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

Debate resumed on the following amendment:—
Go gcuirfear an Meastachán ar n-ais chun athbhreithnithe—(Tomás Ó Deirg.)

I had concluded my remarks on primary education when the House adjourned the other night. With regard to secondary education, the Estimate shows an increase of £24,650 over that of last year. This is due to a number of causes:—

(1) The increase in the number of schools and in the number of pupils. Five new schools were set up in 1948-49, and the total number of pupils in all the schools increased from 43,710 in 1947-48 to 45,413 in 1948-49, that is by 1,703;

(2) the increase from 2,025 to 2,040 in the number of teachers employed who are in receipt of incremental salary, and the additional increments payable within the scales to teachers who are already drawing increments;

(3) the increase in the number of candidates taking the certificate examinations (there were 13,171 candidates in 1947-48 and it is expected that there will be 13,716 in 1948-49) and the resulting increase in the number of examination centres and of superintendents of these;

(4) the growth in the number of classes in respect of which the special grants are payable for science, domestic science, agricultural science and manual instruction. The number of such classes has risen from 1,488 in 1947-8 to 1,696 this year.

The secondary school system is of long standing in Ireland, Many of our schools were providing secondary education long before the State first came to their aid in the year 1878. Since then aid has been provided by the State on an increasing scale.

The general relations between the State and the secondary school authorities are of the happiest. A representative of the secondary schools who is in a position to speak with the highest authority stated recently that the relations of the school managers with the State "approached the ideal". In these circumstances it is not to be expected that any marked changes would occur in secondary education from year to year. I should like, however, to refer to some points worthy of note

Among these there might be placed first the grants for Irish and bilingual schools. These schools are divided into three categories, viz., schools designated "A", or schools in which all subjects are taught through the medium of Irish (except languages taught through their own medium); "B1" schools, or schools in which at least half the teaching time is devoted to teaching through the medium of Irish; and "B2" schools, or schools in which at least one subject other than Irish is taught through the medium of Irish.

The total number of "A" schools is now 106, an increase of four on 1947-48 There is also a slight increase in the number of "B1" schools—64 in 1947-48, 66 in 1948-49.

Thus the number of "A" schools is somewhat more than one-fourth of the total number of schools, which is 409. In 215 schools, that is, in more than half the total, some instruction is given through the medium of Irish in a subject or subjects other than Irish itself.

It is often supposed that the fact that large numbers of secondary schools use Irish as a medium of instruction is due to something in the nature of compulsion on the part of the Department. That this is not so is clear from the fact that there is also a large number of schools which do not teach through Irish, and I should like to emphasise that though the Department encourages, financially and otherwise, the use of Irish as a medium of instruction there is no compulsion whatever or no hint of compulsion in this regard. The matter is entirely a question for the school manager.

Naturally, I strongly desire that where work can be efficiently carried out through the medium of Irish, it will be carried out in an increasing way.

The charge is often made against the secondary schools that the work done for Irish there tends to be literary, to the neglect of the spoken language. While it is true that the secondary school must, by its very nature, emphasise the literary side, it must be said that the secondary schools in general have made considerable progress in the cultivation of oral Irish during the last 25 years. Anyone who was familiar with their work then and compares it with the present position will readily recognise that fact. In this regard, of course, it is only right to say that the solid foundation laid in the primary schools through the country does much to make easier the task of the secondary schools.

To spur the schools to further efforts, however, there is a scheme whereby special grants are awarded to the schools which do most to promote the use of Irish as the ordinary language of the public outside the classroom, with a view to their acquiring such a command of it as would enable them to use it afterwards in everyday life. These special grants are not confined to "A" schools or to bilingual schools, but a quota of awards is made to the most deserving schools in each category (i.e., including that of the schools in which Irish is not a medium of instruction outside the Irish class).

Another matter of interest is laboratory grants. These grants are provided to assist secondary schools in the upkeep of science laboratories, kitchens and workshops, in connection with the practical teaching required by the Department's programme in experimental, agricultural and domestic science, and in manual instruction.

Increasing importance attaches to the teaching of science, and not least of domestic science. For many years there has been a continuous, if slow, rise in the number of schools in receipt of these grants, and in the number of such classes provided. The increase from 1947-48 to 1948-49 has, however, been rather remarkable. In the former year there were 261 schools in receipt of the grants, with 1,488 classes, and in the latter year 292 schools with 1,696 classes, that is, there have been an additional 31 schools and 208 classes. The increase has been most marked in general science, in domestic science, and in the general course for girls which covers physics, chemistry and hygiene. It is hoped that this trend will continue. In the modern world a knowledge of science is an essential part of a cultural as well as of any other kind of education. Moreover, in a small agricultural country, it is becoming increasingly evident that the application of science and of scientific research to what is our main industry is a prerequisite to the progress to which we all look forward, and to the stemming of emigration by advances here not only in agriculture but also in skilled industry, the two avenues by which a country without substantial mineral resources can hope to enter a world market, and to gain a strong position in the trade world.

Provision has also been made to repeat this year the two short summer courses in mathematics for teachers in girls' schools, and it is hoped that this will help to raise the standard of teaching in that very important subject. One of these courses will be given through the medium of Irish and one through English and the individual teacher may choose the course which she wishes to attend.

Some 20 or more years ago Euclid's Sequence of Propositions was discarded —which may or may not have been a good thing. Unfortunately, however, Euclid's Sequence was not replaced by a more suitable one, with the result that every textbook has now its own particular sequence. It seemed to me that nothing would be more apt to confuse the young mind than a plethora of sequences, and I have arranged for consultation between my Department and the university with a view to determining some one suitable sequence on which it is to be hoped that writers of textbooks for this country will base their works in future.

The number of choirs and orchestras on which a grant is payable has shown a steady, if slow, increase for many years. The number of choirs and orchestras concerned in 1947-48 was 188 and 53, respectively, and in 1948-49 is 193 and 54, respectively. While these figures are gratifying, I should like to see music more widely cultivated in the schools, and it is to be expected that with provision as from 1948 for special inspection to be devoted solely to music, much further progress will be made in regard to this very important subject.

With a view to encouraging the study of music, and of French and other modern languages in the secondary schools and giving recognition to their cultural value in education, I have arranged, after consultation with the various school associations, that from 1949 on the marks allocated to these subjects at the certificate examinations will be increased.

There may be other points in regard to secondary education which Deputies would like to discuss later, but, speaking generally, no great changes can occur from year to year. It has been said that "educationists are never content"; nor indeed, perhaps, ought they to be. But we have a system here that is unique in the sense that the secondary schools are all non-State schools, and the fact that relations between the school authorities and the State are so good speaks well for all concerned.

All things considered, I would say that the school authorities and teachers are, in my opinion, doing their work very efficiently and are attaining a great measure of success therein.

Unlike the primary and secondary systems, vocational education is a comparatively recent development in this and in other countries. Here it dates in the main from the Act of 1930. The promoters of that Act visualised a scheme extending to the most remote parts of the country, and their idea has become embodied in the form of the present 180 schools.

Again, unlike the primary and secondary systems, vocational education is still far from maturity, and since one of its growing pains is that its aims are often misunderstood, it may be well to try to explain briefly what these aims are.

Its functions are threefold. First of all it provides for the continued education in urban and rural areas of young people who have completed the primary school course. Secondly, it gives technical instruction as a preparation for various trades and callings— this principally in the cities and large towns. And the third, and what may prove to be not the least important, service it renders is to provide, in both town and country, education for adults.

It is not to be understood, however, that there is a very sharp distinction between these three types of education. Actually, very many schools provide all of them, and throughout all three there runs the common principle that the education and training given is based very largely on the requirements of the economic life of the district. Lest it should be thought, however, that the schools are concerned merely with what pertains to the local economic life, I should add that it is the constant care of the school authorities to see that general education, character formation, and above all, religious instruction are fully provided for, and that thus the schools are real educational institutions and not mere training centres.

Technical education was in existence before the 1930 Act, but at that time it was confined to Dublin and some of the larger towns—but even there, although the quality of the work in Dublin was very high due to the influence of the then College of Science, it was only in the embryo stage, for there were few direct contacts between the technical school and industry, and attendance at technical classes was for the young worker largely a matter of personal choice.

Now, however, the face of things has changed completely. Comprehensive apprenticeship training schemes are in operation by the Electricity Supply Board, the Society of Irish Motor Traders, Córas Iompair Éireann and the Great Northern Railway, under rules drawn up by these bodies in co-operation with the Department.

In addition to these schemes of a national scope there has been a steady increase recently of local training schemes, arranged by particular organisations working in conjunction with the vocational education committees of their areas. In Dublin, for example, affiliations exist at present between the technical schools and the following trades, professions and services: architecture, bakeries, the building trades, catering and hotel work, the cinema and theatre trade, electrical installation work, flour milling, mechanical engineering, motor car engineering, ophthalmic optics, printing and book production, quantity surveying, radio service work, watchmaking.

Continuation education extends to both rural and urban areas. It is a full-time day-school scheme for boys and girls of from 14 to 16 years of age who hope to take up employment when they have completed their course.

This type of education is often accused of not leading directly to employment, but to make such a charge is completely to misunderstand its purpose. In fact, especial care is taken to ensure that, while the course includes a substantial amount of practical instruction of one kind or another, undue specialisation is avoided, so that the pupil's choice of a career may not be limited by his being rendered unfit for, or indisposed towards, whatever openings might occur at the end of his school days.

Further, a whole-time day school system for boys and girls of 14 to 16 which confined itself to the development of some manual skill or technique and neglected the "whole man", or woman, as the case may be, would not be education at all. As I have said before, any system of education worth the name that is provided for children during their formative years must be imbued with the general purpose of education, which could hardly be better expressed than in the Department's Memorandum V.40, to which I made special reference last year. I would recommend Deputies who have not got a copy of this memorandum to apply for one through the usual channels.

"To develop, with the assistance of God's grace, the whole man, with all his faculties, natural and supernatural, so that he may realise his duties and responsibilities as a member of society, that he may contribute effectively to the welfare of his fellow men and by doing so attain the end destined for him by his Creator."

That memorandum was published a few years ago. Accordingly, all day-school programmes included, in addition to instruction in practical subjects, a certain amount of work in general subjects, including firstly instruction in religious knowledge (for which the Vocational Education Committee are indebted to the co-operation of the hierarchy and the local clergy), and, secondly, a course in the Irish language which must always have an essential educational value for an Irish man or woman.

The position of Irish in the vocational schools, while not so good in the towns as in the country, is very satisfactory when it is considered that the attendance at these schools is voluntary.

In all, 28,000 pupils attended classes in Irish in 1947-48, approximately half of these at day classes and half at night.

There is a growing effort being made to bring Irish outside the classroom, and the vocational schools generally under the stimulus of both committees and teachers are playing an increasing and a proper part in organising activities such as feiseanna, dramatic festivals, concerts, community singing, question times, and discussion groups. In this they are bringing about a most fruitful co-operation with the magnificent work done in many areas, particularly by the primary teachers. This social activity is what is most needed if the interest in the language and its increasing use is to be maintained among post-primary pupils, and extended among the adult population.

Continuation education is increasingly appreciated. It may be mentioned that shortly after the Act was passed the attendance was only-about 9,000, whereas to-day it stands at about 15,000, and that on a voluntary basis. I understand that in Dublin alone, despite the recent opening of a number of new centres, there are still upwards of 3,000 boys and girls who would attend continuation courses if the accommodation and staff were available. A development policy of extended buildings has already been agreed on in consultation with the Dublin Vocational Education Committee.

It is sound policy to place facilities for continuation education within the reach of as many of these boys and girls as possible.

Rural schools deserve special mention in the vocational education system, for in the first place they are 120 of the total 180 schools.

The typical rural school has a staff of three teachers, and serves a district of approximately six miles radius. About two-thirds of the time is devoted to teaching in the day school, and one third to evening classes either at the permanent centre or at temporary centres in the more remote parts of the district. Thus it provides courses for the young and for adults.

While the general subjects are not neglected, rural science and manual instruction for boys and domestic economy subjects for girls form the backbone of the day programme.

The instruction and guidance given by the teachers in the evening classes is no less important than their day work, and is particularly necessary inasmuch as it provides a stimulus for the adolescent and adult who otherwise would lose the desire and the capacity to learn.

The rural science teacher, for example, who is usually a university graduate in agricultural science, meets in his evening classes, or discussion groups, as they rightly tend to become, many of the more alert and progressive type of young farmers, and has there an admirable opportunity of stimulating ideas and of imparting his specialised knowledge of the science that should underlie agricultural practice. These discussion groups have already borne much fruit in the shape of young farmers' clubs, and they prepare the ground for the instructor of the county committee of agriculture. The Minister for Agriculture and I have under consideration whether it would not be possible to correlate more fully than heretofore the work of these experts serving in connection with each Department.

The manual instructor likewise gives invaluable instruction in his own sphere in both the day and evening classes. He and the rural science teacher are complementary to each other, for the one is concerned with the education of his pupil as farmer and the other with his education as a rural dweller. The manual instructor in his evening classes teaches the people to provide themselves with what they are actually in need of, while at the same time giving them hand and eye training. He teaches the superiority of work done methodically in accordance with a plan.

In recent years, owing to the dearth of skilled tradesmen, many farmers have had to undertake the erection of farm buildings themselves, and I understand that the help and advice of the manual instructor has been much appreciated in this regard and is always made freely available.

I have long had experience of the technical excellence of the work done in the City of Dublin technical schools and have been able to appreciate what a contribution it has made over many years to the economic and commercial life of the city, but here on what I might call the rural periphery of the vocational education scheme I have found in my contacts with members of the vocational committees and teachers a quickening of life and spirit at a point where education touches the life of the men and women on the land which is one of the most inspiring features in our educational world to-day. This quickened spirit is, I feel, bound to permeate the whole educational life of rural Ireland.

It is scarcely necessary for me to comment on the importance of domestic economy instruction. Whatever improves the standard of home life, indirectly raises the general standard of living and thought in the country. For many years the teachers of domestic economy have played an important part in improving material conditions in Irish homes, and will, I have no doubt, play no less a part in the future not only in regard to material conditions, but in regard to social conditions as well. They, in co-operation with organisations such as, for example, the Irish Countrywomen's Association, could, I believe, go far in changing the country's whole standard of living, in the widest sense of the term and, in so far as the Department can bring about fruitful contact and co-operation between these associations and the vocational education committees and their work, we are actively engaged in doing that.

The extension of the system from the building end was arrested in mid-career by the war, and many vocational education committees are now pressing for sanction to proceed with their building plans. In recent months I have received a number of deputations in this regard, and if I am not always in a position to accede fully to their requests, they will understand, I think, that we are doing as much for them in that way as we possibly can.

The discussions which have been taking place between ourselves and the members of the various vocational education committees have always led, not only to a better understanding, but to better progress with the work.

Notwithstanding other urgent requirements and the leeway of the war years that presses so heavily, I am glad to say that in a number of cases I was able to agree to the erection of one-roomed, two-roomed, three-roomed and four-roomed schools, and I hope that conditions in regard to finance and to materials will soon be such as to enable me to sanction the erection of many more.

In connection with the building of schools, I hope it will not be invidious to single out for special mention the community spirit of the people of Pallas, County Wexford, who contributed to the value of £400 in labour, material and site to the erection of one of these buildings in their midst. It is a special pleasure to help people who are prepared to help themselves and I should like to see many other districts emulate their example.

This is a general picture of the position of vocational education, but there are also many particular features which deserve mention. Foremost among these is perhaps the workers' courses, leading to a diploma in economic and social science, which began in the City of Cork, under the inspiration of the President of University College there, and which soon extended to Limerick and Waterford. Similar courses have since then been instituted in Dublin, with the co-operation of the Dublin City Vocational Education Committee and of the authorities of University College, Dublin.

Another useful activity that went on during the past year was the holding of short intensive courses in various crafts, for both teachers and non-teachers. For teachers there were courses in rural building construction (at Bush, County Louth); and in mechanical drawing and in rural science at Dublin. For non-teachers there were courses in farriery at Kilkenny, Ballinasloe, Cork and Kilrush; rural building construction at Roscommon; care of electric equipment in rural areas at Naas; rural science for land workers at Mallow; agricultural machinery at Cork: and rural domestic economy at Drishane, County Cork. There was also a special course in Dublin for Electricity Supply Board apprentices.

Courses of a similar type have also been provided for this year. They will comprise instruction for teachers in Irish and drama at Galway, in rural science at Dublin, in agricultural machinery at Cork and in rural building construction at Bush, County Louth. For non-teachers courses will be given this year in farriery at Dungarvan and Westport, in rural building construction at Ennis and Carrick-on-Shannon and the special course of training for Electricity Supply Board apprentices will be repeated this year at Kevin Street Technical School, Dublin.

County Cork Vocational Education Committee have placed before the Department for approval proposals for a course in music with particular reference to improving the standard of instrumental performance and training persons in the art of choral conducting. This is a development which I consider should be encouraged as being a contribution towards the brightening of rural life and the spread of cultural activities in the smaller towns and villages.

In October last I met a deputation representative of Macra na Feirme (the Association of Young Farmers' Clubs) and discussed with them ways in which the vocational education system might be better integrated with rural life and particularly may help them in some of their more pressing engineering and scientific problems. One of the results of that discussion was that the Department of Education entered into collaboration with Macra na Feirme and with five county vocational education committees in sponsoring a series of lecture-demonstrations by five commercial firms on the use of modern farm machinery.

The lecture-demonstrations were conducted during February of this year and were very successful, both from the point of view of the numbers attending and their enthusiasm. This is a form of practical adult education which I feel will be of value to the farming community in making them aware of modern approaches to farm-work, and in teaching them how to carry out for themselves repairs to farm machinery, and other operations which the farmer might do on his own farm with a minimum of equipment.

The firms who took part in this activity were: The Ford Company, Ferguson Company, International Harvester Company, Allis-Chalmers Company, the lecture centres for each firm being Dungarvan, Kilkenny, Athy, Ballinasloe and Ardee, respectively. It is remarkable what advance can be made in bringing instruction and assistance to the farmer when he gets the co-operation of the organised young farmers and the co-operation of the vocational education committees and their teachers, the Department and the firms whose machines are being used, who, naturally, have a technical understanding of the work which even the teachers or those engaged in education purely and simply cannot be expected to have.

With regard to reformatory and industrial schools, in St. Conleth's, Daingean, the sole boys' reformatory school, there is accommodation for 250 boys, and on the 31st December, 1948, there were under detention there 207. Approval has been given for the provision of improved accommodation in this school by the erection of two new wings, which will contain classrooms, dormitories, ablution rooms and workshops. One of these wings has been completed, and the question of when the building of the other may be undertaken is under consideration at the moment. The total number of girls under detention in the two reformatory schools for girls on 31st December, 1948, was 36, of whom seven were in one school and 29 in the other school.

In boys' industrial schools there is accommodation for 3,394, and the number under detention on 31st December, 1948, was 2,937. The number for which there is accommodation in girls industrial schools is 4,351, and the number under detention on 31st December, 1948, was 3,271. All these schools are under the direct general and medical supervision of qualified officers of the Department, and are visited frequently for that purpose.

Nearly 2,600 children were given home leave in 1948 and the Department is satisfied that the school managers allow children home on holidays in all cases where it is possible to do so without prejudice to the children's own best interests.

Where it is not possible or not desirable to allow children out of school, arrangements have been made, as in former years, for special picnics, excursions and outings for the children who were not allowed holidays.

Complaints have been received that, owing to lack of vacancies in the Dublin industrial schools, it has been necessary to commit boys to schools at a distance, thus rendering it inconvenient and expensive for poor parents to visit their children. To remedy this, arrangements have been made with the Christian Brothers for the establishment of an additional school for 250 boys at Celbridge. Construction is now in progress, and it is expected that it will have so far advanced by early in 1950 that it will be possible to accommodate 100 boys there by then.

The only place of detention under the direct control of the Department is that at Marlborough House, Glasnevin, where there is accommodation for 50 boys. The average daily number under detention for the 12 months ending 28th February, 1949, was 11, and the greatest number under detention on any one day was 21.

In relation to Vote 49 there is no change in the Grant-in-Aid for the purchase of books for the National Library. The principal feature of note in this regard this year is that the Ormonde manuscripts, for which a Supplementary Estimate of £20,000 was passed last year, have been deposited in the library and that it is hoped that arrangements will be completed very shortly for them to become the property of the nation.

These documents, which were in the possession of the Ormonde estate and were preserved in the Muniment Room of Kilkenny Castle, now constitute the largest and most important collection of mediæval and modern records extant in Ireland.

During the year also many collections of family papers, rentals and other documents relating to Ireland were acquired by the National Library.

Two exhibitions were arranged in the main hall during the year, the first being an exhibition of books and documents relating to Cashel which attracted a large number of visitors.

The collection of Irish maps, ranging from the end of the 16th century up to date, which is at present being exhibited in the main hall, has created considerable interest and has brought many orders for photostat copies of the maps.

The grant for the survey and reproduction of Irish historical records in foreign collections remains also at the same figure.

There is a reduction of £1,000 in the amount provided for the Grant-in-Aid for purchases for the National Museum, but in actual fact there was well over £1,000 in this expense account on the 1st April, 1949, which offsets the reduction.

Although lack of space precludes from having in the museum all that might be desired, many improvements in regard to space, lighting and equipment have been made there in recent years. Noteworthy in the last year has been the exhibition of Spanish folk art, which concluded some days ago.

One valuable acquisition to the museum during the last year was the Grattan Liberty Boxes, kindly presented, on permanent loan, by Lord Iveagh.

Another was the priceless national relic, the Lismore Crozier and its Shrine, kindly presented, on permanent loan, by the Marquis and Marchioness of Hartington.

Under this Vote, too, a number of miscellaneous matters are provided for. There are summer courses in music. These courses, conducted by musicians of high repute from Great Britain and the Continent, have proved highly popular and useful and were attended, not only by people who were interested professionally, but by many members of the public who were attracted by the lectures on musical appreciation. It is proposed to continue them on approximately the same scale in 1949-50.

The allowances or scholarships for post-graduate scientific research have been increased somewhat to meet the increased cost of living, and are otherwise retained on the same scale as before.

They are intended to give Irish students of proven ability an opportunity of making a beginning in scientific research here, and it is hoped that this grant may have some small effect in influencing the more brilliant of our young graduates, who are in such demand abroad, to devote themselves to industrial or other forms of scientific research in their own country.

The grant to the Folklore Commission has been increased to £12,000 in recognition of well-directed efforts to preserve all that still survives of the distinctive culture of the past. It is hoped that this increase may enable the commission to secure adequate accommodation, to offer the collectors and the staff generally the attraction of secure remuneration and, in general, that it may place the commission in the position of being able to develop its plans free from the heretofore perennial problem of how to make ends meet.

After careful survey of the activities of Comhdháil Náisiúnta na Gaeilge since its inception and after evaluating as closely as was possible the results that might be said to have been achieved I decided to reduce the grant to that body by £2,000. In the letter to the Comhdháil conveying my decision I made clear the reasons underlying my action. They were not actuated by motives of mere economy but by a genuine doubt as to whether adequate results were accruing from the annual grant being made. I made suggestions which, if carried out, would, I think, make more fruitful the work of the Comhdháil.

I have increased the grant to Taidhdhearc na Gaillimhe by £1,000. The directors of that theatre have decided to extend the sphere of their activities in future by staging plays locally in the neighbouring Gaeltacht areas and that is a development which I consider deserves the fullest support.

I have also increased the grant to Compántas Amharclainne na Gaeilge, in this case by £200. It is generally admitted that the Compántas has done valuable work in producing bilingual variety shows, which can be followed and enjoyed by those who have only a slight knowledge of Irish. It is well known that they are very considerably hampered by the amount of rent they have to pay for the hiring of a theatre.

In the Estimate for the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies the apparent additional increase of £12,120 in sub-head A is due to the fact that savings amounting to £10,000 under this sub-head were credited in the recent Supplementary Estimate to sub-head B, where £10,000 more than originally estimated was required. The Institute had effected considerable savings on administration and on various schools, and in addition, a balance had been carried over from previous years.

On the other hand, it will be noted that there is a reduction of £10,000 in the amount provided under sub-head B due to the fact that the work of reconstruction at Dunsink Observatory and at No. 5, Merrion Square, is nearing completion.

The actual increase of £2,120 arises mainly for rent arrears which, for some time, have been outstanding.

Tairgim go gcuirfear an Meastachán thar n-ais chun a athbhreithnithe. Ní dóigh liom gur ceart dúinn ábhar easaontais, nó fiú amháin ábhar géardhíospóireachta, a dhéanamh de cheist na Gaeilge sa Tigh seo, más féidir é, ach le linn an ama a bhí mise im shuí san gcathaoir ina bhfuil an tAire anois ann, d'éist mé len alán cainte faoin Ghaeilge. Leig mé alán den chaint tharm mar cheap mé gurb é an cuspóir is mó taobh amuigh de shábháilt na Gaeilge fhéin, a bhí ag teastáil uainn ná go mba chóir dúinn féachaint chuige go mbeadh an sprid céanna againn uilig san obair agus go bhféadfaimís dul ar aghaidh ins an slí sin céim ar chéim. Bhí sé deacair, gan amhras, na fórsaí a choinnéal ar aon chéim, ach ní dóigh liom go n-eireochaidh linn mar ba cheart gó dtí go mbeimídne mar sin.

Cuireadh an Chomhdháil ar bun chun an obair a rinne Connradh na Gaeilge san sean-am a choiméad ar siúl agus aoinne a bhfuil taithí aige ar obair rialtais sílim go gcaithfidh sé admháil nach féidir leis an Rialtas obair aithbheochaint na Gaeilge a dhéanamh ar fad, iad fhéin. Faoin Rialtas atá anois ann agus na Rialtaisí a bhí ann roimhe seo, do luigh an chuid is mó den obair ar an Roinn Oideachais. Ní dóigh liom go ndearna na Ranna eile an méid a bhféidir leo a dhéanamh agus b'fhéidir nár dhein an Roinn Oideachais fhéin é. Tharla san am gur fágadh an chuid is mó den obair a bhaineas le haithbheochaint na Gaeilge ar an Roinn sin. Cheapamar mar Rialtas go mba mhaith an rud é dá ndeanfaí athbhunú nó athfhorbairt ar an sean-ghluaiseacht agus an glún óg a bhí ag fás anois a thabhairt le chéile i ngluaiseacht nua. Leis an sprid a bheadh acu siúd agus na smaointí nua a bheadh acu agus go mór mór leis an dul chun cinn mór a rinneadh sna 25 bliana seo thart agus an Ghaeilge a bheith ar fheabhas ag alán de sna daoine óga seo, a bhí tar éis méan-oideachais i nGaeilge d'fháil nó a bhí tar éis freastail ar an Ollscoil agus céimeanna Ollscoile a bhaint amach, gan amhras, d'fhéadfaí borradh nua agus beatha nua ar fad a chur san ghluaiseacht. Thugamar deontas airgid don Chomhdháil agus méadaíodh ar an deontas sin. Ar ndóigh, bhí an Chomhdháil, admhaím, ag iarraidh alán, lán airgid, agus d'fhéadfadh an Chomhdháil a rá: "Nach bhfuil an obair atá idir láimh againn chomh tábhachtach le hobair Roinne Rialtais agus mura bhfuil sé chomh tábhachtach leis sin, nach bhfuil sé chomh tábhachtach le hobair fho-bhrainnse, ar aon chuma agus nach ceart, in ionad £10,000 a thabhairt dúinn £100,000 a thabhairt?" D'fhéadfaidís a rá nach ceart iad d'fhágaint le timirí anseo agus ansiúd san chontae seo nó contae eile, ach go mbeadh alán timirí acu—

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

Chím ins an bhliain deiridh go bhfuil cúntas againn uathu ar an gceist, go raibh 19 dtimirí ag obair acu agus sílim go raibh siad ag iarraidh, gídh go mbféidir nach mbeimíd uilig ar aon tuairim leofa, na timirí a chur go dtí na háiteacha a cheap siad ab oiriúnaí agus a ba thábhachtaí ó thaoibh na Gaeilge agus gur chosnuigh sin £4,500. Is dóigh liom gur obair thábhachtach í sin, obair na dtimirí, agus dá bhféadfaí in aon chor gan gearradh síos ar na timirí——

Ní fheadar an féidir leis an Teachta a rá an bhfuair sé aon chúntas ó'n Chomhdháil ar fheabhas nó ar mhéid na hoibre a bhí ar siúl ag na timirí agus an raibh siad sásta leis an obair sin?

Ní raibh aon bhaint agam leis an Chomhdháil, olc ná maith, ar eagla go mbeadh sé le rá ag an Aire nó ag aoinne eile go raibh an Chomhdháil ag cur isteach orm chun a cás a phlé anseo, ach tá an tuarascáil bhliantúil a cuireadh amach i 1946 agam anseo, agus, gídh nach n-aontaím len alán de na rudaí atá ann, tá dhá rud ann—na timirí agus ceist fhoill-seacháin, ceist na dtréimhseachán— agus is dóigh liom gur ceart spéis faoi leith a chur iontu.

Mura bhfuil an Chomhdháil ag chur isteach ar an dTeachta, is dóigh liom go bhfuil an Teachta ag cur isteach ar an gComhdháil agus is mór an trua nar chuir sé ceist orthu i dtaobh obair na dtimirí ach fágaim faoin Teachta é.

Tá mé ag iarraidh cuidiú leis an Chomhdháil. Níor mhaith liomsa go gcuirfear aon droch-mhisneach ar lucht na Comhdála. Tá sé ceart go leor don Aire nó d'aoinne eile a rá go mba chóir do dhuine bheith chomh dílis in obair na Gaeilge anois agus bhí 30 bliain ó shoin agus bheith sásta obair a dhéanamh saor in aisce. Tá mé cinnte go bhfuil a lán acu ann. Ach féach an costas atá ar pháipéir faoí láthair, an costas atá ar chlódóireacht agus mar sin de. Tá rud maith déanta ag an gComhdháil leis na deontaisí sa bhreis a tugadh do sna páipéirí sa Ghaeilge agus rinneadh an-fheabhas orthu. Is dóigh liom go n-admhóidh aoinne go bhfuil feabhas an-mhór tagaithe ar na páipéirí sin agus go mba mhór an dochar don Ghaeilge dá mbeadh orainn leigint do chuid acu dul in éag.

Ní hé amháin go bhfuil gearradh síos ag an Rialtas ar an gComhdháil ach ta gearradh síos acu ar rudaí eile, an Gúm, cuir i gcás. Tá gearradh síos timpeall £3,000 ar sin. Tá gearradh síos faoi na téacs-leabhra san Ghaeilge faoi Vota an mheán-oideachais ó £3,000 go dtí £1,500. Tá gearradh síos go dtí £1,000 san deontas le haghaidh Institiúd na Scannán.Le mo linn-se, bhí soláthar déanta againn, £2,500, le scannáin a dhéanamh agus bhíomar ag smaoineamh ar scannáin a bhain le hoideachas agus go bhféadfaí an Ghaeilge a chor orthu a dhéanamh ins an Institúid Náisiúnta na Scannán. Tá laghdú ansin go dtí £5. Sin teaspántas, is dóigh liom, nach bhfuil na leabhra á gcur amach ag an Ghúm agus níl an t-airgead á chur ar fáil don obair sin agus níl an tAire, do réir dhealraimh, ag iarraidh iarracht a dhéanamh chun scannáin ghearra a dhéanamh san Ghaeilge. Tá droch-rud déanta ag an Rialtas cheana nuair a chuir siad stop le Coimisiún na Logainmneacha. Ba dhóigh le duine gur Rialtas Fhianna Fáil a thosuigh an Coimisiúin sin agus gur cheart on Rialtas nua deire a chur leis. Is dóigh liom gurbé an tOllamh Eoin Mac Néill a mhol ar dtús go mba chóir daoine faoi leith a chur ar an obair sin. Chuir sé anspéis ann agus mhol sé daoine de sna scoláirí óga a bhí ag foghlaim na Gaeilge nó na hársaíochta san Ollscoil le dul i mbun na hoibre.

Tá gearradh déanta freisin ar an Musaeum—níl fhios agam cad chuige— de £1,000, agus gearradh ar an gCoiste Ealadhan Stairiúil de £1,000 eile. Ceapann an tAire nach ceart airgead a chaitheamh ar stair an Ghorta. Tá scoil stairiúil againn sa tír seo. Tá irisleabhar dá chur amach acu agus tá alán de sna scoláirí óga páirteach san obair agus iad féin a phiocann amach an t-ábhar taighde, cérb é an Ghorta nó an Eirí Amach i 1641. Ba dhóigh le duine, nuair chuala sé an tAire ag caint ar an taobh seo den Tig, gur muidne a phioc amach na hábhair sin dóibh. Iad fhéin a shocruigh iad chun taithí agus cleachtadh a thabhairt do sna scoláirí óga agus iarchéimithe san Ollscoil. Dá mbeadh roint airgid le caitheamh ag an Rialtas díreach mar a bheadh i gcúrsaí eolaíochta, cad chuige nach gcaithfimíd an t-airgead ar chúrsaí cultúracha agus ar chúrsaí a bhaineann le stair ár dtíre.

I do not propose to pursue that question any further as there will be other speakers, but I think the Minister has not given a sufficient explanation of the economies which he has made under these different headings as affecting cultural activities of various kinds, and, particularly, as affecting the Irish language. It is a matter of satisfaction to me that the propaganda in use here and in the country over so many years about cramming Irish down the throats of the people, about the wrong methods that were in use and the methods of the Department of Education—the coercion, compulsion and so on—that the Minister, after the examination which he has had of this question, has stated in respect of the modification which he has now announced in regard to infant training and of the work of the infant classes in Irish, that he does not consider that any further changes are necessary or desirable beyond those that he has outlined. Do I take it that the Minister is referring to the question of the work in Irish generally when he makes that statement?

No, the infant classes.

Only the infant classes?

We did examine the whole business, but, as regards taking any definite steps, I was dealing simply with the infant classes. I am only answering the Deputy's question directly without any implications.

The position now is that we are going back to the position in regard to the infant classes which we had before I arranged that Irish should be used exclusively in the infant classes. Prior to that, permission was granted that up to half an hour a day might be used for English. I see that this discretion is now left to the managers. I suppose to that extent we will see a revival, a going back to English in the infant classes if, of course, the managers desire that, as I am sure, having regard to the way in which the regulation is modified, they will probably consider that it is in accordance with Government policy to order that that be done. With regard to the expression to which the Minister refers that "the aim should be to reach as soon as possible the stage at which Irish can be exclusively used as the language of communication and instruction in these infant classes", I do not know what he means by "as soon as possible".

Get theOxford Dictionary.

"As soon as possible", it either means within a very short period of a few weeks, if that is the intention, or within a comparatively short period—as soon as the children, particularly those newly coming to school, have acquainted themselves with the atmosphere. In the case of the senior infants, of course, the question will not arise.

I would like if the Minister would give us more information as regards this review which he spoke of. He has twice stated—I was not quite clear whether he was referring to the question of Irish generally or merely, as he has intimated, to the infant classes— that he has come to the conclusion that further changes were not necessary or desirable. I think that the sooner the schools know where exactly they stand in this matter, and can pursue their work without chopping and changing in the programme, the better.

As regards the use of Irish in the secondary schools, there is no doubt but that they have done tremendous work, particularly the all-Irish secondary schools. I think they were the pioneers. We are giving them a small grant of £4,600—to those schools that display a special excellence in regard to Irish. I think that, if we could possibly have the position that we would have some kind of oral examination in Irish, the position would be much more satisfactory. We introduced some years ago the prescribed texts. A good many teachers, very often teachers who are keenly interested in the progress of Irish and in the maintenance of high standards of oral Irish, think that the prescribed texts may have militated against the standard of oral Irish in their schools. I cannot say whether that is so or not. I only know that that opinion has been expressed. Of course, in connection with the prescribed texts, there is always the danger of cramming and of attention to the text merely from the point of view of the written examination. There is the danger that the spoken language may be forgotten or, if not forgotten, may not occupy the position that it held when we had no prescribed texts. I think it would be well worth while if we could ever reach the position that we would have, if not a general oral examination, at least an oral test of some character, if not for all the schools for a certain proportion of them—some kind of concursus as they have in France where the best boys or girls in the country would be given an opportunity of showing what they could do in answering questions on suitable topics—we will say in the leaving certificate—in giving answers which would show their capacity for dealing with, say, a literary topic in Irish or an historical question, and of talking fluently and knowledgeably on that topic for ten or 15 minutes.

In the case of the vocational schools, I think that the committees and the chief executive officers can do a great deal for the language. If the committees are keen on Irish and if the members have an interest in the language, no doubt the language will go ahead in their schools, but I am not convinced that that is the position generally, because committees have their own difficulties. If they would give as much attention to Irish and the teaching of Irish as they would wish, they may have difficulty in balancing their accounts and making sufficient provision for other subjects in which they are also interested. I ask the Minister to give committees all the assistance possible in making even greater provision for Irish.

There were two questions that received special attention in the annual debates on these Votes. One was the question of the Council of Education and the other was the question of the school-leaving age. The attitude taken up by the Minister and his colleagues for many years past was that there was a lack of confidence in the Department of Education. In the first place he argued, not on one occasion but on several occasions, particularly in the years 1945, 1946 and 1947, that the public had lost confidence in the Department of Education, that things were in a chaotic condition. He even said in 1947, two years ago, that there was no subject about which the public mind was more disturbed than the state of our education.

What was the remedy that the Minister and his colleagues put forward? Since 1945 they have been pressing this question of the Council of Education. The former Taoiseach and myself explained our attitude to the proposal when it was brought before this House. I do not intend to go over the ground beyond saying that our attitude has been that there was at all times full consultation between the Department of Education and the different interests concerned. That was denied, but I think it is quite clear in respect of the panel and a number of other matters and changes in the secondary school programme that there was that consultation and it hardly ever happened that any change was made in education regulations or in matters of policy without consultation.

It used to be argued also that there was a lack of co-ordination. I could never see that so long as interests, some of them the most important interests in the State, were satisfied with the system they had of consultation and of direct access to the Minister as head of the Administration. I could not see how it could be argued that you had not co-ordination of the different branches when you had the Minister and the Department to form the co-ordinating machinery. Neither could I understand how, by lack of a Council of Education, you could not have proper planning, you could not have ideas. According to the present Minister, when he was in opposition, the Department of Education was a kind of subterranean vault. He used to refer to the dim and dark recesses. I am very glad when I consider these figures of speech, which were no doubt rather rhetorical, that the Minister has survived so far these abysmal caves and dark places in the Department where apparently plots were being hatched or things were being done without the knowledge of the people.

We have heard very little about the Council of Education during the past year and the tender way in which his colleagues handled the Minister recently when they had a motion on the paper was in great contrast with the furore we had on a number of earlier occasions when the matter was brought before the Dáil. Actually one of the motions on the paper during the period of office of the last Administration dealt with this very question of setting up a Council of Education and I think it was in the names of the present Minister and Deputy McGilligan. We were told there was something radically wrong with education and that there should be a new approach. We were told the public were gravely dissatisfied with the whole position and the only solution was to have a Council of Education which would throw light upon the dark places and tell the public what they wanted to know about the educational system and the programme. We were told that as well as reviewing the whole position of education it would also supply certain directives, presumably for future policy.

The Minister speaks of stream-lining the educational machinery. I understand what stream-lining means, but my dictionary may not be the most up to date. I understand it to mean that objects progress along air lines the boundaries of which are, in the case of an aeroplane anyway, based on the lines of least resistance. I am afraid, in regard to some of the remedies that the Minister formerly had in mind, he could be charged with having taken the line of least resistance. He said at the teachers' conference last year that the Government was committed to this Council of Education and he indicated that he was setting it up. Last year, when his Estimates were before the House, he definitely stated that he was actually in process of setting it up. He came along latterly, when a motion was put forward similar to the one that he had a few years ago, and stated that he has not reached the high standard that he would like the Minister to attain before he could go into consultation.

I think the Deputy must be mistaken when he says "actually in the process of setting it up".

I do not think so. Speaking in the Dáil on 26th May, 1948—column 2235—the Minister said:—

"At the present moment I am engaged in the task of setting up a Council of Education."

Further on he said:—

"I want a council of people who will inspire confidence that they are the people who have had experience in some particular branch of education; that they are competent by that experience, by their disposition and by their character to sit down in complete harmony and co-operation with others to review the entire field of education in the country; and who will be in a position to exchange experience and judgment in such a way as to bring the whole road over which the normal people of the country may expect to travel from the educational point of view under review and to ensure that at every rung of the educational ladder there is a proper direction."

Further on he asked Deputies in particular,

"to give me my head in this matter and to wait until I set up my council and see what it will produce after it has been at work for a year or two."

That shows I was taking it seriously.

The Minister has been talking long enough about it. I do not know what we would think of the matter if we were to come to the conclusion to which others may have come that the Minister is not, perhaps, taking it seriously enough when he adumbrated that as part of his programme and promised to carry it into operation with the least possible delay.

I think we may also claim that the Minister has altered his step in respect of the school-leaving age. On the Agenda for the Dáil at the end of 1947 there was a motion tabled in the names of the present Minister for Education and the Minister for Industry and Commerce asking that the school-leaving age should be raised to 16 years. We were pressed for that on many occasions when we were in Government. Three years ago the present Minister was inclined to scoff when I told him that we had set up a departmental committee to examine the position. Five years ago the Commission of Inquiry into Youth Unemployment intimated that they intended to recommend that the school-leaving age should be raised ultimately to 16 years; at a later stage they wanted full-time education and the provision of the necessary accommodation. Last year the Minister referred to the departmental committee and said that the problems that arose in that connection would have to be dealt with straight away. This year he tells us that this question of the raising of the school-leaving age must remain in abeyance until the commission reports. I do not know whether the Minister has in his possession any more information than he has given us to-day. When may we expect to see the report? If the report is not likely to appear in the near future—and even if it does appear—may I suggest that there is no excuse whatsoever for not going ahead with the provision of the necessary accommodation and facilities for the raising of the school-leaving age. Are we to take it that there was no sincerity behind that motion to which I have referred when the present Minister put it down? Are we to believe that they themselves did not really believe that the school-leaving age should be raised? Year after year, when the present Minister occupied these benches, he strongly recommended me to look in a shamefaced way at the wonderful strides that were being made elsewhere and the wonderful plans and ideas that were being put into operation elsewhere. In particular he stressed the extension of educational facilities. He emphasised, on more than one occasion, that we could not be satisfied that our young people could face the future with an education terminating in the majority of cases at 14. I thoroughly agreed with him in that because of the way in which the world is at present. We ought to try to provide facilities as soon as possible for the extension of post-primary education. It seems to me that the vocational education schemes offer facilities for providing that education for our young people.

It should be the policy of the Government to utilise to the utmost the facilities offered by the vocational education schemes in order to improve the standards of skill and efficiency in trade and industry and, through the application of modern scientific methods, increase substantially the output from our farms and our factories. The Minister has referred to the apprenticeship schemes set up by the sugar beet industry, the Electricity Supply Board and the Society of Motor Traders. I do not know whether there are others. These are the most important ones. These schemes show the value of vocational education, not alone to the young people but also in the economy of the country generally in teaching the youth the very latest methods. The Department of Education should be interested in the matter of apprenticeship. The late Minister for Local Government, go ndeana Dia trochaire ar a anam, in one of his most recent speeches said in reference to housing costs: "Housing costs, still dangerously high, represent one very serious impediment to progress. In addition we have the difficulty of the very thin line of skilled workers to hold the fort." It is believed in Great Britain—and I presume it must be believed by those who give serious consideration to the matter in other places, including our own country— that the old apprenticeship system to which we were accustomed has not the same value in the modern world that was attributed to it in the past. Some of the most profound thinkers and the best economists—not merely the official ones but those representing the trade unions also—believe that the majority of craft students do not learn the most up-to-date or efficient methods under the present system. They believe that instead of going forward and improving the work when they come to maturity, the work of the next generation will be retarded. Some years ago Sir Josiah Stamp, the well-known writer, said: "In the technical school accurate analysis and measurement is provided."

He pointed out further that when the workshop is associated with the technical school there is the added advantage that the apprentice is taught not alone how to perform the operation in a better way but the reason why he does it in that particular way. In other words, he is taught "how" as well as "why." In some of the most important industries in Great Britain, such as printing, building and engineering they have gone back to the principle of putting the apprentice to the industry as a whole. They believe that the apprentice should belong to the industry as a whole and that it is the needs of the industry as a whole that should be considered rather than the needs of a particular firm. The system is no longer a matter of concern only to the trade, or industry, or employer or apprentice; it is the industry as a whole that is important. Suitable recruits have not been forthcoming and no doubt that is one of the reasons why we have agreements negotiated for some industries.

These agreements are on a national scale. National joint apprenticeship boards have been set up with their local counterparts. The advantage of that is that special arrangements can be made to provide for trades. If we mean to make up our deficiencies in skilled labour, one of the advantages of this system is there are these joint boards where the unions and other interests concerned meet, and, with the assistance of the State, make the necessary regulations. Proper arrangements are in this way made for the recruitment of sufficient numbers of workers. There are registers and certificates and, generally speaking, the position has been accepted that apprenticeship should be upon a national scale for the needs of the entire national industry in question. The best training, it has been said in connection with the printing industry, is one where sound instruction in practical methods of production under competitive conditions in the workshop is combined with the scientific and demonstration work of the technical college, the one being complementary to the other. In the well-ordered factory, the accent is on production and the foreman is often too busy in keeping production going and inclines to leave boys on routine work. In building in particular the need of skilled craftsmen has made them take this step and one of the principles they seem to work upon is that the boy should have a right of direct application to the local committee but that the most suitable method of approach would be for the boy to apply for employment and for the employer to submit him for examination by the committee.

Now, I do not see in the replies to recent questions regarding vocational school building, that the Minister is even attempting to keep up to the programme that was envisaged. It was expected that, I think, some 100 additional vocational schools would ultimately be provided, that within the next few years the number would be 28, and within the next five or six years that at least 50 additional schools would be provided. The Minister last year was able to provide only six new schools. Three were one-roomed schools only suitable for night work, and the total accommodation provided for day pupils who might attend these six schools was only 180 places. The total cost, £49,500 for the six schools and another school which was extended, will give the House an idea of how very limited was the progress that was made. The Minister informed me, in reply to a Parliamentary question, that in the City of Dublin no new schools had been sanctioned during the year and arrangements had not been come to regarding finances. It is a good many years ago now since the Dublin Board of Studies made recommendations regarding school buildings in Dublin. They desired that there should be regional schools and also extensions to the technological and trade facilities in Bolton Street and Kevin Street.

The final paragraph of the committee's report stated that they recommended strongly that there should be technical and industrial schools as well as regional schools. Training in the highest reaches of industrial work and the science bearing thereon is of such immense importance to the State that it must be fostered and developed. If the borough of Dublin received the same financial consideration as that given to Cork or Dún Laoghaire, such development could be achieved. I think they have got that additional assistance and that they are now getting fairly reasonable facilities. I am not going to say that they are getting as much as we would like but, at any rate, the assistance I have mentioned there, to put them on the same basis as Cork or Dún Laoghaire, I think was granted to them. To that extent an obstacle has been removed but no advance has been made, so far as I can see, in the programme that was under consideration in 1947. You had a number of schools under construction at the end of that year. You had another number in respect of which sites had been acquired and plans made for their establishment. I should like if the Minister would give us details as to what the exact position in Dublin is.

The position in respect of——?

Of the number of schools and the total accommodation that the Minister thinks would be provided because, before I left office, the position was that the programme then in sight, including not alone those buildings which were in course of construction, but those which had only reached the planning stage or where sites had been acquired, would have provided accommodation for some thousands of pupils. If the school-leaving age is going to be raised in Dublin, accommodation, not for 2,500 additional pupils but for some 10,000, will have to be provided. The fact is that progress in Dublin has been very unsatisfactory and, having regard to what we heard early in 1948 from some of those who now occupy the Ministerial benches, that not alone would they set up proper machinery for dealing with our educational problems, but that money would be no object—that free primary, secondary, vocational and university education would be provided—I think we have got very far away from that, and instead we have got reductions in some very important respects.

The Minister referred to scholarships. We all like to see scholarships increased in numbers and in value but I do not think the State really can boast that it is doing as much as it should in that matter. Local authorities complain of their heavy burdens. I join with the Minister in appealing to them to do their utmost to try to provide the maximum amount of scholarships but when I see some of the economies the Minister is making, even in regard to heating and cleaning and in regard to the building of vocational schools in particular, I wonder whether he is really sincere in asking local authorities to spend more. I do not know that the Minister can be said to be doing his duty when he accepts the position laid down by the Minister for Finance in last year's Budget, that no building work would be permitted except in the cases of national schools where building was actually in progress or where it was absolutely necessary. According to the Minister's attitude during the year, it would seem that he has accepted that position in regard to vocational education. After the promise he made early last year that he would examine every case and try to see whether the wishes of the local committees could be met, the final results seem to me to be very unsatisfactory. Even in the case of national schools, I do not think that we can have any great reason to congratulate ourselves that there has been any wonderful improvement in the position. It was estimated in 1943 that there were 500 schools in urgent need of replacement and during that time and the end of 1947 some 200 schools had grants allocated to them for new buildings. That left about 300. The Minister says he is aiming at a target of 50 to 55 schools per year which has, in fact, been achieved. But if the Deputies will look at the list of schools given in answer to a recent Parliamentary question they will see that some counties, and not by any means unimportant counties, such as Cavan and Galway, have no school at all. The position in regard to school buildings is the same as that in regard to afforestation. You have to have roughly twice the amount of work on hands that you expect to accomplish in any one year. In other words, if the Minister allocates grants in a particular financial year of, say, £500,000, for new schools, it does not mean that the £500,000 can all be spent in the very first year. It has to be spread out; it is a continuing process. In 1946-47 we gave £500,000. Last year the Minister gave roughly the same amount. The total amount between local contributions and State grant was £574,000. We gave grants for 58 schools in 1946-47 and in the period since he came into office, up to the end of the last financial year, the Minister allocated grants for 60 new schools. The actual amount expended was much less than the amount of grants allocated. A sum of £307,000 was actually spent on new schools in 1948-49. Forty-two new schools were built. I think one of the aims that we have to keep in mind in connection with new schools is that water supply should be made available as far as possible. We have still a long way to go because, of the 42 new schools, only four had water-flush sanitation, and of 69 schools which have been improved only seven had such accommodation. I think, therefore, that it is really preposterous of the Minister to talk, either in regard to heating or cleaning or anything else, about an improvement in financial conditions being necessary before the sums that the House generally would like to spend on building and extending educational facilities can be secured by the Minister for Finance. I think to-morrow will show that he could well afford to give not alone the normal grants that were being given before he took office but far more. Besides, if this problem of school building is going to be overcome in any reasonable period of years it is quite definite that the target will have to go up very considerably to make up for the arrears of the war years and natural wastage.

The Minister referred to big classes. I have not been able to get the figures regarding the present position. I think that the description the Minister gave last year of the characteristic of our schools—I presume he had Dublin in mind—that pupils were being taught in hordes, was really a gross exaggeration. If it was not a gross exaggeration, if the Minister is able to substantiate that statement, I think he should give the House some further information.

There are classes of——

If he feels the position is as bad as all that, what remedy is he introducing to deal with it? He told us last year on the Estimates that he was going to review the position at the earliest possible moment.

I would call a class of 70 infants a horde.

The Minister has the information. I have not got it; but he told us definitely last year that he was going to take up this matter.

It is giving me a lot of anxiety.

We do not know what the results are. We now have the statement from the Minister that for the present he cannot not alone deal with that situation but he cannot improve the ratio of teachers to pupils. I do not know why that should be. The Minister, as reported at column 292 of the Official Report of the 28th April, 1949, said: "It is admitted on all sides that the position regarding the size of classes could be improved, but in existing circumstances any move in this direction would have the serious result of depriving the more out-of-the-way and less attractively situated schools of even their present quotas of staff." If that means that the intention was to exclude some of the large numbers from the schools where they are at present and that the staffs would suffer, that is one of the difficulties of the situation. I realise that there are difficulties. However, if the Minister comes along, as he did last year, and says that this matter is due for immediate review, one would expect, having regard to the spotlight he threw on this subject for many years past, that he would have something to report. He went on, after having dealt with the supply of teachers, by saying: "This suspension of judgment"—in regard to additional training facilities—"brings with it, necessarily, much though I regret it, a similar suspension of the examination of any steps towards increasing the ratio between the numbers of teachers and the numbers of pupils, a problem which has also very decided financial concomitants in the matter of the provision of the extra teachers and of additional accommodation." I remember the present Ministers, when they were in opposition, telling us that money should be no object. Education was so important, as it certainly is, to the country generally that once we satisfied ourselves that we had proper direction and proper control and we were getting value for our money—a point which the Minister has certainly not ignored—we ought to spend all that was necessary in order to get the best results possible.

The number of new appointments made in the City of Dublin seem to me to be rather small. I think there were about 15 lay teachers appointed. There was a reduction in the number of religious. That does not indicate that very substantial improvements are being made in the staffing position. The Minister frequently mentioned in his statement the financial implications of reforms which he himself urged so strongly when in opposition and which he is now in a position to carry out, because we all know that one of the very satisfying features of the present Government is that each Minister is complete master in his own Department. Other Ministers do not interfere with him and he will be able to carry out his own ideas very satisfactorily. There is no reason, therefore, why the Minister, who has been so eloquent about all these different matters in years past and who now has full opportunity of putting his ideas into full effect, should not do so. He has not stated when the salary committee will report. During the past two years teachers have seen other classes of the community, not worse off, I think, generally than themselves, receiving additions to their remuneration. They must naturally feel rather disappointed that no result has come so far to get them that increase which we all agreed should be given when the position was reviewed. The extent of the increase and the nature of it are matters for the committee, and I am not going further than to say that, during the period since the review was promised, there certainly have been valuable concessions given to other classes of public servants and to other classes of salaried employees, and the teachers must naturally feel rather restive about when the committee will report.

The Minister told us definitely last year that he was examining the pension position. He told us on the Estimates that he had proposals put before the Minister for Finance and that whatever could be done would be done. I do not know whether he remembers that, but he definitely stated that here. Having regard to the promises which the Minister made before the election regarding teacher-pensioners, I think the poor old teachers will certainly be looking forward anxiously to the gift which he is to give them very shortly.

Why did you not do something when you were there?

I did a certain amount and, if I were there now, I think I would at least have done more. I am not in the position of the Deputy and his colleagues who support the Government. They promised definitely during the election that all these matters would be attended to.

A Deputy

They will.

Last year they were promising a council of education; they were promising free university, secondary, primary and vocational education. Every facility was to be given to the poor man's child. I was always sympathetic to the old teachers, but there was a difficulty there which I explained to the House at the time. I was not in the position that the Minister is in, that I could do whatever I wished myself. We had what was called collective responsibility. Ministers at that time did not go forth announcing that they spoke in their personal capacities. They were Ministers for whom the Government took full responsibility for what they said and what they did. That was the principle upon which they worked. Everybody knows that the situation now is quite different.

That is a good thing.

Perhaps it is an improvement, as Deputy Davin suggests. I should like to ask the Minister definitely what is the programme, what is the plan regarding vocational education in particular, and the extension of post-primary education. He referred last year to the matters arising out of the report of the inter-Departmental committee which was examining the problems that would arise from the decision that was taken to raise the school-leaving age, a decision which was taken, in principle, before we left office. I should like to know whether that position has been accepted by the Government—that the necessary legislation would be promoted as soon as might be to raise the school-leaving age, first to 15, and later to 16 years— whether that is accepted in principle and whether the necessary arrangements for carrying it into effect will be gone on with.

There has been complaint about the difficulty of getting graduate teachers, and it would be a very serious matter, particularly in view of the general interest in agricultural education, in developing the productivity of our soil and our agricultural production generally and getting our farmers to adopt the best methods, if we had not sufficient staffs of rural science teachers. Therefore, I would urge the Minister to ensure that we shall have these, and that larger numbers of schools will be made available. I think that Macra na Feirme would certainly be very pleased indeed if the smaller rural schools could be built in greater numbers.

If that movement develops, as it is doing, and if these country schools form centres of discussions and lectures and up-to-date training in dealing with mechanical work and agricultural engineering, I am convinced that they will be of tremendous value to the community.

When one of our inspectors was over on the Continent he found—I think it was in Belgium—that they had special instructors and inspectors for dealing with agricultural machinery. The amount expended on machinery, the attention it should get, and its importance all indicate that we should have good instructors in connection with engineering work and also in connection with rural science.

I am not going to repeat my remarks about the reductions which the Minister has made in respect to some sub-heads in which we are all interested. It is not a question of the amount of the reductions; it is the attitude of mind which it bespeaks; it is the fact that the attitude of the Government in regard to Irish and other ancillary matters of a cultural nature is reflected in the decisions they have made. To that extent, it is discouraging for those interested in the progress of the language, particularly those who are carrying on these voluntary organisations and who are doing some heroic work, when so many others, including members of this House, seem to think it their duty to go out the country, as they have been doing for years past, denouncing the policy in connection with Irish, abusing what they call "compulsory Irish" and so on. It would not be human nature if those who are carrying on these voluntary organisations did not feel that those reductions which are being made in regard to the provision of organisers and also periodicals and publications did not indicate a lack of interest on the part of the Government, a lack of feeling that these organisations are doing the work they were set up to do. As I said, I do not think this should be made a political issue. If possible, we should try to advance in step in regard to Irish. But it is a very serious matter, as the Government, which cannot complain that there is any violent need for economy in these comparatively small matters, gave a definite assurance, even the Minister for Finance, that cultural and economic and social matters should not be interfered with. The fact is that the voluntary organisations which have been carried on for so many years have done so under the greatest difficulty and we ought to use every possible resort to avoid discouraging those who are carrying them on. We ought to show them that we are interested in their work and if we feel that there is a case for adjustment we ought to be quite certain that the adjustments we make are not going to harm the general purpose that we have in mind but that they are going to relieve, that if the Government is taking away in certain respects it is certainly giving assistance in others.

When the Minister has improved the provisions under certain sub-heads as, for example, the Folklore Commission, presumably in recognition of the fact that publication is very expensive at the present time, he ought to bear that in mind in connection with other publications. I reminded him last year that the number of first-class original writers is very limited. If we were doing our duty and if we could ensure that these men would turn out a reasonable amount of matter we should certainly try to make special provisions for them. It is not unknown in other countries, and we tried to do it ourselves in connection with a famous musician who had done a great deal for Irish music. In other countries it is recognised that the artists, whether they be musicians, writers or poets, can scarcely live on their income even those who have the advantage of the English language as a medium and have 150,000,000 readers, say, in the United States and another 50,000,000 in Great Britain. I am sure that the ordinary Irishman writing fiction or other works in English finds it difficult enough, except those at the top of the list, to get sufficient to enable him to live in comfort. What must be the position, then, of the Irish writers who have only a small limited number of readers? The Minister for Finance seemed to make the point that these publications were costing a great deal per copy. I have no doubt that they are costing a great deal if you compare them with the few pounds Sean-Phádraic Ó Conaire got for his books or if you compare them with pre-war expenditure. However, I think that those who have experience of the ordinary weekly publications in this country find that it is difficult to get advertisements for-them if you have to pay for contributions and it must be difficult to get suitable contributors in Irish, men with good education who can write good Irish and have a sound knowledge of the type of topics that would interest the modern young reader of the language. I am sure that it would take a great deal of money to make up for the lack of advertisement and the rather small circulation. I think the old national journals that we had long ago did not have a circulation of more than a few thousand; some of them had probably only a few hundred. Why the Minister for Finance should seek to make a case of the fact that the circulation of these journals, monthlies and weeklies, is limited is a matter that I do not understand.

I have put down this motion to refer the Estimate back in order to get further information from the Minister regarding the matters I have referred to and in particular to ask him to reconsider the various reductions that he has made under the sub-heads I have referred to.

I should like to address my remarks to the Technical Instruction Estimate solely. I feel that I certainly cannot congratulate the Minister for the work which has not been done for vocational education in the City of Dublin during the last year. He, himself, in the course of his introductory speech, said the vocational education is far from maturity. I can tell the House that vocational education in the City of Dublin was nearer maturity before the present Minister took over. Actually, nothing has been done since. When I addressed my remarks on the Budget last year in connection with vocational education I was informed that there would be no economy in that connection. Since last year nothing has been done. No one will argue against the need for additional vocational schools in the City of Dublin. It has been well established, and statistics will show that there is a need, apart from what Deputy Derrig has mentioned to the effect that in 1944 the Youth Unemployment Commission intimated to the then Minister for Industry and Commerce that one of the recommendations would be the raising of the school-leaving age to 15 years first and then to 16. The City of Dublin Vocational Education Committee was then asked by the then Minister to bring in a building programme which would meet with the expected expansion should the school-leaving age be raised. We did not do that, but instead we set out a programme which we thought was necessary, apart from the school-leaving age, immediately to meet the demand. Our programme was based on statistics which had been formulated. Our schools were to have been at Crumlin, Inchicore, Killester, Whitehall, Williams Park, Rathmines, and a girls' school at Crumlin and Whitehall. In the Cramlin district, where one school will be commenced shortly, it is estimated that, taking an average family of five, which is a conservative estimate for that particular area, there were 13,500 children under 16; at Inchicore, there were 10,070; at Killester, 5,405; North Strand, 10,315; at Whitehall, 5,680; Rathmines, 9,605. I only quote the figures to show that there is a need for the expansion of vocational education in the city, for the building of schools not alone to meet the immediate requirements, but the expected requirements. I have argued always and I continue to argue that we should not go ahead and build housing schemes first and then come along later and build schools and hospitals. They should be there when the schemes are going up and if they are not there they should be there as soon as possible after the schemes are completed.

I want to show that there is a need for more schools. Last year we had to refuse admission to 3,601 students in the City of Dublin. In that connection, I should like to mention the principal schools. In the case of Bolton Street, 700 boys had to be refused; at Rathmines the number that we had to refuse admission to was 370; at Ringsend 450; Parnell Square 410; the School of Music 450 and Coláiste Mhuire 300. I am merely taking these figures from a list of the schools. The total, as I have said, is 3,601. The point is that there is a necessity for a building programme to be started now. Our immediate programme, which we are in a position to go ahead with now, is merely a boys' school at Clogher Road and a boys' school at Aldborough Parade. In connection with Killester and Whitehall we had hoped to have schools there which would accommodate, in the first instance, 360 pupils. This time last year that figure was whittled down to 120. We met in conference and it was agreed that the minimum unit would be 240. Nothing happened until some weeks ago. when we again met the Minister. We were then informed that the boys' school at Clogher Road could go ahead as a 240 unit. In relation to Killester and Whitehall, the 120 unit was to go ahead. That is all that has happened since last year, though I was told here, and others were told, that there was going to be no economy in that direction.

The point is that, so far as Dublin is concerned, all that we can go ahead with this year is the school at Clogher Road and the school at Aldborough Parade. We met the Minister and he very graciously directed us to seek the financial aid of the Dublin Corporation under Section 51 of the 1930 Act. We had to go and ask the Dublin Corporation to raise £130,000, half the loan charges of which will be recouped to the corporation. We must go again to the Dublin Corporation—the matter has not yet been decided—and ask for a further £15,500 to meet current capital debt charges. As far as the Minister and the Government are concerned, all that they are prepared to do is to meet us in respect of that £130,000, but as regards the programme that we have in prospect we can hope for nothing. The Minister very graciously said that we could come back to him again.

I am anxious to know from the Minister how the City of Dublin Vocational Education Committee stands to-day. Are we permitted to go ahead and plan for these schools, and how are we to raise the finances for the building programme that we have prepared? The ratepayers of Dublin are paying the maximum of 8½d. in the £ which they are permitted to do under the Act. That is the maximum which can be levied. Now there will be the additional burden under Section 51 of the 1930 Act— that is 50 per cent. of the loan charges on the £130,000 which is to be met in this year. But when the schools are up there will be the maintenance charges. Who is going to meet them?

We in Dublin have never been satisfied with the grants which we receive from the Department. We are receiving as little as a £ for a £, while in Cork they get £4 for £1; in Dún Laoghaire they get, I think, £5 for £1. We have never been satisfied with the grants. To-day we get £2 for every £ put up by the local authority. In this connection, I asked the Minister a question recently—to state the amounts contributed by the Department and the amounts contributed by the local rates respectively in various places. In the City of Dublin, I find that the rate contribution is £70,960, the Department paying us £134,330. In the City of Cork the rates only contribute £9,558, while the Department gives them £49,663. In the City of Limerick, the rates pay £4,410, and the Department gives £19,864. In Waterford, the rates pay £2,241, and the Department pays £10,000. We have always claimed that Dublin is a special case. It should get special treatment by reason of the fact that, in regard to housing, public assistance and other services there is a constant influx of people from the country. The Dublin ratepayers have to meet extra charges in connection with all those services by reason of the fact that I have mentioned. We have never been satisfied that the Department's contribution in the case of vocational education in the City of Dublin has been adequate. I would ask the Minister to go into that question, and see if we have not a case, in equity, for a more generous contribution.

If we have not, then he need not give an extra penny to the City of Dublin. In connection with the combined whole-time, part-time, day and evening classes in the City of Dublin, we have 20,000 students. In the City of Cork the number is 3,837; in Limerick 2,253; Waterford 896. I hope that the Minister will agree that there is a fair case, in equity, to be made for the City of Dublin, and that our committee should get a much higher grant than it is receiving.

I want the Minister to tell us what his policy is in relation to the salaries of teachers. We have a very difficult problem in the city in that regard. We must keep up the highest possible standard in our schools. In order to do that we must be put in a position to be able to compete with people outside in regard to getting teachers, particularly in regard to engineering and science appointments. We advertise for men with the highest possible degrees from our universities. We ask teachers to come to us at £340 a year, rising to £500, but side by side with our advertisements we see the Electricity Supply Board, or some similar body, offering to pay £500 or £600 a year to men of the standard that we require. We cannot hope to keep up our standard of training in our schools if we are not permitted to pay salaries that will attract the best teachers. If we cannot offer the salaries those teachers may be lost to the profession and may undertake other work.

Despite all the promises that were given a year ago, the Department and the Minister are still very dilatory. We in Dublin have been waiting six months for replies to communications addressed to the Department. One of these recommendations was on behalf of temporary whole-time teachers in the City of Dublin who are on a salary of £360 a year. We recommended six months ago that their salaries be raised to £420 a year, roughly an increase of 16 per cent. We have had no reply. I can tell the Minister that the teachers in the City of Dublin are anxiously awaiting his decision. There is great dissatisfaction, because the part-time teachers, who were receiving 6/- an hour, got an increase to 8/6 an hour, which was approximately an increase of 40 per cent. The temporary whole-time teachers want to know why the Minister cannot grant them an increase of 16 per cent. if he can sanction an increase of 40 per cent. in the case of the part-time teachers.

When the Deputy speaks of not getting a reply, does he mean that the increase has not been given——

——or that no notice has been taken of the communication?

No. I differentiate between an acknowledgment and a reply. "I am in receipt of yours of a certain date" is an acknowledgment, but not a reply.

I understood the charge was that they got no reply.

Actually we have not got a reply in that connection and we do not know where we stand—whether you have agreed to give them the £420, plus what they would have got in the ordinary way with consolidation.

I might be prepared to plead dilatoriness in giving out money in the way of increases, but I would be disturbed if I thought the Department was charged with dilatoriness in replying to communications.

I am charging it with dilatoriness. We do not know where we stand because we got no reply to a number of letters. I am anxious that the Minister would let us know whether he intends to give the temporary whole-time teachers the £60 increase, plus what they would be entitled to in the normal way with the consolidation figure of 290.

I wish to draw the attention of the Minister to the situation in Crumlin and Drimnagh. There we have large modern schools; nobody can find fault with them other than that they are not able to take in the number of children there available for school. At one time in Drimnagh and Crumlin the age for taking in children was six years. Apparently that has been temporarily reduced to five years. Although one school caters for 2,500 and the other for 2,000, we have inadequate school accommodation. On top of that, there is no secondary school in the area. I am informed that if a grant is made available the Christian Brothers would be quite prepared to start a secondary school there.

The position that has been brought to my notice is that when boys or girls reach 13 or 14 years they cannot find secondary education in other areas, because the number of children waiting to be taken in happens to be in excess of the secondary school accommodation in those areas. In addition to that we have no technical school in the area. I do not know whether representations have been made to the Minister, or whether this matter has been brought before the Department in order to see to what extent the situation could be alleviated.

Parents have told me of the difficulty of getting children into the schools, and said there were occasions when numbers of children could not get into school although they had reached eight years. That definitely proves there is inadequacy of accommodation in that area. I ask the Minister to give this matter consideration with a view to seeing if an additional primary school could be established. The people there would like to know how soon it will be until arrangements are made to start a secondary school and when we may hope to have a technical school started.

I do not know whether it is generally known, but Crumlin and Drimnagh happen to be two new areas very largely inhabitated by the ordinary working classes. They have reasonably large families, because the houses are corporation houses and no person is entitled to one unless his family has reached a certain number. This is a serious matter. Numbers of people have been in touch with me and, I am sure, with other Deputies, seeking a remedy. I suggest it should receive the Minister's immediate attention.

"Mair a chapaill, agus gheobhair féar" adeir an seanfhocal agus is eagal liom go bhfuil port den chinéal sin á sheint ag an Aire. Anuraidh, nuair bhí an Meastachán seo os cóir na Dála, cheap cuid againn go mba chóir go mbéadh tagairt éigin agus airgead curtha i n-áirithe sa Mheastachán i dtreo is go bhféadfaí dhá rud a dhéanamh: i dtreo is go bhféadfaí, ar an gcéad dul síos, an Comhairle Um Oideachas a bhunú agus, an tarna rud, i dtreo is go bhféadfaí an aois fhágaint scoile d'árdú. Anuraidh, ní raibh a leithéid ann ach thuigeamar—thuigeas, pé scéal é—ón Aire go mbéadh gach ní i gceart ach amháin foighid a bheith againn. Seo an Meastachán os ár gcóir arís agus níl aon ní deimhnithe dúinn fós i dtaobh an dá rud sin. Ba mhaith linn a mholadh don Aire féachaint chuige go mbunófar go luath an Comhairle Um Oideachas agus, maraon leis sin, go n-athrófar an dlí ionnus go mbeidh sé de dhualgas ar thuismitheoirí a bpáistí d'fhágaint ar scoil go dtí go mbeidh 15 bliana d'aois slánuithe acu.

Dubhairt an Teachta Ó Deirg, agus is dóigh liom go raibh mór-chuid den cheart aige—is dóigh liom go ndeirtear ar an Meastachán seo gach bliain an rud céanna—gur ar an Meastachán seo is fusa agus is feiliúnaí stáid na Gaeilge agus ceist aithbheochana na Gaeilge d'iniúchadh agus a scrúdú. Ní bhéinn ach leath-mhachanta dá ndéanfainn iarracht a chur 'na luí ar an Dáil go bhfuil cuid againn lán-tsásta le caingean an Aire mar gheall ar cheist aithbheochana na Gaeilge.

Is trua liomsa gur íslíodh an deóntas a bhí á fháil ag Comhdháil Náisiúnta na Gaeilge. Ní fheadar an bhfuil sé ró-dhéanach fós chun an sgé I sin a shocrú. Is dóigh liom go raibh an t-airgead a bhí á fháil acu á chaitheamh go ciallmhar agus go raibh cabhair agus cúnamh ag dul don Ghaeilge agus go raibh deagh-obair á dhéanamh ag lucht na Comhdhála.

Is trua liom leis—agus caithfidh mé an tAire a cháineadh mar gheall air—gur baineadh den Choimisiún Um Logainmneacha an deontas nó an t-airgead a bhí á fháil acu. B'fhéidir nach rud ró-thábhachtach ann féin é, ach, fé mar dúrathas um tránóna anseo, tá an-tábhacht seo ag baint le rudaí dá shórt: go mbéidh sé mar thuairim ag daoine go bhfuil neashuim á chur sa nGaeilge ag an Rialtas. Mholfainn chomh láidir agus is féidir liom a mholadh don Aire go mba cheart dó agus go mba cheart don Rialtas na ceisteanna sin d'athscrúdú. Ní mór a chosnódh sé. Ceapaim féin— agus táim cinnte dhe—go bhfuil an tAire i ndá ríribh i dtaobh na Gaeilge, go dteastaíonn uaidh an Ghaeilge a chloisint mar gnáth-theanga ár ndaoine, ach caithfidh an tAire an méid sin a chur ina luí ar mhuintir na hÉireann agus mholfainnse go láidir dó ceist na ndeontas seo d'athscrúdú.

Tá fhios agam go maith go bhfuil daoine ar gach taobh den Tigh seo atá fábhrach don Ghaeilge agus atá ar thaobh na Gaeilge, ach tá fhios agam go maith leis go bhfuil daoine ar gach taobh den Tigh seo ná fuil acu don Ghaeilge ach fuath. Cloisimíd an focal bog uathu, ach ar gach taobh den Tigh seo tá daoine nach bhfuil rud ar bith, ceist ar bith gur lú a suim inti ná an Ghaeilge. Bhí cuid againn ag bráth ar an Aire, pé cumhacht a bhí ag na daoine sin nó pé údarás a bhí ag gabháil le na gcuid tuairimi, an Ghaeilge a chosaint. Caithfidh an tAire féachaint chuige nach breall a bhí orainn agus nach mbeidh sé de dhualgas orainn a rá gur theip sé orainn.

Ní haon mhaith a bheith ag caint ar náisiúntachas ná ar phoblachtas; ní haon mhaith a bheith ag caint ar Éirinn ina náisiún, má chaillimíd an Ghaeilge. Ní féidir linn Éire shaor a bhaint amach, mar a thuigeann cuid againn an focal "saoirse," gan Éire Ghaelach a bhaint amach.

On this Estimate I am afraid that much of what I shall have to say will be of a critical nature. Last year some of us hoped that provision would have been in the Estimate for the setting-up of a Council of Education. However, we had patience then because we felt that at least by this time this year some steps would have been taken to implement the policy announced by all Parties on this side of the House. From a reply given by the Minister to a question I put to him recently I gather that the setting up of the Council of Education has been deferred until next November. The Minister may very well say that November is not a very long way off. That is true, but if deferments of this kind can be avoided the position would be much more satisfactory from everybody's point of view. I would remind the Minister that "hope deferred maketh the heart sick." When we come to discuss this Estimate next year we do not want to find ourselves in the position of discovering that the Council of Education has been further deferred.

Last year a plea was made to the Minister for more generous assistance to working-class parents in the provision of school books. So far as I am aware now the position remains unchanged. I would earnestly urge upon the Minister early consideration of an extension of the facilities for the provision of free books.

Last year it was urged upon the Minister by many Deputies on this side of the House that the school leaving age should be raised. I would reiterate to the Minister what was said on that topic on previous occasions. Until such time as the school leaving age is raised progressivly to 15 and ultimately to 16 we shall have the spectacle of young boys leaving school at 14 going into badly paid blind-alley occupations as messenger boys and being thrown like refuse on the labour market at 16 when they become insurable. I do not know whether that matter is receiving the attention of the Minister's Department at the moment. I endeavoured to elicit information on the point this afternoon by way of a supplemetary question, but under the Rules of the House the Minister evaded a reply. I hope that in his reply on this Estimate the Minister will give us some indication as to whether this matter is receiving consideration in a favourable light.

Again, in reference to pleas made and propositions to the Minister, I would like to hear from him whether any consideration has been given to the proposal to abolish the distinction at present existing between primary and secondary education. The division of the Department of Education into four watertight compartments is one which is to my mind illogical. Whatever case can be made for the separation of technical and university education from primary and secondary education, I do not think any real case can be made for the arbitrary division between the secondary and primary branches.

Reference was made by a number of Deputies, and in particular by Deputy Derrig, to the question of reducing the size of the classes. I know that in the Dublin area that is one of the biggest problems with which the teacher has to contend. To the uninitiated and to the layman the obvious solution seems to be the building of more schools and the training of more teachers. The only obstacle to that is a financial one. I do not think that any financial obstacle should stand in the way in bringing to an end a system under which we have as many as 70 children herded into one class-room and committed to the care of one unfortunate teacher. Children under those circumstances could not receive proper education. Now that the building situation is easier, I do not think there is any excuse for continuing to ask teachers to work in, and pupils to attend some insanitary and unhealthy buildings at present in use as national schools. Heretofore, there was an excuse when it was difficult to procure materials. That excuse no longer obtains, and while I realise that the demands of local authorities and other housing authorities have a very high priority, nevertheless I think that an effort, and a vigorous effort, should be made by the Minister's Department to do away with the scandal of insanitary, unhealthy and tumbledown schools.

Generally speaking, one criticism that I would make on the Estimate as a whole is that the proportion of it devoted to administration, rather than to remuneration of teachers, is unwarrantably high. In any educational system the most important unit in that system is the pupil and after the pupil, the teacher. You cannot have education without one or the other. Perhaps the Minister's Department is paying undue attention to an inspectorial system and an administrative system which is not of native growth but is a legacy to us from the British.

On the question of teachers' salaries, I understand that the findings of the Roe Commission have now been drawn up and have been signed by the representatives of the various parties on that commission. If a solution has been found agreeable to the Department and to the teachers, then I would urge on the Minister that he makes no delay in bringing the findings of that commission into effect. I would suggest to the Minister that these findings should be retrospective. If an injustice has been done to a body of public servants like the teachers, then that injustice should be remedied and reparation made to them. They should be compensated for whatever period they were underpaid. If purely financial considerations are hampering the Minister in carrying out any reforms that commend themselves to him, or in making any improvements which he thinks would be to the benefit of our educational system generally, then I think the Minister should come to the House and tell it so because in any reasoned state of public opinion, the people will realise that money spent on education is money well spent. Money spent on education is a good investment. Somebody has said that a criterion of the degree of civilisation attained by any community is their willingness to spend freely on the proper education of the young.

Deputy Derrig when speaking, harkened back to things that were said during the last general election campaign, to the policy of free secondary and university education, which he said had been advocated by some Deputies. I am one of those Deputies who advocated such a free educational system. I should like to assure Deputy Derrig that my advocacy of such a system did not end with the last general election campaign, that we in the Clann na Poblachta Party are still in favour of that policy and were we the sole arbiters of policy in that matter, it is one which we would put into effect.

In my view the nation is being deprived of the services of perhaps its most useful children by virtue of the fact that many a poor man's son is denied the advantages of a university education. Surely it would be better economics to devise a system whereby those best suited to be doctors or surgeons would be picked because of their ability rather than because of their fathers' capacity to send them to a university, particularly when we realise that university education is provided for the children of the more comfortable classes, not solely at the expense of their parents, but at the expense of the general body of taxpayers which includes the father of the brilliant boy who has to take him away from school at the age of 14 or 15 and let him go to work to earn a few shillings.

I was not here for the whole of the Minister's introductory statement. I was hopeful, but I understand that he did not refer to it, that we would hear something in connection with a scheme for the education of mentally defective children. Such a scheme operates in England and in most Continental countries. A very highly organised and eminently successful one has operated for many years in America. I think it was either in 1936 or 1937 that a medical officer of the Department of Local Government was sent from that Department to study the schools set up in England and Scotland for mentally defective children. I think that some 18 months were spent by him in that manner. Following that, a survey lasting five years was carried out by this doctor at the request of the Department of Local Government. A report was drawn up by the doctor in question and by his assistant. I think that report was submitted in 1943 to the predecessor in office of the present Minister for Education. However, we have heard nothing since that date of any provision being made for the proper education of mentally defective children. We are practically alone among civilised communities in making no provision for the education of children so hampered by Providence.

I should like to refer the Minister to the claims of pensioned teachers. I make no apology for stating to the House that the rate of pension paid to some of the pensioned teachers— some of whom are paid well below 30/-a week after a lifetime of service to the community—is unchristian, scandalous and indefensible. I do not know whether to-morrow we will get any indication from the Minister for Finance as to what it is proposed to do for these people but I would say to the Minister for Education that it is his duty to see that the state of affairs whereby aging people—most of them, I suppose, requiring special care and attention by reason of their years—are compelled to exist on a pension as low as that is remedied. I do not believe any Minister could attempt to defend such a rate of pension. Promises were made and these promises should be implemented. I think every Party on this side of the House at any rate did promise that the claims of the pensioned teachers would receive proper consideration. So far they have not received it. We call upon the Minister to see that the promises which were made are fulfillled.

After so much criticism, one matter which the Minister mentioned deserves, I think, a special word of praise. I refer to the work that has been done in the museum and particularly the splendid laying out of the recent exhibition of Spanish Folk Art. I think it would be churlish for those of us who had an opportunity of seeing it—and anybody who saw it admired it —not to compliment the Minister on the way the officials of the Department and the museum staff presented the exhibits for inspection. In that connection I should like to remind the Minister of the case of the attendants in the museum, some of whom, as he is well aware, work under very difficult and onerous conditions. This is a matter to which the Minister was referred before and one which he promised to examine. I hope the examination will not be long delayed.

What I had to say concerning the Minister's and the Department's policy in connection with the Irish language I have said in Irish. I do not want to repeat myself. I should like to say, however, that it is the duty of the Minister and of the Government to give a lead to the people to show the people that it is the policy of this Government to revive Irish as the spoken language of the people. If it is not their policy let them say so. They will find themselves with some supporters the less in this House and outside it. However, I know that it is the express and declared policy of the Government to revive the Irish language. That being so, it is incumbent on them to give a lead. I think it is rather a pity that the Minister, who is quite competent to introduce this Estimate in Irish, introduced it in English. He may have had some special reason for doing so. I think the practice in this House has been to introduce the Estimate for the Department of Education in Irish, or at least bilingually. It is rather a pity that the Minister departed from that practice, particularly as he was so competent to introduce it in Irish had he chosen to do so. It is from small, imponderable, seemingly unimportant things like that that the keynote is struck. It is the duty of the Government, and of the Minister for Education in particular, to see that the people realise that the Government are in earnest about the revival of Irish as the spoken language of the people.

Mr. A. Byrne

I wish to support the plea put forward by Deputy Con Lehane with regard to the education of mentally deficient children, especially those who are slightly mental and who are not eligible for entry to some of the institutions which we have for dealing with such children. There is no place provided for those who are slightly mental. These children should not be neglected. Something should be done to bring their education as far as possible. If they are not able to absorb a full education, there should be some modern system of training so that they will not be debarred from having an ordinary national school education. A child who is slightly mental is called a backward child. Because of the time it would take, the amount of work which the teachers would have to do, and the enormous size of the classes, the teachers are not in a position to devote the necessary time to the backward child. I earnestly hope that something will be done in the matter, even if it were necessary to add to some of the schools which deal with advanced mental cases or to make some addition to the ordinary national schools, so that the backward child will get the attention which it deserves and not be neglected or put in some back seat just to fill in the time.

I also approve of Deputy Lehane's reminder to the Minister of election promises made to the teachers, especially the older pensioned teachers who are on very small pensions. I am still hopeful that before the week is out the Minister will send a message of encouragement to pensioned teachers who kept the flag flying in days gone by, and to the teachers of to-day who are still keeping that flag flying and doing so much good for the country.

Deputy Lehane also referred to conditions obtaining in the Museum and to the fact that, time and again, questions were asked in the House about the wages paid to employees there and the necessity for improving the conditions generally of those attached to the Museum. In conclusion, I should like to remind the Minister of some questions which I asked during the past few months on matters which have been raised to-day by Deputy Lehane and I wish to support what the Deputy stated in regard to these matters.

In my opinion, what is impeding us in this country in the matter of education and in a lot of other matters of national importance is our reluctance to spend money, particularly in the matter of initial expenditure. As in other matters, we prefer to make small gestures in this regard, with the result that little return is got over a period and little progress made. In my opinion, from school-building to the payment of teachers, there should be no stinting of the national revenue. When the Minister does appoint this council of education, I hope he will see to it that financial considerations will not be allowed unduly to influence them in any decisions they may make.

Many speakers, better fitted than I am, have given their views on the matter of primary education. I feel, however, that I should mention the question of the pensioned teachers which I have already brought to the notice of the Minister and in connection with which he gave me an assurance that the matter was having his most careful attention. I hope that his decision in regard to this matter will not be too long deferred. These pensioned teachers do not live for ever.

As a dispensary doctor, I feel that the Minister should take serious note of the condition of the school buildings. Throughout the country a number of these buildings, which I have described in this House before as hovels, are allowed to continue, with serious repercussions on the health of the children attending them as well as on the health of the teachers. I feel that the managers of these schools are not entirely blameless in regard to the condition in which these schools are kept. I am afraid that any delay in connection with the reconstruction of schools or the building of new schools cannot be laid entirely at the door of the Department. In numbers of cases parents have complained to me of recurring colds in children attending schools of this kind. I have immunised children in such schools, and how those children and the teachers spend their winters in them is beyond my imagination. I think the first duty of the council of education should be to get rid of these insanitary and quite unsuitable buildings. In the majority of cases, schools of the type I have mentioned are quite unfit for children to attend. In a number of cases, I have often felt that it might be incumbent on me to declare them unfit for children to attend.

I notice that the number of secondary schools increased up to a year ago from 306 to 405 and of technical schools from 97 to 172. I would prefer to see the increase exclusively on the side of the technical schools. I think we have already too many secondary schools in this country. As regards secondary education, I think there should be a consultative council or some such body to advise on the career suitability of the pupils and, if necessary, go into their intelligence quota. There is a craze for secondary education in this country which, I presume, is a legacy of British misrule in this country. Parents get it into their heads that, in order to give their children a livelihood, they must send them to a secondary school for four or five years and, once they come out with a leaving certificate, they imagine that they are ensured a livelihood. They imagine that with a leaving certificate they are on the road to prosperity. In a large number of cases we find that those possessors of leaving certificates are sitting at the fire when they could have spent four or five very useful years at the technical school acquiring a trade which in every case would ensure them a livelihood. I have had a number of cases of boys, and girls even, coming to me looking for jobs. The strange thing about it is that the jobs they selected and decided to seek were jobs they were quite unfit for despite their being armed with leaving certificates. A knowledge of Greek and Latin is, in the majority of cases, considered useful but in the number of cases that I came across and the type of jobs they were seeking it was quite valueless. Ask them if they had a knowledge of shorthand, typewriting or book-keeping and I may say their faces fell considerably. Every boy and girl should be advised by this consultative body at the end of the first year in a secondary school as to their possible vocation and advised for and against going on in the secondary school. It has come to the stage where you could almost slate houses with the leaving certificates of seekers after jobs. As I said before, there are too many secondary schools and too few technical schools.

I have had occasion to watch the establishment of schools out in Germany by displaced peoples such as the Latvians, Ukrainians, Estonians and Poles. I found that at the time when the children here would be starting at a secondary school these people taught their children the dismantling of radios, the assembling of them, the dismantling and assembling of watches, lessons in electricity, mechanics generally, carpentry and even shoe-making. It appears to me that saturation point has been reached here in regard to secondary education generally.

With regard to university education, even here I consider that parents require to be taught a lesson in this respect also. A consultative council regarding this type of education would not be out of place either. This council would interview candidates entering the various universities with a view to assisting them in their choice of professions and advising the parents accordingly. We all know there are misfits in every profession due to a great extent to misconception and the advice of misguided parents. In a number of cases children, having got matriculation, are sent up to Dublin to "do" medicine, or "do" dentistry or "do" law or some such profession. Unless Divine Providence has endowed an individual with a bent for a particular profession it is sheer waste of time and money for him or her to go into that profession. In my opinion our primary, secondary and university education in this country should be so dovetailed that agriculture and industry will derive its maximum contribution from our educational policy. It is on these, namely agriculture and industry, that our economy depends and not on professions.

Speaking on this Estimate last year I put forward views that I held in regard to this problem of education generally and in regard to this matter of a council of education which has been mentioned here this evening. I suggested that the Minister should adopt a go-slow policy. I hear quite a lot of talk about a council of education. If a council of education is to be set up what is the statutory responsibility of that council; what are its duties; what are its functions; how is it to be appointed; is it to be representative of organisations and, if so, are those organisations to elect their representatives or is the Minister to take it upon himself to appoint nine, ten, 15, 20 or 30 people and declare those people to be our council of education? As far as I am concerned, as a representative of the people, I will not stand for any council of education that is not set up by this House in accordance with the provisions of a Statute passed into law by the Oireachtas. It seems to me to be a waste of time for people to talk about the Minister's slowness in the establishment of a council of education until we have given him the machinery by which that council is to be set up. I would much prefer that the Minister was responsible, as he is responsible and as he has been responsible for the past quarter of a century to this House for educational policy than that he should by nomination of a certain number of individuals be able to shelve or throw off that responsibility and say to us: "Oh, well, the council of education decided that." The Minister apparently has said, in answer to some Parliamentary Question, that he hopes to be able to establish this council in November next. I see no hope of his establishing a council by November next. I see no hope of the machinery being provided for the Minister and that being so, I am amazed that Deputies should be asking the Minister: "What about the council of education? When is it to be set up?" Under the Constitution of this State, and under the laws of this State, the Minister for Education has responsibilities which he cannot give to anybody else. If he wishes to set up some type of toy council, because that is all it would be, he may do so, but that council would have no place in the Constitution or under the laws of Parliament or under the laws of the State as those laws and that Constitution exist at the moment. We have got to be realists about this and we have got to face the facts. If we want a council of education it is our duty to provide the machinery. It is our duty to prescribe specifically what the authority of that council will be. It is our duty to prescribe how that council will be appointed. If we do these things, then we are entitled to query the Minister as to when it is to be established. When the inter-Party Government was formed it was announced that such a council of education would be formed. Bit by bit, on all sides of the House, we have reached a sort of conclusion that we are going to give to the Minister the responsibility of appointing a council of education, and that we are going to accept whomsoever he appoints. I think that, if we do that, we are discarding our fundamental responsibilities and doing something that is dangerous, something to which I at least take exception and to which I object. A council of education must be a serious thing or it will simply be a toy.

When I advocated such a council, prior to the last general election, I did so seriously and with a serious purpose. I did not envisage a toy council that could be set up by any Minister at his own particular whim. Of course, I can see the trouble the Minister is in in regard to the council, even the type of council that is being mentioned here in the House. I can see why he cannot appoint the sort of council that Deputies suggest to him he should appoint. I can see why he has not done so. It is because there are so many conflicting interests, so many interests involved and so many interests anxious, and rightly anxious, that they should have a considerable say in that council. These are the things that are responsible for making the Minister defer from month to month the announcement that, apparently, he had in mind of setting up a council of education.

If we, as a Parliament, established a council of education, then we would provide the machinery by which it would be elected; we would prescribe its duties and functions. A council elected in that way could hope to be a democratically elected and appointed organisation that would be concerned with the education of the children of the State. I said so much on this last year and I repeat it now. Although I am one person who advocated a council of education, I am not one to criticise the Minister because such a council has not been set up, but I will be very critical of the Minister if he takes it upon himself to appoint a council without statutory authority or without functions for that council prescribed in accordance with law. I hope this House will see that any such council appointed will be appointed by the authority of this House and in accordance with the machinery provided by the House.

I have always believed that every child born into this State should have an equal opportunity, and equal opportunity means that it is entitled to and must get an education to fit it to carry out its responsibilities in life. The first essential that we must provide for that child is a suitable primary education, to be given by people who are competent to educate the child. The child must be educated in an environment that is suitable for its proper education. Now, have we that? Deputy Lehane has referred to the large classes. It is ridiculous to think that in a class of 70 young children proper education can be given by a single teacher. It cannot be done. It is only moonshine to think, or to suggest, that we have a proper system of primary education when we have overloaded classes of that kind. We ought to provide that the classes will not be too unwieldy for a single teacher to manage. I think the Minister has had conferences at the Irish National Teachers' Organisation and elsewhere, and has agreed that that is his aim, but, while we have these huge classes, as we have in our cities, and while we have in our rural areas insanitary and disgraceful schools, we cannot have, or even suggest that we have, a proper system of primary education. Primary education ought to be free, and that includes the provision of proper classrooms, the provision of well-trained, competent teachers, the provision of free school books and free requisities where these may be necessary, and in certain rural areas it should include free transport to and from the schools. Therefore, if we were to concentrate, in the first instance, on providing free primary education, the Minister would have a very serious problem in front of him. However, if in three, five or even in ten years we have solved the problem of providing a reasonable system of free primary education, then we shall have done good work for the people.

I also agree that secondary, vocational education and university education should be free. I agree with what Deputy Dr. Maguire has said that we are inclined to overload the secondary schools and to overload the universities. There are children going to the secondary schools who are not fit to be in the secondary schools; there are students going to the universities who are not fit to be in the universities. There are students wasting years of their lives in our universities. Why are they doing that? It is because their parents have sufficient money to keep them there as long as they like and, it may be, after nine, ten or 12 years they will get some type of degree because they may be good fellows, well liked in the universities.

There is something rotten in that system, something rotten in a system where an individual, just because his parents have money, can spend all those years in a university and is turned out at the end with a degree that he is unfit for or incapable of having. At the same time we have brilliant young people whose parents are poor and because they are poor they are unable to have the benefits either of secondary or of university education.

I have always believed there ought to be a very severe standard of education required before any person can enter a secondary school and that there should be an exceptionally severe standard of education before a student can reach the university. If we had those pretty severe standards I think we would be able to keep out of the secondary schools and the universities persons who ought not to be there at all.

I agree with Deputy Dr. Maguire that there is a false concept growing up in the country in regard to education. There is a lot of talk about providing secondary and university education. In so far as that education may be necessary for people who desire to go into professions it does not appear to have a lot of use elsewhere. The fact that a man comes into this House overloaded with degrees does not mean that he will ever become a Minister. A university or secondary education is no help to him in reaching the stage when he can hold a very responsible position in administering the affairs of this country—no use whatsoever.

I can look over Governments, and I do not need to keep to the Governments of this country, in order to show that secondary or university education is of no assistance whatsoever in reaching the top, so that it would be better if we had a saner outlook in regard to this whole problem of secondary and university education. If we could get down to the position where all the facilities would be made available for the particular or peculiar talents of the individual, we would reach somewhere.

I cannot sit down without joining with other Deputies in a reference to the pay of teachers and in a reference to the allowances to the pensioned teachers. I would require the very highest standards from our teachers. I believe that education is a profession that requires from those who take it up almost their whole time; that it is not a matter of so many hours at school It is really a matter of at least 16 hours a day work and the best teachers will be those who spend probably 16 hours a day teaching their pupils and teaching themselves. We can only get that standard when we ensure that the teachers have a sufficient income to make ends meet. For that reason I think it is very bad and it strikes at the root of education if our teachers, because their incomes are insufficient, are worried by matters that should be completely outside the domain of education.

I mentioned that matter here in a debate on the adjournment last year. I mentioned the conditions under which a number of teachers were existing. I want to see every teacher free from worry because he or she is unable to pay his or her way, to meet the weekly bills. We can only ensure that by paying them reasonably fair wages and, although we promised them that 15 or 16 months ago, we have not been able to carry out our promise yet.

I hope this Roe report will be in the hands of the Minister very soon. I hope it will be implemented and that its implementation will ensure that teachers are removed from that source of worry and trouble. While our primary teachers, through their organisation, the Irish National Teachers' Organisation, are able to fight a battle, we must consider all those individuals who have spent their years in teaching the youth of the country, who have devoted themselves to that and who have now retired, having reached the age limit. Those unfortunate men and women have only a few years to live. In a few years they will have passed away. Many of them will be buried with great honour. It is our duty to see that in their last years on this earth they will be free from poverty and hunger. I know that in speaking to the Minister about those teachers who are on pension I am speaking to one who has every sympathy with them and who is anxious to see that their conditions are improved and improved as quickly as possible; but I know the obstacles that are in the Minister's way. It is to help the Minister to get over these obstacles that I join this evening with other Deputies who have spoken in favour of the pensioned teachers.

Looking back over the Minister's record in the past 12 months, we can all say that the Minister has done a very good job of work. By his co-operation with the teachers he has given to the teachers a new spirit of confidence and hope. That spirit of confidence is an important one because it is something that should exist between the Minister as head of his Department and the teachers. The Minister has assured the teachers—and the teachers have taken him at his word—that these serious problems that confront them will be solved. The Minister has created a big problem for himself in inspiring that confidence. I know that he is willing and sincerely anxious to solve these problems. It is desirable that we should on both sides of the House help the Minister to remove the obstacles that stand in his way. I want the Minister to keep up the pressure for the next 12 months and I assure him that he will have the support of every Deputy in this House who is seriously concerned with these problems and who sincerely desires to have them solved at the earliest possible moment.

The advice given by the last Deputy to the Minister reminds me of that variety turn of Jimmy O'Dea's where a man takes one step forward and two steps backwards. We heard a great deal at one time about the steps that would be taken towards the establishment of a council of education. That was one of the big items in the programmes of some of the inter-Party group. After a great deal of trumpet-blowing we now get very strong advice from one of the most distinguished speakers on the Government side in the House not to proceed with the council of education until an Act of Parliament is passed to deal with the matter. That means, of course, Tibb's Eve.

Some of the statements made by the Minister give me great heart. One of them was that the birth-rate has gone up between the years 1940 and 1947 to such an extent that the Minister and the Administration must take it into consideration in adapting schools for an increased number of children in the future. That is a clear indication of the results of the policy implemented by Fianna Fáil in industry and elsewhere in its attempt to cope with the problem of a decreasing population.

Another matter for satisfaction is the statement of the Minister with reference to the fruits of the reorganisation of technical education. It must be admitted that the former Minister broke new ground in the development of technical education by bringing out that excellent memorandum, V.40, which gave a new direction and a new impetus to education, especially to the education of the working classes, so that their outlook would not be purely materialistic. It put before them the development of the whole man by having as their objective a cultural ideal. Apparently the plan is working very well. Evidently the foundations were well laid. I understand that teachers were specially picked and given courses to fit them to teach Irish history and local history. I understand that the pupils take a great interest in folklore and local history now. Those are the two subjects which will imbue our people with a real love of their country and their language. I do not think we will cure the situation with regard to our language until we develop that mental background which will make our people speak the language out of love for their local history and traditions. It is a pity perhaps that the Minister would not go further with this policy rather than rest on his oars. In some instances he is even moving against this policy, because cuts have been made on the Comhdhail, the Museum and the development of the Library, and I add one matter in this connection because it is a kindred subject—the Commission on Place Names has also been cut. That does not really arise on this Estimate but it is to some extent related to it. These should have been treated in the same way as the Focloir, where more money was provided. They required that money very badly. The previous Government gave them something extra. I am glad they are getting more now. Our cultural roots really lie in archaeology, folklore, art, music and the development of libraries. Cultural activities are becoming more and more important and they should be encouraged. They are not an extravagance, especially in a small nation.

I am glad the Minister is continuing the policy with regard to the development of music. The establishment of the summer school has undoubtedly helped to increase the capacity of those who had arrived at a certain degree of proficiency but who needed specialised courses from the best men in Europe to bring them further so that we might have first-class musicians at home. That development has been most encouraging. If that policy continues the time will come when we shall have as good musicians here as are to be found in any country. That will render it unnecessary for us to bring in people from outside in the future.

There was one matter in which I was particularly interested with regard to broadcasting and education. I believe that the problem is being studied by the two Departments and I hope that soon they will be able to produce results in the matter of using broadcasting as a medium in the schools. It is used with great effect and with great care in other countries, as I am sure the Minister is aware. One of the things we had hoped for was that by having first-class Irish teachers, whose lessons could be heard in every school, a high standard of spoken Irish could be established and a national accent could be adopted. It would give us what all countries have had to make an effort to achieve. In France as between the two dialects, in Germany between several dialects and in Italy there has been a struggle to get one language which would be regarded as the educated language and pronunciation for the country. While it would not interfere with the dialects, which would continue, if there were one form of the language above them all it would give a final stamp of culture to the country. I do hope that the Minister will become enthusiastic about using wireless as a means to complete the work for the language.

The whole question of culture is of tremendous importance for Ireland to-day and requires a great deal of attention. The Fianna Fáil Government were condemned as extravagant because of some of their schemes but I regard it as a real tragedy that, for instance, the concert hall for which plans were ready and development was pretty well advanced, should have been completely cancelled. A concert hall in Dublin would be of enormous advantage from every point of view. The cancelling of the building of theatres may be a little outside this Estimate but I mention it because it has to do with the whole problem of the development of culture.

Napoleon, who was no extravagant fool, was very careful to make sure that money was spent on cultural institutions and in that way he made Paris a great centre of education and, of course, incidentally, it brought money to the country. In a speech made by Churchill recently in an American technical institution he mentioned that these things of culture which for many centuries were limited for the few are now made available for everybody. There is a tremendous democratic trend in cultural activities. Everybody is entitled to all the benefits of all these cultural developments. As a matter of fact, one notices here and elsewhere that it is the workers who take an interest in archaeology, focloir and local history when they get the opportunity, and certainly the number of these people who visit the museums and galleries has increased enormously in the past 25 years.

If these institutions were developed by spending money on them it would mean that Ireland would become a real centre for the Irish race. There would be high quality in what we had to give to our visitors. We should make this country as attractive as possible for tourists. We will always get more Irish people coming back than strangers. We have these assets to some extent but they are assets which could be very well developed if a great deal of money were spent on these institutions.

Another thing is that it puts us on the map, as it were. It has always been the aim of Fianna Fáil to have every attribute that every civilised European nation has, from the point of view of national dignity, to be on a level and, if possible, beyond other countries in developing all these qualities which command respect among nations. This is not something upon which one spends money and gets no return. From day to day we see in the papers that the greatest asset this country could have is a tourist business, which brought in something like £30,000,000 last year. We will not be able to maintain it unless we can show something very attractive to visitors, and have something of real quality to interest them. It would be preferable to be able to bring learned people, serious students of culture.

We hear a great deal of talk from time to time about the low standard of entertainment which is injuring the outlook of the people generally, denationalising them, and so on. There is no use in forbidding people to go to pictures, there is no use in attacking them for it. The only real antidote is to give them something of real quality of our own, to inculcate a standard of taste. Then we would not have to bother about the quality of imported entertainment.

It is very regrettable that the cut was made in regard to the Cómhdháil. Representations have been made to us as Deputies on account of the organisers. There was one organiser in my constituency who was doing very excellent work and I believe he will be dropped now.

The cut that was made of £1,000 in regard to the Museum is pretty severe on them. There has been considerable development there but there is great lack of money in the place and the Minister should reconsider that, if possible. It is only a small amount of money and, if possible, he should add to the fund there rather than decrease it.

There is not a lack of money. There is £3,000 in the Suspense Account and it is simply a matter of accounting that there is this reduction.

It is merely a matter of book-keeping?

There is £3,000 in the Suspense Account and there is no necessity to put more money into the Suspense Account.

If that is so, it is all right but I am always afraid of suspense accounts when the Department of Finance comes along. However, the more money spent on it the better.

I join in the plea for an increase of the pensions of all those teachers who have suffered so much as a result of the change in the value of money. It is usually contended that Fianna Fáil was hostile to the teachers. That, of course, was not so because it was under very special circumstances that we had to be rather severe in the beginning with the teachers on account of the general situation in regard to the rise in the cost of living, but now that that is all over I hope that the Minister will be enabled to deal with the hardships involved in the change in the value of money.

There are just a few points which I would like to bring before the Minister's notice. The first is the rent allowance. Married teachers living in the County Borough of Dublin receive a rent allowance of £40 and in the County Borough of Cork £30, but there are cases where married men teachers cannot get a house in the area and have to go further afield. I know cases where they have to go as far as Cobh or Passage for houses and the rents there are just as high as in the city or the suburbs. I am sure that the same applies in different parts of the country, but the rent allowance for those houses is only £10 a year. I hope that the Minister will give due consideration to that and do something about it. During the emergency also those people had to pay the same price for fuel and milk and so on as the others.

I am sure that we are all in agreement in this House that teachers in this country are not overpaid. They have to educate their families and keep up a standard above the ordinary rank and file and set a good example which is most important. I think they are being badly paid.

Another point which I would like to stress to the Minister is that of the old pensioned teachers. I know of some cases of teachers, both men and women, who retired after giving long and faithful service to this nation on a pension of 30/- a week. They cannot exist. They have to pay rent and rates, clothe themselves and keep themselves, and in some cases they are really in a bad way. So I would ask the Minister to give very careful consideration to that point.

I have nothing else to say except to ask the Minister again to see if he could do something about those people who have to live outside a county borough and who only get a rent allowance of £10 a year.

Seán Ó Urmhumhain

Taispeántar sa Mheastacachan seo cé mhéid airgid a cáithfear ar bhun-oideachas agus go bhfuil an suim airgid méadaithe thar mar bhí, ach san ám chéanna ní hé an coigilt a déantar sa bhrainse seo den oideachas a thaispeánann go bhfuil an tAire Oideachais lán-dá-ríribh i dtaobh na focla adúirt sé agus é ag tabhairt léar-mheas ar an Meastachán seo anuraidh. Dúirt sé go raibh cúis an oideachas sna bunscoileanna ar an gcúis ba thábhachtaí i gcúrsaí oideachais agus, toisc go mbraitheann furmhór an aosa óig ar an oideachas a gheibheann siad sna bunscoileanna, nach foláir go mbeadh an t-oideachas bunscoile comh foirfe agus is féidir a bheith. Ar an ábhar sin, léiríonn an choigilt a déanadh i ngnéithe áiríthe sa bhrainnse seo oideachais i dteannta na faillí a déanadh i gcásanna ar leith, go n-áirítear an bunoideachas ar na gnéithe oideachais is lú tábhachta sa tír seo.

While the Estimate of the amount required for primary education this year shows an increase of £108,450, nevertheless the savings effected in certain spheres of this branch of education does not tend to show that the Minister for Education was really in earnest when he stated in introducing his Estimate last year that the case of the primary teachers was by far the biggest question in education and that owing to the fact that the vast majority of the youth of this country depend on primary education, the machinery of teaching on the primary side should be as perfect as possible. The savings effected in primary education this year and the lack of provision in some instances tend to show that primary education is still looked upon as the cinderella of education. Take, for instance, the grant for the heating and cleaning of schools the estimate for which has been reduced from £90,000 to £60,000. To my knowledge—and I have personal experience in this regard—that grant is never sufficient to permit these functions to be carried out in a decent way. The grant for heating is in all cases supplemented by contributions from the children, while the actual cleaning and sweeping of the schools have in most cases to be done by the children themselves. The insanitary condition of some schools throughout the country is a perfect disgrace. It is time to end this evil system and provide decent and hygienic conditions of work and adequate heating and equipment. One does not expect as yet that the level of primary schools should be raised to that of technical schools where there is a teacher and seven or eight pupils with a caretaker to look after the lighting, heating and cleaning and who relieves the teacher of those worries. This year primary teachers and parents also had hoped for a reform with regard to the insanitary, unhealthy condition of our schools, but their hopes have been dashed by the slashing of the grant by one third by reason of the Government's economies.

The discontent and dissatisfaction which prevailed among teachers as a result of the conflict with the Department with regard to certain matters and which finally culminated in the strike of the Dublin teachers with the support of the teachers throughout the country was made use of to the widest extent during the election campaign by the Parties now in the Government who promised the teachers immediate settlement of their grievances if they were returned to power. While the abolition of the highly efficient rating of teachers which the Minister claims will redound to the credit of the schools —which I do not subscribe to in the least—and the granting of minor concessions this year have been welcomed by teachers throughout the country, nevertheless the deferring of the major question of the salaries of teachers to the outcome of the deliberations of the commission which has been set up to inquire into it is but a shelving of the Government's responsibility and an excuse for failure to implement the promises made to the teachers during the election campaign. There is not in this Estimate provision for increased salaries for teachers and it is evident that the Minister does not expect any report this year from this commission set up to inquire into the question of salaries—or, if he does, he evidently does not expect it to be in favour of the teachers.

I wonder how the Clann na Poblachta members are going to react to the question of salaries. Some of them would not occupy the benches they occupy were it not for the support of the teachers, support secured by promises made to the teachers that their grievances would be remedied as soon as those members were in a position to do so. They are in that position now and should implement their promises. I am afraid that the teachers have come to a realisation of how vain were the hopes they had built on the Clann. Take the case of the unfortunate pensioned teachers who, having given their life in service to the State, find themselves in a most miserable position and mainly hope for redress and an improvement in their position.

I understand that the Minister is going to make an announcement regarding the pensioned teachers in the course of a month or so. I hope that it will be in favour of the teachers, but in the absence of any provision in the Estimate we must assume that they are to be relegated for another year to the bread-line of existence. The Clann and also Labour members might use the power they hold on the Government side to bring about an immediate settlement of the question of the pensioned teachers' claims for increased pension.

I understand that it is the accepted practice of the house to discuss the question of the revival of the Irish language on the Education Estimate. Many Deputies have so far availed of that custom in this debate. The attitude of the Government in regard to the language revival question is altogether inexplicable and incomprehensible. On the appointment of Deputy Mulcahy as Minister for Education, we were given a sense of security in regard to the language question, as he was well known to be genuinely interested in saving the language but, since coming into power, the Government have not alone shown themselves apathetic but have shown a definite discouragement of the steps taken by Fianna Fáil for the promotion of the language. It is generally felt that it is not through the schools alone that the language is to be saved but in conjunction with the Gaeltacht and the people of the Gaeltacht. The Minister himself, in his introductory speech, laid special stress on the importance of the Gaeltacht in this regard. He considered it so important that he found it necessary to appoint special inspectors for Gaeltacht schools. While his action in that regard is to be commended, there is little point in trying to safeguard the pupils of Gaeltacht schools, if we are safeguarding them only to allow them to emigrate later on, as they must if the attitude of the Government in regard to the Gaeltacht is persisted in. Their advent to power was marked by an attack on the Gaeltacht in the form of an attack on the tomato house scheme, followed by drastic cuts in the Estimates for the Gaeltacht industries—the toy industry, the spinning industry, the homespun industry and other industries of that kind. The Minister might go further, following his admirable step in regard to the Gaeltacht schools, and use his influence with the Government to make a special effort to keep at home the Gaelic-speaking youth by providing for and upholding these industries in the Gaeltacht.

The apathy of the Government towards the language question is further instanced by their abolition of the Place Names Commission, the dropping of bilingual printing and the cessation of the use of the language in different Departments. Finally, we have had their miserable efforts at economy in reducing the grant to Comhdhail Naisiunta na Gaeilge leading to the dismissal of three Timthiri and two lady assistants in the office. These persons had their inestimable services to the language movement summarily terminated and they were forced to seek employment, elsewhere. I have here a letter from Cumann Gaelach Lios Mor, Condae Portlairge, asking me to have this matter brought to the notice of the Government and, with your permission, a Chinn Chomhairle, I shall read the letter to the Dáil.

"A Chara,

Bhí timthire ó Chomhdháil Náisiúnta na Gaeilge ag obair san duthaig seo ar feadh dhá bhlian. Tá feabhas mór tagaithe ar ghluaiseacht na Gaeilge de thoradh na deaghoibre a dhein sé. Le linn an ama sin d'eirig leis an Cumann thuas luaite do bhunú, Feis agus Aeríocht do reachtáil, Cuirmeacha Cheoil agus Drámaí Gaeilge do léiriú agus bhíomar ag cuimhneamh ar Fhéile Drámaíochta do reachtáil an bhliain seo.

Marach an chabhair agus an treoir a bhí le fághail on dtimthire, Finghin Ó Muimhneacháin, ní heireochadh linn san méid a deineadh agus is soiléir na heireochadh linn feasta.

De bharr laidiú deontais an Rialtais níl leigheas ag an gComhdháil ach scaoileach leis an dtimthire seo. Cailliúnt mhór duinne, don duthaig, agus do ghluaiseacht na Gaeilge sea an chéim seo. Is mór an truagh críoch do chur leis an obair seo díreach nuair a bhí sé ag teacht chun bláth.

Iarraimid ort, dá bhrigh sin, do thionncur d'úsáid chun tábhacht an sgéil do nochtadh don Rialtais i dtreo is go bhágfai an timthire seo 'nár measg go dtí go mbeadh ar ndothain taithí faighte againn ar an obair seo.

Sínithe ag,

Proinsias Ó Tighearnaigh,


Tomás Ó Catháin,


We can gather from this letter what a great loss the withdrawal of these Timthiri will be to the language movement. It is my opinion that our failure, so far as having any appreciable progress made in the establishment of the Irish language as the spoken language of the country is concerned, is in a great measure due to the fact that we have failed so far to organise the youth of the country, the boys and girls of 14 years of age who leave school with a working knowledge of Irish and who lose that knowledge through lack of practice in speaking the language. The saving of the language can, in my opinion, in a large part be effected by capturing such pupils and banding them together in organisations such as that mentioned in this letter. I think the Government would be taking a big step towards saving the language if, instead of causing the withdrawal of these Timthiri by their miserable economies, they were to make provision for the employment of many more of them throughout the country.

Before concluding, I should like to say a word in regard to the teaching of Irish in the schools. We have had a campaign throughout the year gone by, in letters to a certain weekly paper directed against what is mistakenly termed "the compulsory teaching of Irish in the schools", calling for a reversion to the teaching of Irish as an ordinary subject. The only compulsion there is in regard to the teaching of Irish in the schools is contained in the regulation which states that Irish shall be taught in all national schools for not less than one hour where there is a teacher competent to teach it. It is inevitable that there should be compulsion employed in some degree. When Irish was a voluntary subject in the schools, from 1887 to 1922, we saw how unsatisfactory was the response of certain sections of the people. There should be no question of a reversion to a state of affairs where people who wish to reject and to despise the language would be free to do so.

Is mian liom beagáinín a rá ar an Meastachán seo. Anuraidh, nuair a bhí mé ag labhairt, dúirt mé go raibh mé an-tsásta go raibh an tAire seo, Risteárd Ua Maolchatha, tofa don obair seo agus bhí súil agam go ndéanfadh sé deaobair, go mór mór ar son na teangan. Níl mé chomh sásta anois agus bhí mé anuraidh mar sílim féin go ndearna sé rudaí agus go bhfuil sé ag déanamh rudaínach bhfuil i bhfábhar na teangan. Cur i gcás, nuair bhí sé ag labhairt Dé Diardaoin seo caite, níor chuimhin liom gur labhair sé i nGaeilge ar chor ar bith. Is é mo thuairim gur droch-shompla ar fad sin ar thaobh an Aire Oideachais agus gur ceart dó an chuid is mó dá óráid do dhéanamh i nGaeilge. B'fhéidir go bhfuil cuid de na Teachtaí anseo nach dtuigeann an Ghaeilge, ach tá cuid mhaith a thuigeann agus ba cheart don Aire cuid mhaith den óráid a dhéanamh i nGaeilge.

Aontaím le cuid de na rudaí adúirt an Teachta Urmhumhan. Ní cheart don Aire an deontas don Chomhdháil do laghdú. B'fheídir go bhfuil a thuairim féin aige, ach sé mo thuairim nár cheart dó é sin a dhéanamh. Aontaím leis an Teachta a labhair nach bhfuil aon tseans chun an teanga a shábháil muna dtógtar na daoine óga, na buachaillí agus na cailíní sa ngluaiseacht in dhiaidh scoil dfágáil dóibh.

Ní aontaím ar chor ar bith leis an riail nua a chur an tAire i bhfeidhm maidir leis na naoineáin. Is é mo thuairim gur céim ar gcúl é sin. Ba cheart in aon áit in a bhfuil an múinteoir i ndon an Ghaeilge a mhúineadh, a bhfuil an teanga go fluirseach aige agus gur féidir leis í labhairt go líofa, an Ghaelige amháin a bheith ag na naoineáin.

Ar deineadh é sin ariamh i Roscomáin?

Rinneadh— tuige nach ndeanfai? Tá a lán de na múinteoirí i Roscomáin agus áiteanna eile i ndon an Ghaeilge a mhúineadh dos na naoineáin.

Ní hé sin é in aon chor. Ba dhóigh ón rud adúirt an Teachta nár labhradh an Béarla riamh i gcuid des na scoileanna sin.

Níl mé chomh hamadánta sin—leis na naoineáin.

Ba mhaith liom a thuigsint go soléir cad tá bun os cionn leis an riail nua.

Tá rogha ag aon duine nach maith leis an Ghaeilge a múineadh dóibh—ag na bainisteoirí. Ní raibh aon rogha acu go dtí seo. Más toil leo is féidir leo gan aon Ghaeilge a mhúineadh anois. Ní cuimhin liom cad iad na focla díreach atá sa riail. Is féidir leo an rud seo a chur ar gcúl. Má tá múinteoir i ndon an Ghaeilge a mhúineadh agus go bhfuil an teanga i gceart aige is ceart go mbeadh an Ghaeilge á múineadh ó thosach.

Tá sé sin á dhéanamh.

Bhféidir go bhfuil, ach níl aon bhuíochas ag dul don Aire faoi sin.

Bhfuil aon droch-athrú tagaithe ins na scoileanna i Roscomáin?

Sé mo thuairim go bhfuil. Sé mo thuairim go ndéanfaidh an riail sin dochar. Ar chuma ar bith, ní dhéanfaidh na rudaí sin adúrthas maitheas don teanga agus go mór mór, ba cheart don Aire, gríosú leis na daoine fásta chun an Ghaeilge do chur chun cinn. Arís agus arís eile bhí mé ag labhairt le fir óga sa Chumann Lúith Chleas Gael agus d'iarr mé orthu i gcónaí teacht le chéile agus an Ghaeilge a labhairt agus tinnreamh a dhéanamh ar ranganna Gaeilge. Tá cuid mhaith acu ins an Chomhdháil agus ní dóigh liom go bhfuil siad sásta. Níl fhios agam cén fáth a laghdaigh an tAire an Meastachán, ach ní dóigh liom gur cheart dó é a dhéanamh. Tá cúpla rud eile le rá agam faoi rudaí adúirt an tAire. Dúirt sé sa ráiteas a thug sé a thaithnigh liom go mór agus rudaí eile nár thaitnigh chomh mór liom. B'fhéidir gur fearr dom labhairt beagáinín i mBéarla anois.

There are some things the Minister stated for which I think he deserves commendation. For example, new regulations whereby the position of teachers is made more secure are certainly very commendable. I think it will be a source of satisfaction to many teachers to find that where averages have gone down or are going down their position is secure. That is good and the Minister deserves commendation for it. The Minister claims, I suppose with a great deal of cause, that he has done good work in the changing of the rating system. I am sure that step will be highly satisfactory perhaps to the majority, but I cannot understand one thing he said, namely, that 30 per cent. of the teachers were rated as "highly efficient" and that the other 70 per cent. will now be in a position to reach the highest salary. I wonder if he meant that. Does the Minister mean that the inefficient teachers will be in a position to reach the highest salary? I may be wrong, but I thought something like 30 per cent. of the teachers were inefficient—I hope the number is considerably less. I think the Minister is hardly treating those teachers who have been "highly efficient" for many years quite fairly. I do not think it is quite fair that the teachers who by their ability and energy and highly efficient work reached that standard should be placed on the same level now as those who barely reach the "efficient" standard. I do not know if the Minister means to do anything for them.

I do not know whether the Deputy means that the differentiation should be restored.

I think the Minister should do something to show appreciation of the teachers who have been highly efficient.

Restore the differentiation?

I think the highly efficient teachers are entitled to some distinction. Does the Minister not think so?

The Deputy wants the rating system restored?

I want ability rewarded. I think highly efficient teachers are entitled to that. The Minister will find, very probably, that there will be a step down in the standard in the schools. I shall be astonished if there is not. I think it will be an immediate result of what has taken place.

I hope the Deputy is not reflecting——

I hope I am not right but I believe I am. I was struck by one point in the Minister's statement, namely, his desire to promote a spirit of manliness in the pupils and an improvement in their general manner of speaking and of holding themselves. That desire is very laudable. It struck me immediately, however, that it would be much more important if the Minister would devote his attention to the provision of playing pitches attached to the schools wherein manliness might be encouraged in a more effective way. I am not blaming the Minister in particular. I am only recommending to him that he should examine the position from the point of view I have expressed. The vast majority of our schools are country schools. Schools in small towns and villages may be classified as country schools. Undoubtedly there is not a shortage of land around all the towns and villages. There are plenty of grass lands there and certainly the same is true of the country districts. Yet, when play-hour comes you will find the children outside standing against the walls in the cold of winter with no place to play. I think that is a shame. That point was raised again at the last Gaelic Athletic Association Congress.

A resolution was passed calling on the Minister, the Department of Education and the Government to provide playing pitches. Of course, that is an old question. I remember approaching the previous Minister for Education and I was told that the managers had power in that respect. It is all very fine to pass the question from one to another but that does not get us anywhere. My opinion is that until whatever Government may be in office decides to take compulsory powers in regard to the provision of playing pitches they will not be provided. I do not see why it should not be done. You have compulsory powers to acquire land for various things, including the building of houses. I think the question of providing a playing pitch attached to a school is just as important. It would only mean the provision of land the size of a site for one labourer's cottage. That would provide a reasonable playing pitch for any school. I see nothing impossible in doing that. I think the Minister would be doing great work if he did that and I recommend that he should try it. I ask the Government to get that power.

I suppose the Minister has sound reasons for getting a special report year by year on different subjects. We have all heard of the fads of inspectors in the past. When it was known in a district that an inspector had a certain fad, the teacher immediately set to work to cater for that fad. I am afraid that if the Minister announces that one year he is going to have a special report on arithmetic and another year a special report on history and geography, he will find that there will be a slackening off in the other subjects and that in many cases the teachers will try to cater for that particular fad. Although the Minister may have his own ideas about that, I do not see very much sense in it.

The Deputy seems to have a poor opinion of some teachers.

That attitude on the part of teachers is only natural. I would do the very same thing myself. If I knew an inspector was coming around and was going to make a special report on a particular subject, would I not be foolish not to cater for that? Of course I would, and so would any other teacher. I do not think it is a very wise thing at all. Deputy Ormonde dealt with the heating and cleaning of schools. There, again, I am certainly disappointed. I know the Minister will be able to say, as was said at meetings of the Public Accounts Committee, that there were thousands of pounds more provided in the Estimate than were claimed. That does not mean that the schools are adequately provided for. It just means that in many cases the managers have not the money to put up and the grant is not claimed. That does not mean that the school is either adequately heated or cleaned. As a matter of fact, the position in the country schools in particular is very bad in that respect and in many cases the teachers are put in a very invidious position. No provision is made for the cleaning of the school by an outsider. The teachers have to demand that the scholars clean the schools and in many cases clean out the closet pits and the parents do not want them to do it. That is a very serious state of affairs and it exists on a very widespread scale. I do not know how the Minister is going to get over it, but he should not be satisfied that the position is all right, because it is not.

It is quite true that the grants are there and are not claimed, but the work is not being done. It is the Minister's responsibility and some means will have to be devised to see that it is done. The Minister has his inspectors and he has the medical officers of health. He will find that what I am saying is quite true—that the work is not being done. Thirty or 40 years ago you would not find parents objecting to the children doing these things, but they do object now. Therefore, the teacher is put in a very hard position.

There is one class of teachers that I have not heard referred to so far, namely, the women teachers who were forced to retire when they reached the age of 60. Of course that has now been set right. These teachers have to be reported on annually, but they are now allowed to continue until 65. Many women teachers, however, were forced to retire at 60 and have got no compensation for that. When these women teachers came into the profession as young girls, they thought they had a prospect of continuing until 65. I believe that the Minister is genuinely trying to remedy a number of grievances, and I hope he will remember these retired women teachers who have got a raw deal. The excuse at the time was that there were many teachers unemployed. For that reason, a rule which existed was put into operation and these teachers were forced to retire at 60. I think that compensation should be given to them now. I think they are entitled to it, at least in the form of increased pension. Mention was made of giving pensions on the new scale, but that does not apply to any of the women teachers who had retired. I trust the Minister will go into this matter and try to remedy the wrong done to these teachers.

The Minister referred only briefly to the raising of the school-leaving age. I have again and again referred to that matter and I do not think it should be shelved year after year. I do not see what great connection there is between the report of the Youth Unemployment Commission and the raising of the school-leaving age. If we think it is worth while giving children a reasonable education, we should have no hesitation in deciding on raising the school-leaving age. We all know that it is necessary. In olden times, the number of subjects on the programme was not as numerous as now and the teachers had not the task of teaching two languages. I am sure that nobody would have any objection to teaching Irish, or English for that matter, but to make children efficient in two languages is a very big task. I certainly say that to do that and to teach other school subjects as well between the ages of six and 14 is an impossibility, even with good attendance, and of course we know that there is a good deal of indifferent attendance. I think the time has come when the school-leaving age should be raised. I certainly think that the age of 16 is not too long but, if in the cities and towns the school accommodation is not sufficient—that does not apply to the country places—the school-leaving age should be raised to 15 years at least. The Minister should take his courage in his hands and do this. He will be doing something good for the future of the country. When people are emigrating through unemployment, there is not much sense in keeping children of 14 at home from school, thus more or less driving out those who have to emigrate.

I suppose there is hardly much use in referring to the teachers' salary question. Of course I will be told that when Fianna Fáil was in office they did not do this, that or the other thing. I hope, however, that the question will soon be decided. There are rumours abroad that recommendations have been made with regard to the salary scale by this salary conference and that they were not accepted by the Government. I hope that is not true. I understood when the conference set to work that any recommendation they brought in would be honoured. I hope the Minister will be able to say something on that subject and deny the rumour if it is not true.

The rumour that recommendations were made and that they would not be accepted by the Finance Department.

Ask Deputy Derrig about that. He says the Minister is supreme.

Major de Valera

We should like to know whether the recommendations have been turned down.

In the past, when Ministers set up a committee they waited until they got the report.

Major de Valera

Are we to take it that there has been no report.

I heard that recommendations were made to the Government and that the Government would not accept them.

Major de Valera

Are we to take it that there has been no report?

Does the Deputy suggest that the report has been sent in?

Major de Valera

I make no suggestion. I am merely asking the Minister.

I do not want to raise any argument on the question. I hope that the Minister will insist—I know he is willing to do it—on the Minister for Finance honouring whatever report is brought in. I hope the Minister will change his outlook on the question of the restoration of the Irish language. I heard him mention about watching the Gaeltacht. There is no use in doing that. It is in the Gaeltacht that the language will have to be restored. He need not have any doubt about that. If we do not set up an organisation in the Gaeltacht, it will never be restored. There is no use in pretending that a few thousands in Donegal and Kerry will restore it. It will have to be restored throughout the whole country. I think that limiting grants to the Comhdáil Náisiúnta and Connradh na Gaeilge or any other body is not the best thing. I hope the Minister will do his best to promote these organisations. Doubtless there is a slackness of the spirit that was there years ago. I hope that as things are now we shall have no more of the disturbances we had in the past and that we shall be able to get things going.

The Deputy made a statement which, coming from him, I should like to get clear. It is the first time I have ever heard such a thing stated. I understand that in certain schools children are required to clean the school closets?

I can assure the Minister that that is true. I did it for many years myself.

After listening to many professional teachers to-day I think it takes more or less courage on my part to get up here to speak on the Estimate for Education. I speak for the ordinary man from the country. I am one of those men sitting on the fence, so to speak, who can see all sides of things. The Minister deserves congratulations on this Estimate. He is doing the right thing in moving rather slowly, although some Deputies want him to move quickly. He is certainly moving, whereas the last Minister was so slow that he did not move at all. There is every hope that with the manner in which he has approached the subject the present Minister will get the ground work done and education will be something worthy of the country. Up to the present moment we have only played with the matter. Now we are going to work in a democratic way. The people concerned are going to be consulted by the Minister and that is as it should be. In the past the teachers and the people were not consulted, the Minister was supreme and proved a complete failure with the result that education all over the country was so bad that there had to be a strike, a thing unheard of for generations in this country. The disgrace of that must be brought to the feet of the previous Minister. I know that the present Minister has a difficult job. He has to undo all that dirty work that took place. He has to bring back a professional attitude. Ninety-nine per cent. of the teachers throughout the country are satisfied that he is doing a good job in a fair way and that they are going to get a fair crack of the whip. I certainly believe that he should be congratulated on his approach to the many problems.

The council of education we have heard so much about is a thing which should come slowly. I hope the Minister will get the proper type of people on that council, people with balance. There are many men in this country with a vast amount of education but they do not have the proper balance of mind, they have a one-track mind. I do not want those type of men on the council of education. I want the broad-minded men, the men with common-sense. If you get that type of man you will be able to get cooperation and unity. There are too many of these people in this country who think they know something about everything but when it comes down to common-sense they know damn all. I know some of them myself who were highly educated, who got every chance from their parents and the State to get a good job but to-day they are no damn good.

The chief thing we want in education is the proper ground work. I believe that the biggest job we have in this country is to get proper equipment in our schools and proper schools for our teachers. In my county there are some schools which it is unfair to ask the teachers or the pupils to work in. They are a public disgrace. People have been advocating the building of new schools in my county for the last 20 years and nothing has been done. I do not know whether to blame the managers, the Minister or the Department but someone is failing in some way. In the little parish I come from the school has been condemned for the last 20 years. I raised this matter here four years ago; the children can see the rats coming up through the floor boards and they playing with the boys throughout the school. That same school is there with the same conditions still. I want to see that school removed and a new one built there. If I say to the Department: "Do your work and see that that school is built," of course, they will say: "It is the manager's duty." The manager will say: "The Department is holding it up." The Department will say: "The Minister will not move." I want the three to move simultaneously. It is not fair to those people.

I know those teachers, in fact I am married to one of them, and I know what she is going through. A young teacher has been there for the last few months and I know that the first chance he gets he will get out of that school. He is a fine type of teacher and something will have to be done about it. The school is more than 130 years old, with slates blown off it, with windows cracked, the wind rushing in through door cracks and anywhere else it likes. There are 70 or 80 children in two different rooms with all their books crowded round them and wet clothes hanging around the walls, steaming on a wet day. Those teachers are expected to teach there and to impart a good education to those children. It is unfair. We will not get proper teachers in this country unless we give them adequate schools. There are some very fine schools in Ireland. A fine school built at Skrine, County Meath, is the envy of the whole county. Every teacher looks at Skrine and says: "My God, when will it come my way?" There is a brand new school there and everybody is content and pupils and teachers have every chance of a good deal. There is a colossal task in front of the parish priest in my area. He has a debt of about £30,000 on a church which was built only 30 years ago, which is falling down and which must be rebuilt immediately. It was bad workmanship in the first place. In cases such as that I can understand why the manager is so cautious in moving. He knows he has a big debt for his people. I would ask the Minister if the Department would deal sympathetically and put up the money in such an extreme case. It is not because I come from that parish but because I know it is cruel to the teachers and the children. Many children stay at home in the cold, wet days because they do not want to be famished.

I do not think that education in general is as bad as people say. Everybody says education is going back because of the cramming of Irish. I do not believe it. There may be cramming in the schools but it is very necessary. After 700 years of injustice to this country our language has almost been made extinct and it is only right that the generation which is coming into an era of national freedom should make every effort to revive it. It is not alone the teachers who should make the effort but the whole nation. Even if education did go back slightly and the Irish language were brought in, it would be well worth it. I am satisfied that the ordinary pupils are as good as they were in my young days as far as reading, writing and arithmetic are concerned. It is the home life that is wrong and not the teaching profession The children are not getting the proper home life which they got in the years gone by, and that cannot be helped by the teachers. The biggest problem is to bring those children to a proper sense of education. If that little education, that ground work, which should be given in the home in earlier years was given, the teachers would have an easier time and would get better results. I would not put the blame on the teaching profession for that. I am satisfied that in the foundation of education there will have to be a definite link between primary, secondary and vocational schools of all kinds.

When children leave school at the age of 14 some provision should be made to enable them to continue their education until they reach the age of 16 or 17 so that they may be properly fitted for life. At present you have children leaving the national schools, some at the age of 13, with little or no groundwork to enable them to improve their position in life. In my opinion, young people learn more between the ages of 14 and 17 than they do at any time of their lives. It is only then that they begin to realise that they have a spot of work to do for themselves in life. If young people are not properly prepared for the battle of life between the ages of 14 and 16 they ultimately find that they are going down instead of going up. I think that the best way to provide an education for them between these ages would be to have an extra room attached to every national school, or to have a parish hall in which special subjects would be taught to them. The boys and girls of a district could then attend extra classes on a couple of nights a week. The boys could be taught a little carpentry and the girls sewing and knitting and how to bake a good cake of bread. If that were done I believe that we could make this a really fine country.

What happens at present is that the bright child in a family is sent away to school, not with the idea of coming back to live and work at home but to get a job in Dublin, London or elsewhere. When farmers' sons are sent to Warrenstown College or to the Albert College it is not with the idea that they should be prepared to become good farmers but rather to get a profession or a good job. That is a bad thing for the country. In my opinion, it is a national calamity. The pity is that these boys, when they have got a good training in college, do not come back to work on the land, to put the up-to-date knowledge that they have acquired of agriculture into practice on the land. It is unfortunate that for generations people in the country keep the slow or "dud" child at home to work on the farm. The others are sent away to get a higher education. In my opinion, it is the bright boy in the family that should be trained to carry on the farming tradition at home. If that were done it would add to the prosperity and happiness of the country. These are points that I would like to see attended to. I would like to see a proper balance maintained between agriculture and education, and I think the way to get that balance is by following out the line that I have indicated. We want that balance more than we need higher education. Get the young people to realise that real home life and happiness is to be found, not in the big cities and towns but in the country-side. The clergy, teachers, Ministers and Deputies should encourage that idea.

For many years I have been rather critical of the policy of erecting big vocational schools throughout the country. We have a number of them in our county and, in my opinion, they are white elephants. It is ridiculous, I think, to spend £12,000 or £15,000 in erecting one of these schools in areas where you have a sparse population. I suggest to the Minister that it would be far better for the young people themselves and for the country if, instead of these vocational schools, an extra classroom were added to the national schools where suitable instruction could be given in the evenings to boys and girls between the ages of 14 and 17.

In some of these vocational schools you have four and five teachers with very small classes—in some cases with three, seven or eight pupils. The teachers spend half their time begging parents to send pupils to the schools. We are now going to have a new vocational school at Dunshaughlin. I hope that it will be one suitable to the area, and not one of those £15,000 white elephants that we have in many parts of the country. I know that the Minister will look into that and will tackle that problem. He does not believe in balderdash or in nonsense. He has plenty of common-sense; he has his two feet on the ground and when he takes a decision he will act on it and will not sit like a stooge like the Minister we had in the past. There is no need for me to be critical on this Estimate. I am satisfied that the position with regard to the old pensioned teachers will be settled. I hope that will be done soon. I am satisfied that the present Minister has the matter in hands and will do the best he can for them. Many of those old pensioned teachers are living in misery and privation. I hope that under the Budget something good will come to them.

Major de Valera

Ba mhaith liom a fhiafraí den Aire an bhfuil cóip den riail sin aige a bhí i gceist idir é féin agus an Teachta Ó Ruairc—an riail mar gheall ar na leanaí?

D'fhéad fainn é fháil.

Major de Valera

Cad tá ann? Ní fhaca mé é.

Is truagh nach bhfaca an Teachta cheana é.

Major de Valera

Is dócha nach bhfuil sé ag an Aire anois?

D'fhéadfainn é fháil duit.

Major de Valera

Is cuma. Ní gá é fháil má chuireann sé an iomarca trioblóide ar an Aire. An fáth go raibh mé á iarraidh, ba mhaith liom tuairim atá agam féin i dtaobh na ceiste sin mar gheall ar an nGalltacht a phlé. Réitím leis an Teachta agus leis an Aire go gcaithfimid an Ghaeilge a mhúineadh sna scoileanna, nach féidir linn dul siar ar sin—go gcaithfimid an Ghaeilge a mhúineadh agus sin deireadh leis an gceist sin. Maidir leis sin, tá ceist abhair eile—múineadh trí Ghaeilge. Níl mé ró-chinnte an ceart iarracht a dhéanamh abhar mar, abair, Béarla nó Arithmetic, agus rudaí mar sin, a mhúineadh tríd an Ghaeilge sna cathracha nó in aon áit nach bhfuil an Ghaeilge go beacht roimhe sin ag na páistí. Sin é mo thuairm féin agus, ós rud é gur thuigeas ón chainnt a bhí idir an Teachta agus an tAire go raibh riail nua ann, bhí beagáinín suime agam ann. Fágfaimid ansin é.

Anois ar na ceisteanna eile mar gheall ar na múinteoirí, tá a lán rudaí is dócha is féidir linn a rá ina dtaobh. Ba cheart go mbeadh airgead ag an Rialtas anois chun na ceisteanna sin a réiteach. Ba chóir go mbeadh an t-airgead sin á fháil agus, dá bhrí sin, ba cheart go gcuirfeadh an Rialtas deireadh leis na ceisteanna sin anois láithreach. Mar gheall ar rudaí eile, is maith an rud é go bhfuil Aire againn a chuireann suim sa teanga agus i gceist oideachais agus a chuireann suim i gceist cultúra. Is maith an rud é, tríd an mbliain atá caite, nach bhfuil an scrios ceanna déanta i gcúrsaí oideachais de agus a rinneadh i n-áiteacha eile. Is é mo thuairim é gurb é an tAire is tiocair leis sin agus molaim é ina thaobh.

On this Estimate the usual questions have arisen and it is inevitable. I suppose, that the technique of education comes in for considerable discussion. Not so frequently do we hear comments on our basic outlook on this question of education. In its totality it would be too big a subject to attempt to deal with it in one speech, but there is one facet of it which we are inclined to forget and that is the importance of being clear, particularly in regard to primary and even secondary education, as to what our objective is. The technique of teaching and all that is associated in the organisation of it seems to usurp the field and we Deputies do not sufficiently represent the parents of this country in what we say with reference to education. If one were to inquire from many parents in this city as to what they want in primary and secondary education, one would find that they want, firstly, that the child should get a sound religious and moral training, that the child is turned out from school with a proper religious and moral background. The parent appreciates the importance of that from a character point of view. Anyone who looks at the problem will see the increasing importance of that basic religious and moral training, so it goes without saying that that must be the basis of our education.

The character of the child having been provided for in that sense, what, then, do parents want? In a nutshell, they want the child equipped efficiently for life; they want him taught the essentials he needs for facing the life which he will have to face. They want him taught efficiently and they want him to learn what he has been taught in a way that will enable him to apply it efficiently in his problem of living afterwards. I think that is what parents generally want.

I often wonder, looking at our educational system, if we have been, in regard to this equipping of the child for life, as successful as one might wish in the past, and are we being as successful as we might wish in the policy we are now pursuing? There is certainly room for feeling, particularly having regard to the fact that one of our national failings is a tendency to disregard detail and a tendency to slipshod methods in the execution of details, that we are sometimes too engrossed with generalities. We do not secure that the child applies himself sufficiently to detail and masters detail with that surety and accuracy that gives power in application afterwards.

Take a specific example. I have a feeling that, while we talk big words about education and theorise much upon it, we have been neglecting such an important thing as teaching the ordinary child his tables and basic arithmetic; in other words, teaching him accurately the technique of reckoning, which is an essential equipment in modern life. One fears that many children have left school with but a nodding acquaintance of many subjects. Largely for want of practice, and having their concentration directed specifically to the detail involved, these children have not the facility in arithmetic and the calculation necessary even for the ordinary money and other calculations they meet in life, quite apart from the character training that comes from such application to detail. That is one example. Another example. It is easy to hear talk about literature and high-sounding phrases whenever one goes into the sphere of education but I wonder are the children to-day being well trained in basic composition, basic thinking, in the simple technique of putting sentences together and expressing accurately what they mean? Are children to-day as well-trained as their fathers were under another system? I purposely put these questions, but I want to qualify what I have said by expressing an openness of argument and I am quite prepared to hear that things are not as I have suggested.

Going back to my time, going through a secondary school after the 1925 change, one felt that the thing had nearly got to the stage of being ridiculous. I am now moving, perhaps, from the primary school to the secondary sphere, but there the situation had become, if not ridiculous, dangerous. During that period, in the subject of English, for example, it was an unprescribed course but there was a very wide field and the boy or the girl was left to ramble around that field without being accurately pinned to detail at any point. Such essential things as grammar and spelling suffered and there was an evitable tendency to fuzzy thinking, with a consequent disability in later life.

The situation with regard to the teaching of mathematics was equally dangerous. There the curriculum was extended from the old Intermediate system, where people were made know something accurately. When you came to arithmetic, under the old system one had to know the tables and one had to reckon accurately. There was a set text and it was easy to find out whether you knew or did not know it and you were tested accordingly. Under the old system you had a definite logical training through Euclid. What you knew, you knew, and your examiners could find out what you knew, but when the change was introduced the field was extended. The theory of the prescribed text was abandoned. What is the result? The child had a nodding acquaintance with practically the whole field of mathematics, including the calculus, but the very width of the course was a disadvantage. Because of the width of the course the student could never acquire an accurate, detailed knowledge of any particular part and, instead of turning out a pupil who knew something thoroughly, as was done under the old system, he had but a nodding acquaintance with the whole field. The schools were turning out students who had roamed all over the field but knew nothing in detail.

That question was argued over and over again, but I must say I would be strongly biased in favour of a restricted field where there would be a sufficient prescription to enable you to test whether a man knew or did not know something and where there would be sufficient restriction to ensure that attention was paid to detail. If that were done, it would help largely to offset what I am afraid tends to be a national characteristic, namely, inaccuracy and a slipshod tendency where detail is concerned.

The Deputy probably did not hear me this afternoon when I was speaking of the elimination of Euclid and a whole series of sequences in mathematics. I have made up my mind that we must have one definite sequence set out. I have initiated consultation with the university authorities and others for the purpose of getting a sequence on which I hope to base all mathematics in this country.

Major de Valera

I am very glad to hear the Minister say that. I regret I was not in the House earlier when he mentioned it. I was going to observe that there is a tendency now to curb the over-swing from 1925. If the Minister does something definite to stop that I congratulate him on his initiative. Even where a boy intends to specialise in science, or any subject requiring a considerable mathematical technique, the university professors prefer that he should have a good basic training in a restricted field and they will undertake to introduce such a boyde novo to the more advanced mathematical fields and the more advanced mathematical techniques. The university people prefer that rather than these gentleman dabblers over the whole field of mathematics who are never trained to apply themselves to detail and who lack facility in routine calculations and algebraical operations so essential to efficiency in specialisation. I am very glad to learn that the Minister is contemplating attention to detail and accuracy in this sphere. We all realise, of course, that these problems are more easily stated than solved. A number of factors must be weighed in the balance.

There were criticisms of the old intermediate system. It was described as a cramming system. But there are equally cogent criticisms of the absurd swing which took place from 1925 onwards. The Minister will have his problems in that regard. The Minister has assured us now that some adjustment to practicality will be made in both the primary and the secondary school curricula. In that connection I would like to make a plea for accurate thinking. The necessity for accuracy is equally important in the sphere of composition where the child must express his thoughts. Accurate thinking, accurate expression and spelling are vitally important. That facet of our education should be considered. I am confident that the Minister will appreciate this problem as well as that of mathematics. The Minister has a genuine interest in education. The problems to which I refer are not only recognised by him but are also exercising the minds of parents in no small degree. Many of us have heard the complaints made about the present-day system of education. Many of us have heard the parents ask: "What are these schools doing? Our children are learning nothing. They have been at school for so many years and they can neither spell nor do sums!" The whole trouble is that the system needs drastic adjustment. It is for that reason I raise these points.

To revert once more to the field of elementary education, what does a boy need in life? He must be able to express himself accurately. No matter what career he follows it will be an asset to him if he is able to express himself accurately and concisely. It will be an asset to him to be able to reckon correctly, whether he is a tradesman doing a sum in regard to quantity, or a carpenter taking measurements, or a bank clerk—that is if there are any bank clerks left to do their work without the aid of automatic machines. Lack of technique in that regard is a hindrance.

The moral character of the child rests fundamentally upon religious training. There is no use baulking that fact. Upon that is built the strengthening of character by means of application to detail and the mastering of the technique necessary for ordinary life. That is a necessary equipment for living. That is the first thing parents demand. That is the first requisite even for those who intend to follow a more specialised education. The man who follows a science career and who has a good groundwork in Euclid, arithmetic and elementary algebra but who has never heard of the differential or integral calculus starts in a much more favourable position than does the gentleman dabbler over a wide field of mathematics who has never mastered the elementary tools of his trade. On any showing then there is a case for adjusting our system in the way I have suggested. That is true from the point of view of the individual. It is also true from the point of view of the nation because of the national failing to which I have referred. I am glad the Minister is taking active steps in this matter.

I come now to another subject embraced in this wide Estimate. That is, the position of the teachers. I could repeat all the arguments advanced by the other Deputies in regard to those teachers who are at present serving and those who are on pension. In this year 1949 there is a very different economic situation from the year 1947. Having regard to our changed economic circumstances I can see no reason why a solution of these problems could not be speedily effected. After all, on the Estimates as furnished, the Minister for Finance finds himself in a very happy situation indeed this year. He has been able to save on fuel and food subsidies a sum of £4,500,000 and examination of the accounts show favourable trends otherwise. He has had a windfall of £1,000,000, or something like that, on estate duties. Here we are in a very much basically improved situation financially. Perhaps we can confidently look forward to what the Minister is going to do to-morrow. I do not want to embarrass the Minister for Education by pressing him as, perhaps, the pleasant surprise will come to-morrow. I hope it will.

Again not pressing the Minister if it is premature, I would like to refer to the question of the report. There was some repartee regarding it between the Minister and Deputy O'Rourke and after the interchange I was left in a certain state of confusion.

It has not been received but is expected soon.

Major de Valera

If it has not been received it has not been turned down, I take it.

I have simply said that it has not been received but is expected soon.

Major de Valera

I do not want to embarrass the Minister. To-morrow is Budget day and all the trend of Government finance seems to leave the Government in a position to do things, but as I do not want to take away from the pleasant surprise I will not follow that line. The only point is that, because of an easing in the world situation, the falling price of wheat and the fact that the after-war situation is very much easier, the Government should be able to do things.

There is another matter which comes under this Estimate which I would like to mention as nobody else has mentioned it. In this Estimate we are renewing our Vote for the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies. The Minister has sympathy with the development of that body, as one would expect from a man of his breadth of vision, but unfortunately there are many people who do not realise the good work an institute of that nature can do. It has already in its short existence become one of the schools— at the physics end anyway—which has a world wide reputation and that is no small achievement. Among its professors are a number of men whose names will live for all time in the history of science and that is no exaggeration on my part. Papers have already been published in the School of Theoretical Physics and in the School of Cosmic Physics also which are very notable contributions and which are something more than what might be called merely average returns from a research institution. The credit of this redounds to the country and it has its practical side too. Meteorology is, of course, an important angle in the modern world and it is unnecessary to refer to the connection between meteorological studies and aviation. The School of Geophysics has practical potentialities for us as well, and I am glad that the Minister has been sympathetic to these cultural activities, although, as I say, it is what I would have expected from a man of his culture.

There have been people who have criticised schools of this sort and theoretical work of this sort as being impractical. Actually they are very far from the mark because, as I say, meteorology and, later and potentially, geophysics are extremely practical. In the long view they are wrong and the history of science shows it. Very many of the major scientific advances which have wrought revolutionary changes in society economically are traceable back to purely theoretical or experimental laboratory researches. To take a couple of modern, or relatively modern, instances which completely answer the so-called practical critic: something over 150 years ago Farraday turned a coil of wire in which he had a current flowing through a battery and he got a magnetic needle to move. To the ordinary man in the street at that time it did not seem an important result. In his laboratory he found that there was a connection between the movement of a magnetic needle and a current of what he called "galvanic electricity" running through a wire. Out of that discovery came all the dynamos, the whole electrification of industry and the power schemes which we to-day know. They were its results. Similarly, too, in the middle of the last century there was a mathematical physicist named Clerk Maxwell in England and he worked on paper— pre-eminently on paper anyway. He turned a theory of Farraday's into mathematical form and gave the scientific world what are now known as Maxwell's equations. If anybody showed them to the so-called hardboiled man in the street then he would have laughed and said that they were so many hieroglyphics, but nevertheless as a result of that theory and of those equations it followed logically and mathematically that wireless waves should exist, which had not been previously suspected and, prompted by these mathematical researches, Hertz did various experiments and radio as we know it to-day was born. If radio is not a practical influence in life to-day I do not know what is.

I cite these instances to show the importance of what is called fundamental research even though it may be purely mathematical as leading to revolutionary practical results and the same thing is true with regard to development for the future. At the beginning of this century Einstein wrote a simple equation and postulated the equivalence of energy and matter; in 1945 Hiroshima was bombed with the atom bomb. That was the result, so who can say that the researches of the pure scientist are not practical?

It is something for us to note that not only have we the men here in Dublin at the moment who are world-famous in the particular lines in which they specialise, but that the Dublin school has become world-famous. As such it is a cultural, and may well be more than a cultural, asset to the country. It is interesting to note in regard to the connection between Einstein and Hiroshima—if you like to put it that way—that the name of the senior professors in the theoretical physics school will live for ever in scientific history in connection with atomic research. For that reason I think that an occasion, on which we can mention it here, should not be allowed to slip by without mention being made of the fact that the sympathetic attitude of the Minister to this cultural project is one to be appreciated.

This is an Estimate upon which, if one were to go into detail, very much indeed could be said. I should like, for instance, to have extended the argument of one Deputy who was dealing with the relations of primary, secondary and university education. Perhaps it would be as well if we did not enter into that now because that in itself is a very big subject, but in whatever way we approach the subject of education, the question of accuracy of basic training should exercise our minds at the moment, particularly as in other countries, especially across the water, they have already realised the pressure in regard to these matters which must result from the circumstances of modern life and they have adjusted their educational systems to secure efficiency with regard to the whole economic structure. I think we shall have to do the same, always, however, having regard to the fact that nowadays, perhaps more than ever during the last 30 or 40 years, the basic moral and religious training of the citizen is something of paramount importance. Consistent with that, let us equip him so that he can attack a problem with due attention to detail and a fair chance of bringing it to completion, rather than have him follow the tendency of the present age, as a result of which many of our people have attempted to tackle several things and have finished nothing.

Deputy de Valera has complimented the Minister on several points. Before entering into any criticism of the Estimate, I should like to say that I appreciate the general approach of the Minister to the problems that confronted him since he took up the Ministry. I think that on his attitude towards education as a profession, there are very little just grounds for criticism but there are some points that I should like to mention with a view to having a change brought about, if possible. The first matter to which I should like to refer is the recruitment of teachers. For a long time recruitment has been limited to a very small part of the country and the result has been that the idea of teaching as a vocation has disappeared largely, in so far as aspirants to the profession are concerned. That is bad in several ways because throughout nine-tenths of the country, no matter what a boy's vocation may be for the teaching profession, it is practically impossible for him to become a teacher. I think that is all wrong. It limits the numbers of really brainy children from whom we can make our choice of teachers. I think it has also a bad effect on the efforts to restore the Irish language because previously under the old monitorial system there was great rivalry to enter the teaching profession. That rivalry extended throughout the whole country. Now the children know there is no opportunity in the ordinary schools in about nine-tenths of the country for them to become teachers and they have not that urge to become really good, particularly in the matter of Irish. If children were recruited to the profession throughout the whole country on an even basis I believe there would be a very great effort amongst them to become particularly proficient in the Irish language.

I should like very much to see the monitorial system restored, principally because of that idea of vocation. Monitors were selected in the old days by the managers of schools and by the principal teachers who watched these boys, who knew them inside out and knew if they were likely to make good teachers or not. It was seldom that mistakes were made in choosing monitors. Now conditions are totally different. Teaching is looked upon as just one way of making a living and if a boy can pass the examination and comes from an Irish-speaking district, he gets the job just as he would get any other position where the same examination obtains, but the idea of a vocation is not there at all very often. I think that is a dreadful loss. It is my belief and experience that that is being reflected in our schools.

As to the training of teachers, I hope to see a change. I hope that a university degree and a diploma in education will be necessary for all teachers before they are considered fully qualified. I hope that an opportunity will be given to entrants to the profession to obtain a university degree and a diploma in education. That has become particularly necessary since the preparatory colleges were established. What happens now? Children are taken from their homes about 14 years of age. They are closed up in an institution for four years— each boy with boys exactly like himself, practically the same upbringing and the same outlook. There is no touch with or experience of the outside world. They leave the preparatory colleges and go into training colleges. The same conditions prevail there. You have there young men and young women, generally from the same sort of family, whose upbringing has been nearly identical and who are of an identical outlook. Then they leave their training colleges. They go, very possibly, down to a remote country area. What width of outlook can these men have? I think it is very difficult to expect them to have a broad outlook and the vision that is so necessary in the teaching profession. Under the old system a young man up to 18, 19 or 20 years of age was able to knock around with outside people until he entered the training college. Now they have practically no experience and very little possibility of acquiring any experience except of boys of their own type or, in the case of girls, of girls of their own type and of their own outlook on life. I think that system is very narrow and very undesirable. I would say to parents, working-class parents especially, that the workers of this country have just as good a right to a thoroughly-trained and well-paid teacher for their children as any other class in the country. It is a matter they should take to heart. I think the worker's children are his greatest treasure. He should guard his children and obtain for them all the advantages that the rich or well-off people see that their children have. If the workers were only wide awake they could do it. I hope that in the future they will look to that matter and ensure that their children will get all the opportunities children of the richer classes get.

The Estimates were disappointing to teachers this year. I think very few teachers thought they would find in the Estimates for 1949-50 the same scales of salaries against which they went out on strike. The promises were so definite for some years past that I think it would be really scandalous if a move were not made in the near future to improve matters for the teachers. There is hardly any other walk of life that I am aware of in which salaries or wages have not been increased during the last year, long after the present scales of salaries were fixed by the previous Government. I think the present Government is certainly in honour bound to do something now, and to do it quickly, in the matter of improving salaries. So far as pensions go, the position is even worse. Very few pensioners now are drawing the equivalent of a labourer's wage as pension. When you come to think of it, if a man or a woman gives his or her whole life to teaching the children of this country— men and women do that—and then become old and decrepit, is it not a scandalous thing to think that they cannot have the help of a lowly-paid maid or general servant? No maid and no servant would work for the average pension which a teacher pensioner draws. If the poor pensioner gave every penny he or she draws they would not get a maid to stop with them for that amount of money. That is a very sad reflection and one which is very discreditable to us all.

I want to raise a point which I have raised in other years on this Estimate. I consider it is a great loss to education in this country that the general rule is that married lady teachers are not now retained in service. It may be held that it is undesirable for any married woman to have to get out and earn her living but it was not simply a case of earning a living with married teachers. The idea of vocation came into it. Most of these women had a vocation for their work. If there is one form of employment more than another to which the married woman is suitable it is teaching. Most of the schools in this country are small, with generally a man and a woman in charge. The two-teacher school is a very common type of school throughout the country. It is a grand thing to see a man and his wife teaching in such a school and giving an example to the boys and girls under their care so that those boys and girls can look to the teachers' home and see that example of Christian life and be in intimate touch with it. In the case of senior girls there are certain delicate matters in regard to which I think the advice and help of the married woman can very usefully be availed of. It is a thing to which we do not refer very much but it is true. Certainly, when these girls leave school they very often stand in need of advice. It is a natural thing for them to accept advice from the person who has taught them since they were children.

Another aspect of that matter is that the real vocation of any woman who does not enter the religious life is marriage. I think there is a large amount of discontent in the teaching profession since that ban came into operation. The average lady teacher has not opportunities for matrimony that other women have. She does not mix in the same way as women who are in clerical and other occupations do. That volume of discontent is not a desirable thing I personally should like to see lady teachers permitted to retain their jobs after marriage. It is not a joking matter. It is not a matter for any lightness at all. It is a very serious matter and it should be looked into, especially with regard to small schools in rural areas. It is a great inducement for teachers to live near their schools and to give an example of family life which should be an inspiration to others.

I have also spoken in other debates about the deterioration in oral expression in our schools. Diction is nothing like as good as it was 30 or 40 years ago. I do not at all in any way refer to accent. Accent has nothing to do with it. I simply refer to clearness and correct and ready use of the vocal organs.

There is scarcely any attention paid to that matter in our schools. As a matter of fact, I am afraid it has been discouraged for a great number of years. When children are young, their vocal chords are very elastic and very easily trained and a great deal could be done in that way. I do think it would be a good and useful thing if everyone connected with education got a copy of the late Mrs. George Bernard Shaw's Will and read her advice on that matter. I think it is perfectly correct and that her advice should be put into practice as far as possible and that it should be done in our schools.

I am not pressing the question of pensions now, because there is a promise that we are to have a pronouncement on that matter in the very near future and I am prepared to wait for that, but I do hope that the salary question will be very speedily settled. With regard to schools, I hope that we shall never see in populous areas a school with 20, 30 or more teachers. I hope we are finished with that. We have had schools of that type put up. They were found to be impossible institutions and they were divided into separate principalships—some of them into three, four, five, six and seven different principalships in the one building. It is not the same thing at all. My advice to the Department and to managers would be not to pass the eight-teacher school if possible. Of course, the two-teacher school and the three-teacher school are not so desirable, but they are unavoidable. I would, however, rather have a two-teacher school and I would prefer the work done in a two-teacher school to the work done in a thirty-teacher school any day. There is some individuality about it and it is a much better type of work than the work done in these schools which I call monstrosities. New building areas are now contemplated and they will be speedily built up I trust. When it comes to putting schools in these areas, I hope that these schools will not be too large; that there will be a sufficient number of them, but in units not exceeding eight teachers. That is my advice.

I feel that it is my duty to pay a compliment to the Minister, because I realise that he has had a very difficult task to undo the many wrongs that I think were being done in that Department before he took office. In many cases, he now has to take the blame for expenditure of money that, in my opinion, was not spent in the very best way and for the benefit of the children. So far as I know, the people generally are very well satisfied with the work done by the Minister in this Department within the past year. They realise that he has put herculean work into it and that education is safe in his hands as far as the children generally are concerned.

Although I have said that, and although I mean it, at the same time I do think that there is still much to be done in this particular Department. On the one hand, it is the duty of every Deputy to realise that we are passing a very large Vote for one of the most important matters in the country, namely, education. Are we giving the people the best run for that money? In many respects, I think the people are not geting that run, and I believe that to a very large extent the heads of the schools, whether secondary or otherwise, feel the same thing. What I believe is necessary in order to bring about a better system is more co-operation between the Department and the heads of the various schools; that advice coming from them should be taken. In the same way the Department should listen to the counsel and advice of the parents whose children are entrusted to the various schools and for whose education the Minister is responsible, no matter what kind of education it may be.

The people generally are slightly depressed and the children are despondent about the present system. I have stated my opinion here over a number of years, and I feel that I would not be justified in altering that opinion or saying what I do not believe. My opinion has been borne out by what I have heard Deputies on the other side say. I was pleased to hear them admit that, although we have made great strides within recent years so far as education is concerned, at the same time the general knowledge of the children in the ordinary school is not what it was 30 years ago. We have now a university in Dublin which was established under what was called a foreign Government. Its establishment was due to the work of Irishmen who have gone before us. We ought to endeavour to see that the system which is there now will be something that will benefit children and not be a laughing-stock throughout the country and the world. We want to have a higher standard of education. Before any university was established and before we had all the benefits which we now enjoy even in the ordinary national school, the people at that time were much better able to pass themselves than they are now in 1949. Therefore, there is something lacking, and I believe that it is a want of truth in a large way. People think it is the popular thing to say this and the popular thing to say that; they will not say what is really wrong. I intend to say what I believe is wrong at the present time, and I have a few suggestions to give to the Minister which I realise he will take in the spirit in which I give them. I believe that for a number of years past-perhaps it was worse some couple of years ago-the children have been crammed with an overdose of knowledge which they are not able to take in and which apparently the teachers are not able to impart properly.

They are trying to cram too much into the children's heads and the children are not capable of taking it in. While we appreciate that the Irish language should be fostered we must come down to brass tacks and realise that many people have unfortunately to leave this country and earn their living elsewhere. The language they want first is English and they want to learn other subjects through it. Some months ago in a Gaeltacht area a certain post was vacant and an advertisement was put in the paper. Not one of the applicants was capable of taking it up because a knowledge of English was necessary for the carrying out of the duties. The thing is ridiculous, and in my opinion does not hold water. We must educate ourselves in the language we know and then teach the other language and foster it as much as we can. In addition we should do something useful for the people in after life. It would be well to allot a certain amount of time for lecturers to come round and educate the children for their after life in so far as whatever they might be going in for and give them an interest in it. It would take from the humdrum of school life even if it were only a few lectures.

Many of the ordinary labourers' homes and gardens are creditable but many, I am sorry to say, are not and it would be well to have a lecturer occasionally to come down and encourage the children to have other interests in addition to book learning and the other subjects which are necessities for after life in order to give them an interest. Every trade is a profession when it comes to a person having to earn his or her living. We should try to prepare the children of the present day at school for what they have to do to earn their living in order to keep themselves and their families later on.

It ought to be made quite clear in schools that a non-national need not have the subject of Irish as compulsory to take an ordinary examination, thereby perhaps failing him in a very important examination although there is no necessity for him to have Irish. Next we come to the question of technical schools. I think the Department should do something in the way of propaganda, on the wireless, perhaps, or an occasional lecture throughout the various schools, to impress upon the girls the importance and the necessity to take advantage of the excellent technical schools in the areas in which they live. So many people nowadays are quite unfitted to do anything in their own homes or in anyone else's. I think it is lamentable because long ago people in this country did not have the opportunity of learning these things. I think the technical schools should almost make it imperative for every girl to attend at least once a week when she leaves school since our leaving age is so very low. I really do think that something ought to be done to encourage the attendance of the girls to take advantage of it.

As you all know there are a great many public examinations every year. The results of those examinations could and should be made known to the various schools concerned. It is almost the end of August before the schools know whether the child has passed or not and it is impossible for the head, the rector or the Mother Prioress to place that particular boy or girl in the correct class. It is purely guesswork and it would, I know, benefit the schools if the results of the examination could be known within a reasonable time, say, six weeks before the school is due to reopen. If the Minister could keep this point in mind it would have the backing of at least the few schools I have been talking to and I understand that there are many more to whom I have not been speaking who are of the same opinion. In conclusion I want to say that I think a special drive ought to be made through the country to encourage the young people to take an interest in the technical schools. I also think the Minister ought to devise some kind of system for the boys to have instructors down to give them a particular interest in their own job. I believe that this will be of help to the teachers because they may have a dull boy or a dull girl who may have an aptitude for a particular thing, and it would be a help and an encouragement to the child and to the parents concerned.

Is maith an rud é ná fuil Teachtaí eile sa Tigh atá ar aon intinn leis an dTeachta atá tar éis labhairt mar gheall ar mhúineadh na Gaeilge sna scoileanna. Is beag atá le rá agam sa díospóireacht so, ach amháin aontú leis na Teachtaí go léir a labhair ar son na Gaeilge agus cúpla pointe eile do chur fé bhráid an Aire. Tá a lán déanta ar son na teangan sna scoileanna agus lasmuigh díobh, ach is dóigh liomsa nach bhfuil ár ndoithin déanta againn, ná á dhéanamh againn, fé láthair. Tá rud éigin cearr leis an gcorus agus tá súil agam go réiteofar an rud atá cearr leis go luath, agus go han-luath.

I would like here and now to disagree with the sentiments of the last speaker who practically denounced Irish as a medium of education. Many people of my age were educated through Irish. We learned most of our school subjects through Irish. Some of us learned all our school subjects through Irish. It was during my time at school that the change over to Irish from teaching subjects through English took place. I, for one, never felt any impact as a result of that change. I have never held myself out as a model student, or as a student above the average, but I do say that my education was not impaired as a result of learning arithmetic, algebra and chemistry and other subjects through the medium of the Irish language. I felt that the change over helped me in learning Irish, and certainly did not hinder me in learning other subjects. I am sure it also helped the teachers inasmuch as it gave them an extra opportunity of perfecting their knowledge of Irish when teaching through the medium of the language. They had not then to devote too much attention to the language, and so they had the opportunity of concentrating on different aspects of other subjects.

A lot has been done on behalf of the language, but there is something wrong with our system. At this stage, most people of the age of about 35, and younger, should be able to conduct almost every transaction of their ordinary lives through the medium of Irish, even in the cities and towns. We surely learned enough Irish in school. We were spoken to often enough and were proficient enough in Irish to be able to do that. I think that people like me are, to a certain extent, responsible for that lack of progress. There is a certain amount of lack of moral courage amongst people in using Irish. Thank goodness, it is dying out. I remember the time when, if one spoke Irish outside the school, certain people would ridicule one for doing so. One was almost put in the class of a bog man, as Irish speakers may have been then described. If we could get over this shyness, this feeling of the sense of shame we have in using Irish, I think a great deal of progress could be made.

I would say that people, even with a small knowledge of the language—I do not say I have an extensive knowledge of it—should avail of every public occasion at least to use the language without being hypocritical. In most of the public speeches that I have made since coming into public life, I have made an effort to use as much Irish as I possibly could in order to be relevant to the subject that I was dealing with. I did so in the course of a recent debate here. I was ridiculed for doing that, and was called a hypocrite for doing so by a member of an opposing political party. I know that was not the view of the Party the Deputy supports. I think that when people make a genuine effort, as I was doing, to foster the language, to get over this lack of moral courage and to show some degree of good example, it is reprehensible for anyone to ridicule a person who tries to do that. Perhaps my remarks will not be popular in some districts among some people of my own age. I do not care, if I can bring home my point to them that they should not be ashamed of their own language. I think it is ridiculous and disgraceful.

As regards education generally, again it may be an unpopular thing for me to say that I think this country is too educated and that some people are not as well educated as they were in the old days. I think they are far better educated. When I say "too educated" I mean that they are educated primarily with a view to making all of us doctors, lawyers or scientists.

Or clerical workers?

Possibly so. If general education continued up to the age of about 12, and, if after that, the education of young people was diverted or at least encouraged generally to more vocational lines, I think that we would come eventually to a solution for the glut of people that we have in the professions, and of the necessity there is to export a large percentage of our graduates. People should realise that it is not a degrading thing to learn a trade. On the contrary, I think that a person who is skilful in a trade is certainly of more value to the country than a person skilful in a profession. In the school that I attended there was a technical branch. That was a step in the direction I speak of. I think it was possibly the only school in Ireland where you had the primary, the technical and the secondary systems running hand in hand. I refer to the North Monastery in Cork. Young people were eligible, I think, to enter the technical branch about the age of 12 which was generally the age at which their primary education finished. Young fellows attending that school had a choice of doing the usual secondary course and of preparing themselves for the intermediate and leaving certificate examinations, or of going into what was described as the trades preparatory school. I have no reason to doubt that many of the lads in my class who went into that school were more intelligent than the vast majority of us who went into the secondary branch. They possibly would have achieved a greater degree of success in the intermediate and leaving certificate examinations than we did, but thanks to a bit of foresight and encouragement from the teachers they now find themselves in very lucrative positions and very skilful in the avocations they follow. In many cases they are able to earn far more money than those of us who did not go to the trades preparatory school. I think that if that system was broadened, if general education finished sooner, and vocational education started earlier, that with the assistance of the trade unions by relaxing their regulations with regard to apprenticeship, we would have a solution for the shortage of skilled labour that we are experiencing at the present time.

I have been asked specifically to make a point with regard to the size of the classes. I think it is beyond doubt that a teacher cannot cope with a class of between 50 or 60 pupils. You have classes of that size, particularly in populous areas. The teachers themselves believe that a class of between 25 or 30 is sufficient for any man or woman to cope with. I think it will be agreed that each pupil in a class is entitled to a certain amount of individual attention. A teacher with between 50 or 60 pupils cannot possibly cope with the pupils who are lagging behind. If the size of the class were reduced the teacher would get to know the pupils better. He would be able to know the pupils who were following the subject that he was dealing with— those who were able to keep up with him and those who were lagging behind. He would then be able to give individual attention to what we describe as the "backward students."

Generally speaking, in the cities the condition of schools is of a reasonably good standard but, from my knowledge of the country areas, the school houses there leave very much to be desired and, as the years go on, they are getting worse. If the general comfort of pupils in schools were looked after more young people would be encouraged to stay longer in school and not to leave school, as they are doing at present, at the age of 14. Most young people think they will never see the day when they will be able to leave school but, if they were happy and comfortable at school, it would be a sub-during at least of the natural desire to leave school.

I meant to deal with the question raised by Deputy Mrs. Redmond about relying more on English as a medium of education because it helps those who have to go abroad. If there is anything that would tend to foster emigration more than that, I am afraid I would find it hard to find. If that is the only reason why we should keep English as a medium of education in all subjects, the Emigration Commission is wasting its time.

Most of the people who know better than I do tell me that they are quite prepared to await future developments as regards the pensions of retired teachers and I shall leave that question to future developments.

I made a point last year and, so far as I know, the position has not been remedied. I suppose the longer I am in this House the more reason I will have to make points repeatedly. I have often heard Deputies saying that they have made points year after year on Estimates. The matter I refer to is the question of rent allowances to teachers. In Cork, teachers living and teaching within the city area receive a rent allowance of £30 a year. The Cork Borough boundary is very restricted having regard to the size of the city as we know it. The actual city extends in many cases about a mile outside the borough boundary and right along the circumference of the borough boundary we have schools which, according to the Departmental archives, are country schools and therefore teachers teaching in those schools are in receipt of country rent allowances of £10 whereas in practically all cases they reside in the city. Even if they did not reside in the city but a short distance outside their school areas I would say that these teachers should be entitled to the same rent allowance as the teachers teaching and residing in the city, that is, £30 a year. That is a point I made last year and the position has not improved. I got a letter only the other day on the subject.

There is also discrimination in the rent allowances of secondary teachers. According to a Departmental regulation published some time ago, the rent allowance varies according as the teacher lives and teaches in Dublin or in a rural area. In Dublin and the Borough of Dun Laoghaire, he gets £40. In the County Borough of Cork, £30, and so on down to £10 in rural areas. I have one particular case in mind where a teacher teaching in a school a short distance outside the Cork Borough boundary, living even a shorter distance outside the borough boundary, is in receipt of a rent allowance as if he were living in the remotest country area. His expenses are probably as high if not higher, by reason of having to travel a little extra distance to school, than the expenses of secondary teachers who live and teach within the borough boundary. The inequity of this particular regulation is that, according to the regulation, the Minister for Education, with the consent of the Minister for Finance, may authorise the payment of the rate appropriate to Dublin to teachers of certain schools situated a short distance outside the Dublin Borough boundary. That is unfair discrimination in favour of Dublin. I certainly do not disagree with this provision in the regulations because I think it is only just but why should the Minister for Education be precluded from making the same extension in favour of teachers who teach in schools outside Cork and outside Limerick and other county borough areas? I say there is no justification for continuing that kind of case. It is easily remedied and should be remedied without undue delay.

I wish also to make a point about teachers in vocational schools. They are described officially as temporary part-time teachers. These temporary part-time teachers have no other occupation but the description would imply that they had another occupation and that they were on a temporary part-time basis in the vocational schools for only a very limited period of time.

Temporary whole-time is the word.

There are temporary part-time teachers and they can be designated as such over a long period of time. I think it is grossly unfair to allow the Department to take advantage of that fact. During holiday periods these teachers do not receive one penny and they have no pension rights whatever. It is grossly unfair that these men and women, who are efficient enough to be entrusted with the care of classes over a long period of time, should be kept in the position that for three months of summer holidays and six weeks of Christmas and Easter holidays they receive no remuneration. When the holidays are over the managers expect them to come running again and form classes. As everybody knows, vocational education is becoming so popular that it is very easy to form a class and call in the services of these temporary part-time teachers. I recommend to the Minister that that condition of affairs should be remedied.

Ba mhaith liom cúpla rud a rá ar an Meastachán seo. Tá aon cheist amháin a thagann in aigne gach duine go bhfuil suim aige ins an scéal nuair bhíonn an Meastachán seo os comhair na Dála, sin í ceist na Gaeilge. Bhí sé ar siúl anseo gach uile bhliain ó tháinig mise anseo mar Theachta Dála, an cheist chéanna i dtaobh conas mar a bhí ag éirí leis an nGaeilge. Tá baint níos dlúithe ag na Meastacháin seo go léir atá os ár gcomhair leis an gceist sin ná mar atá ag aon Mheastachán eile agus tá baint níos dlúithe ag Roinn an Oideachais le obair na Gaeilge ná mar atá ag aon Roinn eile atá faoi chúram na Dála. Ba mhaith liom ceist a chur lom díreach ar an Aire—cad é cuspóir an Rialtais maidir le aithbheochaint na Gaeilge.

Cad is ciall leis sin?

Tá mé chun caint gan aon chur isteach ó aon duine.

Cheapas go ndúirt an Teachta go raibh ceist aige.

Tig leis an Aire na ceisteanna atáim a chur a fhreagairt nuair bheas sé ag críochnú na díospóireachta.

Agus freagróidh mé iad má thuigim iad.

Agus ligfear dó é a dhéanamh gan aon chur isteach ó aon duine. Sean-chleas é sin ag an duine céanna cur isteach ar dhuine. Teastaíonn uaim an cheist seo a chur chuige. Chuala mé anseo go minic é blianta ó shoin ag ceistniú Tomáis Uí Dheirg nuair bhí sé ina Aire agus a rá go mba cheart dó bheith ina Aire ar earraí in ionad ina Aire Oideachais. Ba mhaith liom anois, ós rud é go bhfuil sé i bhfeighil Aireachta an Oideachais, a fhiafraí dhe cad é cuspóir an Rialtais seo maidir le aithbheochaint na Gaeilge. Léigheas sa pháipear le déanaí go ndúirt Aire eile, an tAire Gnóthaí Eachtracha, gurb é an chuspóir ná tír dhá-theangach a bheith againn, is é sin, an Béarla agus an Ghaeilge bheith á labhairt lámh le chéile is dócha. Dúirt mé anseo cheana go minic, agus deirim arís é, nach féidir a leithéid a bheith amhlaidh. Ní mhaireann dhá theanga taobh le chéile in aon tír. Gheobhaidh teanga amháin an lámh uachtair. Is é ba cheart a bheith mar chuspóir againn anseo an Ghaeilge a bheith in uachtar.

Tá comharthaí áirithe againn sa Mheastachán seo na fuil ró-fhónta. Táim ag tagairt do na laghduithe i bhfo-mhíreanna áirithe sa Mheastachán, an laghdú, cuir i gcás, sa deontas a bhí á fháil go dtí seo ag Comhdháil Náis-iúnta na Gaeilge. Laghdaíodh anuraidh é ó £10,000 go £8,000 agus is é an tAire Airgeadais nua ba chúis leis sin, agus tá laghdú ann i mbliana go dtí £6,000. Nuair a cuireadh an Chomhdháil sin ar bun bhí brón ormsa—agus ba thrua liom ariamh—go mbeadh gluaiseachta mar é ag braith ar chabhair ó aon Rialtas nó ón Stát. Ba thrua liom nach mbeadh sé ar chumas cabhair a fháil ón bpobal, ach ní mar sin a bhí. Hiarraidh cabhair agus tairgeadh cabhair don Chomhdháil ón lá a cuireadh ar bun í. B'fhéidir nach é an gléas oibre a bheadh ag chuile dhuine an gléas oibre a bhí ag an gComhdháil, ach thug na daoine a bhí ag gabháil dó a gcuid ama agus a gcuid oibre go fonnmhar chun gléas a chur ar bun a chuirfeadh chun cinn aithbheochaint na Gaeilge ar fud na tíre. Ní bhfuair an Chomhdháil aon tseans ceart chun spáint dúinne anseo agus chun spáint don tír an dtiochfadh siad i dtír nó a mhalairt. Sul má fuaireadar an seans chun é sin a dhéanamh gearradh an deontas agus gearradh arís é i mbliana. In áit an deontais a ghearradh, is éard ba cheart don Aire Oideachais a dhéanamh ná dul i gcomhairle le muintir na Comhdhála agus an scéal a phlé leo go cúramach, mion, agus ansin má bhí sé sásta ná raibh siad ag obair ar an mbealach ceart, é sin a chur in iúl dóibh ionas go bhfeadfaidís teacht ar mhalairt tuairimí le chéile.

Sin é an rud a dheineas.

Bhí mar chathaoirleach ar an gComhdháil fear a bhí ina Aire Airgeadais anseo blianta ó shoin, Earnán de Blaghad, agus pé difríochta eile a bhí idir mise agus mo chomh-Theachtaí ar na binsí seo agus an fear sin, thuigeamar go raibh sé dílis don Ghaeilge agus do chuspóirí an Ghaeleachais. Tá eagla orainn anois— agus is trua liom é—gur tógadh an Chomhdháil goirid sa rud a dhein an tAire Airgeadais. Is trua liom gur deineadh é.

Tá pointe eile gur mhaith liom tagairt dhó, is é sin, an deontas a tugadh do tréimhseacháin agus do pháipéirí nuachta. Gheibhim na páip-éirí agus na tréimhseacháin sin go léir agus léim iad. Aontaím leis an Teachta Ó Deirg gur tháinig feabhas orthu le blianta beaga anuas. Níl ach an t-aonpháipéar seachtainiúil ann,Indiu; b'fheidir nach mbéinnse ar aon-aigne le gach rud a scríobhtar ann, ach is iarracht fónta é agus bhí na daoine a bhain leis ar a ndícheall chun cúise na Gaeilge a chur chun cinn agus táim cinnte gur mar a chéile é do na tréimhseacháin eile. Níor cheart an deontas a bhaint díobh; chuir sé as dóibh go mór é a bhaint díobh. Sin comhartha amháin agus ní comhartha ró-fhónta é.

Níl cead agam, b'fhéidir, labhairt ar chomhartha eile. Rinne mé tagairt dhó anuraidh agus labhras air arís i mbliana —An Coimisiúin um Logainmneacha. Tá suim agam féin ann agus tá suim ag a lán daoine eile sa tír ann. Cé go bhfuil deireadh leis an gCoimisiún, tá cnámh an Choimisiúin ann, ach níl an obair a tugadh dhóibh le dhéanamh á dhéanamh. Tá sé déanach sa ló don obair sin anois mar is fada ó ba cheart é a dhéanamh.

Ba cheart don Aire freagra a thabhairt ar an gceist sin. Ba cheart dó a insint dúinn cad é cuspóir an Rialtais maidir le aithbheochaint na Gaeilge. Is cuimhin liom an gleo, an glór agus an fothrom a bhí le cloisint ar an Meastachán seo ó bhinsí na "nGael," i dtaobh na Gaeilge, aithbheochaint na Gaeilge, múineadh trí Ghaeilge agus gach rud a bhain leis an nGaeilge. Dúrthas go raibh an Ghaeilge ag déanamh diobhála d'aigne na bpáistí agus d'aigne na scoláirí agus nach raibh ar siúl againn ach "murder machine." Ba cheart go gcuimneodh an Aire orthu chomh maith. Tá súil agam go mbeidh athrú ar a bport anois. Chualamuid cuid acu inniu ach ní raibh siad chomh glórach i mbliana. Tá poinnte eile ann gur mhaith liom tagairt dhó chomh maith. Rinne an tAire athrú sa chúrsa bunscoile. Rinne sé tagairt do scoileanna naíonán maidir le múineadh trí Ghaeilge. Is athrú beag é agus tá súil againn nach athrú mór a thiocfas as. B'fhéidir go raibh cúis aige leis an athrú sin a dhéanamh agus tá súil agam gur maitheas don Ghaeilge agus d'aithbheochaint na Gaeilge a thiocfas as. Má sábhálfar an Ghaeilge is ins na bunscoileanna a caithfear an obair a dhéanamh. Tá cúram ar na scoileanna eile chomh maith ach an chuid is mó d'aois scoile na tíre seo ní fhághann siad ach oideachas bunscoile. Is fíor é sin faoi 80 per cent. d'aos scoile na tíre. Tá 20 per cent. ann a rachaidh níos sia agus ins an gcás sin freisin is ins na bunscoileanna a cuirfear an bunchloch. Má tá mid chun an Ghaeilge a shábháil agus a chur á labhairt arís ar fud Éireann uile, tá buntáiste againn sna bunscoileanna anois ná raibh ann nuair a bhíos ag dul ar scoil. Ní raibh aon Ghaeilge ar siúl ins na scoileanna sin agus níor fhoghlaimíos focal di go dtí gur fhágas an bhunscoil. Bhí an scéal céanna ag cuid mhór eile de na scoláirí a bhí ag dul ar scoil le mo linn. Ní raibh an Ghaeilge ach ag fíor-bheagán díobh.

Tá a fhíos ag a lán Teachta nár b'fhéidir an Ghaeilge a mhúineadh le linn gnáth-chlár na scoile. Tá athrú mór ar an scéal anois agus rud eile dhe tá líon nua múinteoirí ag fás chugainn anois á noiliúnt d'aon-ghnó chun go mbeidís ábalta a gcuid oibre a dhéanamh i slí is go bhféadfaí an Ghaeilge a shábháil agus a chur ó bhaol. Le himtheacht aimsire beidh na múinteoirí sin níos líonmhara agus is gairid eile ná beidh fágaithe de na múinteoirí a hoileadh fén sean-réim ach fíor-bheagán. Nílim ag fáil aon locht ar na múinteoirí sin. Is iontach an obair a rinneadar san agus an dúracht agus an misneach a thaispeánadar in obair aithbeochaint na teangan agus níor mhaith liom aon ní a rá ina choinne. Nílim ar aon-aigne leis na daoine adúirt nach bhfuil caighdeán na mbunscoil chomh hárd anois agus bhí sé 30 bliain ó shoin. Tá sé a bhfad níos fearr agus i bhfad níos aoirde agus obair a bhfad níos fónta á dhéanamh agus a déanadh nuair a bhíos ag dul ar scoil fén sean-réim. Is bocht an scéal ag aon duine anseo nó in aon áit eile adeir a mhalairt nó a chreideann a mhalairt, mar níl sé fíor. Tá cruthú amháin agamsa ar sin. Ó thángas isteach sa Dáil seo sé bliana déag ó shoin gheibhim a lán litreacha agus cuid mhaith acu i nGaeilge ó dhaoine sa Galltacht, cur i gcás i gContae Luimnigh. Gheibhim litreacha i mBéarla chomh maith agus tá difríocht an-mhór idir na litreacha a thagann chugam le blianta beaga anuas agus sé bliana déag ó shoin. Is fearr agus is cruinne ins gach slí na litreacha anois a thagann chugam anois. Scríobhann na daoine óga atá tar éis na bunscoileanna d'fhágaint le cúig nó sé bliain anuas níos cruinne.

Rinne an tAire tagairt, sa ráiteas a thug sé, do staid na dtithe scoile agus d'obair tógála, don ghá atá le bunscoileanna nua ar fud na tíre. Tá sé sin fíor. Deineadh a lán i dtaobh na hoibre sin. Tógadh a lán tithe nua agus deisíodh cuid mhaith eile ach tá a lán le déanamh fós. Cuid mhaith de na foirgnimh atá ann tá siad ann le 80 bliain agus cuid eile níos mó ná sin. Bhíodar go han-mhaith nuair a tógadh iad. Cheap na daoine a bhí beo ansin gurb iontach agus miarúilteach an obair a rinne na sagairt a thóg iad, nó ba chúis le iad a thógáil. Bhí a mhalairt de shaol ann an uair sin. Tá na scoileanna seo, cuid mhaith díobh, go holc agus go lofa anois. Tógadh iad díreach gairid tar éis aimsire na géarleanúna sa tír seo agus b'iontach an iarracht agus an obair an uair sin iad a thógáil. Dob é pobal an pharóiste a sholáthraigh an t-airgead ar fad an uair sin agus ba mhiarúilteach an obair gur eirigh leis na paróistí na foirgnimh a chur suas. Bhíodar maith go leor an tráth úd ach níl siad maith go leor anois agus tá fíor-ghá le scoileanna nua anois in a lán paróistí ar fud na tíre. Ach ceist achrannach an cheist seo; tógáil na dtithe scoile nua nó deisiú na sean-scoil. Bíonn triúr i bpáirt sna scoileanna sin. An bainisteoir ar an gcéad dul síos; ansin an Roinn Oideachais, agus sa tríú áit, Oifig na nOibreacha Poiblí. Nuair a bhíonn tú ag plé le dhá Roinn Rialtais bíonn a lán deacrachtaí le sárú agus bíonn moill an-mhór uaireanta idir an Roinn Oideachais agus Oifig na nOibreacha Poiblí. Ansin bíonn deacrachtaí áitiúila le sárú chomh maith. Bíonn ar an mbainisteoir deontas áitiúil a sholáthar agus bíonn sé deacair uaireanta, é sin a dhéanamh. Tá athrú mór ar an scéal sin le blianta beaga anuas. Tá costas tógála d'aon tsórt an-ard ar fad faoi láthair. Tá sé méadaithe faoi thrí muna bhfuil agus faoi cheathair ó 1939, agus tá na bainisteoirí, gan aon amhras, eaglach tabhairt faoi chuid mhór airgid a bhailiú b'fhéidir ó pharóiste bocht. Sé an taithí atá agamsa go mbíonn an Roinn sásta cabhrú go mór leis na bainisteoirí chun an obair seo a chur chun cinn. Tá ábhair thógála níos flúirsí anois. Níl siad chomh saor agus a bhí roimh an gcogadh. Ní dóigh liom go bhfuil an deontas áitiúil rómhór ar fad—b'fhéidir go bhfuil, in áiteanna, agus tá súil agam go mbeidh an Roinn chomh báigiúil agus is féidir leis na bainisteoirí maidir leis an deontas áitiúil agus go raghfar chun cinn go tréan le hobair tógáil na scoileanna nua mar tá dian-ghá leis.

Caithfidh mé a rá nach bhfuil aon ghaisge mhór déanta fós ag an Aire maidir leis an gceist seo. Tá súil agam go ndéanfar níos mó i mbliana ná anuraidh. Níl aon ghaisge déanta ag an Aire fós thar mar rinne an tAire a bhí ann roimhe. Tá cuid mhaith déanta ach tá chuid mhaith le déanamh fós. Tá cuid de na tithe scoile go holc ar fad agus géar-ghá le scoilleanna nua a chur ina n-áit.

Ba mhaith liom tagairt do cheist-eanna ar dearnadh tagairt dóibh ag Teachtaí eile, go speisialta na geall-úintí nár comhlíonadh fós. Tá na siciní ag teacht ar ais chuig an Aire. Bhí sé go hard-ghlórach ag caint nuair a bhí sé ar an taobh seo den Teach agus tá súil agam nach mbeidh siad ina sean-chearea sara mbeidh na geall-úintí comhlíonta. Mar gheall ar an gComhairle Oideachais—an chéad geallúint—níl mórán iontaobh agam féin as an gComhairle chéanna ach ós rud é gur tugadh an gheallúint go gcuirfí ar bun é ní thuigim an mhoill atá leis. Bhí leithscéal ag an Aire cúpla mí ó shoin gur thaestaigh uaidh níos mó staidéir a dhéanamh ar an Roinn agus ar chúrsaí Oideachais ach ní mar sin a thuigeamar an scéal nuair a bhíodh sé ag caint ar an dtaobh seo. Ba mhaith liom go n-inseodh an tAire dhúinn nuair a bheidh sé ag freagairt cad daríribh is cúis leis an moill atá le bunú an Comhairle seo.

Tá tuille eolais uaim.

Cad é dáríribh is cúis leis an moill? Thug sé leithscéal bacach éigin dúinn. Cad iad na constaicí agus na deacrachtaí a tháinig sa tslí air?

Easpa eolais orm féin.

Is ait an scéal é sin.

Go bhfóire Dia orainn. Bhfuil aon deacracht eile sa tsli ar an Aire seachas easpa eolais?

Ar mhaith leis an Teachta go mbeidh?

Ba mhaith liom a chloisint ón Aire an bhfuil aon deacrachtaí eile ann nó an bhfuair sé aon deacrachtaí eile seachas easpa eolais agus cad iad. Tá ceist eile go mbíodh an tAire go hard-glórach fiúthí nuair a bhí sé arna binsí seo is é sin ranganna móra. Tá ranganna móra anseo i mBaile Atha Cliath agus i gCorcaigh agus b'fhéidir i Luimneach agus is amhlaidh in áiteanna eile go bhfuil na ranganna ró-bheag. Tá na deacrachtaí le sárú chomh maith agus tá an tAire ag plé leis le bliain. Ní fheadar mé an bhfuil mórán déanta fós aige. Bhfuil aon tsocrú déanta aige chun an galar sin a leigheas?

Cloisimis an chaint eile mar gheall ar cheist eile le blianta anuas—mar gheall ar an aois fágála d'ardú ó 14 go 16. Tá fhios againn go raibh sé socair an aois sin d'ardú go dtí 16. Tá a lán rúdaí le sárú sar a mbeidh sé ar chumas an Aire an t-ardú sin a chur i bhfeidhm agus tá sé faighte amach aige anois muna raibh sé faighte amach aige cheanna.

An gheallúint is mó a bhí i gceist ag an Aire agus ag a lucht leanúna ar na binsí taobh thiar de ná ceist na múinteoirí atá ar pinsean. Cloisfimid mar gheall orthu amárach. Tá an tAire in oifig le bliain anois agus ba chóir, do réir na ngeallúintí a thug sé i scríbhinn don Chumann, go mbeadh réiteach aige ar an gceist agus gan é bheith ag feitheamh go dtí "amárach." Tá ceist airgid ag baint leis seo. Deireadh gach soiscéil an t-airgead agus is caist airgid atá ag cur stop len a lán rudaí sa tír seo agus ar fud an domhain. Bhí an cheist sin ann i gcónaí agus beidh ann an fhad a bheas an tAire in a Aire agus an Rialtas in a Rialtas. Beidh sí ós ár gcomhair gach lá sa tseachtain agus is dóigh liom gur thuig an tAire go maith é nuair a bhí an chaint ghlórach aige mar gheall ar na pointí sin. Dúirt an tAire go bhfuil cigireacht faoi leith bunaithe aige mar gheall ar an nGaelthacht—cigirí faoi leith tofa aige agus fo-roinn chigireachta faoi leith bunaithe aige agus go mbeadh obair eile seachas obair ins na bun scoileanna le déanamh acu. An amhlaidh a bheas na cigirí seo ag tinnreamh imeasc na ndaoine chomh maith nó cad é an obair a bhíodh ar siúl acu. B'fhéidir go mba mhaith an rud an fho-roinn sin a chur ar bun agus triail a bhaint as féachaint an gcuirfeadh sé feabhas ar staid na Gaeilge agus ar labhairt na teangan go mór mór sna ceantracha sa deisceart go bhfuil an Gaeilge lag iontu fé láthair. Tá súil agam go n-éireoidh go geal leis an iarracht sin, chun an Gaeilge a shábháil ins na ceantracha sin.

Cé gur chaitheas an chuid is mó den lá ag éisteacht leis an díospóireacht, níor chualas tagairt ar bith do litir a furathas an lá fé dheire ó Cumann na Scríbhneoirí. Is dóigh liom go bhfuil cóip de ag an Aire. Ní fheadar an bhfuair sé an litir seo mar tá tagairt ann d'agallamh a bhí idir an Cumann agus an tAire agus ar an ábhar san is dóigh liom nach bhfuair sé an litir seo.

Fuaras, ó Chumann na Scríbhneoirí, timpeall coicís nó mar sin ó shoin. Bhí caint agam leo, pé ar domhan é, tamall ó shoin.

Ní bhfuaireas an litir seo go dtí cúpla lá o shoin. Ins an litir, tá tagairt don comhrá a bhí acu leis an Aire agus deirtear ann nach raibh aon toradh ar an gcomhrá sin.

Fós. Tá rud áirithe molta ag an gCumann agus nuair deireann an tAire "fós" tá súil agam go mbeidh toradh éigin as.

Ba mhaith liom an Teachta a chloisint. Ba mhaith an rud é an cheist do chur trí chéile annseo anois. Cheapas gurb shin é an rud a bhí in aigne an Teachta.

Ní raibh ar aigne agam ach tagairt do dhéanamh don ábhar comhra agus an cheist do chur ar an Aire annseo an bhfuil sé sásta geilleadh don éileamh atá acu? Ní raibh sé ar aigne agam ach tagairt do dhéanamh dó.

B'fhéidir gur mhaith an rud é an gearán atá acu a bhreacadh síos ar Leabhra na Dála agus ansin beidh a fhios ag gach éinne cad tá uathu.

Tá ceithre eathnacha ann.

Luaigh na poinnte is mó atá ann.

Is é is dóigh liom an rud is fearr dom a dhéanamh ansin ná píosa de a léamh amach. Is é an rud atá molta ag an gcumann ná an Gúm a athbhunú ma chumann neamhspleách a bheadh saor ó smacht Roinne Stáit. Ansin in áit eile deireann siad:

"Ba cheart freisin scéim a cheapadh le deontaisí a thabhairt d'fhoilsitheoirí priobháideacha ar son leabhra áirithe go mbeadh fiúntas leo d'fhoillsiú."

Molaim don Aire an dá rud sin agus sílim gur cheart aire a thabhairt dóibh.

Ní raibh sé ar intinn agam tagairt ar bith a dhéanamh do cheist na Gaeilge— bhí a fhios agam go mbeadh a lán daoine ag trácht ar an gceist sin—ach amháin é seo a rá. Déantar an iomarca cainte mar gheall uirthi agus ní déantar dóthain cainte innti.

I am sorry Deputy Mrs. Redmond has gone, because I feel that some other references should be made to a few of the points made by her. I could not follow her concern for the exemption of non-nationals from the obligation of learning Irish and of having Irish as an examination subject. Those non-nationals to whom she refers, so far as I have learned about them, are children who came over here as a result of war conditions. They made extraordinary progress in the learning of Irish in the schools here. I refer particularly to some German children, of whom other Deputies have perhaps a more intimate knowledge than I. I have been told that in a very short time these German children, who knew only the German language, became amazingly proficient both in Irish and in English. That seems to me to go a long way towards laying the ghost that has been raised about compulsory Irish and the hardship which it is supposed to bring on our children.

I feel sure many complaining parents would be very slow to concede that their children are not as intelligent as the children of other people. They would be very slow to concede that their children are not as intelligent as those children who are able to learn Irish and I feel sure they would be quite insulted if they were told that their children are unintelligent in comparison with those children who have been able to learn the Irish language, including children from quite a different country. I think that is an aspect of the question which ought to be brought to their attention. It should be quite clear to them that in complaining so vigorously as they do they are belittling their own children's intelligence.

I should like to congratulate Deputy de Valera on what I consider was the most valuable contribution to this debate. I was tremendously impressed by the manner in which he dealt with a very deep subject. One thing that struck me about it was that the excellence of his speech rather falsified the argument he was making, which was to the effect that the system under which he was educated was not as good as the one which preceded it. He was making the case that the system under which pupils were taught well a few subjects years ago was a better educational system than the one we have at the present time which, in his opinion, gives our students a wide but superficial knowledge. I think his own record as a scholar and, indeed, the manner in which he was able to deal with the whole subject this evening, would seem to show that the educational system with which he found such fault is one which brought great benefit to himself.

On the general question and on the outlook of parents and what they may expect from the schools, I agree that character training with a spiritual background is, of course, of first importance but, having got that foundation, I would disagree with Deputy de Valera to the extent that I think that the wider field affords better scope and offers a wider choice to children in the selection of their careers. While I know that education is still expensive here it is, nevertheless, available and we would all wish that it were made more freely available than it is. I move to report progress.

Progress reported; the Committee to sit again to-morrow.
The Dáil adjourned at 10.30 p.m. until 3 p.m. on Wednesday, 4th May, 1949.