Committee on Finance. - Vóta 30—Oifig an Aire Oideachais (Atógáil).

Debate resumed on the following motion:
Go gcuirfear an Meastachán siar chun a aithbhreithnithe.
—(Deputy P. O'Donnell)

Nuair a bhíos ag labhairt ar an Meastachán seo cheana, d'iarras ar an Aire iarracht a dhéanamh chun cultúr na tíre seo a thúirt thar n-ais ar fud na tíre. On the last occasion, we pointed out that Ireland was one of the few countries of Europe where education beyond the primary level was not as yet regarded as a fundamental right. We deplore the fact that vast reservoirs of human talent and skill are as yet untapped here. We deplore the fact that there is as yet no opportunity for the poor man's child to attain to the fullness of educational, cultural and spiritual pursuits in his own land. We look to the day when a progressive Minister for Education will give our children not merely free primary but free secondary, vocational and university education.

This debate usually ends in a ferocious defence of or attack on the revival of the Irish language. We, in the Labour Party, are as conscious of our tradition and ancient heritage as any other Party. Our claim to separation from England was based on the fact that we were a separate and distinct nation with a culture of our own. We want to see the Irish language revived but we want the element of compulsion or punishment eliminated from it. We should like ways and means devised to inculcate a love of the language in our children. It is true that the language revival is on the wane and many are becoming very pessimistic about its prospects. I think the Minister would do well to consult with the Gaelic League and kindred associations, and with Gael Linn, with a view to bringing about the upsurge of enthusiasm that is so important. Gaeltacht areas again need particular attention from the point of view of making employment available.

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

I remember vividly a vacation at Spiddal, County Galway, and in a Gaeltacht household there was a child of about four years of age. She used to tell me stories about birds and other things in the Gaelic language. I was appalled to learn before I left that house that the child was being transported to Manchester to her mother and father. That is what is killing the language: the native speakers are forced to go because there are no opportunities at home for them.

We are concerned that this matter of the language shall not be made a political issue. We should try to satisfy ourselves that the motives of those who are seeking ways and means of reviving the language are genuine, that they are not actuated by anti-Irish or pro-British sentiments. The position of our Party could best be summed up in the words of Connolly himself when he said:

We are not bigoted on the language question; we recognise, however, that in this country those who drop Irish in favour of English are generally actuated by the meanest of motives, are lickspittles desirous of aping the gentry whereas the rank and file are for the most part thoroughly democratic in sentiment and spirit. If these latter did not so persistently revert for their inspiration to the past, they would lose little and gain much in our estimation.

Other Deputies have discussed the cost of education here. I ask the Minister to do all he can to eliminate the element of class distinction and the social barriers that exist at present. Apart from the cost of secondary education, the Minister will have regard to the additional impost on poor families for provision of books and clothing of various kinds, all calculated to hinder and make it more difficult for the poor family to avail of secondary and higher education.

I think it is true that there are approximately 700 schools that are condemned in the country. That is a very serious situation. Certainly in my constituency we have too may schools that are not merely dilapidated, unsightly and unfit for children to inhabit, especially in winter, but that are insanitary as well. We know of schools where water and sewerage are available outside the gate and yet these schools have no flush toilet facilities for upwards of 200 children attending them. There ought to be more co-operation in this regard between the Minister and his counterpart in the Department of Health to ensure that where amenities of this kind are available they will be installed in the schools.

The facet of our educational system which appeals most to me is vocational education. It is in the vocational schools that boys and girls have most freedom and most scope for the development of their particular aptitudes. Our boys and girls are happiest in vocational schools where the best in them is brought out. I should like to see more money spent on vocational education. I am concerned about the vocational committees' insistence on charging fees; admitedly they are not too high but nevertheless they have their effect. I am concerned also about night classes where there is a certain amount of overcrowding. In most vocational schools—the Minister must turn his attention to this matter— preferential treatment is being given to cliques or groups who clutter up the classes and take up time that should be devoted to the ordinary boy and girl. In domestic economy, carpentry and other classes it is very evident that the same people are coming back every season, taking up the time of the teachers and keeping out boys and girls who could and should be pursuing these crafts or trades.

I want to support enthusiastically the plea made here in relation to the problem of the mentally handicapped. It is one of our greatest national scandals that there are so many mentally handicapped children for whom there are no suitable institutions of any kind. In local councils there are long lists of mentally handicapped children for whom there is no outlet whatsoever. They are a source of great sadness and tragedy in the family. The Minister should do what he can to provide proper schooling and training for these children, many of whom can be trained and can be made good citizens. I would ask the Minister to have regard to the guidance centres for such children to which Deputy Declan Costello referred earlier in the debate. I am not unmindful of the great work which is being done by the Order of St. John of God, the rehabilitation institute in this city, and a few other small places, but they are totally inadequate to cope with the shocking problem of the care and education of the mentally handicapped.

I am also concerned that there does not seem to exist in this country proper liaison between teacher and parent. I should like to see the parents having more rights in relation to the education of their children. I should like to see greater co-operation between parents, teachers and children. It is true to say that many parents only see the teacher and the child together when they wind up in court on the question of punishment, perhaps, or some such thing. Closer teacher-parent relations are desirable in order to ensure proper guidance of the children, to ensure that their capabilities and aptitudes are known to the parent and to enable the parent to exercise his fundamental right under our Constitution to have a very important say in the education of his or her child.

It will be realised how far behind the times our educational system is when one sees that the curriculum drafted in 1924 and modified in 1934 has changed little if anything since that date. If a sense of social duty does not activate an Irish Minister for Education to give us that free education we seek for all our people, the changing times will force him to do so. The hazards we are about to face in free trade demand that we utilise to the very best advantage all the skills and talents of our people. In that regard nothing must be allowed to go unexplored. There is a shocking wastage of talent due to emigration.

Before concluding I want to pay a very well deserved tribute to the Irish Christian Brothers to whom we all owe a deep debt of gratitude. No words of mine could ever adequately express that gratitude or the pride we take in the Christian Brothers because of their educational achievements, the ideals they inculcated in us and the courtesy, respect and kindness they showed always to their pupils. They have sent Irishmen abroad to the four corners of the world, of sterling quality, of character, dignity and uprightness, beacons of light in a well-nigh pagan world. The boys of the Christian Brothers have contributed to the social, cultural and economic life of most countries, particularly America and the British colonies. It is vitally important that such empire builders should be afforded an opportunity of working at home.

I would again appeal to the Minister to indicate to us when or whether it is hoped to provide free secondary education. We regard free secondary education as vital to the economy of the country and as the portals to university education, which is the right of all our children. Too many nitwits of the rich clutter up our universities. If a higher entrance examination were set for the universities to keep out that type that cannot and do not benefit by higher education, the money might be very well spent in affording to the children of the poor who have the talents, the opportunity of benefiting by it.

According to the Minister's brief, the vote for Education has increased this year by £2,400,000. I suppose that was necessary because of the various increases in pay, and so on. I notice the Minister said that the rate for staffing improvement will be given a further impetus when the building plans for St. Patrick's Training College are completed. I think over all the mistakes and all the blunders that Fianna Fáil have made in their time. I see a young Minister now faced with the necessity of extending this training college. I remember the fine de la Salle Training College closed up in my constituency by the Fianna Fáil Government. If it had been left in operation, as it should have been left, it would be there to-day to enable the Minister to commence immediately his staffing improvement.

Some time ago, I was made aware of the great interest the Minister has in civics. I welcome that interest and I compliment him on having that interest. I would exhort him to make that one of the foremost policies in the immediate future. I listened to my colleague, Deputy Treacy, talking about the parents and the teachers. I disagree with him entirely in the views he expressed. There is too much talk to-day about child psychology and too little talk about ordinary discipline.

There is no use in talking about the Christian Brothers sending men out to conquer the earth; these men the Brothers sent out in previous generations were taught in schools where discipline was firm—I could say hard —and that discipline was no drawback to the pupils. We are now in an age in which the parents are afraid of the children and the teachers are afraid of the parents. What can a teacher do? God help the children because of their parents, because of the interference by the parents in going to the schools and forbidding the teachers to discipline their little treasures.

Hear, hear!

There should be firm discipline in the schools. There should be good order in the schools. Certain words, which have fallen into disuse, should be taught in the schools, little words that are practically forgotten—"please" and "thank you". Respect for public property should be instilled into the children by their parents and not thrown over on to the shoulders of the teachers and the Department of Education. Civics will be successfully taught only with the co-operation of the parents. It is up to the parents to ensure that their children conduct themselves, particularly in public places. We have all had the experience in recent times of going to public places—let it be a concert hall or a theatre—and being almost trampled to death by young people. The young no longer give way to their elders. Young fellows push old ladies out of their way at bus stops. I am sorry to have to say it—I am not afraid to say it—that the standard of conduct of many children at Mass is not what it should be.

There is great need for teaching civics and teaching children how to conduct themselves when they come out from school in the evening. I place the main responsibility for such teaching not on the teachers but on the parents, the parents who, sad to say, will not today even allow the teachers to talk crossly to their children.

With regard to the language, it has been said here that we made a kind of political issue out of it. That can be said, and it can be said again, but I believe it is the duty of a political party, if they find something is not going the way it should go, to endeavour to find a solution. It is obvious to everybody that the Gaeltacht has been shrinking for the past 40 years. It is obvious that the methods of reviving the language, even though inspired by the highest ideals, have not been a success. My experience with the protagonists of the language is that they are far too intolerant. They will not listen to anybody where the language is concerned. They are intolerant of anyone who cannot speak the language well. If a person uses a little Irish, the protagonists of the language try to embarrass him. That is the normal practice.

The time has come when we must face this whole problem with realism. It has been said that we are shipping our Irish speakers out of the country; there is nothing for them at home. As far as Irish speakers, or native speakers, are concerned, the world is at their feet in their own country. They get preference in everything. They get preference in the Army. I asked the Minister for Defence the other day if it was possible for a young man in the Army to be promoted from the ranks to a commissioned officer, without the Irish language; it is a fact that he cannot. The sooner we remove the language as a barrier and a stumbling block, the sooner will we get people to love it and respect it.

Hear, hear!

It has been said on both sides of the House that we must inculcate more love and respect for the language. We will not do that so long as it is a barrier keeping a young boy out of the university, keeping a young soldier from being promoted from the ranks, or a brilliant young civic guard from promotion.

Hear, hear!

I hear people continually saying they are against compulsory Irish. Irish must be taught and children must be compelled to learn anything. Children must be compelled to learn arithmetic and spelling; children must be compelled to learn how to read; children must be compelled to learn Irish in school. It is quite correct to compel them to learn Irish in class, but, while being compulsory, it should not be essential. It should not be the key to position or preferment. It should not be the key that opens the door to patronage.

There are special schools for mentally retarded children. There are three for the deaf, two for the blind, three for children emotionally disturbed, epileptics, and so on. That is good. I know that Deputies have been pleading with the Minister to increase the number. Some even say that we have been doing nothing about it. My only comment in that connection is that you cannot do everything all at once.

I have seen advances in my constituency. A splendid voluntary organisation was set up there in the past four or five years. It is doing great work and, with the help of the Department of Education, it intends to do more. There should be more of that type of voluntary effort. People in every area should come forward to help these children and their parents. One of the best ways in which the Department of Education can help mentally retarded children is by setting up various classes of instruction for the parents of these children. In may cases, the unfortunate parents are distracted because of these children. They really do not know what to do with them. The more they are shown how to deal with these children, how to instruct them, how to talk to them, and so on, the better. That is a very important matter.

As regards secondary education, I had hoped the Minister would be able to help the secondary schools as far as building and maintenance are concerned. Costs have gone up considerably. It is necessary that these schools be kept in repair and, even more important, that more of them be erected.

I desire now to say a word about my old teachers, the Christian Brothers.

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

I should like to pay a tribute to my old teachers, the Christian Brothers in Waterford. It is a matter of great pride to the people of Waterford that Mr. Rice established the Christian Brothers in Waterford. The parent house is there. It is no harm to say that here. There have been celebrations in various parts of the country. The Taoiseach graciously appeared on television to pay a tribute to the Christian Brothers. It is no harm for a Waterford man to say that the Christian Brothers were established in Waterford when nobody else will say it.

I come now to the question of the readers in use in the schools. My remarks apply to readers in the Irish language and in the English language, as we have to have them in both languages. There would need to be a revision of these readers. I leave that matter in the capable hands of the Minister. I have already spoken on the question of history or the teaching of what we call history here. I have said this now for four years in succession and I shall say it again. We should endeavour to teach factual history and not hate, which is what we have been doing for years and years.

Ba mhaith liom a rá, ar dtús, go bhfuil sé cinnte, im' thuairim, go mbéadh an teanga marbh i gcionn 10 mbliain d'á néiroidh le lucht Fine Gael na tuairimí a nocht siad i dtaobh an teanga a chur i gcrích ins na scoileanna.

I have been listening in this debate to the antagonism displayed by some Deputies to the Irish language. I contend, against the views expressed by them, that there is a fund of goodwill for the Irish language on the part of the majority of the Irish people. We in this House have an obligation to set a headline of unity of purpose and goodwill for the revival of the Irish language. It is time we advanced beyond the "Tá" and "Níl," and "An Ceann Comhairle" and "An Leas-Cheann Comhairle" stage and all got together with a view to furthering the speaking of the Irish language. An inter-Party Committee should be set up for this purpose.

It is time Deputy O'Donnell and Deputies in Fine Gael who have Irish and Labour Party Deputies such as Deputy Treacy who have Irish and Deputy Barron and the rest of the Deputies sat down together to see how much Irish they can bring into use in this House. They should set the example for the rest of the nation.

Cad 'na thaobh nach bhfuil an Teachta Ó Cinnéide ag caint as Gaeilge anois?

Do thosnuigh mé in Gaeilge. Is minic a chuala mé an Teachta Ó Cúgáin ag caint annseo i mBéarla. Dá mbéadh an méid céanna agam agus atá aige siúd, usáidfidh mé an teanga níos minice. Do rugadh ins an nGaeltacht é. Níl sé ar mo chumas mo chuid cainnte do dhéanamh as Gaeilge ar fad. Do thosnuigh mé ag foghluim an Ghaeilge tar éis mo laethannta scoile. Ní raibh aon Ghaeilge' á múnadh ins an scoil nuair a bhí mise ag dul ann. Bhí mé i lár mo aoise nuair a thosnuigh mé ag foghluim an cuid Gaeilge atá agam anois. Níl aon náire orm faoi'n méid Gaeilge atá agam. Ba mhaith liom leanúint ar fad i nGaeilge.

I want to get back ——

—— to the English language.

——to what I was saying about the desirability of the Deputy who interrupted me, and everyone like him, sitting on an inter-Party Committee to see how much more Irish they can bring into use in this House.

Might I draw attention to the Leader of the Fine Gael Party?

He should speak more Irish than he speaks.

At any rate, he speaks more Irish than the Leader of the Fianna Fáil Party. Let the Deputy put that in his pipe.

The Leader of the Fianna Fáil Party speaks as much Irish in this House as the Leader of the Fine Gael Party.

I would not say so.

Here. Beyond bringing in Irish to make a laugh of it, I never heard Deputy Dillon orate here in Irish, although he is quite capable of doing so. If he and if other Deputies would get together in an effort to further the speaking of the Irish language in this House they would achieve a lot in the way of setting a headline for the country. This Dáil got a committee together. They produced this handbook— Abairtí i nGaeilge agus i mBéarla atá in úsáid i nDíospóireachtaí. Dob fhéidir leo úsáid a bhaint as sin i dtús báire chun a fháil amach cé mhéid is féidir a dhéanamh ins an gnó seo. The Deputies who have Irish could use that publication, for a beginning, to see what can be done to further the use of the language in this House.

Mention was made of Deputy Dillon. I want to refer to what he said in the course of his contribution to this debate. He mentioned a visit he had paid to the Netherlands and, at column 1480, Volume 195, of the Official Report, he said:

I spoke to a child of 14 or 15 years who spoke English quite well and I asked her when she had been to England. She said she had never been there, that she had learned the language at school.

In the Saint Martin de Porres magazine there is an article by an Irish Dominican priest. Speaking about a visit he paid to the Netherlands, he said:

Here I may add that the language problem presented no difficulty, as the vast majority of the people can converse fluently in English, a language taught in all schools.

That is the answer to the agitation against the Irish language in our schools. That is what is done in the Netherlands. I have been there myself. I have been in Finland and other places where they can speak English. They learn English in the schools. If the whole question of the Irish revival is thrown on to the voluntary organisations, we shall be back to where we were in 1893. I question that there is more Irish spoken in the streets of Belfast than in Dublin——

There is more spoken in Birmingham.

Ná cuir isteach ar an Teachta.

I question that very much. If there is goodwill for the Irish language, it is only a question of breaking through the sound barrier. I listened to Deputy D. Costello speaking here. There are two schools of thought in Fine Gael. One say how much they love the language, how they would like to hear it spoken, but that it should be done away with in relation to the Garda, the Civil Service, the Army and entrance to the National University. God help us if that day ever comes. It will be the finish of the language. There is the other schools represented by Deputy D. Costello and Deputy Byrne who mutually hate the Irish language and have nothing but contempt for it——

For the hypocrisy and humbug which is associated with it.

In this House, the Deputy attributed crime in Kerry to the speaking of Irish. We owe it to our republican inheritance, to the men of Easter Week, the founders of the State, MacSwiney, Pearse, Connolly——

And Collins.

Without their efforts and sacrifices, this 26-County Parliament would not exist. Are we to let them down now and go back to the policy which was defeated when the National University was established, when certain people did not want Irish in the university but were beaten overwhelmingly by the Nationalist Party? Are we to go back now, to reverse the wheels?

I heard Deputy T. Lynch talking about a young Garda or a young Army officer who is not able to pass in Irish. If he cannot pass in Irish, he is not intellectually fitted for and should not get promotion. If such people cannot master one language in addition to English, they are not fit to be considered for any promotion. They are taught Irish in the national schools, the secondary and vocational schools. It is pure hostility on their part—and they are reared and brought up to feel hostility to Irish—If they cannot pass that examination.

A school was established in Navan by the Sisters of St. Vincent de Paul to which youngesters go on their holidays and come back fluent speakers of Irish. There is an upsurge in that direction, and I repeat it is a question only of breaking through the sound barrier. Are we to reverse the wheels of nationality now and go back to the position in which we were years and years ago?

When Britain lost the English language in the time of the Normans, French became the official language of the courts and the Parliament of the nation, such as it was. French was spoken in official circles. It took them 200 years to get English back as the spoken language and the official language. I put that as an example to the people who throw their hat at the Irish language and ask what has been achieved since 1922—they go back a bit because it did not come into the schools until 1925. It took the British 200 years to restore Anglo-Saxon instead of Norman French as the official language of their country.

One of the most enthusiastic Irish revivalists put it to me that it will take 300 years of patient endeavour here to restore Irish as the spoken language. We should not falter now. It took 300 years to establish English as the spoken language here. We hear talk about compulsion. At that time children were beaten and flogged. A dunce's stick was put around their necks and every time they spoke Irish, a notch was put in the stick. By those methods, English was forced down their throats. We are not doing that. We are only making Irish an essential subject in the schools, essential for matriculation and essential in the Civil Service. If we do away with Irish in the Civil Service we shall finish it. Our National University has been built up with the name "national." If, for the sake of a very small noisy minority, we do away with Irish as a compulsory subject for matriculation, we are writing the beginning of the end.

I think it was Deputy Faulkner who pointed out that we are between two big civilisations, America and Britain, and that we will be crushed out. Why do the Welsh preserve their language? I want Deputies who follow me to answer that. The Welsh are very hard-headed practical people and yet they love their language and encourage it, and they make sure it is taught in their schools.

I want to wind up on this note. I suggest that an inter-Party committee should be set up. We have a Cumann Gaolach in the Fianna Fáil Party but that is not enough. We see the division in the House now between pro-and anti-Irish. To get over that division, I appeal to Deputies on both sides of the House—because the Civil War spirit cannot go on for ever—for an inter-Party committee. I am more or less responsible for the collection for the Gaelic League that is made in the House year after year. In that connection, the Party barriers are broken down. Why should we not go further and get goodwill for the Irish language from everyone, including the Deputy from Mayo? I want him on that inter-Party committee.

Are you referring to me?

I want you to be a member of the committee, you in particular. I want that inter-Party committee to be formed so that we can do all we can to help the Minister for Education. He is doing wonderful work with the limited resources at his disposal for primary, secondary, and vocational education.

In this debate on the Department of Education, the usual lip service is being given to the importance of education, the same type of lip service as is given to the revival of the Irish language. I have a few comments to make on certain aspects of the Department's policy on the question of education generally, but first I must comment on the problem of raising the dead to life at this stage; in other words, the problem of the revival of the Irish language. Statistics published in 1951 by the outfit known as the Institute of Higher Studies states that at that time not more than 35,000 people used Irish as their ordinary medium of speech and not more than 3,000 were ignorant of English.

That was a statistical report made in 1951 by the Institute of Higher Studies and I do not think that any Deputy will deny that since 1951 the situation has deteriorated very much indeed from that revealed by the figures given at that time. It would be safe to say that a much fewer than 30,000 people now use the Irish language as their ordinary medium of conversation so we have now reached the stage that despite the enthusiasm, the money and the assistance given over the years to the revival of the language not more than a small percentage of the total population now use it.

That is a strange comment on the system of revival used over the past 40 years. In the light of these facts it is only those people who are blinded by prejudice or who have a vested interest in the language who will keep up the pretence that the language is being revived. Otherwise, if we accept that there is hope for the revival of the language, we must make a drastic change in the means being used to achieve that end. Personally I believe that too much time is devoted in school curricula and in Dáil debates to the question of reviving the language. It has been necessary in the House up to the present to have discussions on this matter and I presume that will continue until such time as public opinion forces whatever Government is in office to face reality and give a proper order of priority in our educational system. The order of priority given since this State was founded is altogether wrong. The aim of Fianna Fáil and, to a limited extent, that of Cumann na nGaedheal before them, was first to revive the language and secondly to end Partition.

I accept that Deputy Kennedy was perfectly sincere in his remarks. He has not changed his views over the years. At the same time, I do not think we are bound to be persuaded to his way of thinking in view of the failure of the policy he has outlined to achieve its objectives. What is much more important than the revival of the language is the survival of the people. There is no use in having the language spoken in this country if the people are not here to speak it and if you are going to have foreigners here using the language, like the Normans, who became more Irish than the Irish themselves. Is that what we want to achieve?

I mentioned this matter in the House last year and on that occasion I quoted the remarks of a well-known Cork bishop. I need not mention his name but I feel sure the Minister for Education will not be quite so foolish as his colleague, the Minister for Industry and Commerce, as to launch another attack on the bishop concerned for making his views known to the Government and to the public. This is what Dr. Lucey had to say:

"The saving of the Irish people is far and away more important than saving the Irish language".

He went on to say that giving the saving of the language priority over the saving of the people was a gross perversion of national values and that what made matters worse was that in actual fact neither the language nor the people were being saved, that the fact was that there were fewer Irish people speaking Irish now than there were 30 years ago. He continued:

"To pretend o'herwise is the grossest disservice not only to truth but to the language revival itself. The present policy is a tragic and complete failure."

The Government have decided that it is necessary, as a result of the situation we have now reached, to set up a committee to examine into what further means might be adopted to revive the language. By setting up that committee the Government have acknowledged the failure of the campaign that has been in operation for the last 40 years. The blame for that failure must be apportioned on both sides of the House. The big mistake that has been made in this connection is that the Gaeltacht, which is the fountain from which should come the necessary inspiration and the flow of people to keep the language alive, has been treated more along the lines of an Indian reservation than as a healthy and economically viable section of the country. No worthwhile efforts have been made—and I refer in particular to the western Gaeltacht areas—to keep the people in decent economic circumstances so that they might be persuaded in those circumstances to hold the language.

It is beyond denying that the Gaeltacht to a great extent has been left to its own devices, with, of course, enticements in the form of children's allowances, special house grants and doles of one type or another being dished out. Those types of incentive, in my opinion, were to a great extent demoralising to the community which received them. It would have been a far better proposal—it is coming late now—if the necessary steps had been taken to provide steady employment and a steady means of livelihood for the people in the Gaeltacht areas. I remember having a brush here nearly nine years ago with the former Taoiseach, who is now above in the Park, about the failure to give industrial and other types of employment in Gaeltacht areas. His answer to me, and he was very annoyed, was: "We do not want to Anglicise the Gaeltacht." Now that was from the archpriest of the programme for the revival of the language: "We do not want to Anglicise the Gaeltacht."

I must call the Deputy's attention to the fact that his observations are very irregular.

In what regard?


I am not entering into any kind of argument with the Deputy but the Deputy is referring to the President of this country.

I did not mention names.


Well, by inference.

If the Acting-Chairman wishes to describe the individual I am speaking about as the present President, that is his business. I was speaking about the former Taoiseach. I do not intend to deal with him any further, except to say that in——


Let there be no exceptions. The Deputy spoke about "the man in the Park." He was referring to the President.

The Acting-Chairman should remember that he may be a schoolteacher outside this House, but as Acting-Chairman, he might bear in mind that I am entitled to quote from the Dáil Debates the speeches of any Deputy who was a member of this House. On that basis, Sir, I intend, when necessary at any stage, to quote the statements of any man who has been a member of this House in the context of the particular Estimate under discussion. I shall refer no further now to this matter, in view of the Chair's uneasiness, but let me say that the spirit and policy of the statement "We cannot allow the Gaeltacht to become Anglicised," has permeated the Government Party for years and it permeates it today.

What has been the result of that policy? Instead of setting up the industries in Western Galway and having Galway city as the headquarters, Fianna Fáil let the people for whom they weep go to Manchester, Liverpool and London, and set up their Irish-speaking groups in these English-speaking cities. The very best of the young Irish speakers in Connemara had no option, in view of the Government's policy that we cannot industrialise the Gaeltacht for fear we would Anglicise it, but to go to England, unless they were very poor. They did that and what is the position? We have Irish-speaking communities established in the major cities in Britain and we have the tragic position of well meaning religious orders sending young priests to Liverpool and London to give missions to the Irish-speaking communities in these cities and exhorting them to save their souls and the Irish language.

That is what has been achieved in the Gaeltacht areas from which we expected to get the ammunition, if you like, in the form of young people, to revive the language. They are now over in England. It is sheer hypocrisy for Deputies to get up here and say a few words in Irish or to go down the country and say "A Cháirde Gaeil" to their friends and then have the audacity to suggest that the Irish language should get priority over the vitally important matter of a living in the country for the young people who should be here to speak it. What is the history of these young Irish people? On any Sunday morning, visit a church on the outskirts of London and you will hear more Irish spoken than you will at any church gate in the Gaeltacht areas. In the summer and at Christmas, the young people come, back to Ireland and when they come, they are tourists and they are classified as tourists by our State body, Bord Fáilte.


The Deputy is going far outside——

I am dealing with the Irish language. I am trying to deal with the economic issues of the Irish language.


The Deputy is going outside the scope of the responsibility of the Minister for Education

I have read the reports of all the speakers in this debate so far and is there somebody who can tell me how you can separate these two issues: the economics of living and the revival of the language? I do not know how it is to be done. How can you put livelihoods in one compartment and the language in another? You will not revive the Irish language on an empty stomach. If the Chair thinks I should not widen the scope in that regard——


The Deputy is quite entitled to inter-relate the two factors of which he is speaking but he is going outside the scope of the Vote before the House. That is the only matter to which I directed his attention.

I certainly would not like to go outside the scope of the debate and on that basis, I am just counting ten.

A haon, a dó, a trí.

We have the position that the Irish-speaking young people who have to leave the country are utilised for the purpose of our balance of payments, not alone as tourists, but also in respect of the emigrants' remittances which they send home at Christmas and other times of the year. If any Deputy wants to challenge the accuracy of that statement, I should like to hear him and I should also like to hear the Minister on it. What have we got in the Gaeltacht instead of the young people? Visit Deputy Coogan's constituency to-morrow morning. Go to Galway city, and from Galway to Clifden, and see how much of the best land that is there, poor as it may be, or how much of the best property, the shooting and the fishing, or the hotel industry, is owned by Irish people? What has become of the native Irish or what is becoming of them? Is it not a fact that they are now being turned into ghillies to be of service to the tourist and the foreigner who go there for a holiday?

What are the feelings of those people? Vist any part of the Gaeltacht area where there are young people and what is their attitude to the Irish language? Their attitude is: "I must learn English as fast as I can." The young girls who have been denied the opportunity of secondary education move into Galway as domestics working, perhaps, in hospitals or in private houses for the sole purpose of brushing up their English until they can get on a train to Manchester or Liverpool. Forestry and fishing should have been developed to the maximum extent in the Gaeltacht but the only thing they have there are glasshouses—a scheme which was ushered in with a tremendous flourish of trumpets. There are also toy factories there in which young girls are exploited with the lowest possible wage that can be paid to them. They are supposed to be thankful that their economic circumstances are good and it is expected that they should hold on to their heritage—the language. We will have to adjust our thinking on the Gaeltacht if it is to survive.

That is only one aspect of Government policy. We had two other objectives apart from the language. One of them was Partition. I do not propose to say much about Partition except to point out that the big effort to revive the language meant widening the gap between this part of Ireland and the Six Counties. There was no attempt made to establish a communion of ideas or keep in close touch with our people up there. From that point of view the policy followed up to the present time has been non-sensical.

It is beyond contradiction that in the minds of the majority of the people in Ireland today—this is regrettable but it is the position—the Irish language is associated with jobbery, nepotism and corruption of one sort or another. The belief is in the minds of the people that a man with third class qualifications in his professions or whatever it may be and a first class qualification in Irish gets preference in regard to any appointment.

Does the Deputy believe that?

The Deputy, unfortunately, does.

He does not believe that.

And what is more, the Deputy has evidence of it. It is quite clear that, when it comes to a profession such as engineering or medicine, men with greater knowledge and experience and with better qualification in their profession have been passed over in favour of men with a first class knowledge of Irish, who also possessed a degree but who were not in the same street as far as technical qualifications were concerned.


I must call the Deputy's attention to the fact that he has again gone outside the scope of the Vote before the House.

In what respect?


The Chair is not to be questioned on what is obvious.

If that is the case, I will move that we send for the Ceann Comhairle in a minute. There must be some standard for the Chair as well as for Deputies. If necessary, with the tightening up on discipline in this House, I shall insist that before any man sits in the Chair his qualifications to sit in it are known.


The Deputy will proceed with his speech——

With your permission.


——on the lines of the motion before the House.

There is no motion before the House. There is a discussion on the Estimate for the Department of Education.


Would the Deputy continue his speech——

If you would allow me.


—on the matters before the House for which he Minister for Education is responsible? He is not responsible for the grants for glasshouses or for other industries in the western area.

We have gone away from the glasshouses.


I hope so. That is the reason why I called the Deputy's attention to the matter. The Minister for Education is not responsible for these matters. I would ask the House to allow Deputy McQuillan to continue.

When you intervened, I was dealing with the question of the belief among the people that in the public services at any rate a knowledge of the Irish language is of more importance than a knowledge of the technical subjects or the necessary qualifications for whatever the appointment may be.

I do not think the Deputy believes that.


Order, please.

I shall make this statement and I do not care who likes or dislikes it. I do not believe that under any circumstances today a language should be described as being absolutely a badge of freedom for any nation. We should leave the Irish language to the scholars and to people who have plenty of time to spare as a hobby. We should keep the language going and help the Gaeltacht on a factual basis to improve its economy. Let us do that and let us not say another word about the Irish language generally for the next 25 years.

Deputies have referred to other aspects of departmental policy. I, too, must emphasise the necessity for supporting the view that every child in this country should be entitled, if he has the ability, to educational services that will enable him to go to the university irrespective of whether his parent has means or otherwise. The sole test should be the ability of the child to absorb the education and to make good. It should not be a question of whether his parents have money or are in a position to send him to secondary school or university.

That principle is accepted as far as primary education is concerned. It is accepted that every child is entitled to primary school education. Nobody questions that to-day. There would be public dismay or horror if it were suggested that it would cost too much to give the road worker's son, the very poor cottier's son or the child of the lowest paid sections of our community national school education. Let us accept this: it was not this House which decided that every child in this country was entitled to primary school education. That principle of no means test established in respect of the lowest rung of the educational ladder was brought in by the British in the last century. We have made no move forward from the situation established under the British regime here, because to-day we do not accept the fact which should logically follow primary education—that when a boy or girl has ability, he or she should be allowed to follow through to secondary and university courses on the same basis as they attended primary schools.

Though that has been said here and outside thousands of times, I suggest that every Deputy should keep on saying it—that we must hammer into the heads of those who control the educational system and the purse that no greater priority can be established than that of giving the full scope of a higher education to the youth of this country who are able to take it and utilise it; that we should forget once and for all the idea that higher education should be retained as the preserve of a limited, protected section of the community as it is today. I shall quote a statement made by a former member of this House on this very matter. He said:

The future happiness and prosperity of our country can be said to depend to a great extent on the education and training given in the secondary school, for secondary education is now practically the only one with which we can give that liberal culture which is in itself the fulfilment of true education.

That statement was made by a former Taoiseach. It was made, as we know now, in reference to only about 25 per cent. of the children of this country.

Since that statement was made, there has been no attempt to widen the scope of our educational system so that the same equality will apply in the secondary field of education as in the national and primary schools. The argument is that we cannot afford to give a proper education to a poor man's son. We have a limited number of scholarships every year and we have been patting ourselves on the backs that we are doing tremendously. The Minister has increased the number of scholarships during the past 12 months but apparently he will rest on his oars for the next four or five years and say: "Did I not do something wonderful?"

He increased them by 300 per cent.

We have heard that before and I do not think it is necessary to repeat it. If you have only two scholarships and increase them by 300, the quantity increase is not very important. The proper comparison to make is with the portion of our country which is cut off today by the little pillboxes and customs buildings that Deputy Cunningham is so anxious to have reconstructed along the Border. I do not think it is accepted really by the groups who have control over our education system that the poor man's child has an equal right in the community to the highest possible education made available with the sons and daughters of wealthier, better-off sections.

If we carry out a little investigation into the background of those who are today our clergymen, our doctors, our engineers and the various men in the professions, I think we will find that not many of them are the sons and daughters of farm labourers, road workers. How many of them are sons and daughters of the men and women who work in factories in our cities? If we carry out the investigation I suggest, we will find that the percentage of the sons and daughters of industrial workers, farm labourers, road workers and indeed small farmers who ever reach the universities or consequently the professions, is very small.

Is it suggested they have less brains than the children who do? Is it not a well-known fact that you have some of the most brilliant children in the country today with no future except the handle of a shovel, working for the county council on the roads, or over in England in factories, and all as a result of our educational system? Who is at the loss? Is it not our own society, our own State which is at the loss of the skill and the brains of these young people who would have used that skill and those brains if higher education were available for them?

Therefore, the policy pursued here over the years, speaking financially, has been penny wise, pound foolish. If no other appeal should be listened to, that is the one most likely to strike the moguls in the Department of Finance and the people who have responsibility for guiding the destinies of this country: that financially speaking, the State is at a loss by failing to give proper educational facilities to the poorer sections of our community. Apart altogether from the justice of the situation, rightly and under the Constitution, they are entitled to the same facilities as the better-off sections. There is no question, as far as secondary and university education are concerned, of cherishing our children equally.

To turn for a moment to the question of primary education, I think the Department's drive in the direction of providing new schools is very slow. I do not believe it has a hope of catching up on arrears in a reasonable time. Here again the Minister has the goodwill of the House. I have listened to Deputies here and I have read the debates, and any Deputy who has spoken on the building programme for national schools has emphasised the big backlog and the necessity for energy to get that backlog negatived. We are not coming any nearer to a solution of it.

Is the Minister not able to get the money from the Department of Finance or is the holdup in the Board of Works, or is it that the school managers in the areas concerned are backward about coming forward with their claims for new schools? Or is it a variety of such reasons, because if it can be established that the Minister is able to come in and say to Deputies that 700 schools need replacment and that he has been informed by the Government the money will be made available so as to get rid of the backlog of building, that there will be no shortage of funds, the programme can be completed within five or six years? If the Minister is in a position to tell us now: "As far as I am concerned, the money is there and my Department is ready to go ahead, but there is a holdup", then the public would know that the Minister for Education was not the fly in the ointment, so far as the school building programme is concerned.

We could then turn to the other Departments and find, perhaps, that the Board of Works needed to be given the works. Then, if they were able to tell us that they had everything ready, that they were ready to go ahead, we could travel further down the line. If there was an area where the people in charge of the youth had so little love for those under their care that they neglected to press the case for new buildings, I do not think any Deputy would be afraid to say that straight out and the matter would be dealt with through public opinion.

As matters stand, rightly or wrongly, the Minister for Education is being blamed for the fact that there is such a big backlog to be dealt with. Until he justifies himself in this House, he will be blamed and called all sorts of things inside and outside the House. There is no reason for the Minister to be a martyr and to have to accept all this blame. If he can do a better day's work for the children by saying: "It is not my fault; there is no shortage of money," we would know where the difficulties lie,

In regard to the school building programme, I would recommend to the Minister that he insist on having a goodsized playing field attached to all schools. He should also insists on having attached to all schools flower and vegetable plots which would be cared for by the children. Of course, there should be close liaison with the horticultural and agricultural officers in each county. I have seen sites for schools selected on dangerous corners. I have seen sites selected which even a county council would think twice about for the erection of cottages— and we know how some county councils look for the cheapest bit of land if they propose to erect a house for some unfortunate worker. The Department should not allow sites to be picked which are not suitable. One of the most important things is to have a good playing field attached to every schools. That may be difficult in the case of the old schools but it should be mandatory wherever a new schools is being erected that a playing field be attached. The idea of the vegetable and flower plots should also be examined and implemented. If we look on agriculture as our primary industry, the least that might be done is to inculcate a love of it in the youth, the majority of whom will be earning their living from the soil in some way, either on the land or processing the products of the land.

The argument has been put forward by Deputy Kennedy in particular that the curriculum is overcrowded in the national schools and that provision could not possibly be made for such instruction as I have referred to. The Minister has a simple remedy. Thirty per cent. of the teacher's time is taken up with the Irish language. A fair compromise would be—without doing away with the language—that half the time now devoted to the language be given to rural science. That would be a very desirable objective.

I referred already to the fact that an insufficient number of scholarships are available. Here is something for which the Minister must accept the blame. Though we cannot pinpoint the trouble in regard to the schools building programme, when it comes to making money available for scholarships, the heavy hand of Finance is apparent. The Minister cannot tell us the scholarships situation is satisfactory. We know only a limited number of our youth are in a position to avail of scholarships, many of them miserable scholarships. The Minister should have that position re-examined with a view to a generous increase, both in the scope and number of scholarships to the secondary schools.

The question of the number of secondary schools available throughout the country needs close examination. Whether we should increase the number of schools or plan a proper system of transporation for pupils to enable them to avail of the existing schools is something that should be carefully examined. It might be a bet er proposition to have a really big school serving an area of 12 or 13 miles and having a transport system available to bring the young people in and out. That is a better proposition for secondary and vocational education than isolated schools where pupils are not able to avail of the facilities.

A number of Deputies referred to the good work carried on by the Christian Brothers. I can do nothing but pay tribute to them and add that, but for the Christian Brothers, there would be very little scope for secondary education in many parts of the country. In other words, the State shelved its responsibilities and, were it not for the wonderful spirit of the Christian Brothers, the situation here today would be tragic. The Christian Brothers and the lay teachers in the lay schools are the people who have given to the poorer sections of the community any hope of achieving a secondary education.

That cannot be said for other secondary establishments here, because they were a closed shop. That is their business. They were catering mostly for students for the Church. As such, it was necessary that they get pupils in the rural areas who would be given a secondary education and trained for the priesthood. But the numbers in those secondary schools, which could be described as diocesan colleges, did not represent more than two per cent of the total number attending secondary schools. If the youth of the country were depending on those people for a secondary education, you can picture how much worse the situation would be to-day. Therefore, the tribute paid to the Christian Brothers was well-deserved, but I also think that the lay men and women who dedicated themselves to secondary teaching deserve tribute also.

They started off with the handicap that there was no provision for giving grants for the erection of secondary schools. If we go to Córas Tráchtála or the Industrial Development Authority there is no question of loans and grants being made available for the erection of factories or hotels and there will be a grant from Bord Fáilte of 20 per cent. of the cost of every bedroom provided. But if a group of teachers in rural Ireland wish to build a school that will benefit the entire countryside and the nation as a whole, there is not a penny available for a meritorious scheme like that. Does not that give an idea of the wrong order of priorities we have here?

The other aspect of education on which I want to comment is vocational education. I know this is repetition and I do not want to bore the House with it but we must deal with these spheres separately because they are in water-tight compartments, primary as against secondary, and secondary as against vocational. What I am saying has been said over the years here and surely at this stage it should have percolated into the mind of the Minister that he should be able to break up the circle inside his Department. I do not know what disciplinary methods he has in the Department.

I have read speeches by Deputies about caning or strapping in schools and there seem to be two points of view about it, but there can be only one point of view about it so far as the Department is concerned. I think Deputy Lynch felt young people of today were lacking in discipline and that he showed himself to be in favour of a return of the "cat". It would be misapplied so far as the youth are concerned but it is certainly needed in the Department and the Minister will get all possible aid and encouragement from me to apply it at the proper time and place and as often as possible, especially as far as vocational education is concerned, as a punishment for the neglect in this field.

If ever it was made clear beyond doubt that preference is given in urban areas over rural areas we have it brought home to us forcibly in regard to the grants made available by the Department of Education to the vocational education committees. There is a distinct bias in favour of the urban areas. To cite only the examples of Galway City, Kilkenny, Limerick and places like that they show that the ratio between the money raised by the local authority and the amount of grants is one to four. There is a grant of £4 for every £1 raised locally in these urban areas. Then if we turn to a county like Roscommon we find it is £ for £ and that is the maximum we can get in rural Ireland. There is something wrong in that. If the Minister is able to tell me that the explanation is that extra courses are given in urban areas, that may be so but surely the same provision should be made in rural areas. We know in the past, in the case of all Governments, the rural areas were mulcted.

I should like the Minister to understand that I am not objecting to the generosity of the grants in urban areas but I emphatically suggest that these areas should not get preference over rural areas. If he describes these grants as generous I shall accept that but the same generous grants should be available in rural areas. The position is even worse in some local areas. There are areas known as undeveloped areas and maps were produced here of those areas which are the poor areas of the country. They include the five counties of Connacht. Donegal is among them and Clare, Kerry and West Cork. When it comes to the question of grants to vocational educational committees some of the counties I have referred to—I may be looked upon as being parochial when I refer to my own county of Roscommon in particular—are regarded as if they were the wealthiest part of Ireland, certainly not as if they were undeveloped areas. Incidentally, Longford is brought in for certain grants and special aid in regard to education although it is not included in the undeveloped areas.

I have here one of the statutory instruments in connection with vocational education grants for annual schemes of committees, regulations 1961. It shows the position as far as grants are concerned in some counties. Let us take Clare of which I presume the Minister is aware. In Clare where a rate of six and three-tenth pence in the £ is raised by the local authority, over and above that there is £2 for every £1 raised by the local authority or, should I say, raised by the vocational education committee. The State grant is £2 for every £1. In the case of Longford where the rate exceeds 13 pence in the £, it is £2 in the £1 over the 13 pence. In the case of Galway county where the rate exceeds 10 pence in the £, it is £2 in the £ over that.

As regards Roscommon which is included in the undeveloped areas the allowances is on the basis of only £1 for every £ raised off the local rates. The Minister should examine that situation. I do not know what the reason is according to the Department but to me it appears that the dice is loaded in the case of a county like Roscommon which must be accepted as a poor county. Eighty per cent. of the farms are under £20 valuation. That being the situation there is no use in suggesting it is a wealthy county just because 20 per cent. of the farmers happen to be pretty substantial. That is no reason for leaving 80 per cent. of the people, the farming community, the business people and the workers, less well off or having fewer opportunities for vocational education than are available in the neighbouring county.

Money spent on vocational education is money well spent. Every opportunity should be given to vocational education committees to provide continuation classes beyond two years to give every facility for long courses. Provision should be made right along the line to enable young people to have the advantage of the type of training that is made available, for instance, in Bolton Street. Not half enough facilities are made available for continuation courses for the young people so that they may finish off properly the ground work carried out in the smaller schools.

I hope the Minister will tell us what the real hold-up is in regard to the school building programme. In that connection I might ask him also has he carried out an examination into new building methods for meeting the programme he is undertaking? I am sure he is aware of the fact that a first-class secondary school has been built in the last couple of years in Tullamore under the auspices of the Christian Brothers. That school has been built at much less cost than would have been the case if the normal building materials were used and the prospects for the life of that school are as good as if the normal building equipment and materials were used.

There is a tremendous saving in cost there, also. As far as the Department are concerned they had not to expend one penny on that secondary school. Why not consider a scheme of grants for secondary schools and allow this pre-stressed concrete type of structure to be erected, and also have examined the possibility of using that system for national and vocational schools? If the matter were investigated properly I believe capital outlay on construction of schools could be reduced by 45 to 50 per cent. On that basis the number of schools which could be built annually could be doubled without any further expenditure.

I happens to be very familiar with the material used in the construction of this schools because I have visited the locality where it is made and have watched and supervised all stages of the erection of the school. If the manufacturers of the equipment and building materials used in the school are encouraged, as they have been, by the Government to go to Africa in order to seek markets for their products, then these products should be good enough for the building of our schools at home. There have been at least two churches built, one in the West of Ireland, at half what it would cost using normal building materials, and the priest and the parishioners are delighted with it. If the Minister's officials and architects are keen on getting the school building programme under way properly they should examine this possibility. I know perfectly well there will be objections from certain groups. There may be objections from the architects. There will be lower fees available to certain people but I do not think such considerations should persuade the Minister to hold his hand. There are some well-meaning people—I have met them —who do not like the idea of this new type of building, who say it will not look as well in 25 or 30 years' time. That is nonsense. If the building is properly maintained and repaired there is not the slightest doubt that such a structure will last as long and look as well as the ordinary type in use. I hope the Minister will examine that suggestion.

I intervene simply to pursue a matter that I raised in this House some weeks ago by way of Parliamentary Question. It is in relation to grants to university colleges. On 4th April I asked the Minister:

whether his attention has been drawn to a protest by Professor R. A. Breathnach of University College, Cork, against the Minister's statement in London recently that University College Cork, had not been forgotten when grants to universities were being allocated....

The Minister in his reply said:

The exact words of my statement in London were that "we are not forgetting University College, Cork"; that "Cork is not likely to allow its problems to be lost sight of"; and that "we are in negotiation with the University College, Cork, authorities about a new science building there too".

Any suggestion that University College, Cork, did not receive its due share of this year's grants or that there is any lack of consultation with the appropriate College authorities is without foundation.

The basis of calculation of University grants is a matter which, I have no doubt, will receive due consideration by the Commission on Higher Education.

That question of mine and the Minister's reply sparked off a lengthy press controversy between Professor Breathnach and other people who were interested in the matter. I do not claim to be an authority on it but arising out of that correspondence which I studied very carefully and watched while it was proceeding there are some questions about which the Minister might put our minds at ease.

I gleaned from the correspondence that in the current Estimates Dublin gets 66.7 per cent. of the total Exchequer subvention, that Munster gets 18.8 per cent. and Connaught gets 14.4 per cent. In other words, of every £100 Exchequer grant payable Dublin gets £67 and the rest of the country gets £33. I should like the Minister to tell me is this disproportion brought about by the progressively increasing annual grants to Trinity College, Dublin and, if so, what is the reason for it? What is the justification for this, which appears to be abnormal acceleration in grants to Trinity College compared with the grants payable to the Cork college? I do concede that in the field of special non-recurring grants it would not be quite fair to single out any particular year and compare the grants given to one college with those given to another or even to take two or three years, but it is not unfair to take a longer period, say, a decade or so and see what picture emerges.

The facts are that in the ten-year period from 1952-53 to 1962-63, there was an allocation of £158,000, £20,000 of which might be regarded as for special purposes, leaving the rest, £138,000, under the heading of repairs. That means that in the ten years in question Trinity College got an annual average subvention of £136,800. University College, Cork got nothing for repairs under that particular heading although the main buildings there are over 100 years old. If we take the period of 16 years from 1946-1947 to 1962-1963 the total grant made available under this heading for University College, Cork, was £95,800, £12,000 of which might be regarded as for special purposes and the remainder, £83,800, for capital work. I should like the Minister in his reply to the debate to tell me what justification there is, if there is justification, for that extraordinary disparity as between the two universities. Let me repeat, that this is in relation to the special non-recurring grants.

I turn now to the recurring annual grants. The position here is that in 1940-41 Trinity College received only £2,250. Over the years the amount was increased until this year we find they are to get £225,250, representing an increase in that period of £223,000. Let us look at the situation in University College, Cork. In the base year, 1940-1941, they received £40,000; this year they will receive £209,000, an increase of £169,000. We must compare that increase of £169,000 for University College, Cork, with the increase of £223,000 in the case of Trinity College, Dublin, over the same period.

In that context we must, of course, remember all the time that University College, Cork, caters for Munster, with the exception of Clare; in other words, it caters for 26 per cent. of our total population. I do not think I am unfair to Trinity College when I say that they cater for people who represent something in the region of six per cent. of the population. The bald fact of the matter is that of our total subvention this year Trinity College gets 20 per cent. of the public grant available and University College, Cork, gets 18.8 per cent. The probable maximum number of students of this State in Trinity College is 1,100. The number of students of this State attending University College, Cork, is in the region of a figure a little short of 1,400. Perhaps the Minister would like to comment on why University College, Cork, which takes considerably more students of this State than Trinity College does, gets a lower subvention from Exchequer funds. If there is a reason I think this House would be very interested to hear it.

Again, in the period 1948 to 1961, the number of Irish students attending University College, Cork, has in creased by approximately 50 per cent. The number of Irish students attending Trinity College has remained more or less static over the same period. While there has been an increase in the number of students in University College, Cork, the grant has fallen from 21.8 per cent. to 18.8 per cent. In Trinity College, where the number of students has remained static, the grant has increased from 13.4 per cent. to 20.2 per cent. Again, I should like to ask why and I should like to have the Minister's observations on that situation.

The Minister and the House are, of course, well aware that in the postwar years Trinity College has pursued a deliberate policy of catering for students from Britain and overseas. It is interesting to note in that connection that in 1948-1949 there were something in the region of 630 students of that category attending Trinity College. In the year 1960-61 the number had arisen to 1,158. The peculiar feature is that, while there was that tendency there, it coincided with an increase in the grants, both recurring and non-recurring. In the year 1948-49 it was £37,250. In the year 1960-61 it shot up to £163,250. This year it is £275,250. I should like to know whether this deliberate policy on the part of Trinity College of catering for British and Foreign students is really in the national interest. I have an idea—it may be old fashioned—that instead of subsidising the education of foreign students we ought first of all to provide for our own children and do something to remedy the appalling situation here in which opportunities for university education depend on the ability and willingness of parents to give it to their children rather than on the students' own abilities.

Other Deputies have spoken of the lack of proper scholarship schemes and of how niggardly our schemes are. The invariable answer is, of course, that we cannot afford more generous schemes. I pose one question: in this changing world can we afford not to afford it? We will certainly have to have a look at the situation whereby students from Britain and overseas have a university education made available to them by State subvention in Trinity College, Dublin, while our own students are denied the same education because of lack of finance.

I presume the allocation of grants to the various colleges was originally based on some form of capitation. In view of the policy now adopted by Trinity College, Dublin, we will, I think, have to have another look at that basis and work out some other type of scheme to ensure that justice and equity obtain all round. I do not think I am unfair to Trinity when I ask to whom are they responsible in matters of policy and finance? To whom are they responsible for the fact that an estimated 50 per cent. to 60 per cent. of their students come from outside the State? To whom are they answerable for that?

By proper consultation and tackling the problem in the right way, I think the legitimate claims of Trinity can be met and, at the same time, the national interest advanced. In view of the public correspondence recently I am sorry that the Minister did not refer to this aspect in his opening statement. I sincerely hope he will do so in his reply.

Reading the English translation of the Minister's speech, introducing this Estimate some weeks ago, it seems to me he was unnecessarily diffident in suggesting that some Deputies might consider the Estimate too high. There is an increase of about £2,000 this year as compared with last year. The Minister is asking the House to vote him approximately £20,000,000. With the amount included in the Office of Public Works Estimate for national school buildings the total is £22,000,000. The fact of the matter is we are not spending, in my view, nearly sufficient on education. We are not investing nearly enough in education.

It is now generally agreed by the economists that educational investment constitutes highly productive expenditure. It is generally agreed that investment in education is a most significant and potent factor in promoting economic growth, social and economic advance as well as cultural progress. I suspect that there lingers in the Department of Education adémodé outlook which perhaps originated some 24 years ago at the time of the report of the Commission of Inquiry into Banking, Currency and Credit in 1938. That Commission threw up its hands in horror at the State incurring highly, as the economists called it, deadweight debt, debt which did not yield a short-term cash profit.

There are some economists who, if they had their way, would prevent the State from spending money on slum clearance. If there lingers in the Department any survival of the idea that the Department of Education should not be too aggressive in its approach to the Minister for Finance for more money, it is time that notion were swept away. We would expect a young man such as the Minister to see to it that that is brought about. Probably the Minister, who, as we all know, is a very gracious person, is perhaps too diffident in his demands on the Minister for Finance for more money for educational development.

The Minister has introduced an Estimate for £20,000,000. If he chooses to come to this House next year with an Estimate for £40,000,000, I assure him I shall be the first to lead the cheering. The amount of money we are investing in educational development contrasts appallingly with expenditure by advanced European countries. I have here the Estimate for the Ministry of Education of Northern Ireland. The Government of Northern Ireland are asking this year for £19,943,000 for their Ministry of Education, that is, £20,000,000. In addition another £2,000,000 is being sought in Northern Ireland under the Universities Vote, which is a separate Vote. Therefore, for six counties, the Northern Government are raising £22,000,000 and we, for 26 counties and for three times the population, are raising approximately the same amount.

No matter what way we look at it, per county or per head of the population, we have the situation that they are spending four times more than we are. There is great need for economic research into the potency of educational investment. There is need for statistics, which are not available. In that connection, it is appropriate that someone here should pay tribute to the remarkable report, entitledInvestment in Education in the Republic of Ireland, circulated to Deputies some weeks ago by the Federation of Irish Secondary Schools—an organisation which, I notice, has changed its name since it last circulated Deputies a year ago. That is beside the point.

There is need for an investment campaign. Our country is very poor in natural resources but we are not poor in brain power. Thank God, Irish brains are second to none. We are not developing that brain power to the extent to which we should. As speakers from all sides of the House have pointed out, there is a vast unexploited potential. I want to emphasise that that potential, even in the economic and financial sense, is worth while developing. If research were carried out into the economics of education in this country, if some effort were made to measure the economic utility of educational expenditure and the results of such expenditure, it would serve a most useful purpose.

I heard a rumour some months ago that the Economic Research Institute here had been asked to do a survey into the economics of education in the Irish Republic and that for some reason or other, the invitation was subsequently withdrawn from the Research Institute. That may or may not be true. Whether it is or not does not matter very much, I suppose. Certainly, there is a field there which would be well worth investigating.

As the Minister probably knows, there is a research unit in London University which deals solely with the economics of education. There is a wide literature on the subject. There is a very wide field for investigation which we could look into. It is time we broke new ground. The Minister should plan for the future. We are on the brink of the 21st century. The majority of children in our schools today will spend the greater part of their working life in the 21st century. That is a very sobering thought and one which we can very easily overlook. I am quite serious when I suggest that next year's Estimate should be of the order of £40,000,000.

I should like to quote some of the remarkable statistics revealed in this recently circulated document. At Table 10 of the report, we learn that we spend per inhabitant £6 per year on educational purposes. In Northern Ireland, a sum of £12 per year per inhabitant is spent on educational purposes. In Scotland the figure is £19 per year and in the United States a sum of £32 per head per year is spent on educational purposes. Therefore, the United States spends five times and Scotland three times more than we do.

In passing, also, I should mention that I read recently that German economists, who were investigating the remarkable recovery of the German economy after the War, came to the conclusion that the biggest single facfor responsible for that recovery was the very high standard of education in Western Germany. The Minister has told us that it will take 12 years at the present rate to replace all the condemned and unsuitable primary schools which we have in this country. We have 750 such schools, and that is overlooking the number of schools which will yearly go out of commission. It will take 12 years to replace those which are at present condemned. Why can it not be done in a shorter period? I know it will cost a lot of money but that is the type of money for which we are justified in mortgaging the future. That is the type of money for which it is worth while increasing the national debt. During those 12 years, another generation of children will come to be educated in insanitary and filthy national schools, of which we have far too many.

The position in regard to secondary education is that the Department has little function as far as basic needs are concerned and no long-term policy for the provision of new secondary schools. The most extraordinary fund-raising activities are being indulged in at present by voluntary effort, gymkhanas, pools, raffles, and so on. Recently, I was requested to pay 5/-for a ticket to go to the Gresham Hotel to attend a fashion show for a secondary school building. What sort of a crazy scale of values have we got if we are to leave the provision of funds for educational investment to such devices? No grants are provided by the Department for secondary school buildings except those recently introduced on a very small scale for science laboratories.

As previous speakers said, you will get a grant for a hotel, for a new industry, for cow byres and pig styes. In one year alone, the State has provided over £4,000,000 for financing the eradication of bovine TB, a very sound proposal and one which should certainly be undertaken, but I suggest, as other speakers have suggested, that we have a crazy scale of values if we are convinced that it is worth while spending money on such things as financing the eradication of bovine TB on such a large scale, and if at the same time, we refrain from providing grants for secondary schools and are complacent about continuing in existence insanitary and unsuitable national schools.

I do not want, for one moment, to lenigrate the undoubted progress that has been made or to take credit from the Minister and his officials, but I want to urge that if we want to keep pace with other advanced countries, we must adjust ourselves to the idea that we must spend more and more money on education. The simple fact of the matter is that the most efficient fund raisers in this country are the Revenue Commissioners. We are relying on voluntary efforts for the provision of funds for secondary schools and at the same time, we have a high rate of indirect taxation.

In Dublin, there are many people paying taxes through PAYE who are inclined to say: "What are we paying taxes for?" Indeed, I know one or two concrete cases where parish priests have had considerable difficulty—I am referring to primary schools now—in raising funds for ordinary maintenance purposes and the day-to-day requirements of the schools, by reason of the fact that the average Dublin worker is inclined to say: "I am paying PAYE at a high rate", and to take the view, if he has a large family, that he is entitled as a constitutional right to free education for his children, as of course he is.

The Constitution says the State shall provide free primary education but it is not doing so to the extent that we are continuing to rely on private effort for the provision of funds for the heating, cleaning and maintenance of the schools. In that connection, I believe indeed that it is surely implicit in the Constitution that that free primary education which the State is obliged to provide should be provided in civilised conditions. To the extent that it is not provided in civilised conditions, the Minister is in a very vulnerable position. It has become fashionable in recent years for individual citizens to proceed against the State through the Attorney General for breaches of the Constitution. I really think the Minister should consult with the Attorney General regarding his condoning of insanitary and unsuitable primary schools of which we still have too many.

I mentioned one last year. I referred to Cloughran national school which is half a mile from Dublin Airport. It is a school with stinking toilet accommodation. Could any contrast be more pointed? When visitors arrive at Dublin Airport, we are proud to show it to them and let them see our £4 million worth of jet planes. Yet half a mile away, there is a stinking hovel of a national school, which has not been improved in the past year, incidentally.

Other speakers have said that the availability of education, by and large, depends on the depth of the parents' pockets. Again, by and large, if the father cannot afford to pay the high fees for secondary and university education, a child who could be a potential genius will have to go through life as a labourer or road worker, and perhaps out of this country. It is tragic for anyone who frequently goes to England to see the vast numbers of Irish workers engaged in heavy labouring work because when they went there in the first place, they did not have the basic education necessary to enable them to absorb training for craftwork or more highly skilled work and in many cases they are capable of far better things. This pool of untapped ability which we are failing to develop is a very great loss to the country.

I am particularly interested in the question of national schools because more children attend national schools than any other type of schools. I was very interested a fortnight ago to hear Deputy Barron, a new Deputy, speaking of the managerial system. Deputy Barron has given all his working life to teaching and he must know that system better than most of us. The managerial system is something which is uniquely Irish. It is a system which has served this country well for many years and it is a system which I hope will continue to serve us in the future. I want to assure the Minister that every time I put down a question related to school management, there is no need for him to climb on his high horse and adopt the attitude that we are trying to discredit the managerial system.

I certainly am not trying to discredit the managerial system. If one voices criticism of the managers, people says: "You must be anti-clerical," and they may even say: "That fellow is a Communist." The simple fact is that if those of us who, as I do, cherish the managerial system refrain from seeing to it that that system is brought up to date—because it is an old system which we took over from the British, and like many other features of our administration which we took over from the British, needs to be jizzed up —and if we refrain from constructive criticism in those circumstances, we are leaving the field wide open to those who wish to discredit the managerial system for the purpose of seeing it in trouble and thrown over.

Deputy Barron suggested that the problems of maintenance, heating and cleaning should be removed from the sphere of the managers. Certainly the financial responsibility of having to cater for school maintenance, heating and cleaning should be removed from the managers, because, as I have already said, when the managers go to look for funds for those purposes people in Dublin, at any rate, will take the view that they are already paying high taxes and they will be loath to subscribe for such a public purpose as the maintenance of national schools.

Again, in Dublin, many parishes have big parochial debts for church building programmes and there is a tendency for school financing of a routine revenue nature to be rather neglected because of the pressure of other commitments. I fail to see why the parish should be expected to provide money for the heating and cleaning of national schools. The Minister's grants to the schools for that purpose are pitifully low. A school catering for 500 pupils in the city of Dublin gets a grant of £124 a year for heating and cleaning. Would the Minister, when replying, be good enough to tell me something about this scale of grants? It is a sliding scale which has the appearance of being scientifically calculated. Who decides that £22 is enough to heat and clean a school? It is really £22 multiplied by two because these grants are on a contributory basis. The Department will provide £22 to heat and clean a school which caters for 35 pupils. How did the Department arrive at that figure? Why is it £22 instead of £12 or £27 or £122? Does that calculation include an average price for coal or turf and if so, when was it arrived at?

The truth of the matter is that the figures were arrived at years ago and there have been percentage increases from time to time. I suggest to the Minister that it is time to take a completely new look at the question of providing money for heating, cleaning and maintaining national schools. Our people are not prepared to tolerate any longer their children being educated in schools which are not adequate for the purpose. The Minister and all concerned in this matter should take note of that. It is a fact that His Grace the Archbishop of Dublin is concerned about the matter and saw fit to appoint a committee of educationalists to supervise the discharge of their functions by his managers. Because of that it is appropriate that the Department and the Minister should make it clear that there will be no lack of grants for heating, cleaning and maintenance. These matters should not cause the trouble and concern which they do at the moment.

Is it not a fact that when building a national school the Board of Works operate on the principle that the school will have to last 100 years without any maintenance expenditure and that the initial capital grants could be considerably reduced, as the last speaker pointed out, if adequate maintenance were provided over the working life of the schools? Is there some principle behind the idea that the parish should be called upon to provide most of the funds for heating and cleaning the school? Is the view taken that, despite what the Constitution says, parents should not get education for their children without some direct cost to them? If that outlook has survived in the Department since Victorian days it is time it was stamped out.

Conditions have changed greatly since the Department's regulations were drafted and they are now obviously archaic. The most humble working person in this country is today paying higher taxation every time he buys a pint of stout or 20 cigarettes. Seventy per cent. of our revenue is derived from this indirect taxation which bears more heavily on the lower paid section of the community than it does on the wealthier sections. For that reason, if for no other, there is a grave moral obligation on the Minister to see to it that the national schools are brought up to date.

During the last year I put down a number of questions dealing with school hours in the city of Dublin and the gist of the Minister's reply was that he could do nothing about the matter, that if the school operated for the statutory number of hours per week that fulfilled the Department's regulations and beyond that there was nothing he was prepared to do. He indicated that the obvious line parents should take was to approach the manager. In those areas where the problem arises of conflicting school hours within the same parish it is sometimes because the manager is unapproachable or indifferent and it is futile for the Minister to suggest that the parents should approach him.

It is an appalling problem for a housewife with a large family to have a boy whose lunch hour is from 12.30 to 2 p.m. and a girl attending a school in the same parish which closes at 1.30 p.m. and probably other children at vocational or secondary schools which may or may not keep different hours. The result is that the housewife will spend the greater part of her working day in getting dinner for her children coming in at staggered intervals. Then she has to provide her husband with his dinner at 6 o'clock. I know there is no cut and dried solution to this problem and I will not say whether it is preferable to have the school day broken by a lunch hour or to have the school closed for the day at 1.30 or 2.30 p.m. Circumstances alter cases in various areas but there is a strong case for uniform school hours within the same parish. I would ask the Minister to call the various interests together and to consult with the Managers' Association as to what can be done about this problem.

The problem is aggravated in those cases where children cannot go home to lunch because of transport difficulties. In some cases where they cannot go home to lunch it is appalling to think that they are locked out of the school and left to wander around the streets during the lunch hour. The reason for that is that there is no supervision provided during lunch-hour and the question of insurance has a bearing on that. That is why I asked the Minister some months ago if the State would take over the insuring of the manager against accidents which may happen to children on the school premises. If children are not supervised during the lunch-hour, the insurance companies will not carry the insurance cover. If the State were to take over the liability for accidents befalling children on school premises, these problem would not arise. Whatever the solution may be, surely there is a case for investigation? The Minister should take an interest in it and not climb on his high horse and say this is a matter solely for the manager and that it is quite wrong for Deputy Byrne to suggest that we should take these problems from the managers.

I am sure the Minister knows and I can assure him that no one would be more pleased than the managers if these financial problems were taken over. It is incorrect to suggest that by taking over these financial burdens, the State would be cutting across the accepted principle of parochial control of the national school. Nothing could be further from the case. As I said before, unless we rectify these problems, those who want to discredit the managerial system will avail of them for that purpose.

The Minister has again been able to report a small measure of progress in regard to the question of improving the teacher-pupil ratio in national schools. He told us last year that there was a particular problem in capitation primary schools and the scheme announced last year is contingent on the availability of accommodation for extra teachers in these capitation schools. I should like to know to what extent the new scheme has succeeded, or are the Minister's efforts being thwarted in these capitation schools by any lack of accommodation for the extra teachers? Before I leave the question of primary schools, I should say that I noticed that the Minister announced last week he is building an extension to St. Patrick's Training College which is to cost the State £1 million. I welcome that development, but I would be rather apprehensive about whether or not this is to mean that the prospect of having all our national teachers educated in the university, with university degrees, is fading away on the horizon.

On the question of secondary education, the most significant feature of the Minister's policy is that there is no long-term, planned programme for the expansion of secondary school accommodation. The Minister speaks glibly of 100,000 children taking secondary education by the end of this decade. Where are they to be educated? There is a great shortage of secondary schools and the State is not making moneys available for the construction of new schools. The position is that the State makes a far too limited amount of money available for secondary education and leaves the rest to the chances of parental income. The appallingly low ratio of children taking post-primary education is revealed very clearly in Table 1 of this report to which I have already referred and for which we are greatly indebted to the Federation of Irish Secondary Schools. Thirty-six per cent. of our children between the ages of 15 and 19 are enrolled in secondary schools—thirty-six per cent. In Northern Ireland, the equivalent figure is 75 per cent; in the United States of America, 73 per cent; and in England and Wales 88 per cent.

Statistics of that nature should make apparent and manifest the truth of what I have been saying about our complete neglect financially of educational development. The State of course is relieved to a considerable extent of the financial burden by the religious orders, and, in particular, by the Christian Brothers, to whom we are so greatly indebted. It seems to me, however, that there are growing indications that the financial burden of providing for the capital development of secondary schools is becoming too much for the religious orders. That is why we have these fund-raising activities such as gymkhanas and fashion shows to which I have already referred. It is not good enough that we should be dependent on such activities for the development of our school building programme. The public will not tolerate that position.

The State must provide capital grants for secondary schools and if the Minister will not listen to members of this House on this matter, and if members will not accept the invitability of more and more educational expenditure for development purposes, perhaps they will listen to the Bishop of Killaloe who, in the Minister's constituency, in St. Flannan's College, Ennis, a week ago, referred to the necessity for State grants for secondary school building. There can be no planned effort to expand secondary education for more and more children without building grants and there can be no planned development without a substantial increase in the present rate of capitation grants.

The Minister, in reply to a Parliamentary Question of mine no later than today, indicated that he is not in a position to hold out any immediate hope of an increase in the secondary school capitation grants. Again, I am indebted to this report which discloses that the cost of educating children in Irish secondary schools is three times greater, on average, than the amount of the capitation grant. At Table 17 of the report, we will see that the overall cost per pupil in 1959-1960 was £33 and that the Department's capitation grant was only £11 per annum per junior pupil and £16 per annum per senior pupil. That is hedged around with qualifying conditions and restrictions of all sorts so that even a 100 per cent. increase in the capitation grants would not be adequate to cover the costs. The question of whether free post-primary education should be made available to all children in a position to avail of it has been touched upon in an ultra-conservative manner in the report but I shall defer my remarks on that for the moment.

Let me come back to the question of the increase in the capitation grants. There is a special problem which exists in regard to a certain type of school which has special circumstances that aggravate the problem. I refer to the Protestant schools which are not in a position to avail of the free services of religious orders so generously provided for the majority of the community. On that account, the cost of educating children in Protestant schools is far greater than it is in Catholic ones.

I was very glad that the Minister was able to indicate that discussions are taking place regarding the introduction of the teacher-exchange scheme with other countries. People in all professions have a great deal to gain by consulting and conferring with their professional colleagues in other countries and by availing of an exchange of ideas, which is what fertilises growth and development in every profession. I hope that by this time next year the Minister will be able to tell us of the introduction of a satisfactory teacher-exchange programme.

The Minister knows that there is a grave scarcity of teachers of science and higher mathematics. He also knows that there are many Irish graduates teaching these subjects in secondary schools in England and Northern Ireland who would love to come home to pursue their profession here but unless they are prepared to start on the bottom of the salary scale, like fresh green graduates just out of the university, they can write off any prospect of ever getting back to this country because the Department will not recognise their service abroad for incremental purposes. The Department will not even recognise service in Northern Ireland. It is, indeed, giving official recognition to the Border in an unconstitutional fashion in my view. If, say, the Christian Brothers want to transfer science teachers from Newry or Armagh to Dublin or Cork they can do so only at their financial disadvantage. If a graduate of Cork or Galway, working as a teacher in England, wants to come home to this country to educate and bring up his children here, he will be deprived of that opportunity for all practical purposes, no matter how high the order of experience he has had outside this country. Why is that? I put it down to parsimony on the part of the Department. The great effort to keep costs down may be justifiable in other Departments but it is not justifiable in a Department of Education. Even half a dozen Irish science graduates brought home to this country to teach science in our secondary schools would make a very material difference in regard to the whole position of scarcity which prevails.

I should like to see recognition given for suitable service in respect of all graduates but if the Minister feels precluded from granting that will he, in the name of sanity, grant it to science graduates so as to help to resolve the acute scarcity of science teachers and teachers of higher mathematics? This acute scarcity must be resolved if we are to make any progress—and we all admit this is very necessary in these times.

We hear a lot of platitudes about foreign language teaching and about the necessity, now that we are on the brink of a united Europe, for all of us to learn foreign languages but those who are in a position to do so will not be allowed to bring in foreigners to teach languages in this country. Most of the religious orders such as the Holy Ghost Fathers, the Jesuits and the Dominicans, have very close contacts all over the Continent of Europe. There was a time when Blackrock College was known as the French School by reason of the fact that a number of Frenchmen taught there. Now, unless a person is capable of teaching through Irish we will not permit a foreigner to teach even the language of his own country. That seems to me to be the height of lunacy.

The reluctance to permit our own graduates to come back surely makes a mockery of all our lamentations about emigration. Most of our graduates have to emigrate. Thank God, many of them in other professions get back. Many young doctors nowadays pursue post-graduate courses outside this country. Unless a young doctor has such experience outside this country he has little or no chance of being appointed by the Local Appointments Commissioners to a dispensary post. That being the case, I cannot understand this adamant refusal of the Department to recognise suitable teaching service abroad of our graduates. I say "suitable service" because I recognise that not all service may be suitable. If there is any reason in principle why this should be continued I trust the Minister will tell us what it is.

After 7½ years, we recently received the Report of the Council of Education on secondary education. The Minister received it 1½ years ago but it had to be translated into Irish before it could be circulated to the rest of us. The most apt word I can think of to describe the report is "pedestrian". It is a document which is completely lacking in imagination and which shows no sign whatsoever of fresh thinking or real thought which are so necessary if we are to keep apace with developments in other countries; and unless we do keep apace with them, in 50 years' time we will have an undeveloped economy, an impoverished society.

The Council of Education was very concerned to adhere to its very narrow terms of reference in most respects, but in one respect, I submit, the Council of Education has gone outside its terms of reference. That is where it says, at paragraph 428, that the idea of secondary education for all is utopian if only for financial reasons. It is not the function of the Council of Education to advise us on finance. The council was given a very restricted brief in relation to the secondary school curriculum but we have now the position that the council, like so many in this country, take it as a fact that the community at large are not prepared to provide increased expenditure for educational matters. I think we should disillusion the Council of Education of that idea.

Other European countries, and the North of Ireland, are in a position to provide free secondary education for all who can avail of it. It is not a utopian idea for us to strive to reach that goal. It is one which cannot be reached overnight, one for which we shall have to pay a high price, but in my submission the mass of the people are prepared to pay that price because the mass of the people, even if the Department has not reached this conclusion, look upon knowledge as the birthright of every child born into the world.

The Council of Education wants to preserve thestatus quo but, as somebody else said here earlier this evening, it is not a question of whether we can afford to have free post-primary education for all but whether we can afford not to have it. The Council of Education has really made no farreaching proposals. It has touched on certain problems and dodged the tricky ones. It has made no reference to the financial problem beyond that it would be utopian and idealistic for us to hope to have the same degree of educational provision—free secondary education for all—as is provided in the North of Ireland. Unless we can face up to the inevitability of that, quite apart from any other consideration, we will not have a developed economy.

I want to say a few brief and diffident words about the teaching of history in our schools. For several years this question has been raised on the Education Estimate by a number of Deputies, notably Deputy Dillon. In the past year the subject has been more freely ventilated than before by reason of the fact that last December, at a meeting of the Graduates' Association of the National University of Ireland, Professor Hayes-McCoy, Professor of History at University College, Galway, condemned some of the history text books in use as being biased, unobjective and prejudiced. It has been made evident that some teachers share the dissatisfaction of Professor Hayes-McCoy in this matter.

We are a country with a very glorious history, a country which struggled for over 700 years to obtain its freedom from an oppressor, but having obtained that freedom it is surely wrong to engage in emotional teaching of history to foment the hatreds and perpetuate the misunderstandings of the past. It is wrong and it is evil to use the history of our country, of our past relations with Britain, for the purpose of reviving ancient hatreds but, to some extent, in a minority of cases, history text books do this. Young people are emotional and it is very easy to prey on their emotions. I said here last year that I believe the chauvinistic teaching of history was one of the reason why young men from time time felt the most patriotic and worthy thing to do for Ireland was in defiance of all authority to go out on the Border and take potshots at RUC men.

Most of us have heard the story of the teacher who on his retirement said: "I may not have been much of a teacher but at least I taught my children two things—to know their prayers and to hate England." From an examination of history text books, referred to in an article inHibernia last month, it is quite evident that this biased, unobjective and emotional approach to the teaching of history still prevails in some of our schools. I have here an Irish language book, Eire Sean Is Nua. It is a most effective teaching medium for children since it is in the form of pictures. I regard it as a form of horror comic. It is full of blood-curdling accounts of battles, executions and persecutions. I counted them this morning—in 40 pages, there are eight pictures of people being executed.

Has the Minister any responsibility?

The Minister is most certainly responsible. This is published with the approval of the Department of Education. I know it came out before the present Minister's time. The first edition was in 1953 and possibly the Minister has never seen it. If so, I would advise him to take a look at it. In 1953, there was plastered up on every dead wall around this city a propaganda poster: a map of Ireland in colour with the Union Jack emblazoned across the Six Counties and underneath was the slogan "Out of Place". That was a very effective and legitimate propaganda poster published in the Anti-Partition cause by the Aiseirí movement, which we all know is the political arm of the present IRA. That poster is reproduced in this book on page 47.

Is that the sort of approach the Minister wants to inculcate in our schools? I was talking to somebody a few weeks ago who told me that his young son was at school in a certain secondary school in south County Dublin. My acquaintance heard the young fellow singing a song, "The Ballad of Seán Sabhat." Seán South was, admittedly, a brave man who, acting in defiance of the legitimate Government of this country, engaged in raids on the Border and, most tragically, was killed in such a raid.

How do we tie the Minister up with all this?

Surely the Minister is responsible for what is going on in our schools? If children are to be taught that type of song in a singing class in school, the Minister must take a very serious view of it. If the Minister wants chapter and verse, I shall be able to give it to him. I know that activities such as this are carried on only in a minority of schools, but it is a very grave problem and it would be irresponsible of us to ignore it. It is a very grave problem of which the Minister must take notice by reason of the highly emotional susceptibility of our young people.

Again, this book has no reference whatever to the ecclesiastical, economic or social history of the country. It is all wars, battles and bloody revolution. It is the nearest approach I have seen to a horror comic. What is the solution? Would the Minister, either formally or informally, through one channel or another, try to call history teachers together to investigate the charge made by Professor Hayes-McCoy? This is not a charge made by Deputy Byrne. It is one recently taken up by the Professor of History at University College, Galway. I asked the Minister in this House if he had any view on the matter. He said he did not feel called on to make any comment. The Minister is ignoring the call, but I am calling on him now to say if he considers he has any function in regard to texts which have been approved by his Department and about which there have been complaints by Professor Hayes-McCoy and others in the teaching profession, as well as by Deputy Dillon and other speakers here. It is gravely wrong to use the story of our country and its past relations with Britain for the purpose of reviving, fomenting and perpetuating ancient hatreds.

If I may pass to a more pleasant subject, I want to comment on the position of youth clubs, which could be a most potent influence in the development of education for young adults who leave school and for which the Minister, through a certain agency, provides a limited amount of help. In this morning's paper, there is a report, to which I should like to draw the Minister's attention, of the appointment of an 18-member youth and sports council by the Northern Ireland Minister for Education. The report in this morning'sIrish Times goes on to say:

A great deal of its work will be to consider applications for grants mostly from individual youth or sports clubs, or other bodies, some from central organisations, and others from local authorities in respect of playing-field schemes or other recreational facilities. The council will also consider broad questions of policy and will encourage schemes for leadership training, coaching and the provision of facilities of physical recreation.

There are youth clubs in Dublin in which educational work is being carried on in the form of classes in craftwork and languages, in addition to the organising of social courses, games and such like. A lot of the effort of the dedicated and zealous young voluntary workers in that field is thwarted by lack of funds. On educational as well as social grounds, I suggest to the Minister that he should consider whether or not this work should be expanded as a potent, virile and useful educational force, as is being done in Northern Ireland, according to today's paper.

The present Estimate includes a provision of £6,000 for the Royal Irish Academy of Music, the principal examining body in the musical field and an important teaching body as well. I am quite sure, while the £6,000 is a most welcome subvention from the Minister's Department—and is an increase on what was provided in the previous year—that body is still short of funds. On that account, I am inclined to wonder whether there is any scope for the rationalisation of the work of the Royal Irish Academy of Music with that of the Dublin Municipal School of Music. For what it is worth, I want to suggest to the Minister that it is a pity to see duplication of effort in the same field at a time when resources are so limited. As in other fields, in the field of university education more noticeably, there would appear to be scope for rationalisation in this respect.

I suppose I must say something about the Irish language in our schools but it is a matter about which I do not like to speak, because I feel strongly on it, and I know other Deputies also feel strongly about it and it is very easy to give offence and hurt people's feelings in these circumstances. I believe it is right to learn Irish at school but wrong to penalise children for the lack of Irish. It is a fact that the approach of very many of our people to the question of Irish is highly emotional. Deputy Kennedy spoke this evening with obvious sincerity on the subject: I feel equally strongly that there is great need for a change. The most significant development in the past year in the educational field was the result of the last general election and the seven new Deputies in the House who were not here a year ago and the seven empty seats on the Minister's side of the House because the Fine Gael Party, in the last election, came out with a new programme in regard to the Irish language and a determination that no citizen should be penalised because of lack of a knowledge of Irish.

It is wrong that Irish should be made a measure of ability or that weakness in it should be made a bar for entrance to the university, the professions or the Civil Service. I believe that the idealism of the originators of the Gaelic revival has been exploited for a base motive, for the purpose of transferring power and authority. In that connection, I want to quote a passage which I have quoted before. Because there are many new Deputies here, I want to quote again. It is a statement by the Senior Professor of Celtic Studies at the Institute of Advanced Studies, Professor Myles Dillon, as reported in theIrish Times of 7th December, 1958. He said:

The language is only one of many symbols and is valid only for those who choose it. But unhappily it is rapidly ceasing to have any symbolic value at all, because it has been turned into an instrument of discipline. This wicked policy was launched in 1925, and it was inspired, I have long suspected, by a really evil purpose in the minds of a few people who pressed for it, namely, to use the language as a means of transferring power—or rather authority.

At that time, as many of you will remember, all the cultural institutions of the country, except the National University, were in the hands of Protestants: the Royal Irish Academy, the National Library, the National Gallery, the Royal Dublin Society, the Museum, the College of Science, even the Society of Antiquaries.

All of that must be changed, and the language was one of the means used. Lyster, John Eglington, Praeger, Best, George Coffey, Armstrong, Westropp, none of these men could have passed a test. None of them would stand a chance of appointment now. I shall not dwell upon that painful subject; but I believe that, far from helping the language movement, this turning of the screw has destroyed its value as a focus of allegiance.

The language, of course, was a symbol of nationalism 50 years ago, a very potent symbol and badge of nationalism, and for that reason, many of the old-timers on both sides of the House have highly emotional recollections of their early days in the language movement, of the time when one went to the Gaelic League language classes in order to spite the British. Now, after all the expenditure of money and effort, there are fewer native speakers in the country than ever and if for no other reason than that their object cannot be attained by the present method, surely those who want to see the language revived will admit the necessity for a change in method?

It is felt that it is in some way wrong to be too analytical about the language question and those who like myself raise their voice in protest from time to time are the subject of most virulent and nasty attacks. They are called "Castle hacks" and "Quislings". Somebody used the term lick-spittles today and I think last week someone here referred to the Redmondites on the Fine Gael Benches, as if that were a term of opprobrium, which it is not. A few years ago, the then Minister for Defence and now Minister for Social Welfare spoke of the "Castle hacks" and those who were guilty of treason, if they refused to conform in this respect and dissented. It is the philosophy behind that which I resent, the notion that one is a secondary type of Irishman if one refuses to confirm.

I do not believe that the language is such an important focus of allegiance, such an important badge of nationalism as we are told. I believe that the concept of "Tir gan teanga, tir gan anam", is a shibboleth, something I do not understand, a notion that is belied by the example of many other European countries such as Switzerland or Belgium. I believe that the language movement has developed into a matter of coercion, a means of providing jobs for "the boys" and that the ideals of the founders of the language revival movement have been prostituted. I believe I am not any worse and Irishman for holding those views and I resent being branded as a traitor or a "quisling" and I would appeal to those who engage in emotional reasoning of that kind to recall Edmund Burke's definition of emotion as "the seducer of reason". If we are not prepared to sit down and discuss these matters with one another, we should not be in this House. It is theherrenvolk philosophy that is at the root of this. It is completely false to suggest that Irish was ever the natural or the native language of this city of Dublin, or of any of our other cities. I always think that Dubliners' attitude to the Irish language is summed up in four words: “Tá sé mahogany gas-pipe”.

In conclusion, I wish to revert to my opening remarks and urge on the Minister the great necessity for engaging in economic research on the productivity of educational expenditure. Education is now being looked upon by progressive economists as a fifth factor of production. The notions of thelaissez faire economists of the last century are completely discredited and thrown overboard. We are justified in increasing the national debt for educational development. There is great need for research in this matter, research such as has been done in other countries. As I said earlier, London University has a full-time research unit investigating the economics of education. There has recently been established here the Economic Research Institute which has done really useful research in the sphere of local government finance. It is time this economic research unit was asked to carry out a similar survey of the financial provision for educational purposes.

Ar an gcéad dul síos, ba mhaith liom focal a rá ar son na n-iaroidí atá ar pinsean. Tá fhios agam gur deineadh rud dóibh le déanaí agus go mbeidh leasú aca i gcionn cupla mí ach is mian liom go ndéanfaí níos mó agus go nglacfadh an tAire leis an rún a ritheadh ag Cumann na Múinteóirí Náisiúnta.

Maidir leis an Gaeilge, cuireann sé déistin orm bheith ag éisteacht leis an Teachta McQuillan agus an Teachta Ó Broin seachas bheith ag éisteacht leis an Teachta Ó Cinnéide. Cuir i gcomparáid an méid a dúirt siad. Beirt aca, óg go leor leis an Gaeilge a fhoghlaim ar scoil agus fuath agus gráin aca di; an fear eile in a mheánaois sula raibh seans aige í a fhoghlaim agus an grá a bhí aigesin don teangain. Dá mbeadh an grá céanna againn go léir di agus atá ag an Teachta Ó Cinnéide, ní fada go mbeadh an Ghaeilge á labhairt ar fud na tíre.

Is maith an rud a chloisteáil ón Aire go bhfuil á leanúint don sochrú i mbliana chun oideachas a chur ar fáil do pháistí go bhfuil máchaill coirp nó mearbhall intinne orthu agus go bhfuil an tAire, as ucht an chúrsa speisialta tréineála a chuir sé ar bun, chun cabhrú leis na páistí sin. Dúirt sé i dtaobh go leor de na páistí a labhraimíd fúthu nach máchaill coirp nó mearbhall intinne atá orthu ach go bhfuil siad mall nó lagintinneach. Aontaím leis sin. Sé réteach na ceiste sin feabhas oiliúna agus, mar a dúirt an tAire, tá feabhas ann le trí bliana anuas agus beidh sé ar a chumas feabhsú foirne a chur i bfheidhm i mbliana. Pé scéal é, ní aontaím leis nuair a dúirt sé go ndéanfadh sé faoiseamh san áit is mó a raibh gá leis, is é sin ins na scoileanna móra. Sílim go bhfuil gá níos géire leis ins na scoileanna beaga faoin tuaith, scoileanna in a bhfuil oide amháin nó beirt oide, agus tá súil agam go leanfaidh sé de feabhas fóirne mar sin go dtí nach mbeidh aon scoil faoin dtuaith in a bhfuil oide amháin nó beirt oide.

Caithfidh feabhas mór a theacht ar na scoileanna freisin. Na scoileanna in a bhfuil dhá sheomra anois, caithfidh trí seomraí a bheith iontu agus mar sin de. Ba mhaith an rud a chloisteáil ón Aire go bhfuil na riaráistí a bhfuil gá leo a chur i gcrích agus mar sin de. Ba mhaith an leis na riaráistí sin ins na blianta atá ag teacht ach ba mhaith linn go léir go dtiocfadh an deireadh sin níos luaithe ná mar atá sé ag teacht.

Labhair mé cheana ar an gcúrsa tréineála speisialta. Ba mhaith liom ceist eile a chur ar an Aire faoi chúrsa tréineála. Gach bliain iarraim air cúrsa trí-bliain a chur ar fáil i dtreo's go mbeadh céim cllscoile ag gach oide ag teacht as an gcoláiste. Iarraim arís air i mbliana é sin a dhénamh.

Every year when I speak on this Estimate, I refer to what I consider to be a great problem in our system of education, that is, the lack of integration between our three branches. The former Minister did not agree with me that there is a lack of integration. I do not know whether the present Minister agrees or not when I say we have three separate compartments, primary, secondary and vocational, and that there is complete lack of integration between the three systems.

I tried to explain my point on this before but I do not know whether I made myself clear or not. In most country schools, particularly since the primary certificate examination was introduced, children are leaving when they do that examination, that is, about 12 years of age. In some country areas, those children do not go anywhere at all after that age. Those who go to some continuation school go to either a vocational or secondary school.

I do not believe that a child of 12 years of age is fit to go into a vocational school. There should be some other form of continuation education, whether it be in the national school or the secondary school, before the child enters the vocational school. There is a break in continuity under the present system. There is no continuity of subject from the time the child leaves the national school to go into one or other of the continuation schools. To have a proper system of integration between all branches of education there must be a raising of the school-leaving age and there must be a system of vocational guidance to guide the children from the time they finish primary education into the appropriate system of continuing education. If that aspect were thoroughly studied, with a realisation that there is no proper integration now, and an acceptance of that fact, we would very quickly get a proper system of integration and we would get much better value for the money we are spending, little as it may seem.

One of the advances over the last few years is the improvement in the inspection system and the co-operation between teachers and inspectors. I should like to ask that inspectors should devote part of their time, particularly with the younger teachers, to demonstrating by practical lessons how they can overcome their difficulties. In training we all get a certain amount of theory. We also know that in the first two or three years we discover that we know very little about the practical application of what we have learned. That is something that only comes with experience. It is only when we actually go into a school that we begin to realise how to put into effect the things we have learned. We know nothing when we go in raw, as it were, into a school. In the earlier years of a young teacher's career the inspector should help the teacher more by giving practical demonstrations in the classroom rather than by relying on examinations.

There is a problem of long standing in relation to teachers. I refer to the position of those teachers who lost service because of the fact that some years ago we had more teachers trained than there were positions for. Those teachers have never been able to recover the years they lost through being unable to obtain employment as teachers. I ask that that matter be considered further by the Minister. Apart from those who lost service through not teaching at all, there was also a loss of service on the part of those teachers who were trained as primary teachers but were unable to find employment in primary schools, and who were thereby compelled to teach in secondary or vocational schools. I ask that all service in any capacity in any type of school given by a qualified teacher be recognised for incremental and superannuation purposes.

With reference to the grants made to primary schools, the heating and cleaning grant has been raised in this debate. I happen to be one of the lucky ones. In my experience I have had nothing to complain about with regard to the condition of the schools and the heating and cleaning of them. Others have not been so fortunate. I ask that the amount given for heating and cleaning be increased and that some better arrangement be made for utilising that grant in order to get the best value for the money given.

There is a minimum grant of £18 for cookery. For other things there are no grants at all. Something should be done to remedy that situation. Where garden plots are attached to schools a certain amount of seed is provided. It is a very, very small amount indeed; one-eighth of an ounce of vegetable seed; as low as one-sixteenth of an ounce of flower seed. Surely it would not break the Department to do better than that; one-eighth of a pint of peas; beans; one-eighth of a pint of peans; 1 lb. each of Epicure, British Queens and Golden Wonder, and five vegetable marrow seeds. Surely the Department could do better than that. There is no grant at all for fertiliser. Some implements are given but there is no provision made for loss or breakage. Surely someone in the Department knows that implements used by boys working garden plots will not last for ever.

There is no grant given for needlework or kindergarten equipment. There is no grant for maps, or for the replacement of maps and charts. In most schools the teacher in charge of the kindergarten and needlework is very often only a JAM, the lowest paid category of teachers. These have to supply the necessary materials themselves. In this day and age surely it is not fair that young teachers on the lowest salary scale, and in the lowest grade category, should be expected to supply kindergarten and needlework materials every year because there is no provision made by way of grant. I think the Department could do better than that, if they set their minds to it. I think they could devise some scheme that would be helpful to these schools.

If I might stray for a moment from my own bailiwick into the sphere of secondary education, I had some discussions recently with secondary teachers. There were a few suggestions made to me that I should like to put before the Minister now for his consideration. One is that something should be done to get authorities elsewhere to recognise the leaving certificate and matriculation as being of the same standard as the GCE. Up to a few years ago both were recognised for entrance to any of the English universities. Today they are not. One must have a certain standard—an honours standard in leaving certificate or a combination of some matriculation and some GCE subjects. I believe that the GCE standard is not any higher than either the leaving certificate or the matriculation, and that belief is borne out by what I have been told by those who have done both.

With regard to the teaching of history in secondary schools, the suggestion is that the system is too narrow. Limited periods are in vogue and numbers of children leaving our secondary schools have not the faintest idea of how this State came into being. They know absolutely nothing about the making of modern Ireland. That is something they should know. They know nothing of the background to Sinn Féin. They know nothing about the fight for independence. One can never have patriotism without understanding. These children will never have a love of their own country, its language and its customs unless they are properly informed. They will have no patriotism unless they understand how the State came into being, the sacrifices that were made to bring it into being. Unless they are taught something about the making of modern Ireland, unless they know and understand how it came into being, they will never have that patriotism to imbue them with the love of country that they should have. Why, if we teach them about Brian Boru and Cuchulainn, should there not be questions on the leaving certificate paper dealing with the period of the last 50 years? There should be at least one compulsory question on that period.

In teaching history, too, there should be more stress on sociology rather than too much emphasis on what somebody referred to here today as "blood and thunder". The other aspect is as important or maybe far more important. I have dealt with the leaving certificate.

The suggestion is made that, for the intermediate certificate, history, and geography should be dealt with as separate subjects. At the moment, I understand that in secondary schools about four hours a week are devoted to history and geography, combined, for the intermediate certificate. I do not suppose it would be possible to teach those two subjects properly in so short a time each week.

This year, I think for the first year, Christian Brothers are having an examination themselves for first year pupils. I note that geography is dealt with in that examination as a separate subject. The written examination is corrected by an outside body. I think the intention is that each year they will have the same kind of examination. It would be a good thing if the two subjects were divorced in the intermediate certificate examination and done separately as in the leaving certificate examination.

At present, pupils can get only a very skimpy and sketchy knowledge of geography. With the prospects of the Common Market, geography will probably be one of the most important subjects in the future. It should get much better treatment in the intermediate certificate than it has been getting up to this. No provision is made, either, for visits to places of historical or geographical interest. Provision should be made for visits to such places.

With regard to Latin, the argument was put to me that Roman life should be stressed more than it is at present. It is also argued that we have too much of Caesar and Livy; that Livy is far too difficult for the ordinary pass student and that Horace is out of the question altogether. It is pointed out that such difficult texts mean that students get a translation and learn it off by heart. If they recognise the first few words of the passage at the examination they will be able to translate it but otherwise they have absolutely no knowledge of what it is all about.

If we are to teach Latin at all or to have any understanding of it there should be more stress on unseen translations from Latin into the vernacular. It is argued that that would ensure that there would be more understanding of Latin than a mere learning by heart of a translation and if the student is lucky enough to recognise the first phrase of the text he can translate it and proceed from there on. Furthermore, some of the early Christian authors should be read. It is argued that the fault that the programme is as unreal as it is lies in the fact that the programme is controlled by university requirements. Another point was that, as with Irish, grammer is stressed far too much in the teaching of Latin.

It was also suggested that Latin might be concluded at, say, around 16 years of age; that the amount of Latin done up to that age should qualify a student for matriculation purposes and that the remaining two years, up to the leaving certificate, should be devoted to the study of a modern language such as French. I was asked to find out what is being done about having sufficient numbers of qualified teachers trained for modern languages.

Another question posed to me was whether the whole system is over-burdened with clerical bias. That was not said to me in any derogatory sense or without a full sense of appreciation of what has been done by Brothers and clerics down through the years. Rather, the trend of thought was that the lay secondary teachers should have more say and influence in the determining of what is done in the schools and that the way to do that is to give posts of responsibility to lay teachers in secondary schools.

I should like if the Minister would make clear under what conditions a teacher may go abroad so that his incrementals and pension rights are unimpaired on his return. I am not quite clear as to those conditions or whether the position has yet been decided. I hope the Minister will enlighten me on the matter.

Finally, I should like the Minister to remember a phrase he used in his opening statement. If he keeps that in mind and if he sticks to what he says in it I think we shall all be quite satisfied that the problems we face will be very much lightened or may disappear altogether before long. He said:

Chun scéal goirid a dhéanamh de caithfimid breathnú ar airgead a sholáthraítear le haghaidh oideachais, ní mar chaiteachas ach mar airgead a chuirtear amach ar ús.

First of all, I think it is my duty to congratulate the Minister for Education on his true sense of co-operation during the past 12 months as, indeed, during the preceding years whenever I, as a Deputy, had occasion to call on him. Irrespective of what Government may be in power, irrespective of who may have been Minister for Education in the past— although some speakers this afternoon cast a reflection on the type of history being taught in the schools — I still think history will say that the present Minister for Education was surely worthy of his office. I do not say that in any light sense. I say it because of my experience during the years I have been a member of this House of approaching Ministers of Fianna Fáil and of the inter-Party Governments. I think it is my duty to say that, when I come across a person who is prepared to help and to co-operate, not in my case but on behalf of the people for whom I work. I believe the Minister should get the credit which is due to him.

Other Labour Party Deputies have spoken on this Estimate. I do not believe in repetition. All I shall say is that some members of my Party have concentrated on and clearly drawn attention to the importance of free education and the question of the availability of higher education. With all that, I agree.

Deputy Byrne and I may differ in our views—as indeed we did in the past—on the Estimate for the Department of Education. Like Deputy Byrne, I would not wish to inculcate, or have inculcated, into the minds of children a sense of hatred because of past history, but what I wish for and what I demand is that children should have a true sense of idealism and patriotism. For that reason, I say it is essential that children should know of all the tragedies of the past although some Deputies may consider that we should not speak of them.

Would the right be denied to me to say that while I hold no feelings of hatred towards the people concerned, I take pride as a member of the Labour Party in associating myself with James Connolly who was famous in 1916, as Pearse and others were, and who was shot sitting in a chair? If I am to remember that, is that hatred? If I forget it, I am not faithful to the principles and ideals of a true Irishman.

It is essential that children in our schools should never be allowed to forget these things from the past. My experience of national teachers in rural areas now and in the past is that in teaching these ideals to the children under their care, they never tie up that teaching with a philosophy of hatred. It would be a sad day if we were to remove from the minds of our children an appreciation of and respect for the ideals, the ideals and the sacrifices of the men of 1916. To the left and right of me, there are men who can say they are proud of the fact that their colleagues took part on that occasion. It would be a sad day if our children were to forget that and concentrate on modern ideas, modern materialistic ideas, pop music and that sort of thing which apparently some Deputies consider to be progress.

We are all agreed that there is one branch of education which was in the past, is now and will always be of vital importance, particularly in the rural areas, that is, vocational education. It is essential that we strive to improve the facilities made available in these areas. Deputy Dooley drew attention to the time lag that exists because of the school-leaving age. He is quite right. In many parts of rural Ireland children are so far removed from centres where vocational education facilities are available that they are in a worse position: not only is there a time lag on the completion of their primary education but very often they have no alternative education and they must face the future, as so many others have faced it, wearing the tag that they are to be hewers of wood and drawers of water. It is essential that we should concentrate on providing additional facilities, if at all possible, in additional areas throughout rural Ireland.

There is one weakness in regard to vocational teaching to which I think it my duty to draw attention. Those of us who are members of vocational committees know what happens. A vacancy arises in a vocational school; it may be a vacancy for a teacher of different subjects or a principal teacher. It is wrong that qualified persons should have to come to us lay people to solicit our votes for the day when it will be decided who is to be appointed to the post. That is bad for the members of the committee but it is far worse for the teachers.

I have no sympathy with any member of a vocational committee who finds that against his wishes he has to make enemies because he votes for one person rather than another. I have no sympathy with any teacher who, because he sees that in the future he may need the support of members of various organisations, adopts a "God bless you all" attitude. I have sympathy with qualified teachers who are hoping for the advancement to which they are entitled, and above all, I have sympathy with the pupils who, after all, are the main element in the problems of the vocational education system we are trying to build up.

The Minister has tackled hard jobs in the past. He is entitled to credit for solving the Ballina dispute. That was a difficult problem. It may be said that it would be difficult to alter or improve the present system, but I believe that until something is done to take away from the members of vocational committees the right to appoint to various posts the candidates they like themselves, vocational education will not advance as I, as a member of such a committee, would wish it to advance. I believe that with all its imperfections a system of appointments through the Appointments Commission or some other system of that type would undoubtedly be a better alternative to the system we have at present.

I am not for one moment suggesting that all the members, or any member of the committee in my county, are in any way under suspicion with regard to their votes. From my experience of all the members of that committee, I can say that they have done their utmost in that connection. May I pose a question to the Minister? What are we to do—ordinary lay people, with some general knowledge of the subjects that will have to be dealt with by those teachers—if four of five applicants come before us holding the same qualifications and degrees, with the same numbers of years of experience, all looking for one post? How are we to decide in all fairness? Is it fair to suggest that we can decide which of them will get that post? Some people may say that is a right of these committees and that we believe in democracy. I believe in democracy by all means, but I also believe that throughout the length and breadth of the 26 Counties, democracy is abused when it comes to the making of such appointments. I ask the Minister during the coming year to do what he possibly can to devise some alternative system for the future. If he does that, he will be entitled to great credit.

Deputies in this Chamber have complained about the school planning and school building programme. They are right. Over the years, Deputies of all Parties have been drawing attention to the many condemned school buildings all over the country. I know from the Minister that progress is being made, but I would suggest that a little more could be done if the Minister decided to take under his own control, and truly within the Department, the planning and architecture section of the Board of Works which is working for the Department of Education.

I am not condemning the personnel of the Board of Works. I know myself that they have too much work on hands dealing with so many Departments of State and being called here, there and elsewhere, but very often the Department with which we are more concerned than any other, the Department of Education, must, of necessity, line up and take its place in the queue waiting for planning, waiting for the completion of drawings, preliminary and final, and waiting for a decision. I consider that is the reason for many of the delays that occur in connection with decisions, with the finalising of plans, with the acceptance of tenders for the building of schools.

If the Minister could arrange to set up within his own Department a special architectural branch for this work we would have results far more speedily. At the present time there is a roundabout between the Minister's Department and the Board of Works. On several occasions we have had to complain about plans for the building of technical schools being sent to the Department and being passed up and down for small alterations so that what should have taken a few months usually took a few years. The Minister should take this section under his own control and then we would have more speedy results in the building of schools.

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

Many Deputies have spoken about the managerial system. Some of them favoured it and others found fault with it but did not say what the faults were. I believe the managerial system is a success but I find one fault in it. The managerial system may not work in Dublin and the larger cities but if we had, in rural areas, in co-operation with the local manager, a properly elected committee of the parents of the parish it would help in many communities. Time and time again there are little jobs that could be done locally for these schools but the difficulty is that the parents are at a distance. They are not made familiar with the problems and with the improvements that might be carried out.

If they were called into consultation I believe the parents of the children going to school at present and the parents of those who have now left school would be prepared to co-operate, through their social activities, so as to build up funds or to give voluntary help. Schools could thus be improved at no extra cost to the Exchequer but certainly to the benefit of the children and the parish.

I now come to what must be a horror for thousands of boys and girls at the present time. I refer to the question of examinations. I did not succeed in many of them myself but I often wonder if we are too much concerned with them. In meeting boys and girls I find their minds seem to be channelled in a certain direction. Deputy Dooley struck the nail on the head a little while ago. I think it is true to say that the teachers are, of necessity, controlling the minds of the children and forcing them to keep within certain channels.

That is being done in the children's own interest in the hope that when the examination comes they will have some idea of the type of question that may be asked but it does not help to improve their general knowledge. If you seek to discuss general matters with these children you will find that their general knowledge is anything but satisfactory. Comparing the standard of knowledge of these children who are preparing for examinations at the present time with the standard of children of former generations one finds that the minds of the children are being too narrowly channelled. I wonder, in that connection, if too much attention is being given to examinations?

In September every newspaper will carry big headlines and will give the names and numbers of the boys and girls of the various schools who have passed the examination and there will be a little dot denoting those who have obtained honours. That is solely for the benefit of the schools concerned and is an effort to persuade parents of the wisdom of sending their children to these schools. Is that wise? I do not think it is. Is it fair to those children who unfortunately have gone down in the examination? I would ask the Minister to give some consideration to this matter. It is essential that our children should have a broad general education rather than that they should have a thorough knowledge of certain subjects and know nothing about other matters.

I had occasion some years ago to draw attention to an examination set under the Department of Education by a local authority for clerkships. One question in history related to Isabella of Spain and the other to Charlemange. I could visualise the boys who answered these questions afterwards dealing with some farmer who complained that he could not pay his rates. If the clerk made any reference to Isabella or Charlemagne, the farmer would be quick to say that it was a shame the Government should waste its money teaching such matters to clerks when he could not pay his rates. We should try to create a broader system of education rather than concentrate on certain subjects for examination purposes.

At all times, Irish is the subject to which attention must be given. I want to make it quite clear that Irish is the No. 1 subject, so far as I am concerned.

On the question of examinations, there is one other point to which I should like to refer, that is, the value of scholarships. I am referring now to children in primary schools sitting for examinations for local authority scholarships to secondary schools. I often wonder if the difference between the scholarships is fair. For instance, a boy or girl may be three or four miles away from the local school— perhaps living in a town—from which that pupil got the examination. I have known cases where the parents were anxious that the child should continue his education, through the scholarship, in the secondary part of the school but because of the amount being offered, in view of the proximity of the school, and as the pupil would be regarded as a day pupil, they could not do so. The amount given in such scholarships, as against the amount where the pupil must stay in the secondary school, is not equitable. Many parents have told me that it would be far better if the child were able to go to a school and return home to be under the supervision of the parents each evening. Undoubtedly at present, many boys and girls have not got that option because of the financial impositions on their parents if they go away and stay in the school, as against going to a day school. Both parents and teachers have voiced that complaint to me and perhaps during the coming years, the Minister will reconsider that question. Then we may discover whether the present system is fair and just or whether it should be altered.

There is another point concerning scholarships and the Minister might wonder if I did not refer to it and think perhaps that I wished to avoid it. During the past 12 months, we were at loggerheads with the Minister and his Department. I think we were right. Some years ago, Cork County Council, to their credit, increased the number of scholarships, but over the past few years there was a further substantial increase although not to the degree we would have wished. I think Deputy MacCarthy, who is in the House, will agree that some of us, before making any proposal, had to count heads to see whether or not we would get our proposal through. We had to adopt the attitude that half a loaf was better than no bread. For the past number of years, we did increase the number of scholarships following legislation passed in this House. Those of us in the Labour Party supported that legislation. We believed that the Minister and the Department were rightly striking off on a new line in giving additional scholarships.

That would have been excellent except for the fact that 50 per cent. of the financial burden was imposed locally. We brought the number of scholarships in Cork from 24 to 50 and asked the Minister and the Department for help but we knew we could not succeed. The Minister and the Department were pretty slow in saying "All right". In the years to come, we hope to increase, but in the meantime we hope the Minister will find it possible to assist us because to pass legislation involving the transfer of 50 per cent. of the financial burden from the Exchequer to the local authority is not fair, in my opinion. I would ask the Minister to understand the line that we have taken in Cork in that respect.

Finally, I should like to mention the booklet referred to by Deputy Byrne,Investment in Education. It is a credit to those who brought it out but I am not going to dwell on it now. There was also the report issued recently by the Council on Education. I wonder has that any value for us now? It took the Council about seven years and then a further one and a half years elapsed before the report was issued. A convenient way out not only for any particular Government, but for all Governments, is, with the best of intentions, to set up a commission. The Council did their best. I would not agree with all that appears in their report, but they did their best. They have issued their report but it is now out of date and I suggest that in future when we are trying to solve problems in connection with education, we should not depend on the report of commissions. Certainly they can be of help if they are taken in conjunction with the general picture of education. There are too many problems needing solution to await reports which may, as in this case, take seven years to be turned out and then another one and a half years to be published. As I said when I started to speak, the Minister is worthy of my sincere thanks for his help during the past 12 months.

I should like to place it on record that I disagree entirely with the amount of money we provide in this Estimate for education and indeed with the amount provided for education by all Governments since the State was founded. The importance of education cannot be over-stressed. By providing meagre or niggardly sums each year, we are more or less tinkering with the problem of education. If we are tinkering with the problem, we must know that we are tinkering with the livelihoods of the present generation and generations to come. The more money we spend on education, the greater is the investment. It is true that the return may be slow but nevertheless the soundest possible investment we can make is an investment in the education of our people.

The Minister, or some future Minister for Education, will have to tackle the problem on the basis that we are now living in a world which is moving in the swiftest possible fashion. In order to keep pace with modern methods and techniques, we must spend vast sums on education. The amount spent annually may be said to be in keeping with our income and resources. I cannot say I would agree with that because we could spend much more on educating our children.

Deputies have expressed their views on this Estimate and there is no use in one Deputy repeating what another has said. Every Deputy must face facts and the plain fact he must face today is that those who can pay for education can be educated while others, no matter what their ability may be and no matter what brains God may have blessed them with, will find themselves in the ordinary walks of life because they have not the financial backing to pay for high school, college and university education. There appears to be something most unreasonable in our system of education when we discover that, no matter what ability, capacity, brains or intelligence young people may have, they will find themselves without a profession unless their parents can afford to send them to college and keep them there.

Our Constitution lays down the principle of equal right for all our citizens. In regard to education there are not equal rights for all our citizens. The facilities are there for those who can pay but they are not there for those who cannot pay. There is very little use talking about scholarships and the fact that the Minister has improved the position in regard to scholarships. It is my view that scholarships will not solve the education problem, no matter how many are given. We want to put all our people in the position that they can fully educate all their children.

It is also true to say that the best brains can be found in the poorest homes and among the largest families. I have often wondered how it came about that we have so many bright young intelligent people who were handicapped by lack of opportunity to get an education to prepare them for life because their parents happened to be poor people who could not pay the high cost of education. It is the duty of any Government and the duty of the State, irrespective of the cost, to educate an intelligent boy or girl as far as possible. If the parents cannot do it, it is the duty of the State to do it. The sooner we in this country realise that that is a responsibility which rests with us and rests with the Department of Education, the better.

Under our present system that is not possible. Our scholarships are too limited and have been too limited. There are even cases where the parents of children who were lucky enough to win scholarships found it was still necessary to make a contribution. Certain further amounts are necessary no matter what scholarships are obtained. There is the cost of keeping the child as good as the next in college. The child will have to keep up in college with the sons and daughters of the well to do and the rich classes. The children cannot do that unless the parents are in a position to keep them in line. It is the duty of the State to see to it that lack of money should not prevent the boys and girls of poor parents going as far as they possibly can in our high schools, colleges and universities.

I have the greatest possible confidence in our national school system. The national school is certainly the poor man's university. The majority of the people in rural Ireland can never go any further than the national school. That is why in every parish throughout the length and breadth of Ireland the national school teacher may be described as the poor man's professor. The national school teacher carries an important responsibility. If there are 50 children attending a small national school and four out of that 50 see the inside of a university they are very lucky. It may happen that the child with the greatest gifts and talents may be among those who can never see the inside of a university because of his parents' circumstances.

Our first line of action should be to improve upon the present educational set-up in our national schools. There are many national schools today that can properly be described as pig houses. Deputy Byrne dealt with a few of them in and around the city of Dublin today. Some national schools are dirty, stinking hovels unfit to be allowed escape condemnation by a county medical officer of health. They have neither drinking water nor proper sanitary or toilet facilities. There are various inspectors carrying out duties in many walks of life today. I have often wondered why when we had an inspector to find out whether or not the teacher was properly discharging his duties, we had not an inspector to see that the sanitary accommodation was proper and right; that there was sufficient air in the classrooms; that there was at least a dry floor for little children to stand on for five or six hours a day. The progress at present being made in regard to building national schools is insufficient. Vast sums of money should be spent in providing rural Ireland with proper national schools that we can be proud of, containing modern furniture, where we can rest assured our children will not have damp feet. Some of the rate infested schools in parts of rural Ireland should be demolished. We should be able to abolish overcrowding and give the teachers an opportunity to concentrate on teaching the children.

In some schools children, are crammed into a small room with the result that the teacher cannot concerntrate. In many instances the responsibility rests with the manager. All the school managers are not, with the greatest respect, angels. Take a case of a manager of a school which has bad sanitary accommodation to which the attention of the local authority has been directed. There is overcrowding. There is a malodour in the classroom throughout the day and there is no proper ventilation. The children have to stand on damp floors. There is a duty on the Department to make that manager realise his responsibility and see that money is spent in providing a proper school for the children of his parish.

All the school managers throughout the country are not of that kind. There is a great spirit of co-operation between the Catholic school managers throughout the country. Nevertheless, there is a black sheep in every flock and the full resources of the Department should fall on that black sheep. If a manager fails to do his duty in so far as maintaining a proper national school in his parish is concerned the Department should have all the powers possible to deal with such an offender.

As I have said, most of our national schools are not equipped with the necessary furniture. Many of them are not provided with blackboards and easels and many of them are not provided with globes and maps and other essentials. Surely the Department should take responsibility for seeing that every school is provided with such equipment, so that we will not have national teachers going begging the school managers for the equipment necessary if they are properly to carry out their duties.

I have known cases where teachers have had to put their hands in their own pockets in the interest of their pupils. Some of them are very seldom recouped such outlay and in this respect I feel there is no section of the community who play a more noble part for the public good than the members of the Irish National Teachers' Organisation. They are to be admired for the noble work they are doing. Not only have they to fulfil their onerous duties in the classroom but they have to put their hands in their pockets to provide the schools with equipment which should be provided by the school managers or by the Department. I suggest that any teacher who has to put his hand in his pocket to buy chalk, maps, globes or anything else for his class should put the expense down in writing at the time and go to his local representative who should lodge a complaint for him. This might obviate the necessity for teachers to shell out for equipment which it is the duty of the State to provide.

We have a bad system of school transport in operation in country districts. Here again much depends on the co-operation of the school managers, if we are to have a reorganised system of transport for schoolchildren in outlying areas. I submit that in winter no child should be expected to walk a considerable number of miles to attend school. We find that even county council road workers are nowadays provided with protective clothing in bad weather and where it is found impossible to provide transport to and from school for children. I suggest that protective clothing should be provided free for the children of the poor, many of whom have to walk four or five miles in either direction and several of whom have not got a change of clothing when they return home from school.

I should like to say also that much more could be done in the matter of school meals, which are very poor at the moment. I believe local authorities do not realise the extent of their responsibility here, nor do the school managers. Accordingly, I suggest the Department should see to it that hot meals are provided, particularly between December and April.

I also consider that schoolbooks should be provided free for the children of medical card holders, people on public assistance and for the children of widows and others on social benefits. The provision of schoolbooks at present prices is a considerable burden each year, particularly where there is a family of six or more children and where it is not possible for the older children to hand down their books from year to year. The Department seems to have lost its sense of responsibility in this matter. It can be desperately humiliating and embarrassing for the child of a poor family to find himself in school sitting next to the child of a well-to-do person who has his bag packed with all the necessary schoolbooks.

I do not think a means test in this matter would be expensive to administer. It could be left to the principal of the school to determine which child should and which should not be provided with free books. Even where children are allowed to pay by instalments the 14/- or 16/- which books cost nowadays, it is still humiliating for them in face of wealthier children who can pay the money down. We in this House should always find ourselves on the side of the underdogs, the poor people, of whom there are so many in this country today.

Another point deserving of the Minister's attention is the question of accidents to children in school grounds or in the school itself. We had a case recently where a number of children were playing with a pen which stuck into the eye of a child who eventually lost his eye. The school manager said it was not his responsibility, as did the Department, but the child lost his eye and the parents did not get twopence. We had another case recently of an accident in a school playground. Again, both manager and Department said it was not their responsibility. I would go so far in this matter as to suggest that the Department should take out insurance to cover children on their way to and from school. I feel the Department should also accept direct responsibility for accidents in the schools or school grounds. This is something the Minister for Education must view with grave concern because of the number of cases which have occured in recent years.

That would require legislation.

Do you think so? It may not require legislation, but if the Chair thinks it would, perhaps that is so. There is nothing to stop the Minister sending a circular to the school managers.

The Deputy may not advocate legislation on an Estimate.

The Minister would be well advised to circularise school managers and direct their attention to the expressed opinions of the INTO in relation to what can be done to ease the minds of parents on this problem.

The cost of heating and cleaning our schools should be borne by the Department of Education. In winter, many schools are not properly heated and cannot be properly heated on the amount made available to managers by the Department. Some of our schools are not properly cleaned, either. Inspectors of the Department should see to it that our schools are properly cleaned. In fact, the co-operation of local authorities could be obtained by having health inspectors visit the schools regularly to see if they are properly cleaned.

The question of the school-leaving age has arisen time and time again. I suggest that it would be very desirable if children, having attended the national school up to the age of 14, went on to spend at least a year and a half in a vocational school. Our vocational schools have done wonderful work. That is proved by the fact that there is a growing demand for new vocational schools all over the country. From my own knowledge of the working of vocational committees, I do not think we need have any fears like those expressed by Deputy Desmond when he suggested vocational committees should not have power to make appointments to the teaching staff. Vocational committees are comprised of honourable public representatives who do a good job, study education and have the welfare of their schools at heart.

They are politicians, in the main.

They never make a wrong appointment. Neither in the committee of which I am a member nor in the other committee in my constituency have I ever heard of a wrong appointment. These committees have done a wonderful job of work and have got very little thanks for the amount of time and labour they have devoted to their duties. No public representative will cast a vote for any teacher unless he believes that person is the most highly qualified and best fitted for the job. I have been a member of a vocational committee for almost 20 years and I have never cast a vote for any teacher without first examining his qualifications and considering his suitability for the pupils he had to teach, irrespective of his politics. On many occasions, I have cast a vote for a teacher I knew to be sympathetic to the Fianna Fáil Party. I have done so in the past and I will do so again tomorrow. I offer no apologies. I voted for them because I considered they would be the best to teach in the school. To my knowledge, the primary concern of vocational committees in making appointments has been the suitability of the applicant. If we have not confidence in our committees to obtain the best teachers, surely we cannot have confidence in them to perform other functions?

They appoint rate collectors in the same way.

I do not think there is any comparison. I certainly would pause for a long time before I would vote for a Fianna Fáil applicant for a rate collectorship, because he would be compiling the electors' lists and the register.

That does not arise. Rate collectors do not come under the Minister for Education.

I honestly feel that vocational committees could have extended to them a greater measure of co-operation by the Minister's Department than has been the case in the past. Those of us associated with vocational committees know the difficulty with the Department in regard to caretakers' wages. We know the difficulty of obtaining sanction for things the committee feel are necessary and reasonable.

I want to go on record as saying this—and it is something the Minister should consider—that there should be a standard rate of pay for the caretakers of all vocational schools. Under the regulations laid down by the Department, the first query addressed to a committee concerning a caretaker will be: "What bearing will his wage have on the local rates of pay for an agricultural labourer?" In the name of sanity, what relationship is there between the duties to be performed by a caretaker in a vocational school and those of an agricultural labourer? There is none. It is wrong that a vocational committee should have to take into account the standard rate payable to agricultural workers when deciding the wages of school caretakers. We should have confidence in our vocational committees to consider the ability of the ratepayers to pay as well as giving a wage to which they consider the prospective recipient is entitled.

The Minister ought to cancel that regulation and allow vocational committees to have the final word in regard to the payment of caretakers. This has been a source of terrible inconvenience to us in Laois. The correspondence about caretakers' wages would occupy an entire corner of a cupboard in the vocational school in Portlaoise. We are not allowed to pay the caretakers what we believe they are entitled to. I would ask the Minister to reconsider his attitude entirely, accept the committee's word and let the committee take the responsibility.

Steps should be taken to speed up the provision of more vocational schools throughout the country. Because of lack of finance, many committees cannot go ahead with their building programmes quickly enough. The ratepayers' ability to pay must be considered but if the Department increases financial aid for the erection or extension of vocational schools those who represent the ratepayers will not be out of step in providing money for this essential service.

I ask the Minister to consider specially the extension of the vocational school at Birr, County Offaly. This matter has been for a considerable time the subject of correspondence between the local vocational educational committee and the Department and I should be very glad if a favourable decision could be reached so that in a progressive town like Birr with a big population and where parents have shown their appreciation of vocational education, no step would be taken which would lessen their interest and the extension would proceed with the minimum delay.

Reference has been made to the teaching of geography. I fear our national schools are slipping up badly in that respect. In recent years there is a great decline in the standard of knowledge of geography for which I do not know the reason. Those of us in close touch with boys and girls of school leaving age are well aware that there is this lowering of standard in the case of geography, of our own country, of Britain and of the capitals of the Continental countries and of world geography in general. Public opinion is very critical in this regard. I wonder if the Minister has consulted with the inspectors, particularly national school inspectors, on whether they are satisfied as a result of the tests they have made of pupils in the national schools about the standard reached in geography. I do not know if the present-day teachers place the same emphasis on geography as their predecessors did.

Geography is essential for every citizen no matter what walk of life he follows. He should know everything about his own country, its rivers, lakes, towns and county boundaries. He should also know most of the countries of Europe. Boundaries of Continental countries have changed recently but the various capitals remain. The Minister would be well advised in the coming year to examine the position and see if the standard cannot be raised.

There may be too much emphasis on the teaching of Irish. Those who stand up here or outside to criticise the teaching of Irish are looked upon and described as traitors but there are many on this side of the House who feel as strongly about the language and its revival as those who sit behind the Minister. Many on this side believe that if the language is to be revived so that it will become the spoken language we must go back to the spirit which prevailed among the rank and file of our people when the Gaelic League was founded. The desire to speak, to know and love the language, must come from the people. That is why I wonder if the Minister would not seriously consider adopting the Fine Gael policy regarding Irish. It is the only policy that will help to save the language. We all want to see Irish become the spoken language but none of us is foolish enough to believe that will happen, certainly not in our time.

I believe in the language and I assure the Minister that I have never unduly criticised it. I carry at all times a simple booklet which I feel everybody who has any knowledge of the language and who is in any concerned about the future of the language should have. This booklet should be given freely by the Department to all pupils of vocational schools. They have left the national school and once a child leaves the national school that is the end of the language; he hears no more about it. If, however, the man in the street can be persuaded to use the little Irish he knows a good day's work is being done for the language. This little book entitled, "Foclóir agus Litriú na Gaeilge" is extremely simple containing words used in every walk of life, the English on one side and the correct Irish spelling and the meaning on the other. Frequently, in conversation in Irish, I consult this little book to see if I am using the right word. I was never particular about my grammar, either in Irish or English. I believe that the man who uses the bit of Irish he has, even if he is speaking to an Irish scholar will gain all the greater respect. We cannot all be expected to speak Irish like Deputy Ó Ceallaigh from Clare. I have heard many Deputies speak Irish in this House in my 20 years here but the only one that intrigued me was Micheál Óg Mac Phaidin until Deputy Ó Ceallaigh came along.

Deputy Ó Ceallaigh made a speech in Irish recently and it was the grandest flow of Irish I ever heard. His Irish was so simple and his sentences came out so clearly that even a person with a very limited knowledge of the language could follow what he said. I want to express my appreciation of the speech he made on that occasion. If he spoke oftener in this House he would help to improve the standard of education of Deputies interested in the Irish language. The saving of the language rests entirely with the people. Therefore, I appeal to the Minister to take the necessary action—legislation is not needed for it—to alter the position radically, to change the system of teaching Irish in schools. He can do that, and if he adopts the Fine Gael policy in that regard, he will then be doing the best day's work that has been done for the Irish language since the Gaelic League was founded.

Irish should not be rammed down the people's necks. Irish should be encouraged by voluntary effort, by scholarships, by prizes, by night classes for those who are sufficiently interested in the language to come together to learn it. However, the Minister himself must start with the national schools, by seeing to it that young children will not be confused by hearing one language spoken at home with his parents and another language spoken in the schools which is completely foreign to him. It is very easy to confuse the tender mind of a child of four or five years who hears one language at home and another language in the school. The Minister ought to sink his pride and say to himself: "I will adopt this portion of Fine Gael policy in relation to the language because it is good for the community and for the children in the schools." I am asking him to do that not because it is advocated by this Party or advocated by any other politician but because it will be a means of helping the language and will abolish in our schools the long hours of compulsory Irish, because it is compulsory.

It is not true to say that no child can get the leaving certificate, unless he has a pass in Irish? I would appeal to the Minister before it is too late to change that regulation because some of the best educated people in Ireland today who passed in all subjects with the exception of Irish do not possess the leaving certificate because they missed passing in Irish by a slender margin. A child ought not to be deprived of a pass in the leaving certificate because he has failed to get a pass in Irish.

Furthermore, it is very regrettable that any person is denied a job at home because he has not a perfect knowledge of the Irish language. It is complete madness that any Spaniard who comes to Ireland to teach Spanish, any German who comes to teach German or any French person who comes to teach French may not teach unless he has a knowledge of Irish. I should like to hear from the Minister whether he may or not because if it is true that a foreign language may not be taught here by a foreigner unless he has a knowledge of Irish, I suggest that any such regulation might be expected to come not from Dáil Éireann but from Grangegorman or some such place.

I do not know whether the Minister is aware—I suppose he cannot have any knowledge of it, but a former Minister for Justice knows the case— that a very talented young man with very high educational qualifications made an effort to join the Garda Síochána. He passed in everything except Irish and he was not taken into the Guards. He went across to London and joined the police there. He is now an inspector in the London police but he would not be taken in the Guards in Ireland because he had not a first-class knowledge of Irish. This matter of depriving a man of a job because he does not know sufficient Irish is bringing hatred for the language into the hearts of those who are deprived of those jobs. It is doing more harm than good to the language and the sooner this problem is tackled courageously, the better.

I certainly do not aspire to be Minister for Education and I never will. One Deputy said here the Minister would be recognised in the teaching of our history in years to come but if he wants to get creditable recognition in history there is one thing he can do, that is, tackle this problem, stop the nonsense and codology that is talked about it. Fine Gael have a policy in regard to the Irish language. I am still hopeful that the day may come when no man will be deprived of a job in his own country because he does not know Irish. Assuming there were a test in Irish to enter this House, I wonder how many of us would be here? I should say very few.

I would be out of it.

That might not be any harm.

It all depends.

We must recognise the fact that the Deputy was sent here by the people and has a right to speak for the people.

That is very generous of the Deputy.

If there were to be a test in Irish before the returning officer, how many of us would pass?

The returning officer would not pass, never mind the Deputy.

What about the Taoiseach?

There is one thing I want to say in fairness to the Taoiseach; he never tries to stuff the language down any man's neck in this House. I have some degree of admiration for him because he has departed from the old policy of advocating the language to suit the political winds.

It is the Estimate for Education we are discussing now, not the Taoiseach.

I agree we are not discussing the Taoiseach's qualifications in Irish at the moment.

Has he any?

I suppose the less we say about that, the better. Valuable time is wasted in our national schools, and in other schools, which could be put to good use. Has the Minister ever had a conference with his inspectors in relation to talks in the schools about good citizenship? There seems to be a lack of a sense of civic duty and good citizenship today, particularly amongst our younger people. There should be frequent talks in the schools on the importance of respect for the laws of this Parliament. Advice should be given to children that the Garda are not the enemies of the people, that they are the people's friends, that they are there to protect life and property. How often do we hear children coming from school shouting: "Run, lads; here's the Guard coming"? Perhaps that is human nature. Perhaps it is something that has been handed down. Children should be taught respect for other people's property. It is in the school the foundations can be laid.

It is in the home.

If the parents do not do their duty, I admit very little can be done by the teachers. There is a good deal of talk today about vandalism. When one examines closely into the delinquency, one finds that it is directly attributable to the home and not to the schools. But we must make a start somewhere to give proper training in this regard. Lectures should also be given in road safety. Here in Dublin wardens are on duty outside the schools to help the children cross the road in the morning, at lunchtime, and in the afternoon. That is an excellent idea.

I wonder does it come within the Minister's province at all?

They are under the local authority.

I do not think it is within the Minister's province.

The Minister would be well advised to ask the teachers to give children lessons in road safety. Such lessons would be very valuable.

Our children should also be taught to respect our flag. Those of us who go outside the country know the great respect in which the flags of other nations are held. Our children should be taught respect for our flag, for our national anthem, for the institutions of our State, so dearly won. These are things which should be cherished.

I agree with the Deputy who said that our children should be given some idea of modern history. However, no matter what way that history might be taught, it would lead to endless controversy because of the unfortunate Civil War. The history of that sad chapter would not meet with the approval of all.

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

I do not agree with the Deputy who said that no bitterness was introduced into the teaching of history. The Minister has a duty, as have his Department and his inspectors, to ensure that no group, religious or lay, are allowed to encourage bitterness in the teaching of history. It is clear from information given to me, and to people in high places, that bitterness is engendered in the teaching of history in some of our schools. There can be no shadow of doubt about that. It has been conveyed to tender minds that England is our enemy. Emphasis has been laid on the burning and plundering of our Catholic churches. There is never a single word said to show that in the same period in England, there was exactly the same religious persecution; schools and churches were also burned and plundered in England. There are two sides to every story. Trying to discredit England is something that should be stopped in the teaching of history. History has its right and rightful place. It should be taught truly, clearly, and objectively, without malice or bitterness. In the years ahead Ireland will want to be friends with all countries and all nations. Our future plan and policy should be to increase the number of our friends abroad, to lessen the number of our enemies.

In the teaching of our history, we can damage very grievously an entire community by building up false ideas of certain people or communities who are alleged to have brought destruction upon this country. That is why I feel——

You could hardly forget 1916.

Does Deputy Millar not remember it?

——that in regard to our history we should see to it that it will not be presented with a degree of bitterness but that in a broadminded manner the true facts of history are presented to pupils.

I come now to a matter that concerns my constituency and a matter which I raise on this Estimate with some reluctance. In my constituency there is St. Conleth's School in Daingean, Offaly. That school is under the care of the Oblate Fathers. The Minister for Education has control of the administration. I want to pay a very special word of tribute to the Oblate Fathers at Daingean, County Offaly, for the interest they take in the boys sent there from many parts of Ireland. They spend many hours helping to turn them out as good citizens and to help them so that when they leave that school they will be able to take their proper place as good citizens in their own country. The Minister would be very well advised to examine the financial aid given to that school. Substantially greater funds should be made available by his Department.

The whole building should be demolished.

I understand that the night watchman is a man who has given very devoted service to that institution for many years. Very often, because of the difficult duties which he is asked to perform and the various types of personnel whom he meets at night-time in the discharge of his duties there, he found that his life was in danger. I really feel that the case of the night-watchman at St. Conleth's school in Daingean should be examined by the Minister for Education. I understand that numerous representations have been made to have a proper standard of pay laid down for this individual. I know this officer for well over 20 years. May I say that to my knowledge he is extremely conscientious in the discharge of his duties. He is regarded by the Oblate Fathers in Daingean with the greatest possible confidence. The manner in which he is being treated by the Department of Education is nothing short of a disgrace having regard to the duties he has to perform and the great risk associated with his position. He is very often called upon to restore law and order and to maintain it. It is an institution in which it is difficult to maintain law and order. For that reason, I would ask that special consideration be given by the Minister to whatever proposals are submitted by the school authorities in regard to this man. The school has been administered to the greatest possible credit of those concerned. The Oblate Fathers deserve the gratitude of the taxpayers in general for the work they have done over the years in that school. Many of those who are sent there, in order that their conduct might be improved, often make good, due to the example they received and the manner in which they were looked after and catered for in that school. For that reason the Minister would be very well advised to take a special interest in it.

I do not know if the Minister has ever been in St. Conleth's School in Daingean, County Offaly. If he has not, I feel that the Oblate Fathers would be very pleased to see him and it would be of considerable value from the point of view of the Minister's own education to see the very valuable work undertaken by the Oblate Fathers.

Does the Deputy want the Minister to stay there?

I appreciate the Minister's interest in the problem of mentally handicapped children. The matter has been debated in this House. I do not propose to dwell on it. All I want to say is that the Minister has a great responsibility in that regard. There are very many mentally handicapped children still in the homes of their parents. I would ask the Minister to make an effort to see that sufficient accommodation will be found as soon as possible so that, within the next five years, there will be encouraged to this country sufficient trained personnel—and I understand trained personnel are very necessary to cater for such cases.

Those of us who are associated with mental hospital boards know very well there are young people in mental hospitals to-day who should not be there. The atmosphere is very bad for those young people. It is most regrettable that any person of tender years should find himself in a mental hospital. The Minister would be very well advised to see that those young people are taken out of those mental hospitals. Certainly to the knowledge of the resident medical officers many of them are not suitable patients because they are mentally backward. The sooner the Minister provides suitable accommodation for them elsewhere, the better. It is a great problem and it is a problem in which the Minister for Education deserves the full co-operation of all Parties in this House and of every public representative no matter to what Party he may belong.

The problem of the mentally handicapped child is serious and grave. It is the cause of endless worry, distress and cost on parents. Unfortunately, there are instances where the parents of a mentally handicapped child are least able to bear the financial burden involved. I would ask the Minister to have a census and a survey taken from all local authorities so as to ascertain the position and to see what can be done about extending, without delay, existing accommodation so that within the next five years a suitable home may be found for mentally handicapped children so that they may be trained if possible and be able to do something for themselves. The mental hospitals which have so many such children to-day ought to be relieved of that responsibility. A mental hospital is not the right place for them.

I trust the Minister will actively interest himself, in conjunction with the Minister for Health, in seeing that that very serious problem will be solved. The good Sister at Monasterevan are performing a wonderful job of work in the school at Moore Abbey. I am sure the Minister for Education is not unmindful of the valuable work undertaken there by the sisters. If more religious communities were prepared to undertake this great work it would be a considerable help. It would be a great act of charity. The Government must primarily interest itself in the mentally handicapped children. I can safely say that many public representatives were astonished by the disclosure about the vast numbers of mentally handicapped children there are in this country. We should not take that position very lightly; we should take it very seriously. We should look upon those children with nothing but the greatest sympathy, the greatest possible understanding and care. That is why this Government or any Government should set no financial limit on catering for those children.

The grandest expression which could be used in relation to those children was used recently. It was said that they possessed what no ambassador could give them and what no State could possibly give them: a passport to heaven, which those of us who are blessed with average intelligence do not possess. The mentally retarded child should be the first concern of the Department of Education and we should do our part to ease the lot and lighten the cross of the parents. We may be able to do something to fit those children to take their place in life.

I am sure the Minister is not unmindful of those considerations. Let us hope that next year he will be able to make reference to this matter in a more favourable way and that he will have an examination made with a view to extending the existing institutions, and if possible to encouraging religious communities to undertake this work. He should not be curtailed financially in getting the best location for these colleges or schools. He should be given unlimited money because we are all anxious to have this problem brought to a favourable conclusion for everyone concerned.

Deputy Flanagan likes to have a bash at everything. I feel that most self-made people are like that because it is through general experience and general knowledge that they get to the front. Funnily enough, those who depend on education alone lack general knowledge to some extent because they depend too much on their academic knowledge to bring them success.

I am only too well aware that a lack of advanced education will close the door to many opportunities. Ordinary people with ordinary ability can attain much out of life with education, and a person with a touch of genius can reach the very heights with advanced education. Even those with a touch of genius can rarely succeed if they lack education because the hurdles are too great. I could mention half a dozen people who, it might be said, had a touch of genius and others who were in fact men of genius, for example, Lincoln and Hitler who had a limited education.

Education is essential if you want to make the grade in life and for anyone who lacks it, no matter what his ability is, the going is very hard. I have some knowledge of that. I have no advanced education. I think I have a good general education. I never ceased studying since I left school and I know from experience that the hurdles are so great that it is almost impossible to make the grade without having some advanced education. I think the majority of major criminals are criminals simply because they had a natural ability but no education. They did not know what they wanted and they had to get on by other means. They used their wits and very often in the wrong direction.

I have everything to say in favour of advanced education and for that reason I believe that every opportunity should be given to the primary school children. At least 70 per cent. of our children leave school at the end of the primary term. That happens because their parents are poor, or lack education and are incapable of planning anything for the future of their children. The children automatically leave school and the only thing in the parents' mind is to get them out earning a few pounds, but they will never earn more than a certain amount. People think they are wise in sending a child out to earn £2 or £3 a week but they forget that there is a limit to what he will earn. They do not realise that it is the children who continue to study who will earn the big money. Poor people cannot see that.

That is why I think there should be guidance for children in primary schools. They should be guided into vocations. It should not be left to the child, because very often the child is not certain what he wants. Many a genius appeared to be a dud at the age of 14 or 15 years. Later, when he came to the full use of reason and understanding he knew what he wanted. Children with a certain bent should be helped to study for certain vocations. It should not be left to the child or to the parents.

This year like every other year, we heard opinions about the hate that is taught in the teaching of history. I do not believe that at all. I do not believe any hate is taught. What we must teach is the truth. I do not see any point in hiding the truth. The great patriots of this country, or of any country, became patriots because they were inspired by what they studied, heard and read—in other words, what they learned of history. You do not suddenly become a patriot. You read about somebody who was martyred and feelings begin to grow. You begin to learn why he was martyred and then you want to emulate him.

History teaches patriotism. As we all know 1916 came from the teaching of the Republican Brotherhood and kindred bodies. It was the martyrdom of those who were martyred in 1798 that inspired other generations, and as we all know it was the events of 1916 that inspired the rest of us in 1920 and 1921. Martyrs are created by someone. They do not martyr themselves. They must be martyred by some opponent. Why should we hide the fact that they were martyred? It does not follow that we will hate their opponents. What does follow is that we are inspired by the fact that those people allowed themselves to be martyred. It is through faith only that people die for a cause. Ordinary people do not believe in dying for a cause.

I learned a lot of history; I studied a great deal not only of Irish history but of world history. I do not hate anyone. I took part in the Civil War and I fought against the "Staters" as they were called. Some of my best friends are members of the Fine Gael Party. I never give the Civil War a thought. It happened and it is a part of history. Such a thing has happened hundreds of times. Let us learn from it and not learn to hate one another. In spite of the Civil War, we can still admire the men who died in it without any need for hate. I have a great love and regard for Michael Collins. I have some pictures in my home and one of the few is a picture of Michael Collins. He was on the other side. We cannot hide the truth but I have the feeling that people who do not want the truth in history have no feeling for the truth themselves.

One matter which I have raised on previous occasions is the lack of physical training in the schools. Last year there was a subhead for such training but there is none this year. Last year there was some talk of building a centre for physical training but I have heard nothing about it since. Physical culture in schools is the one opportunity we can give to encourage children to take up sports. Apart from the fact that in itself it is healthy it encourages them to take part in sports and that will take them away from the street corners and, perhaps, from crime. We ought to get moving in that respect in the schools. Nothing has been done and I am disappointed.

The last speaker mentioned Daingean and congratulated the fathers there on the good work they are doing. However, I remember that there have been a couple of mutinies there in the past and some of the people responsible for that trouble were found guilty of knifing people. Why they were sent to Daingean I do not know. Most of these troubles arise because certain elements are allowed to mix with the ordinary types. I have made a great study of this matter and I am satisfied that evil is brought about by individuals, not by masses. Certain people who are found guilty of vicious crimes should not be sent to Daingean. They should be isolated. In England it was found that the cause of much of the trouble in the prisons was certain individuals. So they just grouped these individuals together and are keeping them away from the others. The Minister should keep that fact in mind and not send people who have been guilty of knifing one another to Daingean.

I am also interested in school meals. I know that they are supplied by the local authority and I also know what I was told when I put a question to the city manager in Dublin recently as to what number of primary schools are supplied with meals. He answered that out of 264 national schools the managers of 101 had applied for and were operating the school meal scheme. The reason for that is that the whole question is left to the manager. If the manager decides that there will be school meals the children will have the school meals but if he decides that there will not be school meals the children will not have them.

Should it be left to some individual who does not want the trouble of having the floor swept to decide whether children should get school meals or not? The Minister should decide that if the children want the school meal, even if it is only a glass of milk, they are entitled to get it. I am not satisfied that the decision should be left to the school manager.

What about the parents?

No one can do anything about it if the school manager does not want it.

Perhaps the parents do not want it.

Some snob parents might not want it but the parents of the poor children do want it. However if the manager does not want it, it makes no difference. There is one last point. A friend of mine who happens to be the publisher of a monthly magazine calledAiseirí also publishes a magazine called Deirdre. Although I do not know the Irish language it is a nicely got up paper and sells well. That man has as much interest in the language as the people who are constantly advocating it and yet he is denied a grant to enable him to increase the circulation of this publication.

He states that he is being victimised because he is the publisher ofAiseirí. What has that got to do with it? If he is doing good work for the language why should he not get assistance? I do not know the language for the reason that I never got the chance to learn it although during the Civil War when I was a prisoner I attended an Irish language class given by Eamonn Donnelly in Tintown. I was shifted and lost the chance to learn the language, but I do know that a number of people in public life learned the language in prison. I always earned my livelihood by my wits and that did not leave me much time to study the language or to study anything else.

I appreciate that Irish is the language of the country but I have a feeling that the language is not of much use in this part of the country. I know there are people who come from the West and South where the language is spoken and where you will not achieve anything of importance unless you know the language but on this side of Ireland the vast majority of the people have no time for the language. Their main worry is to live and enjoy themselves. Leaving aside those who are fanatics and those who are not fanatics, the question arises as to whether it can be made the spoken language of the country. I do not think so.

Of course it can.

Those who are saying that have been saying it for 40 years. I am a Dubliner and I mix with the people of Dublin a great deal and except on a very odd occasion, I never hear Irish spoken. You will hear it spoken by educationalists but what about the plain people? What about the 80 per cent. or 90 per cent.? Not on your life.

Come to the west and you will hear it.

That is why I say there are two schools. There is this side and there is the west. It has been said that nobody should be a TD, unless he knows the Irish language. I do not know about that. We would have a good many duds here if the language was a necessary qualification. I have no objection to the language at all; I am all in favour of its preservation. I have no objection to any money being spent on it or any objection to prize money as an encouragement, but I am suspicious of jobbery. I do not accept that a knowledge of the language makes a person superior to those who do not know it because in life the success of anything depends on the ability of the man who is running it, the executive person, the leader. A leader is a man with special natural qualifications. Leadership has nothing to do with academic knowledge. If you go to a party, you will find somebody there who is the life of the party and without whom there would be no party. He is the leader and you get that everywhere.

Do not tell me that because some fellow knows the language, he should be voted the chairman, and another fellow the secretary. The whole thing would flop, just as it would flop here. We are here to create and inspire, which call for attributes not necessarily obtained when you know the language. The language is only words. Perhaps words that appeal or words that differentiate us from other people, but they do not enable you to make a chair or to create. My point is that giving people jobs just because they know the language is wrong, just as it would be wrong that you should have to know the language to be a member of the Dáil.

Mention was made of the Taoiseach. I am not aware of what Irish he knows. I am told he does not know much but he probably knows more than I do. I consider him a very able man. Imagine the Taoiseach being told "Out; you do not know the language" and perhaps a duffer, somebody who does know the language, being put in his place—not that I mean that anybody who knows the language is a duffer. But if you were to make it a necessary qualification, you would get a big percentage of duffers here.

I have no objection, as I say, to the Irish language, but at the same time, I am not as fanatical as some people and not as biased as some people who say: "Oh, you are a showman". I do not know what they mean by that. When a handful of Englishmen raided this country in 1171, we all know Irish but we fell on our knees and kowtowed to them and we did not create unity for 500 years. The majority of Britain's adherents were people who could speak Irish only. Their chief supporters were Irishmen, the Irish chieftains. The language did not save Ireland. Remember that. For the past 100 years, few of the people who brought about freedom knew the language. How many knew the language in 98? Some of the people in Cork who knew it ran to tip off the British that the French were in Bantry Bay. I accept that the language should be saved but it does not make a man a patriot and does not warrant his being placed in an executive position without other qualifications. I am very much against jobbery but otherwise I will give the language every encouragement.

Is main liom comhgáirdeachas a dhéanamh leis an Aire as ucht bríomhaireacht agus éirimiúlacht a pholasaí. Im thuairimse, tá an Roinn is tábachtaí sa Stát faoina chúram agus is mór dúinn go bhfuil fear mar é i gceannas. Tá mórán aige agus mórán ag an Roinn le bheith bródúil as. Leis an méid sin cén fá go bhfuil tuarascáil na Roinne chomh déanach agus an leagan amach chomh leamh? An bhféadfaí roint bliain a chur le chéile —deineadh é sin cheana—agus é a eisiúint in am agus leagan amach níos soiléire agus níos tarrantaí uirthi.

Leis an crut nua atá ag teacht ar an Roinn agus a thiocfaidh ar an dtuarascáil, tá súil agam, an bhféadfadh an Roinn bheith níos lúbtha agus níos éascaí maidir le scéimeanna nua oideachais agus gan a bheith róbhuartha má theipeann ar chuid acu?

Deinim comhgáirdeachas chomh maith leis an Aire as ucht a fheabhas d'éirigh leis an scrúdú béil i nGaeilge. Molaim don Aire smaoiniú ar phas sa scrúdú béil a dhéanamh riachtanach, nó éigeantach más mian leat, agus b'fhéidir pas sa chuid eile den scrúdú Gaeilge gan a bheith éigeantach nó riachtanach ar feadh roint mbliain ar aon nós. Tá a fhios agam go n-oireann sé seo níos mó don mheán teist ach, ós rud é nach bhfuil scrúdú béil ann fós, táim dhá mholadh don ard teistiméireacht.

The Fine Gael Party have, over recent days and over a long period, throughout the country been endeavouring to raise the hair on our heads with their descriptions of the frightful troubles caused by compulsory Irish. The damage that has been done to our children is certainly frightening, if one accepts what they have to say. I accuse the Fine Gael Party of flabby thinking in regard to this alleged compulsory Irish. They have raised all these hares about the damage that is being done. What is their remedy and their new policy that Deputy Flanagan told us about? It is this: that we have Irish as a compulsory subject in every class in every school; secondly, that Irish be compulsory for the intermediate certificate and, thirdly, that Irish be compulsory for Civil Service appointments other than the specialist grades. This now is the Fine Gael answer to this frightful damage caused by compulsion. What do they propose? They propose that a change be made in regard to the leaving certificate which would affect less than one per cent, of the entrants.

They have been shedding crocodile tears over these unfortunate people who cannot get their leaving certificate because they failed in Irish. If you analyse the situation, you will find that this very small number of people consists of either the sub-normal or those who have been so misguided or discouraged by their parents and/or their teachers that they cannot pass. Anybody who knows anything about what is going on in this country knows that a student who has the ability to pass the leaving certificate in other subjects has the ability to pass in Irish. If you examine those cases in which the student fails in Irish, I guarantee you will find that the student was misguided by the parents telling him that Irish was no use and that he was wasting his time or was discouraged in the school. It is more likely that he was misguided by the parents. If you tell a student that any subject is a waste of time and that he should not have to study it, unless he is a very strong character, he is going to fail that subject in the examination.

Deputy O'Donnell, who, I think, made the chief speech on behalf of Fine Gael, referred to the good work done by Comhaltas Uladh, Gael Linn and other organisations. I agree with him wholeheartedly. He suggested that if the State could achieve anything like the same results we would have a lot to be thankful for. I would suggest that the Fine Gael Party examine their conscience on this matter.

I accept that the Fine Gael Party genuinely want the restoration of the language but we differ on the methods. I am not saying this in a condescending manner but merely in explanation of what I am about to say. If the Fine Gael Party have that aim, they should examine their conscience when they find that none of these voluntary organisations, which their speakers have praised and which they have accepted as being genuinely interested in the language not for selfish motives agrees, that the Fine Gael policy is going to do anythings good for the Irish language. These people know what the problem is, they live with it, and none has agreed with the Fine Gael policy. If Fine Gael are genuine in their efforts to restore the Irish language, this should give them food for thought.

I must say I am rather amused by the attitude adopted by many of the people who are against compulsory Irish. These people regularly adopt the attitude that they are calm, collected and rational people, while all those in favour of Irish or compulsory Irish are deluded and carried away by emotion. We know that the people on both sides are frequently carried away by emotion but this attempt to create the belief that all the rationality is on one side is of itself evidence of the prejudice that can exist on both sides of this question.

I would suggest that if these people want to examine the position rationally, they should put themselves in the position which faced the Government when the policy of compulsory Irish was first embarked upon. Let them employ their imaginations to put themselves in that position and assume they have the responsibility. They are faced with certain facts which existed then. What would they do? If you accept the aim of restoring Irish, there are certain steps you must take. If you do not accept that, then all the steps taken are a waste of time.

If you accept that, you will see the first step you have to take is to ensure a very wide knowledge of the language. If you think you are going to achieve that object by the methods which were used prior to the foundation of the State with voluntary classes and Gaelic League classes, you really are not in touch with the problem at all.

Ask anybody who was active in the Gaelic League classes before 1922 and who are still active in the Irish language movement and any of them who knows personally what went on then and what is going on now will tell you that at that time there was a considerable amount of enthusiasm and a terrible lack of the knowledge of Irish, whereas today while we are not without enthusiasm——

Within certain circles, it is low; in other circles, there is as much enthusiasm as ever. Today the vast majority of the people, including the parents of the children, have some knowledge of Irish. Many of them have a good knowledge of Irish. As I say, if you put yourself back in the position where you are faced with this problem, that is the first thing you would have to aim at to achieve that position. If you are going to make people learn Irish, it follows as a matter of justice and logic that you should not penalise those who want to learn Irish and say to those who do not: "You need not but you can have all the same facilities as those who make the effort"—and it is an effort——

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

I suggest that the Fine Gael Party would do better to concentrate on the two real weaknesses we have today in the Irish movement. The first is to get the people to speak Irish as distinct from having a literary knowledge of it. That is the stage we had to reach and we have now reached it. We know that if we do not speak Irish, it will die. That is one of the main problems. The other is that the children who know Irish leaving school do not speak it afterwards. Many factors contribute to this. It is one of the problems we must solve. If the Fine Gael Party came up with practical suggestions on both of these problems, they would be doing a much better day's work for Irish than they have done with their present proposals.

I would urge the Minister to encourage as far as possible—and use his influence with his colleagues to see that it is encouraged—the use of standard Irish. I know that, will offend many Deputies from Gaeltacht areas and possibly other areas.

Civil Service Irish.

Not Civil Service Irish; I mean standard Irish. When Deputy O'Donnell spoke here, he was interrupted by a Deputy whose interruption was facetious. The Deputy had said that he did not understand his Donegal Irish and Deputy O'Donnell took him up on it. I understand the idea behind that and I am not being facetious. I understand Deputy O'Donnell's Irish and so did the Deputy who interrupted. When Deputy O'Donnell is speaking English, he has a very attractive Donegal accent but he makes sure that he speaks standard English. I suggest the encouragement of standard Irish is essential if we are to progress. If Irish is to be successful and useful to us, it must be useful in an urban environment in the 20th century. We must remember that. There are too many people connected with the Irish language movement who think any word which is not used in the Gaeltacht is not Irish. I was present when a book entitledTeach Yourself Irish was being launched. Professor Miles Dillon, one of the authors, mentioned that he was proud of the fact that every word in the book could be heard and used any day in the Gaeltacht of Muskerry but that there were two about which he had slight doubts. To my mind, the whole attitude there is completely wrong. If Irish is to be used as it is in Dublin today——

For getting jobs.

Not for jobs. It is being used in business and if it is to be used more generally in business, it must be suitable for 20th century requirements and not confined to words you will find only in the Gaeltacht. This may be heresy to people in the Gaeltacht but I think if we are to succeed we must follow on those lines.

Follow the mailboats. That is where you will find the real Irish speakers every day of the week.

I should like now to pass briefly to the subjects which should, perhaps, more correctly be discussed on this Estimate. In our educational circumstances, the Minister for Education must always have to decide whether he is a Minister for Education or Minister for Irish. A plea has been made for the integration of the different branches of our educational system and I should like to support that plea very strenuously. Our resources are too small, too precious, to allow them to be wasted in overlapping or competition. I suggest that a plan should be made out, and adhered to, as to the distribution of schools. It is obviously wrong that in one part of the country there should be a primary school, a secondary school and a vocational school, while in another similar area there is just the primary school.

Examine this a little further and you will find that nobody has any real responsibility, as things stand at present, for remedying that because in the building of a school, for instance, the initiative does not come from the Department—indeed it does not come even from the parents in an area—but it seems to come from whoever is going to be the local school manager. I am not quite sure if that is so but nobody seems to be ultimately responsible and I suggest it is the duty of the Department of Education to draw up a map of the country showing the areas which are well covered and those not well covered, and give due notice to the areas not well covered that if steps are not taken locally to provide the schools, the Minister will have to take the necessary steps to provide them.

I would suggest such an approach is a necessary prelude to the provision of adequate post-primary education free to all and I would urge Deputies who have been pleading for that to consider what is involved and to remember that you must, first of all, have the buildings, the teachers and the other facilities. There is no use saying we should have it overnight. This is one of the ways of building towards it ultimately. You must have the necessary facilities evenly spread throughout the country first and in that connection I would suggest that the Minister for Education might consider that where there is a school in existence in an area with a small population, the addition of a room or two to that building to accommodate secondary and vocational classes might be considered. I know there would be terrible red tape problems—there would be the question of who owned the school and other problems—but I think these can be overcome, if one has the will to do so. I know the Minister has the will to overcome all those problems and if he could instil some of the people concerned with the same will, he could get a long way towards solution.

The object of each branch of our educational system should be planned and made complementary. Reference has been made to the wasted year in primary schools. That is something which really cries out for remedy. In the secondary school, on the other hand, the course seems to be geared, both officially and practically, to the requirements of the universities when we know that the vast majority of the children who attend secondary schools in fact go straight from those schools into commerce and industry. I cannot therefore understand why the secondary school course should be geared to the requirements of the minority. I would urge the Minister to consider what steps should be taken to change that.

In doing that, he might consider what could be done about grouping subjects into, say, science, the humanities and business so that a student could take a major in one subject and a minor course in the other two. If this were to happen in certain categories, the classics would have to be down-graded in respect of marks and otherwise and the university would have to be told a few home truths in regard to entrance requirements. I suggest it is time the universities realised they have an obligation to this country and that the vast amount of public money being paid requires that the State, though it should not run the universities, should be permitted to ensure that there are certain minimum requirements tying the universities in with the rest of the educational system and that this would apply in particular to the primary degree courses in the universities.

It should not be the other way round—that the secondary school courses should be geared to university requirements. As a concomitant of this, it would be necessary that the Minister would increase actively the study of Continental languages. I know the Minister has a particular interest in this and that I am pushing an open door, but I would like to say that a study of the results of the latest research into language teaching would well repay this country if it were applied immediately in the schools. That applies to all languages, Irish, English and Continental.

I would urge also that the training of the teachers would be ideal in a situation where every teacher would have a degree but that the level of training of national teachers now would be retained. The secondary teacher now obtains a degree but not such a good training in teaching as the national teacher. Indeed, we have the situation where teachers not trained in particular subjects are teaching those subjects. That should not be permitted. I should perhaps explain that, due to personal circumstances, I shall not be able to resume on this Estimate when it is next taken and cannot, therefore, deal with all the matters I would like to raise.

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

Finally, I would urge the Minister in all his efforts in the Department, to have regard to our general philosophy of education, the development of the whole man, morally, socially, mentally, physically and from the religious aspect. If he aims at that, I think I can assure him of the support of the whole House at all times.

Progress reported, Committee to sit again.
The Dáil adjourned at 10.30 p.m. until 3 p.m. on Wednesday, 6th June, 1962.