Vote 45—Office of the Minister for Education (Resumed).

Nuair a tugadh tuairisc ar ar dineadh Dé Céadaoin seo thart, bhíos ag insint don Dáil nach fíor a rá mar adeirtear go minic, nach bhfuil ach 10% de pháistí na tire ag fáil oideachais níos aoirde ná gnáth-oideachas na mbun scol. Thaisbeain mé go raibh 40% díobh ag fáil oideachais níos aoirde na an t-oideachas san. Rud eile de, is beag nach iontach an méadú do tháinig, le roinnt blian, ar áiseanna i gcóir oideachais iar-bhunscoile. I scoil-bhliain a 1928-29, bhí 290 Meán-scoileanna sa tír, agus 26,792 daltaí á bhfreastal. Ach, i gceann chúig mblian déag ón am sin (.i. i scoil-bhliain a 1943-44) bhí 377 Meán-scoileanna ann, agus 40,040 daltaí á bhfreastal. Agus, i dteannta a raibh de dhaltaí ar na gnáth-Mheán-scoileanna i 1943-44, bhí 4,250 daltaí sinsearacha na mBun-scol i "Meán-Bharraí" .i. árd-ranga speisialta leanas do Chlár na Meán-scol.

Ar feadh na tréimhse céanna, tháinig fairsingiú an-mhór ar na háiseanna i gcóir Gairm-Oideachais agus Ceárd-oideachais. Do réir na dtuarascáil atá ar fáil, bhí 65 cinn de Cheárd-scoileanna ann i mbliain a 1924-25, agus bhí 22 díobh sin á stiúradh ag Coistí Contaebhuirg agus mór-bhailte, agus an chuid eile (43) á stiúradh ag Coistí Contae. Ach, de thoradh Acht Gairm-oideachais 1930, tháinig leathnú mór ar an gcóras, agus, i mbliain a 1943-44, bhí 186 ann scoileanna seasamhacha, agus tuairim's 13,000 dalta ag freastal cúrsaí lán-aimsire lae iontu.

Bhí sé ina pholasaí i gcónaí ag mo Roinn-se oiread agus b'fhéidir d'fhairsingiú a dhéanamh ar áiseanna i gcóir oideachais iar-Bhunscoile. Maidir lena leithéidí d'áiseanna do chur ar fáil in áiteanna iargúlta tuaithe, is beag tír Eorpach a ndearnadh oiread soláthair inti. Is fíor nár freagraíodh fé mar a bheifí ag súil go ndéanfaí an soláthar Gairm-scol sa tsaghas úd áiteanna atá luaite agam, ach tá na daoine ag tuiscint a dtábhacht do réir a chéile; tá an freastal ag feabhsú, agus meastar go mairfidh sé ag dul i bhfeabhas.

B'fhéidir nár mhisde gearr-bhreathnú ar an gcás a bheadh ann, i gCathair Átha Cliath, tar éis a chinneadh go n-ardófaí an aois scolfhála go dtí 16 bliana. Níl na figiúirí don MhórÁireamh a rinneadh sa bhliain 1946 le fáil fós, ach do réir an mheastacháin is deireannaí dá bhfuil le fáil tá tuairim's 17,000 daoine óga idir 14 agus 16 sa gcathair sin. Tá tuairim's 2,000 díobh sin ag freastal Bun-scol; tá tuairim's 4,400 ar Mheán-Scoileanna agus tá tuairim's 1,100 ar Ghairm-scoileanna— rud is ionann agus tuairim's 7,500 a bheith ar scoil. Den 9,500, nó mar sin, ná fuil ag freastal scoile, tá tuairim's 6,000 i saghsanna éagsúla fostuithe, agus fágann sin tuairim's 3,500 ná fuil fostaithe ná ar scoil. Mar sin de, is dócha go mbeadh tuairim's 10,000 daltaí nua ann a gcaithfí áiseanna oideachais a sholáthar dóibh, dá n-árdaófaí an aois scolfhágála go dtí 16. Tá sé beartaithe ag Coiste Gairm-oideachais Chathair Bhaile Átha Cliath go ndéanfar seacht gcinn de réigiún-scoileanna nua agus bheadh slí iontu sin do thuairim's 2,500 daltaí eile—rud d'fhágfadh áiseanna oideachais ag teastáil, fós, ó thuairim's 7,500 daoine óga idir 14 agus 16 bliana d'aois. Sé an chaoi ina mbeadh an scéal i mBaile Átha Cliath, an uair sin, go mba riachtanach scoil-slí do b'ionann agus slí 25 ceann, nó mar sin, de nua-scoileanna sa mbreis ar chlár foirgníochta an Choiste Gairm-oideachais, agus go mba riachtanach ina theannta sin, an méid múinteoir cáilithe—300 díobh, nó mar sin—a theastóodh ón oiread sin scol nua.

Is léir, mar sin, nár chóir an aois scol-fhágála d'ardú nó go ndéanfaí dian-mhachtnamh eolach ar an gceist agus ar a deacrachta go léir, agus go ndéanfaí plean dea-eagraithe chun a réiteach.

Cé's móite den tsos fhada do tharla i bhformhór scoileanna Chathair Bhaile Átha Cliath, leanadh go sásúil d'obair na mBun-scol ar fud na tíre, an bhliain seo thart. Do réir dealraimh, bíonn a lán daoine ag súil le tuilleadh agus an chóir d'obair ó na Bun-scoileanna; i dteannta a ndualgas féin, bítear ag súil uathu le hobair den tsaghas a bhaineas go speisialta leis na Meán-scoileanna agus na Gairm-scoileanna. Is léir nach féidir do dhaltaí na mBun-scol an tréineáil d'fháil a theastódh uathu i gcóir ceard-fhostuithe; agus ní féidir doibh a sáth oideachais d'fháil chun iad a cháiliú le haghaidh na Stát-sheirbhíse ná na nOllscol. Sé príomh-dhualgás na Bunscoile comh-chúnamh a thabhairt don Eaglais agus do na tuismitheoirí chun bunús daingean creideamh-eolais a thabhairt do na daltaí maidir le mórálacha agus iompar sóisealta. Tar a éis sin, is dualgas don Bhun-scoil oiread bun-oideachais choitianta a thabhairt do na daltaí agus chuirfeadh ina gcumas tuilleadh d'fhoghlaim ar a gconnlán féin, nó feidhm a bhaint as cibé caoithe oideachais a casfaí ina slí. Más cóir obair ár mBun-scol a bhreithniú do réir na gcaighdeán sin, sé mo mheas-sa go gcomhlíonann siad a ndualgais lán chomh maith leis na Bun-scoileanna i dtír ar bith de na tíortha a bhfuil aon eolas maith againn orthu.

Tá fhios agam go bhfuil sé d'fhaisiún ann, faoi láthair, dísbeagadh a dhéanamh ar obair ar mBun-scol féin; ach is eagal liom go dtagann an mhór-chuid den dí-mheasadh ón gclaonadh atá ionainn go léir bheith ag maíomh as an "am fadó"—as an saol sárbhreá a bhí ann, tráth bhíomar féin óg. Tá fhios agam gurb uireasa eolais agus mí-eolas is bun do mhórán den gcáineadh úd. An té ar mhian leis breithiúnas cóir a thabhairt ar an obair ghníthear in aon tsaghas scoile, ba riachtanach, ar dtús, dó an t-eolas agus an tréineáil a bheith aige a chuirfeadh ar a chumas an obair a mheádh mar ba cheart; agus, tar a éis sin, níor mhór dó na scoileanna féin a bhreathnú go maith. Níor mhór dó a bhfeiscint i mbun oibre, ionas go mbeadh a thuairim féin aige ina dtaobh, agus ná beadh sé i dtuillamaí ráflaí ná an bhreithiúnais a bhí déanta ag daoine eile. Ní habhar imní ar bith do Bhunscoileanna na tíre seo daoine a bheith ag déanamh fiosruithe den tseoirt sin. Ach is dí-céillí an mhaise do dhaoine, ná fuil breithniú déanta acu ar obair na scol lena súile cinn féin, bheith ag súil go ngéillfidh an pobal dá dtuairimí faoi fiúntas na hoibre sin.

Méan-Oideachas.—Faoi láthair, tá faoi thuairim 3,550 oide ag teagasc sna Meán-scoileanna agus tá tuairim's 2,500 díobh sin i bhfostú lán-aimsire. Tuairim's 1,955 de na hoidí lán-aimsire, tá siad cláraithe go buan nó go sealadach, agus tá tuairim's 1,900 díobh sin ag fáil tuarastail páigh-bhreise. An t-iarmhar ná fuil cláraithe, tá cuid acu taobh amuigh den cuóta atá dlite do na scoileanna ina bhfuil siad, agus tá cuid eile ná fuil tuarastal páigh-bhreise iníoctha leo faoi láthair.

Níl sé sin le fáil sa pháipéar seo atá againn.

Tá, sílim. Tá an méid a bhaineas le meán-oideachas ann. Maidir leis na 1,900 oide a bhfuil páigh-bhreis dlite dóibh, íocann an scoil páirt dá dtuarastail agus íocann an Stát an pháirt eile. Íocann an scoil an bun-thuarastal—£200 ar a laghad le fear-oide agus £180 ar a laghad le banoide. Sé an Stát íocas an tuarastal páigh-bhreise. Do réir an tsean-scála do thuarastail fear-oidí, bhíodh 16 páigh-bhreiseanna ann, agus shroiseadh siad sin £210 de maximum; ach, anois, tá scálaí faoi leith ann d'fhir phósta agus scálaí faoi leith d'fhir gan phósadh. £410 an maximum d'fhear pósta agus £290 an maximum d'fhear singil. £120 an sean-maximum do mhnaoi, agus tá sé sin ardaithe go £260.

I dteannta na scálaí sin, íoctar £40 de pháigh-bhreis speisialta le hoidí a bhfuil céim ónórach Ollscoile acu. Tosnaíonn an pháigh-bhreis sin ag bun an scála anois; ach, roimhe seo ní híoctaí ach a leath nó go sroiseadh an t-oide an maximum. Táthar tar éis athruithe a dhéanamh ar bhása na páigh-bhreise speisialta ar son teagaise trí Ghaeilge agus, de thoradh na n-athrú sin, tá maximum na páigh-bhreise ardaithe ó £30 go £36. Roimhe seo, ní bhíodh páigh-bhreis iníoctha le hoidí nó go mbíodh siad cáilithe i gcóir deimhin-chláruithe tar éis trí bliana de sheirbhís teagaise a chríochnú. Anois ligtear dóibh dul ar scála na bpáigh-bhreis ar bheith cáilithe i gcóir cláruithe sealadaigh tar éis aon bhliain amháin seirbhíse.

In éineacht leis na scálaí nua sin, cinneadh go dtabharfaí liúntais chíosa d'fhear-oidí pósta agus do bhaintreacha a bhfuil clann ag brath orthu. Ach ní bhaineann na liúntais sin ach le hoidí ná fuil áit chónaithe curtha ar fáil dóibh ag na scoileanna. £10 an liúntas i gceantair tuaithe agus i sráidbhaile beaga; ach is aoirde ná sin é sna mór-bhailte, agus tá sé chómh hard le £40 i gCathair Bhaile Átha Cliath.

De thoradh na scálaí nua tuarastal d'Oidí Meán-scol, méadófar síntiúis na nOidí do Chiste na bPinsean, agus ba cheart go mbeadh suim na bhfáltas i gcothraime, beagnach, leis an gcaiteachas ar feadh roinnt bheag bhlian. Mar sin de, tá an Stát-deontas bliantúil á laghdú go dtí suim ná fuil inti ach comhartha.

Má tá líon dalta na mBun-scol dulta i laghad, tá síor-mhéadú, ós a chóir sin, ag teacht ar líon dalta na Meán-scol. I 1932, ní raibh ach 30,966 dalta ag freastal Meán-scol; ach, i mbliain a 1945, bhí 41,800 á bhfreastal—níos mó ná 800 de bhreis gach aith-bhliain. Maidir le 1946-47, tá 42,927 dalta ann—1,100 níos mó ná mar bhí anuraidh. Rud eile, ní raibh ach 306 Meán-scoileanna ann i mbliain a 1932, agus tá 393 ann anois.

Rinne mé trácht anuraidh ar an uireasa slí do bhí ar a lán Meán-scol. Ba bheag nárbh éigean stad ar fad d'obair foirgníochta in aimsir an chogaidh, agus níor bh'féidir na scoileanna d'fhairsingniú i gcóir an bhreislíon dalta do bhí ag teacht chucu. Mar sin de, tá an mhór-chuid díobh lán, agus tá roinnt díobh i bhfad ró-lán—sna cathracha agus sna mór-bhailte go háirithe. Ach, d'ainneoin ganntanas abhair foirgníochta, rinneadh réasúntacht fairsingithe ar roinnt scol thall agus i bhfus. In áiteanna áirithe, fuarthas foirgnimh bhreise dóibh agus in áiteanna eile, rinneadh na seanfhoirgnimh féin d'fhairsingiú.

Táthar ag leanúint go maith don obair shásúil a bhítheas a dhéanamh maidir le teagasc trí Ghaeilge. I nGaeilge is ea ghníthear an teagasc go léir i 102 scol, agus sí an Ghaeilge úsáidtear i gcóir páirt den teagasc i 116 scoileanna eile. An dá shaghas scol sin le chéile, is ar a gcuid rolla atá 59 per cent. d'iomlán na ndalta Méan-scol. Is eagal liom, áfach, ná fuil a chomhmhaith sin de dhul-ar-aghaidh á dhéanamh maidir le húsáid na Gaeilge mar ghnáth-theanga chomhrá taobh amuigh de na scoileanna; agus is léir go bhféadfaí a thuille a dhéanamh, le linn an Chúrsa Meán-Oideachais, chun a chur in áirithe go mbeadh na daltaí i ndon an Ghaeilge a labhairt go cruinn, líofa, réidh tar éis dóibh an scoil d'fhágaint. Mar shúil go bhfeabhsófaí an scéal táthar tar éis tosnú ar scéim nua faoina gcuirfear deontaisí speisialta ar fáil do scoileanna go sroisfidh na daltaí iontu ard-chaighdeán feabhais i labhairt na Gaeilge. Féadann na scoileanna go léir bheith páirteach sa scéim seo, óir tá a gcion féin de dheontaisí leagtha amach do gach saghas díobh. Táthar tar éis tosnú ar scrúdú na ndalta, agus áireofar na deontaisí do bheith in éifeacht ó Lá Lúnasa, 1946. Maidir le híocaíocht na ndeontas, tá £4,600 de sholáthar speisialta á dhéanamh di i bhfo-mhírcheann nua (A.4) den Mheastachán.

An bhliain seo thart, chuaidh 12,540 dalta faoin scrúdú i gcóir Teastas— 3,717 i gcóir an Ard-Teastais agus 8,823 i gcóir an Mheán-Teastais. Bhíteas sásta le caighdeán na bhfreagraí agus d'éirigh le breis agus 81 per cent. de na hiarrthóirí pas d'fháil. Ní eile, bhí a n-aghaidh ag tuairim's 550 iarrthóirí bhreise ar dheimhinchuspóirí .i. iontráil i gColáistí Oiliúna, nó Scoláireachta Ollscoile a ghnóthachtáil.

I scoil-bhliain a 1946-47, bhí scoláireachta i Meán-scoileanna aitheanta ag 1,693 dalta—uimhir is ionann agus 3.9 per cent. den iomlán i Meán-scoileanna, agus is beagnach ionann agus scoláireacht a bheith ag dalta as gach 25. Ina dteannta sin, féadtar trácht anseo ar 241 de lucht scoláireacht atá in áiteanna eile—cuid i Scoileanna Gairm-oideachais, cuid i gColáistí Oiliúna agus cuid i MeánBharraí sna Bun-scoileanna. Arna gcur sin leis an méid lucht scoláireacht atá sna Meán-scoileanna (agus gan baint do lucht na n-Ollscol ar chor ar bith) chífear go bhfuil 1,934 daltaí iar-bhunscoile ann ag a bhfuil scoláireachta in institiúidí aitheanta oideachais.

Ceárd-Oideachas.—Maidir leis na Cúrsaí Gairm-oideachais agus Ceárd-oideachais atá faoi stiúradh na gCoistí, is áthas liom a bheith le rá agam go raibh ní ba mhó daltaí ar na rollaí i 1945-46 ná mar bhí ariamh roimhe. I 1944-45 bhí 75,282 díobh ann (uimhir mhór) ach bhí 76,838 ann i 1945-46. Gidh ná fuil deireadh fós féin, leis na deacrachtaí taistil, agus mar sin, do tharla ann le linn na hÉigeandála, thainig méadú (ó 13,958 go 14,274) ar líon daltaí na gcúrsaí lán-aimsire lae, agus tháinig méadú (ó 4,701 go 4,889) ar líon daltaí na rang páirt-aimsire lae. Agus is mó ná sin féin an méadú do tháinig ar líon daltaí na gcúrsaí oíche —ó 35,025 go 36,917.

Scéal an-shuimiúil is ea an t-éileamh sa mbreis a bhí ar iontráil sna ranga sóisearacha Ceárd-oideachais de na cúrsaí lán-aimsire lae—go háirithe sna Contae-bhuirgí agus sna mór-bhailte. Ina lán de na háiteanna sin, b'éigean roinnt mhaith daoine do chur ar "liostaí feithimh". Ní hé amháin go bhfuil fiúdas tréineála gcúrsaí sin á thuiscint níos fearr do réir a chéile, ach is léir go bhfuil an tuairim ag éirí coiteann i mease fostaitheoirí gur riachtanach a leithéid de thréineáil a bheith fachta ag daoine óga roimh a bhfostú. I mBaile Átha Cliath, faoi Cháisc, bhí formhór mór na ndaltaí glactha isteach mar phrintísígh ag Córas Iompair Éireann agus ag comhluchta céimiúla eile.

I gcoitinne, tháinig breis daltaí chun na nGairm-scol tuaithe; ach níor mhéadaigh a líon mar mhéadaigh líon na ndaltaí i nGairm-scoileanna na mór-bhailte, óir bhí éileamh mór fós ar ógraí le haghaidh obair na talún. Laghdaigh an freastal go mór ins an Earrach nuair do bhí géar-ghá le hobair ar na feirmeacha agus ar na portaigh.

Sna contae-bhuirgí agus sna mór-bhailte, tá an t-éileamh ar Chúrsaí Tís chomh mór agus bhí sé ariamh. I gCathair Luimnighe (an áit is fearr ina n-éiríonn leis na cúrsaí seo) bhí 240 cailín ag freastal go buan. Rud do na chéillí dóibh, chinn a lán monarcha éadaí agus gnó-chómhluchta go dtabharfadh siad tosach fostuithe do chailíní a raibh freastal déanta acu ar an gcúrsa, agus níor bheag an cúnamh é sin chun líon na ndaltaí do mhéadú. Tá saghas drogaill roimh a leithéidí seo de chúrsaí i gceantair tuaithe go fóill, ach, mar sin féin, táthar ag tuiscint a dtábhacht i gcuid de na ceantair sin. I gContae na Gaillimhe, d'iontráil 276 cailín i Lá-chúrsaí Tís i Siosón 1945-46.

Táthar tar éis obair na scol-gharrdha d'eagrú go maith sna ceantair tuaithe. Tá soláthar maith glasraí agus tortha á bhfáil ó na garraithe sin ar feadh an tséasúir, agus fágann sé sin lón maith chun úsáide sna Ranga Tís. Sa mhór-chuid de na háiteanna seo, baintear triaileacha as modhanna éagsúla curadóireachta, agus cuireann feirmeoirí na gcomharsanacht suim sna triaileacha sin.

I mórán contae, táthar tar éis grúpaí díospóireachta do chur ar bun leis na feirmeoirí a mhealladh chun suim a chur in obair na nGairm-scol, agus tá ag éirí go maith leo sin—go mór-mhór i gCo. an Chláir, igCo. Chorcaighe, i gCo. Chill Dara, i gCo. Liathdroma, i gCo. Luimnighe, i gCo. Lughbhaidh agus i gCo. Shligigh. Cloiseann na grúpaí seo léachtaí luachmhara agus ina theannta sin, cuireann siad féin ar bun comórtais treafa, taispeántais talmhaíochta, agus mar sin.

Do réir mar d'iarr an tAire Talmhaíochta, leanadh do thástáil síolta sna Gairm-scoileanna tuaithe. Tástáileadh 7,963 somplaí sa tSiosón roimh ré, ach, ó tharla gur ceannaíodh breis síolta ó dhíoltóirí iontaofa i 1945/46, níor tástáileadh ach 5,026 samplaí sa tsiosón sin. Mar sin féin, ba léir go raibh gá leis an tástáil, óir níor shrois cuid de na samplaí an caighdeán is ísle ar bith de ghiniúin. Dá thoradh sin, sábháileadh na feirmeoirí ar chur síolta nár bh'féidir dóibh bheith réasúnta torthúil féin.

Tá foráis tábhachtacha tar éis teacht ar Cheárd-oideachas sna Contaebhuirgí. In Ard-scoil na Tráchtála, Rath Maonas, Baile Átha Cliath, tosnaíodh ar chúrsaí speisialta teagaisc i dtaobh deisiúchán siopaí bialóin agus siopaí éadaí agus a gcuid fuinneog, agus tháinig chun na gcúrsaí sin suas le 200 daltaí do bhí fostaithe sna saghsanna úd siopaí roimh ré. Sa scoil chéanna tugadh seacht léachtaí i dtaobh stiúradh foirne agus, ag gach léacht díobh sin, bhí tuairim's 150 daoine fásta, idir stiúrthóirí, bainisteoirí, cinn foirne agus cúntóirí. I gCorcaigh, de thoradh comhair idir na húdaráis ollscoile agus an Coiste Gairm-oideachais, tosnaíodh, sa Scoil Tráchtála, ar chúrsa teagaisc i gcóir Ard-teastas Ollscoile i dTráchtáil. I bPort Láirge, bunaíodh rang speisialta in ard-chúntasaíocht do dhaltaí atá ag ullmhú chun cáilíochta sa gcúntasaíocht a ghnóthachtáil.

Bunaíodh trí chúrsa chun comhoibriú le Cumann Cuardaigh na hÉireann chun foirne tréineáilte tithe ósta a chur ar fáil. I gColáiste Tís Mhuire, Baile Átha Cliath bhí cúrsa do chócairí tithe ósta agus, dá thoradh sin, ghnóthaigh 17 ndaltaí na teastais atá riachtanach. Roimh dheireadh an tsiosóin féin, bhí 14 díobh fostaithe. Coiste Gairm-oideachais Chontae Loch gCarman do chuir an dara cúrsa ar bun—cúrsa tréineála do chailíní cistineach agus do bhan-fhreastalaithe, agus mar sin. Fuarthas úsáid Courtown House ón gCumann Cuardaigh mar áras don chúrsa, agus tháinig 39 gcailíní chuige. Den mhéid do chríochnaigh an cúrsa, ní raibh aon chailín ná fuair tairiscint d'fhostú i dteachósta faoi'n mBórd Cuardaigh. Coiste Gairm-oideachais Chontae Shligigh do bhunaigh an tríú cúrsa—ceann den tsaghas chéanna do bhí i gCourtown House. Fuarthas fostú do gach cailín den 12 do rinne é sin d'fhreastal.

I rith an tseisiúin, bhí forás maith ag teacht ar Scéimeanna Printíseachta. I mBaile Átha Cliath, bunaíodh cúrsaí do phrintísigh i gclódóireacht, i mbáicéireacht, i ngruaig-dheisiúchán, i ndéantóireacht bróg, i ndéantóireacht troscáin, i ndéantóireacht uaireadóir, i dtáilliúireacht, i bhfoirgníocht agus i gcócaireacht tithe Ósta. I nGaillimh, leanadh don chúrsa tréineála i gcóir daltaí sa loingeas tráchtála, agus leanadh, mar an gcéanna, don chúrsa innealtóireachta i gCorcaigh.

Ag an tríú scrúdú chun printísigh a chlárú faoi Chumann Éireannach na dTrádádaí Gluaisteán, Teoranta, do cáilíodh 270. Tá socruithe déanta ina lán áiteanna chun teagasc páirt-aimsire lae, sna Gairm-scoileanna áitiúla, a chur ar fáil do na printísigh seo, agus tá na fostaitheoirí ag tabhairt saoirse ón obair do na printísigh chun go bhfreastalóidh siad na ranga—dhá uair an chluig in áiteanna, agus oiread le sé huaire in áiteanna eile. Chun cabhrú leis na scoileanna, chuir an Roinn amach meamran speisialta ina raibh cnámh-chlár den chúrsa d'oirfeadh do na printísigh agus, ina theannta sin, mion-ealos i dtaobh an mhinimum de threallamh ba riachtanach.

I limisteár Bhaile Átha Cliath, faoi láthair, tá printísigh Chórais Iompair Éireann ag fáil teagaisc pháirt-aimsire i gCeárd-Scoileanna Shráid Bholton, aon lá amháin gach seachtain. Tá cúrsaí faoi leith á gcur ar fáil i gcóir (a) printísigh innealtóireachta meiceannaí, (b) printísigh i gceardaíocht gluaisteán, (c) printísigh i ndéantóireacht cóistí agus (d) printísigh i bpéinteoireacht agus i luaidheadóireacht. Tá cúrsaí de na saghsanna céanna sin ar bun i gCorcaigh agus i Luimhnigh, freisin.

Ar achaint Chomhlucht Siúicre Éireann, tugadh dian-chúrsaí gearra do phrintísigh siúicre-bhiatais sna Gairm-scoileanna i gCeatharlach agus i nDúrlas, le linn samhradh 1946.

An Siosón seo thart, rinneadh aithbheochaint mhaith ar Scéim na Scoláireacht Ceirde tar éis í bheith ligthe ar lár in aimsir na hÉigeandála. Tairgeadh scoláireachta i gcúrsa speisialta tréineála i gcóir fir óga a raibh trí bliana, ar a laghad, críochnaithe acu i mbun Gabhnachta. Cuireadh isteach 83 iarratas ar na scoláireachta, gidh ná raibh ar fáil ach 16 díobh. Bhí an comórtas an-ghéar; bhí scrúdú oibre ann ag deireadh an chúrsa agus chruthaigh an scrúdú sin go raibh saothar luachmhar déanta.

Rinneadh dea-obair arís sa chúrsa oblagáideach i gCoreaigh mar a raibh 952 dalta ag freastal na gcúrsaí speisialta, agus i Luimnigh, mar a raibh 588 á bhfreastal. Tá cúrsaí oblagáideacha i bhfeidhm i bPort Láirge, freisin, ó bhí Mí Eanáir ann, agus tá 185 daltaí ar na rollaí faoi láthair. Is maith bheith i ndon a innsint go bhfuil na fostaitheoirí agus na ceárd-chumainn ag comh-chabrú leis na cúrsaí seo sa gcaoi chéanna inar chomh-chabhraigh siad i gCorcaigh agus i Luimnigh.

Do réir tuairiscí na gcigirí, tá teagasc na Gaeilge ag dul ar aghaidh go fónta sna scoileanna lán-aimsire lae. Tá teagasc trí Ghaeilge ag leathnú go mall taobh amuigh den Ghaeltacht. I gCorcaigh, i Luimnigh, i Mhuigheo agus i gcontaethe eile, tá a lan scoileanna ina ndéantar roinnt mhór den obair trí Ghaeilge. In áiteanna eile, ghníthear ranga faoi leith do dhaltaí a bhfuil eolas maith ar an nGaeilge acu, agus sí an Ghaeilge úsáidtear chun abhar amháin, ar a ladghad, do theagasc dóibh sin. Fuarthas tuairiscí ó mhórán ceantar gur mhéadaigh líon daltaí na rang oíche go mhaith. Ar a dtosach sin tá ceantar Chorcaighe, mar a raibh 2,700 ar na rollaí. Ach bhí níos mó ná 1,000 ar na rollaí i nGaillimh, agus bhí tuairim's an uimhir chéanna orthu i gCill Chainnigh agus i Luimnigh, freisin. An freastal is buaine dá ndéantar ar na ranga, séard a ghníthear é sna scoileanna ina mbíonn comh-cheangal idir obair na rang agus comh-chaidrímh Ghaeilge. Tá obair fhónta á dheanamh sa gcaoi sin, sna scoileanna ina bhfuil Cumainn Ghaelacha. I gCo. Chorcaighe agus i gCo. Dhún na nGall, tháinig uimhir mhaith daltaí chun cúrsaí samhraidh den tsaghas a bhí i nGaillimh le roinnt bhlian—cúrsaí i nGaelige maraon le hobair phraiticiúil.

I siosón 1945-46, bhí éileamh thar barr ag fostaitheoirí ar dhaltaí na gcúrsa lán-aimsire lae. Ina lán áiteanna bhí oiread de na daltaí fostaithe faoi Cháisc agus gurb éigean scor, an uair sin, de ranga na dara bliana agus de ranga na tríú bliana sna cúrsaí sóisearacha. Fostaíodh tuairim's 600 de na daltaí bhí ar scoileanna Bhaile Átha Cliath: fostaíodh 260 i gCorcaigh; fostaíodh breis agus 160 i Luimnigh; fostaíodh breis agus 80 i bPort Láirge; fostaiodh breis agus 50 i nGaillimh; fostaíodh 60 i mBrí Cualann agus 45 i dTráigh Lí.

Mar an gcéanna sin, bhí éileamh mór ag fostaitheoirí ar dhaltaí na gContae-scéim, go háirithe i gContae an Chláir, i gContae Chiarraighe, i gContae Liathdroma, i gContae Mhuineacháin, i gContae na Gaillimhe, i gContae na hlar-Mhidhe agus i gContae Shligigh. Fostaíodh 137 i gContae na hIar-Mhidhe agus, gidh gurb é Contae Liathdroma is ísle ar an liosta sin, fostaíodh 45 de na daltaí ann.

Thríd agus thríd, is léir, dar liom, go bhféadfar bheith sásta leis an obair a rinneadh sna Gairm-scoileanna anuraidh. Bhí méadú réasúnta ar an bhfreastal; cuireadh breis cúrsaí úsáideacha ar fáil, agus bhí sé de thoradh ar na cúrsaí go bhfuarthas fostaíocht fiúntach d'uimhir sa bhreis de na daltaí.

Eolaíocht agus Ealaín.—Tá £6,955 de mhór-ítaim breis-chaiteachais sa Mheastachán seo agus tá sé sin ann mar gheall ar athchóirú liúntaisí tuarastail na Stát-sheirbhíseach i gcoitinne agus mar gheall ar líonadh folúntais sna foirne. Tá £2,490 de mhéadú sa tsoláthar chun scannáin a tháirgeadh i leith Roinne Rialtais; sé sin an costas atá measta do tháirgeadh scannáin i dtaobh prátaí a bhfuiltear lena dhéanamh i leith na Roinne Talmhaíochta.

An deontas-i-gcabhair don Leabharlainn Náisiúnta chun leabhra do cheannach, tá méadú eile á dhéanamh air i mbliana. Measadh é do bheith indéanta, toisc leabhra agus tréimhseacháin do bheith roinnt mhaith níos costasaí ná mar bhíodh siad, agus toisc tuilleadh mór díobh a bheith ar fáil ó stad an cogadh. Ina theannta sin, tá a lán cnuasach láimhscríbhní bhaineas leis an tír seo á gcur ar an margadh le gairid, agus níor mhór don náisiún seilbh d'fháil ar a leithéidí.

Tá £2,000 de sholáthar á dhéanamh i mbliana arís i gcóir chostas na hoibre bhaineas le suirbhéireacht agus le macsamhlú na stair-scríbhne Éireannach atá i dtíortha thar lear. Rinneadh cuardach sa British Museum, sa Bodleian Library agus i Simancas. Tá an tsuirbhéireacht agus an micróscannánú ag dul ar aghaidh i Simancas faoi láthair.

Laghdaíodh an Meastachán i gcóir foilseacháin i nGaeilge, agus níl de chúis leis sin ach an chaoi ina bhfuil cúrsaí clódóireachta. Tá moill agus bac á gcur ar obair an Ghúim, toisc an neafhonn atá ar chlódóirí dul i mbun nuaoibre nó críoch a chur ar obair atá glactha ar láimh acu.

Tá roinnt mhaith oibre déanta maidir le Stair na Mór-ghorta. Tugadh £500 de pháirt-íocaíocht do Choiste na Staireolaíochtai mbliain airgeadais a 1946-47, agus tá an £1,000 d'iarrmhar á hath-bhótáil sna Meastacháin seo.

In aimsir na hÉigeandála, baineadh £600 sa mbliain den deontas-i-gcabhair do bhíodh á fháil ag an gCoimisiún Béal-oidis; ach tá deireadh leis an "ngearradh" sin agus tá an £4,250 de lán-deontas i bhfeidhm ó bhí an lú Aibreán, 1946 ann. Ar achainí d'fháil ón gCoimisiún, soláthríodh £2,000 eile, trí Bhreis-Mheastachán, i mbliain airgeadais a 1946-47, chun a chur i gcumas an Choimisiúin dul in mbun cnuasachta béal-oidis in Albain, chun a thuilleadh cnuasairí páirt-aimsire chur ag obair sa tír seo, agus chun méadú a dhéanamh ar liúntaisí na foirne. Tá cúigear cnuasaire lán-aimsire ag obair sa tír seo agus duine amháin in Albain. Tá tuairim's 35 per cent. d'ardú déanta ar thuarastail na foirme in gach cás. £6,250 an lán-deontas a fuair an Coimisiún do bhliain a 1946-47, agus tá an tsuim chéanna á sholáthar sna Meastacháin seo.

£8,000 de dheontas-i-gcabhair a tugadh do Chomh-dháil Náisiúnta na Gaeilge anuraidh, agus tá an tsuim chéanna á soláthar i mbliana. Séard do bunaíodh an Chomh-dháil chun eagrú agus aonú a dhéanamh ar shaothar na gcumann éagsúil ar cúram dóibh an Ghaeilge d'aith-bheochaint. Tá timirí faoi pháigh ag an gComhdháil, agus tá a limistéar féin leagtha amach do gach timire. Féachann na timirí le spiorad agus dúthracht a mhúscailt i ngach ceantar faoi seach, agus féachann siad le lán-chomhar d'eagrú idir na cumainn atá ag obair ar son na Gaeilge.

D'éirigh go geal leis an gCeol-scoil samhraidh do tionscnadh i mBaile Átha Cliath, i Mí Lúnasa seo thart. Na daoine do chuaidh chuici, b'é a mbarúil i gcoitinne go mba mhaith do b'fhiú leanúint do na cúrsaí mar gheall ar a socharacht do cheol na tíre agus don chaighdeán a mbeadh a lucht éisteachta ag súil leis. Maidir le toghadh na n-Ollún agus le gnáthriarachán na Scoile, beidh treoir le fáil agam ó Choiste Comhairle ar a bhfuil ceoltóirí Éireannacha atá faoi ard-cháil.

Ó bhliain a 1934, bhíodh na Deontaisí Taighdeacháin do Mhic Léinn á riaradh ag an gComhairle Thaighde Thionscail, faoi'n Aire Tionnscail agus Tráchtála; agus, le linn sin do bheith amhlaidh, ba sa Bhóta do Thionnscal agus Tráchtáil go ghníthí soláthar i gcóir na ndeontaisí sin. Má tá, cuireadh deireadh leis an gComhairle i 1946, agus tionscnadh an Institiúid Taighde agus Caidgheán Tionscail, agus níor tugadh aon fheidhmiú don Institiúid maidir le deontaisí ar son taighdeacháin glan - eolaíochta. Meastar, áfach, go mba chóir a leithéidí de dheontaisí a bheith ar fáil, agus tá cúram a riartha á ghlacadh ar láimh ag an Aire Oideachais.

Scoileanna Ceartúcháin agus Scoileanna Saothair.—Sna Scoileanna Ceartúcháin, an bhliain seo thart, bhí 217 daoine óga faoi choimeád—182 buachaillí agus 35 cailíní. Tá dhá thaobhfhoirgneamh á gcur le Scoil an Daingin faoi láthair. Maidir leis na Scoileanna Ceartúcháin do Chailíní, táthar ag smaoineadh ar an dlí-thiúntacht d'fheabhsú ionas go mbeidh aithint le fáil ag saghas nua scoile, agus táthar ag súil, dá bharr sin, go mbeidh Scoil Chill Mochuda i ndon a cuid oibre do leathnú.

Tá fuighleach slí sna Scoileanna Saothair do chailíní—slí do 1,000 nó mar sin níos mó ná an uimhir atá iontu faoi láthair. Maidir leis an méid slí atá sna scoileanna saothair do bhuachaillí, níl an scéal chómh dona agus bhí sé, arbhú anuraidh, cé's moite de cheantar Bhaile Átha Cliath. Ach, le tamall thart, b'éigean a lán buachaillí as an gceantar sin a chur chun scoileanna i bhfad ó bhaile. Tá Bráithre Críostúla na hÉireann tar éis toiliú le scoil do bhuachaillí sinsearacha do bhunú i gcomharsanacht Bhaile Atha Cliath, agus beidh slí do thuairim's 250 buachaill inti sin. Tá talamh agus foirgnimh fachta lena haghaidh, agus tá an t-oiriúnú agus an t-athchóiriú á ndéanamh faoi láthair. Ach beidh a thuilleadh foirgneamh ag teastáil leis an scoil sin a dhéanamh sáthach mór, agus tá an Stát tar éis £40,000 .i. leath an chostais mheasta, do chur ar fáil. Bhótáileadh £9,774 den méid sin i Meastachán Breise do 1946-47, agus tá an £30,226 d'iarmhar á sholáthar sna Meastacháin seo.

I mbliain a 1946, tugadh seal saoirse sa mbaile do 40 per cent. (2,400 nó mar sin) de na adoine óga do bhí faoi choimeád i scoileanna saothair. Is eol don Roinn go bhfuil comh-chúnamh san obair sin á thabhairt uathu ag bainisteoirí na scol, agus is léir go ndeontar an tsaoirse i ngach cás dá n-oireann sí.

Ón lú Deireadh Fómhair, 1946, cuireadh deontaisí ceann-tsraithe, do réir 1/- sa tseachtain, i gcóir foirgníochta agus trealaimh ar fáil do gach scoil a dhéanfadh an t-iarratas atá riachtanach. Séard atá na deontaisí sin á soláthar mar shíntiúis i gcóir costas foirgníochta agus scoil-fheabhsuithe agus chun trealamh d'fháil le haghaidh gairm-thréineála. Gach bliain, bíonn a n-íocaíocht do réir uimhir na bpáistí agus na nóg-choirtheach bhíos faoi choimeád, an 31ú de Mhí na Nollag. Ní hamhlaidh ghníthear iad chun a leithéidí siúd de chostais d'íoc go hiomlán; de ghnáth, tiocfaidh ar bhainisteoirí na scol an tríú cuid, ar a laghad, den chostas d'íoc. I Mí an Mhárta, 1947, is ea rinneadh an chéad deonadh den tsaghas sin, agus ní raibh ach ceithre scoileanna nár iarr bheith páirteach ann.

Sa ghearr-ráiteas seo atá déanta agam, d'fhéach mé le cuntas réasúnta leathan a thabhairt uaim i dtaobh na hoibre do rinneadh, an bhliain seo thart, sna brainsí éagsúla atá faoi riarachán ag an Roinn Oideachais. Níl aon rud sár-iontach sa chuntas, agus tá fhios agam go gcloisfidh mé roinnt achasán, toisc ná dúirt mé go bhfuiltear ag brath dul i mbun mór-athruithe agus mór fheabhsuithe den tsaghas atá ar cois i dtíortha atá sa chomharsanacht againn. Ach ní cóir a dhearmad nach ionann cás dúinne agus do na tíortha a dtráchtfar liom ar a n-éisiompláir. Ní hé amháin nár leig an léirchogadh do na tíortha sin dul ar aghaidh mar ba cheart i gcúrsaí oideachais, ach chuir sé cuid mhaith dá gcóras oideachais as alt a chéile. Sa tréimhse sin, gannaíodh na foirne teagaise; chuir scéimeanna imirce isteach ar chúrsaí oideachais na ndaltaí scoile, agus bhí anró an chogaidh ina chúis le dochar intinne agus dochar coirp a bhfuil na húdaráis ag iarraidh bheith ag fáil leigheasraí dóibh anois. Ach, de dheonú Dé, níor fhuiling an tír seo aon dí-eagrú den tsaghas sin. Ar feadh aimsir an chogaidh, óna thús go dtí n-a dheireadh, bhíomar saor ó aon ní do chuirfeadh bac ar ár scéimeanna oideachais. Níor gannaíodh ár bhfoirne teagaise, agus bhí ár n-ógraí i ndon fanúint sa bhaile agus leanúint dá n-oideachas in aice an bhaile. Mura bhfuil nua-scéimeanna móra oideachais againn, tá fáth le sin, agus is é an fáth é ná fuil siad de dhíth orainn; thug Dia dhúinn teacht saor ón gcur-tríchéile do rinneadh ar na tíortha eile úd.

Ina theannta sin go léir, ba cheart dúinn smaoineadh ar na fíor-shochair atá inár gcóras oideachais féin. Tá an córas sin bunaithe ar dhúshraith nach dóigh liom a leithéid a bheith faoi chóras ar bith eile oideachais dá bhfuil sa domhan faoi láthair. Tá sé bunaithe go daingean ar an bprionsabal gur creideamh do Dhia an bhonnchloch nach foláir bheith faoi gach dea-chóras oideachais. I gcúrsaí scolaíochta sa tír seo, tá comhar agus comhardadh idir na húdaráis Stáit agus na húdaráis Eaglaise—rud nár bhféidir d'aon chóras oideachais a phríomhdhualgas a chomhlíonadh ina éagmais. Agus, maidir leis an scéal a bheith ar a mhalairt de chaoi, tá mé cinnte ná taithneódh sé sin leis an té is mó spéis i gcórais nua.

Cé's moite den bhun-chuspóir cheart a bheith ag an gcóras oideachais níl aoinní chomh riachtanach le hoidí oiriúnacha. Féadfaí a dhearbhú de ghnáth go mbeidh an scoil mar atá an t-oide; agus, ar an abhar sin, ní féidir obair na scol a cháineadh gan roinnt mhaith den cháineadh do theacht ar an oide. An modh ina n-ullmhaítear agus an modh ina dtréineáiltear múinteoirí na tire seo, measaim féin iad a bheith iomlán, oiriúnach. Ní glactar, i gcóir tréineála, le habhair múinteoirí gan lán-chúrsa na Meán-scol a bheith curtha díobh acu go sásúil. Agus, tar a éis sin, is éigean dóibh bheith, ar feadh dhá bhlian, i gColáiste Oiliúna, mar a ndéanann siad a thuilleadh de staidéar acadúil maraon le leathanchúrsa i dteoiricí oideachais agus i gcleachtadh na múinteoireachta. Maidir leis na múinteoirí Meán-scol, ní féidir dóibh aithint oifigiúil go n-a sochair d'fháil nó go gnóthaí siad Céim Oll-scoile agus an tÁrd - teastas Oideachais, nó a comh-mhaith sin de cháilíocht. Agus tá an caighdeán i gcóir aithinte chomh hard céana i gcás na múinteoirí gairm-scol.

Sa méid bhaineas le cigireacht agus le breithniú obair na scol, níl aoinne ina mbun ach daoine a bhí seal ina múinteoirí. Go fiú riarachán an chórais, tá an mhór-chuid de idir lámha ag ardfheadhmannaigh do fuair roinnt mhaith taithí ar mhúinteoireacht agus ar chigireacht. An córas atá faoi'n bhreathnú agus faoi'n riaradh atá luaite agam, agus atá bunaithe go daingean ar an tréineáil creidimh agus móráltachta is gá bheith mar chroí ag fíor-oideachas, ní féidir gurb airidh air an cáineadh atá ina fhaisiún, faoi láthair, ag daoine labhras go mí-chruinn agus go mí-chúramach.

Ní dóigh liom go bhfuil mórán eolais fachta againn tar éis an ráitis a thug an tAire dúinn i dtaobh cursaí oideachais sa tír seo. Tá a lán figúirí agus a lán tuairimí beaga againn, ach maidir leis na rudaí atá ag déanamh buaidhrimh do na daoine go léir, sé sin, córas oideachais na tíre agus gach rud a bhaineann leis, níl níos mó eolais againn tar éis an ráitis ná mar bhí againn nuair a thosnaigh an tAire.

Níor mhaith liom cur isteach ar an dTeachta ach ar feadh nóiméid. I presume we are taking all these Votes together, as usual.

Deputy Dillon had some question to raise about the gaps in the Minister's statement, with regard to the number of Estimates in front of us.

That would not prevent his debating any one of these Votes.

When the Votes come up?

No. Now, in the general discussion. It is usual. What is the will of the Committee?

We have the Vote for the Office of the Minister, the Votes for Primary Education, Secondary Education, Technical Instruction, Science and Art, Reformatory Schools and the National Gallery. It might be well to leave the Estimate for the Institute for Advanced Studies as a Vote to be discussed separately.

If the Committee so desires.

I disagree. It has been the practice to take the whole group of Votes together. I do not know why we should depart from that and have a second debate. Surely the Deputies who want to speak on a particular Vote can do so in the general discussion?

I do not wish personally to raise any objection to taking them all together.

The Votes will be taken together and Deputy Dillon can be so informed.

Níl morán eolais fachta againn ar an t-árd cheist ar fad. Something did happen at Question Time which shows that, by pounding away at a particular situation, a little more knowledge and understanding can be brought to bear on certain questions. It also disclosed how much there was to be watched and attended to by Deputies and by those in charge of schools and by the parents whose children are going to school if the teachers, whose importance the Minister says is so great, are to get any chance at all. We were told at Question Time that, after certain consideration, the Minister has now put the school in Baile Chiaragáin back into the number of schools in the Fíor-Ghaeltacht. The history of the fight that had to be made to find out exactly what the Department knew about the district of Baile Chiaragáin and the conditions of Irish in that district and the condition of things in the school and on what principle the Department is working, indicates a very extraordinary state of affairs. It is interesting and welcome that Baile Chiaragáin is to go back on the list of Fíor-Ghaeltacht schools, but it is twice as interesting and twice as necessary that we should examine what happened there and what happened in other districts and generally what the approach of the Department is to the position of the Irish language in the Irish-speaking districts on the one hand and the work of the schools on the other hand. When the Minister was speaking last year—I quote from column 176 of the 13th May, 1947 where it is requoted—he said:—

"Ní féidir linn an Ghaedhilg do shlánú gan sár-iarracht do dhéanamh i gcinnibh Béarla agus uaireanta i gcoinnibh na náduire dhaonna féin, i dtreó go mairfeadh an teanga. Ní féidir cogadh mí-chuíbheasach teangan den tsórt san do choimeád ar suíl gan íbirt, agus gan iarrachtaí diana, buan-tseasmhachta—agus níl a mhalairt sin de rogha againn muna mian linn leigint don Ghaedhilg bás d'fháil mar theangain labhartha."

The official translation presented to us states:—

"We cannot save Irish without waging a most intense war against English and against human nature itself for the life of the language. Such a desperate linguistic war cannot be carried on without sacrifice and persistent effort and struggle, but we have no choice unless we intend to let Irish die as a living language."

As part of the work, and part of the sacrifices that people are prepared to make in helping to keep Irish a living language, certain provisions are made to give extra grants to teachers teaching in the Fíor-Ghaeltacht schools, and certain facilities are given to the pupils who attend the Fíor-Ghaeltacht schools and come from Irish-speaking homes, to enter the training colleges. Other facilities are also available for them, and certain monetary grants are given to the parents. The regulation that governs that is regulation 121 (1), which reads:—

"Where the Minister is satisfied that a school is situate in a district where Irish is generally spoken as the language of the homes, and where a considerable proportion of the children going to school for the first time know Irish only or know Irish better than English, a special grant on the basis indicated below may be made for the school year to members of the teaching staff of schools specially approved for the purpose of this grant, in which the teachers are competent to give instruction entirely through the medium of Irish and where instruction in the various subjects of the school programme (other than English) is so given."

For a number of years since a definition was given for the purposes of the Department of Education, of districts as Fíor-Ghaeltacht districts, Baile Chiaragáin was a Fíor-Ghaeltacht school until certain action was taken last year. Now, Baile Chiaragáin is one of those districts that you slip into as you pass along the road from Ballybofey to Glenties. When you turn the corner at Alt-na-Péiste on the lefthand side you find yourself in one of those glens which lose themselves among the mountains, the kind of place that, here and there throughout the country, has been responsible for keeping Irish in the position in which it is even in the political arena, because it was not learning Irish in school that made people go out and save the Irish language; it was the fact that they knew the Irish-speaking people and the Irish-speaking districts where the language was a need for human communication between one person to another since the time, and long before the time, of St. Patrick.

It was in one of these spots that you found yourself when you turned the corner. You found yourself in a place where you realised you had the peace of God, and you nearly went down on your knees to thank God for the kind of civilisation that you found there, and for the glorious language in which the people there could communicate to others their characters, their feelings and their thoughts. In such a district as that there is a small school with two teachers in it. It serves a district in which there are 64 houses but only from 21 of those houses in that district are there children coming to school. You have there, as I say, a small two-teacher school. What kind of work are they doing? In 1942, the report on the principal teacher said:—

"Oide an-dílis Gaedhealach 'seadh í. Do-bheir sí togha oiliúnta dá cuid daltaí agus tá a rian san go láidir ortha. Táid an-aibidh béasach Gaedhealach."

Chuaidh an scoil i méid go mór ó dháta na Tuairisce deireanaighe—The school is increasing in numbers—because, no doubt, of the excellence of the tuition given there.
As regards the speaking of Irish, the report was:—
"Gaedhilg a labhairt:—An Mhaith: Moltar breis ama a thabhairt do'n ghramadaigh fhuirmiúil.
Gaeilg a Scrí:—An Mhaith."
The report on the other subjects was:—
"Béarla a labhairt:—Maith: Níor mhór breis comhráidh a dhéanamh ar ábhar na gceacht.
Béarla a Scrí:—An Mhaith.
Uimhríocht:—Maith: Níor mhór breis feadhma a bhaint as an ádhar le inntleacht na ndaltaí do ghéarú.
Stáir:—An Mhaith: Tá lear mór eolais ag na daltaí agus tuigid dlúth agus inneach na staire go rí-mhaith.
Tír Eolas:—An Mhaith.
Obair shnathaide:—An Mhaith."
Then we have a description of the school in which two teachers are teaching and giving that type of instruction:—
Beirt oidí in aon seomra amháin. Sean-foirgneamh salach an teach scoile—(Two teachers in one room— a dirty old building).
In 1946, the report on the principal teacher was:—
"Bheir an toide oiliúint foghanta ar Ghaelachas ar dheagh-iompar agus ar dheagh nósa do na daltaí agus tá saothrú an tsásúil dá dhéanamh ar a dtréithe intleachta.
Beirt oide ag obair le chéile in aon tseomra beag cumhang drochchóirithe—(two teachers working together in one small, narrow, badly-equipped room).
The rating is—An-Éifeachtach— (Highly Efficient)."
Again, the report is:—
"Gaeilg a labhairt—An-Mhaith: Tá na daltaí líomhtha cruinn sa chómhrá, léighid a's aithrisid go tuigsionach, a's tá gach gné eile den ádhbhar go hantsásúil aca.
Gaeilg a scrí—An-Mhaith: Tá an pheannaireacht slachtmhar deaghchumtha agus scríobhtar aistí anchreidiúnacha sna hárdranga.
Béarla a labhairt—Maith: Ghnítear léigheamh a's aithris go sásúil. Tá eolas cóir ar an ngramadaigh ag na daltaí. Níor mhór breis aire thabhairt do mhíniú an téacsa.
Béarla a scrí—An Mhaith: Ar aon dul le Ghaedhilg thuas.
Uimhriocht—Maith: Tá na bunphrionsabail sáthach daingean ag na daltaí agus ghní siad an obair innealta go sásúil. Níor mhór níos mó luathais a's cruinnis do shaothrú sa bhéal-obair.
Stair—An Mhaith: Tá eolas a's tuiscint léir ag na daltaí ar an gcúrsa a rinneadh leo.
Tír Eolas—An Mhaith: Tá eolas an-mhion ar Eirinn ag na daltaí uilig agus tá cúrsa leitheadach leasmuigh dhe sin déanta ag na hárdranga.
Ceol—Maith: Níor mhór an scála mheabhrú bheith níos cruinne ag na daltaí.
Rating—An-Éifeachtach."
Here you have two teachers and the account of the work done in a dirty little one-roomed building is that it is of the excellence described here with regard to English, Irish, history, geography, arithmetic and needlework. The school was treated on its merits and on its position as a school in an Irish-speaking district which involved, under Rule 121 (1), that the teacher was in receipt of an extra 10 per cent. on her salary. Then, in June, 1946, the manager was notified that it was no longer to be regarded as a school in an Irish-speaking district and that for the year that had passed the teacher would lose her 10 per cent. on her salary.
These were all the steps that the Department of Education took about the matter. If it was right that the school did not fulfil the conditions described there, that is, if the Department satisfied itself that the school was not situated in a district where Irish was generally spoken as the language of the homes and that it was not a fact that a considerable proportion of the children coming to the school for the first time knew Irish only or knew Irish better than English, surely, it was a matter of some concern to the Department of Education that Irish was passing out of a district that had been for years past a purely Irish-speaking district and had been regarded as such by the present Department of Education. If, on the other hand, these conditions were being faithfully fulfilled, surely it is a shocking thing that the Department of Education could intervene after the passage of a school year and tell the teacher whose report I have read out that she could not, unfortunately, get the 10 per cent. addition on her salary that is allowed in an Irish-speaking district because the Department of Education did not believe that the district was an Irish-speaking district.
I put to the Minister for Education to-day a series of questions which if they were answered would show that the conditions that are prescribed are absolutely existing in the district. The Minister's answer was to turn the question aside and to say that he had not some of the important information. I asked the Minister if he will state in respect of the years 1940 to 1946 inclusive the number of children who coming to school for the first time knew Irish only or knew Irish better than English. That is one of the things that are required to be known according to that regulation. The Minister said he did not know:—
"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."
For the purpose of understanding the situation, in the year 1942-43 six children came to school for the first time and five of them knew only Irish or knew Irish better than English. In 1943-44, five children came to school for the first time and four of these knew Irish only or knew Irish better than English. In 1944-45, seven children came to school for the first time and of these four knew Irish only or knew Irish better than English and in 1945-46, nine children came to school for the first time, as the Minister says, but the local manager declares that seven of these knew Irish only or knew Irish better than English. Then, in the half year that followed, that is the last half of last year, two children came to school for the first time and they know Irish only or Irish better than English. So that in respect of the very things that the Department set out to guide them as being the things which indicate what is a really Irish-speaking district, that is, the number of children coming to school for the first time with Irish only or knowing Irish better than English, the Department had no information and would not have any information but for the stand that was made by the local people against the violent, drastic and thoughtless action of the Department in June last when they declared the school to be not in a Fíor-Ghaeltacht district.
I asked the Minister if he will state the number of homes in which there were children attending the Baile Chiaragáin National School and the number of these in each of the years ended the 30th June, 1940, to 1946, inclusive, in which Irish was the language of the home. Statistics for the years mentioned in my question were not available but from a recent inquiry it appears 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.
The vital statistics for the area are that there are 184 adults, that there are 56 children at school, that there are 27 young children who are not at school— a total population of 267 for the school district. Of the adults, 149 are native speakers, 12 can speak Irish, 23 can speak English only. It is a district where a certain number of people come back from Scotland with English-speaking families. The district is not a district where people migrate to Scotland. There is no migratory labour from the district. It is one of those culs-de-sac in the mountains and people who leave it very seldom have an opportunity of returning because of the economic nature of the district, but families have returned from Scotland with young children, having been resident in Scotland for some time, and are living in the district. That explains why there are some people in it who speak English only. Of the school children, there are 41 attending school whose home language is Irish. The total number of houses there is 64 and in 52 of these, or 82 per cent., Irish is the home language.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle took the Chair.

The number of houses from which there are children going to school is 21. The number of these in which Irish is the home language is 16. These facts are vouched for by the manager of the school, by the curate there and by the teachers. It is clear from the figures and from the history of the place that we have in that cul-de-sac in the mountains one of these Irish-speaking districts where Irish is maintained as the home language and where Irish can be maintained if there is any sincerity at all in our attempt to do it. It is on a district such as Baile Chiaragáin that we have the kind of outrage that was committed there, when in June of last year the Minister simply said: "This school goes off the Fíor-Ghaeltacht list." Because of the fight that was made in the Baile Chiaragáin district the situation has been exposed, but over a number of years the same thing has happened elsewhere. It has happened in Bun a' Choire School in Achill, County Mayo. It has happened in respect of An Gleann, Ballinskelligs, County Kerry; in respect of Lóthar An Cuirreán, County Kerry; in respect of the Naomh Eoin School (Caisleach), near Killarney, County Kerry, and in respect of Duibhinn in the Glenties. When it transpired, as a result of happenings at Baile Chiaragáin, that this was happening elsewhere, naturally those interested in the language want to know what exactly is happening.

I put down questions to every single Department to ask what districts were regarded for the purposes of each of these Departments as the Irish-speaking districts and the answers which were given me in November last showed that the Departments to-day are working on the reports of the Gaeltacht Commission of 1926, and that beyond what advantages had been made to the Irish-speaking areas as delineated in that report, what additions had been added in Meath where transferences had taken place, there had been no review of the Irish-speaking districts since 1926. I then asked the various Departments whether they had received any report from the Department of Education that there were districts in the country where Irish was fading away and none of them had received any reports. The Minister had not made any reports. In so far as any action that we have seen at all arising out of the fact that schools have been taken off the Fíor-Ghaeltacht list, no Department in the State has in any way the vernacular position of the language under review. The Department of Education has not, because that Department has struck six or eight schools off the list of Fíor-Ghaeltacht schools within the last four or five years without asking a single question as to what is happening in these areas or without investigating whether the conditions laid down for defining a district as Irish-speaking exist at all.

I am rather inclined to the view that as so many districts have taken this decision of the Department of Education lying down there may be something in the Minister's argument that these are not Irish-speaking districts. But we have had a case in Donegal where, when the fight was made against the injustice, and when the irregular action of the Department in wiping a school off the Fíor-Ghaeltacht list although it complied with the regulations was exposed, the Minister had to admit that he was wrong or at any rate the Minister had to change the decision. What has happened in regard to these schools must certainly destroy any confidence that those who are interested in the language and who are depending upon the Department of Education to watch the situation, to foster the situation and to help the situation may have had. I do not think anything more brutal could have taken place than the action that was taken by the Department of Education in relation to the Baile Chiaragáin School because what did it do? Without investigating the situation but merely looking at the figures in its headquarters office here in Dublin as to the number of children attending the school and the number of children who are receiving the £2 grant, it struck the school off the list. What was the result? It has deprived a teacher, doing glorious work under very poor conditions and in a very out-of-the-way part of the world where there was nothing to sustain her interest except the glorious work she must feel she is doing in keeping the light of education alive through the medium of Irish in that valley in Donegal, of 10 per cent. of her salary. The children who go to that school are deprived of the special advantages that are given to children in the Fior-Ghaeltacht area. Father Mullen in his case which he submitted generally and which he sent to a certain number of Deputies said that to-day its pupils are to be found in the Civil Service, in the Defence Forces, in preparatory colleges, in training colleges, in All Hallows, in Maynooth College, in convents and in monasteries. This small Irish-speaking school was able to provide men and women of the calibre of whom that can be said and the present pupils have been injured in their chance of an economic outlet of a particular kind from these districts by the Minister's action. It emphasises very much the hopelessness of expecting the Department of Education to look at the Irish-speaking districts in the way they should be looked at. It does even more than that. It shows that there is a shocking weakness on the administrative side. However, Baile Chiaragáin has struck a blow for realities in these matters and if the Minister, as he answered me to-day, says that he may have to change the nature of the regulations that will define what a purely Irish-speaking district is then, when he is doing that, it behoves him and the Government generally to look realistically at the Irish-speaking districts to see exactly where they are and what they are and what is being done for them, educationally and otherwise.

When the Minister speaks of the fight against human nature that he and they expect other people to make in order to save the language we may expect that Government Departments will exert themselves a little bit to look frankly at the facts to see if there are weaknesses in the situation and, if so, how they should be remedied. It is nothing but the gravest possible scandal that a Department that holds itself out and that is looked to as the Department which is to preserve the Irish language would, in the case of a school like Baile Chiaragáin, strike it off the list and then leave it there without any investigation of the circumstances or the conditions until somebody outside has to come along and fight in the way in which some of the local people have carried on their fight. There may be weaknesses in regard to the language in Baile Chiaragáin. That is all the more reason why the Department should be more energetic in seeing what the situation is and in seeing what help can be given rather than rely on threats or the withdrawal of assistance. The Minister comes here again this year and what kind of year is it?

We had the President of the Association of Secondary Teachers, at Easter, giving his presidential address to his colleagues and some of his remarks run like this:—

"I think that a grave defect in the syllabus for secondary schools issued by the Department of Education is the absence of any instructions to teachers or managers, or of any other official attempt, to ensure that pupils are made aware of the high purpose and value of education, are given a bird's eye view of the general scope and aim of their courses, and an understanding of the way in which various subjects dovetail into or supplement one another so as to build up a complete pattern in their minds. A student is not required to be made aware of any purpose in his educational course other than the one usually assumed by him—that he has to get through it, to put in his time till he reaches a certain age or passes a particular examination."

The President of the Association of Secondary School Teachers, as part of his presidential address, opens with the question:—

"What is secondary education for? Why will not somebody in the Department of Education tell us what it is?"

That is one of the things that mark the kind of a year we are in.

The primary school teachers issue a plan for education and, on page 15 of the plan which they have just published, we read this:—

"There must be a reform of our educational system if we are to survive as a nation with a distinctive culture."

They give five or six reasons leading up to that to show why, with the defects there are in our present system, there must be a reform. The third reason they give is:—

"Our education system lacks continuity and co-ordination and is really a collection of systems— primary, secondary, vocational, university — differently administered and financed, and with different aims and outlooks. The lack of unity and integration results in loss of efficiency, and the divergence of aim and outlook breeds unhealthy class distinctions. Furthermore, the administration and direction of educational policy is largely in the hands of people without practical contact with education or with the social and economic problems of the community."

Whatever comments the Minister or anybody else might like to make on the statements of the President of the Association of Secondary Teachers, on the one hand, or on the report of the primary school teachers, these statements represent an attitude of mind on their part which we cannot afford to ignore; at any rate, the parents whose children are being educated and those who look at the social and economic life of the country and who realise what education means for the improvement and betterment of them cannot ignore the fact that teachers are speaking like that. The Minister for Education does. Beyond a few remarks to show that it is wrong to say that education is bad here and that there are difficulties about increasing the school age from 15 to 16, he completely ignores the things that are moving in the minds of teachers and that he must know are moving very much in the minds of parents. As we have said for several years now, there is nothing disturbing the minds of parents throughout the country or the minds of people in business or in industry more than the feeling that there is something seriously wrong with our education.

It is imperative that these matters should be faced up to. We have pressed that an advisory council on education should be set up, so that there would be gathered around the Minister in an advisory way a group of people who are in close touch with education and the various matters in education that are problems and who would help to guide public opinion or inform the public as to what was being done and persuade them that what was being done was right or, if there were defects to be remedied, as everybody knows there are, would take a part in helping the Minister to remedy them. But we only have to look outside to get from other people a guide and a help as to how we might proceed. Apart altogether from the feeling of frustration which teachers are expressing here and the feeling of exasperation that parents have, we have seen people in Great Britain and the North of Ireland and Scotland looking frankly at their educational problems, writing frankly about them, and planning extensively about them.

The Taoiseach discussed primary education in the Dáil a couple of years ago and insisted that the fundamental matters in primary education were that the pupils should, when they leave school, be able to read well, be able to write well, and be able to do arithmetic well. He emphasised that reading and writing meant that they should be able to read and write in both the English and Irish languages. In Scotland, where there is an advisory council on education, we find that in the beginning of this year that council presented the people of Scotland and the Government Department responsible for education there with a report on primary education and a report on secondary education. Both of these reports emphasise how radical must be the approach to laying proper foundations for education in future, particularly in the dangerous circumstances of the modern world. In the report on primary education, in paragraphs 112 and 113 they say:—

"As we have already hinted, we discard with little regret the narrow and obsolete view that reading, writing and arithmetic are the three fundamentals of education. A half-truth of this kind does more harm than good if it leads to the notion that every effort must first be concentrated on these subjects, that on them alone can any sound superstructure be built, and that all other subjects are more or less ‘frills'.

If it is necessary, having regard to what we have already said above, to talk about any subject at all being more fundamental than another, we would suggest tentatively, and as a basis for clearer thinking on the subject, that the three fundamental subjects are physical education, hand-work, and speech."

Putting physical education first, they go very exhaustively into what health means to the child and what healthy and sanitary surroundings mean to the development of the child, and, both in the case of secondary and primary education, they make elaborate proposals for seeing that the school buildings are adequate and well-lighted, that there are proper recreation grounds, and that bodily health is fully developed and safeguarded as a fundamental part of the human personality. Then, as to hand-work, there is the development of it in a very systematic way. We realise how necessary it is to develop manual skill. Regarding speech, language is the foundation of all communication and the vehicle of thought and memory. They bring a radically new mind to bear on speech as one of the things that must be developed if the human personality is to be developed.

We have very many things to learn from the Scotch Report. The report that the primary school teachers have now made is, in its own way, an epochmaking report, not that it says the last word in what are our difficulties from the point of view of education, or that it claims to be the last word as to how our problems should be tackled, but in it we have now given to us by one body of our teachers a studied review, however incomplete, of one branch of our education. It shows how necessary it is to have a whole new approach to what we are educating our people for and the technique that should be adopted in connection with it.

We have reached the stage, both in the history of the Department of Education and in the history of our people, when we cannot rely on the Department, as it exists, to steer us any longer through the problems that require to be tackled in order to put our education on a sound basis and we again press for the establishment of a council of education that will make a beginning in helping to do for us what bodies like the Scotch Council is doing for the people in Scotland: that is, a beginning in discussing in an open and broad way the things we require to have done for us here if our schools are to be made real educational establishments. When we consider the problem we have in connection with a second language here, we should be much more alert and active than other people are. Instead of that, we are lagging very much behind, and for that reason I move that this Vote be referred back for reconsideration.

Last year, when the Department of Education Vote was before the House, very naturally, because of the particular circumstances obtaining at the time, the discussion was dominated by a set of circumstances which were rather unique so far as Dublin City was concerned. In the nature of things, a certain amount of time in this debate will have to be devoted to the events that occurred over that particular period. I feel certain that anybody who will advert to that particular occurrence will do so with a view to ensuring that any opportunity there is of conciliation as between the teachers and the Department will be availed of.

There were rumours—I have no special information on the subject— following the return of the teachers, that things were not going too well so far as the Irish National Teachers' Organisation and the Department were concerned, notwithstanding that all the indications, prior to the close of the strike, suggested that conciliation when the teachers would return would be the order of the day. There is one aspect of that position which may have been —undoubtedly it has been—overlooked and I think it desires underlining. Twelve months ago, when we were discussing the irreparable harm that would be done by a continuance of the strike, every speaker from these benches referred to the position that would ensue when the trouble would have ceased. I am glad to say that a really wonderful piece of work has been done by the teachers in making up a very considerable proportion of the leeway which occurred during the period of the strike. I would like to pay tribute to the teachers, despite their disappointment, for the zeal they undoubtedly have displayed on their return and I wish to express to them the thanks of the community, and particularly of the parents, for bringing the children back to their normal standards in such a short space of time.

There was a general feeling that conciliation would be the order of the day. I submit that practical effect to that desire might be given by the Minister, even at this stage, in respect of two very serious aspects of the problem. I understand the position is that the teachers have lost their increments over that period of seven and a half months and that it will play against them so far as their pensions are concerned. I suggest, having in mind the very considerable sum that was saved— approximately £250,000 — that what would be involved in a satisfactory adjustment of these two items—relatively small perhaps, but of tremendous importance to the people concerned—would not be very appreciable and the Minister should take advantage of the in-between period to ensure that there should be such an adjustment. It would be a practical gesture along the lines of conciliation.

There is also the vexed question of rating. It was the most important item, the outstanding bone of contention, in the dispute. There seems to be an idea abroad that the Minister is favourably considering an easement of that position. I venture to say that if he does so he will bring untold satisfaction to the teaching profession. I am trying to get a picture of the time when the teachers returned and the attitude adopted by the Department. I am bound to say there was one particular occurrence, which, in the very nature of things, can only be described as a most regrettable blunder. That was the payment of a bonus to the teachers who remained in. It could only have one effect and that was to inflame passions at a time when the very reverse should have occurred. The Minister and his advisers should be well aware that action of that kind was bound to do violence to opinions, traditions and principles that have been very highly prized in trade union ranks of all hues, and particularly in this country because of the bitter struggle there has been in years gone by to ensure that the fundamental rights of trade unions would be preserved. As I say, it was a regrettable blunder.

I want to refer briefly to the question of salaries. In this respect I do say, with some little knowledge of the position, that if there was one mistake more than another made, even by the teachers themselves, it was the decision to submit a new scale of salaries at the particular time at which it was submitted. That submission was made, if you like, prior to the lifting of the standstill Order on the 23rd September last. It was made apparently with the intention of ensuring that a new scale of salaries would be paid prior to that date. Indeed, there was some ground for believing that it would but, as subsequent events proved, the Minister was not prepared to make this scale operative prior to that particular date. Since that time there has been a complete and absolute change of opinion so far as salaries and wages generally are concerned, and I am bound to say that if the teachers' claim were made subsequent to the 23rd September, the actual settlement in money terms would have been considerably more beneficial so far as they were concerned. I feel that the Minister would have had to take into consideration the reduced value of money and the changes that were taking place in other occupations which might be said to be comparable or which even merited less consideration, particularly in the City of Dublin.

I have one case in my mind, the case of a public board of a semi-commercial character. The members of the clerical staff of that board, so far as the lower grade is concerned, can reach in their ordinary salaries a figure of £520. There is no deduction for a superannuation fund, and if you add the usual 4 per cent. which is usually deducted for superannuation, that would make their salaries higher by another £20. The chief clerks in the various departments in that concern can reach a salary of £750. The case I quote is not an isolated one. There are other cases of public concerns where the salaries may be said to be of an equally good standard. I say, therefore, that the teachers have suffered in more ways than one, so far as the ultimate settlement of their salary scale was concerned. I do hope that the Minister may see his way to accede to the wish expressed from more than one side of the House when this trouble was in existence, that the Minister would, at the earliest possible date, return to this question of salaries and bring them more into line with modern conditions than was achieved by the settlement.

The position of the pensioned teachers was discussed at length not very long ago in this House. I do not wish to repeat at any great length the arguments which were then put forward but I do want to advert to one particular aspect. A deputation from this particular section called comparatively recently on the Minister for Finance and the Minister for Education. While as I said on the Budget proposals here, it is true to say that no great hope was held out to them on that particular occasion, it was felt that the matter would be reported—in fact it was said that it would be reported—to the Government as a whole. The Minister for Finance, in his Budget statement, indicated that as a result of pressure from the Minister for Education, in connection with one section of national school teachers, he was providing an extra £30,000. The Minister for Education has, himself, on more than one occasion expressed sympathy with the claims of the pensioned teachers and I should like to know whether he took advantage of the recent Budget to extract from the Minister for Finance —if I might use the term—some promise of amelioration or compensation for the pensioned teachers. It is unnecessary for me to say that a number of these men and women are in a very deplorable position at present because of the decreased purchasing power of money.

There are roughly 3,000 of these pensioners, 686 of whom are in receipt of about £1 a week each. Obviously it does not require any effort of mine to indicate to the House what that means. It is bad for the Government, it is bad for the Minister and particularly bad for the pensioned teachers themselves that such a position should be allowed to continue. It is especially bad because of the fact that these teachers can point to the treatment which their confréres in the North of Ireland have received. For some considerable time past the pensioned teachers in Northern Ireland have been enjoying a substantial advance in their pensions. So far as we know no effort has been made to bring about a like happy position here.

There is a wider aspect of this question. That is, as I have repeatedly stated, that until the Government gives a lead in such instances as that of the pensioned teachers and other servants such as those of local authorities, the position in this part of the country will be entirely unsatisfactory. Even this very afternoon the Taoiseach admitted in reply to a question that the salaries of Ministers, Deputies and others would have to be revised because of the reduction in the purchasing value of money. That is quite right of course but very naturally, sections of the community like the ex-teachers and servants of local authorities will look upon what is being done in these particular cases as indicating a one-sided treatment.

The Taoiseach has clearly indicated even by way of answer to a question what he has in mind and his justification is the reduced purchasing power of money but that is a consideration that obviously affects all sections and more particularly those in the lower income grades. I need not give any harrowing details here of how the position is felt by this comparatively small number of pensioned teachers. I suggest that it would be a gracious act on the part of the Minister if the pensioned teachers were first put into a special category because of the circumstances appertaining to them. They had to exist on low salaries for a long period of years. They contributed to a pension fund and it is no fault of theirs that they are in the plight in which they now find themselves. I think I am expressing the opinion of the House as a whole when I say that it serves no purpose in referring to a matter of this kind unless some positive action is taken by the Minister or the Government as a whole to bring about a speedy solution of it.

Members of the Labour Party have consistently year in, year out, because it is part of their programme, supported the proposal to establish a council of education. Now that we have had more than 25 years of home government I think it is time that we, so to speak, did some stocktaking. Any well-regulated business, from time to time, takes stock to see what the position is, what it is likely to lead to, and, as it were, to strike a profit and loss account. I think the time has now arrived, particularly as the people of the country as a whole are so interested in education, that that stocktaking should take place. I know of no better means to achieve what has been proposed than a council of education seeing that it would comprise personnel from the Department, from the managers, from the teachers and the parents. Such a council need not in any way be taken as impinging on the authority of the Minister. I do not see why it should, and obviously the terms of reference can be of such a character as to ensure that it will not in any case. I think everybody, educationists or otherwise, will agree that the whole system of education in this country is not on a sound basis at present and it is time that something was done about it.

Let me refer to one or two comparatively small matters but matters which are still of tremendous importance as indicating that practically no advance has been made in the 25 years of our own government. Teachers in this House will agree with me when I make a plea for two sections of pupils— firstly, the mentally retarded child, and secondly, the mentally deficient. You have the type of child who, at 15 years, has the mind only of a child of ten. That child passes from class to class. The teacher cannot hold the child down to second class until he be 12 or 13 or 14 years of age. The teacher, being an ordinary, humane individual, will, for the sake of the child's feelings, pass the child upwards in class and, at 14, he is sent out knowing little or nothing. There is no special training for a child of that type. Why should that be so? Other countries provide such training without attaching a stigma to that type of child in any way. I think that it is time we had reform in that direction. The same applies to the mentally defective child. I do not know whether or not the Department have specially examined these two problems in recent years. They may be two small matters but they are of exceedingly great importance to the children concerned and might be the subject of consideration by members of a council of education.

Reference has been made from time to time to the overcrowded state of the classes in the city schools. The same thing might, perhaps, be said in a different form regarding the rural schools. In those schools, a teacher may have to instruct 20 or 30 children in different standards. Obviously, such a teacher has not the time or the facilities to give individual attention or tuition to his pupils. That is notoriously the case in the city schools, when classes number 60 or 70 pupils. The most the teacher can do in such circumstances is to maintain discipline. Connected immediately with that question is the question of school accommodation. The Department has done a considerable amount in recent years in that respect. They can, perhaps, claim that, because of difficulties in the building industry during the past few years, improvements are not as advanced as they would like. I do not know whether or not the Minister in his speech indicated what the future programme will be or whether it will be possible to secure priority for buildings of that character in connection with the supply of building materials, which are limited in amount. The position cannot remain as it is. I have before me in the form of notes a series of extracts from the reports of county medical officers of health. By the way, I do not know what significance attaches to the fact that, whereas we used to get those reports broadly diffused and publicised some years ago, for the past four or five years we are not getting the reports in the same detailed or forcible form. Whether that is due to an improvement in the general conditions or not, I do not know, but I doubt that it is. Some years ago, the county medical officers of health virtually called upon the county authorities in their reports to condemn particular schools and a number of them stated in very vigorous language that some of the defects of the school-going children were due to their surroundings and to want of suitable amenities.

On the question of technical instruction, on each occasion on which I have spoken on this Vote for the past three or four years, I have indicated to the House that, so far as the City of Dublin is concerned, the position is entirely satisfactory. Indeed, our main trouble in the City of Dublin is to secure accommodation for the number of students seeking the services of the schools. We have magnificent schools, finely equipped, excellently staffed and doing exceedingly useful work. I am bound to say that, in the operation of those schools, we are getting the utmost co-operation from the Minister and the officers in his Department— with a few exceptions. It is not a complete picture; perhaps it would be too much to expect that. However, on the whole, I am glad to say that the relations between the school authorities and the technical instruction section of the Department are satisfactory.

No service under the control of the Government is more important than education. On no subject does more uneasiness exist at present than exists in regard to education. When we consider that the overwhelming majority of our people can receive only a primary education, when we consider that the sum total of formal education for the great majority of our people consists of the education received in the national school, it is only right that, in this debate, primary attention should be devoted to that branch of our educational system. I can, perhaps, speak on this subject with some authority because I left school at the unlucky age of 13, forgot everything I learned within six months and have felt better ever since. Padraic Pearse left on record that education is properly the fostering of the right growth of personality. He further stated:—

"It is a preparation of the soul to live its life here and hereafter and to live it nobly and fully."

These are high ideals but there is a general feeling, after 25 years of native government, that these ideals are not being achieved. Parents are dissatisfied with the education which their children are receiving in the primary schools. Teachers are certainly dissatisfied with the existing system. Last but not least, though they are seldom considered, the children themselves are dissatisfied. It is generally admitted—I do not think that anybody will dare to deny it—that the standard of education of children leaving the primary schools is lower than it was 25 years ago. I do not think it could be otherwise seeing that the major portion of the school day is taken up with the study of a second language. I am not familiar with the programme of the national school but I have it on good authority that 75 per cent. of the time is taken up with Irish in some form or another. When we remember that we had good, hard-working teachers 30 or 40 years ago who devoted themselves to their task earnestly and when we realise that they had not to bear this burden, it is only natural, having regard to the additional burden placed on teachers to-day, that the standard of education should, of necessity, be low.

Every principle of education is broken by the early introduction into the primary schools of a second language. If children are to learn they ought to be given an interest in the subjects which are being introduced to them. The natural way to teach a child is to encourage the child's instinct to inquire, to ask questions, and the child who is introduced to a new language cannot ask questions. He is simply exposed to a long, gruelling strain, from which there is no relief until the school door is closed. Not only is it a tremendous strain on a child to acquire a second language, but it is an even greater strain if other subjects are taught through the medium of a new language which the child does not understand and of which the teacher may not have a full grasp. Can anyone estimate the loss to education, the loss which this country is suffering, by reason of this burden which is being imposed on primary education? There is not only a loss in the matter of the ordinary subjects, reading, writing and arithmetic, but there is an even greater loss in the fact that the teacher has now no time whatever to devote to the more important aspect of education, the formation of the character of the children under his control. The teacher has to struggle to keep up with a programme which is altogether too heavy for the children and for him, and he has no time to instruct the children in the important virtues of honesty, honour, truth, obedience and self-respect. All these must go by the board; all these subjects are sacrificed in an attempt to impose a new language upon our people and to impose it as hurriedly as possible.

The Minister may say that if we cannot have this forcing of the pace in the primary schools, if we cannot have this burden placed on our teachers and on our children, there is no future for the revival of Irish as a spoken language. There are, I think, two answers to that. Does anyone seriously believe that, after 25 years of trial, any real progress has been made towards reviving Irish as a spoken language? I have known young teachers who, after this State was established, set out, full of enthusiasm, to instruct the children under their control in Irish and to make Irish a spoken language, but, as the years have gone by, these teachers have lost all their enthusiasm. They have come to the conclusion that the game is absolutely hopeless.

It has frequently been said that, by an intensive course of Irish in the schools, we are creating a situation in which, in the course of a few years, those who do that course will have a fairly good knowledge of Irish and will be able to instruct their children in the home. I do not think that hope has been justified. Teachers have told me that they have investigated the matter with former pupils of national schools who had left the schools with a fairly good knowledge of Irish and have found, without exception, that these former pupils have completely lost whatever knowledge of Irish they had. I think that is to be expected.

A new language in the ordinary course of events is a rather difficult thing to acquire, particularly for the average pupil. There are, of course, people with a special gift for languages, but for the ordinary pupil, it is a difficult task and something which, once a boy or girl leaves the primary school, he or she quickly forgets, because the grasp obtained, even in the best national school, is always inaccurate. So far as I know, there is only one really effective way by which a person can learn a second language, that is, by being completely surrounded by people who speak nothing but that language. We know that people who go to the Continent acquire a very good working knowledge of the various Continental languages after-six months or so. That is to be expected, and, if it were possible for each citizen of this State, as a child or as an adult, to spend at least six months in a purely Irish-speaking district, completely isolated from all contact with English speakers, he would probably be able to acquire a working knowledge of Irish, but that is something which is physically impossible.

The question we have to consider is, first, what sacrifice are we making as a nation in order to impose this language upon our people and, secondly, is that sacrifice worth while? I have tried to give some idea of what that sacrifice is. I would say that children are much less adequately educated in the ordinary school subjects than they were before this intensive policy in regard to Irish was introduced. They get much less opportunities for acquiring a knowledge of citizenship and for the formation of character, which is the more important function of education. I would go further and say that compulsory Irish in our primary schools is by far the most denationalising influence that has operated in this country during the past 25 years. If our young people are to grow up with a sense of nationality, with a feeling of respect for our nation, for the people who went before us, for the great men who sacrificed so much for our country's welfare, that feeling must be instilled into them in the primary schools. No attempt can be made to achieve that; instead we have a cruel attempt to impose on children a new language which they do not understand and which they have no hope of acquiring.

It is a tragedy that so much national effort should be wasted—and wasted in vain, in this way. It is a grand thing, of course, for adult people to pose as super-patriots, as being enthusiastic for the language from patriotic motives; but the entire burden of the sacrifices which that policy demands is imposed by us upon the weakest and most helpless section of the people, the school children. Children have no votes, they cannot protest, or their protest will not be heard; they can only pay the penalty, and they may pay it in after life. We, in order to show how patriotic, how national we are, go on imposing this sacrifice upon the children of our race, depriving them at the same time of the opportunities which they ought to have to equip themselves for the battle of life and to build up and strengthen their character and mental equipment.

It is time there should be a little plain speaking and clear thinking on this question. There is no use in eternally burying our heads in the sand and pretending that, because it sounds very national to be enthusiastic about the language, we should go on with this policy of coercing our children and depriving them of a real education. We are spending £7,000,000 on education at the present time and we are getting nothing for it. Parents feel that they are being robbed of what they are entitled to expect, having regard to the taxes which they pay—that is, free education for their children. Their children are being sent out into the world uneducated and illiterate to a very great extent. It is no wonder that the teachers say, in their "Plan for Education," that there must be a review of the educational system if we are to survive as a nation with a distinctive culture. The task is not an easy one; its solution will require hard thinking and careful planning,

" but the solutions are there and it is because we fail in clearness of vision or in boldness of heart or in singleness of purpose that we cannot find them".

These are the words of P. H. Pearse, quoted in "A Plan for Education".

There are a tremendous number of important subjects which could be imparted to our children, if we were to confine education in each primary school mainly to the language of the home. The first essential is that every child should be able to write clearly and well, should be able to read and should have a really good knowledge of the home language. It is equally important that a child leaving the primary schools should have a good knowledge of arithmetic. These are fundamental subjects which we have a right to expect from our primary schools. We cannot help feeling bitterly disappointed that children leaving the primary schools, who have to depend for livelihood upon whatever standard of education they have reached there, go out into the world so badly equipped. We also know that children who go to the secondary schools find themselves with a great deal of arrears to make up when they leave the primary schools.

I hold that, in addition to these fundamental subjects—reading, writing and arithmetic—it is a matter of urgent importance that children should leave the primary school with a desire for learning. What they have learned should be just a foundation. They should have a desire to read and study. to acquire knowledge. In the second place, every pupil in the primary school should be taught to take an intelligent and enthusiastic interest in life and in his environment. Children should be taught the history of their townland, parish, county and country, to know it thoroughly and to appreciate what it means to them.

A nation that cannot look back with pride and self-respect cannot look forward to anything. It is a matter of fundamental importance that a really good national outlook should be inculcated into the minds of children at an early age. It is most important that character should be formed, as far as possible, in the national schools. Children very often in their own homes get very little opportunity to learn all they should. In the homes of the poor people who have to go out and work they get very little chance of acquiring much knowledge of right and wrong and of all the things they ought to know to equip themselves for life, spiritually, mentally and physically. That very important function devolves on the teacher to supply what the parent cannot supply in the matter of character formation. All this good work is being frustrated, because we have made up our minds that children must be coerced into speaking a new language within a very short time. This is not a matter for consideration at the moment but it certainly does arise. I hold that no useful purpose can be served in the world in which we live by changing the spoken language of this country. The circumstances were different 100, or even 30, years ago. When this nation was struggling for its independence, the language was one of the weapons in the armoury which the nation had to defend itself from attack, but a new situation has arisen. We now enjoy political independence and will continue to do so unless and until we misuse or prove ourselves unworthy of it. We will continue to enjoy political independence as long as we treasure, and as long as our children are taught to treasure, respect and reverence our past history, and to have confidence in our future as a nation.

Therefore, a change in the spoken language is not essential in any way to the preservation of this country's independence. We are sometimes told that if an Irishman, travelling on the Continent, speaks English, he is mistaken for an Englishman. If he is travelling on the Continent and can speak English he is likely to meet people who understand the English language and can explain to them that he is an Irishman, but, if he can speak nothing but Irish, he will find nobody who can understand what he is saying, and therefore, will have no opportunity of explaining that he is an Irishman. The people he meets will not know from what nation he comes. Viewed from every possible angle, there is no case for changing the spoken language of this country. I am sure it will be appreciated that there is a case for the preservation of Irish as a cultural language, as the language of the educated classes. I think that the policy of persisting, as we are persisting, in hammering Irish down the throats of our children, imposing on them untold suffering and sacrifices, imposing upon the teachers enormous sacrifices and depriving our children at the same time of real education, is an unsound one. I think it is wrong even to the extent of being criminally wrong.

I know, of course, that there is a number of people in the country who acquired a knowledge of the Irish language by their own zeal, energy and toil, and that they have a deep love for it. I have the greatest respect for all such people, but that in itself does not justify us in imposing the language upon the children in this attempt to change the spoken language of the country. Some real case should be made for changing the spoken language of the country. I have never heard an adequate case made for it. I have pointed out what we are losing as a nation by this attempt at imposing Irish on our young people. We are losing real education in the formation of character; we are losing the opportunity of inculcating any sense of nationality or of our country's history in the minds of the children. At the present time we are turning out of our national schools children who have very little sense of nationality, and it is no wonder that national feeling is at a low ebb in this country at the present time.

When I was a small boy very little history was taught in schools, and I think that very little of it is taught at the present day. A copy of A. M. Sullivan's Story of Ireland came into my possession before I was 11 years of age. I am sure I read it half a dozen times, and that I memorised considerable portions of it which appealed to my enthusiasm at that time. I was certainly able to recite most of the patriotic ballads which it contains. While I am not recommending A. M. Sullivan's Story of Ireland, I certainly believe that instruction in our country's history, as well as in the important achievements of our race in the past, is more important than anything else at the present time. We have seen other nations which were surrounded and threatened on all sides by aggression standing up and defending themselves, simply because the people of those countries had instilled into them in their childhood a belief in their own nation as well as a deep reverence for its past and of unshaken confidence in its future. If we can inspire our people's minds with these feelings, we shall have nothing to fear for the future.

I do not think that the world needs any more spoken languages at the present time. I have the feeling that in 50 years' time the language of the world will be either English or Russian. I hope it will not be Russian because, I suppose, we might have it rammed down our necks if certain people got control over world affairs. I do not believe in this policy of ramming anything down people's necks, and particularly the necks of innocent children. I think that the small boy or girl, when he or she goes to school, should be led, not driven. The teacher should use the Pied Piper's pipe and not the drover's ash plant. I think that, if given a lead by the Department and by the Minister for Education, the teachers are in the frame of mind to adopt a rational and sensible scheme of education. They are anxious to co-operate with one another and with the Minister. In this connection, I refer to the Minister not in a personal way, but to the Minister for Education. I do not think the present Minister for Education will ever get that co-operation which ought to exist between a Minister and the whole teaching profession. I think it would be a good thing for education if the Minister for Education was promoted to some more exalted position, but I believe that with co-operation between the Minister of the future and the teachers we can have a far-reaching reform in education, and that we can have the right ideals governing that policy of education.

The teachers have recommended that a council of education should be set up to advise the Department and the Minister. That would have been supported by practically every Party in the House with the exception of the Government Party. Last year many people were appealing for the establishment of a medical council to advise on health matters. That demand was roughly turned down. Since then a consultative council has been established. I think wiser councils will prevail in regard to education and that a council of education will be established of people with progressive ideas and having a real interest in education who will be able to advise the Minister and to co-operate with him in evolving a better system of education.

Some time ago I was inclined to the opinion that there is only one way to test the efficiency of teachers in primary schools, namely, by examination of the pupils by an inspector. I am not so sure, however, that the present system of examination gives the results that it was intended to give. A teacher must teach many things in addition to imposing memory tests. The teacher must inculcate a desire for learning and a healthy interest in the environment in which the children are reared, particularly if they are being reared in a rural district. He must take part in the building of the children's character. An inspector, merely by question and answer, cannot see the extent to which the teacher is performing his duty in that respect.

One of the results of the inspection system is that there is a certain amount of window-dressing and cramming of children in the particular subject in which the inspector is presumed by the teacher to be interested. We know that every national school inspector has particular ideas and fads. The teacher very soon gets to know the particular subjects that the inspector is interested in and believes that if he grinds the children in those subjects he will get very good marks. On the other hand, the teacher who endeavours to improve the character of the children, to make them self-confident, better citizens, to cultivate their mentality may not do so well at the inspection. There should be a close and sympathetic co-operation and supervision by the inspector. The inspector should be able to form a good idea as to the progress that has been made in the various aspects of education by watching the teacher at work and reviewing the copybooks and should not confine himself merely to memory training.

Memory training is not the be-all and end-all of education. The aim should be to educate the child so that when leaving school he will have a great desire for learning and a keen interest in his environment and will have his character properly formed and will have a sound knowledge of what constitutes a good citizen and a good Christian. That would be much better than to educate them merely to be machines for recording dates and figures and facts.

If there is co-operation between the Department and the teachers and between the inspectorate and the teachers and a determination to abandon the system of window-dressing, we can have a better system of education. We are not a bit more patriotic because we cram dates down the throats of our children. We are not more self-sacrificing because we impose this sacrifice on the weakest of our community. Let us give our children a sound education which will enable them to fight the battle of life and to be good citizens and good Christians. That is fundamental. It is a need which is being neglected. There is no doubt whatever that our people are not getting the chance in life to which they are entitled. Anyone who has experience of post-primary school training knows that we have not made any progress in the matter of real education during the past 25 years.

Would you be in favour of teaching Irish in the school at all?

I have indicated that to introduce a second language, into the lower standards at any rate, except in the most modest form, is wrong. It imposes too great a burden. I would not be against teaching Irish, in moderate doses, at any rate. There is no possibility that you can send children out of the primary schools with anything like a mastery of the language or with even sufficient knowledge of the language to enable them, when they become parents, to assist their children to master the language.

I am satisfied that that is not possible. I know rural Ireland and I know young people who have left the national school five or six years ago and they have completely forgotten everything they learned of Irish. I do not believe that when those people become parents they will be able to give any worth-while assistance in the language to their children. There is no real hope of making Irish the spoken language of this country. I do not think we are losing anything by that. I believe that in 20 years hence we will all decide that it is an impossible task but what I fear at present is that in our attempt to force the language upon the children, we are destroying the prospect of giving our children a real education or, in fact, any education. The position is extremely serious. I know many people who are fundamentally opposed to the Irish language. Some of them with whom I have spoken in regard to this matter think that nothing should be said or done in connection with Irish enterprise. They hold that the present Government is killing the language as quickly as it can.

I think that is true, to a very great extent. But they are killing more than the language. They are killing education. They are killing nationality. Those things are very important. I have already said that compulsory Irish in our primary schools is the most denationalising force which exists in this country at the present time, simply because it has crowded out the other subjects. Time which should be devoted to other subjects which would make our children better Irishmen and better citizens is devoted to the Irish language. I think the Minister, if he has not already done so, should sit down and study carefully the plan for education which has been produced by the National Teachers' Organisation. It is a very sound document. It contains very many useful suggestions in regard to modern teaching methods and to adult education. I believe that provision for adult education is a matter of vital and immediate importance and that sooner or later the State will have to consider the provision of opportunities in order to enable young men and women to improve their education. After all, there is no use in confining education to children, particularly having regard to the history of education in this country in the past 25 years.

Classes, night schools or even winter schools of some sort should be provided. Denmark is an outstanding example in that connection. Special winter schools and residential schools are provided there, mainly for the rural or agricultural population. Their outlook and programme is not confined exclusively to agricultural education. They are determined to give their pupils a good national and moral outlook and to improve their general knowledge. The outstanding feature of that scheme which has, perhaps, never been referred to in this country is that that education is given to adults only. There is no question in Denmark of continuing the education of manual workers, farmers, and agricultural workers above the primary school-leaving age. Children are allowed to leave the primary schools, to go out and work in their various avocations and when they reach the age of 18 or 19 years they can come in and receive a few months' adult education in those residential schools. The principle behind that system is very sound. There is no doubt that if, for example, you take a boy whose future is in agriculture away from agriculture, that is in actual practice, and keep him in some sort of a school, even an agricultural school, until he is 17 or 18 years of age there is always the possibility, even the probability, that he will not go back to agriculture. He is too long at school. There are the old sayings— If you do not dirty your hands early in life you will be disinclined to dirty them after a time—and—You cannot fall without getting dirty and getting your clothes soiled. I think it is bad to keep young people too long, at any rate, away from the actual practice of agriculture. The Danish experts in education recognised that and therefore they permitted young people to leave the formal education, to spend a few years actually roughing it in the ordinary work of the land and then, having become inured to farm work and having got to know it in actual practice, they were given an opportunity of going back to a certain type of school in order to improve their general knowledge. The principles governing that system are, I think, sound. Anyone who has experience of young people knows how desperately hard it is for a boy who has been at school, even an agricultural school, until he is 17 or 18 years of age, to settle down in a lonely remote part of the country and to live there for the rest of his life. We see young people who have been to the Albert College and to other agricultural schools coming home with the one desire of getting some kind of a job as inspector that would take them away from the loneliness and drudgery of the farm. That is unfortunate but it is the truth. I have mentioned this to show how many involved and complex questions there are in regard to education. I have mentioned it to show how much need there is for a close study of all matters in connection with all branches of the subject. I have mentioned it to show how necessary it is to have a Minister who is sympathetic and broadminded; who has not narrow, preconceived ideas in regard to all matters of education. That is what I am appealing for and I think it is what the nation, which spends £7,000,000 on education, is entitled to expect.

When the Minister introduced his Estimate to-day he spoke at very great length. I was greatly struck by the fact that despite the immense length of his statement we were left at the end of it in doubt as to whether he was going to deal with Estimate 28 at all. So far as I know he never uttered a word about the governing body of the Institute for Advanced Studies for which there is a substantial charge on the Estimates. That was all the more remarkable——

Notice taken that 20 Deputies were not present; House counted and 20 Deputies being present,

The failure of the Miniister to make any reference whatever in his opening statement to the Institute for Advanced Studies is all the more remarkable if the House recalls that the director of the institute published a letter in the Press some time ago announcing his resignation from the position of director. Subsequent to that announcement, I put down a Parliamentary Question addressed to the Minister for Education asking him if he had any information to impart to the House, and he replied that he had no official information of the reasons which moved the director to resign from that position. That was in itself a fairly striking admission. Shortly after that reply was vouchsafed by the Minister, the ex-director of the institute addressed a further note to the Press in which he announced that he proposed to resign from his position as professor in the institute as soon as was feasible and that he proposed to do so because the interference in the day-to-day administration of the institute had reached such proportions as to make his retention of that position impossible.

May I submit one or two points to the Deputy on that matter? The Deputy referred to the fact that a very considerable sum of money is being voted for the institute and, therefore, the Minister should have devoted some time to it. This Dáil also votes a considerable amount of money to the university. Should, for instance, differences or resignations arise there, which Heaven forbid, would the Deputy consider himself justified in raising the matter here? I understand that this is a body corporate with autonomy in certain matters; that the governing body is the appointing body and accepts resignations. If the Deputy maintains, and thinks he can prove, that the Minister for Education interfered and had anything to do with that resignation, perhaps there would be something in it. But the body primarily responsible is the governing body, not the Minister for Education.

I am quite prepared to agree that the body primarily responsible for the day-to-day administration is the governing body.

And that they accept resignations and make appointments?

Certainly.

What is the function of the Minister then?

The substance of the director's allegation is that his position in the institute was made untenable by political interference with the day-to-day administration of the institute.

By the Minister for Education?

Yes, and his colleagues.

No. The Minister for Education has not interfered with the institute in any way. Moreover, the Deputy——

What is the Minister up upon? Is this a point of order?

Then he must sit down.

It is a point of denial.

If it is not a point of order, he must sit down.

That is for me to decide.

The Deputy is not in the chair.

On an Estimate, you can discuss anything for which the Minister is responsible. I want to know what point the Deputy is raising for which the Minister for Education has responsibility.

The Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies.

In which the Minister has no responsibility for resignations or appointments.

I submit that he would have responsibility if there were political interferences in the day-to-day administration of that body.

By the Minister for Education?

Or fellow-members of his Government, in my respectful submission.

On each Vote you are dealing with the Minister in charge.

I take it that he should deter his colleagues from interfering in an institute for the independence and autonomy of which he stands trustee.

I want to be sure of the Minister's responsibility for anything to which the Deputy intends to refer.

You pointed out, Sir, that the institute is, of its nature, an autonomous and independent body. I take it that the Minister stands trustee to this House; that that is true.

I do not think so.

Inasmuch as the Minister makes himself responsible for the voting of money, on that assumption he says to us that he is satisfied that from day-to-day that autonomy and independence are preserved.

I put it to the Deputy before that there is an autonomous body called the National University. It is possible, but not probable, that there would be political differences in that body and that there would be resignations. Would the Minister be held responsible for them, or would it be interference with the autonomy of the university and with the autonomy of the body which accepted the resignations?

So far as the case is made here that the autonomy of that institute is being interfered with and Deputies ask for an assurance from the Minister that that autonomy is not being interfered with, surely we are entitled to seek that guarantee?

The Minister says it is not, so far as he is concerned.

The Minister rudely interrupted me while I was speaking.

The Minister answered a question on that and said definitely that he had no function in the matter and that he did not interfere.

He gave a denial.

In reply to a question previously put, which I have in front of me and which the Deputy asked.

But, to-day, I am asking the Minister for Education, in the light of his failure to make any reference to the institute in his introductory remarks, for an assurance that the autonomy and independence of that institute are maintained, the repeated allegations of the director notwithstanding. I respectfully submit that I am entitled to ask for that guarantee and to inform the House of the reasons why I ask for it. They are grave and serious.

I suggest that the Deputy is taking advantage——

Is this a point of order?

——of the privileges of the House to make an ex parle statement here and a statement that it will be impossible for me to reply to. It has been frequently explained in the House, and during the passage of the Bill to set up this Institute for Advanced Studies, that there was no intention whatever——

Is this a point of order?

Part of it was.

——of the Government interfering, and no one pressed that view more strongly than the Deputy. I pointed out, as you have reminded the Deputy, Sir——

Is this a point of order?

In my reply to the Deputy on the 16th April, I referred to Article 14 of the Institute for Advanced Studies (School of Celtic Studies) Establishment Order, 1940, from which it is clear that I have no functions of authority in connection with that matter. It is entirely one for the governing board of the school. The Deputy is now trying to drag in this matter, which he knows cannot be dealt with. He knows this is not the place to deal with it and he knows that no good whatever can result from the methods he is undertaking in raising this question.

The Minister and myself find we are in complete agreement that the clear understanding is that this body should be autonomous and independent and free from interference by any person except those who are members of its council or officers of the institute. I am entitled, surely, before voting for the appropriation of £53,810, for reassurance from the responsible Minister that that independence and autonomy are maintained. It is to that end that my observations are directed.

I have informed the Deputy that that is so.

The Minister has given that assurance.

Surely I am entitled to ask for it in my own way?

It is to be hoped the Deputy does not want to introduce a dispute which happened in an autonomous body, who acted within their rights, giving one side of it. To raise the matter here would certainly not be leaving to that body the autonomy which it enjoys by statute. If the Deputy thinks any Minister has offended, there will be other opportunities when he can raise the matter.

The object of my observations is to call upon the Minister for Education to provide the requisite assurance to this House that the independence and autonomy of this institute are maintained before this House is called upon to vote £53,810 to enable it to continue its operations during the coming 12 months, and in my respectful submission I am entitled to extract that from him.

On a point of order. The Deputy's hypothesis is unsound; there is no foundation for it and I do not accept his hypothesis.

Is this a point of order?

It is not a point of order.

If the Minister is not making a point of order he must sit down.

Deputies

Order, order!

I am in possession, and if the Minister is not making a point of order he must sit down. All the shrieks of his supporters will not deter me in the least. To-day I received a letter from the director, the contents of which were so grave that I conceived it to be my duty to place that letter in the hands of the head of the Government for the reason that I did not choose to read that letter on the floor of this House nor did I wish to refer to it without having placed the head of the Government in full possession of its contents, so that my reference to it would place neither him nor his colleagues in the embarrassing position of hearing a document referred to without knowing its contents. I have no desire to intervene in or offer an opinion upon the merits of any dispute which may arise in the internal administration of the Dublin Institute of Higher Studies.

Is not that precisely what the Deputy, by his action, is doing?

No, Sir.

The Deputy is giving publicity in this House to one side.

I have not mentioned a word in that connection. The case I want to make is this: There is no use pretending that two letters have not been published in the papers. There is no use sticking our heads in the sand pretending that ex parte statements have not been made. The only submission I want to make is that by sticking your head in the sand in that way far from achieving the purpose of preventing injustice or misrepresentation gaining ground you create the very atmosphere in which that kind of thing can grow. Once a matter of this character becomes common knowledge, my submission is that it is the duty of the responsible Minister, either himself to take such steps as may be necessary to bring the matter to an end, or to instruct whoever is the appropriate authority to take whatever steps may be necessary to bring the matter to a conclusion.

I go so far as to say that prima facie the right principle seems to me to be that a professor is the protector of his students and that whatever the circumstances may be, in ordinary circumstances a student, whatever his or her competence or prudence or discretion may be or may have been, he or she is entitled to look for a paternal solicitude to the professor under whom he or she works. I want to make no further comment upon it except this, that the matter must be disposed of. Whether the rules of order of this House require Deputies to vote £53,810 for an institute which they may not discuss, is a matter for the Chair to decide.

It is a matter for the law to decide. When a body is given autonomy it should be left to that body to deal with its own affairs and we should not have ex parte statements made here with no opportunity of a reply from the institute.

Who is making an ex parte statement?

You are. You have been told three or four times by the Chair that this is an autonomous body.

What is to stop Deputy Walsh from getting up and making a case for the other side if he wants to?

He will not be allowed to make a case for the other side.

I might not know sufficient about it.

There you are, if you know nothing about it, keep quiet. I suggest to the Chair that it is the business of this House to ensure that the affairs of this institute will be administered in accordance with the law.

Cuirim os do chomhair, A Chinn Comhairle, gur thugais rialú ar an gceist seo. Nach bhfuil an Teachta ag éalú an rialú sin?

Táim ag éisteacht.

When allegations are made in public, by persons who claim to know the facts, that the law is not being observed, surely this House is entitled to call on the Minister not only for an assurance but for proof that the law as enacted by the Oireachtas is being observed or are we to sit silent for ever, allowing such statements to pass unnoticed and pretend that we have never heard of them?

I have made the position clear. The autonomy of that body is not being interfered with. If a statement on one side were permitted in this House, the council would have no opportunity of replying.

I am not accepting anything.

Then the Deputy will not argue it further.

Surely I am entitled to deliverance from that charge? I do not propose to accept anyone's statement. All I say is that the statements are made and I neither accept nor reject them.

The Deputy wants to discuss them here.

I do not.

He has been attempting to do it for the past ten minutes.

In my respectful submission I have done nothing of the kind. I have taken the scrupulous precaution to avoid the necessity of doing it but, mind you, that does not mean that I would not in different circumstances argue my right to do so, but to-day I have not done so. I have taken scrupulous precautions to avoid that. I cannot believe, however, that the Chair will ultimately rule that when we are voting £58,000 for this school no reference may be made to it. What may we say in regard to it?

It is not for me to say. It is for me to say what the Deputy may not say on it.

Exactly. It seems to be an astonishing position that under the Rules of Order, we may not refer to the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies.

The Chair has not stated that the Deputy may not refer to the Institute for Advanced Studies, but it has said that this House shall not discuss the internal administration of an autonomous body.

I do not want to discuss it but I want to direct the attention of the House to the fact that an allegation has been made in public and so long as that goes uncontradicted, and this House is voting money for the upkeep of that institution, the only statement on the record of the House is in direct conflict with our intentions and purpose. I do not accept these statements and I do not reject them, but I say it is puerile and childish of the Government simply to say that they have no official knowledge that any such statement has been made. I as one Deputy of the House reject that.

The Minister has no responsibility in the matter.

He has responsibility to see that the law is enforced in respect to a Vote for which he is answerable to the House. Has he not responsibility to the House to see that the law is enforced in regard to one of his own Estimates?

I have no proof that the law was not enforced.

Neither have I, but I say that it is puerile and childish for the Minister and the Government to say that the Government have no official knowledge of what we have all read in the papers. Surely it is childish for that Minister to say that he has no official knowledge of the document, when I personally waited upon the Taoiseach officially this morning and put it into his hand?

The Minister for Education is not responsible.

The Taoiseach is the head of the Government and his duty was to communicate with the Minister for Education if he wished to do so. My duty was to put that document in his hands to do with it what he pleased. The point I wish to put on record—the Taoiseach may correct me if I misrepresent the terms of my official communication—is that I put it in his hands to give him notice that I meant to refer to it without reading its details on the floor of the House. I say it is puerile and childish for the Government to say that they have no official knowledge of this fact. They have official knowledge. They may say they have not in order to avoid having to do anything about it. No one is more jealous than I for the academic autonomy of our learned institutions, but that academic autonomy cannot best be maintained by denying the possibility that there could be any conspiracy to undermine it.

The Minister is not accused of conspiracy. Is the Deputy accusing the Minister for Education of conspiracy?

I am so accustomed to gracious courtesy at your hands that I do not care to ask if you advisedly place me under cross-examination.

The Deputy made a charge of conspiracy against the Minister.

I made no charges. I am referring to the existence of charges. I want to repeat again and again that I do not accept them and I do not reject them. I am not qualified to judge but I am certain that they should be disposed of. If the Minister chooses to direct the council or some other body which will commend itself to the House to do that I think he will do wisely but if he proposes to stick his head in the sand and say that he has no official knowledge, then (1) he will not be saying what is true and (2) he will be pursuing a course, puerile, ignoble and detrimental to the best interests of academic autonomy in the country.

Is the Deputy being allowed to question my veracity in the answer I gave?

That is what you are doing.

You do not seem to like this anyway.

And the Chair does not like it. The Deputy will not pursue it further.

I have endeavoured to bring my observations into close conformity with the ruling of the Chair nor have I any reason to chide myself that I have consciously or deliberately strayed. That much having been said, I turn to two other matters upon which I wish to make a few observations. One is the curse of compulsory Irish and the affliction of attempting to teach children in our primary schools through its medium. I was interested listening to Deputy Cogan to-day. He has launched a new Party and one of his planks is that we should get rid of compulsory Irish. That is their popular plank; everybody likes that.

I put Deputy Cogan this question: Did he really mean to prohibit the primary schools of this country from teaching the children the Irish language? I do not think that I do him an injustice when I say that, when I put that question, he began to back-pedal a bit. When he reads the report of what he himself said, he will, I think, find some little difficulty in determining precisely what he would do in regard to the Irish language in the not impossible event of his being Minister for Education in the early future. I have no doubt at all of what I would do with the dirty racket of "a competent knowledge of Irish" to-morrow morning. I should strip all the corrupt frauds who are looking for jobs they are not competent to hold of every rag of decency they wear. The downat-heel, the ne'er-do-well, the failure, the lazy and the incompetent pushes aside the competent candidates because he has sold his soul to a Fianna Fáil cumann and because he is not ashamed to grovel, with the claim that he has a competent knowledge of Irish, having scrambled through three or four books of O'Growney. I should end that dirty racket within 24 hours if I had authority to do so. There is not a Deputy sitting on the Fianna Fáil Benches who does not know that that is going on every hour of the day.

Here is one who does not.

It will not go on for ever. It makes me sick to see our own people driven out of the country to earn their living in England because the racketeers of a political organisation, known as Fianna Fáil, are prepared to prostitute the Irish language to the dirty purpose of putting their own hacks into public positions when the competent candidates have to seek employment in the East End of London or the South Wales coalfields. Irish as a compulsory subject in every competitive and qualifying examination should be abolished. It is an outrage on our people that it has been allowed to continue so long. Instead of having Irish branded, as it is becoming branded, with the ignominious description of being an alibi for incompetence, we ought to be able to preserve it with dignity and with pride and, what is more important, with success. We could. We could make it a thing beloved of the best elements of our people.

The Minister for Finance, in introducing his Budget, announced a system of scholarships, the holders to be instructed in our universities through the medium of Irish. On being asked for the details of the plan, he said the Minister for Education would explain it when introducing his Estimate. Of course, he never said a word about it. Is there anybody in this House who will expound in a simple way for me the answer to this dilemma? Our minds have been directed to-day to the importance of the independence and autonomy of the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies. How infinitely more important is it that the independence and academic autonomy of our universities should be preserved. because they are concerned with every branch of knowledge and are virtually the sole source of higher education here. If we institute a system of scholarships which provides that, in the day-to-day work of lecturing students, certain requirements are to be fulfilled, such as lecturing them through the medium of Irish, how can we preserve the academic autonomy of the universities? Is the Comptroller and Auditor-General not authorised by the insertion of that condition in the grant to go into University College, Dublin, if one of the scholarships is held there, and satisfy himself personally, or through his agent, that the condition annexed to the scheme by the Oireachtas is being given effect? If, in his judgment, it is not being given effect, is he not entitled so to report to Dáil Éireann?

If he does so report to Dáil Éireann, may we not with perfect propriety, on the floor of this House, discuss and argue with the Minister for Education the why and the wherefore in the case of Professor So-and-so, who was bound by the terms of the scholarship scheme to lecture A. B., the holder of a scholarship, through the medium of Irish, but who used English in the course of his lecture? If we are entitled to do that and if the universities are prepared to accept a scheme which gives us the right to do that, what principle can be called in aid to bar and bolt the doors of academic institutions against the Executive, which is the representative of Parliament, from interfering in their day-to-day operations? We heard the Taoiseach on another occasion saying that, because he felt the law courts were liable to give an unrealistic judgment, we should take the whole matter out of their seisin and give a realistic decision. Suppose we endow a chair in the university for the teaching of national history and we say to the university: "We know you are teaching history with the dry, detached, objective and academic approach, but we want a chair of national history which will be history told from the Irish point of view." When the lecturer proceeds to give his lecture, can we not claim the right to go in and see if he is giving his lecture from the right point of view, that he is not being objective, cold and detached but is giving the Irish slant on history?

If these doctrines are to be accepted as desirable by this House, how far have we travelled on the road of Louisiana and Georgia, not to speak of Nazi Germany and the U.S.S.R? Remember that when Governor Tal-madge of Georgia and Governor Long of Louisiana claimed and asserted the right so to interfere, the other universities of the United States of America struck the names of these two universities off their list, refused to recognise their degrees or to have academic association of any kind or description with them, and they were right. Are we going to travel the same road? I should like to get very specific guarantees that if scholarships are granted, the right of this House or the right of the Executive to follow will stop at the threshold of the door of the university, and I should like to get that assurance without reservation or qualification whatever. The present system with regard to university grants——

University education does not come under this Vote. The Minister for Education is not responsible for it in the House.

The Minister for Finance.

I refer the Chair to the statement of the Minister for Finance that he knew sweet Fanny Adams about it, and that, if I wanted any information about it, I should ask the Minister for Education when he introduced his Estimate.

There is no money in this Estimate for that purpose.

What am I to do? I have raised the matter on the Budget——

The scheme has not come into operation at all.

There will be a Supplementary Estimate.

If the Deputy looks at Vote No. 26, Universities and Colleges, he will see it stated that "This Vote will be accounted for by the Office of the Minister for Finance".

What am I to do then? I ask the Minister for Finance and he says he knows nothing about it and tells me I should ask the Minister for Education. I refer the Chair to the Minister's speech in reply to the Budget debate.

Of course, if there was an arrangement on those lines——

I do not wish to mislead you, Sir. There was no arrangement on my side. I raised the matter and the Minister when replying to the debate on the Budget said: "I cannot answer the Deputy, but when the Minister for Education is introducing his Estimate, he will give particulars of it."

Of the particular scheme?

The Minister for Finance did not say that. What he said was that the details of the scheme would be arranged by the Minister for Education. He did not say that the Minister for Education would explain the scheme to the House.

Bhfuil tú cinnte?

I want to suggest a method whereby we can, surely and certainly and in our own time, make the language safe for all time and make it respected and beloved not only by a small section of our people but by all our people, those who speak it and those who do not. I submit that the ideal in any democratic State should be to ensure that all its citizens should have equality of opportunity. We do not accept the thesis that all men are born equal. That is a Rousseau-istic fraud which many generations have suffered themselves to be deceived by. We know that all men are not born equal. Some are fat and some are thin; some are tall and some are short; some are clever and some are stupid; some are lazy and some are industrious. But whatever they are, it is not for the civil government of the day to segregate them into the worthy and the unworthy. The Lord Almighty will do that in His Own good time. The duty of the civil government should be to concern itself, in so far as it can, to ensure that every man and woman born into this community will have equality of opportunity whether he is born of rich or poor parents, in affluence or in destitution, so that the gifts which God gave him he shall have an opportunity of developing to the maximum of their potentiality.

The first essential to that end is that every child born into this community should have within its reach education equal to the best that is available to the richest family in the land. I do not think it is economically possible in the State in which we at present find ourselves to ensure that now, but I think we could make of the language a touchstone whereby to record that principle as one of the fundamental principles of our philosophy and at least to give partial practical effect to it here and now. I would do it in this way: I would abolish Irish as a compulsory subject everywhere and I would provide that for any child it would be available as a subject of instruction in every national school in the country. I would provide that any child who presented it, in his primary certificate when leaving the national school, and who attained what for a child of his age was a high standard—and it must be kept high—would receive from the national Exchequer a scholarship to a secondary school, sufficient to ensure his being able to get a complete secondary education literally without any expense to his parents. I would make that available for everybody, not only for the children of the poor but for every child in Ireland who chose to exert himself for the study of Irish.

When it came to the leaving certificate or matriculation — the leaving certificate, preferably—I would provide that every child in Ireland, rich and poor, who chose to present the Irish language as an honours subject— again maintaining a very high standard —and who should secure honours standard would receive from the Exchequer a scholarship sufficient to carry him through his university career, whether he wanted to become a doctor or a lawyer, a solicitor or an engineer, an architect or a graduate in commerce— always provided that, in each year of his academic career, in addition to the technical subjects of the particular faculty to which he belonged, he would present Irish as an honours subject and that, in his degree examination, he would present Irish as an honours subject; and that at each examination as it came, the maintenance of his scholarship would be contingent on his passing in the technical subjects, whatever they might be, of his particular faculty and securing an honours standard in his Irish examination.

Think, then, what Irish would become in this country—the passport to higher education for every child. Remember is would be no longer true, as you walked down York Street or as you crossed the poorest part of Connemara, that there might be a child amongst the ragged urchins in the gutter or the barefoot scholars on the Connemara road who, given the chance, could excel all others but who never would have the chance as his family had not the means to give it to him. They would no longer want the means as the child, by his own exertion, without any help or assistance from the family purse, by burning his own childish midnight oil, could win for himself the right to higher education, up to the doctor of philosophy's degree. He would owe nothing to the community which paid for him, because, as he grasped the prize of academic distinction, we, the people who had paid for him, would have in return another soldier in the citadel of Irish. If we trained a thousand of them every year, where would Irish be in 20 years from now? In a citadel surrounded by 20,000 of the intellectual aristocracy of this country, all of them fluent speakers of Irish, all of them with an adequate literary knowledge of Irish and all of them—or a great part of them—looking back to Irish as the means of getting where they were, knowing that but for it they would still be hewers of wood and drawers of water, realising for the first time that Irish was not the hallmark of poverty and ignorance that so many native speakers have felt it to be. It would have become the countersign of higher education.

The man who spoke Irish was the university man; the man who spoke Irish and spoke it well, whether his raiment was rich or ragged, belonged to the intellectual aristocracy of the community. At the same time, the thousands for whom Deputy Cogan speaks with no uncertain voice and who, it is true, are growing to hate Irish because they regard it as a curb and a handicap upon them, would be delivered from this hateful tyranny, would feel free to aspire to any position in the service of the State or the community, in the knowledge that their inferiors intellectually would not be preferred above them because they had "a competent knowledge of Irish". Thousands of graduates of every year would be proud to speak their language and would glory in the knowledge that when they were heard speaking it their friends would not look about to see if the boss was somewhere near and that they had only broken into Irish in order to impress him. I remember in this House the gale-winds of Irish that used to sweep through the corridors every time a Parliamentary Secretary resigned. You might meet people speaking Irish, walking up and down the stairs, who never spoke a word of Irish in their lives.

Ní fíor é sin.

Nach fíor é? There is not one of us who lives down in rural Ireland who does not see the same shameful, contemptible pantomime again and again. One sees poor Civic Guards with the necks of their tunics open, sweating with O'Growney in their hands. That of which we should be most proud has become the material of jokes and cartoons in every comic paper in the country. Which is the better plan? My plan to use the language of the home, my plan that denies no citizen of this State his just due, my plan that opens the door of opportunity to every child in Ireland, rich and poor; my plan really means equality of opportunity for those who are competent to grasp it, because, remember, in addition to opening the door for opportunity it imports a constant and vigilant test from the first book in the national school to the doctorate degree as to whether the student is serious in his purpose. If he really thirsts for knowledge, if he really wants to be a scholar, a doctor, an engineer or an architect, you can measure the sincerity of his aspirations by the resolution with which he studies the one means of securing for himself the chance to follow his ambition to the end.

What is there against my scheme? Does it not get for us a love of the language, and, what we want, a place of honour, dignity and enduring security for the language—the assurance that it can never perish from the land? Does it not ensure that it shall never again be used for unworthy purposes, and those that have it, have it honestly and need never dissemble again? Is not that a better plan than the dirty racket represented by compulsory Irish to-day?

We are very near the point of seeing Irish die. You know that when utilitarians, like Deputy Cogan say, why not let it die, it is very hard to answer them. I do not think it has any use from the utilitarian point of view at all, but it has something infinitely more precious than any utilitarian quality conceivably could be. That is something you either see or you do not see: it is something so subtle and personal that I think it is an outrage for a rancorous minority in this community to ram it down the throats of their neighbours or force it on them with a jackboot. The odd thing is that that detestable violence which seems to characterise the proponents of the language movement infects people of all political persuasions, and of every kind of mental background. Once they go daft on Irish they are daft indeed. Can we not bring it back into the realm of sanity, can we not bring it back into the realm of beauty and dignity, and into that place of honour where it is no longer a burden or a blight on anybody, but a mark of distinction for those who have it, and an object of envy to those without it? Could we but do that, and could we but feel that way about it, we would have achieved what, I think, the world would look upon as something great.

Professor Toynbee, in his Survey of History, refers to Ireland as one of the countries engaged on the hopeless chimera of trying to revive a dead, or dying, language. Toynbee is no fool. He is not a materialist utilitarian, and he appreciates the beauty of life as well as any man. He is an Englishman. The English people have never known the proximity of death to their language, or of any other of their institutions until recently, when they have known the meaning of real adversity. I have often thought that God must love the English because he sent them adversity just in time to save their souls. They are learning the bitter lessons of adversity now, and it would be a happy thing if we could teach the Toynbees of this world that there is an answer to Deputy Cogan.

It looks a daft kind of thing to be trying to revive a language that, in the ordinary sense of the word, is manifestly dying. There is no utilitarian argument for it, but I think our people would cheerfully spend a million pounds a year if we had nothing for it but the language. Bear this in mind—that it is not the only value we would get, because for a million pounds a year we would not only have the language but we would have opened the gate of opportunity to every child in this country and would never have to feel again that someone was being denied the things we had and for no other reason than that his father was a poor man.

I would like to see the girls of this country taught how to run a home, rich and poor, wherever they come from. Now, so far as the ladies who are going to expensive secondary schools are concerned, if their mothers are such fools as not to get them taught, that is their funeral. God knows His own business best and when he committed children to the care of their parents and their parents deny their children many necessary advantages in life that is the parents' business and it is not for us to interfere, but we ought to make available to sensible parents facilities to give their children that education if the parents have the vision to seek it for their children.

Therefore, I would like to see the school-leaving age for girls, to begin with in rural Ireland, subsequently in our cities as well, raised from 14 to 15, now, and I would like to see established in every parish in rural Ireland, now, a central parochial school with a school bus going around the parish every morning, as is done in every parish in the United States of America every day, collecting all the girls of 13 years and over and bringing them into that central school in the parish where all the women of the parish growing up would get to know one another; secondly, where their literary education, such as it is, commonly known as the three R's, would be carried to a higher stage of completion; and, thirdly, where for two years they would be taught how to run a home so that every farmer's house in this country would be clean and decent and comfortable, and every civil servant's house in this town and every shopkeeper's house and every barrister's house would have in it a woman who could cook the dinner if she had nobody else there to cook it for her or wash the floor and the delf and the baby, not to speak of his diapers. Because, there are thousands of girls in this country who want that knowledge, who want that instruction. Some of them are blessed with mothers competent to give it to them and who do give it to them so that when these responsibilities fall upon them they are fit to undertake them, but thousands of them cannot get it in their own home and have nowhere else to look for it.

I want to ensure that it shall be the prerogative, not only of the fortunate children of good mothers who are able to do it in their own homes and fit to train their daughters, but that it shall be the prerogative of every girl raised in this country so that, at least in rural Ireland, we can secure that standard of cleanliness and housewifery which is the hall-mark of countries like Holland and Switzerland and which, if we are prepared to speak the truth, is not characteristic of our countryside. It could be, it should be, and it would be, if instruction in the methods of how to achieve that end were available. It is our fault if it is not made available now.

The next thing I want to mention is an analogous privilege, if privilege you can call it, for boys. We have in every diocese in Ireland to-day a diocesan college where a boy can learn Latin, Greek, mathematics, literature — academic subjects—but there are very few dioceses in Ireland where, if a boy wants to learn how to use the land to which he is heir to the best advantage, he can go and get the education that he wants. The Diocese of Clogher, where County Monaghan is situated, has a college of that kind and it was not instituted for the education of warble-fly inspectors and the boys that come out of it do not come out of it in knee-breeches and gaiters and with chronic neurasthenia lest they get mud on their boots. They come out and go home to their fathers, very often to contend with their fathers who believe in the old, tried methods and who are reluctant to experiment with the new. I want such a college in every diocese in Ireland and I would like to see the day when every boy who left the national school would have an opportunity of going on to such a college. I do not believe it is practical politics to pretend that will be done to-day or to-morrow because I do not know the finances of it but in the meantime a college ought to be there, in embryo perhaps, where a start should be made and the principle established that agricultural education should be available to every man in this country who intends to make his life upon the land. Surely, that is not an exaggerated demand. Surely, that is not an unreasonable aspiration.

When I look at all the technical schools that have been erected about this country and when I see what goes on in a lot of them, when I hear teachers saying, off the record—because God help them if they said it on the record—that after the first fortnight they could not get a student to turn up at all if they did not give a bit of a dance, when I hear the principal of some of these schools foolish enough to say in public that the scholars that they got in from the national schools could not 3dd, could not spell and could not write and that he had to teach them to do all three before he could start giving them a technical education, and then watch the poor devil being torn to pieces by all the scholars on the county committee of technical education and eventually, in peril of his employment, being constrained to come back and say that his sentiments were sorely misrepresented and that he did not mean to say that at all, that they were grand boys and nicely-educated boys and that they had done well since they came into the school and that it must have been some other county that his mind was turned on when he referred to this peculiar situation, and then coming out from the meeting and saying. "What else could I say to the so-and-so so-and-so's that otherwise would have sacked me", I wonder if the money that is being spent on technical education in this country is as well spent as we think it is. I am told the technical schools in this city are doing a good job, but that is only hearsay.

Like most of what the Deputy knows.

That intelligent interjection, inspired by the herrings the Minister has had for his tea, makes no sense to me at all, but that does not surprise me seeing the source from which it comes. Most of the technical schools that are functioning in rural Ireland at the present time are, as to 50 per cent. of the total expenditure, an utter waste of money. If there were substituted for them and if most of the buildings at present being occupied by them were used as parochial schools which would draw in the boys and girls from 13 to 15 years of age — in the girls' case give instruction in housewifery and in the boys' case even an elementary agricultural science—we would be getting something for our money. As it is we are getting something, I do not deny that, but it is costing twice what it ought because the effort spent in them is of no avail because the boys will not come, the girls will not come regularly or with that degree of regularity which makes it possible for the best teacher in Europe to do his job effectively. Those who understand the Parliamentary system, Sir, will say: "What waste of time to be making speeches in the Dáil." If I were inspired by any hope of getting the Minister for Education to do anything I would agree that it is an utter waste of time. He will do nothing but flap. But it is not that hope we are inspired by. Nothing will be done in this country until we have shifted this lot—broken up the dirty Tammany machine that keeps them where they are.

You will have a wait.

You will never see it.

Boss Tweed said that in New York. He had to fly in the night. Boss Croker thought that once but he ended residing in the suburbs of Dublin, and they rode high, wide and handsome in their day. Well, while you are on horse-back enjoy it, because when you hit the ground you will find it awful hard.

Tá mé tar éis bheith ag éisteacht leis an Teachta deireannach le breis agus uair a chloig nó uair a chloig go leith agus ní fuiriste a rá cad iad na pointí ba cheart a thabhairt ós comhair na Dála dar dhein sé tagairt. Ar an gcéad dul síos dhein sé tagairt don Institiúid Árd-Léinn seo i mBlá Cliath go dtí gur chuir an Ceann Comhairle isteach air, ach ba dhóigh le duine ar an gcaint a dhein sé go raibh an-shuim ar fad aige sna cúrsaí a bhaineann leis an scoil sin agus tá me chun a thaispeáint don Tigh anois tar éis tamaill an méid suime atá aige sa scéal sin agus in obair na scoile sin.

Mise! Níl suim ar bith agam sa scoil sin. Is "dump" í.

Is é atá ag cur isteach ar fad air ná an cheist seoceist an eigeantais mar a glaotar ar mhuineadh na Gaeilge sna scoileanna— an rud sin ar a dtugtar "compulsory Irish". Ní dóigh liom gur tháinig any abhair díospóireachta fén ar mbráid cosúil leis maidir le míthuiscint. Mar dá dtuigimis an scéal i gceart agus dá léimis na rialacha a bhaineann léi gheoaimis amach nach bhfuil an t-éigeantas sin ann in aon chor fé mar bítear ag cur ina luí orainn. Gheoaimis amach go bhfuil rial sholéir ag baint leis—riail atá ann chun na múinteoirí a stiúradh maidir le múineadh na Gaeilge. Ba mhaith liom, leis, an riail sin a chur ós comhair na Dála.

Having spoken in Irish A LeasChinn Comhairle——

Cad é? Cad 'na thaobh ná labhrann tú as Gaeilge?

For the benefit of those people who do not understand the Irish language. I understand that Deputy Ó Briain is going to speak himself in Irish. That is the language I would choose too——

Tá cead agat.

I want to bring two points especially before the House.

Cad iad?

I wonder, A LeasChinn Comhairle, if I have permission to speak.

Bhfuil cead agam leanúint?

Tá cead agat leanúint in aon teanga is maith leat féin.

Rarely in my opinion has the House had the misfortune of listening to such a rigmarole as we have had here from Deputy Dillon with which he has taken up more than an hour and a half of the House. He started with his usual reference to the Dublin School of Advanced Studies. I understand, of course, that it is not in the rules to continue a discussion on this subject but somehow or other Deputy Dillon took up 20 minutes of the time of the House discussing the Dublin School of Advanced Studies.

Have not we an Estimate for it before us?

Yes, but it was pointed out to the Deputy that this is an autonomous body, the governing body of the school, and that they are at liberty to make whatever appointment they like and that anybody connected with it is at liberty to tender his resignation any time he likes.

I did not say he had not. This is a free country, thanks be to God.

But here is the amount of interest Deputy Dillon has in the School of Advanced Studies.

I think it should be abolished; I always said so. It was a blight the first day and it is just a blight.

The Deputy said in a moment of inadvertence I think that he was jealous of this institute.

—— of its academic autonomy.

Please, Deputy, please.

In other words that he was solicitous about the welfare of this institute. Here is the degree of solicitude and concern that Deputy Dillon has shown for the Institute of Advanced Studies.

I think it should be abolished.

Deputy Dillon must keep order.

A question was asked here in the Dáil recently about the School of Advanced Studies and when the Minister for Education replied, the Taoiseach said:

"As far as the Taoiseach is concerned, he would say this, and very quickly, that when the whole question of setting up the schools was before the Dáil his recollection is that Deputy Dillon and other Deputies were very anxious that matters concerning the institute would not be subject to discussion here and that they ought to be allowed for the present to do their business in their own way, without the interference of Deputy Dillon."

Here is Deputy Dillon's comment on that.

His supplementary question.

I quote:—

"I do not want to interfere at all. All I want to know is what has blown the roof off the institute. If you can tell us that, let them blow away for all I am concerned. Are you sure it was not interference that blew the roof off?"

That, as I have said, is the amount of concern the Deputy has shown for this institute. He dragged it in here as a weapon with which to attack the Government as he thought. One would imagine from the way he speaks and from the way one or two other Deputies speak about this institute that we are not entitled to have an institute of this kind in the country. Why should not the people of this country have the advantage of a School for Advanced Studies as well as any other country—this country which has the reputation of being in advance of other countries in learning and research?

And sainthood.

Both Deputy Cogan and Deputy Dillon referred to the question of compulsory Irish. It is a great pity that Deputies like them would not make themselves aware of the actual position regarding the teaching of Irish in schools. Of course, Deputy Dillon holds himself out as an authority on many things, if not everything. Furthermore, he takes up the attitude in this House that anything that he does not agree with is a fraud and a huge "cod". In other words, he sets himself up as an authority on everything, who is not to be challenged or found fault with. But if anybody else comes forward with ideas which do not happen to coincide with Deputy Dillon's these ideas are all a fraud. Of course, Deputy Cogan, the benighted Deputy, would even go further than Deputy Dillon. He would abolish Irish altogether from the schools.

Dealing with this question of compulsory Irish, I want to point out to the House and to the country that there is no such thing as compulsory Irish in the sense that these people try to persuade us there is, because there is a definite regulation which, with other regulations, was issued in a circular some years ago by the Department of Education to the managers, teachers and inspectors all over the country, and it reads:

"The Department, finding that a good deal of apprehension exists regarding the use of Irish as a medium of instruction in primary schools, considers it necessary, in connection with the issue of the accompanying circular on teachers' ratings, to define the requirements of the school programme in respect to teaching through Irish and to state at more length what its aims are and what it expects the school to do to realise them. Section 6 of the General Notes prefatory to the programme states: ‘Where a teacher is competent to teach through Irish and where the children can assimilate the instruction so given, the teacher should endeavour to extend the use of Irish as a medium of instruction as far as possible.'"

Is there any compulsion about that?

Ask the inspectors.

Furthermore, the inspectors have definite instructions that where teachers do attempt to teach the school subjects through the medium of Irish and where they are not competent, they are definitely to discourage those teachers from doing so. That is the other side of the picture. As I have said, there is no such thing as compulsory Irish in the sense that Deputy Dillon and Deputy Cogan have been trying to impress upon us. That is the regulation concerning it and no change has taken place in the position since.

Assuming that these two conditions would be fulfilled, that the teacher would be competent to give instruction through the medium of Irish and that the children would be capable of assimilating that instruction, what should prevent a teacher from using the Irish language as a medium of instruction? I see nothing against it when these two conditions are fulfilled. Will anybody tell me that history and geography and even mathematics cannot be taught successfully and effectively through the medium of Irish? Of course, in mathematics it is a question of getting to know the terms, and I believe that the terms used in Irish are just as lucid and convey the meaning just as clearly as the terms used in English.

Does that apply to religious instruction?

I am talking about mathematics at the moment. Take, for instance, these things which we used to hear of long ago, the equilateral triangle and the isosceles triangle. The equivalent in Irish for them would be. triantán cómh-chosach and triantán comh-shleasach. If you examine them you will find that the meaning is much clearer in Irish than it is in English.

If you understand it.

I venture to say that when we had to struggle with these propositions long ago and were able to master them we did not know exactly the meaning of these words. Even though we were able to pass tests in geometry, we actually did not know the meaning of these words at the time. It was only in later years that we realised the meaning of them. In any case, apart from those who want the Irish language outlawed from this country—and there are people like that; unfortunately we have a good many of them with us up to the present day—it appears that there are two schools of thought about the teaching of the Irish language. The first school consists of those who advocate the teaching of the language at a very early age when the children go to school first. These people say, and I believe them, that the child's mind is more receptive at that age than it would be in later years, and that the child can subconsciously, so to speak, acquire a knowledge of the language by visual and easy methods, or as we used to call it "an módh díreach"; that is the identification method, where a teacher stands before a class and points to different objects, associating these objects with the appropriate terms in Irish.

Then you have the second school of thought, those people who believe that the youngsters when they go to school first should not be burdened with a second language. They hold that the learning of a second language so young would have a deleterious effect on their knowledge of the cradle language, and would create confusion in their minds as between the two. I, for one, have no doubt about the matter. I believe that one language does not hinder the other. We know that governesses in charge of young children succeed in teaching them two or more languages in a space of two or three years.

I would have no hesitation in accepting No. 1, because educationists and philologists all over the world will tell you that the best time for a child to learn a language is between four and eight and that if the teaching of the language is postponed to an older age, there will be a greater effort required by the child to master the language.

There are many people who are sincere about the second approach to the teaching of the language, but I believe that if we want to make this an Irish-speaking nation we shall have to start with the children the moment they go to school. I do not deny that it is possible to acquire a knowledge of the language in later years, but one can never achieve fluency and a natural method of speaking it unless one commences to learn it when one is very young. So much for this question of compulsory Irish. I have been trying to point out to the Dáil that there is no such thing as compulsory Irish. Deputy Dillon referred to the use of the Irish language for materialistic purposes.

For corruption.

I do not like the word "corruption". I am not built at all like Deputy Dillon. I would never use the word "corruption" unless I saw the necessity for it, or that the position justified it. The position regarding the Irish language does not justify the use of the word "corruption".

A spade is a spade. A rose by any other name...

There is nothing connected with the Irish language, the teaching of it or the use of it in after life, that would justify the use of the word "corruption" in this House by any Deputy. Deputy Dillon adumbrated a scheme this evening under which he said 20,000 people would be brought within an Irish scholarship plan. So far as I can make it out, 20,000 people would be just two-thirds of one per cent. of our population. What would be the use of having only two-thirds of one per cent. of our people within a scheme like this and leave all the others out? It would be just creating an intellectual elite in this country to the exclusion of the mass of the people. Deputy Dillon referred to the belief that sometimes exists—it is not a fact—that the Irish language is associated with poverty and misery. I do not think even the belief exists at the present time—that anybody associates the Irish language with poverty and misery. It is true that many of the people in the Gaeltacht are not well off, but still it cannot be said of them that they are steeped in poverty and misery. But I think the other position would be a lot worse—if we set out to create what I described as an intellectual elite to whom would be entrusted the custody and the welfare of the Irish language. In my opinion that would not be a practical scheme. The best thing for us all to do is to cling to the scheme we have in the schools.

Cling is right—a sinking ship.

The best thing for us all to do is to pursue the system we have in the schools. It is in my opinion the best system of all. There is no undue compulsion being brought to bear on the teachers, as some people have been trying to point out to us. Talking about compulsion, could it not be said that there is an element of compulsion about every subject in the schools?

English included.

Including English. Every child has to learn English, mathematics, geography, history, and so on. The Irish language is part of the school curriculum and because it is part of the school curriculum it must be learned. I submit there is no more compulsion attached to that than there is to the other subjects in the school curriculum. It would be a grand thing if we could all avoid learning these things, but if we pursued the line of least resistance in that connection we would never get anywhere.

Mar fhocal scoir ba cheart dúinn go léir seasamh guala le gualainn maidir le haithbheochaint na Gaeilge. Is baol liom go ndéanfaidh cuid den chaint a deineadh anso an tráthnóna seo díobháil don Ghaeilge agus go dtabhairfaidh sé abhar misnigh do naimhde na teangan. Tá sí á múineadh go maith sna scoileanna in ainneoin a bhfuil á rá ag daoine áirithe. In sna scoileanna a maraíodh an Ghaeilge agus in sna scoileanna a hathbheofar arís í le cúnamh Dé.

Over the week-end the Taoiseach, in this city, publicly nursed his pet twins, Partition and the language. I do not think he made very much progress in that operation. Listening to what the Leader of the Opposition had to say regarding certain schools in the Fíor-Ghaeltacht— Baile Chiaragáin and other such schools that have been removed from the list of Irish-speaking schools—it struck me that one of the infants, at all events, is suffering from malnutrition. I do not know what Deputy Kissane's ideas are about motives, but I agree with Deputy Dillon that we are operating a policy here with regard to the language that has as a motive for young people an association with jobs, and I do not think that is very commendable.

I am one of those people who believe that compulsory Irish and teaching through the medium of Irish are bad for our educational system. I do not profess to know much about the regulations governing the Department of Education but I do believe, notwithstanding what Deputy Kissane has said and what he has read out, that there is compulsion. If there was no compulsion, I fail to see why recently the school teachers felt called on to investigate this whole question of compulsory Irish and to express their disapproval of the methods adopted in the schools. I believe that you can get nothing by compulsion, not merely in the teaching of Irish, but as far as the public are concerned, in other matters. Compulsion is the wrong method and there is a reaction at the present time in the country against it.

I had this experience as late as last Sunday. I was present at a football match when an individual came to the microphone and made a certain announcement. He spoke in Irish and I saw there a big number of young fellows actually deriding what he was saying, deriding the language and revolting against the individual who took the opportunity to speak in Irish. I felt myself at the time that it was the natural reaction to compulsion from young men who had very recently left school—not old fellows. I believe that if progress is to be made in the language movement we ought to aim at inculcating into the children and the parents motives that will enable them to appreciate the language for the culture and Christianity associated with it. I am convinced that it is only in that way that progress can be made. I believe that compulsion has seriously affected the standard of education in the country. I do not want to say anything further about that but I feel the Minister and the Government should at least listen to the views and the conclusions that have been arrived at by people in a position to judge, namely, the national school teachers.

The Minister was at some pains to defend the primary schools and the results achieved in them. I presume he felt that, having regard to the views expressed by competent people, not merely in this House but outside, he was called upon to defend the work of the national schools and the Department. He finished up by stating:—

"The function of the primary school is, first of all, to co-operate with the Church and the home in imparting to the pupils a solid foundation of religious knowledge and in inculcating a proper code of moral and social conduct. After that its function is to supply the pupil with the essential skills, the tools of secular knowledge, whereby he may be enabled to educate himself further or to avail himself of whatever further facilities for education opportunity may place in his way. Judged by these criteria, I think our primary schools give as good a return to the nation as the primary schools of any country of which we have intimate knowledge."

That certainly has been questioned time after time by people in a position to judge. Even the teachers themselves and the presidents of the different teaching organisations in the country have expressed their feelings of frustration, so far as the policy of education is concerned. The president of the Association of Secondary Schoolteachers recently suggested that the children were not taught, that they failed to realise, and that no attempt was made to make them appreciate, what the purpose of education was. The Taoiseach, I think two years ago, came into the House to tell Deputies what, in his opinion, the purposes of primary education should be. He put it in a very simple way, that it was to form a basis of education, to provide a basis of knowledge. His argument was that the function of the primary school was to provide the three R's, reading, writing and arithmetic. The report that has been submitted recently by the Scottish Council of Education expresses disapproval of that, and states that the purpose should be much wider and fundamentally different from that —that the purpose should be physical education, the development of a sound, healthy body, the development of handiwork and of speech.

I should be inclined to add what I think is not taught at all to the children—the necessity to use their eyes, to observe things, to contemplate and appreciate what is Nature. I think that the most essential duty of the teacher is to give the pupil a proper philosophy of life. The Minister has said that the purpose is to lay a solid foundation of religious knowledge and to inculcate a proper code of moral and social conduct. That, of course, is the most essential basis, coupled with a proper outlook and a proper philosophy of life. I feel that there is in the country to-day a very large number of people who question whether our educational policy has proved successful. That is questioned by a number of people in a position to judge. It is questioned by people who are engaged in commercial life, who have taken young fellows who have just left school into business and who find that they have not the knowledge that one would expect them to have. I feel that compulsory Irish has something to do with that. As I have said before, and as I say now in reply to Deputy Kissane, the sort of outlook we have about Irish and the policy that is in operation at the present time, have created the idea that the language is used as a medium for getting jobs, that it is associated with jobbery. For instance, in the appointment of a doctor a knowledge of Irish is looked upon as a most important qualification. I shall put it this way: if the Minister were seriously ill—and I hope he will not be —and he were looking for a doctor, he would not first look for a doctor who had a competent knowledge of Irish. He would make sure that the doctor had the necessary qualification to treat him, and he would not be worrying about the doctor's knowledge of Irish.

When we are appointing medical officers to dispensary districts to provide free medical relief for poor people, we should remember that they, too, are sometimes very seriously ill and that they do not worry whether the medical officer who is to treat them for their illness has a competent knowledge of Irish or not. The whole thing has been brought to such a state of absurdity that the young people who have been compulsorily overdosed with Irish are revolting against the whole system. For the first time, I witnessed last Sunday young fellows showing public opposition to Irish. I think that that is an unnatural thing. It has been brought about not because they are naturally opposed to the language—I do not think that that is so —but because they have been rubbed the wrong way and were overdosed in their schooldays with Irish. Irish was rammed down their throats to such an extent that they took advantage of this opportunity of showing their opposition to it. I believe that that situation is gradually developing. It is sad and unfortunate that that should be so. I scarcely expect the Minister to agree with me but I can assure him that that was my experience.

The Minister referred to a committee he has set up to investigate the problem of compulsory, post-primary education. He stated also that he was awaiting the report of the Youth Unemployment Committees, which was in course of preparation. I think that the House would welcome the reports of both those committees. I am one of those who believe that we should have compulsory, part-time, primary education. It is very badly needed so far as the primary industry is concerned. That industry is ill-equipped so far as technical education is concerned. Reference has been made to Denmark and the facilities there for agricultural education. About five or six of the agricultural population in Denmark receive a full technical education. Appreciating that, we must realise how we are handicapped in entering into competition with such a country. This is our most necessary equipment so far as the primary industry is concerned. I look forward anxiously to the presentation of those reports.

Deputy Dillon referred to the vocational education schools and stated that, while they have provided some service, they have not been very successful. I believe that the vocational school is used as a device to get people away from the land. We talk about the declining population in rural Ireland and we know that there is an alarming reduction in the number of people engaged in agriculture. When we speak about more efficient agriculture, we must realise that the first essential is man-power. If we are losing our mail-power, we cannot expand our production. The vocational school and Albert College are used as devices to get away from agriculture. Ninety-five per cent. of the students who enter Albert College do so not to come back to the land but to occupy a position from which they will be able to tell farmers how to farm, which is a much pleasanter job than farming. The vocational schools are availed of but they are availed of to get children away from the land. Few parents send their children to these schools solely for the purpose of improving their technical knowledge of agriculture. I attribute that extraordinary outlook to lack of proper education, to failure to appreciate that, while work on the land may, from the materialistic point of view, not be the best occupation, from a spiritual point of view and from the point of view of closeness to nature, agriculture offers something which no other walk in life can offer.

I should like to know where we draw the line between vocational education, for which the Minister is responsible, and technical education, for which the Minister for Agriculture is responsible. What degree of co-operation and coordination is there between the two Departments? I believe that there is none. There is over-lapping and, at the same time, there is a hiatus. That is undesirable. If we are to have the rural school utilised for the purpose for which it was set up—the teaching of rural science and affording help to the individual who proposes to live on the land to become a better farmer—there ought to be greater co-operation between the two Departments. I am wholeheartedly in agreement with Deputy Dillon when he advises the Minister to provide some scheme to qualify young girls to run a home. Our female population, naturally, hope to settle down and become good housewives.

I think that the first and most essential course to be provided for those young girls in our vocational schools should be one which would enable them to become good housewives. We are training them to become hotel cooks, kitchenmaids, waitresses, and so forth. Wexford Vocational Committee are doing great things at Courtown. But we are going to export many of these young girls. If we had a course which would teach them to become good and efficient housewives, how to run their homes well, to have some idea of hygiene and some knowledge of domestic economy, we should be doing a great service to the community. We should be giving them a sounder and better approach to life than teaching them to look across the water for what, from a purely materialistic point of view, can be got here.

Fundamentally, I am of opinion that our whole policy regarding education is unsound. I can prove that by the outlook our people get as a result of their education in the primary schools. There is no attempt to provide the proper philosophy and outlook which ought to be inculcated in the national school. As the Taoiseach told us a couple of years ago, these should be the basis of our education, but merely providing the three R's is not nearly enough. Very much more must be done and pupils ought to be taught how to seek knowledge and where they can acquire knowledge when they leave school. The Minister has attempted to prove that 40 per cent. of the children from primary schools get further education in secondary and vocational schools. That may be a fact, although the percentage appears to me to be rather high, but, taking the Minister's figure as correct, 60 per cent. of our children finish their education in the primary schools, and, for that reason, it is imperative that the foundation of these things which are so essential to the individual's future should be well laid in the primary school.

The Minister is alive to the necessity of providing decent schools. He has told us that £250,000 was provided last year for this purpose, and that, in this Estimate, £500,000 is being provided. Even that sum, I submit, is very small, but, in view of the difficulties which exist, the shortage of essential materials and so on, one cannot expect very much more to be done, and when one compares the amount provided here with the figures for housing given by the Minister for Finance in his Budget statement—he said that 1,000 houses were provided last year and that the programme for this financial year is 1,500 houses—the provision in this Estimate compares favourably with the provision for housing. In the ordinary life of the country, however, there has been, in the past, a good deal of delay in making arrangements with the managers for the provision of schools and a good deal of delay on the part of the Board of Works in the preparation of plans and specifications. I am not in a critical mood in mentioning this point; I am merely stressing the importance of going ahead, so far as possible in the difficult circumstances in which we live, with the provision of decent schools in many districts where conditions are still appalling.

Finally, I want to say a word on behalf of pensioned teachers. I know there was a motion before the House some time ago when this matter was discussed, but, since then, further adjustments have been made in salaries all round, and the Minister ought to appreciate that some of the pensioned teachers have appallingly low pensions on which it is almost impossible for them to exist.

They are not living; they are merely existing; and many of us feel that we owe much to some of the people who provided us with an education and that they ought not to be forgotten in their declining years. I appeal to the Minister to have this matter further considered. I know that it is a big question and that all categories of pensioned officials, civil servants and so on, will have to be taken into consideration and it might involve a very large financial provision; but there is this to be said for the pensioned teacher, that he is in a category by himself. His pension is lower than that enjoyed by civil servants, and, in that connection, I should like to ask the Minister whether he is in favour of the clerical system or the managerial system. At one time, a good many years ago, the British Government addressed a questionnaire to the teachers, in which they asked them whether they were in favour of the clerical system or the managerial system. The Minister appreciates the motive behind that questionnaire—they wanted to get rid of the managers and to introduce the clerical system. They failed to introduce the clerical system, but if the clerical system had been put into operation at that time, the pensioned teacher to-day would be enjoying a higher pension. Are they to be penalised because we have the managerial system in operation? I want to know if the Minister is in favour of that system or the clerical system.

I suppose what the Deputy means is whether they should come under the State or remain under the managers?

Yes, that is what I mean.

I am in favour of the managerial system.

I am very glad to hear that. If the Minister is in favour of the managerial system, he ought not to penalise the people who are serving under that system, but should mete out justice to them and treat them as if they were serving under the clerical system.

Mr. Corish

I was disappointed by the Minister's introductory speech. I rather expected that he would have given a broader review of education as it exists to-day. The civil servants in the Minister's Department have done their job extremely well for the past year and they have supplied the Minister with all the necessary statistics, but, generally, the Minister did not attempt to tell us anything about the standard of education—whether it was all right or not, whether it should be changed and whether a change was contemplated. For that reason, I should like to advocate, as, I am sure, many others in this House have advocated before me, that a council of education should be set up. The Minister has perhaps heard this from time to time, but I suggest to him that the system of education at present should be seriously reviewed. There is regimentation; there is compulsion; and there is a certain amount of unnecessary uniformity in the educational system to-day. I advocate that this council of education be established—a council which would consist of representatives of the parents, the teachers and the Church—to advise the Minister. The Minister may say that this House is the best council of education, but this House is, after all, a political House, and, in my short experience of it, Ministers are very reluctant to accept the slightest bit of advice from this side. Therefore, the position is that education in this country is apparently run by civil servants.

Surely the Deputy does not understand the system of education in this country when he says that? Education in this country is mainly under the control of the Church.

Mr. Corish

I am trying to tell the Minister that the system is dictated by the Department of Education officials.

No, the Deputy is quite wrong.

Mr. Corish

I still assert that.

The Deputy will realise that the Minister is responsible to this House.

Mr. Corish

I recognise that, but I know too that such a policy can be and possibly is dictated by his Department. The reason I say that there is a certain amount of regimentation and unnecessary uniformity in the education system is that the main object seems to be the passing of examinations. In reality, education should be but to prepare our men and women for society, to improve their talents with a view towards doing good to themselves, to the community and to their fellows generally.

At present only two faculties are developed, that is, memory and competitiveness. At the present time, the children in the different classes learn their lessons in a rigmarole, sing-song fashion. They are never taught the why and wherefore, so long as they can say that two and two make four and spell certain words for the teacher or the inspector. They are never taught, in primary or secondary schools, to think for themselves and to use their own imagination. It is only when they leave school and look back, as they become older and dwell, when they have time, on the things they were taught, that it suddenly occurs to them why they were taught a particular subject and where the appreciation should have been for a certain poem or a certain piece of literature. The teachers in primary and secondary schools at present never try to instil into them that sense of trying to think for themselves and of using their imagination.

I still assert that the only object seems to be to pass their examinations. Examinations in themselves are good, in so far as they give some sort of idea as to the standard of education attained, but examinations are dependent on certain things. There is always the chance that something may turn up which will fail a particular pupil. You get just one examination in your year and if certain things go wrong the pupil is down for the year and fails his examination. It would be better if you had a chance to review all the student's work for the year and if there was a check on him by the teacher as to the way he reacted to certain things he had been taught, and if he were judged, not on an examination in a single day but on his year's work.

Ba mhaith liom anois tagairt beag a dhéanamh do cheist na Gaeilge. Mo bhrón nach bhfuil an Ghaeilg go tréan láidir agam, ach mar sin fhéin geallaim go ndéanfaidh mé mo dícheall chun go mbeidh an Ghaeilg ag gach duine sa tír seo. I do agree with the speakers on both sides of the House in certain things about the Irish language, but I definitely disagree with Deputy Kissane when he says there is no such thing as compulsion in the teaching of Irish in the schools. There certainly is compulsion and the only objection I have to the Irish language is that it is being forced down the throats of the unfortunate children.

Like any other subject. Surely Deputy Kissane, the Parliamentary Secretary, made that clear?

Mr. Corish

He did not make it clear to me. There is definitely compulsion, in so far as Irish is essential to pass any examination in the country to-day —and if that is not compulsion, I do not know what is. One may say the same thing obtains as regards other subjects. English in particular is the only one that has the same compulsion as the Irish language. I advocated last year and advocate again this year that examinations in Irish be scrapped altogether. If we are to be sincere about this, if the Government is to be sincere, the Minister must admit that we have not made any reasonable progress in the last 25 years. I heard a member of the Front Bench the other day saying that Fianna Fáil, if they waddled to one side of the road or the other, had the happy knack of being able to come back again, of correcting their mistakes.

Could not the Fianna Fáil Government admit there has not been any serious advance in the revival of Irish and change their policy regarding it? I say in all sincerity that the general education of the children is suffering in consequence of Irish. The one big objection with the young child in going to school to-day is the dislike they have for the Irish language.

The teachers are not satisfied with the progress being made in Irish. I would suggest, and may be ridiculed for doing so, that we are paying too much attention to the language in the lower classes from the point of view of grammar. My idea would be to let the children speak Irish in whatever manner they like, as long as they are speaking Irish—at least, they will be speaking the language. The obstacles confronting the children in the world to-day are far too great. You have opposition from the radio, from the cinema and, in the majority of cases, from parents who can speak only English. It is unreasonable to expect that these children would be able to master the Irish language just as you master the English language and be as perfect in the grammar of Irish as they are in the grammar of English.

When I advocate a change of policy, I suggest that, first of all, the examinations in the Irish language be cut out altogether. If we are to revive the language, we must do it by subtle means, not by imposing it as a penalty on the child. If we are going to make it a penalty, there will always be opposition to it. In that respect, I should say to all the people who were listening to the gentleman who spoke Irish last Sunday and to whom Deputy Hughes has referred, that it is a misrepresentation of the case for people to say that these people jeered at the gentleman. The poor unfortunate gentleman who did speak spoke it at an inopportune time. In the heat of the match, when a player happened to be injured, this poor ulagadón thought he would have an opportunity of talking to people about a Feis. It was a most inopportune time and the only reason there was dissent was that he took such a foolish opportunity of talking Irish when people were anxious to know which of the teams would win the match.

I suggest to the Minister that he could do a lot for the language if he would set up some holiday camps every summer. If you could get these youngsters gathered together in holiday camps, whether under canvas or in hostels or houses, and introduce some of the young children from the Gaeltacht who are fluent in the Irish language, we would very soon have them all taking a definite interest in it. They would know they were not going to be slapped, chided or abused if they were not grammatically correct and in a very short time they would get a liking for it. Even after a fortnight or three weeks' holiday in such camps, their knowledge of Irish would be improved greatly. There should be a type of youth movement for the sole revival of the language on the lines of the Catholic Boy Scouts of Ireland. In that movement, the Catholic Boy Scouts of Ireland, you have an organisation which is teaching discipline and which makes the young boys healthy. If you could start a similar movement mainly for the revival of the language, it would be of great benefit. Now that an Irish Film Society has been established here, I suggest that films in Irish should be shown in every cinema for ten minutes. That is not a fantastic suggestion, because I have seen people look at short films for ten minutes which were absolute rubbish, and also at dull advertisements for the same length of time. I am certain that films in Irish would be tolerated by people who are not so keen on the language and would be enjoyed by those who are anxious to learn it and, of course, by those who have a command of the language. As far as my own constituency is concerned, I would try to get people to avail of the opportunity of seeing those Irish films. They would not jeer at them and neither would they abuse or run down the Irish language. I would appeal to Deputies, for the sake of people who want to learn the language, to get those whom they represent to give their support to those Irish films.

With regard to songs, if we are going to revive the language I think we ought to scrap a certain amount of the dull songs which we hear over Radio Eireann from time to time. I feel that if the French people and the German people, and peoples in other countries hear a popular American song or a popular jazz song in Britain they get it translated into their own language and have it broadcasted. That is not done here although you can hear teen-age boys and girls singing those popular songs in every part of the country. I think that the Minister should arrange that an officer in his Department would translate some of those popular songs so that we might hear them over the radio. If my suggestion were adopted, I think it would go a long way towards helping the revival of the language. I think it must be said that there is no advancement being made so far as the revival of the language is concerned. If the Taoiseach and the Government are sincere about its revival, then let us change our policy because the present one has failed.

There is another matter that I should like to mention although perhaps in doing so I may be on dangerous ground. I understand that no assistance whatever is given by the State for the erection or equipment of secondary schools. There is, of course, the capitation grant and a certain proportion of salaries of secondary teachers is paid by the State. It is not fair that no moneys are provided by the State for the erection of secondary schools or for the provision of science laboratories and so on in them. It is not fair from the point of view of secondary education. The position is different in the case of primary schools. In their case the State provides the cost of their erection to a very great extent. They are also equipped by the State.

I think that secondary education should be made available to every child in the community, and, therefore, I think the State should provide a certain amount of money for the erection and equipment of secondary schools. At present all that is left to be done by the religious orders and private individuals. That means, of course, that secondary education is costly, and from that point of view all the children of the State have not an equal opportunity to get a secondary education. I know, of course, that only nominal fees are demanded from secondary pupils by the Christian Brothers and other religious orders.

They are to be highly commended for that. I think the Minister should try to devise a scheme whereby the State would make certain moneys available for the erection and equipment of secondary schools. The moneys which the secondary schools receive at present are, I am sure, insufficient to maintain them, or to provide them with fuel, light and other equipment. I am led to believe that there is a certain limit on the number of secondary teachers in receipt of incremental salaries. There is then a certain number of qualified registered secondary teachers who do not receive these incremental salaries. The Minister ought to concern himself about that.

My last point has to do with the provision of agricultural education. Agriculture is our primary industry and suitable provision should be made for those who intend to engage in it. I think the Government should give more money, and devote more of its energies towards the education of the young people in rural Ireland. It is a deplorable fact that out of every £1 spent on education only 5d. goes to agricultural education. The teaching of rural science and nature study has declined to a large extent in the last 20 years.

I do not like to interrupt the Deputy, but perhaps he does not know that provision is made in the Vote for the Department of Agriculture for schemes for agricultural education. If he goes through that Vote he can calculate the sum of money that is being spent on agricultural education.

Mr. Corish

But surely the Minister is responsible for the teaching of rural science and nature study?

Yes, in the primary schools, but I am not responsible for agricultural education.

Mr. Corish

Rural science and nature study are part of an agricultural education. I can safely say that the teaching of those subjects has practically ceased in the primary schools. That, in itself, is a deplorable fact when we consider that this is an agricultural country. If we want to teach children something about the occupations which they intend to follow when they leave school, greater encouragement should be given by the Department in the matter of the teaching of rural science and nature study. In 1934 rural science was cut out as a compulsory subject in rural schools in order to make room for Irish.

Perhaps we ought to make it a compulsory subject?

Mr. Corish

I have not advocated anything like that.

It is voluntary at the present time. The Deputy complains of a decline in the teaching of the subject.

Mr. Corish

I should prefer if the Minister would give a lead as regards the teaching of nature study and rural science in rural schools. The Minister is responsible for education in the country and should give a lead to the rural community in education in that matter. The Minister would be better employed in doing that than in cutting in and in trying to do the funny man.

I am not trying to do the funny man. I am giving the Deputy some information.

The Minister will have his chance—the final word.

Mr. Corish

He does not avail of any chance that is given to him to make any reasonable statement.

Cuireann sé ionadh ormsa an méid daoine go bhfuil tuairim fé leith acu ar oideachas, ní hamháin sa Tigh seo ach amuigh, agus is dóigh le gach duine acu go dtuigeann sé féin gach aon rud a bhaineas le hoideachas. Ní mar sin a bhíonn an scéal nuair éiríonn ceist a bhaineann le dlí. Nuair a bhí an Bille Cistí Sinn Féin ós comhair an Tí dob iad na dlíodóirí a bhí páirteach sa díospóireacht agus nuair bhí Bille an tSláinte ós comhair an Tí b'iad na dochtúirí a labhair ar dtúis agus gach duine a labhair ina ndiaidh mhol sé tuairimí na ndochtúirí. Ach ó labhair an tAire —tá sé ina mhúinteoir—chuaigh formhór na ndaoine a labhair ó shoin ina choinnibh toisc nach dtuigeann siad cad is oideachas ann. Mar, tá an t-oideachas ina ealaín agus tá an t-oideachas ina eolaíocht. Bíonn an t-oideachas ina ealaín nuair a cuirtear roimis ag múinteóir roinnt eolais a thabhairt dá mic léinn. Bíonn an t-oideachas ina eolaíocht nuair a cuirtear roimis ag múinteoir an bunús atá le gach abhar léinn a dhéanamh soiléir i dtreo is go mbeidh greim ag an mac léinn ar an ábhar ó chéim go céim.

Nuair a chruthaigh Dia an duine thug Sé a lán buanna dhó nár thug Sé do na beithigh ach ní foláir na buadha sin a oibriú agus is leis an intleacht a déantar na buadha sin a oibriú. Sin é an rud atá mar bhunús don oideachas ceart, an t-eolas a thabhairt do dhuine a sheasóidh dó nuair a bheidh an scoil fágtha aige mar is ansin an t-am a fhoghluimíonn duine an chuid is gá dhó a fhoghlaim.

Ar an gcéad dul síos, cad é an t-aon rud amháin atá riachtanach ar an saol seo? Sinn féin d'ullmhú i dtreo is go bhfeicimid Dia ar Neamh nuair a fhágfaimid slán ag an saol seo. An té a n-éiríonn leis é sin a dhéanamh ba chuma leis.

Education is a science and an art. It is an art when it aims at the accomplishment of a piece of work and it is a science when it seeks to find a natural basis for every rule which it employs. While many of the speakers have agreed that education in the primary schools is simply a preparation for the life to come, they seem to think that at 14 a boy or girl should be a finished product, ready to face life. We are told that in the short space of time of eight years, from six to 14, there be taught the three R's, history, geography and the other subjects and that the children, on reaching the age of 14, should be taught the philosophy of life.

What is God's philosophy of life? It is the personal dignity and worth of the individual man. That individual man is not the man that like a cog in a wheel, fits into society. He is an ultimate beyond whom there is God and God only. Those who have to do with the various organisations of men, whether they be professional or otherwise, will have to keep in mind that at the back of every organisation there is a philosophy of life which we must not, and should not, forget. Those who are responsible for the organisation of workers should be particularly keen on that philosophy, because, if we do not keep that in mind, we will miss something which we and our country will deplore in years to come.

In every educative process there are four distinct stages. One is external, that is the sensation. Three are internal—the precept, the image and the concept. The concept is the finished idea. The development of the mind depends on the number and depth of the concepts. It is admitted by educationists the world over who have studied bilingualism that there is no concept having a deeper grip of the intellect than the double concept and the double concept is the one which is received through bilingual education.

We are told that our children are ignorant leaving our schools and, unfortunately, members of teaching bodies lend themselves to that kind of propaganda. But if we read the Leader of the 19th April of this year we will see a reference to the teachers' congress in Cork at which a teacher described the primary certificate examination as being of so high a standard that it is a scandalous imposition on a child of 12 years. The man to whom that statement is attributed is a former member of the Irish National Teachers' Organisation Executive. I know him personally, and I believe that he is rated as good a teacher as there is in this country. He describes the standard of the primary certificate examination as being so high that it is a scandalous imposition for children of 12 years, but the records go to show that from 70 to 75 per cent. of the children who sit for the examination are successful. In other words, 75 per cent. of them succeed in passing an examination which is so difficult that it is a “scandalous imposition” on the pupils of the national schools. Anybody who contradicts that statement is contradicting a national teacher who was a member of the Central Executive of the Irish National Teachers' Organisation, and who is rated one of the best teachers in Ireland.

As regards the compulsion which is supposed to be behind the teaching of Irish, I should like to point out to the House that there is a particular instruction to guide teachers as far as the use of Irish in the lower classes is concerned. Where the children do not follow the instruction or where there is any doubt or where the teacher is satisfied that the child is not following him, in such cases it is not only permissible, but advisable to use a word or two of the vernacular in explanation, and I have had the experience of a number of inspectors who, not only in the lower classes but in the senior classes, if the children did not understand them in Irish, were sensible enough to use English.

I do not believe there is any teacher in the country who will not use English if the child does not follow him or her in Irish. It is a recognised principle that one must go from the unknown to the known, and if we admit that Irish is the unknown, wherever difficulty presents itself, the sensible teacher will, and does, use English. Consequently, I see no reason why the words of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Taoiseach should be doubted when he says that there is no compulsion. There is no compulsion, to the extent that that external hardship is not inflicted on the children as some of the speakers here would try to make us believe. My firm conviction is that, instead of this question being a racket of the Fianna Fáil Party, it is being used as a racket by a few individuals here who think they will unite all the Opposition Parties against the Fianna Fáil Party in the event of a general election within the next couple of years. I am glad to hear a young man like Deputy Corish express himself as he has expressed himself, that he stands four-square for the revival of the Irish language and for its use as the ordinary vehicle of speech in this country.

What is language? It is a means for communicating thought. Language is made up of words. Words are the moulds of thought. I am suggesting seriously that the number of words in any language, the number of words used by a person who can be described as uneducated, is the surest indication of the profundity of thought behind the creators of that language. The battle seems to be between the use of Irish as a spoken language and the use of English.

It is not a case of which is the more easily acquired. It is a question of which of the two languages would serve our intellects the better, which of them would lead more readily to that development of mind which is so essential if we are to acquire and follow the philosophy of life as God willed it. The native Irish speaker who was never at school, but who learned at home as much of the Irish language as was necessary to enable him to make a living, acquires between 3,000 and 4,000 words. If we take his counterpart in England who learns nothing but English, he is able to get on nicely with about 350 words. That is, the amount of words required to express the thoughts of an uneducated Irishman is in or about ten times as many as those required by his counterpart in England who is able to express himself clearly and fully. There are instances where some of our people who might be described as uneducated had a vocabulary of 5,000 or 6,000 words. I think there are Deputies in this House, including the Ceann Comhairle, who will recall the death a few years ago of a Kerryman who had the reputation of never having attended any school except a local school where he picked up as much catechism as was necessary to enable him to be confirmed and it is on record that he had in the neighbourhood of 7,000 words. If the uneducated Irishman requires that many words in order to express his thoughts how, in the name of Providence, can the Irishman express himself in English if he has at his disposal only a one-tenth or a one-twentieth part of that number? I think the sooner people realise that the Irish language is the language in which we can best express ourselves, the sooner we will be on the road towards that educational progress which is advocated on both sides of the House.

Talking about education, we have had references to what is being done abroad and authors from abroad have been quoted. Nobody seems to think that the proper place to get an authority both on Irish and on education is here in our own country or that the people with the simplest minds are those who are best fitted and best suited to express an opinion. In our day we had down in Cork An tAthair Peadar. His idea about bilingual education is one which every Deputy should keep in mind. He speaks of bilingual education as "Dhá arm aigne". If we reflect on that, we will very quickly put from our minds the idea that our children leaving the national schools know neither the Irish nor the English language. They may not be as fine readers as their fathers or their grandfathers were. I put it to you, Sir, and to the House—is there any comparison between the method of teaching reading at the present day and the method of teaching it 40 or 50 years ago? Forty or 50 years ago all that was required was that a man should be able to stand up and read aloud. We judged him and his standard of education on his ability to read aloud. At the present time it is the subject matter of that reading to which teachers direct themselves and people through life will not read aloud but will read silently in order to get at the ideas of the authors. Consequently, at the present time teachers direct their energies towards making their pupils synopsis-minded, if I may use the expression, because it is through silent reading that people get at the minds of authors and it is important, when a person reads, that he should know what is in the author's mind. Teaching must cover that phase of a child's education which will enable him in later life to discriminate. He must discriminate between what is true and what is false, and he must discriminate between what is good and what is bad. Therefore, the function of the authorities comes in in the selection of readers, the authors of which are themselves true, because if the authors are not true, children cannot be expected to extract the truth from their writings.

I said that there is only one thing compulsory in this world, and that is to save our immortal souls. There are people whose special mission it is to lead us onward and upward. When Deputies talk about educational reform and setting up certain authorities and when they direct their remarks to the Minister for Education and to the Government they must keep in mind that there are individuals outside the Government and the House whose responsibilities are greater even than ours, because they have the responsibility of directing the moral teaching of their flocks. I refer to the clergy. The vast majority of Deputies serve at one particular altar, but there are minorities also whose rights have to be respected. When people talk of a council of education on which will be represented the parents, the teachers, the Government and the Church, they should say the Churches. How can people who differ on fundamentals sit together and direct education when they differ fundamentally on principles? At present the Minister meets the various teaching bodies, the various Church representatives and the various teaching organisations. In matters of common concern I see no reason why the Minister should not meet all and sundry. But there must be a certain definite limit beyond which the Minister or the Government cannot go, because, if they exceed that, they are exceeding their functions as a Government and interfering in matters outside their province and they will very quickly be told so.

When resolutions come from the country that the Minister and the Government should expend more on this particular matter or that appertaining to education, such as the maintenance of schools, these resolutions should come through the managers, because in educational matters the function of the Church authorities is definite, while the State has its own particular function.

Various references have been made by Deputies, and there is one to which I wish to draw the attention of the House. Deputy Martin O'Sullivan on behalf of the people thanked the teachers of Dublin for having in a short period made up the leeway lost in 1946. Then he referred to an incident and talked about the fundamental right of trade unionists and pointed the finger of scorn at the Minister. I tell him that there are trade unionists on this side of the House and, if some of his satellites got their way, they would drive some of us out of our trade union and out of this House. But as long as the people whom we represent give us the moral sanction which is necessary we shall not be deterred from performing our public duties.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle took the Chair.

Those who look into the past history of teaching in this country will find that at one time the teacher was supposed to have lost his character unless he got a reference from his manager once a quarter. That was before my time. The removal of that stigma was one of the first educational advances so far as the teacher is concerned. Then the teacher was paid quarterly and for a long time the payment was made to the manager. The next advance made was the payment of salaries monthly. The managers played a big part in support of the teachers' organisation in that demand, but it was not until two years ago, in 1945, that the Minister agreed to paying those teachers fortnightly who wished to be paid fortnightly. I think the greatest change of all for the good of the teachers was the guarantee of tenure in 1937, which meant that once a teacher got a permanent appointment as long as he or she gave efficient service payment would continue to that teacher.

Most people will remember it as the panel system. The bishops, the Department or the Minister, and the teachers worked out that scheme which is one of the greatest—I would say the greatest—since the State was established. Again, in 1946, less than a year ago, another advance was made so that when a teacher employs a substitute, owing to illness, the State agrees to pay two-thirds of the substitute's salary. I hope that in the immediate future the remaining third will be paid.

To improve, and to make more effective the teaching of Irish, I will make a few serious suggestions to the Minister. In the first instance, thought must come before expression and I think it is a very big mistake to expect people to write compositions too early in their school years. One of the most successful teachers whom I knew was the assistant in a two-teacher school. The principal did not know Irish and this assistant undertook the teaching of Irish to the whole school. He had two divisions in the school. He gave them no book until they were able to read Seadna. Those of us who, in the evenings, used to discuss matters relating to the teaching of Irish, did not believe that his children in fifth standard were able to speak Irish and that they spoke it not only in school but when out at play and on the way home. Two or three teachers cycled out at night to his district in order to check up and see if what he claimed was right. They met some of the schoolboys, his pupils, and they found that the boys spoke Irish fluently and grammatically—the boys in fifth standard.

What I am surprised at is that the Minister and the Department never took a headline from a man like that. If one individual could succeed by the adoption of particular methods, I see no reason why other teachers would not succeed if they used the same methods. I think it is up to the people who are directing educational activity in that line to collect information regarding schools like that.

One other matter to which I will draw the Minister's attention is the new scale of salaries which has been so much in the air for the past 12 months. There is one section of teachers on whom undoubtedly there is a hardship, the untrained assistants. There are two rules, one governing the salary of the untrained assistants appointed before a certain date in 1921, while the second refers to the scale of salary for the untrained assistants appointed after that date in 1921. Very many of those untrained assistants served their apprenticeship as junior assistant mistresses. Where a girl was appointed junior assistant mistress prior to 1921, and where she did not get an assistant-ship until after 1921, she is placed in the salary scale of a girl who would enter the service for the first time after 1921. I think that, as she was in the service as a junior assistant mistress prior to 1921, she should be placed on the salary scale appropriate to that particular class.

The last matter I want to refer to is this—and I am sorry that I should have unkind thoughts of the Minister or his Department, or of any of the Ministers who preceded him. There is in my constituency what must be the last of the old work-mistresses. In order to retain her salary there should be an average of 12 girls in the school where she taught. Owing to the disturbed state of the country, the cutting of roads and the operation of lorries of soldiers, all of which was associated with the struggle for independence, the average fell below 12 in 1921, and it did not go up again until September, 1923, and though that woman continued to teach in her school during that particular period, her salary was withdrawn. When I talk of salary I would like to remind the House that a workmistress started with £1 5s. a month, and I think the salary was not raised until 1917, when it was brought to something like £39 a year. The particular individual to whom I refer has been bedridden for the past ten years, and she has ever and always, on the appointment of successive Ministers for Education, expressed the hope that she would be paid for that period. I understand her case was taken up year after year. following every general election. I took it up and I was faced with the regulations.

She had a right to touch you before the general election.

To my mind, whatever regulation debars a woman from getting the money she earned, nobody in this House would use it as a precedent if the Minister saw his way to pay that woman for that particular period, and even if he had to make a rule to govern her case, I am sure there is not a man or woman in the House who would refuse support.

My remarks this evening will be very brief because I feel that I am covering much the same ground as I tried to cover last year. I trust that the Minister will not feel that the observations which I am about to make are inspired by any feeling of antipathy or bitterness towards the policy of his Department. The first matter about which I wish to complain is the amount of money that is being wasted on enforcing the policy of compulsory Irish. In saying that that money is wasted, I feel that I am but expressing the views of a very considerable number of people. There may be certain sections who think that such expenditure serves a good purpose but in actual fact I think it must be generally recognised that we are getting little, if any, value for it. For some years past a considerable number of our young people have been forced to emigrate. In the name of Heaven, what use is the Irish language to them when they are forced to seek a living in another country? It may, of course, be regarded as a patriotic thing to teach our native language as a language. I regret that I am not a fluent speaker; in fact, I know very little about the language but at the same time I would have no objection to its being taught as a subject in our schools. To my mind it is ridiculous to try to force young children from the age of seven onwards to learn another subject through the medium of Irish, a language which is quite foreign to most of them. Any self-respecting person or any person of normal intelligence will understand that it is not possible to do that successfully. The ordinary school subjects should be taught through the medium of a language which the pupils understand. I do think that it is time to call a halt to this nonsense.

The people of the country are passing through a very trying time at the present. They are at their wits' ends in trying to eke out a livelihood and have to carry heavy burdens in the shape of taxes of one kind or another. In these circumstances, we are called upon to spend an enormous amount of money on compulsory Irish and on education through the medium of Irish. I would suggest that in this matter we should try to be sensible and sincerely ask ourselves are we doing these people justice. I think it would be a good thing if Irish were taught as a subject in the schools but certainly we should abandon the effort of trying to make unfortunate children learn some other subject through the medium of a language of which, at best, they have a very imperfect knowledge, a language which they do not hear in their homes or in the ordinary course of their daily lives. The Minister of course knows his business better than I do and I do not wish to dictate to him in any way. Nevertheless, I do hear people expressing their views on this matter throughout the country and I would sincerely suggest to him that instead of spending this vast amount of money on compulsory Irish, the school-leaving age might be extended and that the money now spent on compulsory Irish could be far more profitably expended in that way.

We are told here every time this Estimate is brought forward and on other occasions, that the amount of money involved is perhaps too much for us, that the country cannot afford it and that we should have a retrenchment in taxation. Far be it from me to suggest that we should have extra taxation but this certainly is one way in which some money could be found to meet the extra expenditure that would be entailed in raising the school-leaving age in the ordinary national school. Cut out compulsory Irish and have the vast amount of money spent on it devoted to the expenditure incurred in raising the school-leaving age, with perhaps some small addition from the Exchequer. The language could then be taught as one subject in our schools but not used as the medium for the teaching of other subjects as it now is. No matter how patriotic anyone in this House may be one has to realise that when one gets on a boat at Dún Laoghaire one might as well say farewell to the Irish language. In the same way, Irish is very little use to a person here in Ireland except perhaps for the purpose of getting a job. It is of practically no use in the performance of the duties of the position afterwards, whether one is a professional man or just an ordinary citizen like myself.

I would ask the Minister seriously to consider the point about teaching through the medium of Irish. It certainly is not a policy that appeals to the parent of the child who, after all, is the first person to be considered. It is not for any Government Department to dictate to parents in such a matter as that. It is rather for the parent to dictate to the Department as to what is best for the education of his children. I would ask the Minister to consider this matter very carefully. As I say, I speak not in any spirit of vindictiveness or through any lack of patriotism. I am giving my candid opinion and the opinion of people generally whom I meet throughout the country.

One often wonders notwithstanding the spending of this vast amount of money on education whether the children of the present day are as well educated as children of 30 or 40 years ago were when we were under a foreign Government, as it was called. Personally, I find that the children of the present day lack something. I do not mean to disparage them in any way but at the same time I think that the people of former generations seemed to be better educated. They seemed to have a civic spirit which is lacking among the children of the present day. I think the Minister and his Department would be well advised if they endeavoured to see that a better civic spirit were inculcated in our school children. I am not blaming the teachers but irrespective of creed, class, or politics, I think it is obvious that at the present day we lack many of the qualities of our forefathers. That is a remark which applies to all classes and creeds.

Perhaps the Minister in his own wise judgment could conceive some plan whereby our young boys could receive more extensive instruction in agriculture which, as we are often told, is the main industry of the country. We rely on agriculture for our principal exports and in return we rely on it to provide the money to pay for our imports. If the Minister does not consider it possible to raise the school-leaving age, perhaps he might consider giving some further grants to schools to enable them to give agricultural instruction to boys in the 14 years' category. So far as girls in the country are concerned, in many cases they have not sufficient wisdom to attend technical schools on their own initiative or, perhaps, their parents do not realise sufficiently the importance of sending them to such schools.

In my opinion, these schools are very much neglected in the country. Only last week I read in a daily newspaper, I think it was the Independent, of some resolution, proposing to close down one or two technical schools in a particular county owing to insufficient attendance. I think that is a great mistake having regard to the amount of money that has been expended by the Department of Education on these schools. Now that these schools are in existence, I think that an effort should be made to make girls appreciate the subjects taught in these schools which would be very useful to them in after life. Whether they intend to take up a profession or other employment, or whether they intend to stay at home, they will, probably, get married eventually, and be the wives in the future Ireland. It will be a bad day for Ireland when the housewives are without adequate technical knowledge of the responsibilities they assume. Long ago, we were proud of our domestic accomplishments. Now, I am afraid that girls in the country are not sufficiently keen on acquiring ordinary, technical-school knowledge on these matters. I ask the Minister to enlist the good offices of the teachers in this connection. We are grateful to the teachers for the example of self-denial they show in carrying out their heavy task throughout the year. Could the Minister not arrange to have lectures delivered to the children, impressing the necessity upon them, when they finish their ordinary school career at the age of 14, of taking advantage of the technical schools? The knowledge they would acquire would be of great value to them in after life, even if they did not appreciate it at the time. I ask the Minister to arrange for a series of lectures to children due to leave school in June or July each year, by persons authorised by the Department, urging them to attend the technical schools. Those who went before them would long ago have been only too pleased to take advantage of such facilities. They would not regard it as a penalty to be required to attend but they would regard it as something in the nature of an achievement and would have been proud to educate themselves for their future lives. The Minister should institute some system such as this. At present, we have these wonderful schools, with excellent teachers, but they are not being availed of as they should.

As regards Irish, I think we should just leave aside Irish and take up something practical—a subject that will mean something to the people, that will appeal to them and that will be useful to them and to their children. Every day now, we should realise, is an important day in everybody's life. The Minister should forget about the importance of Irish, which really means very little in the people's mind except they want to get a job. When the job is obtained, Irish is forgotten. That may be a hard thing to say. Nevertheless, it is the truth and we cannot deny it. The other accomplishment will last much longer and I ask the Minister to accept my view, which is urged not in a spirit of vindictiveness but with genuine sincerity and with a desire for the good of the people and of the children of the future Ireland.

When I heard certain portions of the speech of Deputy O'Donoghue, I wondered if I ever knew Deputy Martin O'Sullivan. I always regarded him as a member of the House whose contributions to the debates were studied examples of moderation and sound sense. I could not imagine his pointing the finger of scorn at anybody and I, certainly, did not recognise him in the rôle of one threatening to use the power of a tyrannical trade union to intimidate the Minister. A number of other passages in the Deputy's speech —I say this with all respect—were, in my judgment, as fallacious as the one to which I have referred. I do not think that he can dismiss this question of the agitation for a council of education as lightly as he has attempted to dismiss it this evening. This proposal is not a new one. It has been made over a number of years. It is not a proposal emanating from any disgruntled minority of parents. It is a proposal which has very strong and influential backing. May I remind the Deputy that it was defended by a commission set up by the Government to deal with the question of vocational education? The chairman of that commission was a distinguished member of the Irish Hierarchy who would be regarded as an authority on educational questions generally.

It is not suggested that this council of education should be a dictatorial organisation which would intimidate the Minister into acceptance of proposals with which he would not desire to associate himself. It was never intended at any time, nor is it suggested now, that the council should have any practical power over policy. What was and is suggested is that this body, representative of the churches, the parents, the universities and the teachers, should be in a position regularly to review the whole process of education and developments, or lack of developments, in the educational field and should be in a position to make recommendations to the Minister. I think that that is in accordance with sound principle. I know of no Minister whom we have had in this country yet, and I do not think that we shall ever have a Minister in any Department, who could not occasionally benefit by good advice. This proposal has been advocated over a number of years by the Irish National Teachers' Organisation. I do not think that anybody can say that their viewpoint in this matter is an unrepresentative one or that they have not some authority to speak on the question.

I want to refer to certain things which have happened arising out of the recent dispute between the national teachers' organisation, represented by a section of their members in the City of Dublin, and the Minister. When the dispute was under discussion here, statements were made, as well as I remember, by the Minister for Education, the Minister for Finance and the Taoiseach, that, if the teachers were to return, legislation would be introduced to make necessary adjustments in regard to their pensions. I understand that further penalisation in that matter has taken place. Not alone has legislation not been forthcoming, but I understand that, for incremental purposes, the teachers have been deprived of credit for the period of the dispute.

Surely that will have the result of increasing the discontent which still rankles in connection with this whole very tragic business. Leaving aside altogether the very unfortunate action of putting a premium on strikebreaking on that occasion, it is most unfortunate that in relation to these men who, at the request of the Archbishop of Dublin, returned to their schools and took up their work at the end of a certain period, with a promise made to them, a promise which was generally in accord with the assurance given in the House, that if they returned there would be no penalisation—in other words, that all the events of the period immediately before their return would be forgotten and a contribution made by the Government in the matter of achieving the maximum amount of good-will—there should be evidence of such a small-minded policy and of what, to a certain extent, amounts to a repudiation of a specific promise, or, if not of a specific promise, of a line of policy which was publicly supported in this House, before the strike terminated, by prominent members of the Government.

I think that, in fairness to the members of the Government, if the Deputy claims there has been penalisation of the teachers, he should tell us exactly where it occurred.

This debate has been remarkable for the number of interjections the Minister has made. My colleague, Deputy Corish, in my submission, was most unfairly treated by the Minister and I refuse to give way to the Minister in this matter. He will have plenty of opportunities of making his own case. I assert that the teachers were invited to return without making any conditions in regard to salaries, and I further assert that it was reasonable to expect that the status quo, the position that existed apart from the salary difficulty, should be maintained. I think it a pity that we should have a situation of this kind now developing, in which the period in question has been struck out of calculation in respect of incremental advances for the teachers, and that side by side with that a certain very insignificant minority which acted in a manner entirely hostile to the action of the majority of their colleagues should have certain financial benefits conferred on them because of their action.

I want to refer briefly to some anomalies which exist. One of these —and I am sure the Minister must be aware of a number of other anomalies of the kind—arising out of the recent salary settlement has come to my notice, and, in order that the matter should be fully understood, I propose to quote a few sentences from a letter received from a teacher. He says:—

"I am principal of a four-teacher school, highly efficient and unmarried. My salary is now fixed at £416, plus £75 capitation—in all, £491. A highly efficient assistant, married, receives £525 and £30 rent allowance, a total of £555. An efficient assistant, married, receives £485, plus £30 rent allowance, in all, £515. From these figures it will be seen that I am paid less than an efficient assistant. In fact, at maximum scale of salary, I would be the lowest paid teacher in the school. I am already paid less than one of the assistants with half my service."

I suggest to the Minister that anomalies of that kind ought to receive early attention. I think he will realise that it is one which demands attention at the earliest possible moment.

I want to wind up with a few words of support for the plea made from various quarters of the House for some tardy recognition of the unfortunate position of the old pensioned teacher. I had not an opportunity of participating—I ask your indulgence, Sir, to make a few passing references to the matter—in the debate which took place in connection with this matter on a specific motion some time ago. I think the general sense of justice of the people will not grudge the recognition asked for, but rather will applaud the Minister for whatever compensation or recompense, in their very difficult position, which he can offer to these men. They are a small and rapidly dwindling number. The pensions paid to some of them are miserable, in view of present-day living costs, and, having regard to the very long and very distinguished service—and I use the word "distinguished" advisedly—given in many cases by these veterans, it would be, if not a graceful tribute, at least a measure of long-delayed justice to give them now some recognition and some indication that the people of this nation have not entirely forgotten them, that, in their present poverty-stricken position, they are not entirely abandoned. If the Minister desires to be remembered for anything, he will be remembered affectionately not alone by the people concerned so long as they survive but by the people as a whole for what could be, and, I think, ought to be, a very manly effort to repair to some extent the very great hardships to which these poor people have been subjected in recent years.

This debate has been a debate not so much on the Department of Education as on the teaching of the Irish language.

We have heard quite a lot about compulsory Irish. It is the old bogey, that Irish is compulsory on teachers who are not competent to teach it. That has been repeated this year. I would like the Minister to state the position again, as he has done on many occasions previously. It is not that I wish to be informed myself, but there is an obligation on him to state the position regarding the teachers, in view of the statements made here.

In regard to certain matters in my own constituency, I would like to point out a few aspects of very unfair compulsory English. It is a thing not adverted to at all. The Gaeltacht people are handicapped in very many ways by the standards of English. They find that, for a great many public examinations, the standard of Irish is ridiculously low and anybody who ever took up a book of O'Growney might pass it; but, on the other hand, the standard of English is so high that it is a definite handicap on these Gaeltacht applicants. Where the real anomaly exists is in the matter of university education. Notwithstanding the fact that the Minister was warned off universities here this evening, it is a matter he must consider, namely, that State money is provided for brilliant young people by way of scholarships and they go through their primary and secondary courses through the medium of Irish, to find themselves in the higher strata of education unable to get their instruction through the medium in which they did their primary and secondary courses. I know that, in respect of one college, that position is being rectified, but has not yet been rectified and only now it is about to be done. In the other two colleges, with which I am not so familiar, the anomaly may still continue to exist.

Quite a favourite expression in recent years in this country is that we are turning out children who are illiterate in two languages. It is one of these handy clichés than can be used as a political motto whenever the occasion demands it. Any information I have been able to get from people in authority in other countries leads me to believe that the standard of education is at least as high, and I believe higher, than in a great many other countries. During the war, I met a lady who came here to recruit Irish girls for war work in England. She was coming and going and interviewing Irish girls up and down the length and breadth of Ireland.

This lady was a teacher in England and gave that up for the duration of the war to do war work. She assured me on more than one occasion that the standard of education, as she was able to gauge it, was, on the average, very much higher here than in England. She was comparing girls of the same type in the two countries and expressed herself as being quite surprised at the standard of education in Ireland. She, too, had heard that the reverse was the position and that we were much inferior to the people across the Channel.

I do not think the Minister should hearken to the advice given to him to follow the example of other countries by setting up a council of education. No later than last Sunday, I read a very interesting article, given by way of extracts from educational publications in England about the position of education in England, Australia and, I think, the U.S.A.; and the conditions were stated to be something approximating to educational chaos—and in those countries I understand they have all these media of councils of education and what not. This information was contained in a paper than cannot be accused of siding with the Minister. It was in last Sunday's Sunday Independent I read it and it is there for those who care to look it up. They will find a very interesting article on this question, an article which convinces me that all the complaints we hear about the low standard of education in our country have no foundation whatsoever. It may not be all we desire it to be and it is certainly not perfect, but in any event we are much ahead of countries that had a much longer start.

I would like to suggest to the Minister that it might be possible for him to induce the Tourist Board to co-operate with other organisations such as Coiste na Páistí in providing holidays for poor children in the Gaeltacht thereby giving the language an association other than that of the school. All who have had any association with the children who have had these holidays know that they have quite a new outlook on the question of the language and have improved their knowledge of the language and also improved their health. The Tourist Board, which is condemned very often for its leanings towards luxury hotels, might correct the balance somewhat by joining with organisations like Coiste na bPáistí, An Óige, etc., in establishing holiday camps for children who are at school or who have left school and who are interested in extending their knowledge of the language.

This question of the obverse side of the compulsory Irish ramp ought to be emphasised by the Minister. I am afraid the opponents of the Minister's policy are having a little too much of their own way and gaining a little ground. They are going on the principle that attack is the best method of defence. I find that, in certain ways, even the Department itself has not acted as it should in certain matters for the promotion of the language. I refer specifically to Scoil Fhursa in Galway City. It is a school of a very special kind and was opened by the Minister himself. I think I could quote yet a good deal of his opening speech. He pointed out that it was an experiment and that the people of the country as a whole, particularly those interested in the Irish language, would the progress of the school. He relies on the teachers, pupils and parents to see that it was made as bright a success as possible. The Minister himself must be satisfied now that the school has exceeded his greatest expectations.

That is why he is boarding it up.

Progress reported; Committee to sit again to-morrow.
The Dáil adjourned at 10.30 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesday, 21st May.