament, both in their Lordships' House and in the House of Commons, a communication with the Royal University, stating the sum which the Government would propose to Parliament as sufficient for the University, and expressing the views of the Government upon the scheme and the allocation of the funds. At the same time, he would say that he thought it would not be well to pledge the Government as to details in a matter of this kind. He thought that the document which he should shortly be able to lay before Parliament would plainly show what was the opinion of the Government on the subject, and he believed it would satisfy the noble and learned Earl and others who felt interested in the matter.
§ EARL CAIRNS
said, he quite agreed with the noble Lord that the scheme communicated by the Senate had no binding effect of itself; but, of course, if the Government were to present that scheme to Parliament, and to accompany it with a request that Parliament would provide out of the Church Surplus, or any other fund, a certain amount of money to give effect to that scheme, that would, of course, be an endorsement, in the first place, by Her Majesty's Government, and, in the second place, by Parliament, of the scheme of the Senate. If the Government were able to lay the communication on the Table, it would be so far satisfactory.
§ LORD CARLINGFORD
said, that was what he understood. The Government and Parliament would be perfectly free to deal with the rules and orders of the University when they came before them.
§ LORD EMLY
said, he had put a Question the other evening to his noble Friend the Lord Privy Seal as to whether the Government would undertake to put the Senate of the Royal Irish University in a position to hold their matriculation examination during the present year. 1112 His noble Friend stated that the Government would do so; but he thought there was some misapprehension out-of-doors on the subject. He would be much obliged if his noble Friend would now repeat the statement he made the other evening.
§ LORD CARLINGFORD
said, he was not aware how there could be any doubt about his words. He had said that it was the intention of the Government within a very short time to bring in a Bill for the purpose of simply charging an annual sum on the Irish Church Fund for the Royal Irish University.
§ House adjourned at a quarter past Six o'clock, till To-morrow, Eleven o'clock.