§ MR. P. C. DOOGAN
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland if his attention has been called to the letter of the Archbishop of Dublin, published in the Freeman's Journal of 19th instant, wherein he states that a sum of £66,476, due to the Irish national teachers under the Free Education Act, has been withheld by the Treasury; and, whether he will take steps to have this sum placed at the disposal of the Commissioners of National Education for the benefit of the teachers?
§ MR. VESEY KNOX (Londonderry)
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, whether his attention has been called to the letter of that Archbishop of Dublin, contending that Ireland was deprived during the financial years 1892–3, 1893–4 and 1894–5 of her due share of the free 1601 education grant; whether he is aware that this was admitted in this House by the late Chief Secretary ("Hansard," new series, vol. 30, p. 758, 14th February, 1895), who was only able to obtain from the Treasury the admission of the principle so far as 1895–6 and future years are concerned; whether, having regard to the large surplus of the present financial year, he will endeavour to obtain for the Irish teachers the sums which are claimed for them for the years 1892–3, 1893–4 and 1894–5, and apply it, if not in the payment of capitation grants, at least to remove hardships which have been revealed in the working of the National Teachers' Pension Fund; and, whether he will procure an early opportunity for discussing the new principle on which the Irish and Scotch fee grants are apportioned in the Estimates for the coming financial year?
§ MR. HANBURY
The Government cannot admit that the sum of £66,476 is due, as stated by Archbishop Walsh in a recent letter, to the Irish National teachers under the Irish Education Act of 1892. By Section 18 of that Act the annual school grant is fixed at £210,000, or such other amount as Parliament may determine, having regard to the amount of the English grant. Up to the year 1894–5 inclusive, the Estimate was accordingly fixed at £210,000, at the instance of the National Education Board for Ireland themselves, and in February, 1895, the late Government declined the application of the Commissioners to pay the arrears now referred to, on the ground that the intention of the Act had been fulfilled by the provision of the sum of £210,000 named therein. For 1895–6 the Education Board claimed that the grant should be raised to £234,000, being 9–80ths of the original estimate of the English grant for 1894–5, and the estimate was fixed by the late Government at that amount, thus carrying out the promise of the late Chief Secretary. Subsequently the Board claimed that the grant should be 9–80ths of the original estimate of the English grant for the current year instead of for 1894–5. This further claim was allowed by the present Government, and an additional £9,281 was inserted for this purpose in the Supplementary Estimates passed last month. As a result of further discussion the new principle explained in my prefatory Memorandum to the Estimates 1602 for 1896–7 has now been adopted, with the assent of the Board and of the Irish Government, which will equalise the payments to England, Scotland and Ireland by giving to each the uniform grant of 10s. per child, and I have every reason to believe that an opportunity will occur for discussing this arrangement, if desired, on the Irish Education Estimate. I ought to add that, in consequence of the changes that I have mentioned, the Irish grant for this year (1895–6) is £33,281 above that of 1894–5.
§ MR. KNOX
asked whether the late Chief Secretary had admitted that Ireland was entitled to 9–80ths of the English grant, and that that principle, by the admission of the Secretary to the Treasury, had not been carried out last year; and whether Ireland does not even receive under the Supplementary Estimates 9–80ths of the amount voted under the Supplementary Estimates for the English grant?
§ MR. HANBURY
With regard to the first part of the Question, I cannot admit that the late Chief Secretary did say, at any rate in regard to the past years, that Ireland was entitled to 9–80ths. In fact, the right hon. Gentleman distinctly refused to reopen the Question for the past years. It was only for this year that the principle has been admitted, because the sum of £210,000 was actually paid in the preceding year. With regard to the other Question, in which is involved a small amount, that is a new point which has not been raised till quite recently, and the Treasury will consider it.
§ MR. HANBURY
I can give no promise to that effect. If the subject is reached on the Vote on account, of course it can be discussed.
§ MR. T. LOUGH (Islington, W.)
Can the right hon. Gentleman say what became of the share that Ireland did not get?
§ MR. HANBURY
Ireland received everything to which she was entitled. The last Parliament always took the view that £210,000 was the sum that Ireland ought to receive, and that was what they voted each year.