I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland if he can state how much money has been expended in the teaching of the Irish language during the past year, and how much has been contributed by national school teachers out of their salaries towards providing fuel for heating class-rooms during the severe winter weather; and whether he will withdraw all grants for the teaching of Irish and divert the funds so saved to warming 312 national school class-rooms properly, so that the children compulsorily attending may avail themselves of educational facilities in comparative comfort.
§ MR. BIRRELL
The amount paid in special fees for the teaching of Irish as an extra subject in national schools during the year 1906 was £13,843. The Commissioners of National Education have no information as to any expenditure which may have been incurred by national school teachers in heating their schools. I am informed that the fuel used in the schools generally takes the form of turf, which is provided by the pupils, with occasional help from the teacher or manager. The Commissioners recently made proposals for placing the cost of heating upon the Votes, but the Treasury have felt unable to agree to these proposals.
But many schools are outside the peat area. Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that his predecessor promised to deal with this question, which is urgent?
§ MR. BIRRELL
said he quite agreed as to the absolute necessity for warming the schools, but in his present uninstructed position he could say no more.