In Committee on Finance—Estimates for Public Services. - Vote 45—Office of the Minister for Education (Resumed).

Question again proposed:—
Go ndeontar suim ná raghaidh thar £56,684 chun slánuithe na suime is gá chun íoctha an Mhuirir a thiocfaidh chun bheith iníoctha i rith na bliana dar críoch an 31adh lá de Mhárta, 1933, chun Costaisí Oifig an Aire Oideachais, maraon le Costas Riaracháin, Cigireachta, etc.
That a sum not exceeding £56,684 be granted to complete the sum necessary to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1933, for the Expenses of the Office of the Minister for Education, including the costs of Administration, Inspection, etc. [Minister for Education.]

Traosluím don Aire as an óráid thug sé dhúinn as Gaedhilg i gcóir Meastachán an Oideachais. Chuir sé áthas orainn go léir. Dubhairt sé linn go raibh ocht scoláireachtaí déag socruithe ar an bhfíor-Ghaoltacht ach ná raibh aon scolaireacht amháin socruithe ar an mBreac-Ghaoltacht. Tá súil agam ná fágfar an scéal mar sin. Ba cheart don Aire dhá scoláireacht déag do thabhairt don Bhreac-Ghaoltacht. B'fhéidir nár ghá scoláireachtaí chó hiomlán leis na scolaireachtaí sa bhFior-Ghaoltacht do thabhairt don Bhreac-Ghaeltacht— abair a leath.

Is deacair roinnt a dhéanamh idir an Bhreac-Ghaeltacht agus an Fhíor-Ghaeltacht. Tá aiteanna sa Bhreac-Ghaeltacht agus tá an Ghaedhilg chó maith ionta agus atá sí sa bhFíor-Ghaeltacht. Ní bheadh sé ceart na áiteanna san do ghearradh amach ar fad. Ba mhaith liom a chur ina luighe ar an Aire go mba cheart dhá scolaireacht deag do thabhairt don Bhreac-Ghaeltacht.

Bhíos sásta go leor leis an méid adubhairt an tAire mar gheall ar na Bun-Scoileanna. Ach dubhairt sé aon rud amháin nár aontuíos leis. Dubhairt sé ná raibh spioraid na náisiúntachta na spioraid na Gaeltachta sa mhúinteoireacht do bhí á dhéanamh sna scoileanna maidir le stáir na tíre agus teanga na tíre. Ní dóich liom gur fíor é sin. Admhuim go bhfuil, is dócha, muinteoirí ná cuireann an spioraid cheart sa mhúinteoireacht ach nuair a théighim isteach sna Cumainn Ghaelacha ní bhfuighim aon dream is diograsaí ionta ná na múinteoirí. Conus is féidir leo bheith go láidir ar thaobh na Gaedhilge agus náisiúntachta sna cumainn agus fail-litheach na dtaobh sna scoileanna? B'fhéidir go bhfuil daoine anso agus ansud agus go dtuilleann siad an méid adubhairt an tAire, ach ní cóir milleán a thabhairt do na múinteoirí uile.

Anois, maidir le hoifig an Oideachais, déarfainn ná fuil sí ag déanamh a cion féin ar son na Gaedhilge. Tá an méid sin fior maidir le roinn amháin pé scéal é, sé sin, roinn na mbun-scol. Ba cheart dóibh seriobhadh i nGaedhilg chun na máistrí agus chun na banais-teoirí sa Ghaeltacht. B'fhéidir go bhfuil an t-am tagaithe anois nuair nár cheart leitreacha do scríobhadh chun na daoine seo ach i nGaedhilg. Ba mhaith liom go mór dá dtabharfadh an tAire ordú go dtosnófaí ar sin a dhéanamh tar éis lá coille seo chugh-ainn; ansan tar éis bliana eile go ndéanfaí an rud céanna leis an mBreac-Ghaeltacht. Féach cad a dhéin Sean Buidhe nuair a bhí sé ag cur an Bhéarla a labhairt, chuir sé leitreacha agus cearcaláin amach i mBearla ba chuma ce'cu thuig siad iad no nár thuig. Mara ndéanfar rud eigin mar é seo ní fhanfaidh an Ghaedhilg beo againn.

Tá na múinteoirí ag déanamh a gcion féin ach is fíor nách féidir le cuid aca mórán a dhéanamh mar ná fuil an teanga aca féin. Tá rud eile gur mhaith liom tagairt a dhéanamh do agus sé seo é—níl an Aireacht ag tabhairt mórán solais dúinn ar mhúinteoireacht na Gaedhilge. Níl aon eolas uatha chun taisbeaint an bhfuil an módh múinte sna scoileanna go maith no go leath-mhaith no go dona.

Coicíos o shoin bhíos ag scrúdú páipéar do bhain leis an mbun-teastas sna bun-scoileanna agus ba léir dom go raibh múinteoirí do fuair 80 nó 90 fén gcéad sa Ghalltacht agus níor tugadh aon aithniúint dóibh. Táim-se ag múineadh Gaedhilge le 25 bliana agus níl a fhios agam fós an bhfuil an módh ceart múinte agam no ná fuil. Ní thugann an Aireacht aon tsolus domhsa na dom leitéid mar gheall ar an scéal san. Ba mhaith liom dá gcuirfeadh an tAire coiste no comhairle ar bun chun a fháil amach ce'cu an bhfuilimíd ar an mbealach ceart no ar an mbealach mícheart, mar admhuím ná fuilim deimhnithe mar gheall air fós.

Leighmíd tuarasgabhala agus ní mór an solas a thugann siad dúinn. Níl ionta ach mion-tuairiscí atá ró-scapuithe. Ba mhaith liom dá ndéanfadh gach duine aire do thabhairt d'abhar amháin fé leith, abair, i mbliana, agus d'abhar eile an bhliain seo chuinn. Níl aon spioraid ná beodhacht sna tuarasgabhála agus b'fhearr liom go gcuirfeadh na cigirí spioraid agus anam ionta. Ba mhaith liom dá gcuirfeadh an tAire fé ndear go natharofaí an scéal san.

Maidir leis na cigirí; tá cuid aca bhí na múinteoirí scoile ar feadh cúig bliana agus a thuille ar feadh deich mbliana agus níl aon tsocrú déanta leo fós mar gheall ar an am a chuireadar isteach ag múineadh scoile. Tá súil agam go bhfeachfaidh an tAire isteach sa ní sin agus go dtabharfa sé creidiúint dóibh as an am a chaitheadar ag múineadh sna bun-scoileanna agus sna meán-scoileanna agus sna ceard-scoileanna, nuair a beifear ag áireamh a bpinsin.

Tá roinnt múinteoirí do briseadh fén Rialtas bhí ann roimhe seo. Táid siad ag obair anois, ach táid siad ag obair ar an airgead a bhí aca nuair a briseadh iad. Ní dóich liom gur ceart é sin. Ba cheart an tuarastal céanna bheith aca anois agus a bheadh aca dá mba na brisfí riamh iad. Nílim ag eileamh aon tuarastal dóibh as an am a bhíodar briste ach iad d'íoc fé agus nár briseadh iad in aon chor; ní dóich liom go bhfuilim ag iarraidh an iomarca.

Do labhair an Teachta Earnan de Blaghd Dé hAoine seo ghaibh thar-rainn mar gheall ar chumhangas na gclár sna Coláistí Ullamhuchán agus i gColáistí na Múinteoirí Aontuighim leis. Ba cheart go mbeadh deis aca Laidean d'fhoghluím, rud ná fuil. Abhar riachtanach iseadh Laidean chun céim do bhaint amach, agus conus is féidir leis mic leighinn Laidean do bheith aca nuair ná múintear í? Ba cheart deis agus caoi do thabhairt do sna mic leighinn Laidean d'fhogluim sna coláistí ullamhuchan agus i gcoláistí na múinteoirí. Maidir le so cuireadh atharú mór ar an gclár le deanaí. Nílim ag rá go bhfuil an t-atharú san maith na olc, ach tá sé ana-mhicheart an t-atharú do dhéanamh gan dul i gcomhairle le Cumann na Múinteoirí. Cuireann na múinteoirí an oiread suime sa chlár agus sna mic leighinn agus a chuireann an tAire féin ná éinne eile san Aireacht. Ach do tugadh amach an clár san gan aon chomhairle do ghlacadh uainn. Cuirim milleán ar an Aireacht ina thaobh san.

Do dhéin an tAire tagairt don Ghúm. Tá an locht so le fáil agam-sa ar an nGúm—tá breis airgid á chaitheamh ar aistriúchán. B'fhearr dul sios go dtí an Leabharlainn Naisiúnta agus na seana scríbhiní atá ann do chur in ath-chló agus d'fhoillsiú ná bheith ag aistriú ón Rúisis ná ón bhFrainncís ná ón nGearmanais ná ón Iodalais. B'fhearr go mór dúinn na leabhair is dual duinn do bheith againn.

Do dhéin an tAire tagairt don Chomhar Dramaíochta freisin. Níl aon locht agam ar an gComhar Dramaíocht, ach gur bhfearr liom dá gcaithfí níos mó airgid chun saol na tuatha do ghealladh. Níl go leor airgid á chaitheamh sa tslí seo fé láthair. Is i mBaile Atha Cliath agus i nGaillimh atá an t-airgid go leir á chaitheamh, ach im' thuairim-se b'fhearr cuid de sin do chaitheamh sna Rosanna agus i gConamara agus in áiteanna eile sa Ghaeltacht. Molaim don Aire machtnamh a dhéanamh ar sin agus más dóich leis gur fiú e dhéanamh, cuid den airgead do chaitheamh i liomatáistí tuatha.

Focal deireannach. Fé mar is éol dúinn uile tá an tuagh dá bagairt ar thuarasdal na múinteoirí fé láthair. Is olc an mhaise sin don Rialtas mar dar ndóigh tá dualgaisí tabhachtacha maidir le Gaedhilg is le náisiúntacht ar na múinteorí. Tá na dualgaisí céanna ortha is atá ar an Rialtas féin fé sna nithe sin. Tá na múinteoirí ag comhlíonadh a ndual-gaisí. Ar an adhbhar san iarraim agus athchuinghim ar an Aire é bheith na sciath cosanta againn ar an dtuaigh sin. Sin é is lugha is gann dó a dheanamh ar son an dreama a bhfuil dualgaisí náisiúnta ortha amhail mar atá ar na múinteoirí indiu.

I ask the Minister to face the question that Deputy Dillon put to him on Friday. Leaving aside the suggestion of Deputy Dillon that it is the position of the Irish language that is making primary education as bad as he says it is, naturally he will get many people ready to criticise the position the Irish language is being given in our national system of education. Naturally there may be some grounds for the suggestion that if a big lot of time is given to Irish in the schools something else is being neglected. To the minds of many people there is strongprima facie evidence upon which they give judgment that this is the case.

I think the Minister would be doing the general position of his Department and those who want the position of the Irish language in the country defended a service if he would face the position that there are perhaps grounds for criticism as to the standard that is reached in general subjects in the primary schools. I would suggest to him that he should take on to his inspectorate, say for twelve months, one thoroughly qualified national school teacher and gave that person the responsibility for setting out, as a result of twelve months' work, a statement showing the position in which arithmetic and kindred subjects are in our primary schools; that another person should be added to the inspectorate in that particular way to deal with, say, history and geography; that another should take music; that another should take the general question of reading, the quality of the reading, and what the children in the school get from reading. His Department has a programme that can be grouped under each of these heads, and if my suggestion were acted upon, I think it would be of the greatest possible advantage to the inspectorate, to the body of teachers and to the body of people throughout the country who are interested in education. Then they would have some kind of statement that told them that what was set forth in the statement represented the position with regard to arithmetic and kindred subjects in our primary schools throughout the country.

With such a definite report there would be some chance of comparing the position as it exists with the standard set in the primary schools by the Minister and with the standard that the general people throughout the country think ought to be achieved in these schools. I do not think that the position with regard to the primary schools will be made thoroughly clear or that the position will be cleared of all the wrong grounds for criticism until something such as I have suggested is done.

Many institutions in the State have occasion from time to time to set examinations for persons say of seventeen, eighteen or nineteen years of age in order to test them for admission to these institutions. Take, for instance, nursing institutions. All the big nursing institutions set preliminary examinations. Quite a large number of girls undergo those examinations for the purpose of entering the profession of nursing. The minds of those who have control of these institutions are not directed exactly to the position of the Irish language. They do not want to blame the Irish language, but their minds are directed to the quality of education that these girls have had. They want to test them for the practical purpose of seeing to what extent they have had an elementary education that will enable them to go on for the profession of nursing. Recently I have had my attention drawn to a case in which 53 girls sat for an examination. Only eighteen passed. The examination was a fairly elementary one. The astounding statement was made that out of the whole of that number only three girls were able to say where Rome was. That may seem an astounding statement but it is made on pretty responsible authority.

The suggestion has been made that in some way the inspectorate or the Ministry might take cognisance of the fact that these examinations are being held and might associate, with the work of these examinations, a member of their inspectorate.

I feel that Deputy Breathnach gives a certain amount of handle to a Deputy like Deputy Dillon who wants to blame Irish. Certainly if I understood the Deputy rightly it is a remarkable thing that after twenty odd years' dealing with Irish in the primary schools any member or members of the teaching profession would be able to get up and say that they did not know whether they were proceeding on right lines or not. I sympathise with the teachers, and I suggest to the Minister that what really is wrong is the inspectorate: that there is no common mind among the inspectorate, that they are simply a group of individuals, without a clear objective in their minds, carrying out of their ordinary day's work. Because of that there is not the co-operation between the teachers and the inspectorate that there would be if the inspectorate in the Department of Education was, as it were, the general headquarters staff of primary education which it ought to be and had a general, common outlook. So that I think the Minister might take that as a pivotal point with regard to education, and see whether there is a common mind among the inspectorate on the standard that ought to be reached in the different subjects or group of subjects that I have referred to: whether there is anything like a common idea as to what is being attempted to be achieved in the matter of Irish.

In reply to Deputy Dillon's suggestion that education is neglected in the eastern districts because children are being taught through the medium of Irish in certain cases, the particular criticism that I hear from persons interested in education in Dublin is that it is the western districts that show a low standard of primary education. I think that a step would be taken towards clearing the ground if we could have a statement from the Minister, as a result of this discussion, as to the standard that has been reached. In so far as Irish is concerned, the important places are the Irish-speaking districts, and there particularly I do not think there is any clear understanding by the inspectorate that they are dealing with primary education in respect of a district in which the language of the people is Irish. Personally I do not believe that the primary schools in the Irish-speaking districts are going to be satisfactorily organised, or that there is going to be a clear objective with regard to primary education in those districts until the Gaeltacht is made a separate inspectorial area. Where you have them dealing with an English-speaking district at the same time, there is no clear mind as to what the work in the Irish-speaking districts ought to be like. The position with regard to Irish, and the grip on Irish, and the general work of the schools in the Irish speak- ing districts, I think, is depressed in standard as a result of the inspectorate dealing with that work, and having a responsibility for an English-speaking district as well. I think the inspectorate should have a greater function in the matter of organisation than it has at the present moment.

Another matter to which I should like to draw the attention of the Minister is the position with regard to physical culture in the schools. I notice that the Minister for Defence in June last, speaking of the new National Guard plan, outlined some of the lines on which halls were to be used and other undertakings attempted, and said that the Department of Defence had in mind athletic development more than purely military training. If there is any money available for further athletic training in the country, I would draw the attention of the Minister to the report on the Primary Schools' programme issued in 1925, in which the question of physical training was discussed. The question had been as to whether or not physical training ought to be obligatory in the Primary Schools and whether it was dropped as an obligatory subject, not on the merits of the question, but because there was some kind of a struggle going on at the time between the teachers on the one hand and the Inspectors and the Department on the other hand—again, a struggle in which the teachers were endeavouring to protect themselves against the over-loading of the primary school programme. I do not believe that the question of making it obligatory was dropped on its merits. At any rate, the Committee reported:

We have reason to expect that Physical Training, the importance of which for national health we fully appreciate, will be generally taught in our larger schools, especially urban ones, and also in a large number of other schools where the teachers are competent to teach it and have the requisite facilities. We recommend that the whole question of Physical Training should be considered at the earliest possible moment by the Departments of Education and of Local Government and Public Health in connection with the scheme for the medical and dental inspection and treatment of school children, with a view to the planning of a scheme of Physical Training calculated to improve the national health and physique by the application of simple systematic measures during the period of school life.

Since the Committee made that report, the machinery for giving medical inspection and treatment to school children in the schools has developed very much. Quite a considerable amount of organisation exists, and a considerable amount of expenditure is involved, for treating children medically in the schools, such as for the removal of adenoids, tonsils, and so on, but as a general rule, while that work is carried out well and satisfactorily and thoroughly, there is no systematic arrangement for the building up of the child physically. Since that report was written, also, there has been quite a big development in some of the schools which have been able to afford it, in the including of physical training in the curriculum. It has developed also in schools other than primary schools—even in our technical schools. I would ask the Minister to take into consideration how one-legged it is to be taking out tonsils, adenoids, bad teeth and all that, and having no systematic arrangement for the general physical development of the children. I would suggest to him also that he would get valuable information from those schools that have included physical training in their curriculum as to the very great benefits that have resulted both as regards the physical and mental attitude of the children to their studies. I do not think that there is any Departmental expenditure at the present moment, in any way, in respect of physical training. I think that secondary schools can get a grant for a choir, but I do not think that there is any grant payable in respect of physical training. As I have said before, if money is to be made available for athletic development, I think that the Minister should see that every penny of it should be devoted to nurturing the roots which would give the most satisfactory return—even now—and which would be much more organic in its results than taking adult men and giving them athletic training.

In introducing this estimate, or rather series of estimates included under one heading, the Minister spoke altogether in Irish. Now, having all the sympathy that is humanly possible with the movement for the spread of the language, I certainly think it is a most unfair thing for any Minister in this House, especially a Minister for Education, to speak all the time in Irish—a language which is only understood by something like 10 per cent. of the membership of the Oireachtas, and by a still lesser percentage of people outside the Oireachtas. Now, sir, one would have thought that a Minister for Education—God save the mark— having delivered his long speech in what can only be described as book Irish, would have had at least the ordinary decency to give us a synopsis of the speech in English. If it were done to provoke the members of the Oireachtas, he certainly has succeeded, and possibly a fifth of his whole education policy is not alone provocative to a majority of the members of this House but certainly to a majority of the Irish people outside the House.

I should like to draw the Deputy's attention to Standing Order 15: "All proceedings of the Dáil should be conducted through the medium of the Irish or the English language."

I understand, sir, but that was done in one of those hectic moments of enthusiasm on behalf of the language. Now, sir, on 14th July, some supplementary estimates were presented to this House. We were asked to vote away the rather paltry sum of £7,000,000 of money, included in which were a series of estimates dealing with education—primary, secondary, science and art, reformatory and industrial schools, etc., in which we were asked to budget a sum of £1,525,800. Well, sir, that Vote was being passed through this House and I had the temerity to ask the Minister for Education if he would indicate to the House and to the people of the country what his policy was in certain directions. I asked, for instance, what was the policy of the Department in relation to the married lady teacher. I asked a number of other questions—questions which have been agitating the public mind for a very considerable period. The Minister, who was absent from the House at the beginning of my speech, returned to the House at a later period, and instead of replying to the points that I had raised in my speech, he gave us a manifestation of what I can only describe as a "Wrap The Green Flag Round Me Boys" kind of speech. The flag reminds me of the cloak of Saint Paul; it is used to cloak, to hide and to camouflage every default and every deficiency of the Department of Education. "Wrap The Green Flag Round me Boys!" The only thing we lacked in that was a reference to the sunburst of Eireann and the old wolf dog. That used to be the thing that would command the crowd in the old days, but from a Minister for Education this cheap claptrap is the only way I can describe his reply to the queries I put up to him on the 14th July last, queries which, as I have just said, were prompted by the desire to help education in this country, and not by any desire to retard or handicap it in any way.

What were the answers I received? I am not going to worry the House by reading all that the Minister said in that connection, but all he could say was that for a number of years I had accepted the leadership of a member of the teaching profession. That had absolutely no bearing on the questions I raised in my speech. He also told us that many of those teachers had gone out and fought for their country. What had that got to do with education? This is the kind of cheap clap-trap we get from a member of the Government. It would be bad enough coming from any other Minister but a Minister for Education — education which is costing this country millions and millions of money, with, as I said before, a goodly proportion of that money wasted—absolutely wasted.

Now let us see what occurs under the Minister's own programme of Irish. Mind you, in saying this, I advanced the same arguments when Deputy Blythe occupied one of the seats on the front bench opposite. Deputy Blythe was possibly watching the present Minister for Education, and the present Minister for Education was watching Deputy Blythe, to see who was going to mulct and handicap, who was going to inflict the greater handicap on the unfortunate children of this generation in this country. Now it must be admitted by any person who takes the slightest interest in education—but, of course, our superior and lofty Minister for Education who got, I suppose, some sort of a University run through, would tell us that nobody in this House knows anything at all about education except himself and some bucolics at the cross-roads; nobody knows anything at all about education because he will not swallow all his programme, including a very heavily-weighted-down Irish programme. Now let any commonsense person in this country examine for himself what takes place in the primary schools, and I think every educationist, with the exception perhaps of that super-educationist, the present Minister for Education, would admit this—and remember most teachers admit it whether they be national or un-national—that the co-operation of the parent or guardian is a wonderful asset, a very useful asset to the teacher in the school. I will illustrate the point. To-day a child comes home from a primary school in the first, second or third standard. Those text-books are altogether in Irish and the average parent—now I do not want anybody to misquote me —in this country does not understand a word in that ordinary primer, the first school book a child gets into its hands, consequently that child's parent cannot correct his home exercises, and cannot tell the child whether he is spelling a word correctly. The thing becomes worse as the pupil becomes more advanced, because in the old days when we had English and Irish in the primers, the parent was able to be of some little use. He could correct a word wrongly spelt in English, and he could also correct the child if the child were doing a sum in addition, subtraction, multiplication or division. I say the average parent could do that—I do not suggest the parent who had got a university education.

Now that is all absent, with the consequence that we have the state of affairs disclosed by Deputy Dillon here a few days ago, and to which I subscribe. I have had the experience that many of those boys and many of those girls turned out of the schools, many of them getting the leaving certificate, and many of them holding very high honours in Irish, are not worth a twopenny ticket in a commercial office—not worth a twopenny ticket even to write a common or garden business letter. I think Deputy Dillon suggested that their spelling was atrocious. I know it to be a fact. Like other speakers, I feel at a loss in this debate. It is only by following some of the other speakers, who were Irish speakers, that I was enabled to get the gist of at least some portion of the speech of the Minister for Education. I understand that he referred to the raising of the school age, and I understand he referred to the fact that the best use had not been made of the facilities now provided for Irish—if I am wrong it is the Minister's fault. The Minister may reply in his cheap and petty way that it is due to my own ignorance in not being acquainted with the Irish tongue.

Of course it is.

Yes, of course it is. I stand with the majority of the Irish people in this country—with the majority of the people who do not speak Irish and we are prepared to face facts as we find them. We prefer to talk about the green flag and the sunburst of Erin.

You prefer talking about the Union Jack.

I never said a word about the Union Jack, and if the Deputy does not understand my King's English he can get somebody to translate it for him.

There is one thing, at any rate, that I should like to stress. In the poorer quarters of the cities and towns of the Free State there is a good deal of annoyance given to poor people who cannot, because of their poverty, send their children to school regularly. I have on more than one occasion, in this House, advocated that in these poorer areas the type of child to which I referred should be supplied with ordinary school utensils free. I do not want to see the Public Service of this country brought to such a pitch that we would have everything provided for us from the cradle to the grave by the Government, but I have had many complaints from poor people who cannot keep their children adequately clad or adequately shod, and because of their little pride— pardonable pride I suggest—cannot send them to school, with the result that they are frequently in the courts prosecuted by the school attendance officers, who are doing very good and useful work. But these people have been brought before the courts on many occasions to answer charges of not sending their children to school, when really they are not responsible, or largely, at any rate, they are not responsible. It is due to their poverty, and due to the fact that those people are unable to provide for themselves the school utensils necessary. Now, in that connection, I am aware, and I think many members of the House are aware, too, that many teachers in the primary schools supply, from time to time, those utensils to these poor children. Well, they cannot be expected to go on doing that for all time.

I come back to a point which, possibly, I should have developed at the beginning, but I prefer now to leave it to the end. I asked the Minister on the 14th July last to indicate to the House what his policy was in regard to the married lady teachers and other matters. The Minister on that occasion intimated that the matter had been sprung upon him—I am not giving his exact words, but I can quote them if necessary— but he did not even promise then that it would receive his future consideration, and I want to suggest to him now that it is time he did give some consideration to this matter, because, as I have already said, it has caused a lot of discussion all over the Free State. Now, the Minister suggested that I accepted the leadership of one of those teachers. Certainly I would willingly sit under the leadership of the same Deputy again, but I want to remind the Minister that there is such a thing as "Party discipline," and the Minister should know what that means, because within the ranks of the Fianna Fáil Party he knows very well there are persons who do not see eye to eye with the Minister's educational programme or even with President de Valera in his fiscal programme.

I pointed out on that occasion that there were a number of lady teachers unmarried teachers—in this country looking for work—that is the most elementary way I can put it. A number of these young ladies are thoroughly qualified and awaiting employment as teachers in the primary schools of this country and so long as you have a number of married lady teachers holding positions so long will these young women be kept out of positions. I know that a number of arguments can be used to prove that the married lady teacher is not less efficient than the single lady teacher, but I look upon the matter from another point of view altogether. I want to see a number of those younger people absorbed into employment, and I think on one occasion here I did suggest that if any man marries a lady teacher, or marries any woman, the least he might do is to support her. If he is not able to support her he should not marry her at all. In saying that I am sure the Minister must realise that this is not what you call a "vote catching speech" because I know very well I created an amount of antagonism from an influential body of persons and I think I informed the Minister on that occasion that I did not care twopence if I antagonised 2,000 more while I am in this House. I know there is a noisy minority in the country—a very noisy minority—who make themselves felt from time to time, and who possibly use what might be only described as intimidation against their political opponents. However, they are all welcome, so far as I am concerned, and I am not even afraid to antagonise another 100,000 persons.

I do hope when the Minister is replying that he will give us some indication of what his policy, or the policy of his Department, is in relation to this matter which I raised last July. Is there any necessity for me to go over again the reasons which actuated me in asking the Minister that question? I feel there is, because the Minister at the end of his speech sought to twist every sentence I uttered while he was in the House and he sought to read into my remarks things that no sensible, educated man would do, not to say the Minister for Education. I pointed out on that occasion that these married lady teachers have to absent themselves frequently from school at a certain period. During that period they appoint a substitute. The substitute frequently appointed has a lesser salary than the teacher herself was receiving. The Minister defends that position in his speech.

I shall give the Minister the reference—column 993, No. 2, volume 43. If the Minister reads his own speech he will see where he tried to explain that away, and said that if and when these substitutes were appointed, if they were appointed at a lesser salary, it was because of the fact that they had less experience. I am going to ask the Labour Party what would any member of that Party think if a carpenter, plumber or mason who had served seven years' apprenticeship, went into any workshop in the City of Dublin—into Deputy Good, for instance—and said: "Because I have only seven years' experience and because I have only served my time, I will work for less wages than John Murphy?" That is happening every day in the national schools in this country—lady teachers bringing in members of their own organisation to work for less money, and the Minister stands for that. If he reads his speech carefully he will find I am right. The Minister stands for that. In other words, he stands for what I can only describe as blacklegging, one teacher blacklegging on another.

To me, at any rate, the most serious side of this position is this: the teachers claim, and, I feel, claim rightly, when looking for increased salaries and better conditions, that their profession demands constant contact with their pupils. We all know that there is a lot in that from the educational point of view, that the teacher must have contact. There must be a kind of affinity set up between the teacher and his pupil. He must get to know something of the psychology of his pupil. He must, in fact, study that pupil. That is the teacher's own argument, and I subscribe to it. If that teacher has to be absent for long periods from the school, whether that is brought about by being members of the Oireachtas or brought about by the other circumstances to which I referred, of a married lady teacher who has to absent herself from school over a period of weeks—whether it be for that cause or any other, it is wrong. The pupil and the teacher ought to preserve that contact as long as possible. We know that sickness will sometimes intervene, that one cannot make provision for all things, but if the Minister has examined the position he has not replied, nor did he make an attempt to reply to the representations I made in my speech on the 14th July. I am asking him now, has he since considered the position in relation to the matters which I raised in my speech on 14th July and which I have just now referred to in a brief way?

We have it that something like one-fourth of the whole school week is taken up in teaching Irish. It may be more but I prefer always to underestimate rather than over-estimate. Whilst admitting the great importance to the country of Irish, admitting too that the bilingual education is the best system of education, admitting that Irish is a wonderful, shall I call it, form of mental gymnastics, which is good for the pupil and which helps the pupil readily to acquaint himself with another language, helps him in his choice of words—admitting all that, is it worth all the trouble that is being taken and the huge sums of money expended on it when we find the state of affairs disclosed by Deputy Dillon and disclosed by other men who have taken any interest at all in what is going on around them? I know there was an old saying "that the Army is going to the dogs," but there is no question at all about it that the boys and girls in the primary schools, the children of the poorer section of the community, who have to leave school at an early age to help their parents to rear the younger members of the family, are a long way behind the corresponding classes of ten or twenty years ago. That cannot be denied. Any employer of labour, any commercial man in the country who has to engage labour from time to time, will bear out what I have to say in that connection. It is too much in my view to take up a fourth or a fifth of the school week for this work under existing circumstances.

The Minister also, I believe, suggested—if I am wrong he can only blame himself—that the standard of Irish should be raised for the matriculation examination. Here again he discloses a very short view on matters of education. Already it is difficult enough for the poor man or the middle-class man of moderate means to send his boy to the university. It will be all the more difficult now for him if the Minister's suggestion—or whoever made it—is carried into effect in regard to the raising of the standard of Irish for the matriculation examination. It will boil down to this, that it will be only the sons and daughters of the rich people—and rich people in this country are relatively few—who will be able to graduate at universities if and when the Minister's policy is carried into effect.

I made no reference whatever to the question of matriculation.

Well the Minister can blame himself. The Minister must admit that less than ten per cent. of the Deputies in this House knew what he was talking about in his opening speech.

That is no explanation for saying something in English which I did not say in Irish.

Well, I shall show a good example in this respect. I whole-heartedly withdraw the statement if I have misquoted the Minister, but somebody in the House raised it.

And, therefore, the Minister was to blame.

The Deputy can keep out of this. However, I do not want to delay the House much longer. Has the Minister yet made up his mind to define what the policy of the Department is or what is his own policy, if he has any at all, in relation to the matters I raised? I raised another matter but it was not appropriate to this Vote. Therefore I do not intend to raise it now except in this connection, to make it clear and manifest to the Minister that I was not alone antagonising some members of his Party, but possibly antagonising some members of the Cumann na nGaedheal when I referred to the question of dispensary doctors. And the argument there with regard to the education of the pupils would not apply to the case of the treatment of patients. I do not want to go into that now. When the Minister is concluding I hope he will give some attention to some of the matters which I have raised.

I agree with every word that has been said by Deputy Anthony with regard to the language used in the introduction of this Estimate. I think it is a travesty, in a House of over 150 Deputies, of whom less than ten per cent., as Deputy Anthony said, understood the language in which the Minister spoke, to introduce the Estimate in that language. Does the Minister contend that this is a serious debate? Does he think he is doing his duty to the country in connection with the spending of a sum of money amounting to five million pounds by leaving this House in such a condition that not more than ten per cent. of the Deputies understood a word of his speech? Throughout the country from 90 to 95 per cent. of the populace are in exactly the same position in this matter as the majority of this House. I always find that the Irish language is used as a cloak for incompetency and inefficiency. When we find a man making a speech in Irish he makes that speech in Irish because, nine times out of ten, his case is so weak and illogical that it would not bear examination if made in the language which people understand.

How do you know?

Mr. Byrne

I met Deputy Cleary on one or two occasions before, and he came second best out of the encounter. If he wants to meet me again I am quite ready——

Mr. Byrne

Either here or outside. I want to say that when dealing with a sum of something like five millions of money the policy of the Minister should be known to every Deputy in the House, and every Deputy should have the opportunity of judging whether the money is being wisely or unwisely used, whether it is being spent in the interests of the State or whether it is being squandered.

In dealing with this Estimate, in the way the Minister has dealt with it, it is quite clear that the bulk of the House does not know what he was referring to. The House does not understand what his policy amounts to or what his programme for the future is, or whether there is to be alteration in the programme that existed before he came into office, or what his plans are, or what they are likely to amount to as years go by. The Minister thinks that is a satisfactory condition of affairs, although it may be unintelligible to other Deputies, though acceptable to the green flag Party, but there are Deputies here who will not be afraid of the issue. We stand here, as common or garden men—although some of us had the privilege of going through the University—for the upliftment of the children in general and for the betterment of the nation as a whole. We want a system of education carried out, and developed in such a way that these things can be brought about. Previous debates upon this subject, I am glad to say, have always been conducted in a non-Party manner. Education has never been treated as a Party subject in this House. In previous debates very important criticisms have been levelled at the present system of education. It has been pointed out that we have had approximately ten per cent. of inefficient people as teachers.

Five per cent.

Mr. Byrne

Then the percentage must have been reduced. I took the figure ten per cent. from the Report of the Department of Education. I am pleased to know that it is now reduced from ten to five per cent., but that number of inefficient teachers had been operating for a considerable period of time with great detriment to the children. We think it is the duty of the Minister to see that these inefficient teachers disappear altogether.

In speaking on the subject of education generally, I want it to be clearly understood that nobody appreciates the difficulties of the teacher better than I do. It is a most difficult, harassing and wearying profession, but it is a profession so important that it is one of the highest paid services in the State. This is only a poor country. If one looks at the North of Ireland one will see that there has been a considerable reduction in the money spent upon educational matters in that area. When Deputy Anthony proceeded to criticise the Minister for Education for what he purported to say, he got up and said that he never said what the Deputy had represented him as having said. Of course Deputy Anthony did not know whether he had or not. I happen to be in the same position, but I read that the Vote for Education is increased by a sum of £17,000.

The Deputy knows I am not responsible for these Estimates. They were drawn up by my predecessor.

Mr. Byrne

Whether responsible for the Estimates or not, the Minister is responsible for the policy. I am not quarrelling with the expenditure of that sum of money, but I want to make sure that the money is wisely spent, and that the country will get some betterquid pro quo than “Wrap the Green Flag round me.”

Or put a shamrock on your shovel.

Mr. Byrne

If I was to suggest a different system of education it would be one that would tend to create thinking power in the citizens, to enable the youth to judge for themselves when entering upon the choice of a career in the battle of life, to distinguish right from wrong, and above all, during the tender years the children are being educated, to avoid reference to party matters, because God knows they will learn enough of party policies in later years. I regret to say that in many teaching institutions throughout the country that principle has not been operated or observed. To-day it would appear as if there was only one Party in this State. The Party which recently laid down office are only fit to be execrated according to some people. They never did anything of any value or of any consequence. Putting taunts like these into the minds of the growing generation is a very serious matter.

Would the Deputy explain what exactly he means?

Mr. Byrne

I do not like to refer to the Minister's own speeches, but if he wishes me to do so I shall. When the Minister addressed the teachers met in Congress, recently, he made certain statements in the course of his speech. Those statements, in my opinion, were distinctly Party statements. On 30th March, the Minister delivered a speech to the Teachers' Congress. I presume he has been correctly reported in the "Irish Independent." In the course of the speech he promised the fullest co-operation of the Government to the teaching profession. No man will quarrel with that. He drew the attention of the Congress to the fact that his first meeting in his capacity of Minister coincided with what they all hoped was the beginning of a new and final stage in the march of the Irish people to freedom. Fianna Fáil abú and nothing but Fianna Fáil abú! Is there anything serviceable to the interests of education in the expounding of principles of that kind at a Teachers' Congress?

Their minds are not very young.

Mr. Byrne

They might be as young as the Deputy's. The Minister emphasised the fact that the teachers had half a million of the population under their control and that this section of the people were being moulded during the most susceptible part of their lives; that freedom called inevitably for hard work, endurance and sacrifice; and that education was the most potent weapon for the re-creation of the Irish nation. What percentage of that is patriotism and what percentage deals with the principles of education? Ninety-five per cent. is pure Party bunkum; the rest if you like is common sense. That is the sort of stuff that the new Minister, who is going to give us a new heaven on earth in educational matters, delivers at a Teachers' Congress. Then he gets up in surprise when we refer to these statements in the House. What justification is there for the making of them? The Minister has a very responsible position and he must realise his responsibility. As I pointed out, the system of education generally has received in this House in previous debates very severe criticism.

I understood from the Deputy that he had information with regard to the decrying of the Party to which he belongs in certain teaching institutions in this country. Perhaps I am under a wrong impression. I was under the impression that the Deputy definitely stated that certain Party propaganda was going on in teaching institutions. If the Deputy did not make that statement, I should like if he would make that clear to the House. On the other hand, if it is in the Deputy's mind that Party propaganda was being carried on in the schools and that I am in some way responsible for it, I should like if he would give examples.

Mr. Byrne

In dealing with the subject I thought I got to the root of it by getting to the head of the Department of State and by saying that the head of the Department of State was not free from all Party bias in the administration of education. If the Minister is not satisfied with that explanation, it is all the explanation I intend to give him this afternoon. We had a statement made here in the course of the debate that anything that was lacking in the nature of the education was due to the inspectorial system—a pure statement made without a scintilla of evidence to support it; a statement made without a shred of proof to support it. If there are any men who have a difficult task to perform it is the inspectors who go round to various schools doing their duty. If it had not been for the reports drawn up by these inspectors, Deputies here would know very little about the system of education as it actually exists at present. I resent the imputation that the present lack of education, that the present low standard of primary education especially in this country, is due to the inspectors who have to look after the destinies of the pupils in the various schools.

I want to be concrete in my statement. I do not want to make any general statement without being prepared to support it. I have said on more than one occasion that the standard of primary education was exceedingly low. I have been met with a storm of criticism in the country, especially from the teaching profession, because I made the statement. I have already said that I realise the difficulty of the teaching profession. I honour the profession. At the same time the teaching profession must realise that in common with every other section of the community, they are subject to criticism, especially from this House, and that merely resenting that criticism, without examining into the truth or falsity of it, is a very unwise procedure on their part. That procedure, in my opinion, ought to be dropped and a different procedure followed. I feel keenly on the subject of education and, perhaps, I have as much paternal responsibility as any other Deputy, and know from practical experience what I am talking about. I do not wish to be unfair in any criticism I make of the system. We can take various Deputies in different parts of the House and see what they have said. The President, in Volume 38, column 1745, of the Official Reports, is reported to have said: "I think we can all agree that our standards are not as high in education as they ought to be." Deputy Thrift is reported to have stated: "I do agree with Deputy Fahy and Deputy Byrne that, in many respects, the standard reached by our children, not alone in primary schools, but in secondary schools, especially in mathematics, is extremely low." The Rev. Dr. Leen placed his criticism under two heads: Want of uniformity of standard; knowledge of arithmetic inferior to what it used to be, and noticeable ignorance in grammar. What we want to get at is whether these criticisms are true or false. If they are true, every effort should be made by the Department to meet them. If they are false, it remains with the Minister, and he has a very able staff behind him, to show to this House their falsity and demonstrate that there is no justification for making them in the course of the debate on the Estimate.

It has been stated that the programme is over-crowded. Deputy Fahy is reported to have stated: "I think it is easy to see that the programme is overcrowded. I wonder who shall say what subjects we shall discard." I think there is a sincere desire in the House to grapple with the educational problem on non-Party lines. When we are met with a speech delivered entirely in Irish, the meaning of which nine-tenths of the Deputies do not understand, I think it is a national travesty which cannot be sufficiently emphasised in the discussion in this House. It shows no tendency on the part of the Minister to wipe out any defects that exist in primary or secondary education in the country. It shows a distinct inclination on his part to ignore them by dealing with the matter in Irish in the House when nine-tenths of the Deputies are entirely ignorant of what this twenty-column speech in Irish means.

Then they should not be here.

Mr. Byrne

To any man who tells me I should not be here—I do not care whether he sits behind me on these benches or not—I have only to say that that man can only speak for himself; that it is the people of the City of Dublin who sent me here, and that I will do my duty to the people of Dublin regardless of any back-bencher, no matter on which side of the House he sits. There appears to be a determined effort to create an atmosphere in this country, as Deputy Anthony very justly said, that nobody knows anything about education except the man who can blather a few words in Irish. God forgive me, if there is any man I have a contempt for, it is the man who airs his Irish, because nine times out of ten he knows nothing else.

That is not quite fair.

Mr. Byrne

Let me get to grips with the faults that exist in the system. I complained that there was a low standard of education, a low standard of primary education, and in order to prove that I would like to draw a comparison. I very much regret that the former leader of the Labour Party, Mr. T. J. O'Connell, is not in this House to take part in this discussion. I do believe that if there is one man who would have objected to the manner of introduction of this Estimate —a speech in Irish extending over twenty columns—it would have been Mr. O'Connell. I believe I am right in assuming that in so objecting to the manner in which this Estimate was introduced he would have been serving the interests of the teachers that he so honourably represents, and also the interests of the pupils which, no doubt, he has also at heart.

If we compare the standard of education in this country with the standard existing in a small country across the Channel, Wales, we will see for ourselves whether everything here is beer, skittles or sunshine, and we will be able to appreciate whether there is or there is not a fault in our system of education. Any man who knows anything at all about education is aware that if we have an unsound primary system the rest of the money expended is practically wasted. Without a good foundation you cannot build. Last year, when I referred to the low standard of education, attention was drawn to the fact that a great number of schools were only two-teacher schools, and it was very difficult for two teachers to get a high standard in comparison with better equipped establishments. The comparison I am about to draw will wipe out the two-teacher schools entirely. In Dublin City in 1929-30 we had 4.3 per cent of the pupils in the sixth standard and 0.21 in the eighth standard. In Dublin County we had 4.24 in the sixth standard and 0.28 in the eighth standard. Wales, a country that I have travelled through, is a bilingual country, and I must say that although the figures there appear to be better, Wales is not a country that is highly educated. In Wales they had 10.34 per cent. of the pupils in the sixth standard and 8.6 per cent. in the eighth standard. The figures I am quoting for Wales relate to the year 1928-29 as against the Dublin figures for 1929-30.

In a small country like Wales there are two pupils in the sixth and eighth standards for every one in the same standards in Dublin. Does that show that the standard of primary education in this country is satisfactory? Does it show that the expenditure of over 3¾ millions on primary education is obtaining the return that a poor country like this should expect? Is the Minister perfectly satisfied, in view of the figures I have quoted, that something cannot be done to improve the situation?

Will the Deputy indicate how many two-teacher schools there are in Wales?

Mr. Byrne

I am sorry I cannot give the Minister that information. I was careful when dealing with Wales to make a comparison with Dublin City, where there are no two-teacher schools.

What about the rest of the country?

Mr. Byrne

I believe I am making a very fair comparison. If the Minister wants me to make a comparison with the London County Council schools, I will do so. In the case of the London County Council schools I am informed that every pupil goes through the sixth standard before he or she leaves school. Does that happen in Dublin? What percentage reaches even the fourth standard here? I honestly believe that if the actual figure was quoted in the House it would create a sensation. This situation ought to be remedied and it is the duty of the Minister to effect that remedy. A twenty column Irish speech is not going to remedy it. All these youngsters sooner or later have to earn their living. They are in a position only to get primary education. I belong to the City of Dublin and, knowing the value of education as I do, I want those children to get a reasonable chance in fighting the battle of life. In the case of the City of Dublin Technical Schools 57½ per cent. of the pupils failed to qualify in 1929 and 55½ per cent. failed in 1930.

To qualify in what?

Mr. Byrne

In the entrance examination. They had not a sufficient standard of education to enter the technical schools.

Will the Deputy say how long were they away from school?

Mr. Byrne

So far as the City of Dublin Technical Schools are concerned, 882 pupils sat in 1929—57½ per cent. failed—and 1,087 sat in 1930 when 55½ per cent. failed. Only 490 sat in 1931 and 27.5 per cent. failed to pass. That is the latest figure to hand. As regards scholarships in secondary and vocational schools, in 1929 there were 9,223 children between 12 and 14 years on the rolls; 198 sat for examination; 61 passed and 137 failed. Does the Minister suggest that the passing of 61 pupils out of a total of 9,223 discloses a satisfactory condition of education for Dublin City? Let us, for God's sake, leave such things as Irish speeches of twenty columns in length on one side in the interests of the common people.

So far as the secondary schools are concerned, I have pleasure in saying they are a credit to this State. It is a matter of wonder to me, in view of the unsatisfactory state of primary education, how such standards have been attained in secondary education. I do not wish to labour this thing unduly. I wish only to bring home to the Minister the seriousness of the position in the primary schools. In taking up the advocacy of the proper education of children, especially in Dublin, no man has had to stand up to more abuse, more misrepresentation, or a more hostile Press than I have had. I took up the cudgels on behalf of those about whom nobody appeared to care.

I emphasise that it is the bounden duty of the Minister and of every Deputy here to take a practical interest in this matter. The Minister must realise that this is a serious and an important problem which needs to be dealt with immediately. There are Deputies here who represent the common people. They do not speak Irish and they are entitled to have clearly put before them the policy of the Government in such all-important matters as primary and secondary education. If the Minister had put forward his policy to us in a clearer fashion he would not have me standing here as a rather virulent critic. If he had taken other measures he would have found me not a critic, but sincerely anxious to help and to co-operate in every possible way.

The very heavy volume of artillery which has been brought to bear on this Vote indicates how seriously the members of this House and the country generally view the question of education. While I may pay a very high tribute to our education system, I must, at the same time, join with my friends who have criticised the manner in which the Vote was introduced. Members like myself who, although representing portion of the Gaeltacht, are unable to understand the Irish language, feel very much at a loss how to deal with the statement of the Minister, seeing that it was made in a language they do not understand. However, as the youth of the country have been placed in a position to rectify that state of affairs, and have advantages open to them that were not given to their parents, the best thing that Deputies who have control over this Vote can do is to encourage them by every means in their power to acquire the language, seeing that the legislature demands that all positions will be open only to those who have a proficient knowledge of Irish.

I would like to ask the Minister for an explanation regarding the position of boys and girls in the Gaeltacht competing for scholarships. They have to cope with a very serious disability, in-as-much as certain preferences are given in parts of the Gaeltacht which penalise other candidates and are a very serious bar to their advancement. I refer to what happens in certain favoured portions of Kerry and in the West of Ireland, and places in my own constituency—in Knockadoon and also in Ring—where pupils are deprived of these advantages. I respectfully point out to the Minister that that is a retrograde step, as it certainly debars candidates from advantages to which they are entitled. Anybody who takes a dispassionate view will agree that it places a bar on a section of the community and that as a result they have been treated very badly. I ask the Minister to rectify that state of affairs, so far as Knockadoon, Ring and other portions of East Cork are concerned. The position was not initiated by the Minister. He inherited the conditions which appertain in that connection.

I would like to draw the Minister's attention to the money devoted to the repair of schools, vested and unvested. Grants are only given from this Vote for the repair of schools which are vested. There are, however, very large numbers of schools in an exceedingly bad state of repair, but no grant can be obtained for that purpose. I have been in correspondence with the Minister's Department trying to get grants for schools of the class to which I refer. One school is in an insanitary condition, and the floor is in a dangerous condition. The school at Rathcormac is in an insanitary condition. There are holes in the floor, and it is not at all unlikely that some of the pupils may break their legs in it. That is a danger that the Department of Education should not allow to continue, seeing that school medical services are now available. That state of affairs should be rectified. We are spending a very considerable sum of money, five millions, on this Department. I consider that a very high standard of education should be aimed at, and the best teachers obtained, having regard not only to the size of the Vote, but to the importance of education. Deputies view this Vote with a great deal of importance, and rightly so, because the future success of the children depends upon it. While parents may not have had the advantages that children have to-day, it is our duty to try to place within the reach of every child opportunities that were not available in the past.

Reference has been made to the Irish language. I am in absolute sympathy with the teaching of Irish in the schools, but not with the teaching of school subjects through the medium of Irish. Our neighbours across the Irish Sea, the Welsh people, have an equal reverence for Welsh, and have provided the very same facilities for the cultivation of the language. Perhaps the same distaste for the language does not exist amongst the Welsh people as obtains in this country, due to the fact that there it is more or less a voluntary matter and is not associated with anything in the nature of compulsion. Probably we would make more progress in the teaching of the Irish language if the compulsory element was eliminated, so far as it relates to teaching of other subjects through the medium of Irish. Although the Minister has come in for a great deal of criticism for the manner in which this Vote has been introduced, if he enlightens the House by translating what has been said, perhaps he will be able to answer some of the objections that have been raised.

I do not propose to deal with very many of the items that were referred to in the course of the debate. I will consequently confine myself to calling the Minister's attention to a few matters. He must be aware of the fact that at the present time there is a great deal of discontent prevailing amongst the primary teachers because of the uncertainty of their position. Of course, he is aware of the fact that they have suffered reductions in their salaries and allowances previously. It seems to me that we ought to get from the Minister a declaration as to where he stands in connection with the salaries and allowances of primary teachers. It seems an extraordinary proceeding that in the investigation, if any, that is to be made into this matter the teachers will be unable to make full representations. It must come as a surprise to the country to know that the whole position, and the future of thousands of teachers are or were being examined in the absence of representations from those concerned, and that three or four persons, mainly unconnected, as far as I know, with education should be asked to arrive at a farreaching decision without any interchange of opinion between the teachers and themselves. We had experience of a debate that took place in this House on one occasion regarding a change in the administration of the Old Age Pensions Act, the change being that instead of an interchange of opinions between Deputies and the officials of the Department concerned, when dealing with pension cases, freedom to advocate the claims of pensioners was restricted to written representations.

It was unquestionably a most unsatisfactory arrangement, and it was a very healthy symptom, when the Minister responsible for the Department discovered that it was such, that the old arrangement was reverted to. It seems to me that it is impossible for the teachers to put their case properly when they have been denied the right of access to the Committee that is considering their position, a Committee, too, that may make very far-reaching decisions so far as their position is concerned. I do not know anything that is more misunderstood in this country than the position of the teachers. A great many people seem to imagine that the teachers are in receipt of bloated salaries, living in the lap of luxury, but the Minister and members of the House know that the position is altogether different. After spending five or six years in college a young teacher starts out on a very small salary indeed, and to me it seems unthinkable that the Government would now contemplate making any further inroads on that salary.

I hope that the opportunity which the debate on this Estimate affords will be the last on which Deputies will have to refer to other hardships under which certain sections of the teaching profession labour. Each year since this House was set up pleas have been made, and so far they are unsatisfied, for a very deserving section of teachers in this country, those in the Monastery and Convent Schools and teachers called Junior Assistant Mistresses. They are obliged to live, work and toil in the fear of what is going to happen them when they are no longer able to work. A large number of very pathetic cases of that kind throughout the country came under my own notice recently, of people having to work until they had almost reached the age of 70 years and then having nothing to fall back upon except the Old Age Pension. That such a thing should occur in a service of this kind is, I think, a disgrace. I hope the Minister will bear these cases in mind, and taking his courage in his hands will end such a position definitely and entirely.

Like Deputy Brasier—I think I must go farther than he did—I want to refer to the condition of school buildings. It is a hardy annual on this Estimate. When one realises that the need for employment was never so great in the country one can imagine no more useful work than a big advance in the matter of putting the school buildings of the country into a decent condition. In certain schools the teachers are obliged to work under conditions that are a scandal, in old ramshackle buildings with the rain coming in through the roof, the windows broken and dilapidated and in many cases as I have seen myself, with pieces of cardboard replacing the panes of galss. Education cannot be satisfactorily imparted under such conditions. To have school buildings in such a state constitutes a menace to the health of the children and imposes a tremendous handicap on the teachers in their work. I hope the Minister will indicate, when replying, how far his Department is prepared to go in the remainder of this financial year as well as in the next financial year towards remedying that condition of affairs. In that connection I would remind him that there are certain poor areas throughout the country where portion of the expenditure on work of that kind has to be met by the parish. Very often, in some of these areas, owing to the poverty of the people, it is not possible to comply with the requirements laid down by the Department. In view of that, I think very generous provision ought to be made by the Department for these areas. I hope the Minister will bear that matter in mind.

Arising out of the enforcement of the School Attendance Act there is one matter to which I would like to refer. It is that children have to walk very considerable distances to school, very often in bad weather and sometimes over very uncertain and dangerous pathways. I would ask the Minister, in that connection, to make a considerable extension in the scheme under which conveyances are provided for bringing children to school. That is a very useful feature in connection with the School Attendance Act so far as it applies to certain schools. If the scheme could be made apply to larger areas of the country it would, I think, be very desirable.

I want to congratulate the Department on one very useful decision that has been taken, and while doing so I desire to bring under the Minister's notice the cases of hardship to which my attention has been called whereby the children of very poor parents were unable to find the fees that would enable then to enter the Training Colleges. I know that a change has been made by the Department whereby the children of people in that position are allowed credit by the Department, the children afterwards, when they become teachers, making a repayment of the sums advanced. That has had a very good effect. It has enabled many brilliant children, the sons and daughters of poor people, to fit themselves for positions in which they honourably acquitted themselves afterwards. Perhaps the Minister would indicate how the fees for children passing into the preparatory schools are fixed. In this matter it seems that, in some cases, there is a danger of hardship arising. Parents know that there are only a certain number of vacancies in the preparatory schools, and very often when they are asked what they can afford to pay they mention a figure which, on close examination, appears to be considerably beyond their means. Undoubtedly cases of hardship arise because of that—that people are induced to make promises fearing that if they do not offer a certain amount their children may not stand a chance of being admitted to the preparatory schools. For that reason they undertake a financial burden that is really beyond them. I mention the matter in the hope that the Minister will have a further examination made into it.

I think it would also be a very useful thing if the Minister would consider, in the near future, doing something in the direction of standardising the books in use in the primary schools. The cost of books is a very considerable item for a good many people at the present time. I think it would be well if the old system could be reverted to whereby the set of books used by the older members of a family could be passed on to the younger members. That would tend to reduce the cost of books considerably, and in difficult times like the present, it is a change that is eminently called for. I do not want to refer to what the Minister is doing in that direction in another way. I know it is being sympathetically considered. But, clearly it is one aspect of the case and, apart from anything else, the change I suggest is one that would obviate the heavy inroads that the present system makes on the income of very poor people as regards the cost of school books.

I hope the Minister, when replying, will give the House some indication as to what the fate of the primary teachers, with regard to salaries and allowances, is to be. I hope we will have some satisfactory explanation of the extraordinary handicap that is being placed on them in putting their case, by being denied personal access or the right of personal representation to the committee charged with the task of dealing with these matters.

Bhí an Teachta O Broin ag clamhsán toisc gur as Gaedhilg ar fad do labhair an tAire nuair do thug sé an meastachán so isteach. Ní aontuím leis ar fad ach b'fhéidir go raibh cuid mhaith den cheart aige. Tá rud mór á dhéanamh againn. Táimid ag iarraidh na Gaedhilge do thabhairt thar n-ais in áiteanna ná labhartar focal di. Táimid ag obair ar na páistí, mar adéarfá, agus b'bhéidir gur cheart caoi do thabhairt do thuismitheóirí na bpáistí sin chun do mbeadh fhios aca cad tá á dhéanamh agus á rá ag an Aire. Maidir leis an taobh sin den scéal, b'fhéidir go raibh cuid den cheart ag mo charaid.

Táimid go léir, ar aon aigne leis an Aire maidir leis an rud atá ag teastáil —an Ghaedhilg do thabhairt thar n-ais. Dubhairt an tAire nach raibh na páistí ag cur an oiread suime sa nGaedhilg is ba cheart. Sé is cúis leis sin, dar leis, ná gan stair na hEireann do bheith dá mhúineadh dhóibh mar ba cheart. Sé is cúis leis sin, b'fhéidir ná gan na hoidí do bheith oilte a ndóthain chun stair do mhúineadh. Ní thig le duine tuisgint iomlán do bheith aige ar stair na hEireann ná ar conas stair na hEireann do mhúineadh mar is ceart mara bhfuil colus aige ar stair na hEorpa. Ní do dhátaí eahtraí atáim ag tagairt ach ba chóir go mbeadh roinnt eolais ag an oide ar chúrsaí na staire san Euróip. Tá sin ag teastáil go háirithe sna Meán-Sgoileanna. Ní mór roinnt tuisceana ar stair na hEurópa maraon le stair Shasana chun stair na hEireann do mhúineadh sa cheart.

D'fhéadfaí a lán do dhéanamh chun suime na bpáistí do mhúscailt ach breis suime do chur i mbéal-oideas. Tá a lán ráidhte, tomhaiseanna ainmneacha áite agus eile le bailiú. Dá músclúíodh na hoidí suim na bpáistí i mbéal-oideas thiocfadh a lán tairbhe dá bharr agus chabhródh sé le múineadh na staire agus le múineadh na Gaedhilge.

Maidir leis na meán-sgoileanna, ní mórán eolais atá agam ina dtaobh anois ach táthar ann adeir ná fuil an cruinneas san ag mic-léighinn na meán-scol maidir le Gaedhilg ba cheart dóibh a bheith aca. Roinnt bhlianta ó shoin shleamhnuigh an Ghaedhilg isteach mar "Celtic." Bhí Kuno Meyer mar scrúdóir agus is i scríobhadh na Gaedhilge is mó cuirtí suim. Ní mórán aire tugtaí do labhairt na teangan. Tá atharú scéil anois ann. Táimid ag neartú le labhairt na Gaedhilge le deich mbliana. B'fhéidir go ndeachamar ró-fhada maidir leis an gcuid san den obair. Tá a lán daoine óga scurtha ó scoil agus craiceann cainte na Gaedhilge aca ach gan aon chruinneas ionta. Níorbh fhéidir leo na trí fhocal so do scríobhadh sa cheart "an chéad bhliain."

Maidir leis an slí nua chun na Gaedhilge do mhúineadh, tá sé ana-dhian ar an oide. Fe'n seana-scéim is as an leabhar a dhéineadh an toide an mhuinteoireacht agus b'fhéidir go mbíodh toradh maith ar a shaothar. Fe'n scéim nua is ar an oidí a bhíonn na páiste ag braith amach is amach. B'fhéidir na beadh an saidhbhreas ná an cruinneas is gá ag an oide, agus pé lochtaí a bhíonn ar an oide beid níos treise ar na páistí. B'fhéidir dá mbaintí feidhm arís as an aistriúchán o Bhéarla go Gaedhilg go mbeadh an teanga níos cruinne ag na scoláirí. Bhíos ag féachaint ar an bpáipéar i gcóir onóracha san Ard-Teistiméarachta le haghaidh na bliana so agus bhí ceisteanna air do bhí ana-dheacair agus ana-chrosta. Mar sin féin thiocfadh le duine onóracha do bhaint amach ar an bpáipéar san agus gan bunús na Gaedhilge na graiméar na Gaedhilge do bheith aige. Dá suidhinn síos d'fhéadfainn páipéar do líonadh le ceisteanna den tsórt so —rudaí deacra crosta—agus is beag duine go mbeadh na freagrái cearta aige.

Maidir le teasgasg tré Ghaedhilg, is dóich le daoine dá mbeadh eolas ag na hoidí ar na téarmaí teicniciúla go bhféadfaidís múineadh tré Ghaedhilg. Ní fhéadfaidís mara mbeadh an Ghaedhilg go maith aca féin. Shocruigh an Roinn Oideachais an rud ciallmhar sa scéal so—nár cheart d'oidí ná fuil an Ghaedhilg go maith aca bheith ag múineadh tré Ghaedhilg. Mar sin féin, bhí daoine á rá liom an Samhradh so ghabh tharainn go mbítear ag súil go ndéanfadh oidí ná fuil eolas maith aca ar an nGaedhilg múineadh tré Ghaedhilg. Níor cheart go n-iarrfaí ar dhaoine ná fuil ábalta ar an teanga d'oibriú agus do chasadh sa cheart múineadh tré Ghaedhilg.

Maidir leis an mBéarla san nGaolt-acht, deir daoine áirithe atá oilte sa nGaedhilg nár cheart Béarla do mhúineadh ar aon chor ann. Ach, ar an taobh eile, mara múintear Béarla ar scoil beidh na haithreacha agus na máithreacha ag iarraidh droch-Bhéarla do mhúineadh dos na páistí sa bhaile. Deirtear liom go mbíonn cigirí théigheann isteach sna scoileanna sa nGaoltacht chó dian ar na páistí is a bheidís ar pháistí scoile i mbailte móra sa nGalltacht. Más fíor san, ní ceart é. Is dian an obair atá ar oidí na Gaeltachta. Táid ag iarraidh na Gaedhilge do thabhairt thar n-ais i gcuid de sna scoileanna gur beag obair a deineadh ionnta go dtí le déanaighe. Is dóich liom gur cheart iarracht spesialta do dhéananmh chun cabhrú leis na hoidí sin san obair mhóir atá idir lámha aca. Má theipeann orainn sna scoileanna san is beag is féidir linn a dhéanamh in áiteanna eile.

Os rud é go bhfuilim ag caint ar an nGaoltacht, ba mhaith liom go bhféacfadh an tAire isteach san gceist dár thagair Seosamh O Mongáin—sé sin, gur cheart rialachán speisialta do dhénamh in áiteanna sa nGaeltacht i dtreo go bhféadfaí congantóir do chur i scoileanna nach leor an meán-líon páistí chun beirt oidí bheith ionnta. Ní hamú a cuirtear airgead a caithtear ar an mbealach san mar is ós na háiteanna so a caithfear na hoidí nuadha d'fháil.

Aontuím le hEamonn O Ciosáin gur cheart an seana-cheol do mhúineadh sna scoileanna. Tá an seana-cheol ag páistí na Gaeltachta agus ag á n-aithreacha agus ag á máithreacha. Ar an scoil fhóghluimeann na páistí anTonic Solfa agus bíonn siad millte ar fad. Sin mar a bhí an scéal i scoil go ndeachas isteach inti i rith an tsamhraidh. Ní raibh aon tuisgint ag an gcigire sa tsean-nós. B'fhéidir go ndéanfadh an tAire rud éigin chun sinn do shábháil ón Tonic Solfa, sa Ghaoltacht ach go háirithe.

Deir an tAire go bhfuil sé sásta leis an obair atá dá dhéanamh sna meán-scoileanna. Níor chuireas féin mórán aithne fós ar na mic léighinn atá ag teacht as na scoileanna san. Sé cúis go bhfuil an tAire sásta, is dócha, ná toisc na marcanna do bheith go hárd. Tá ag eirighe le n-a lán de sna mic léighinn sna scrúduithe, agus tá na cigirí agus na hoidí agus na hoifigigh ar aon aigne i dtaobh na hoibre atá dá dhéanamh. Sé an cigire a leagann plean na hoibre amach, agus sé a cheapann an páipéar scrúduithe agus a cheartuíonn é chó maith. Annsan, foilsítear toradh an scrúduithe agus bíonn gach éinne sásta. Is dóich liom go mba mhaith an rud é dá bhfaightí cabhair ó dhaoine lasmuich nuair a bhíonn na ceisteanna dá gceapadh agus nuair a bhíonn na freagraí dá gceartú. Déarfainn gur bhfearrde an t-eolas a gheobhadh an tAire ar an scéal dá ndeineadh sé an méid sin.

Aontuím leis an méid adubhairt Earnán de Blaghd, Teachta, DéhAoine. Tá gá le tuilleadh múinteóirí óga go bhfuilan Ghaedhilg ó n-a n-óige aca do sholáthairt. Níl ach fíor-bheagán daoine go bhfuil an Ghaedhilg ó n-a n-óige aca ag teacht isteach sna Coláistí Ullmhúcháin. Is dóich liom gur cheart scéim éigin do cheapadh chun daoine go bhfuil an Ghaedhilg ó n-a n-óige aca do mhealladh isteach. D'fheadfadh an t-Aire imtheacht ró-mhear, b'fhéidir, le rudaí eile acht ní bheidh aon rath go deó ar an obair seo na Gaedhilge muna ndéanfar múinteóirí do sholáthar ó'n nGaol-tacht. Aon rud a dhéanfadh an tAire chuige sin, gheobhadh sé cabhair agus moladh ó gac éinne sa Dáil, agus lasmuich dhi, a chuireann suim sa Ghaedhilg.

Aontuím leis an méid adubhairt an Teachta O hAodha ach ní aontuím leis an Teachta do labhair roimhe. Ní raibh aon tuigsint no réasún in a chuid cainnte. Deir cuid de na Teachtaí atá ag fáil lochta ar an Aire go bhfuil stad an oideachais níos ísle anois ná a bhí sé 50,20, no 10 mblian ó shoin. Ba mhaith liom fhiafraí dhíobh conus mar tá an t-eolas san acu? Má bhí duine in ánn scríbhneóireacht do dhéanamh 50 bliain ó shoin bhí oideachais maith aige, do réir barúil na ndaoine. Shaoil siad nach raibh san oideachas ach scríbhneóireacht. Ach tuigtear anois go bhfuil rudaí eile san oideachais seachas scríbhneóireacht agus matamaitice.

Dubhairt An Teachta O Diolún nach bhfuil matamaitice á múineadh chó maith anois sna scoileanna, agus a bhí ach deirim-se go bhfuil. Admhuím nach bhfuil an scríbhneóireacht chó hornáideach agus a bhí, ach tá na páistí in ánn scríobhadh go maith, mar sin fhéin. Má fhéachann duine ar na páipéirí scrúduithe le dul isteach sna hOllscoileanna, sna meán-scoileanna no sna coláistí ullmhúcháin, chifidh sé go bhfuil stad an oideachais an-árd ar fad. Agus is é barúil daoine go bhfuil níos mó eolais aca ar an gceist seo ná mar tá agam-sa go bhfuil stad an oideachais níos aoirde san tír seo ná mar atá in a lán tíortha eile.

Faair Teachta Seán O Broin locht leis an scéim oideachais mar atá sé. Is cuimhin liom go ndubhairt an Teachta céanna anso dhá bhilain ó shoin go ndearna sé fhéin dearmad mór i leitriú núair a bhí sé ag iarraidh dul isteach i gColáiste na Tríonóide. Deir sé anois nach bhfuil aon oideachas ag na mic léighinn a dheineas an dearmad céanna. Ach, san am chéanna, is dóich leis go bhfuil a lán oideachais aige féin. Tá a lán feabhais agus dul ar aghaidh ar oideachas na tíre seo le déanaí.

Maidir leis an Ghaedhilg, níl sí ag dul ar aghaidh chó maith agus ba chóir. Ní har na múinteóirí atá an locht. Tá na múinteóirí ag obair go tréan ins na scoileanna ar fud na tíre. Tá cion agus meas acu ar an nGaedhilg. Is ar na daoine amuich atá an locht agus ní har na múinteóirí scoile, gidh go bhfuil cuid acu sean agus gan mórán Gaedhilge acu. Tá cúrsaí na tíre á dhéanamh as Béarla. Ins na hoifigí, san Eaglais, san Oireachtas, ar na margaidh, sna bainnc, ar na haontaighe agus i ngach áit eile, tá an Béarla in uachtar chó maith agus a bhí sé 10 mbliana ó shoin. Na páistí atá ag foghluim na Gaedhilge sa scoil, tá siad ag déanamh dearmad ar an dteangain taobh amuich den scoil. Dá mbeadh níos mó suime ag na daoine fén dtuaith sa nGaedhilg, bheadh i bhfad níos mó Gaedhilge á labhairt ar na haontaighe agus ar na margaidh ar fud na tíre. Ach chó fada agus atá an scéal mar atá ag na daoine, ní bheidh mórán fáis ar an nGaedhilg. Caithfear an scéal san d'athrú. Ach ní déanfar athrú air chó fada agus atá daoine ag fáil lochta ar gach ní atá á dhéanamh.

Thug an tAire an meastachán so isteach i nGaedhilg. Bhí an dea-shompla san a dhith orainn. Gidh go raibh sé deacair ar chuid de na Teachtaí, tá súil agam go leanfaidh an tAire den dea-shompla do thug sé dhúinn. Má leanann sé dhe, teasbán faidh sé go bhfuil níos mó sa nGaedhilg ná abhar scrúduithe ná abhar scoile. Ní le haghaidh scrúduithe atámuíd ag iarraidh préamhacha na Gaedhilge do chothú agus do neartú. Chó luath agus a thuigfidh na daoine go bhfuil uainn an tsean-teanga agus an tsean-spiorad a thabhairt ar ais don tír, beidh feabhas ar obair na Gaedhilge.

Shaoil daoine áirithe roinnt blian ó shoin go leathnódh an Ghaeltacht, beagán ar bheagán, go dtí go mbeadh an Ghalltacht múchta ag an nGaeltacht. Ach ní mar sin atá. Tá an Ghalltacht ag múchadh na Gaeltachta agus ba chóir don Roinn Oideachais cose do chur leis sin. Tá an Béarla ag brughadh isteach san bhfíor-Ghaeltacht. Is deacair sin do leigheas. Ach, do réir mo bharúla, tá leigheas amháin ann—an Ghaeltacht do leathnú go dtí go mbeadh na scoileanna taobh amuich den fhíor-Ghaelt-acht in a bhfuil an obair á déanamh as Gaedhilg ar aon chéim leis na scoileanna sa nGaeltacht. Sé sin le rá, go mbeadh an deontas speisialta le fáil ag na múinteóirí sa nGaeltacht agus ag na múinteóirí sa mBreac-Ghaeltacht atá á déanamh obair na scoile as Gaedhilg amháin.

Ba cheart deontas speisialta do thabhairt do scoil sa mBreac-Ghael-tacht in a bhfuil an múinteóir ag obair go h-éifeachtach chó maith le deontas do thabhairt do mhúinteóir sa nGaeltacht fhéin. Tá obair níos déine le déanamh ag an múinteóir sa mBreac-Ghaeltacht ná mar tá ag an múinteóir sa bhfíor-Ghaeltacht. Cibé locht atá ann, ní ar an múinteóir é. Tá dea-obair á déanamh sa mBreac-Ghael-tacht. Tá fios agam go bhfuil Gaedhilg mhaith ag na páistí agus ba cheart deontas speisialta a bheith ag na múinteóirí. Dá deántaí sin, bheadh muinighin agus misneach ag na múinteóirí chun obair níos fearr do dhéanamh ar son na Gaedhilge. Maidir le scoláireachtaí, ba chóir an Ghaeltacht do leathnú agus an Bhreach-Ghaeltacht do chur léi. Ní bheadh sin ró-chruaidh ar an nGaeltacht.

D'ísligh an Roinn an aois le dul isteach sna Coláistí Ullmhúcháin ó 16 bliana go 15 bliana. Tá sin an chruaidh ar pháistí na Gaeltachta agus na Breac-Ghealtachta. Ba chóir an tsean-aois do chur i bhfeidhm arís —ó 13 bliana go 16 bliana.

Nuair a bhíonn talamh á roinnt taobh istigh de mhíle ó scoil, ba cheart acra no leath-acra do thabhairt don scoil—ní hamháin i gcóir cluichí ach chun planndaí agus bláthanna do chur ag fás ann. Dá mbeadh páiste talmhan mar sin ag scoil, faoi stiurú an mhúinteóra, thiocfadh leis na páistí uair a chluig no leath-uair do chaitheamh ann sa trathnóna nuair a bhead obair na scoile thart. Táim cinnte go mbeadh athas ar na páistí sin do dhéanamh. Chuirfeadh siad suim in obair na feilmearachta feasta agus thuigfeadh siad gur féidir úsáid do bhaint as oideachas gan dul go hollscoil no coláiste. Ba cheart tuairim na daoine ar an gceist seo d'athrú agus ba cheart meas a bheith acu ar obair thalmhaíochta. Níl slí níos fearr chun é seo do dhéanamh ná páiste talmham do thabhairt do gach scoil faoi'n dtuaith.

I should like to say a few words on this subject. It seems to excite little interest in the House. I was here on Friday and I have been here again to-day and I never saw a smaller audience both in the Dáil proper and in the Gallery. I think, now that there is so much money being spent on relief works, that very good use could be made of a portion of this money by devoting it to providing proper sanitation for the schools. The ordinary national school in Ireland, taking one with another, in spite of the best efforts of the teachers is a scandal to civilisation from that point of view. There is practically no sanitation in the ordinary national school. In some of the schools, sanitation must be selfcontained owing to the distance of such schools from any main sewerage scheme, but in many of the villages and towns, now that they are laying down main sewers, it would be very easy to connect these schools with the main sewer and dispose of the sewage by water.

In addition to providing proper sewerage, I am of opinion that it would be a very good thing that hot baths should be installed in every school. I remember making that suggestion some years ago and I was laughed at, but I think that there is nothing more important in the education of children than cleanliness, and certainly you cannot have proper cleanliness without a hot bath. I would also have washing basins; and in addition to these provisions I think you should have, at least for half a dozen neighbouring schools, one good, hefty nurse, who would clean the children properly. We have County Medical Officers of Health and on reading their reports we see the backward state of the children from a sanitary point of view—unclean in their heads, and with skin diseases. Uncleanliness of the heads as well as skin diseases are generally contagious, and it is no snobbery for any parent, in such circumstances, to refuse to send their children to national schools. I suppose I am expected to say something about the language.

A Deputy

Oh, no!

There are people in this country who think that language —a distinct language—is essential to nationality. I do not know how that idea got into people's heads, because we know the great diversity in languages was a curse from God. He was very angry with mankind and He sent them away speaking divers languages, and that is why we have all those national languages. Deputy Hayes laughs at me, but still he cannot gainsay what I have said. If there was a possibility of restoring Gaelic in Ireland as a spoken language, I would be inclined to give it favourable consideration. Forty years ago, when Deputy Hayes was a small boy, I learned, or tried to learn, the Gaelic language. I suppose I made some little headway—perhaps as much as the average boy—but while learning the Gaelic language I also dabbled a little in philology and I also dabbled —dabbling, dabbling all the time—in anthropology and in ethnology, and I found that I was badly had in learning the Gaelic language—that it was absolutely a foreign language.

I found that no less an authority— and I quoted him here on another occasion—that Dr. John MacNeill, who has given a great deal of his time and energy to historical and other researches, stated that the earliest race who came here spoke a language closely akin to Latin. I also found that the same lecturer brought forward some very important considerations, or rather disclosures, that had a bearing on the question of the language. He exposed what he called, and what other people called, the Anglo-Saxon myth, and pointed out that Britain was not a Saxon country and that its people even in England alone were Celts to the extent of more than 50 per cent. not to speak of Scotland and Wales. If you add Scotland and Wales you have a very substantial majority of these countries Celts. Where is the great crime if we speak the same language as those with whom we have a common racial origin? What does nationality suffer by it? I do not know. I know that the Gaelic language has been made to serve some purposes, and some very improper purposes. Preferences have been given to Gaelic speakers in the practice of medicine and dentistry, which did not do it any good, and which were nothing less than jobbery. We have heard of a dentist who would not be allowed to draw a tooth without a knowledge of the Gaelic language, and if he had a knowledge of that language and was 50 per cent. inferior in dentistry to another dentist he was appointed to draw out the tooth. I cannot see what benefit there was, especially on the part of the child from whom the tooth was to be extracted, in being able to converse in Gaelic.

We know then that Gaelic was not the first language spoken in Ireland. We have it on the authority of M'Callum that there was a language spoken in Ireland—he described it as an agglutinative language—and the Devil studied it for seven years without learning more than three words. That was a devil-proof language, but evidently we had no need of a devil-proof language in Ireland.

Again, we have kilts described as the national dress. Everybody who goes into these researches knows that kilts came from Gothland.

Very interesting, but I do not think it is relevant.

Well, I may be travelling, but it is no harm to pile on the agony. As I have said before, I do not see any chance of making Gaelic the spoken language of this country. I believe that a lot of the energy and time of the teachers and a lot of money is wasted on it, and that it could be better employed. I think that a great objection to the method of teaching it is that of making it the medium through which other subjects are taught. That is a great drawback, and the children nowadays are not as soundly educated as they were thirty or forty years ago——

——when the three R's, reading, writing and arithmetic, with a good knowledge of Greek and Latin roots—one of the chief things— were studied and taught. These children, in after life, were able to write a good letter or to read one sometimes written from America or elsewhere, and they could derive the English words very well from the roots they learned. You might go deeper into the classics—some of us had to do it, although we did not find any very great benefit from it in after life—but I must say that the neglect of a classical education, by which I mean Greek and Latin, is very disastrous in the learned professions. By the learned professions I mean scientific professions such as medicine. It is impossible to read a medical work intelligibly without a fairly good knowledge of Latin and Greek. That goes into the higher question of education, however.

The teachers have been very severely criticised. I think that the teachers have done their duty well to the country. They have an over-loaded programme, but that is not their fault. I believe that it would be well if there were an advisory body from the teachers who would advise the Ministry on the programme to be taught. When I say advisory, it should be something more than advisory, because I had a little experience on a few occasions of advisory bodies to Government Departments, and they were of very little value, because the Department was free to reject the advice they got, whether good or bad. Again, we have the question of scholarships. I believe scholarships are grossly abused. We have county scholarships and other scholarships, and the standard on which those scholarships are awarded is not high enough. If a scholarship, and the expense of a scholarship, are to be justified, it should be on the highest intellect and the highest intellect only. There are enough mediocre people like myself and others in this country to fulfil the ordinary purposes, but if you want a really good intellect, if you want men or women to discover something worth discovering, or a second Drumm, or other scientist, you should increase the scholarships and find out such people as those who deserve to get them.

I just want to know what scholarships the Deputy is referring to. Is it scholarships to the University or the secondary school scholarships?

Well, that was all I had to say on the matter of scholarships, and there is not anything more I wish to add. The matter has been fully dealt with in other aspects, but I would like if something would be done to improve the sanitary condition of the schools, and their general comfort. I think a lot of money is being spent now, and that it could be very wisely spent in the reconstruction of some of the schools, and in the proper sanitary measures which should go with every school, especially national schools in the country.

A Leas-Chinn Comhairle: I did not intend to intervene in this debate, knowing that the Estimates had been prepared by the Minister's predecessors, and that there is practically no change in the policy of the present Government and the late Government so far as education is concerned, but I feel that the remarks made by certain Deputies—Deputies on my own side of the House as well as Deputy Anthony—cannot pass unchallenged.

Deputy Dillon made a statement here in Friday's debate with regard to primary education. He said that "a large number of children coming out of the seventh standard of primary schools to-day, so far as the English language is concerned, are semi-illiterate. They are not able to write anything like a literate hand and they are ill-able to spell, but they can write reasonably well. Furthermore, their knowledge of arithmetic is deplorably inadequate, and their general knowledge, both historical and geographical, is astonishingly deficient." Deputy Anthony and Deputy J.J. Byrne practically repeated the same statement in this debate. Where they got their information I do not know. The only conclusion I can arrive at is that they have generalised. They may have known a few isolated instances of a few isolated children who may be semi-illiterate. We were not told whether those children were mentally deficient or what drawbacks they had—whether they were bad attendants or anything else—and I think it is quite wrong to make such a sweeping statement about the education of this country.

A large sum of money is being expended on the education of this country—£7,000,000—and I can say, as one who knows something about education and about schools and about the proficiency of pupils, not alone in Dublin but in different parts of the country, that the money is well spent, and that the people are getting good value for their money. I hold no brief for the teachers. I am more interested in the education of the children, and I can say that without fear of contradiction. I place more reliance on the reports of the inspectors in the different divisions than I do on any hearsay reports, and those Deputies who spoke here did not, as I say, tell us where they received their information. On the last reports that are available to us, the report of the Department of Education for 1930, the inspectors report favourably on the very matters where Deputy Dillon, Deputy Anthony and Deputy J.J. Byrne described the children as being almost illiterate, and nobody can accuse the inspectors of being over lenient to the teachers.

In the different divisions, I will just only refer, a Leas-Chinn Comhairle, to the reports on English, handwriting, English composition, and subjects of that nature. In division I, which embraces the whole of the County of Donegal and the greater parts of Sligo, Leitrim and Roscommon, the inspectors are unanimous in their satisfaction with the general results achieved under the present programme and are quite optimistic about its future results. Referring to English, the report goes on to say that the teaching of oral English is reported as satisfactory and as not having suffered in any appreciable degree from the introduction of Irish.

In Division No. 5, which includes parts of the district which Deputy J. J. Byrne refers to—it includes Dublin, Meath, Westmeath, Kildare, Leix, Offaly, Tipperary and Limerick—this report of the inspectors says: "With regard to oral English the subject is, on the whole, effectively dealt with. In the senior classes the use of a reader instead of a standard work is fairly prevalent. Reading is satisfactorily taught generally," and so far as written English is concerned the report says: "This branch is, in general, satisfactorily catered for. Arithmetic is moderately well taught in a fairly good number of schools." The report goes on to say: "In the case of schools where the results do not reach a satisfactory level the weakness is due oftentimes to the fact that too much time is spent on purely mechanical work, and that the pupils' powers of reasoning are not properly developed."

If any Deputy in the House wants to read those reports they will see that in every one of the divisions into which the Saorstát has been allocated for educational purposes the reports are on similar lines. We need not be alarmed by the statement that the children are coming out of primary schools illiterate. It has always been the tendency to say that education is deteriorating. When I was a girl I was told that twenty years before that time the people knew about twenty times as much as I did, and I appeal to the younger Deputies of the House to agree that their experience has been similar. Their fathers said they knew ten times as much as they did. At the present time an older person will put a poser to a child and say "What is the height of Mount Everest or the length of some of the rivers in Asia?" Then they will add "In my time a boy in the fourth standard knew that." We must remember that the standards of education have changed. We must move with the times.

I think if any of those Deputies who have spoken went around to the primary schools and examined the pupils of the senior standards and took an average—there will always be a few exceptions—they would find that instead of having deteriorated education is improving year by year. I refer them to the reports of the intermediate schools—the reports for the primary schools are not yet available—and they will see that the children who have got the highest marks in Irish have also got the highest marks in English. Several of the points to which I have referred have been mentioned already by other Deputies. Deputy Murphy spoke about the question of books to the pupils of primary schools. I have mentioned this before on this debate, and I would like to hear what the Minister has to say in reply.

It has been brought to my attention that the questions set at certain examinations had certainly something to do with the educational system of the country, and in that respect some questions set at a clerical officers' examination last January have been brought to my attention—I know the Minister for Education is not responsible for that. For instance, I am not surprised that Deputy Dillon will say that the standard of general knowledge of the seventh standard pupil in the Free State is very low, when such questions as the following are put:—"Name two of the more important films being shown in Dublin to-day; and give the names of the principal actors or actresses appearing in each; where it was shot; and what is its story?" Well, if questions like these on general information are of the standard required from pupils, I am not surprised that their knowledge of general information is put down as being "very low." Those are the only points I wish to speak on. I do not object to the Minister having opened his address in Irish. The only thing I can say is, he has given a lead to the Deputies in the House and that in ten years time we can only hope that not only the Minister for Education, but every Deputy in the House will be able to carry on not only a debate on education, but on every subject in our native language.

I should like to say, in the first place, that we are very much indebted to the last speaker for the way in which she has brought back this debate, to what I might call a serious and argumentative character, and yet I do not agree with her at all. You, a Leas-Chinn Comhairle, and most of the Deputies in the House are quite well aware of my views on this matter. I think the methods adopted by the late Government and the methods of the present Government of developing Irish and encouraging its growth are totally wrong, and that their effect will be in future years, not perhaps as extravagantly stated by Deputy Dillon, but to a very large extent, Irish will be hated throughout the country. I do not want to make a controversial speech. I rise to make what I regard as a really serious proposition and to support other speeches in that direction which have already been made. We have had various Deputies on various sides of the House, not only stating, but putting forward facts and arguments to support their views that the education of the youth throughout the country generally is deteriorating.

May I ask what facts were put forward?

They were put forward. I will give you some more in a few minutes: (1) as to the failures that take place when children from primary schools present themselves for admission to technical schools.

On a point of order, there is no proof that these children have come from primary schools. They may be out of primary schools several years before they present themselves for any examination.

The Minister is quite entitled to argue his point of view, as I am entitled to argue mine. I submit to him that the House has heard the facts stated by various Deputies pointing in that direction, but he has made the point which I was about to make, namely, that whether these arguments are correct or not, and whether those views held by various Deputies on one side or the other, are correct or not, will not be settled in this House by opinions expressed by Deputies on one side or the other. And yet I think the answer to the question will be admitted on all sides to be of vital importance to the country, and my suggestion is that the subject is sufficiently important both from the point of view of those who advocate the present system with regard to Irish, and those who do not, to have that matter settled definitely and in a way that will be accepted on all sides.

The matter is settled already.

The matter I submit has never been settled and if it had been settled we would not have statements made by Deputies who oppose the present methods in the way in which they have been stated in this House.

It is some ten years, I think, since the present system was adopted on the report of a Committee, and I think in that ten years, or thereabouts, we should have learned a great deal of valuable information to be able to say whether the lines on which we are proceeding are correct lines or not. I submit then, that those who do not consider the present system is a good one ought to welcome what I suggest, namely, an inquiry into the working of the present system. If our educational standard generally is not deteriorating their case will be very much strengthened; if it is deteriorating, there is no use shutting their eyes to facts which they will only have to pay for later on. As I said, I, myself, was one of the signatories to the report which was issued by the Committee to which I have referred, and I, for one, as one of those signatories, would be very anxious to know, not to have it stated by somebody or other, but to know from evidence obtained, as to what has been the result of the working of the programme which was set up on that report. The report was admittedly at the time a compromise—a compromise accepting certain things in order to avoid having worse put upon a certain section in the country. Now what was accepted was, to begin at the very beginning, the use of Irish in infants' schools as a medium of teaching. I, for one, am extremely anxious to know with authority what have been the results of the working of that system. My own knowledge is, as is Deputy Mrs. Collins-O'Driscoll's, confined to one section of the country, but from such knowledge as I have and from reports I have heard, I am certainly led to believe that the effects of that report have not been what the committee which made it expected them to be. The arguments urged in favour of that report were apparently true to a very large extent, such arguments as these, that in the early years of a child's life it does not matter very much what it learns, but it does matter how it learns, and the early years of a child's life were years in which a second language could be adopted and learned easily.

Now my information goes to show that the effect of teaching through Irish to infants has very largely been that infants go to our city schools in particular with very little knowledge of Irish and with a much less knowledge of English than they used to have at that age—the age of six—when they joined the ordinary schools. Furthermore, it was alleged that, even though they were worse equipped in English and other subjects when they came to the ordinary schools, they would have reached more mature years and they would be very quickly able to make up for their bad start. Now I do not say it is true at all, but such information as I have does go to show that the promise is not being fulfilled, and what I say is this, we ought to have it established by an inquiry in a way which will even satisfy objectors if it can be so proved that the results of this system are not working out satisfactorily.

Prima facie, I think even supporters of the language would have to admit that in a large programme you cannot bring in and give a large proportion of time to one subject without its leading to some falling off in the work done in other subjects. I think everyone will admit that that has been the case in all secondary schools. In the last ten years the teaching of modern languages has changed entirely in our secondary schools. The teaching of German has practically disappeared. Prima facie, there is the case that the large amount of time given to Irish does affect in a harmful way the teaching of other subjects. If the Minister can prove by an inquiry such as I have asked for that that is not the case, those who are supporting the present methods will have strengthened their arguments very much. If they think that is not the case, they ought to welcome an opportunity such as I am asking for. I know it will be put up, as Deputy Mrs. Collins-O'Driscoll has already put it up, that we have had the reports of the inspectors. I do not wish to say a single word against either teachers or inspectors. I know they are doing very valuable work, but I think that the reports of the inspectors on this matter are to be discounted. Again, in this respect I have disagreed with the policy of the last Government, as I suppose I shall have to disagree with the policy of the present Government.

I think it is the case and it will be admitted that many inspectors have been appointed to their positions solely because of their knowledge of Irish and, therefore, to a certain extent, at any rate, the reports of the inspectors have had and have to be discounted. They are doing very valuable work and I do not want to detract from it but that answer is not sufficient. Furthermore, examinations are pointed to as answers but again I say the examinations are not a sufficient answer. The people who are affected mostly in this matter are those who do not go up for examinations at all, those who try to get employment in humbler positions and my information is that they are not as well equipped to-day as they were ten years ago. I may be wrong but if so it can be shown in the way I have suggested. I strongly urge the Minister to accept the suggestion that there should be some system of inquiry, the result of which will be accepted as definite evidence as to the truth or falsity of the views put forward by so many.

I shall not stand between the Minister and the House for more than a minute or two. When Deputy Mrs. O'Driscoll rose to speak and referred to a speech made by Deputy Anthony, I thought that she intended to make a point that struck me in the course of his speech. He was referring to the absences of teachers from their schools for different periods and he was making the point that teachers when they were asking for increases in their salaries stated that they required something in the nature of perpetual contact with their pupils. Apart from the fact that I never heard that point made either by the Teachers' Organisation or by individual teachers, what I gathered from Deputy Anthony's argument was that in the case of married women teachers he was making a case really for the non-employment of lady teachers after marriage. I am perfectly certain Deputy Anthony did not want to make that case. I would be very much surprised if he did, especially if he has any experience of the national schools throughout the country. Those of us who have, and perhaps I have as much myself as most people, know that such a step would be extremely foolish from the point of view of the ordinary national school. There are no more efficient teachers especially in dealing with the younger children than the married women teachers. He put forward the argument, first of all, that he thought the teachers gained their present salaries because they made the point that they wanted perpetual contact with the pupils. Secondly he made the point that the teachers themselves were employing what he called black-leg labour to act as substitutes during these necessary absences of married women teachers. He compared them with the qualified bricklayer or plumber and he invited Labour Deputies to say how they stood on a matter of that kind.

There is no analogy, as far as I can see, between the two cases because, in the first instance, a qualified plumber is entitled to a certain fixed wage after he has passed through his apprenticeship. I do not know if there is any ascending scale in accordance with the number of years he serves. If there is such ascending scale I never heard of it. That is not the position with national teachers. The national teacher comes out of training a very young man, a perfectly trained man no doubt, but at the same time he does not gain his maximum salary from the first day he starts. As a matter of fact, he has a big number of jumps to get over. He has to spend a couple of years on probation before he gets what is called his diploma, and he has to give a number of years' service before he will be entitled to get control, or before he will be sanctioned by the Department in control of a school of a certain average. Deputy Anthony apparently forgot that a teacher who may require a substitute would have behind him or her ten or fifteen years' service with all the increments that had accrued during that period. If he or she, during temporary absence, employs any teacher out of training at the scale which that teacher was entitled to get on coming out of training and on getting an appointment in a school, I do not see either that that teacher can be accused of being guilty of employing anything in the nature of black-leg labour or doing anything that is in any way wrong.

Deputy Dr. Hennessy referred in semi-jocose language to the teaching of Irish. I must say that I myself have certain qualms when you come down to the question of teaching through the medium of Irish. It is a subject on which I am open to conviction. Even though I have had experience myself as a teacher, I have never had experience either of being taught through the medium of Irish or of having taught through the medium of Irish. I must say that I feel very considerable qualms in regard to the wisdom—I do not say it is being done any way generally; I believe it is certainly being done in some of the schools in this city—of teaching children through the medium of Irish when their home language is not Irish. After all, ordinary school subjects are difficult enough for the ordinary child to learn. If you depart from the child's vernacular and attempt to do two mental processes at the same time —that is to get children to learn the Irish equivalent and at the same time to learn the subject they are being taught—I must say I am afraid it is against commonsense. Apart altogether from these things, I think it is psychologically wrong.

Your policy?

Mr. Lynch

I do not accept the Minister's statement on that point. I do not think it was ever portion of the policy of the late Government——

It was laid down in the National Programme.

Mr. Lynch

The Minister will have plenty of opportunity for making his case in replying, but I do not think that it was any single portion of the settled policy that there should be any insistence, apart from encouragement. I do not know that it was laid down that there should be teaching of children in English-speaking districts, coming from English-speaking homes, through the medium of Irish. I am open to conviction as to whether that can be done with good results. If it can, well and good, even though it is contrary to the evidence.

There is no provision for the teaching of English to infants in the programme laid down by the National Programme Conference, and carried out by the Deputy's own Government for the past eight years.

Mr. Lynch

I do not quite follow what the Minister said. I did not quite hear. I am speaking, not in any propagandist sense. I know, and it is unfortunate for education, that this thing is becoming a propagandist business—that is, the insistence upon Irish everywhere. I have my doubts, and I may as well express them, of the wisdom of teaching, through the medium of Irish, subjects to children where the home knows no Irish. I express that opinion. I am open to conviction, and I would be glad to hear of the experience of persons now in the teaching profession, or in the inspectorate, who would genuinely say, apart from any propagandist purpose, that such teaching has been tried, and was really successful educationally. I would be glad to hear of any such experience, but I would be extremely surprised, also, to hear of it. As I said I did not intend to speak at all on this matter, and I would not have done so except for the omission made by Deputy Mrs. Collins-O'Driscoll in not referring to Deputy Anthony's reference to married teachers. That was the significant point about his speech to my mind, and it might be taken to mean, if allowed to pass unnoticed, that this House was of opinion that lady teachers, on their marriage, should be forced to resign. I do not think that that was Deputy Anthony's intention, and I am sure, if it was, the majority of Deputies would not endorse it.

I wish to reinforce the last speaker's remarks about teaching everything through the medium of Irish. Many years ago the Gaelic League protested, and rightly, against teaching children in the Gaeltacht through the medium of English. They pointed out that such action was not merely futile but was useless, and I think any reasonable person interested in education in the Gaeltacht will agree with that. We have a somewhat similar situation to-day, in the City of Dublin, where infants, living in an English atmosphere, coming from English speaking homes are being taught all their subjects through the medium of Irish. I may say that the first principle of teaching is to teach the unknown through the medium of the known. I cannot, and I do not think any reasonable person can, ever accept the violation of that principle. It is in that respect that I should like to endorse as emphatically as possible the remarks of the last speaker.

I should like to make a suggestion as regards text books. Last year I had an opportunity of examining text books used in Wales. They seem to be a very reasonable and effective parallel. They were reading books in English and in Welsh. Sometimes there was verse in the English language on one page and in Welsh on the other. The verses were well chosen and the whole book was well chosen, stimulating English if the child was Welsh and Welsh if the child was English.

I should like also to support the plea put forward by Deputy Murphy and Deputy Hennessy that the Minister should pay some attention to school buildings in the structural sense, to see that they are properly equipped and provided with playgrounds and out-offices. It is possible, of course, to teach in any surrounding, but bad surroundings are a serious handicap both to the teacher and to the child. That is all I wish to say at the moment. It really amounts to endorsing the remarks of previous speakers and endorsing them very emphatically.

I am rather surprised at the attitude taken up by Deputy Lynch. He was at one time Minister for Education in the Cumann na nGaedheal Government, and he accepted a more advanced programme than that laid down by the National Programme Conference. And one of the leading characteristics of this programme is its insistence upon the principle of teaching the infant classes through the medium of Irish.

"The members of the Conference (Deputy Thrift included) agreed on the supreme importance of giving effect, as far as possible, to the principle; and in confirmation of their belief they received authoritative evidence. It was argued with much weight that a "direct" method of teaching Irish, continued during the length of an ordinary school day for a few years between the ages of four and eight would be quite sufficient—given trained and fluent teachers—to impart to children a vernacular power over the language; while in the case of older children, it was shown that such a result would be more difficult of attainment. The members of the Conference were, therefore, at one in holding that the true and only method of establishing Irish as a vernacular is the effective teaching of it to the infants."

Further on in the programme, emphasis is laid upon the principle that to go slowly should be borne in mind, in this connection. But at any rate, the fact is there. This was the programme of that National Conference as laid down in 1924 and accepted by the Government of which Deputy Lynch was a member and one time Minister for Education. It was also accepted by Deputy Thrift. Deputy Dillon is largely responsible for setting Deputies against Irish in this debate because if he, in his ill-advised enthusiasm, had not started the hare, I do not think so many would have joined in the hunt.

On a point of personal explanation, do I understand the Minister to say that I started an attack upon Irish?

In my opinion the Deputy endeavoured to convince this House and to convince the country that education was in a very rotten condition. If he had personal knowledge, if any proof, of course, was forthcoming either by personal observation or observation of some person showing that education had deteriorated and was of a preposterously low standard, it would be different. This is the kind of thing we have been listening to, year in and year out. Really, I think Deputy Dillon, when entering on such an important matter, and when indicting the educational system in the country, should at least have produced some evidence in support of his thesis.

On a point of order. The Minister used words which carry a clear implication. I have asked him if the implication that may be legitimately drawn from his words was one that he meant to convey. Did he intend to convey that I started in this House an attack upon the Irish language?

That is not a point of order anyhow.

I ask you, sir, if I am not entitled to ask the question. I think I am and I am asking your ruling on it.

The Deputy is entitled to ask the question but I suggest that this is not the appropriate time to intervene. The Minister should be allowed to develop his statement.

Provided he does not make unwarranted statements about what I said, which are not true.

Deputy Dillon referred to the Irish taught in the schools and spoke of it as pidgin Irish.

Largely.

He talked about the damage that Irish, as I understood it, was doing to the children's constitutions. If the meaning of his speech was not, as I say, to endeavour to convince the country that the blame for the low standard of education, which he says rules at present, is attributable to Irish, then I do not know what the meaning of it is.

I suggest that the Minister should read the speech.

It is possible for him to argue that he was really very enthusiastic about Irish, that he wants to help Irish. I suggest to him that, if he really wanted to help Irish, and if he has these ideas, it would be better, if he is to be fair to the Ministry, to the country, to the teaching profession, and to everybody connected with education, that he should first acquaint himself with the facts. The facts are that Irish, outside the infant classes, is not the main medium of instruction in the national schools. In only four per cent. of the national schools are the children being taught all subjects, or in fact even two or three subjects, through the medium of Irish. In Deputy Dillon's own area, a Gaeltacht area, he will see that even in the Fior-Ghaeltacht all instruction is not through the medium of Irish.

It ought to be.

Of the 755 schools in Division 1, which includes Donegal, Sligo and Mayo, 373 schools teach nothing through Irish, as against 382 schools that do, that is, nearly 50 per cent. Out of the 422 national schools in the Fior-Ghaeltacht, 41 per cent. do all their work through Irish. In the Breac-Ghaeltacht, out of 756 schools, only eight, or one per cent., do all their work through Irish. Deputy Dillon's speech was based on the assumption that the people were being dragooned —he used the expression dragooned— into learning other subjects through the medium of Irish. He even went on to say that it was the policy of our Department to compel children to be taught in Irish whether or not the children were competent to benefit by the instruction, or whether or not the teachers were competent to give that instruction through the medium of Irish. That is not so. The aim of the programme is to extend the use of Irish as a medium of instruction as far as possible, consonant always with the teacher's capacity to do so and, of course, which is also specifically laid down, provided the children are able to benefit by the instruction through Irish. Only 45 schools out of 4,200 in the Galltacht are doing all their work through Irish; only one per cent. in the Galltacht.

All the infants.

As a matter of fact all the infants are not. In the programme of the National Conference of 1924 no provision has been made for the teaching of English to infants as far as I know. It is not laid down in the programme. Nevertheless, it is the fact, as reported to me by the inspectors, that while they, under the terms of that programme, do not take cognisance of the teaching of English to infants, it goes on in a very large number of schools; because the principle is that if the teacher, in the inspector's view, is not competent to give instruction through Irish, then he should give it through English; and it is the inspector's duty to see that that is done. So much for that.

When Deputy Dillon says also that the standard of education is deplorably low at present, I think it is most unjust and unfair. What is the proof? Deputy Thrift, who signed this National Programme, comes along now and says—also Deputy O'Sullivan —that we should have some examination into the question of arithmetic. As far as I know, nothing was done by Deputy O'Sullivan, when he was Minister for Education, to have this inquiry into the teaching of arithmetic. The position that he, or I, or any other Minister, must take up is that we have our expert advisers. Deputies spoke here as if the inspectors, an honest, hard-working, conscientious body of men, were deliberately leading the Ministry and the country astray. The position is that before a teacher can get a highly-efficient rating he must be a very good teacher in English, Irish and mathematics. If Deputies had acquaintance with the educational administration they would know that the teachers, at any rate as a body, are satisfied that the inspectors are trying to implement their ideas; are really trying to raise the standard of efficiency; and are, in fact, pressing it unduly, if we are to believe the teachers' representatives.

In that connection, I should, perhaps, refer to Deputy Byrne's statement in which he, with Deputy Anthony, contends that the standard of education is lower—that it is not as good as it used to be. Similar complaints have been made in Great Britain, both in England and in Scotland. In Northern Ireland, a Commission was recently appointed and reported on this very question. I have the report here. We can understand here that the question of trying to attribute everything to Irish, of blaming all the defects in the educational system on Irish, is largely responsible. But outside that, if Deputies will only go to the trouble of reading the inspectors' reports, if they will only go into the schools themselves, if they will only try and get sufficient information to base their opinions upon, I think they will have to agree with the inspectors that, as far as composition is concerned, it is improving—better than ever it was; and that arithmetic is fairly well taught. It is not claimed that arithmetic is taught to our satisfaction, or that it is perfect. But we have to take a number of circumstances into consideration which I shall detail in a minute. In any case, the inspectors say that arithmetic is fairly well taught. As regards penmanship, they say they are satisfied that penmanship, both in Irish and English, is satisfactory.

That is the opinion of the inspectors. Who is to question the inspectors? Who is to question their word? Deputy Mulcahy suggests that we should appoint inspectors to go out and inspect the work that is already being done by existing inspectors, as if they were not absolutely conscientious and upright in the reports they are giving, but, even if we did appoint a number of additional inspectors to go into the question of arithmetic, history and geography and other special subjects, it would take years before these inspectors could examine the 5,600 schools, and even then they would produce a report similar to every educational report that has ever been produced—that some parts of the educational system were good, some parts were not so good, and that on the whole, the teachers were carrying out their duties to the best of their ability.

Deputy Byrne forgets, and some of the other Deputies who so easily denounce the educational system here forget, this essential and cardinal fact, that over 70 per cent. of our schools are two-teacher schools. If you think of the two teachers wrestling with seven or eight classes in these insanitary buildings you have talked so much about, and often with undernourished children, you ought to make some allowance and ought not to demand a high standard of general knowledge, and so on.

May I point out to the Minister that I distinctly dealt with the City of Dublin, which excludes two-teacher schools. If the Minister is going to indulge in criticism, let it be honest criticism.

Before Deputies condemn the educational system of the country they must bear in mind the fact that over 70 per cent. of our schools are two-teacher schools. Deputies who live in cities are naturally tempted to put in comparison with the splendid institutions that can call in extra teachers and prepare pupils for examinations and get them through in magnificent style, the poor little institutions down the country, in the middle of a bog, perhaps, that have to struggle along with two teachers.

Mr. Byrne

The Minister is evading the point.

Deputy Byrne begged the point when he tried to argue that there was a comparison between this country and Wales, or between conditions in Dublin and London, because he knows very well that for twenty years, at least, they have had compulsory attendance in London. How many years have we had it here? Nobody who knows anything about education, or whose opinion is worth having, believes that we have yet reaped the full fruits of compulsory attendance.

Mr. Byrne

Have you not got 80 per cent under compulsory attendance? That is no excuse.

After a number of years, when that policy has worked itself out to the full, I have no doubt whatever but that the six or seven per cent. of our pupils who now reach the sixth standard, will be increased to ten per cent. as in London, although I still hold that with regard to school buildings, general conditions, financing and so on, it may be that we cannot compare with the conditions in London. Before Deputy Byrne, or anybody else, institutes a comparison between our circumstances here and elsewhere, he ought to explain to those listening and to the country that there are important differences. In any case, it is our contention that we have not yet reaped the full fruits of compulsory attendance. Now with regard to this whole question again: How are we to measure the efficiency of our educational system? Are we going to go back to the results system? The results system was abolished and educationists generally were agreeable that it was a very good thing that it was abolished. What happened under the results system? The pupils were drilled— they were drilled at their spelling, they were drilled at their writing and they were drilled at their tables, and, at the end of the year, the inspector came along and reported, and the teacher was paid according to the inspector's report. It was decided a great many years ago—thirty years ago, I suppose—that the results system should be abolished, and that we should give more freedom to the teacher, and that, instead of having inspectors coming in in that way, we should use the inspectors to advise the teachers, to help them and to see that a reasonable standard of competence was maintained, and that, I think, has been the general object since—by a proper system of insepction to try and make our educational standards what they ought to be. Now, are we going back to the results system? If we are, I think nobody will deny that it will be a retrograde step, but no real suggestion has been made as to how we can gauge the efficiency of our present educational system except through the reports of our inspectors. Thirty per cent. of the teachers are highly efficient—I think that is exceedingly good. Sixty-five per cent. are efficient, and only five per cent. are non-efficient. When we consider the circumstances of these five per cent.—they have been a long time teaching and they have not had opportunities—we may have to make allowances for them.

Mr. Byrne

Will the Minister not consider the suggestion that has been made in a constructive spirit in this House, from time to time, to make the primary school certificate compulsory? Will he, or will he not, consider that? He need not go back to the old system. There is a happy medium in everything.

I was going to say, when Deputy Byrne interrupted me, that we have to be guided by our inspectors. A great many of them have been teachers themselves. They understand the difficulties of the teacher and they are trying to co-operate with them in every way possible. As regards the suggestion that the primary examination should be made compulsory, I do not think that it should be made compulsory until the educational authorities are satisfied that it is reasonable and fair, to the teachers in the two-teacher schools, for example, to put them in competition with the teachers in the schools where you have six or seven teachers.

Mr. Byrne

That is the whole point.

That is only one element of it. I have not, I must confess, gone into this question of the primary school certificate, at great length. All I know is that parents, if they are interested, ought to insist on this test for their children in their local schools. If they want it they ought to insist on it.

Mr. Byrne

Surely the Minister is aware that nine parents out of ten, if they insisted on that test, would find their children unable to face up to it. That is the actual position at the moment.

The Minister is entitled to make his speech. This constant interruption is not leading us anywhere.

Mr. Byrne

I am not making a speech and I have no intention of doing so.

I said that the Minister was entitled to make his speech.

Mr. Byrne

I am not making any.

It looks very like it.

The question of the primary examination has given me——

Mr. Byrne

That is the point. Get down to it.

——a certain amount of anxiety. It is a question of money. We want more money for schools. Deputy Hennessy wants hot baths and modern sanitation in every country school, apparently. The position is that we have a number of inspectors and these inspectors are not able to reach on the work. An individual inspector, working every day, cannot cover more than 120 schools. There are always schools in arrears. We have not a sufficiently large inspectorial staff. Furthermore, a large percentage of the inspector's time—I should say fifty days at present—is occupied with examination of training college papers, setting papers for various examinations and marking them. Inspectors have the marking of the papers in connection with primary school examinations at present, in addition to carrying out their work of inspecting 120 schools within the school year. In a great many of these schools the inspector should, by right, carry out a general inspection, which involves two days in a school, so that it is utterly impossible for the inspectors to do the work allotted to them in the schools. If we are now going to have compulsory examinations and if we put the work on the inspectors of marking the papers, and being responsible for supervising the examinations, there is no doubt whatever that we must largely increase our inspectorial staff. I am not satisfied, while we are giving freedom to the teachers, while there is a good standard of efficiency and while the inspectors' reports are what they are, that it will give the results that Deputy Byrne anticipates if we make this primary certificate examination compulsory. In any case, it is a step that I am not going to take without going into the question more fully.

Deputy Dillon and others referred to the Gaeltacht. It is our policy to give the fullest possible opportunity to Gaeltacht scholars to prepare themselves for the profession of teaching or to give them technical training. It will, however, take time. In the first place, we have not got the number of secondary schools in the Gaeltacht that we should have. There is a great lack of secondary schools in Deputy Dillon's constituency and that is a serious drawback. However, in order to give the Fíor-Ghaeltacht pupils still further advantages and inducements, I am going to consider the question of seeing whether we cannot do something to meet the demand that has been made by Deputies of all Parties, that we should endeavour to give some additional teachers to schools which are on the border-line—that is, schools which, if they had a few more pupils, would be entitled to an additional teacher and just fall short of the required average. I am not committing myself, because I realise that if we give additional teachers to these poor schools in the Gaeltacht in which we are so much interested we will inevitably have a demand for additional teachers from other areas.

Another proposal that we are looking into very closely is that we should try to train young girls from the Gaeltacht as domestic economy instructresses. At present there is no Irish-speaking institution where domestic economy is taught—that is, where Irish-speaking instructresses can be trained. We are looking into the question with a view to remedying that defect. There is no doubt that there are large numbers of well educated young men and women available in the Gaeltacht for other callings besides the teaching profession, if we can only find the employment for them. Recently we had occasion to advertise for applicants who would be competent to proceed for a course of training as manual instructors through the medium of Irish. We got about 200 applications for 12 positions. That is proof that there are plenty of young people available. In this particular instance they were all fairly satisfactory and if our resources were such as to give us an opportunity of placing those young people in other occupations they certainly would deserve to get a chance. I can assure Deputy Dillon that I am just as much interested in this matter as he is, and so are the other members of the Government. We are all endeavouring to make the Fíor-Ghaeltacht really Irish-speaking—particularly as regards the schools—and we are sincere in our endeavour to give all the assistance we can to young people from the Gaeltacht.

A question was raised by Deputy O'Sullivan with regard to compulsory attendance. Why, he asked, would we not raise the compulsory attendance age to fifteen years for those who have not reached the sixth standard? The continuation system of education which we are organising in the country at present has not been sufficiently developed to enable us to say definitely what ought to be done in that respect. In connection with the raising of the school age, we are at once up against the question of the big finance that would be necessary. Some 60,000 children, I am told, leave the schools every year, and it is thought that some 30,000 of these would come under Deputy O'Sullivan's category. It would cost something like £150,000 if we were to keep these on for an additional year. If Deputies will bear in mind the extraordinary cost of further extending the system of elementary education, I think they will be more reluctant to advance these suggestions.

We are endeavouring to extend the system of continuation education through the country. I am very much interested in endeavouring to extend it in rural areas. Up to the present we have been largely confined to urban areas, and in these areas it is natural circumstances being as they are, that people generally—committees and even officials—would be more anxious to concentrate on technical education proper, because they consider it of more value and of more benefit to the country, than on continuation education. We are endeavouring to extend continuation education and, in the near future, we hope to be able to make an announcement that Section 103 of the Vocational Education Act will be implemented. Under that legislation it will be possible to give special grants to the Gaeltacht. Arrangements have already been in hands for the building of schools in some of the Gaeltacht areas. I am particularly keen on assisting those areas. Deputies will recognise that often we have not sufficient instructors who are capable of teaching through the medium of Irish.

As regards the rest of the country, we are satisfied with the progress made. Many Deputies are dissatisfied, but it must be remembered that the new system of vocational education is really only a year or two in operation. A great deal of work has fallen upon our staff. They have to do organisation work throughout the country, and they have been occupied also with building proposals. The majority of our counties have at least one, and sometimes two or three, proposals for new schools, and these proposals have occasioned a good part of the work. In addition, there is the question of teachers, their status and scales of pay and the courses which are to be followed. I am endeavouring to go into that question and to form a picture of what our continuation and technical education system will be like when we have exploited to the full the powers of raising rates and granting proportionate sums from the Exchequer for local developments.

We have not really progressed sufficiently far; we have not got sufficiently under way in the organisation of the new system to be able to state with definiteness that we have achieved certain results. We cannot speak in the same deliberate manner in which Deputy Byrne speaks of the efficiency or inefficiency of our system. I can assure Deputy Good that the numbers in attendance at classes are being maintained. There has been a slight decrease in the number of students last year as compared with the previous year. The current year's report— that is, 1931-32—is not yet in our hands, but according to the reports for the last year there is an improvement in teaching. The gratifying increase in the number of students doing science courses has been well maintained. Commerce still holds the foremost place. Domestic economy and art are well catered for, so that I think we have really to congratulate ourselves on the fact that the general attendance is so good, and that the general efficiency is being maintained.

With regard to the question of entrance examinations for these courses, Deputy Byrne should know that it is not perhaps the best criterion to judge large numbers of children who were very backward in the schools solely on their answering of written examination papers. We may have very excellent children, considered quite stupid at literary subjects, who may turn out to be very good craftsmen and mechanics if we can only give them the necessary training. A number of the very best students in the technical schools, were practically illiterate from the literary point of view. Is an officer in charge of a technical school to turn away students who could do such wonderful work as to build up a wireless set or make a suite of furniture, just because they could not pass the literary examination? We will always have large numbers of boys and girls who were not very successful in the primary schools looking for admission, in one capacity or another, to the technical schools, and it would be very hard to put up a strictly literary examination that would deny them entrance.

The average student spends two years on a course at present. We hope when we get things properly established, when we are working to an ordinary routine and when we are away from the organising work which is taking up so much time, that students will follow the courses for about three years. In that connection I would appeal for more co-operation from local committees. Very often people interested in trade and commerce, and prominent employers in the different localities, take no interest whatever in developments in connection with the local technical schools. If we could get employers to take more interest in the work of these schools, and to keep them in touch with modern conditions outside, undoubtedly their help would be of very great value. As circumstances are at present we are getting on very well. We have reduced the membership of the committees. Schemes have been put forward and, as far as we know, the committees are making the best possible use of the money available. Of course every development requires fresh finance, and Deputies recognise that great developments, such as raising the leaving age, extending continuation education, or embarking on large building schemes, are likely to cost large sums of money.

We have already allocated £120,000 this year for primary school buildings. If Deputies know of particular cases where something should be done to remedy insanitary or ill-conditioned schools, I hope they will call my attention to the matter, so that the Department may get in touch with the management.

As regards local contributions, we have always tried to meet people and to be guided by local circumstances. If the district is particularly poor— take County Donegal as an example— we sometimes give the full grant, or we are satisfied with a contribution in the way of stones, lime and sand.

Deputy Corry raised a question about two teachers in Cork. As far as the Department is concerned there is no power to interfere with any teacher who may be drawing a pension, whether an Army pension or a local government pension, so long as he is not in receipt of a pension from the Teachers' Pension Fund.

Deputy Kissane raised a question regarding the position of Irish in the vocational education schools. We are going into that question at present, and we hope that proper provision will be made for Irish in future in all vocational education schools and schemes.

With regard to the question which Deputy Breathnach mentioned of teachers who had been dismissed and who made application for re-instatement, we have now received sanction to proceed in restoring them to their full rights, and we hope that matter will be settled satisfactorily in a very short time. Deputy Blythe referred to a number of matters, including the question of Roman type. I do not think any Minister should take it upon himself to change the type, no matter how much he may feel aggrieved, without having some expert academic opinion on the question. I do not think the language is yet in a sufficiently safe position to enable us to make the change, although I recognise that, perhaps, the balance of the argument is in favour of the Roman type, if the circumstances that we have here were not present.

With regard to text books and standard books and criticism ofAn Gúm publishing department, we intend to devote our efforts more to the production of text-books and set standard works, biographical, historical, or scientific works. There is great difficulty in finding competent translators and still greater difficulty in finding persons who are able to write entirely new text-books. That is a matter we are going into, and in which we would like to have the co-operation of Irish scholars and Irish teachers generally, in an endeavour to produce standard sets of text-books for our primary schools, our secondary schools and our technical schools, so that all teachers would have books, with the assistance of which they would be enabled to impart instructions through Irish.

The new dictionary will be an unique work both in volume and, I think, in erudition. It is not to be a key book of another dictionary, which would necessitate the use of an additional dictionary. This dictionary is to be compiled on the usual basis. It is to be a dictionary explaining the meaning of words, and not the meaning of phrases, and it is thought that every possible source has been well searched for words, and that all existing knowledge will be very accurately brought together in the publication.

With regard to the question of "A" schools, it is quite true that only one college made application to be recognised as an "A" school. In this matter the girls' schools have certainly given a great example to the boys. This year we have 35 girls' schools looking for recognition as "A" schools. The number of boys' schools is still somewhat behind. With regard to Latin in preparatory colleges, provision is already made, where it can be of use to the students, to give them instruction in Latin. The same applies, to some extent, in connection with other modern languages. For example, French is being taught in one of the girls' preparatory colleges. It is not proved to my satisfaction that Latin is absolutely necessary. The programme is sufficiently wide at present. There are subjects like rural science, drawing and music, all of which any teacher has to acquire a mastery of in addition to the other ordinary subjects, so I do not know whether it would be advisable to make Latin compulsory. Obviously it is a question on which there would be a difference of opinion.

With regard to the important question—which I almost forgot, when Deputy Byrne interrupted me—the question of promotions, we feel that if normal promotion can be carried out, the child being transferred to a new class each year, that a great deal of the present uneasiness and expressed dissatisfaction about our primary education will disappear. The question is, what is a normal period in regard to promotion? The teachers claim that 100 per cent. Promotion is absolutely impossible, and as certain Deputies who have expressed the teachers' point of view explained to the House, there may be very sound reasons for that view. But, unless the inspector is satisfied that there is a sound and satisfactory reason for not promoting the child, the child must be promoted to the next class at the end of the year. Therefore, on the whole question of promotions as on other questions connected with education, we must be guided largely by local circumstances. We must leave matters largely in the hands of the inspectors. They will be guided by their general knowledge of the teacher, the general efficiency of the school and the general circumstances. We have to rely on them to do the best they can in the circumstances. I think we should not try to give the impression in the country that by issuing further regulations, by driving the inspectors and the teachers further, that we are going in some way to raise the standard. The standard, I think, compares favourably with the standard in other countries.

In connection with Deputy Hennessy's remark that we were neglecting the classics, I am told that, in fact, in our secondary programme at present we are devoting more attention and we have more pupils in classics than they have either in Great Britain or Northern Ireland. That is a matter that is not brought to the notice of the public. The particular things in which our educational system which may be as good as, or even superior to, the foreign system are never emphasised. They are never even mentioned. They are kept carefully in the background, and every carping criticism that can be made, everything that can be said to the disadvantage of the system, is somehow seized upon. Deputies should be reasonable and understand that the system is probably, in the long run, very much better but certainly not a great deal worse than it has ever been.

Deputy O'Sullivan, my predecessor, last year pointed out in connection with the question of arithmetic that we were apt, when we thought of arithmetic to compare the feeble efforts of our own budding offspring perhaps with our own wonderful efforts, or with the brilliant fellow who used to be at the top of our class, and we were naturally apt to conclude that the present system had deteriorated— that is comparing the work of the present day with the best work of our own student days. But if we go and speak to an inspector or to the older children we will probably find that there is no great change in spite of the fact that there has been a general onrush of new circumstances. I think there may be a certain loosening perhaps of the control the teacher had in those days. In addition to that employers state that the young people coming to them and the people who are going into the technical schools, are not as good as they used to be, and that the standard has definitely declined. They ought first of all to be able to show us that these applicants for employment or applicants for entrance to the technical schools have come straight from the primary schools. If boys or girls leave school and spend four or five years, or even two years, outside without following any occupation or keeping up their studies there is no doubt whatever but that they will greatly deteriorate. I think that we should bear these circumstances in mind.

With regard to the Teachers' Pension Fund which Deputy O'Sullivan referred to, there has been no change in the situation since the time of the late Ministry, and I am not aware that any change is about to take place. With regard to the question of the Secondary Teachers' Superannuation Scheme, it is proceeding satisfactorily. I think something like 59 teachers—four of whom have since died—have been granted pensions.

Do I gather from the Minister that arising out of the report of the two bodies I referred to, namely the then Executives, about the question of pensions for lay teachers in convent schools and junior assistant mistresses, that no change is likely to take place as far as they are concerned?

In regard to pensions?

The particular classes I referred to, that is lay teachers in convent schools—capitation schools—and junior assistant mistresses. That is one of the questions on which I think a kind of provisional agreement was come to between these lay executives. Do I understand that no change is likely in that respect?

We are hoping that agreement may be reached with the teachers' organisation which will cover that and other points. With regard to the question of married women teachers, may I assure Deputy Anthony that the matter has been having my consideration? We have not yet reached a decision one way or the other on the matter, but as Deputies know— I do not wish to detain the House further—there are many arguments for and against. The Government are disposed to consider the question in relation to the economic circumstances of the present time. When Deputy Anthony says that there are large numbers of girl teachers awaiting employment I am afraid he is not quite correct. There are only, I think, about nine girls who are unemployed, but there is a comparatively large number of men—I think over 30.

What about the number coming out of the training colleges in the next three months?

We are informed that practically all the girls who leave the training colleges find employment in a very short time, and about three-quarters of the men.

That leaves 25 per cent. unemployed, does it not?

No. What I said was they find employment in a very short time, say before Christmas. Others either get temporary employment or they may be fixed up late in the year.

With regard to the question of the Museum, that is a matter that has been engaging the attention of the Department, as Deputy O'Sullivan knows, for a very long time. We are hoping that the Committee which is at present investigating the question of Government accommodation generally will go into it. I will pass on the Deputy's suggestion that accommodation in the Castle would perhaps be suitable.

Is the Minister taking any steps to fill the vacancies on the Museum staff? I am informed that the Museum is understaffed at present.

I am not aware that there are any vacancies.

Will the Minister say how he is going to deal with the point I raised about boys and girls in certain favoured parts of the Gaeltacht getting scholarships, to the disadvantage of boys and girls in other parts: in other words, with the big influence that a particular locality carries in the granting of scholarships?

The rule is that in order to acquire this special advantage the candidate has to come from an Irish-speaking district, has to come from an Irish-speaking home, and has to attend a school which is Irish-speaking and where all subjects, except English, are taught through the medium of Irish.

The places I have in mind are Knockadoon and Ring, and these are places where the inhabitants are distinctly Irish-speaking. In fact, there is an Irish college at Knockadoon. I should like to know would the Minister promise to rectify that position of affairs.

It cannot be rectified.

When the Minister began his reply, although he finished in a peaceful manner, he started in a fiery tone and said that a savage attack had been made on the Irish language, and he also said that I had led off with a particularly savage attack. The only general statement I made on the subject was that "the big difficulty—the big issue, by which the present Minister's reputation will stand or fall, is whether the Irish language perishes under his administration or not." I do not believe that the Minister deliberately misrepresented me, but I am bound to remember the old adage that if a lie is given a good start it is difficult to catch up with it, and I would therefore esteem it a favour if the Minister would make it clear to the House what he meant.

I do not wish to weary the House by quoting Deputy Dillon's speech, but, if the general trend of his remarks was not to give the impression that Irish was to blame for a particularly low standard of education which he found, then I must be under a very wrong impression. His words were:

I understand that the policy of the Department of Education now is that in all classes in the primary schools outside the Gaeltacht, as well as within, all subjects should be taught through the medium of Irish, whether the teacher is competent to do so, without any regard whatever to the competence of the pupils to understand the teacher.

That is only one of the remarks which the Deputy made.

That is not an attack on the Irish language. That is fair criticism.

Does the Minister persist in his statement that I made an attack on the Irish language? Did the Minister make that statement, and if he made it, does he stand by it?

A Deputy

Would the Minister be prepared to test the country on the question?

If the Minister made that statement he stated what was false, and if he did not make the statement he should give his reasons for the attack on me.

To the best of my recollection, I did not say that the Deputy made an attack on the Irish language.

Vote put and agreed to.