Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Tír Chonaill School.

asked the Minister for Education if he will state for the Baile Chiaragáin School (13127), An Clochan, Leithbhearr, Tír Chonaill, the number of applications for the £2 grant made in each of the school years ended 30th June, 1940 to 1946, inclusive; the number of such applications approved in each year; and the number refused, distinguishing the various reasons for the refusals.

asked the Minister for Education if he will state the total number of children who came to Baile Chiaragáin School (13127), An Clochan, Leithbhearr, Tír Chonaill, for the first time, in each of the years ended 30th June, 1940 to 1946 inclusive; and the number of these, in each year, who knew Irish only or knew Irish better than English.

asked the Minister for Education if he will state whether he was satisfied, in each of the years ended 30th June, 1940 to 1946, inclusive, that Baile Chiaragáin School (13127), An Clochan, Leithbhearr, Tír Chonaill, was situated in a district where Irish was generally spoken as the language of the homes.

asked the Minister for Education if he will state the number of homes in which there were children attending the Baile Chiaragáin School (13127), An Clochan, Leithbhearr, Tír Chonaill, in each of the years ended the 30th June, 1940 to 1946, inclusive; and the number of these, in each year, in which Irish was the language of the home.

I propose to take the Deputy's four questions regarding Baile Chiaragáin National School together.

As explained in my reply of the 25th February, 1947, to a question by the Deputy regarding this school, my Department had, for administrative purposes, adopted the results of the applications for the bonus for parents in Irish-speaking districts in relation to the number of children eligible for the bonus, within the proper age limits, as a gauge of the extent to which the conditions set out in Rule 121(1) of the Department's code, under which schools are scheduled as Fíor-Ghaeltacht schools, were fulfilled. In view, however, of representations made to me, in connection with the removal of this school from the list of Fíor-Ghaeltacht schools, that the managers of such schools were not aware of the interpretation mentioned, I had the position specially reinvestigated on the basis of the terms of Rule 121(1). Whilst the result of this inquiry does not show an altogether satisfactory position in regard to Irish in the school-district, it does give a more favourable picture than if only the statistics relating to the bonus were taken into account. In the circumstances, I propose to annual the decision to remove Baile Chiaragáin National School from the list of Fíor-Ghaeltacht schools and to continue to schedule the school under Rule 121(1) from year to year as long as the exact conditions specified in the rule are fulfilled.

I am assuming, however, that the Deputy may still wish to have the statistics to which he refers. With your permission, A Chinn Comhairle, I shall have the statistical table in the remainder of the answer circulated with the Official Report.

Is it proposed to restore Baile Chiaragáin to the list of Fíor-Ghaeltacht schools from the 1st June, 1945, or 1st July, 1945?

From whatever period it was taken off.

What has become of question 11?

Tugadh freagra air.

Níor chuala mé focal de.

The statistical table referred to is as follows:—

APPLICATIONS FOR BONUS FOR PARENTS.

School Year

Number of Applications Received

Number Approved

Number Refused

Reason for Refusal

1939/40

16

15

1

Irish was not the language of the home.

1940/41

22

22

——

1941/42

22

19

3

In the case of two children Irish was not the language of the home. One child did not speak Irish naturally and fluently.

1942/43

27

15

12

In the case of 5 children Irish was not the language of the home. Seven children did not speak Irish naturally and fluently.

1943/44

23

9

14

In the case of 8 children, Irish was not the language of the home. Six children did not speak Irish naturally and fluently.

1944/45

18

8

10

In the case of 3 children Irish was not the language of the home. Seven children did not speak Irish naturally and fluently.

1945/46

28

11

17

In the case of these 17 children Irish was not the language of the home.

With regard to the standard of Irish amongst children who came to school for the first time, I am not in a position to furnish in full the information required by the Deputy in respect of the school-years 1939-40 to 1944-45 inclusive, for the reason that the scheduling of the school as a Fíor-Ghaeltacht school was determined in these years in accordance with the practice to which I have already referred. The recent investigation by the inspectors, however, shows that in the year 1945-46, nine children came to school for the first time and of these five knew Irish only or knew Irish better than English.

Statistics for the years mentioned in the Deputy's fourth question are not available. From the recent inquiry, however, it appears that there are 69 homes in the school-district proper, that in 23 of these there are children who are at present in attendance at Baile Chiaragáin National School, that Irish is the language in 11 of the homes of these children and that Irish and English are spoken in five others, with English dominating in at least three. In addition to these children, there were, at the time of the inquiry, 11 children from English-speaking homes outside of the school-district proper in attendance at this school.

With regard to the Deputy's third question, the result of the investigations in connection with the bonus for parents, in the years 1941-42 to 1944-45 would, on a strict application of the administrative interpretation given to the rule, have warranted the removal of the school from the list of Fíor-Ghaeltacht schools from a date earlier than the 1st July, 1945, but in the case of schools already scheduled there was some case for a more lenient interpretation and it was therefore not until the figures regarding the bonus showed clearly that the position in that respect had failed to, and was unlikely to, improve, that action was taken.

Having regard to the circumstances of this case, I have come to the conclusion that it is desirable in the best interests of the language to have the terms of Rule 121 (1) examined with a view to ascertaining whether the conditions to be fulfilled, in order that a school should be scheduled as a Fíor-Ghaeltacht school, might be so framed as to give a more proper and readily ascertainable index of the position of Irish in the school district than is possible under the existing rule. If it is decided to amend the rule in question, managers of schools will be given notice.