§ MR. JOHNSTON (Belfast, S.)
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland if he has seen the statement of the Educational Committee 1326 of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, just issued, dealing with the system of education in the Queen's Colleges, and the relation of Presbyterians to Queen's College, Belfast, in which it is stated that—The education imparted in the Queen's Colleges" is "undenominational and unsectarian;" and "as to the Queen's College, Belfast, Presbyterians have no rights or privileges whatever in connection with it that Roman Catholics, Episcopalians, and Methodists have not;whether he is aware that, in consequence of the growing prosperity of Queen's College, Belfast, some of the class-rooms are now too small and need to be enlarged, and other improvements are necessary to the efficiency of the college; and whether, considering the serious disadvantages under which the college thus labours from want of proper accommodation and equipment, he will consider the propriety of recommending a Government grant to promote such enlargement as the success of the college and the growth of Belfast render necessary?
§ MR. DE COBAIN (Belfast, E.)
I beg also to ask the Chief Secretary if his attention had been recently drawn to the urgent necessity that exists for a grant to be made to the Queen's College, Belfast, for the purpose of extending its accommodation and perfecting its equipment; and considering that large Government grants had lately been given to the Scotch Colleges and the Royal University in Dublin, and having regard to the fact that the City of Belfast contributes so largely to the Imperial revenue, would he give some assurance that an outlay would be sanctioned adequate to extend the accommodation so as to enable the Professors to discharge their duties to the students under their control in some other way than, as at present, in detachments?
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR, Manchester, E.)
I will answer the question of the hon. Member for East Belfast at the same time. I believe it to be the fact, as stated in the question, that the deficient accommodation in Queen's College, Belfast, is a source of inconvenience, and I am also aware that the college, like the city in which it is situated, is growing in size and prosperity.
1327 If the alterations desired by my hon. Friends are merely of the relatively restricted kind contemplated as being from time to time necessary under the Statutes by which the Queen's Colleges were established, questions relating to them should be addressed to the Minister who answers for the Board of Works. If, on the other hand, some larger scheme is contemplated, such as I myself would desire to see carried into effect, I am afraid it will not be possible for me to make proposals on the subject to Parliament until some agreement is arrived at with regard to the difficult problems connected with higher education in Ireland.