Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Protestant Children in Catholic Schools.

asked the Minister for Education if he has seen in the "Irish Times" of May 15th, 1929, a statement purporting to have been made at the annual meeting of the Church Education Society of Ireland by the Rev. R. E. Weir. to the effect that Protestant children were being interfered with (in the matter of religious instruction) while attending Catholic schools, and that the speaker knew of cases where Protestant children were kept in Catholic schools during the time devoted to religious instruction; whether any such cases of abuse of the regulations regarding religious instruction have been reported to him; if so, how many, and what action, if any, has been taken by his Department.

Mr. Bourke (for Minister for Education)

I have seen the statement to which the Deputy alludes, as reported in the "Irish Times." No case of the kind referred to has ever come under my notice or that of my Department. The third part of the question, therefore, does not arise. I may add that the report of the society as given in the "Irish Times" contains a statement which has no foundation in fact—viz., that now that the Compulsory Attendance Act is in force, Protestant children must attend a Catholic school where there are no Protestant schools in the neighbourhood. This is not so, since the Act expressly exempts children from attendance at school if the only available school is one to which the parent of the child objects on religious grounds.