Skip to main content
Normal View

Dáil Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 6 Jun 1962

Vol. 195 No. 15

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

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

The time has come when we must assess certain facets of our educational development so far, and the progress made therein, objectively and analytically. Despite the commendations offered by Deputies to the Minister on his commonsense approach to many of our educational problems, we do a better service to the country, I think, if we try to pinpoint in a rational way some of the more glaring defects becoming all too obvious in our educational development.

I was more than gratified to find the Minister devoted a substantial part of his speech to the problem of mentally retarded or mentally handicapped children. During the debate on the Health Estimate, I spoke at some length on this problem. I realise the problem is reaching proportions requiring swift remedial action. In this field of education, the Minister will have to get down to co-ordinated thinking. The problem is not just one for the Department of Education. Its solution requires co-ordination between health services and the Minister's Department. It is essential that there should be sufficient child psychiatrists to deal with these children.

The Minister should not permit Finance to impinge in such manner as might reduce the moneys so essential to put this problem on a proper basis in order to bring it under reasonable control. I have done some exhaustive research in my own area into this problem. Some of the problem is not really a question of mental handicap. Some of it is due to slow mental development coupled with too rapid physical development. These cases require little more than understanding and sustained patience in order to bring the children into adult life at a standard comparable with that achieved by the normal child.

This is a problem in which there is complete unanimity. It is one which must be tackled in a very forthright way. I think the Minister is entitled, if he so thinks fit, to anticipate the future finances of this country so that steps may be taken to get the necessary type of instruction, the necessary type of staff, the necessary type of therapy training straight away. Surely the ultimate benefit to posterity of the improvement and alleviation of this problem is something that can properly be carried by the Exchequer in future years?

I commend to the Minister dynamic action where this problem is concerned. It is too well known to many of us that an easy way out, under cloak of alleged mental illness, has been used in relation to a number of semi-adult people who, if they had had the benefit of psychiatric treatment and normal educational training, would have overcome whatever inefficiency or deficiency might exist and, but for the circumstances of incarceration in antiquated antediluvian mental institutions, would now be perfectly normal citizens.

The time has come when the people throughout the length and breadth of this country should be made aware of the fact that this is something which, if tackled in an energetic and co-operative manner, can effectively, to a very large degree, be overcome. I am sick and tired of hush hush methods, of secrecy, of a kind of innate shyness about a problem that has a remedy. I am impatient at the inept effort that has been made to get the general rehabilitation of this type of person under way, particularly when we can see in what we sometimes describe as a Godless and soul-less neighbour the immense strides that are being made to solve this problem.

The Minister will find that no effort he makes will be too great to get the full support and commendation of this House. I shall not labour the problem. The time has passed when action should have commenced. The time is present when the Minister should bend his two-fold knowledge to the problem. With his medical training and his vast experience of another disease that was at one time the subject of hush hush and ignorance in this country—tuberculosis—the Minister should have the unity of purpose and the drive to get the medical people as well as the teachers and the institutions under way.

We are fortunate to the extent that tremendous advances have been made elsewhere to enable us to start institutional training, designed therapy and applied psychiatric treatment that can very early show efficacious results. To that task may I earnestly commend the Minister to bend all the energy he can?

On the general principles of education, I do not for a moment subscribe to the belief that our educational system is as bad as some of the people in this House suggested. I exult in the fact that the average Irish boy and girl of 14 or 15 years of age can compare with any child from any type of school in England of the same age in intelligence and advancement. I think we are wrong in any way to belittle the effort that has been made by our primary schools under very difficult circumstances to maintain the standard that has been achieved. The native intelligence, the perspicacity and the assimilative power of the Irish boy or girl of 14 or 15 years compare favourably, I am convinced, with those of any of their counterparts anywhere in the world and are away in excess of very many of them.

Our problem is not solved by destructive criticism. Our problem is to find a reasoned and a rational way of improving the system. It has occurred to me that after 40 years of self-government we should have developed a more co-ordinated effort between the Department and educational groups to get a more effective result. There is a lot of talk about what one may describe as the wasted year, the lacuna year, or any kind of year you like to call it, between the national school and the vocational school.

It has occurred to me, particularly in the light of modern agricultural development, that it is of vital importance that there should be proper co-ordination between the Department and, we will say, the agricultural services in the counties at large. We know perfectly well that in the old days, before I went to a national school— possibly in the recollection of Deputy Seán MacCarthy, beyond—an effective and worthwhile part of the curriculum was devoted to simple principles of horticulture, simple ideas of agriculture and the effect of various types of fertiliser on land.

There is no doubt that that was a very valuable and realistic part of the school curriculum. It has occurred to me that, without any great effort and without any great increase in cost, with the demand for expansion that is being placed on the agricultural community, a lesson of even one hour a week in the last year of schooling would be of immense value to boys who are to take over the burden of the family homestead and who ultimately will settle down to continue the output and effort on the home farm.

If the agricultural instructor or one of his assistants in the area were available to give instruction to boys at school, it would be most beneficial. I am thinking now in terms of the rudimentary principles of soil equation, of what type of soil will offset a deficiency in certain soil, and I am thinking also of information about seed, the quality of seed, and the type of yield that would be expected from it. Such information would be much more helpful to rural Ireland than the pinches of seeds mentioned by Deputy Dooley yesterday in reference to the Department's subvention to national schools for horticulture.

If we took an objective view of this matter and if we co-ordinated this type of development for the farmer's son, we could extend it also to the rudimentary principles of housekeeping, needlework, and the various types of duties that girls undertake, by extending to them at the age of 13 or 14 years the services given by the various domestic economy instructresses in the various counties. That may involve an extra hour's or two hours' work during the course of a week for those people, but I feel that if they were remunerated, it would be a worthwhile and realistic contribution to those people who will have in their lifetime to face the job of housekeeping for a brother or a husband and family. In that way, we could come to grips with the problem and it could be dealt with effectively without reports from commissions and without any necessity for any new type of institution.

I agree completely with Deputy Dooley that there is not sufficient co-ordination or understanding between the branches of our educational system. Above all, the integration between the vocational system and the national schools is not as effective as it should be. In many cases, there is a break in the chain. In many cases also, the difficulty arises that people who would be ideal subjects for vocational education—children with advanced knowledge, aptitude and keenness—are unable to get that education because a vocational school is not immediately available to them, and it is not possible for them to get to and from such a school in a reasonable way. I have always said—and particularly in the hullabaloo——

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

I have always felt that particularly in the light of the sense of urgency created by the furore in regard to our possible entry into the Common Market that the necessity for more technical training and more specialised training has become more and more imperative. It inevitably involves a keener and closer co-operation between the primary and vocational schools. Everyone who is rational in his approach to the present realises that technique, know-how and industrial aptitude are latent in our people and that what they require is the technical training to make them very effective operators in any type of industry. I have found on investigation in the London, Manchester, Birmingham and Coventry areas, that the ordinary products of our national schools, with some fundamental vocational training, have become the skilled and effective operatives in the big factories. In many cases, they have the qualities that make supervisors, foremen and general foremen. That in itself is, to my mind, the supreme test of the adaptability, mental fertility and aptitude of our people.

We should try in every objective way to give a year or a year and a half of technical knowledge and technical training to our young people, particularly to our people who are destined for the Innisfallen and for jobs outside this country, because every improvement we can help them to achieve in their knowledge and technical skill will aid them to make their living more effectively when economic circumstances force them outside this country.

Secondary education must, in its own way, absorb the stream of those coming from the primary schools and the vocational schools. There is no doubt that, with the tremendous development in the scientific field, the tremendous developments in physics, the tremendous advances there have been in atomic plants with the changes in sources of power and energy, the more advanced scientific knowledge we can inculcate into our people who are privileged and fortunate enough to be able to get secondary education and subsequent university education, the better the assets we are building up for our own nation. If we can maintain our position in industry in relation to know-how and technique, we can compete with anyone.

It is time that an objective view was taken and that there was a plan to use the various advanced services that are available to our educational system and co-ordinate them into a pool that will make available this type of knowledge, particularly to those at the age of 13 or 14 years. It would be an effective weapon in the advancement of husbandry of the land and in the improvement of housekeeping in the home.

Enough now about the general scheme of things. We have to realise that at the moment our educational system is too narrow and restrictive for the children of the impecunious section of our society to enable them to get the benefit of all stages of education which their intellect, aptitude and energy might deserve. The Minister must direct his mind towards finding a solution to the problem of the bright, intelligent and progressive child of the person who, through economic circumstances, cannot afford secondary or university education for him. We shall have to get an expanded scheme of either scholarships or subsidies to enable that type of child to get the rights and privileges which were in the design of Pearse, Connolly and the rest of them, when they fought to make this country free.

It is not lip service or clap-trap that we want to hear; we want some co-ordinated, effective system whereby the circumstances of his birth, or the improverishment of his family, will not deny to a child with the necessary mental calibre and intelligent aptitude, the right to have all the privileges that can be bought by the person in more fortunate circumstances. I do not want to comment with any bitterness on university education. It is improving but there is still room for improvement; nor do I want to enter into any kind of contest as between universities. I do, however, want to make a comment for the Minister's digestion—and I trust for his regurgitation and the ultimate readjustment of the situation—and that is that he should view the subvention to Trinity College vis-à-vis the subvention to University College, Cork. I am warning the Minister that there is a great deal of truth in the saying that Limerick was, Dublin is and Cork will be.

We will be a desperate thorn in the Minister's side if they do not start to appreciate in the Department of Education the fact that we need very large sums for development in a worthwhile way, because there has been a tremendous impetus of new industry in the Cork city and county environs and there is immense need for development of the more technical, industrial type courses in the university. The Minister will have to face up to the fact that tremendous as the achievement in the Bolton Street Technical Institute may have been, and no matter how magnificent may be the new extension to the College of Technology in Bolton Street, the time has come when we must enlarge the technical school services and curriculum in Cork city, in order to provide the same type of courses and opportunities to the boys and girls of the growing city of Cork, as have been provided in Dublin. That is per se the wisest and shrewdest investment we can make. If we cannot invest in the ability and strength of purpose of our own people, if we cannot invest with confidence in the extension and expansion of knowledge, then we are not fit to be legislators at all.

With the absolute, maximum stress being placed on improved techniques, improved methods of production, improved methods of packaging and presentation, we have to face up to the necessity, in our educational system, to give our boys and girls an opportunity to learn, in proper surroundings and environment, with properly qualified technical teachers, all the basic principles to enable them to take a worthwhile place in whatever industrial expansion may come. Above all, the Minister should ensure that the boy or girl leaving the secondary or vocational school after a year to take his or her place as a worker or a developer on the home farm, should be given the benefit of the experience and knowledge of the county agricultural instructor or his assistant, or somebody competent to impart the rudiments of soil testing, animal husbandry, the changing of basic breeding stock and all the type of knowledge that is fundamental to development and which is so simple to give if only somebody would get away from precedent and the strangle-hold of red tape.

I do not subscribe at all to the rubbish spoken here yesterday about history and the teaching of history. It has truly been said that the greatest judge of all, and the most analytic and critical judge of all, is history. The more our people are told about the winning of our liberty, the better for us. People have stressed the tragedy of the story. Perhaps people might expect that I would subscribe to the emphasis being placed on the tragedy. I do not. I believe that the story of our achievements since the commencement of Connradh na Gaeilge and the commencement of the Volunteers, despite the episode of the Civil War, is a story worth telling. It is a story in which there are all the elements of glorious sacrifices and fealty to a tradition and, far from engendering hates, a factual revelation of what happened would give our people an opportunity to assess in a realistic way the tremendous contribution made by many an unhonoured and unsung hero to the freedom, the untrammelled freedom, we enjoy within the Republic of Ireland to-day.

There is no point in hiding the facts or the truth from a generation. They will be able to assess the facts. They will be able to judge for themselves and in that judgment, I hope, we will find dissolving much of the cheap cynicism that we find in many of the young people today. No matter what the rights or wrongs of the Civil War may have been, there is one unassailable reality in the whole problem, that is, that the men who started in 1916 and who kept going on the one road until the Truce was signed, had in their day and time achieved what 700 years of previous effort could not do, and God's glory to them. We should not be ashamed to teach that to our children. I do not think it befits any Deputy to come into this House and suggest that that type of knowledge will engender hate.

We are rather too sensitive about England. Nobody for a moment suggests that we have any bitter contest with England now other than the ultimate resolution of the Border problem, which will come in time. Whether it is palatable to some people or not, I come from a family whose father and his father before him knew the difficulty of eviction and the tyranny of the burning of the roof. That is part of history. It is something to learn but it is not something the telling of which seeks to engender hate.

We should realise by now—and I think the youth of this country realise —that whatever the situation may have been in our grandfather's time or during the time of somebody else we are now living at a time when the economic survival of this country is closely and irrevocably tied up with the economic future of Britain. Far from being an enemy in the sense projected here in history, a tremendous contribution to the welfare of this nation is being made by the British tourists who come here with respect for the people of this country displaying a kindliness that is appreciated by the Irish people. For anybody to say that you will sow seeds of hate by teaching history in a proper perspective is nonsense, because a nation without a tradition, without a past and without a history to boast of lacks the fundamental characteristics of a nation which has a proud heritage.

The Minister is entitled to get far more financial support in the Department of Education than he is getting or than he asks for. The time has come for the Minister to realise that certain of the institutions of this State have to be scrapped and replaced by modern institutions. We should have a new technique and a new approach to training.

I am quite sure that the Oblate Fathers in Daingean deserve all the commendation they were given but I am also certain that they deserve a new Daingean. They deserve a proper institution where the buildings are properly adapted to modern circumstances and where the control of them is effective and reasonable. The question of dealing with juvenile delinquency, reform and criminal tendencies in children is tied up with the development of new theories of therapy, psychiatric treatment and training. If we are to deal with these matters I say to the Minister—I have some 20-odd years of experience of dealing with these problems in the law courts—that he will have to get the modern type of building, the modern type of class-room and the modern type of easy control and supervision in order to get to grips with the work. All the loyalty and all the devotion of the people running this institute can be offset by the nooks and crannies throughout the building which can be used for the purpose of illicit gathering for hatching escapes.

Deputy Sherwin adverted yesterday to the question of physical culture in the schools. That brings me to a question of co-ordination which could be very well worked out by the Department of Education. We have in the Army a most worthwhile and complete physical training unit. We have available in centres all over Ireland, in Cork, Athlone, Limerick, Galway and Dublin, specialist groups advanced in the techniques of physical training. It might be a help to the recruitment drive of the Minister for Defence if there were some plan of co-ordination whereby these top grade instructors would get an opportunity of enhancing their earning capacity in the Army by being occasionally seconded as instructors and trainers to the schools in their area and also where schools look for them. The Department of Education and the Department of Defence should be readily able to make such an arrangement. Some people may regard physical culture as slightly archaic. I still subscribe earnestly to the belief that the stronger, the firmer and the healthier you can make the body, the better and the more progressive will the mind be.

I deprecate people bemeaning any part of our educational system per se. The system gives the best service it can to our children. I am proud in the main of the worthwhile job which our national school teachers have been able to do. I am proud of the fact that in most communities the national school teacher is a valued member.

I am glad to see very substantial strides being made in our secondary schools and immense strides being made in our vocational schools. We as Deputies should take pride in what has been done and exhort the Minister to do more because I am fundamentally convinced that our Irish boys and girls, given reasonable opportunity, will develop and compare favourably with the children of any nation. Leanaimís leis an obair agus go raibh glóir Dé uirthi.

I should like, first of all, to compliment the Minister on the way he runs his Department. We have had here in this House over the past seven or eight months examples of people asking questions—simple questions—of Ministers and receiving very rude answers. As a matter of fact, there seemed to be a competition between Ministers as to which of them would be the rudest in replies to very simple questions asked by Deputies. I must say that in my dealings with the Minister, I have always found him courteous and willing to give information and I can say the same for the officials of his Department. They are a credit to the office they have to run. That is the way things should be because Deputies do not ask questions just to be awkward. Any information they seek should at least be given to them courteously. Again I would thank the Minister for his courtesy on occasions on which I and members of my Party have sought information.

Having said that, let me say, too, that any comments or any criticisms I make will, I hope, be accepted as criticisms of the Department as it is run, not because it is run by the Minister or his officials, but because it has been run in a certain way for a long time and my efforts here will be directed at changing it to the way I think it should be run. I know the Minister will not take me as being personal. The trouble with other Ministers is that they take everything said, every criticism, as being directed at them personally.

One of the things which should be cleared up, particularly from these benches, is the question of teaching through the medium of Irish. I have on numerous occasions expressed my views on this and on occasions almost as numerous somebody has ministerpreted me and has put a slant on it and cried "Shoneen." Those who criticise the teaching of Irish as I do believe the Irish language should be preserved but we do not agree that children who do not know the language should be asked to do subjects in the school through the medium of a language they do not know or understand. That is perfectly plain and simple and certainly it is not casting a slur on the Department or the teachers when we suggest that a changes should be made in that system.

As it is at the present time, we have children going out of English-speaking homes to school who are expected to be able not alone to learn the language which they met for the first time when they entered school but also to do other subjects through the medium of that language before they have a proper grasp of it. Deputy Seán Collins made a very eloquent speech and a very fine contribution, in my opinion, to the debate, but there is one thing he missed out, that is, that there is a very big difference between the child who has attended the well-staffed city school and the child who has to trudge three, four or five miles to school in the country—bad schools, no matter how you look at them— where the classes are very often overcrowded. They have not got the same chance of proper education as the children in city schools where the staffs are adequate. It is quite true to say that all over the country at the present time children are leaving primary schools at 14 and very many of them cannot even write their names.

Hands may be raised in horror at that statement but I am aware of that fact, as are other Deputies. That is no fault whatever of the teachers. The teachers, particularly in the national schools, are dedicated men and women who do their best to carry on under present circumstances. At the present time we find in particular young girls leaving school and being pushed straight away into stitching factories because they have not got sufficient education to work anywhere else and because they must try to earn a few shillings. The wages in those places are not very high and therefore the standard of living of such a child can never be high unless she is lucky enough to get married at an early age.

That is a matter about which the Department must do something because there are too many children leaving school at 14 who, as Deputy Seán Collins pointed out, have not got the rudiments of education. In 1962, it should not be beyond the capability of the Department to devise some scheme whereby children who are not normally backward would get a proper chance, particularly when we see on the Book of Estimates a figure of £92,500 for the Institute for Advanced Studies. Perhaps the Minister will inform me what does it study or in what way it contributes to the nation's progress, or is the money devoted to it something which could be spent in a much better way in trying to help the children of the poor who have to leave school at 14 years of age without the necessary education?

Those who can go to secondary schools are able to get over the disability which attaches to those who must stop at the primary school level; they usually get a fairly good education but if they want to proceed further, they run into the bottleneck which exists into the university. It is true to say that here we have a shocking state of affairs in which those with plenty of money can send their children for university education, whether or not those children have any extra intelligence. Those people seem to be able to keep their children at universities indefinitely, changing from one subject to another when they have failed to pass the necessary tests, while the children of poorer people, no matter what brains or intelligence they may possess, are unable to enter the universities.

I presume the Minister will point out that the local authorities provide certain scholarships but he must also be aware that the number of scholarships is so small that it is not worth talking about.

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

If we are to survive as a nation, more money must be spent on raising the standard of education of our people. The Minister should endeavour to allocate as much as possible for scholarships to secondary schools and universities and try to influence local authorities to make more money available, so that, instead of only three or four children in each county, as many as can benefit from university training will be able to avail of it in the future. That would pay dividends in a very short time. It is something the Department should encourage and this House should support.

The question of providing training for children who do not go on to a secondary school must be considered. It is true that the technical schools are doing an excellent job. They are the one bright spot in our educational system. The trouble is that there are not enough of them to cater for the demand. In the technical schools, the children receive an excellent education, which is suitable also for those taking up agricultural occupations. However, some effort should be made in the primary schools to find out the aptitude of children not going on to secondary schools. At the end of primary school, most children will display a certain bent. An effort should be made to find out if they have an aptitude for a particular trade and they should then be trained in the vocational school for that trade. I cannot speak too highly of the work the technical schools are doing and the Minister should endeavour to increase the number of these schools as far as possible.

Reference was made to juvenile delinquency and the question of punishment in the schools. As far as punishment is concerned, we know there are certain schools where the teachers inflict unnecessary punishment now and again. We are all human and we all lose our tempers. Sometimes these people are more sorry than anybody else afterwards. I do not think any case has come to light here of persistent cruelty to children. There should be closer liaison between teachers and parents so that parents will know what the teachers are doing and teachers will be able to point out to parents what is expected of them in regard to discipline. Somebody said recently—and I am inclined to agree with him—that the term should be "delinquent parents" rather than "delinquent children."

One aspect of education which has been overlooked is the question of musical training. At present if our national schools give singing lessons once a week, they feel they have done their part. There are a few schools which have gone a good deal further. Some of them have formed bands of various kinds. One school in my constituency got the idea of asking children what musical instruments they were able to play. By one means or another, they got together sets of musical instruments and children who showed an aptitude for music were allowed to take them away. After some time, they were able to form an excellent band. That school has been able to give a musical education and a taste for music to children who would otherwise not have acquired it.

The problem of the mentally retarded child is not an easy one to solve. I should like to pay tribute to the excellent work done in this field by the brothers of Saint John of God. They have done more than anybody would expect of them. There is the particular problem of children only slightly retarded who have to take part in the ordinary classes in the primary school. They do not go any further than the primary school. Some effort should be made to single them out and give them the rudiments of education. It has been known that some of these children have grown out of their disability as the years went by. If they were able to get the necessary education, they would be able to find a place in life. It is too bad to find them put at the back of the class, where nobody takes any notice of them, and pushed out when they reach the age of 14. Such children certainly have not a hope of taking their proper part in life.

The question of school building does not, I fear, get anything like sufficient attention. I asked the Minister a question last week, but it was one of those occasions on which he was not anxious to be helpful, and he gave me a reply which was of little use. I had to repeat the question yesterday, when he was very helpful. His reply showed that the following schools in County Meath have to be replaced: Mount Hanover, Donacarney, Dangan, Kilberry, Baconstown, Dunboyne Girls' Monknewtown, Stackallen, Ughtyneill, Ardenew, Carnisle, Gahanstown, Kilskyre, Greewood and Grangegeith. They have to be replaced completely. One of those is almost completed but the remainder will have to wait some time. The Minister says grants have been sanctioned in respect of Mount Hanover, Donacarney, Enfield, Kentstown, Drumconrath, Duleek Girls', Longwood, and Ratoath. He adds that work is virtually completed in the case of Mount Hanover and Enfield and that work is expected to commence shortly in the cases of Kentstown, Longwood and Ratoath. I assume the others will have to wait until next year before anything can be done with them. I am rather surprised to find Donacarney at the top of the list after Mount Hanover, the one being built. It is not mentioned whether or not the others are receiving urgent attention. There are eight other schools that have to be extensively repaired. They are: Enfield, Kentstown, Drumconrath, Duleek Girls', Longwood, Ratoath, Kiltale, and the Convent of Mercy, An Uaimh. "Extensively repaired" is a very good phrase. I was under the impression that they, too, would have to come down or be extensively repaired. Some of those schools have been built over a hundred years and it is not to be wondered at that they now require to be replaced or extensively repaired.

I would ask the Minister to ensure that the new schools are big enough. We have had the experience of schools being built in the county and finding, after a few years, they were not big enough to accommodate the number of pupils, with the result that they had to be enlarged at very great cost.

The second point is that the Minister should ensure that there is a good water supply and sanitary accommodation provided at new or repaired schools. New schools have been built which have had no sanitary accommodation except the old-fashioned dry-closet system which should have been abolished 50 years ago. The Minister should ensure that that system will not be continued any longer.

There is also the question arising with these new schools that when they are built they are just left there. Nobody seems to worry about them until nine or ten years afterwards when a request is sent in for their repair. The Minister could find instances in his files of where nobody thought it their responsibility to use a pot of paint on a new school until the time came along when it had to be extensively repaired. Will the Minister see to it that these new schools and reconstructed schools are kept constantly in a proper state of repair? The Minister and his Department must accept the responsibility of seeing that they are properly looked after.

I am sure new schools and those being repaired will be properly heated but I would ask the Minister to see to it that all schools have a proper heating system. In the middle of June we may not worry very much about the heating of the schools, but it is too bad to find, in the middle of winter, a small grate in which a fire can be lit only at certain times because the amount of fuel available is limited and which, even when it is lit, is not much use to heat the school.

There is also the question of cleaning. I know that in many schools there is somebody employed to clean them every evening and these schools are properly kept. However, there is also the old system under which certain pupils are kept back each evening to sweep out the schools. Naturally they want to get home as quickly as they can, and the rooms have to do with a lick and a promise. Nobody can say that these schools are properly kept or are places where children should have to spend most of their daylight hours. This is not the first time that these matters have been raised, but I would ask the Minister to give special consideration to them.

I would also like to refer to the size of the classes in the national schools. We have got to the stage in this country where the size of the classes seems to be no one's worry. Sometimes the classes go up to 40, 50 or 60 per teacher and we have even got teachers having to take more than one class at a time. We find them trying to teach two different subjects at one time in the one school to classes of 40 or 50 pupils. The Minister should do something about that. It should be possible to have enough teachers available to teach the subjects.

On that point might I say that I think we should add a European language to the course for senior pupils in the primary schools? It would only be necessary to teach them the rudiments of the language which would be of use to them afterwards if they went on to secondary school. I am not suggesting that we should teach all the other subjects through the medium of that language. We have had enough of that but I think we should attempt to teach the rudiments of one European language to the children because, if we go into the Common Market, they will have to use one continental language. Since French seems to be one of the accepted languages that will take a person all over the world I suggest that French should be chosen.

In conclusion let me say "thank you" to the Minister for the courtesy he has extended to me and my colleagues in the Labour Party during the period he has been Minister for Education.

My first pleasant duty is to start where Deputy Tully left off and to compliment the Minister for Education and his Departmental officers who have been so helpful to me in the matters affecting the county and city of Dublin. I must say that no Minister during my time in the House, and I commenced my nineteenth year here some little time ago, has succeeded in building more schools than the present Minister. I would also like to thank the Board of Works whom we have to approach through the Department to expedite the building of schools. They have been very helpful to me with the result that quite a number of schools have been built in the city and county of Dublin over the last four or five years. I hope that good work will continue.

I would also like to pay a compliment to our school managers who have had to face an enormous task owing to the fact that houses have been going up by the hundred in the suburbs of Dublin. Wherever a new parish is created the parish priest has had the task of building a new school. The managers have had a very big task to do and I have heard that the Department have been most helpful to them in matters of that kind. The time has now come when no child should be kept away from school for the reason that there is no school to go to when its parents decide to move to an outlying area. We have had a lot of that in Finglas, Ballyfermot, Coolock and other areas where large housing estates were built.

We have been very lucky to have in Dublin a great educationalist in the Archbishop of Dublin, who has been most helpful to us. Nevertheless, we have had a lot of work to do and we still have a problem. The day has come when we will have to consider giving more grants and more help to the secondary schools. Practically all the secondary schools in the city and county of Dublin, especially the Catholic secondary schools, are manned by lay teachers and controlled by religious orders, the Christian Brothers, the De La Salle Brothers and the Marist Brothers. There are a number of other religious orders which I will not name, but the day has now come when a growing community like ours should have more secondary schools to which to send its children.

I have frequently been approached by parents who want to get a child into a secondary school. I want to compliment the Brothers I have approached on matters of that kind because if the child is not able to make the grade through the examination, no political influence will be effective. Political men are asked to do these things from time to time.

The Minister and his Department will have to give priority during the year to stepping-up the staffing of secondary schools and, if possible, to seeing that a secondary education is brought within reasonable reach of all children since a secondary education is the first essential for a child's success, no matter what it may do in later life. The Dáil must face this as a national problem. I hope our circumstances will improve so that we will be able to deal with it effectively. Some plan to bring secondary education within the reach of all children would be the best contribution we could make to the uplifting of our people.

Tribute must be paid to the Christian Brothers who provided the first secondary schools in various parts of the county and so made possible the first great uplift in education. The national teachers have taken nothing from that; rather have they also contributed their best in their turn, but I should like to see a good deal more done. Occasionally, people come to me and say that their son, who has done his Leaving Certificate examination or has secured his B.A., has to leave the country and my reply is: "I am sorry he has to leave, but thank God he is educated."

The child who is educated has a good chance of making a livelihood in foreign countries and of upholding the dignity of the nation. Any scholarships or any money that contribute to the advance of education should be made available because education is the salvation of the country. We must think for ourselves, especially now that we must face the advent of the Common Market and try to provide more facilities in all branches of education. We cannot give people too much education. When thousands of Irish people had to emigrate, some with very poor national school education, they had very little chance of making their way in the world, although some did reasonably well in the circumstances.

I appeal to parents to give their children all the education possible so that these children may have a better chance than their parents had. Even if the Minister has to double the amount of money he is now spending on education, he will have the backing of the nation. I believe the time is coming when he will have to think on those lines.

We have tried to do our best in regard to vocational education in the city and county of Dublin, and great strides have been made, but we still have a long way to go. More pupils are attending these schools now than two years ago. Parents who cannot afford to give children a secondary education should at least encourage their children to get a technical education even if only in general subjects during the two years after leaving the national school. Any parents worth their salt should be able to do this. It would be a sad reflection on ourselves if we sent our children to work for a small wage and deprived them of this chance, especially when they can attend technical schools at night.

A great educational revival generally is essential and the technical schools, taking into account the great advances made in technical education and the high quality teaching available in them to-day, are really the poor man's university. Any money spent on them or any help that can be given by local authorities should not be spared. In this case also, the approach to the problem must be speeded up and we must get the people to realise that it is all for their own good and the good of the nation.

Wonderful work has been done in County Dublin in the building of national schools. The Minister has been most helpful and most of the parish managers are zealous in getting schools built but we still have some bad and overcrowded schools in the county which we are anxious to have replaced. It is essential that a child starting its primary education should go into a clean, properly-ventilated school which is comfortable and not overcrowded, equipped with proper toilet accommodation. Some schools leave a lot to be desired in that respect. Under the old system, the Department give a grant for the cleaning of schools. I should like to see this done uniformaly all over the county and city of Dublin. If possible, there should be a conference between the school managers and the Department to devise a system which would provide adequately for the cleaning of schools and toilets.

Some school managers in my constituency have been trying to pay cleaners more than the parish can afford but there are other cases, as Deputy Tully said, where the children sweep the schools. We have a few such cases in County Dublin still and I believe this problem could be tackled jointly by the school managers and the Department.

While the Minister is not responsible for the medical inspection of schools, which is the concern of the Minister for Health, I wonder if he could arrange to provide a small medical room equipped with the essentials necessary for examining a child which the doctor could use when he comes to make a medical inspection.

There are many extra national teachers in the city and county of Dublin who are anxious to do their utmost to improve the outlook of the children entrusted to them. A number of children in the city and county of Dublin have succeeded in getting scholarships, due to the zeal of their teachers. I want to take this opportunity again of thanking the Minister for improving teaching facilities. Some years ago, I made representations to his Department to have a bus run through the Phoenix Park which at that time was nearly a mortal sin. As a result of the Minister using his good offices, the Board of Works arranged for a bus to leave O'Connell Bridge every morning with 40 or 50 retarded youngsters for the school at Knockmaroon. The Minister thus showed, both from the medical and the educational point of view, the importance he attaches to this work.

A great deal still remains to be done in relation to this problem of backward children. While voluntary organisations have done valuable work and while the religious orders have been most helpful, there is still a long list in the city and county of Dublin of retarded children requiring treatment and educational attention from psychiatrists who are also teachers. I want to compliment the Minister and his Department on the work they have done in that regard.

In regard to scholarships, a great advance was made last year in the provision of extra scholarships in Dublin city and county. However, I hope economic conditions will improve to such a degree that we can at least double the number in a few years' time, because it is the greatest investment a nation can make. Education makes the poor man's son equal to any other man and it is only in that way we can raise up our people.

I was rather disappointed to hear Deputy Byrne saying we should get away from history. The greatest nations in the world revive and respect their own traditions. There is no country in the world that believes more in tradition than England, of which Deputy Byrne spoke. The English speak of the great men who helped to make their Empire. The people of the United States quote Abraham Lincoln, George Washington and all the other great names in their history. As Deputy Seán Collins rightly stated, we do not bear animosity towards any man. We bear charity towards all, but we should be proud of our traditions.

I should like to see every child knowing the background of his country, what we had to go through and what our forefathers had to go through. It is not part of our character to bear animosity. A true soldier will not hear animosity towards his opponents when war is over. Certain things have happened in this country and the wounds have been healed by time. We must keep alive the great traditions that were handed down to us from the Mass Rock and from the old hedge school teachers. Anybody who is ashamed of the traditions of the country in which he was born and of which he is part is not worthy to be a citizen of the country at all. History in our schools should be taught properly, without any bias, without any uncharitableness. Only the facts should be taught.

I hope the Minister will continue for many years to do the work he has done so well over the past few years. Even if there is a general election, I am sure the Minister will be returned to office once more.

I never thought I should hear Deputy Burke making, for about two-thirds of his contribution here today, a Fine Gael speech. Wonders will never cease!

I am sorry I am not following the Deputy.

The Deputy followed me not so long age and took full advantage of his opportunity. The Deputy ended this afternoon by, of course, reverting to type. I believe that a great opportunity for change has come in this year of 1962. Perhaps that is due to the fact that many of the older men, who did good work for their country from 1922 onwards, have passed from the scene. A different approach to education is now possible.

This is a political body and I do not think it is any harm to approach this matter from a political angle. In the last general election campaign the Fine Gael Party adumbrated a policy for education. Like so many other slices of Fine Gael policy, that policy has now been referred to a committee or commission. We suggested then that it was the mark of a civilised society that the brilliant child should be in a position to go to university and take a degree, irrespective of the financial circumstances of his parents, and so long as those parents could allow him to attend university instead of wanting him to earn money for the benefit of the household. That was our policy and that policy would have been implemented had we been returned to power. Its implementation might have taken a few years——

And a few more universities.

—— but that was our policy. Deputy Burke enlarged on that policy to-day. In fact, I think he made some improvements on it. It is quite clear now that on both sides of this House there are people of the same school of thought. But it is even more than thought, because this whole matter was examined in great detail and there is not the slightest doubt but that this policy can be implemented. At first sight it may appear that the numbers of children in the national schools who would be fit to attend university and take a degree would be of too great magnitude; they simply could not be accommodated. On examination, however, it is clear the numbers would not be of that great magnitude. There are people at the moment, blessed with this world's goods, who could afford to send their children to university but who do not do so. As the boys and girls pass through secondary school it becomes quite obvious that a large proportion, while fit in every way for normal life, fit to make money perhaps in industry or commerce, are not fit for university education. They would not pass examinations. They would not succeed in getting a degree. In some families one will find two or three going to university and two or three entering other walks of life.

The policy put forth by us at the last general election is clearly capable of implementation. But the Government are not implementing that policy. It is proper that this matter should be faced in this assembly on the basis of what the Opposition desire and have pledged themselves to do and what the Government are not doing. While I agree with previous speakers on the courtesy of the Minister, his pleasant disposition, and his desire to help— he is undoubtedly popular on all sides of this House—he has not succeeded in getting his policy adopted by the Government or in getting from the Department of Finance the moneys necessary for its implementation. We must face the fact then that we are not doing enough where education is concerned.

As well as adopting a policy of university education for every brilliant child, irrespective of the income of the parents, we also took the view that compulsory Irish should end. We are of that opinion still, though many red herrings have been dragged across the trail since the general election. I was sitting here yesterday listening to a Fianna Fáil Deputy, for whom I have a great regard, Deputy, Michael Joseph Kennedy. He is of the old school. He is of the school that says that if you do not insist on every dispensary doctor passing an oral Irish test, on every engineer seeking a job with a local authority or a Government Department passing an oral Irish test, on every university student doing an oral Irish test every year, the language will die. The university student may not be worrying very much about the future of the country. His main anxiety is to pass his examinations. If, because he does not pass an oral Irish test, he is visited with the appalling punishment of being sent back for a year, he may have his oral Irish but he will certainly not have any love for the language. Deputy Kennedy says all that must continue. That was Deputy Kennedy's line yesterday. That was the line one would have got from this side of the House perhaps ten years ago from four or five Deputies sitting on these benches. It was the line one would have got from 24 people on the other side of the House.

It was the agreed line all down through the years.

That is the point I am making. One got it from some here, from the vast majority on the other side.

It was the policy of that Party, too.

Very well. That is the case I am making. I said in my opening remarks that I felt, in 1962, we had to get away from that policy because the inevitable result is that that policy is leading nowhere. University students are not interested in anything except passing their examinations, sport, and having a bit of fun. Because of the compulsory element in learning the Irish language these people work up nothing but a complete antipathy to the Irish language. Deputy Kennedy asked why did the Welsh keep their language. I will tell the House the story about that. The Welsh keep their language because they are not compelled to keep it. You will find it is the educated Welshman who has a competent knowledge of Welsh.

Rubbish. It is compulsory in the schools.

It is not compulsory in the schools.

The Deputy knows nothing about it.

It is not compulsory in the schools.

The Deputy knows nothing about it.

The died-in-the-wool-compulsory-Irish protagonist is, I have always found, the individual who will not listen to the other fellow's argument. Deputy Dolan and Deputy Ó Briain are of that calibre.

Why not state the facts?

Why not tell the truth?

They are not prepared to listen to my contribution. They are not prepared to get up afterwards to controvert what I say, disprove it, if possible, or give the other view. I listened in a courteous way to Deputy Kennedy. I disagreed with most of what he said, but I was quite prepared to listen to him and to come in here today and take a different line. Why cannot these more-Irish-than-we people who insist on compulsory Irish do the same? Why cannot they be more resilient? Why must it be "thump-the-table" and "we will not listen to you"? I would prefer to pursue my own line. Let reasoned argument prevail afterwards, if reasoned argument can be produced to disprove my line of thought.

The test of truth.

I remember going to a rugby international in Belfast about 15 years ago. It was the year Ireland won the Triple Crown. All the fellows were in the publichouse afterwards having a drink. The Irish sang the Soldier's Song in English. The Welsh fellows sang their national anthem in Welsh. My impression of the Scotsman and the Welshman has always been that it is the mark of the educated Scotsman to speak Scots Gaelic and the mark of the educated Welshman to speak Welsh.

Their own language—hear, hear!

It is the mark of the majority of educated Irishmen that they have a distaste for the Irish language.

Whether you like it or not, I believe it and I am prepared to say it here. I do not believe it will get any votes or kudos but I believe it is the truth and we must change it. Our line was that patronage must end. This question of a dispensary doctor passing an oral Irish test was just too ridiculous. At the same time, there should be full encouragement for the Irish language. It should remain a subject in the schools and there should be full encouragement for it. Special scholarships should be given for proficiency in the Irish language. We should have that sort of thing right from the start. I believe that at that stage you would have an educated people in this country behind you and that it would become the mark of an educated Irishman that he knew the Irish language.

The quotation was referred to by Deputy McQuillan in which Dr. Lucey of Cork made the point that if one were to take priorities, it should be the people first and the language afterwards. That, I think, is a very fair approach. Bread and butter are infinitely more important than anything that is only a step and an encouragement — and the language which is spoken at the moment by only 30,000 people in this country as their vernacular certainly must be regarded as a step. I sincerely believe that bread and butter considerations will at all times weld the nation closer together than anything like the Irish language.

I want to see the language used, as it can be used, as a badge of our nationhood, without compulsion. I want it to receive full encouragement but not in a situation—Deputy Donnchadh Ó Briain may laugh—such as I know of whereby an excellent doctor in County Louth was turned down for a dispensary because he could not do an oral Irish test.

The Minister for Education would not be responsible for that.

He would be responsible, I presume, for the Irish language.

Only in so far as the Department of Education is dealing with that question.

I was interested to hear Deputy Burke mention the teaching of history. I was taught at a Christian Brothers School and later in a college run by the Vincentians. Taking my old school books ten years later and reading them again I found that the type of book recommended to secondary schools by the Department of Education was, in my view, unsuitable. I have in mind Carty's History of Ireland, Books 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.

I know that history must be taught as a simple subject, particularly in the earlier classes, but, quite frankly, I regard that history as the greatest cowboys and indians stuff I ever chanced to read. There was no question but that everything that was Irish and Catholic was good and that everything that was outside that was bad. Only about half a page was given to Theobald Wolfe Tone. It reminded me of a story of a friend of mine. One nice summer evening he went out walking with this espoused lady. They entered the demesne of a very old Protestant family. They were sitting on a tree trunk when the youngest member of the family arrived and told them to leave. My friend became rather incensed at this. He began to think along the lines that it was like the case of somebody coming along and taking lands away from somebody else. He felt that it was an ancient type of story. He remonstrated vigorously with the family man who was as young as he was and who was a lord. The answer he received was: "We were here before you were," which is quite true.

Irish history is complicated. There is no question of any straight dividing line. You might as well say that Cromwell picked out Ireland and came over here and levelled the walls of Drogheda and never did anything in England, never sacked a town there, never committed any atrocity. Religion is mixed up with the question, too. There are so many aspects, over so many years, that the teaching of history now in any way that engenders any kind of bitterness is a very wrong thing. Even from the point of view of the eventual reunification of our country, history must not be taught on any basis of ancient hatred. The type of history book in use at the moment in secondary and national schools might well be looked at from the point of view of the danger of inculcating a wrong approach to history.

Deputy Tully mentioned something that interested me, namely, the schools at present being built. Have they all got to be the same? That is not a criticism of the Minister because the position obtained before he was in office and possibly it was there during the term of office of the inter-Party Government Minister for Education. However, for the past ten years, all the schools erected in country districts look the same.

And they are very nice.

They are very nice, but must they all look the same? I do not think they must. I think a little individuality would be a very good thing. I know one that was painted duck egg green and I always felt that if I did not feel well in the morning on seeing the colour I might get sick. There is the same old water tower which I do not believe is necessary everywhere. I know it is necessary to have a water tower if there is any doubt at all about the constant supply of water for toilets, and so on, but surely it is not necessary in every country parish school? Also, there has been a rather hidebound approach to central heating. The Office of Public Works probably is involved in this as well as the Department of Education.

I am glad to be able to say that our Parish Priest has broken the sound barrier. For the first time, a small school in rural Ireland will have central heating—and no flat roof. These are things that should be considered as each school is being built. I do not subscribe to the view that because something is very nice nothing else is nice. Deputy Cunningham seems to think that because these schools are nice, identical schools should be erected all over the country. I hold that there should be some individuality in the architects employed to design schools.

Mentally retarded children have been mentioned. I spoke about this on the Estimate for the Department of Health. One point that comes up is that while it might be thought that the great majority of mentally retarded children would need institutional treatment the fact is that in the opinion of the St. John of God's magazine from which I quoted in my speech on the Estimate for the Department of Health—and anyone who wants to read it can look up the debate—almost eight out of every ten children can be treated outside the institution. There is a table in that publication which gives the numbers of children being so treated and that work is largely done by voluntary societies.

We have a voluntary body in my constituency in Dundalk, the Saint Dympna's Society, which is concerned with the education of mentally retarded children. It is doing excellent work. If one studies the figures of the amount of work being done by such societies one realises eventually that we are only scraping the surface. I have no doubt that the only obstacle to the provision of institutions for mentally retarded children is shortage of vocations. I have no doubt at all that the Minister for Education of any Government, if the number of vocations were there, would give the Order of Saint John of God and other suitable bodies all the money required to build institutions for the education of mentally retarded children. The other aspect has also to be borne in mind. From the information at my disposal —I do not know whether or not it is entirely correct—nothing has been done in any large way for mentally retarded children outside institutions except by voluntary bodies. The number being given any sort of education is certainly less than 1,000, and the number being looked after by the Department would be almost a fraction of that figure, and at the same time, the estimated number of such children is well over the 10,000 mark.

The Minister will have to look at this question of mentally retarded children and provide accommodation for them in every centre of population in which there is need for it. In Dundalk, there is a voluntary organisation to deal with the problem. Recently they ran a function which we all supported. They made £1,000 which they are now spending. The town of Dundalk needs a school for mentally retarded children and it has got one provided by voluntary effort. Is it not obvious that the town of Drogheda, with the same population, 20 miles away, also needs such a school? But it has not got one. Something is done to deal with that problem in Cork, Dublin, Dundalk and perhaps in one other town, but obviously nothing is done to deal with the overall problem.

Finally, I should like to say that we are reaching a crossroads. There is no doubt about the fact that since Britain are proposing to remove the 11-plus examination and that sort of thing, and now have the type of approach as obtained in America over the past 20 years, we will have to think about giving a greater number of scholarships or providing university education at a certain standard for children whose parents cannot pay the fees, or who can perhaps do without the wages the children would earn if they worked. I posed that problem in opening my contribution to the debate, and I shall end by saying that we on this side of the House have stated our minds on the matter. We have studied it and we have made our approach to it. On his side, so far as I know, the Minister has not made any approach to it.

In my opinion, whether or not they want to, the Minister, the Department and the Government will have to take a decision within the next five years, and it will have to be the decision that was taken not so very long ago by this Party.

Thuigeas ón dTeachta Ó Donnagáin nach raibh sé sásta le stair na hÉireann faoi mar a mhúintear í sna scoileanna. Tá leigheas an scéil sin i lámha an Teachta féin. Ba chóir dó stair na hÉireann a schríobh é féin, Magnum opus a sholáthar do scoileanna na tíre seo de gach saghas. Táim cinnte go leigheasfadh sin an chúis ghearán atá ag an Teachta agus go gcuirfeadh sé deireadh go brách le gearáin dá leithéid.

Má mhaireann an Dáil seo go dtí an bhliain seo chugainn agus má mhairim féin, beidh 30 blian slánaithe agam mar Chomhalta di. Ó toghadh mé, bhíos i láthair ag an gcuid is mó de na díospóireachtaí ar Mheastachán bliantúil Roinn an Oideachais agus thógas páirt i gcuid mhaith de na díospóireachtaí sin.

Níl bliain de na blianta sin nár tharraing cainteoirí áirithe ó bhinsí Fine Gael ceist na Gaeilge éigeantaí sna scoileanna isteach sna díospóireachtaí sin. Tá a fhios agam go maith go raibh ar bhinsí Fine Gael san am atá caite Teachtaí a raibh creideamh chomh láidir acu i scéal athbheochan na Gaeilge agus atá againne anseo, agus a dhein a gcion féin in obair na Gaeilge. B'fhéidir go bhfuil a leithéid fós i measc Teachtaí Fine Gael, ach má tá is eagal liom gur tearc a líon de réir an phoirt atá á seinm acu anois i dtaobh na Gaeilge. Ba é cuspóir Chonradh na Gaeilge ó thús "an Ghaelige a chur faoi réim aris ar fud Éireann uile, ionas go mba thír shaor Ghaelach í ath-uair". Is é an cuspóir céanna a bhí ag an bPiarsach nuair a labhair sé ag uaigh Uí Dhonnabháin Rosa sa bhliain 1915 agus nuair a dúirt sé gur Éire shaor Ghaelach a bhí uathu sin go léir a bhí sa láthair. Tá súil agam go mbeidh muintir na hÉireann dílis don chuspóir sin a nocht an Piarsach ar an ócáid stairíuil sin, fad a bheidh uisce ag rith agus féar ag fás in Éirinn agus ná corróchaidh aon bhréaga, ó Fhine Gael ná ó aon dream eile, ón gcuspoir uasal náisiúnta sin choiche iad.

Tá mé bréan, bodhar, bodráilte ó bheith ag éisteacht leis an gcaint seo gach bliain, bliain i ndiaidh a chéile, ar Mheastachán na Roinne Oideachais, i dtaobh an Ghaeilge a bheith riachtanach sna scoileanna—"compulsory Irish" mar a thugtar uirthi.

Thosaigh mé ag plé le hobair na Gaelige chomh fada siar leis an mbliain 1918 agus táim ag plé léi ar shlí éigin ó shin i leith agus tá súil agam go mbeidh mé ag plé léi fad is beo mé. Is é an cuspóir is gaire dom chroí é. B'fhéidir gur duine den dream sin mé a dtugtar "cranks" orthu i dtaobh athbheochan na Gaeilge. Níl rud ar bith ag deanamh scime domsa ach nach bhfuil an dul chun cinn atá déanta tapaidh go leor. Níl go leor déanta againn.

Bhí constaicí uafásacha romhainn ó 1922 i leith. Nuair a chuimhním ar conas mar a bhí an scéal sa tír seo sa bhliain 1918 agus ar an dul chun cinn atá déanta ó shin i leith cuireann sé áthas ar mo chroí gur rinneadh athrú chomh mór sin.

Nuair a bhí mise i mo thimire faoi Chonradh na Gaeilge sa bhliain 1920 cuireadh de dhualgas orm dul isteach sna scoileanna i gContae Luimnigh chun caint a dhéanamh leis na múinteoirí agus leis na bainisteoirí féachaint le hiad a mhealladh chun an Ghaeilge a mhúineadh sna scoileanna ar feadh uair an chloig gach lá. Bhí na scoileanna sin agus an córas oideachais faoi smacht Shasana an uair úd. Ní raibh aon smacht againn orthu cé go raibh Aireacht Ghaeilge Dháil Éireann ann. Bhí Conradh na Gaeilge agus Aireacht na Gaeilge ag obair as lámha a chéile agus bhí ordú ag na timirí, agus na hoifigigh eile a bhí ag obair ar son Chonradh na Gaeilge, an Ghaeilge a chur i bhfeidhm sna scoileanna agus in áiteanna eile ar fud na tíre.

Ní obair bhog a bhí inti. Dheineamar ár ndícheall agus d'éirigh linn cuid mhaith i gContae Luimnigh san am sin. Sna bunscoileanna ar fud an Chontae sin casadh orm an tráth sin cuid de na fir is de na mná ba bhreátha agus ba dhílse dar bhuail riamh umam. Tá cuid acu beo fós ach tá cuid eile fós acu, faraoir, imithe ar shlí na fírinne, ar dheis láimh Dé go raibh a n-anamna.

Bhí orainn an uair sin an Ghaeilge a chur isteach sna scoileanna. Ní raibh sí sa chuid is mó de na scoileanna náisiúnta mar ní raibh an teanga ag mórchuid de na múintoirí. Ach thosaigh a lán acu ar í a fhoghlaim agus ar í a mhúineadh sna scoileanna, agus d'ainneoin smacht Shasana d'éirigh leo go sármhaith é sin a dhéanamh. San am gcéanna, d'éirigh linn maitheas éigin a dhéanamh sna blianta sular tháinig an t-athrú.

Ba mhaith liom ceist a chur chuig Fine Gael. Cé a bhí ina Aire Oideachais anseo nuair a tháinig an t-athrú sa bhliain 1922? Sé an fear sin a chur an córas oideachais atá againn ar bun san am. Sílim gurb é an fear úd atá sa Seanad anois, an Seanadóir Micheál Ó hAodha, a bhí ina Aire Oideachais an uair úd. Is é a chuir ar bun an córas oideachais atá ar siúl sa tír anois. Is é a dhein an Ghaeilge "éigeantach" i ngach scoil. Bhí sé soiléir do gach éinne má theastaigh uainn an Ghaeilge a thabhairt ar ais go gcaithfí é a dhéanamh sa tslí sin. Níl slí ar bith eile chun é dhéanamh ach í a dhéanamh éigeantach i ngach scoil, bunscoil, meánscoil, ceardscoil agus ollscoil. Tiocfaidh mé go dtí ceist na hollscoile ar ball. Bhí an Teachta Ó Diolúin ag caint an tseachtain seo caite agus bhí aige an seanphort a tháinig anuas chuige óna shinsir.

Ní ceart é sin a rá.

Níor chuir mise isteach ar an Teachta Donnchadh Mac Eoin ná ar éinne eile.

Déanfaidh mé tagairt dó.

Cruthóidh mé é.

Cuirfidh mise ina choinne sin.

Cuirfidh mise ina choinne sin.

Thosaigh sé ag caint anseo mar gheall ar an ollscoil agus dúirt sé go raibh sé i gcoinne an Ghaeilge a bheith riachtanach le dul isteach san ollscoil. Socraíodh an cheist sin sa bhliain 1908. Bhí Conradh na Gaeilge i gceannas na troda chun an Ghaeilge a bheith riachtanach san ollscoil. Glacadh le héileamh Chonradh na Gaeilge. Bhí Seán Diolún, athair an Teachta, go dian in aghaidh an éilimh sin. Tá tuairimí an athar i dtaobh na ceiste sin mar oidhreacht ag an mac. Mo dhúshlán faoin Teachta Mac Eoin mé a bhréagnú sa mhéid sin. Sin é an fáth go bhfuil an polasaí nua so i dtaobh na Gaeilge dhá mholadh anois ag Fine Gael. D'éirigh lena dTreoraí nua, an Teachta Diolún an Páirtí sin a mhealladh chun glacadh leis na tuairimí atá aige féin ó tháinig sé isteach sa Dáil seo an chéad uair. Ba chóir go dtuigfeadh Fine Gael go bhfuil céim mhór chun cinn tugtha ón uair a bhunaigh an chéad Dáil Aireacht na Gaeilge sa mbliain 1919.

Plé an cheist gan mhasla.

Ní raibh aon Ghaeilge ag an mór-chuid den aos scoile san nGalltacht an uair úd ach tá sí aca go léir inniu agus tig le duine í a chloisint uatha i ngach aon áit ar fud na tíre—in Áth Cliath, i gCorcaigh, i Luimnigh—ach í labhairt leo; í go breágh líofa ag cuid aca. Tá a fhios agam san am gcéanna nach bhfuil an Ghaeilge go sár-mhaith ag cuid eile den óige. Tá a fhios agamsa conas tá an scéal mar gur nós liom Gaeilge a labhairt leis na daoine óga aon uair a castar orm iad agus is mion minic a chuir sé áthas agus mórtas orm oiread díobh is a thugann freagra cruinn, líofa orm. Tá a fhios agam go bhfuil flúirse Gaeilge sa tír anois, go bhfuil na mílte daoine in ann í labhairt. Sin toradh ar obair na scol, go mór-mhór obair na mbun-scoil agus an gléas oideachais a bhí ann leis na blianta ó bunaíodh Aireacht Ghaeilge na chéad Dála agus Roinn an Oideachais ina dhiaidh sin.

Ach ní mór claoi go dlúth, dar liom, leis an gcóras atá i bhfeidhm fé láthair, é fheidhmiú níos bríomhaire agus níos dúthrachtaí agus gan áird ar bith a thabhairt ar an bport nua atá dhá scheinm anois ag Fine Gael. Má leanann an Roinn Oideachais ar an mbóthar céanna a bhí dhá leanúint aca go dtí so, táimse mar le duine sásta go n-éireoidh linn an Ghaeilge a thabhairt slán in ainneoin na gconstaicí móra achrannacha atá inár slí.

Tá áthas orm go bhfuil sé socair fé dheireadh béalscrúdú san nGaeilge a bheith riachtanach don Ard-Teistiméireacht. Ní chuirfidh a leithéid isteach ró-mhór ar aon dalta meánscoile agus táim cinnte go nglacfaidh na tuismitheoirí leis go fonnmhar mar chuid den sean-chuspóir "Éire saor agus Éire Gaedhlach".

Ar an ábhar céanna, iarraim ar an Aire agus ar an Roinn níos mó cleachtadh cainte sa Ghaeilge a chur chun cinn i ngach saghas scoile sa tír. Dob fhéidir leis na gairmscoileanna i bhfad níos mó a dhéanamh faoi cheist na teanga. Ba chóir go mbeadh sé mar chuspóir ag an Roinn an Ghaeilge a bheith mar ghnátheanga sna gairmscoileanna go léir. Chun é sin a dhéanamh níor mhór dona teagascóirí go léir—agus ní h-amháin na teagascóirí Gaeilge—an Ghaeilge a labhairt leis na daltaí. Tá a fhios agam go bhfuil teagascóirí sinnsearacha ag obair sna gairmscoileanna nach raibh an Ghaeilge aca nuair a cheapadh ina bpostanna iad; ach ba cheart go mbeadh togha agus rogha na Gaeilge ag na teagascóirí óga go léir agus ba cheart dóibh feidhm i bhfad níos mó a bhaint aisti ná mar atá dhá dhéanamh ag cuid aca. Sa chaoi sin, dhéanfaí i bhfad níos mó ar son na Gaeilge.

Mar gheall ar na h-ollscoileanna, tá a lán airgid dhá chaitheamh ortha agus nílim sásta go bhfuilid ag cabhrú go mór le h-aithbheochaint na Gaeilge. Tá a fhios agam go bhfuil Coláiste na Gaillimhe go h-na-mhaith ach tá amhras mór orm faoi Choláiste Bhaile Átha Cliath den Ollscoil Náisiúnta. Mar adubhairt cheana, socraíodh, nuair a bunaíodh an Ollscoil Náisiúnta, go mbeadh an Ghaeilge riachtanach le h-aghaidh an túscrúdú, ach is eagal liom gur éirigh le dream áirithe de lucht ceannais Choláiste Bhaile Átha Cliath baint siar as comhlíonadh an dualgais sin don Ghaeilge ón gcéad lá agus go bhfuil an scéal amhlaidh fós. Níl raibh mórán le rá agam ar an Meastachán seo agus ní chuirfinn isteach ar an díospóireacht ar chor ar bith ach gur chuala an oiread sin ráiméise óna Teachtaí ar an taobh eile den Teach.

Céard faoin gCoimisiún?

Cuireadh an Coimisiún sin ar bun nuair a bhí Éamon de Valera ina Thaoiseach agus is é an príomh-chuspóir a bhí ag an gCoimisiún sin ná aithbheochan na Gaeilge—féachaint an raibh aon ghléas ann chun feabhas a chur ar an obair sin, an raibh aon ghléas níos fearr ná mar a bhí againn san am sin. Ba cheart go léifeadh an Teachta téarmaí tagartha an Choimisiún sin. Tá a fhios ag an gCoimisiún céard tá le déanamh aige agus an caoi chun é a dhéanamh. Ní bheinn ag súil le h-aon éacht ón gCoimisiún san. Tá a fhios againn go léir atá age plé le h-obair na Gaeilge cad tá in easnamh, cad tá riachtanach chun an Ghaeilge a chur dhá labhairt arís ar fud na tíre. Tá obair mhór throm ós ár gcomhair. Beidh sé deacair an Ghaeilge a thabhairt ar ais mar ghnáth-theanga na tíre ach beimid in ann é a dhéanamh má táimid dáiríe. Sé deacracht an scéil nach rabhamar dáiríre, nach raibh an dúthracht cheart againn, nach raibh sé ag na dreamanna polaitíochta, go mór-mhór na dreamanna ar an taobh eile den Teach.

Ba mhaith liom tagairt bheag a dhéanamh do cheist eile a bhaineann, sílim, leis an bhfó-Mhír d'Ealaion agus Eolaíocht. Sé tá i gceist agam ná an ceol Gaelach, agus tá sé sin fite fuaite leis an teanga. Tá Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann agus obair bhreágh dhá déanamh aca chun ár gceolta tíre a choimhead beo agus a spreagadh. Cuireann sé áthas orm an caoi ar ghlac an pobal leis an gComhaltas chomh fuinniúil agus chomh failtiúil. Tá a lán ceolta breátha foilsithe ag An Gúm agus tá sé le fáil sa tsiopa sin in aice le hOifig an Phoist—Oifig Foilseacháin an Rialtais—píosaí a ghléas Carl Hardebeck agus ceoltóirí clúmhala eile ach tá eagla orm nach eol don phobal go bhfuil na ceolta san ar fáil.

Tá cnuasacht bhreágh lámscríbhinn ceoil sa Leabharlann Náisiúnta nó san Acadamh—nílim cinnte céaca—nár foilsíodh go fóill. Táim dhá iarraidh ar an Aire ceist a bhfoilsithe a bhreithniú. B'fhéidir go mbeadh sé éasca coiste a chur ar bun sa Roinn chun cabhair a thabhairt do Chomhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann san obair seo agus féachaint an féidir aon ghléas a cheapadh chun na lámhscríbhinní, go léir sa Leabharlann Náisiúnta a chur in eagar agus i gcló. B'fhéidir narbh fhiú iad go léir a chur i gcló ach na píosaí is fearr agus is breátha a phiocadh asta chun a bhfoilsithe. Tá dianghá le hathchló a chur ar na sean leabhair cheoil. Ba mhaith liom dá mbeadh an Roinn Oideachais in ann cuidiú leis an obair sin. Molaim don Aire scrúdú a dhéanamh air sin idir seo agus an t-am a bheidh an chéad Mheastachán eile á leagan ós cóir na Dála aige.

Ni raibh sé de rún agam cur isteach ar an díospóireacht in aon chur ach an méid cainte i dtaobh na Gaeilge a chuala mé agus a léas sna Díospoireachtaí Oifigiúla chuir sé masmus agus fearg agus déistean orm.

Having sat through most of this debate, I can say there is very little that is new which can be added to the discussion. However, I must confess to a feeling of disappointment that in view of the many economic and social problems which now confront our people, very little indication is given in the Minister's introductory speech of the steps which will be necessary if we are to gear our educational system to meet the challenge of competition, if and when we become members of the European Economic Community.

This is a time for new ideas, new attitudes and a new outlook in all fields of endeavour. I was hopeful the Minister would have availed himself of this unique opportunity of presenting to the House a comprehensive review of Irish education, a review which would contain a critical appraisal of the achievements and the failures of Irish education, but more important still, a review which would indicate the steps which must be taken to adapt our educational system to meet the challenge ahead.

It is now generally appreciated that it is in the field of education, perhaps, more than in any other, that the battle for survival and progress in the difficult years ahead will be fought and won. There is a growing realisation that education will be a vital factor in shaping the future destinies of our nation.

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

There are many questions which come to mind regarding the future of Irish education. They are questions of vital importance but questions to which we look in vain to the Minister's speech to provide us with an answer. One question is: Is our educational system good enough to cope with the changing circumstances ahead? There is another question: can we continue to pursue our present policy of according priority to the Irish language in secondary school curricula, while at the same time giving due attention to those subjects which are now recognised as being absolutely essential, that is, science and modern languages?

I was disappointed in the Minister's opening speech because I was hoping to find in it some of the answers to these questions which have been agitating my mind for some time. However, I should like briefly to refer to the different systems of education. Regarding primary education, I am one of those who believe that, by and large, the standard of education in our primary schools compares not unfavourably with that imparted in the primary schools of most countries. I will go as far as to say that the standard reached in our primary schools compares more than favourably with the standard reached in a great many countries. This is not so much a tribute to the system itself but rather it is a tribute to, and a recognition of, the gallant band of men and women, both religious and lay, who staff the primary schools. No praise of mine could be adequate to pay tribute to the national teachers of Ireland. They have made an outstanding contribution not alone to the development of education but to development in many other spheres in our national life. Up and down the country our national teachers are to be found in the forefront of every movement for national advancement. In the Gaelic Athletic Association, Muintir na Tíre and other associations you will in most cases find that the power-house behind them is the local national teacher.

I felt compelled to pay the national teachers that tribute on this, my first occasion, to speak on the Education Estimate. I realise of course that there are a number of defects in the system. There is the question of accelerating the school building programme and reducing the numbers in the classes. I note in the Minister's speech that he says:

A problem in relation to national schools that is even more important than the provision of adequate buildings is the problem of staffing. It gave me great pleasure last year to announce the fourth in a series of staffing improvements which had taken place over a period of three years.

He goes on to mention the extension to St. Patrick's Training College and the reduction by 10 units of the number of pupils which would warrant the employment of an extra teacher. I do not think it is true to say that the problem of staffing is more important than the problem of school building. The two go hand in hand. Unless we accelerate the school-building programme to keep pace with the increasing output of teachers I fear we will have a repetition of what happened in the 1930's when the national teachers were walking the streets and many were forced to emigrate. As I say, the two go hand in hand and if you increase the output of national teachers you have got to step up the school-building programme, the building of new schools and extensions to existing schools.

I welcome the improvements and the progress made with regard to accommodating handicapped children. There is no need for me to dwell on that. This is something on which all sides of the House agree. Trying to provide education and training for those afflicted with some forms of handicap and trying to help them become useful members of society is a very deserving cause. I look forward to even greater progress in this regard in the future.

The question of secondary education has been very thoroughly dealt with in the debate. The big problem is that we have not got enough secondary schools. I feel very strongly on this matter because in my home the nearest secondary school is eight miles away. I pursued most of my secondary school education in the Christian Brothers School and had to cycle eight miles, morning and evening, to and from that school. We have not got sufficient secondary schools and we shall have to face up to this problem sooner or later.

The Minister also referred in his statement to the question of recruiting science teachers. He expressed the hope that the increased grant to secondary schools for improving laboratory facilities would have the effect of attracting science graduates to the teaching profession. I do not agree at all. The only way you can attract science graduates to the teaching profession is by giving remuneration comparable to what they can get in industry. I cannot see how you can attract science graduates merely by dangling before them the bait of beautifully appointed laboratories. The difficulty of recruiting science teachers is not peculiar to this country. There are many other attractions for them such as in industry which offers them more remunerative openings.

We shall have to tackle this problem of secondary education very soon. I realise all the difficulties involved but we shall have to provide more schools, more accommodation in existing schools, and so on. Perhaps technical instruction more than anything else will be the key to our future progress. One point in regard to technical instruction to which I should like to refer is the question of appointments. I am completely opposed to the present system of making appointments. Canvassing is degrading and humiliating for the teacher and it is embarrassing also to any decent member of a vocational education committee. Difficulties have arisen in my own constituency during the past six months because appointments have not given satisfaction. The Minister is as much aware of this as I am. There is something revolting about having to go around begging for a particular post and I do not think it is good for our technical education and I hope something will be done about it.

What I have said about secondary schools also applies to technical schools. In my own parish of Dromin the nearest technical school is eight miles distant. There are two large towns, Kilmallock and Bruff, in which there is neither a boys' secondary school nor a vocational school. I presume that in other areas the same position obtains.

In regard to university education, from what I have heard of the debate, and I have listened to most of it, all sides seem to be agreed that our aim must be to provide university education for every student who seeks it, irrespective of the financial circumstances of his or her family. We have a long way to go. This is not an appropriate time to discuss at length the question of university education in Ireland because the Commission on Higher Education has not yet reported its findings. I can assure the Minister that that document is eagerly awaited everywhere but it is being awaited, I might say, with bated breath in my constituency of Limerick. The publicspirited body of men and women who put forward Limerick's claim for a university before the commission hope that, when the report is published, it will meet that claim and give those living in Limerick and surrounding areas an opportunity of pursuing a university course.

Another pet subject of mine, career guidance, has been mentioned in the course of the debate. It is sometimes referred to under different terms such as vocational guidance and so forth. There is great need for career guidance at all stages. Not alone should a student be directed into the course of studies for which he is most suited but he should also be guided into a field which will provide opportunities for employment. I feel very strongly on this. I remember a few years ago when there was an appeal to parents not to allow their children to follow courses of study in medicine or engineering but to encourage them to follow courses of study in agriculture. I am speaking now of the 50s. I know of one unfortunate young graduate who was fitted for and intended to pursue a civil engineering course but who had his mind changed for him and who followed instead an agricultural course. He graduated in U.C.D. and he is now in Nigeria, whereas I understand there is a serious shortage of civil engineers here. As I said, students were advised not to pursue courses in medicine, but yet those fellow-students of mine who did pursue such courses found when they graduated in 1960 or 1961 there were unlimited opportunities in this country.

There is one field of education which I have not heard dealt with during the course of this debate and even the Minister referred to it only indirectly. It is a field of education which has been highly developed in other countries, but largely neglected here. I refer to adult education. For me, the most welcome announcement in the Minister's statement was the announcement of a grant of £2,000 to the Catholic Workers College. Perhaps it is an indication that the Department of Education are beginning to take note of the importance of adult education. The Catholic Workers College, the Dublin Institute of Catholic Sociology and other organisations are doing tremendous work in this field. Such work is regarded in progressive countries, particularly in democracies, as being absolutely essential. I am particularly interested in this matter and I have had some experience of it. Looking at the history of adult education and its success in Britain, the United States and other countries, what strikes one forcibly is the outstanding role played in it by the universities. In the field of adult education in Britain or as it is more popularly called, workers' education, no fewer than 21 universities provide extension courses in co-operation with the Workers' Educational Association. In America something like 76 universities provide extension courses and the success obtained, particularly in agriculture and rural development, is well known to educationalists.

Another example of striking success in the field of adult education is provided by the folk schools of Denmark. At the beginning of the last century Denmark was a poverty stricken country with portion of its southern territory in the hands of the Germans, stricken with unemployment, emigration and so on. In the course of one century the folk schools succeeded in transforming Denmark into a progressive nation. They transformed every feature of Danish national life. The students were inspired with idealism and they made a tremendous success of the co-operative movement. It is well to remember that it is now an accepted principle that the first step towards co-operation must be education. We should bear that in mind when considering the problems of rural development here. That principle is forcefully illustrated by the example of the fold schools in Denmark.

Another example is of particular interest to us, because the pioneer was an Irish priest in Nova Scotia, Canada. Due to the initiative of Irish-born Father Coady, the University of St. Francis Xavier, Antigonish, has done tremendous work by going out to the small towns and villages in what was a very undeveloped area, teaching people and organising them into co-operative groups. They have brought about a tremendous transformation. In other countries, too, the universities are bringing university education to those people who cannot come to the university to avail of it. It should be the duty of a university not alone to provide education for those who can attend the courses within the colleges but also to provide it for those who cannot attend.

In 1946, a step was taken in this country which seemed to most people to be the beginning of great things for us. Through the energy and initiative of the then President of University College, Cork, Dr. Alfred O'Rahilly, that College opened its doors to the workers of Cork, busmen, drivers, workers of all kinds. They pursue courses in the College in economics, sociology and various other subjects. At the end of the two years' course, they sat for examinations and were awarded a diploma.

Having experimented in the city of Cork, the course was then extended to other urban areas in Munster and, at a later stage, to the rural areas; but just when it had proved its worth and was on the brink of doing great things, the Department of Education nipped it in the bud by halving the small grant they were giving. At the present time, University College, Cork, is getting only £3,000 to provide adult education for the people of Munster.

I have often been asked what did the extension courses provided by University College, Cork, achieve. I speak seriously on this matter because I have firsthand knowledge of it. A group of five young farmers from my parish attended that course for two years and were awarded a diploma in rural and social science. They did that course three years ago at an extension course at Kilfinane technical schools and then came back and got together at home, with the result that, following on that course, there is in operation in my home parish to-day what is considered to be the most successful example of agricultural co-operation in this country.

I have dwelt at length on this matter of adult education and I find myself with evidence of a growing realisation of the value of it. People are coming more and more to realise what it can mean for them and I must pay a tribute to the trade unions in this respect because they have appreciated the value of adult education more than any other section of the community.

Looking to the future of education, we must admit that our first duty is to ensure that enough people will emerge from our schools with sufficient knowledge to take part in the present complicated working of our society. We must produced scientists and technologists and technicians of all kinds and we must also produce people to fill the professional life of the country. To do this we will have to have more and more specialisation. We will have to have a vocational education of a more and more specialised character and that specialisation will extend into the early years of adult life. That is going to be followed by specialisation in work.

But beyond a man's work, he has to live as a member of a larger society, he has to take part in the work of his own parish, perhaps as a member of some voluntary groups and he has to play his part as a citizen of the State as a whole. It is certain that the specialised training he has received in schools will not fit him to play this larger part and may be actually destructive, because of its narrower nature, of the qualities desirable for good citizenship.

We want a well-organised system of adult education. We have now reached the stage when adult education has come to be an essential part of the educational system of any democratic State. We are fortunate that we have in this country the nucleus of a national system of adult education. We have the trade unions, the various urban and rural organisations, all of which are interested in it. Many of these have already organised courses but what we now need is to take the last step and provide a national system. We need the teachers and I feel it is the responsibility of the Universities to provide a lead and, in the last analysis, it is the responsibility of the Minister to provide the funds.

I wish to welcome the announcement made during the week of a very large-scale extension and reconstruction of St. Patrick's Training College, Drumcondra. It will help primary education and will provide a better training ground for our national teachers. In that connection, I would suggest that when this building is complete, or even before it is complete, steps should be taken to enable the teachers in training to get a university degree. I think this opportunity should be availed of and that the extra accommodation which it is proposed to provide there should be used to make that facility available. It is a facility which is long overdue in our system of primary education. Our trainee teachers should be able to go to the university. That is a part of the primary system in most countries now and in those countries in which it is not now in operation, steps are being taken to introduce it.

I would suggest that those teachers who trained in St. Patrick's College in the early thirties and who, in the subsequent years, had to remain idle and found no employment as teachers should have those three or four years counted in their pensionable service. I trained there myself and qualified in 1936. I did not take up permanent employment as a teacher until 1940. That was a period of four years which, in normal circumstances, would go to pensioned service, but due to the conditions of the time, due to the scarcity of vacancies, many teachers had either to remain unemployed, do temporary service—very temporary indeed—as assistants or as substitutes, here, there and elsewhere throughout the country or emigrate as many of them did, in order to live. I strongly urge the Minister to consider some method of having those years qualify, in the case of the trained teacher of that day, for pensioned service. I am not suggesting that a person who had four years of unemployment then should get full value for those four years in regard to pensioned service but that a great part of it, if not all, should be considered for that purpose.

It is encouraging to see an improvement in the conditions of living and working of trainee teachers and it is gratifying to note that throughout the country great improvement has taken place as regards the building of new schools and the reconstruction of other national schools. Although the uniformity of the new buildings has been criticised by speakers earlier this evening, I still think the buildings are of good, pleasing design architecturally and that from the utility point of view, they are designed to give optimum service for the benefit of both teachers and pupils. It would be better, unless something superior is found, not to depart from that line.

It has been suggested in regard to technical schools that the Board of Works, instead of employing local architects, each of whom designs his own type of school, should be asked to design cheaper and more uniform types of building. I have no complaint against the design or layout of our new national schools. They look well; they give optimum utility in the running of classes.

The question of technical schools has reached the stage where it has really become a problem. Each vocational education committee is more or less left on its own in the planning of schools and deciding the number to be built. Some vocational committees have decided that it is better to have some of the larger-type schools and provide subsidised transport to them. Others have decided that it is better to go into every small town and village in the county. In my own county, new secondary schools are being set up. Personally, I think there is no overall plan. The managers are responsible for the location of national schools; the vocational committees have the same responsibility in respect of vocational schools and the diocesan authorities and private persons in the case of secondary schools.

With the great demand there is for post-primary education, there is the danger that demand may give rise to a lopsided pattern in both technical and secondary schools. The Minister should consider whether it is wise to tie those two types of schools in with the primary schools. In other words, should we have the situation where you will have a private school in one building, a vocational school in a different building and a secondary school in another building in the one town? I do not know the best answer but I do not think it is wise to have that situation. My opinion may be wrong, but I think the Minister and his Department should get down to study that problem which, as the demand for post-primary education grows, will become a bigger problem which should be anticipated now.

The greatest advance has taken place in technical education and it is an argument against those who say that the poor man's child has no chance or has not the opportunity of getting a post-primary education: he has. I do not agree with the alleged policy of Fine Gael that everything should be done by university scholarship. I do not think that every bright boy or girl in the country has his or her eyes set on a university scholarship. Other types of post-primary education are far more important. In most vocational committee areas, there are many technical schools where pupils can do a two-year or three-year course and I suggest that in each county there should be a larger type of technical school, which could be a small technical college, where other advanced subjects of a technical nature could be taught and scholarships could be and should be awarded for these more advanced schools.

At present and in the years ahead, we should not cram university education down the throats of our people but should give them every opportunity to acquire technical skills and provide scholarships for them. We must first provide buildings in which they can acquire these skills and, if necessary, provide scholarships to the local advanced technical schools. That is more important than using highfalutin phrases about university education for the majority of Irish children.

The attitude of the Government to Irish has been very much confused in the minds of many people and in their statements. The Fine Gael Party have deliberately decided—unwisely, from their point of view—that it is good politics to cater for what they think is an element in the country who do not want Irish, who are against it.

That is untrue.

That is my opinion and we have statements from the four main speakers from the Fine Gael Benches who dealt with the matter, Deputies Dillon, Donegan, Flanagan and Byrne. They enunciated Fine Gael policy on the language question. There was a series of different policies. From my personal experience, I can say that the Fine Gael Party are wrong in their judgment of the minds of the Irish people in relation to Irish. They have misjudged the modern spirit. We can talk about those who went before us as over-enthusiasts or cranks; we can agree or disagree about them. I am talking now of the mind of the modern Irish boy and girl in relation to Irish. I know that the Fine Gael Party have misjudged that mind. They are working on a false premise. The statements of these four people would indicate that they want to cater for a small minority in urban areas; but they argue from that small minority that the reaction is widespread.

One of their speakers a short time ago said that the educated man does not require Irish in order to be regarded as an educated man. In other words, a man can be regarded as educated without Irish. That is quite true—he can. But the man who is educated, and who has Irish, is a better man than the man mentioned by Deputy Donegan.

I hope the Deputy is not being derogatory of the present Taoiseach now.

He said the Welsh learned Welsh, and spoke Welsh, because it was not compulsory in the schools. Actually it is compulsory. We can only try to convince Deputy Donegan that he was wrong in a number of his statements. He criticised the kind of history taught. He said it was not the right kind. I understand history to be the relation of a series of facts and happenings. History is a chronological arrangement of facts. It is possible to distort facts, but facts are not distorted, as the Deputy alleges, in the history books sanctioned by the Department of Education. Deputy Donegan mentioned Carty's Irish History. I am familiar with the book. It is not necessary to stick to Carty's Irish History. A long list is supplied by the Department and there is a wide choice on that list. History is, as I say, based on a series of facts. I think the Deputy was wrong in his prejudice against the teaching of history at the moment in our schools because of doubts he has about it.

A number of Fine Gael Deputies have advocated the teaching of modern languages. I take it they would be part of the curriculum of the secondary schools and that they would be compulsory. It is rather puzzling to find Deputies advocating, on the one hand, that Irish should not be compulsory and, on the other, that French, German, or some other European language, should be compulsory. That argument just does not make sense.

Fine Gael speakers say the method is wrong and the proof that it is wrong is to be found in the fact that results are not being achieved. The first Fine Gael speaker in this debate spoke about the great work being done by the Gaelic League, Comhaltas Uladh, Gael Linn, and the other voluntary bodies; he said if the Government did half as much, everything would be perfect. The methods adopted by these voluntary bodies are identical with the methods in operation in the Department of Education. They are praised when adopted by voluntary organisations; they are criticised when adopted by the Department of Education. The approach is not logical.

As far as children are concerned, they will not learn except under compulsion. We know that. No child will go all out to assimilate any subject, unless he is driven to it because of the necessity of passing examinations. If it is a matter of personal choice in leaving certificate, or any other examination, and if a child can do Irish or leave it out, the question is how many will do it? Very, very few—not one per cent. They will leave it out and we would quickly reach the time when Irish, as a subject, a language, or anything else, would just go down the drain. I cannot understand the attitude of the new Twist gang in Fine Gael when they decided on this policy. In 1908, some of the people, who later became key men in the Cumann na nGaedhael Party, saw to it that Irish became a part of the university curriculum. The policy of those days and of Cumann na nGaedheal is now being thrown overboard. I think that is a retrograde step and one which will do much damage to the Irish language.

It is true to say that the number of people who speak nothing but Irish is growing less. On the other hand, the number who can speak both languages well has vastly increased. Instead of the 30,000 mentioned by some Deputies on the other side as the figure representing those efficient in the Irish language, the figure is 300,000 or more. That is the number that can speak both Irish and English equally well. There are very few people under 40 today, indeed very few people under 50, who cannot speak Irish well. A very much larger number can understand Irish when it is spoken. We have no fears at all that the policy has not been successful; it has brought about a position in which everyone, or nearly everyone, has from a fair to a good knowledge of Irish. The fact that they do not use it in everyday life is another problem altogether—a problem which the proposals put forward from the other side will not remedy.

I do not see any reason for being disheartened or dissatisfied with the progress. I should like to see the Commission which the Government have set up to investigate the means to be taken for the advancement of Irish, and so on, deal particularly with the question of devising a method whereby Irish will be used more freely. The Irish is there. The effort to revive it has not failed. Actually, the effort to revive it has been most successful. All that remains for this generation to do is to see to it that it is more freely used.

One of the most useful subjects of instruction in the technical schools is building construction. In our county, we have done great things under the guidance of the building construction teachers there. We have four or five building construction teachers. We should like to have many more. The work they do involves them in going out amongst the farming community and the people in various parts of the county to help them with plans for new houses, the reconstruction of houses, the installation of water schemes, the building and reconstruction of farm buildings. All that is highly important work which they do very well. The response they get from the people in that regard is surprising.

The Department has a very silly regulation in relation to these teachers. The Department insists that these teachers must spend 400 hours per year in the classroom. That ties up these teachers very much. Suppose there are a number of projects in an area. If a teacher goes out and shows a man how to lay out a site for a dwelling house, or how to lay the foundation the time so spent should count as hours of teaching service and he should not be tied to a desk, as is the situation at present. Insistence on the regulation minimises his utility to the community.

A great deal has been said about this Estimate for the Department of Education over the past few days. It is a good healthy sign to see a greater interest being taken in education.

Money spent on education is money well spent. It is a very good investment. Where it can be saved reasonably, that should be done. I mentioned this matter before. I have in mind savings as far as parents are concerned. Take, for instance, the continuous changing of textbooks. Textbooks that could be handed down in a family are thrown on the shelf every other year. It is about time the Department examined this question and helped the parents to some degree.

While great strides have been made in regard to school buildings, much is to be desired. I have in mind some of the schools I see around the country that are not fit to house animals. Most insanitary conditions prevail in them. They are no credit to the Department or whoever is responsible for them. I often wonder what impression children receive from having to attend such unsuitable buildings for their schooling. Such conditions certainly do not elevate their standards of hygiene. This is a matter to which the Department should direct its attention.

I would ask the Minister to investigate the cause of the delay in providing a school at Eoghanacht in the Aran Islands. This matter has been hanging fire for some years. The condition of the present school there is anything but good. It is time something were done in this matter.

I maintain that there should be a general survey of the schools position in West Galway. The result might open the Minister's eyes to the condition of affairs obtaining there.

I should like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the religious orders and others who devote themselves to the teaching of mentally handicapped children. There is a great need for the provision of a centre for mentally handicapped children in Galway. It is most pathetic to see the number of mentally handicapped children who have to remain at home and for whom something should be done.

It is time the Department adopted some realistic approach in regard to the language. Let us face facts. It cannot be denied that we have fewer Irish speakers today — I say this, coming from a Gaeltacht area—than we had ten years ago. The policy of the present Government has soured both parents and pupils alike. The approach of the Government to the revival of the Irish language is such that they can throw their hat at it rather than expect success. An Irishman can be led but cannot be compelled. That has been proved over the centuries.

I often hear children of very tender years counting aon, dó, trí, ceathair, cúig, sé, seacht. If you ask them what "Seacht" means, or "naoi", they will just stand and look at you. They chant the figures but they do not know what they mean. It is wrong to try to teach Irish to children, who come from homes where English is the vernacular, before they know English properly and before they know what the words mean.

Where English is spoken in the home, the children are at a great disadvantage because they have not the litríocht and the foghraíocht to fall back on. It is all very well for the Deputy to laugh. Possibly he had to have Irish for his job. I know people who have a lot of Irish, and who have better Irish than any Deputy. They got it in the milk. I know some people who do not know English, but what good is that to them? If they had a little more English, they would be better off and they would be better fitted for the English market which now takes a lot of them. It is all right to talk about the revival of Irish, but, as I have said, people are being soured against it. That is very regrettable. Is mór an náire é. I repeat that the Government will have to take more realistic steps to deal with that problem if they intend, or expect, to get any results.

The Government have exported the Irish language. I say that because I see it day in and day out. The very cradle of the national language is the Gaeltacht of the west, and it is being depleted year in and year out. Many people come there to learn Irish for jobs in the Civil Service. They learn to speak a few words and perhaps to put "A chara" and "Mise, le meas" in a letter. That is as much Irish as they use all the year round. I do not say that about them all, but I would safely say it of 90 per cent. of them.

The proof that the Government have been exporting the language has been seen in the past few weeks. After years of what Fianna Fáil have done to preserve the Gaeltacht, the Irish-speaking battalion stationed at Dún Uí Mhaoilíosa, Galway, has at last had to open its ranks to English speakers. The Minister for Defence, who represents the same area as I represent, can bear me out in that statement. He is an Irish speaker. If Fianna Fáil policy is to do so and so for the Gaeltacht, the mail boat is the answer.

I have said before in this House that if some of those people in the Gaeltacht learned a little more English, they might not be the hewers of wood and the drawers of Water they are at present in London and other places in England. It is a well-known fact that priests have to go over to Birmingham and Coventry and such places to hear the confessions of Irish speakers, so great is the export of the Irish language. That cannot be denied.

Last year, I referred to the need for instilling into our youth a greater degree of civic spirit. Any member of a local authority knows that increasing claims for malicious damages come up at every meeting. I do not say that is all the fault of the schools. The parents have a grave moral responsibility, but I think it could be done in the schools, and there is a lot to be done in that respect.

As I am on the question of younger children in schools, I want to say that the amount of litter one sees in the public streets in the form of sweet papers and icecream papers is regrettable. Something should be done to encourage a better spirit among the children. We have our tidy towns competition all over the country but something further should be done. We hear parents talking about the rights of children, but I think that, first and foremost, the children's duties should be instilled into their minds. They are just as important as, if not more important than, their rights.

Another very important matter is career guidance. It is undertaken at present by voluntary organisations and voluntary effort. There is a lot to be said for that but I should like to see more co-operation by the Department on that aspect of our educational system. It has been long overlooked and it is about time the square peg ceased to be driven into the round hole. We have had too much of that in this country.

When children leave school, very often they take what we call a deadend job. They should be encouraged to attend night school. I know the parents have a grave responsibility in that respect, too, but the children should be encouraged to attend night classes.

A previous speaker mentioned that Trinity College was granted £275,250, an increase of £95,000 over last year's figure. I should like to know on what grounds that increase was given. That College caters to the extent of almost 50 per cent. for non-nationals. We have a University College in Galway that caters for the Irish language and it is getting a sum of only £1,039,000. It caters to the extent of 95 per cent to 97 per cent, I would say, for Irish nationals. Is the Minister trying to run that College on a shoestring? That is what it looks like when one compares the figure with the Trinity College figure. Trinity College got an increase of more than half the total allocation given to University College, Galway.

While I am on the question of education in my city—it is fairly well catered for compared with many other cities— I should like the Minister to take note of the number of occasions when there are requests and agitations from different groups for night courses leading to a B.Comm. degree. The demand is there, and I think the list has over 150 applications from the Garda Síochána, the Army, customs and excise officers, the Revenue Commissioners, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Social Welfare, the Office of Public Works, Local Government officials, banks, commercial firms and semi-State bodies. There is a great demand for these night courses, and since such facilities are being granted in the sister colleges in Cork and Dublin, it is not too much to ask the Minister to see that the same applies in Galway. It would not upset the University one bit.

I note that there is a decrease of £7,380 in the estimate for industrial schools. I am just wondering how that was brought about. Is it that we have fewer pupils or what is the reason?

I see an increase of £337,530 in the allocation for technical schools. This is a very healthy sign. Possibly a lot of the increase may be for salaries and not for the actual running of the schools, but at least it is a step in the right direction. Perhaps the Minister might let us know the reason for this increase. In my town, we have had a demand for a course in technology. Every other day, we hear that industry is crying out for the technologist. It is a very important aspect of education and this course, through the technical school and the university, could be brought to a high level. In view of the industrial revival in our area, the need is all the greater and if we are to face up to the possibility of entering the Common Market, we should put ourselves on a proper footing, as other countries have done. At this stage we should be putting our best foot forward. As I have said, we can have the facilities available in the very good technical school which we have in our town and the university.

I should like the Minister to give this matter urgent attention and I can assure him he will have the co-operation of all sections of the people. Resolutions have been passed by the various public bodies demanding this course and therefore I should like the Minister to take steps to see that the facilities are provided.

Another matter on which I find myself in agreement with Deputy Byrne is that it is time to recognise the service given by teachers in Northern Ireland. If we are not prepared to recognise that service, we are thereby showing that we are prepared to recognise the Border. We say we do not recognise the Border but we cannot blow hot and cold. We shall have to realise that it is time recognition was given for service given in that area.

For some years, it has been noted that agricultural science has been dropped from the curriculum of rural schools. Is it not time that this subject was reintroduced? We have all spoken about the importance of having agriculture placed on a proper basis to face the onslaught of the Common Market; we should start at the very bottom and this subject can play a very important part in this regard. I should like the Minister to have it reintroduced. It is a very important subject and as it only applies to the rural areas, it would not cost a lot. I recommend the Minister to look into that matter.

Nuair a bhí an Teachta Pádraig Ó Domhnaill ag labhairt ar an Meastachán seo ar an 23ú lá de Bhealtaine cháin sé na státsheirbhísigh toisc go rabhadar ag ceapadh téarmaí úra ar rudaí nuadhéanta in ionad feidhm do bhaint as na téarmaí as ar fáisceadh iad. Dúirt sé nár thuig sé leath an méid a bhí i ráiteas an Aire agus gur ar éigin a thuig an tAire féin é.

Shíl mé ná raibh sé dáiríre nuair adúirt sé an meid seo. Do thug sé cúpla soluid dúinn ar an rud a bhí i dtreis aige—"telefís" in ionad "television" agus "rádio" in ionad "radio". Dúirt sé go dtógfadh sé cúpla bliain ó dhuine ar bith téarmaí mar iad súd a thuiscint. Más ní é gur chreid sé an rud a bhí ar siúl aige déarfainn leis mar adúirt an Dochtúir Seathrún Céitinn le duine a rinne magadh seafóideach mar sin dó tuairim 200 bliain ó shoin. Seo mar do labhair sé. "Gidh Eabhrais teanga is seannda; gidh Laidin is léannta uatha ortha níor bhfrith linn fuaim nó focal de chomaoin."

Thug sé soluid eile dhúinn, eadhon, go raibh beirt nó triúr dlíodóirí óga agus cúigear clóscríobhaí ina oifig féin i dTír Chonaill agus, ar seisean, cé gur hoileadh iad tré mheán na Gaeilge ní rabhadar i ndán Gaeilgeoir dúchais a thuiscint nuair a thiocfadh sé isteach san oifig. Bhíodh ortha fios do chur air féin chun cómhrá a dhéanamh leis.

Trua nach gcuireann sé an scéim a mhol sé le haghaidh leanaí Chúige Uladh, Chúige Chonnachta agus Chúige Mumhan i bhfeidhm do na dlíodóirí agus na clóscríobhaithe atá fostaithe aige, sé sin, cúrsa a thúirt dóibh i nGaeltacht Thír Chonaill i dtreo go raghaidis i dtaithí na Gaeilge.

Dúirt sé nach dtógfadh sé ach trí lá ón dTeachta Micheál Mac Cárthaigh Gaeilgeoir as Tír Chonaill do thuiscint ná Gaeilgeoirí as Cúige Mumhan. Muna dtógfadh sé ach trí lá don Chárthach dul i dtaithi canúint Thír Chonaill, níor chóir go dtógfadh sé puinn ama óna dlíodóirí óga Gaeilge Thír Chonaill a thuiscint.

Nuair a bhí an Teachta Díolún agus an Teachta Ó hÓgáin, Tiobrad Árann Theas, ag labhairt ar an Meastachán seo do ríomhadar uimhir na macléinn ag freastal ortha. Bhí mór-scoil scoileanna ar fuaid na tíre. Dob íonadh leo araon go mbeadh ós cionn 38 faoin gcéad d'aois óig an Chláir ag freastal ar na meán-scoileanna i gContae an Chláir. Cheap an Teachta Ó hÓgáin go mb'fhéidir go raibh baint ag an Aire leis an uimhir sin toisc gur Cláiríneach é.

Ba mhaith liom a mheabhrú dó go raibh meas ag na Cláirínigh ar an léann i bhfad sul a lionnigh Sasanach nó Gall ar bith i gCorca Baiscne, i gCorca Rua agus i ndúthaigh Chais. Bhí scoileanna móra ag na Proinsiasánaigh in Inis go raibh 800 macléinn ag freastal ortha. Bhí mór-scoil eile i gCuinche agus an cothram céanna de mhac-léinn ag freastal air. Bhíscoil mhór eile i gCorca mBrugha, ceann ag na hAibhistínigh i gClár Áth Dá Churraigh agus i bhfad Éireann roimhe sin in Inis Chathaigh.

Chuir saighdiúirí Sheáin Bhuí deire leis na scoileanna sin. Do chuireadar an ruaig ar na múinteoirí agus do chrochadar cuid de na manaigh. In ainneoin an droch-bhirt sin do mhair síol agus grá an léinn i gContae an Chláir. Buíochas le Dia go bhfuil trí scoileanna móra againn in Inís agus breis agus 1,200 macléinn ag freastal ortha—Coláiste Fhlannáin, Coláiste Mhuire agus Scoil na mBráthar. Múintear gach ábhar tré Ghaeilge sna scoileanna sin agus éiríonn leo an chraobh a bhaint amach bliain indiaidh bliana. Gnóthaíonn siad breis agus trian de na scoláireachtaí a dháileann an Roinn ar lucht na méanscoil de bhárr an dea-oideachas a tugtar do na daltaí sna trí scoileanna sin agus i Rinn na Spáinneach éiríonn leis na buachaillí agus leis na cailíní postanna breághtha a bhaint amach ina dtír féinigh. Tugann na múinateoirí, idir chléir agus tuathánaigh, teagasc tré mheán na Gaeilge do na páistí sna scoileanna seo agus tá an toradh ann mar éiríonn go geal leis na leanaí sna scoileanna seo.

Tá na Teachtaí ar an dtaobh thall i gcónaí ag gearáin mar gheall ar Ghaeilge "éigeantach". Cloisimid é sin bliain indiaidh bliana ní h-amháin sa Teach seo ach ar na h-ardáin phoiblí. Ligeann Fine Gael ortha go bhfuil grá acu don Ghaeilge agus san am gcéanna tá siad ag déanamh a seacht ndíchill chun í a mharú.

Bhí file ann adúirt:

Ní h-ait liom na Sasanaigh i gcríochaibh Néill

Ag caint is ag bladair sin fuíoll dá gceárd.

Chuirfidh mé malairt leagain ar an dá líne eile. Is ait liom go dearbh go mbeadh Fine Gael ag cleachtadh an chlis sin ar a mhuintir féin. Do mholfainn dóibh éirí as an sean-phort pléite sin.

Do thug mé fé ndeara inné agus an tseachtain seo caite go bhfuil ní eile ag déanamh buartha do Theachtaí áirithe thall, sé sin, go bhfuiltear ag túirt claonadh mí-chothramach don stair. Dob ait leis an dTeachta Ó Broin as Baile Átha Cliath go múinfí an stair i slí ná luighfeadh sé go ró-throm ar na Sasanaigh. Cad a bheadh aige mar sin? Stair le claonadh Gallda. Do luigh sé chomh mór sin ar cheist na staire gur shíl mé gur chuala mé taidhbhse Fiach Mac Aodh Ó Broin ag eitilt mór thimpeall na Dála agus an claidheamh dhá thógaint as a thruaill aige chun an ceann a scogadh de.

Is dóigh liom go ndearna an Teachta Ó Broin freastal ar bhailiú na gclann sa Shelbourne Hotel cúpla mí ó shoin agus gur mhol sé stair na mBreathnach. Is mór an t-athrú a tháinig air. Níorbh ait leis faic a rá a chuirfeadh ina luí ar an aos óg gur buadhadh orainn ag an mBóinn, gur buadhadh orainn i Luimní agus in Eachdruim, agus gur leanamar leis an dtroid go dtí gur éirigh linn saoirse a bhaint amach.

Do bhí daoine ann i 1918 go raibh na tuairimí céanna acu agus do scríobh Seán Etchingham aor mhagúil orthu. Seo é:

When we were savage fierce and wild

Whack fol di diddle diddle di do dee

She came as a mother to her child

Whack fol di diddle diddle di do dee

She gently raised us from the slime

Kept our hands from hellish crime

And sent us to Heaven in all good time

Whack fol di diddle diddle di do dee.

Stair den tsaghas sin a bheadh ag teastáil ón Teachta Ó Broin, an Teachta Ó hÓgáin ó Thiobrad Árann Theas agus an Teachta Ó Donnagáin. Buíochas le Dia nach raibh a leithéid de rud againn ón Teachta Seán Ó Coileáin. Is treise dúchase ná oiliúint. Is fuirist a fheiscint cá bhfuil an smior agus cá bhfuil an drabhlas.

An lá eile bhí íonadh orm nuair a chuala mé an Teachta Dr. de Brún ag túirt íde fhiochmhar phearsanta faoin Aire Oideachais. Ba chuma liomsa ach go ndúirt an Teachta Dr. de Brún nuair a toghadh an Dr. Ó hIrighile mar Aire Oideachais go raibh áthas ar gach éinne sa Teach so agus gurab é féin a mhol an Teachta Ó hIrighile mar duine macánta a fuair oideachas cuibhe chun cúrsaí oideachais a stiúradh, rud ná fuair na hAirí eile a bhí ann roimhe ach an Teachta Ó Loingsigh. Tar éis cúpla nóimeat rinne sé iarracht a chur ina luí orainn ní h-amháin nár thuig sé aon ní i dtaobh cúrsaí oideachais ach nár thuig sé faic ar bith.

Níor mhaith liomsa a bheith pearsanta le héinne agus níor mhaith liom an tAire Oideachais a bheith pearsanta nuair a bheidh sé ag túirt freagra ar an ndíospóireacht. Trua ba cheart a bheith againn dá leithéid. Ní abród ach an rud adúirt an file fadó: Aithnítear ar toradh na gcrann uaisle na bpréamh ó fhásaid. Gach géag leis an ngéig óna dtig ag dul leis an dtréad óna dtáinig.

Ní rún liomsa am na Dála a dhiomailt le bheith ag túirt chomhairle don Aire agus an Roinn Oideachais ar conas cúrsaí oideachais a riaradh. Deineadh an oiread sin moltaí an tseachtain seo chaite agus an tseachtain seo go dtógfadh sé tamall fada ó sheirbhísigh na Roinne chun na moltaí céana a scrúdú, sé sin, má bhíonn siad dí-chialmhar go leor chun bheith ag cur ama amú leo.

Molaim an tAire agus molaim seirbhísigh na Roinne as ucht na deaoibre a rinneadar. Tá scoileanna nua dhá dtógáil chomh tiugh agus is féidir. Níl cuid de mhuintir Fhine Gael sásta go bhfuil go leor scoileanna nua dhá dtógáil. Nuair a bhí cáinfhaisnéis an Dr. Ó Riain ós comhair na Dála do vótáileadar ina choinne. Da n-éiródh leo conas d'fheadfaí airgead d'fháil le haghaidh oideachais nó rud ar bith eile?

Tá cheithre scoileanna nua dhá dtógáil sa pharóiste seo agamsa sa bhaile. Tá trí cinn tógtha agus an ceathrú ceann dhá thógaint. Fuaireadar deontas ón Roinn agus bhí muintir an pharóiste sásta an fearasbarr a bhailiú chun an obair a chríochnú. Indiaidh a chéile is ea a tógtar na caisleáin. Má thugaimid seans don Aire agus do Roinn na n-Oibreacha Poiblí ní bheidh sé rófhada go mbeidh a lán scoileanna nua againn.

Deirtear linn ón dtaobh thall go bhfuil líon na leanaí ag dul i laghad. Ní mar sin atá an scéal. Mar chríoch impím ar na Teachtaí a labhair i gcoinne na Gaeilge agus i gcoinne na staire óna bínsí thall iompó ar a ndúchas. Fada go leor atá cuid acu ag séanadh a ndúchais. Bidís Gaelach amach is amach nó bidís Gallda amach is amach. Ná bidís ag ligint ortha go bhfuil grá acu don Ghaeilge faid atá siad san am gcéanna ag déanamh a seacht ndíchill chun í a mharú.

Ní chloisim a choíche tuismitheoirí ná páistí ag gearáin i dtaobh Gaeilge "éigeantach". Cé hiad na daoine atá ag gearáin? Iad súd atá ag tnúth le vótaí sa toghchán geinearálta. Do bhí cuid acu ag maoímh go bhfuarthas 75,000 votaí sa toghchán deireanach de bharr a pholasaí i leith na Gaeilge. Más fíor é sin ní chruthaíonn séach gur éirigh leo 75,000 Gaeil a ghalldú. Tá súil agam nach n-éireoidh leo an polasaí sin a chur i bhfeidhm ar na daoine. Críochnóidh mé mar do chríochnaigh mé anuraidh:

Feasta ní foláir gurb í Éire na nGaedheal

Meirg gach Éireannach sa tír

Feasta ní foláir dúinn freagairt go soiléir

Céaca taobh dínn i leith Éire nó Seán Buí

Feasta ná bactar le Tadgh an Dá Thaobh

Scuabtar an scraiste as ár slí

Mar an té ná beidh linn ní dual gur dínn é

Péaca Gael nó Gall-Ghael nó coigchríoch.

Having listened to the aithriseoireacht we have had and the effort of Deputy Ó Briain earlier on, I commence my speech in English. Normally on this Estimate, I would speak in Irish but to avail of an Estimate like this, when Deputies are expected to give the benefit of their views, to heap abuse on people who come in to air a viewpoint is neither helpful to the cause they purport to serve nor gives any help to the Minister or to the officials of the Department in the problems they have before them.

I have listened here to numerous speeches on this Department over the years. Many things have been said with which a great many might disagree but I feel sure they were said in good faith. It is very ill-becoming to attempt to give the question of the athbheochan a completely political slant as was attempted here this evening. We had talk about Seán Buidhe and Galldachas from Deputies who should have known better. The Deputy who spoke last and who is a fluent Irish speaker used the occasion to cast abuse at various speakers in the Fine Gael benches and to quote various pieces of poetry which in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries were used against the foreigner. On an important Estimate such as this—one of the most important that comes before the House —these Deputies will not do any good to the cause of the Irish language or education in general by doing what they did to-day.

I was indeed surprised at the effort. It is always possible to defend any step which a person may propose in this House by reasonable argument but any person who indulges in personal abuse from any side of the House will not get very far. Deputy Ó Briain spoke about tradition and alleged that the Leader of the Fine Gael Party was continuing a trend which his father before him had adopted. I do not believe anybody could say that a body like Comhdháil Náisiúnta na Gaeilge have not the interests of the Irish language and culture at heart but their approach to those questions was very different from that which Deputy Ó Briain adopted in his tirade of abuse here this evening. When they sought an interview with the Leader of the Fine Gael Party to exchange views, there was an effort at conciliation between the two sides in the case.

I was referred by the same Deputy to the terms of reference of the Commission which is still working on this question of the Irish language and was told that these terms of reference would enlighten me. They are now four years old and I propose to quote them. This is the reply of the Taoiseach given to a question by Deputy T. Lynch on July 22nd, 1959, and reported at Column 1631, Volume 176 of the Official Report. He was referring to the Government's policy for the revival of the Irish language and went on:

In this connection I may refer the Deputy especially to the appointment of a Government Commission in July, 1958, the terms of reference of which are: "Having regard to the position at present reached in the endeavour to secure the restoration of the Irish language, to consider and to advise as to the steps that should now be taken by the community and the State to hasten progress towards that end."

Those were the terms of reference given to that Commission and evidently the Commission have found the task which was imposed on them by the Government of that time so onerous that they have not yet produced the solutions to this question of the restoration of the language. The type of speeches we had here this evening certainly do not help the situation in that respect. In fact they hinder it because they are throwing it into the political arena at this stage.

Who did that?

It was done here by Deputies throwing to this side of the House terms like Seán Buidhe and Galldachas.

It was thrown into the political arena during the last election campaign.

It was thrown at the people.

From a political platform.

And it did them very little good.

In due course, I shall deal with the Deputy's intervention and I do not think he will interfere after that.

I am never afraid.

In the problem of the Irish language, it is agreed, I am sure, that what is needed is to advance the speaking of the language. Accordingly, I was rather amazed by the figures Deputy Cunningham quoted. I do not know whether they are correct but he said there were 300,000 people who were able to speak the Irish language. If that is the case, surely the appeal might be made to them to use it because there must be something wrong if there are 300,000 people who can speak the language and who do not use it. I have said during debates on each Estimate for the Department of Education that I never accepted the type of construction put on the rules for the compulsory teaching of Irish. It would be much better if people were encouraged to speak the language and to gain a knowledge of it, without casting abuse or aspersion on those who advanced the argument that things were not going as well as we would wish them to go in this regard.

From this debate, it would appear that the demand for education is now becoming a political force. But if there is not to be a great waste of effort it is necessary that there should be a proper appraisal of the whole history of our educational system. Various opinions have been expressed in this debate. I shall not spend much time in dealing with them. I do not purport to know as much as some of the people who have given these opinions. Our educational system is unique in one respect, but evidently that is being forgotten. Here we have a system of education which is not State imposed although it is being assisted by the State. Here we have a system of education founded, so far as the primary school is concerned, on the managerial system—a system which has come down, has been tested over the years and which the vast majority agree has proved to be a useful foundation on which to build primary education.

There may be faults in that system as there are faults in any system of education the world over. It is the duty of Deputies to give their considered opinion as to how these faults may be remedied. But to turn round and condemn the whole for part is indeed not doing anything to improve education. It has been said that the whole tone of any school depends to a considerable degree upon the support of the neighbourhood in which the school is situated. Indeed, the same theory might be applied to education on a national scale. The type of criticism offered here at times has not been helpful either to the Minister or his officials, the schools or even the pupils.

The Minister must be tired of listening to requests for more money for schools, for scholarships, for better training facilities and so on. These matters have been dealt with over the years. While improvements are coming gradually, I presume two things are hampering a complete removal of the faults. The primary one, I suppose, is finance, and the second one is the question of staffing. No amount of wishful thinking will get over these problems. No amount of wishful thinking in this House will ease the burden for the Minister or for the schools themselves. The question of the various types of school buildings, their construction and faults can be dealt with on another Estimate. I do not propose to waste any time on it.

The question of school texts is a problem that has been mentioned here year after year. Perhaps the Minister would tell me when replying what advances have been made as a result of the advisory body set up in this Department, which was mentioned by the previous Minister in 1959? It is through the advice of bodies such as that to teaching organisations and publishers that progress can be made.

There was criticism of the type of education given. I heard a Deputy referring to children leaving our schools as illiterate, unable to read or write. Perhaps there are such children. I say "perhaps, there are". But it has been admitted there is the problem of the handicapped child. It used to be a wartime axiom that the speed of any convoy was determined by the speed of the slowest ship in it. The rate of progress in any class in any school must in part be determined by the rate of progress of the slowest child. I should hate to think that the handicapped child should not feel himself part of the school unit. It certainly would take away from his sense of well-being and self-respect if he were to be treated differently from the other children with whom he associates. I wonder do people who criticise take these difficulties into account? In rural schools, with the present average ratio of pupils to teacher of around 35 to 1, there are cases in, perhaps, a two-teacher school where a teacher has to deal with three classes and with children of varying ability. These are a some of the factors involved.

I might mention a matter not very often given much attention—the fact that over a school year the average daily attendance is around 87 per cent. Has it ever struck the public that each day throughout the school year approximately 63,000 pupils are absent from school? A chain is as strong as each link in it, and education is a chain. The child who misses a day or two days in the week loses something of that week's work. Talking that factor into account, as well as the other factors I have mentioned, I do not think I am exaggerating in saying that the standard attained by children when they leave school around the age of 13 is a reasonable one in these times.

Many people who speak from past knowledge speak of the time when there was not so much vocational or secondary education in this country, when formal education began and ended with the primary schools, although perhaps it ended at a later age. It was common for boys and girls to remain at school even up to the 15th year. When talking about the standards and achievements of children of 13 years of age no account is taken of the fact that it is only from the age of 12 onwards that children attain the use of reason. These are purely technical facts and I mentioned them in passing. These are some of the factors which might account for the state of education of the children leaving school to which some Deputies have referred.

In the case of handicapped children we are aware that there is a lack, not so much of buildings where they may be trained, but of trained personnel to teach them. The Minister has been doing something in that respect over the last four years but the number of teachers who are specially trained to educate that type of child is still very limited. The religious orders are doing their part but they are handicapped by the fact that if you presented them with the necessary buildings tomorrow they would not be able to staff the buildings with trained personnel. By and large, until we have more trained personnel to deal with such children this problem will remain with us.

In rural areas children attend the national schools and the teachers in these schools do what they can for the children within the scope of the school and within the scope of the limited time at their disposal. I often wonder if some critics have ever given thought to the fact that even in a subject like English, which the vast majority of children coming from English speaking homes have some knowledge of, the formal teaching time in any week for that subject is about 90 minutes. If the teacher has under his control 30 children and has 90 minutes of formal teaching he can afford three minutes per pupil per week.

These are some of the factors which are to be considered when dealing with this question of education. If I were to criticise these things tonight I would be doing so against the knowledge that I have that state of affairs does exist and that there is not much that can be done about it. The Minister can and, I hope, will do more in regard to reducing the ratio of pupils to teacher and that will be the best help he can give at all times to provide a better education for our children in primary schools.

One of the subjects which loomed large here tonight was history. I do not profess to know anything about history. I learned some history and I taught some history but in my view the only person who is competent to deal with history is the professor in the university who has made a life study of it. In dealing with history you are passing judgment on events that have happened and have gone. There is a Secretarial today in the United Nations in which each nation is maintaining a highly skilled staff, each trying to work out the reasons for certain events that have taken place and for certain happenings among the nations.

In going into the political history of this or any other country the national teacher is taking, from the individual text book which he uses, his own versions of somebody else's view of events that happened in the past and in the light of the situation in which they happened. It would be better if we did something in regard to the teaching of the social or economic history of our country and if we had a text book which would bring to the children of this country some knowledge of the treasures of our National Museum, of the way in which our people lived, of the type of homes they lived in, of the implements they used, of the clothes they wore and the ornaments which they made. Some of these ornaments are the greatest glory of this country, the Book of Kells, the Ardagh Chalice, the Tara Brooch. Then our children would be able to speak with lawful pride of the achievements of the past. It might suggest to them that there was a past to be proud of and to be emulated in the future.

When we speak of Irish culture we are inclined to put it into a mould and leave it there. There was one speaker here tonight who spoke of our culture. Gaelic was the word used, Gaelic was what he spoke of, a Gaelic tradition, a Gaelic culture. Our music, our dancing, our singing, our folklore, our customs, these are all part of our Gaelic heritage. They are part of our Gaelic heritage which people have not altogether abandoned and to which they might readily be drawn back. It is something to which the Minister might devote some of his personal endeavour and the time of his Department.

We have had various Fleadh Ceoil. There is a wealth of tradition still alive among our people of the great music of the past and of our culture which has died out in some areas but has survived in others. We might indeed take pattern from what has been done in some of the countries abroad, especially by our closest neighbour in the Gaelic family, Wales, and in Brittany where the folk dances are being revived and are performed in the folk costumes of their period. In Poland, there is a group of singers and dancers and those who had the privilege of being there on the occasion of a Parliamentary Conference saw what a great tourist attraction the activities of such a group could be. This group moved about the countryside and gave exhibitions of native songs and dances, wearing traditional costume.

Deputy Ó Briain referred to the 1918-1919 period. Some of us on this side of the House can remember that period also—Deputy Ó Briain is not the only one. I can remember in my own county when aeríochta and feiseanna were very popular and when the people were really ag claoí leis an dteanga. They did rally round to hear the Irish songs and perhaps some English ones and to see the Irish dances and hear the Irish agallamh. These were the days when people attended Gaelic League classes with enthusiasm and when the organisers were active. I remember a great Irish teacher, Micheál Ó Fodhlú, from the Decies of Waterford. We were, we thought, great Irish speakers in those days when we could say: "Tá cú ag Art. Tá Art óg." There was no be-littling the fact that people were making an effort in a bilingual fashion.

The Minister's Department could do quite a bit in regard to Gaelic culture to encourage various bodies working in that field to maintain and popularise the fleadh ceoil and such festivals that take place in different parts of the country. It is useful work and well worth doing and would tend to advance Gaelic culture as a whole.

Níor mhian liom críoch a chur leis an méid atá le rá agam ar an Meastachán seo gan tagairt a dhéanamh don aidhm atá ag gach éinne, sé sin, leathnú ar labhairt na Gaelige, agus sílim gur fearr mealladh. Agus maidir leis sin, sé an slí is fearr ná páistí a chur chuig coláistí Gaelacha, ní h-amháin sa Ghaeltacht ach aon áit na mbíonn siad.

Tá dhá choláiste thíos im cheanntair féin—ceann i Faing agus ceann i mBaile an Bhunánaigh—agus tá sár obair a déanamh ann. Gach bliain téann scata páistí don dá áit sin ach anois tuigim ná fuil cothrom na Féinne dhá fháil ag Cómhar-Cumann Íde Naofa. Chuireas cúpla ceist maidir le seo in áit eile agus anois cuirim fé bhráid an Aire é.

Sé "deontas dúbalta" atá i gceist. Íocann Aire na Gaeltachta £4 10 do chumainn mar Choiste na bPáistí ar leanaí a chuirtear chuing an Gaeltacht. Íoctair sin ar chostas bídh agus geibheann an Coláiste £4 10 ar chostas teagaisc. Ní bhfaghann Cumann mar Cómhar-Chumann Íde Naofa an £4 10 ar costas bídh, agus mar sin bíonn ar na páistí níos a íocadh thar daoine a chuirtear go dtí an Gaelteacht.

Ní dóigh liom gur cothrom na Féinne é sin, agus níor cheap an Piarsach riamh gurb iad "reservations" in áiteanna a bheadh ann nuair shamhlaigh sé Éire ar fad in a Ghaeltacht. Nílim ag iarraidh go mbainfí den airgead atá á chaithemh ar Ghaeilge ach iarraim ar an Aire chomh-chaint a dhéanamh le hAire na Gaeltachta agus a chur na luí air go mba chóir an £4 10 a íoctar ar chostas bídh sa Ghaeltacht do leanaí ó Choistí na bPáistí a íocadh leis na Coláistí cois Sionna.

I had thought earlier that I would not have intervened in this debate, that the Minister had got sufficient advice already from the House, but I should like to conclude by saying I do not think it helps the argument of any individual, in any case he may decide to put forward, to cast aspersions on his opponents or to cast doubts on their integrity or sincerity. To go as far back in history as 1908 to find reasons for hurling abuse in the year 1962 does little for the cause which people purport to serve.

When the Education Estimate was introduced last year, some of the gravest faults in our educational systems were discussed. One defect was the overcrowding of classes in the city areas and in certain rural areas. I want to commend the Minister and his staff for taking a step which will alleviate overcrowding to a certain extent. We understand that St. Patrick's Training College has 150 students over normal requirements and that when these teachers are available next year or maybe this year there will be less overcrowding.

It is gratifying, also, to know that the Department of Education have taken up the matter of retarded children. As every teacher knows, a retarded child cannot be dealt with in the normal working hours of the school. Steps are being taken by the Department so that within the next year or two 14 new specialist teachers will be available to devote their teaching careers to handicapped children. When special schools are available all over the country retarded children will be dealt with in a very reasonable and satisfying way.

When certain obstacles are removed other obstacles that may have existed but which were not so noticeable will come into prominence. However, when I hear over the radio the refrain "The School around the Corner's just the same" sung by the voices of children and connected with a weekly programme which I understand is very popular, I cannot help feeling it is the greatest indictment of the Minister and his staff in the Department of Education. It is a refrain taken from the lips of the very people who are affected by it. The school around the corner is just the same, the very school that was built in 1880, 1888 or 1890. If it is not the same, it is even worse. I understand from statistics that there are 750 of these schools throughout the country, a blot on the landscape, whether they are around the corner, in the bogs or in the valleys.

I understand the Minister is now taking up the question of providing prefabricated schools. If he finds they would be satisfactory he should make them available immediately. We believe from the highest educational authorities that environment plays an important part in the education of children. In the environment of a derelict buildings, in disrepair, without water or sanitation, what can a teacher do not matter how gifted he is and no matter how able the children are?

The schools which the Minister intends to erect should be equipped in the most modern way. In most rural areas electricity is available but the one place in which it is not available is the school. If advantage is to be taken of television, radio and modern heating methods, electricity must be installed in the schools. I wish to quote from a news item in the Sunday Press of February 4th, 1962:

There is good news for all Irish school children. Telefís Éireann is to transmit school programmes at the end of the year. After studying the position, the authorities have reached full agreement with schools about the length and quality of the programmes...

The decision to cater for schools has been under consideration for some time but was postponed until the three remaining transmitters were erected. These are now expected to be completed before the end of this year.

Teachers and parents will welcome the programmes as an invaluable contribution to the curriculum. From the educational view-point it is agreed that television is of tremendous importance in this age.

If the Minister decides that prefabricated schools will be built he should insist that they be connected with ESB power and that every available equipment be installed. The trouble is who will instal it? Is it the Minister's Department or is it not? I do not believe the local authority or the managers can instal it. If schools are to take advantage of ESB power, television and radio it is the Department that should be responsible for the installation. If they want to do it, they can do it. If they do not do it, it will be snobbery again in education because the rural schools will be deprived of this definite advantage.

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

With regard to the heating of schools, I have here a letter from which I shall quote for the House. This is a letter written by a correspondent in the Teachers Journal asking an official of the ESB to give the facts with regard to the heating of schools. He says that a storage heater can be installed for £11 to heat the ordinary school of 26 x 18 x 12 at a cost of about 2/- per week. For 20 weeks in the year, that is five months, the cost of heating the school would be £2. These storage heaters are charged during the night. The current is switched on from 11 p.m. to 8 a.m., that is, for nine hours, at a cost of 5.4d. per day for five days in the week, giving a total of 27d. per week. For two rooms, the cost is double—4/6d. per week. For 20 weeks in the year, the cost is £4 10s. for a two-teacher school. Compare that with the cost of coal, turf or wood. One wonders why managers do not rush to procure this fairy godmother heating for their schools. In the rural areas, there is ESB current. The houses are connected. Why are the schools left out? If the schools were connected, the heating of them would cease to be a problem.

Mention was made of the teaching of continental languages in the secondary schools. If people really understood the position, they would know that continental languages could not be taught in at least 50 per cent. of our secondary schools. These schools are staffed by three teachers. The capitation grant could not pay these teachers. Lack of funds, lack of staff and lack of equipment are preventing the majority of our secondary schools from teaching a continental language. The dice is loaded in favour of the larger secondary schools. On the eve of the Common Market, we cannot be complacent about the position of these smaller secondary schools.

In the larger secondary schools, continental languages can be taught because they can pay a bigger basic salary. It is not generally appreciated that the school pays the basic salary and the Department pays the incremental salary. The basic salary is £200. The bigger school, the wealthier school, can afford to pay extra staff; the smaller school cannot. They cannot afford to pay a teacher to teach continental languages and that is why students leave these secondary schools without any knowledge of a continental language. In 50 per cent. of the schools, French is not taught. In 90 per cent., German is not even attempted. If the capitation grant were increased, these schools would be enabled to pay more staff. With regard to examinations, the smaller schools are at a disadvantage again because they are competing with wealthier and better staffed schools. Once more the dice is loaded against them.

The question as to why national teachers are denied the benefit of a university education has been raised over the past few years. One of the main reasons for the establishment of a university in 1908 was to enable national teachers to have the benefit of a university education. A certain section, known as the Castle Catholics, had objection to make. A reactionary body, they opposed the idea, and they sent a certain member of their group to England to make representations. He was Chief Baron Palles. The aim was to exclude national teachers completely from the university and from any representations on its Senate. That was in 1908.

We have had, since 1922, four decades of self-government. Since 1922 no move has been made to include the training of teachers in the university. Many excuses have been made—the question of cost, the question of room. These excuses have been worn threadbare. They will not stand any argument. In the National University at least a fourth of the students are not Irish citizens. Furthermore, 40 per cent, of the graduates definitely go to England or some other country. If we can educate these students in the National University, if we can educate students who are not citizens of our State, if we can educate people who will definitely emigrate, if we can educate people who will look after our agriculture, our soil, our sites, our surveys, our spiritual welfare and our physical welfare, if we can give all these types of students the benefit of a university education why, then, do we exclude completely those people who have the very delicate and difficult job of teaching our own children?

I cannot, nor can anybody, understand why the training colleges cannot be linked with the university. After all, Protestant students—and I use the word "Protestant" in a very comprehensive sense—have the benefit of Trinity College. They go there for lectures every day and when they finish training they have the benefit of a university degree. Why, then, with our own University Colleges in Cork, Dublin and Galway, can we not give the benefit of a university degree to Catholic national teachers whose life is devoted to education?

I would ask the Minister to explain when he is replying to this debate the reason why the Catholic national teachers in Catholic Ireland cannot get the very same facilities as are given to —and I say this in a comprehensive sense—the non-Catholic teachers in Ireland? If this happened in the North there would be talk about discrimination but it is impossible to think it should happen here. The fact is that it is happening. When the Minister is replying to this debate I should be glad if he would give some information to clarify that point.

Mr. Ryan

I heard it said in the course of this debate that one's anxiety to speak on the Estimate for the Department of Education is a direct reflection on the extend of one's ignorance. That was not exactly why I did not intervene earlier. There has been a very comprehensive debate on this occasion. It is indicative of the fact that the Fine Gael Party have at last stirred up public consciousnes and that people are aware at long last that we in this country are very much behind the times so far as investment in education is concerned and so far as investment in the welfare of our country is concerned.

We have made the mistake for many years of investing money at the wrong end. We have been investing money in the finished product instead of doing it at the start. The better the brains of our youth are developed, the better will be the brains of future participants in industry and agriculture. It is therefore extremely sad to observe that in 1962 Ireland stands at the bottom of the scale in relation to investment in education and that, although we have a populations more than twice that of the six severed north-eastern counties, we spend something less than they do on education.

It is almost trite now to remark that this country would be unified if we had the same social services as they have in the North. It is very pertinent to remark that if this country were unified tomorrow the children in the north-east would suffer severely, if the same amount were spent on their education as we are at present prepared to spend on the education of our youth in free Ireland. Out of that figure of £22,000,000 which we are spending, a large proportion is being devoted to an aspect of education which does not arise in the North. A large amount of money is being spent here, or misspent here, on the so-called promotion of Irish, on trying to attract children in comparatively well-to-do areas to the use of Irish by text books which in many cases recite sad short stories about the hardships to be endured on the western, north-western and southern seaboards. I enjoy the drama and the poetry of these stories. As people grow older the emotion contained in these stories becomes even poignant.

You cannot possibly interest children in large cities and towns in the use of the Irish language through stories which they have to read in school and which deal with a life which is something completely apart from the type of life they lead. It is desirable, of course, that they should know how all sections in this country live. There is no use in trying to entertain children in some of the suburban schools in Dublin with stories about the hardships of mothers or views of men who go out fishing off, for instance, the Galway coast. If you look through the books on the curricula of our schools you will find that the majority of them illustrate a life which is strange to the pupils in the majority of our schools.

I do not for one moment cast aspersions upon people living along the western seaboard or upon people living in Gaeltacht areas. I have nothing but the highest admiration for them. I think they do magnificently, considering the hardships they have to overcome. However, one does not popularise the Irish language by associating it with hardship, poverty and difficult times.

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

There is a House present.

There is not a House.

Mr. Ryan

I think the majority of the members count 20 present.

Acting Chairman

There is a House present.

Where does the Acting Chairman see the House? There is a House now.

Mr. Ryan

Perhaps if the Deputy would assist in keeping a House, we might get through the business.

If the Deputy were able to count, it would be a help.

Mr. Ryan

If the Deputy included himself at all times, perhaps it might be possible to have the business continued.

In the light of what I have said about the national language, it is extraordinary that we still have not received the report of the Commission of so-called experts on the Irish language which the Taoiseach announced on the eve of the last general election was about to be published a fortnight later. It is a measure of the amount of fraud and dishonesty which we have come to associate with the efforts of a so-called revival of the language that a Commission which was to have reported last October has not yet done so in the following June. It may well be that the Minister has the report in his hands but that he is as ashamed of it as he was of the latest report published on secondary education.

That recently published report has a value. Its value is that it is worth reading in order to ignore practically everything in it. It is something like the Banking Commission Report of the thirties. Some people might like to burn it regarding it as a public disgrace and something that is best forgotten, but it is useful to keep those things as an indication of the type of mind which is running these institutions, and of the necessity for change.

If that report had been written 50 years ago, it would even then have been out of date and it would have been a reactionary report, but the fact that it was published in 1962 at great public expense is, to my mind, a farce. Inaction in the future could be justified by relying upon that farcical report, and if we try to implement it, I pity the children of the future who will fall more and more behind in the international race. For efficiency and better living standards, it is quite apparent that the highest education is essential and without the highest education to meet the requirements of the modern world, our children must fall behind.

One of the most disgusting afflictions this country is suffering from is a degree of snobbery at all levels. Unfortunately, we find such snobbery, where it should not be, in our educational system. It is particularly deplorable that we segregate our children into different educational institutions according to the means of their parents and that indeed is what we do. Our educational authorities are very much to blame, and I blame them more than the parents.

I am aware that in Dublin there are four different schools catering for juveniles and there is that type of abominable snobbery that when the children are making their first Holy Communion, the children from three schools make it on one day, and the children from the other school another day.

Acting Chairman

I am afraid the Deputy is going outside the terms of the Estimate.

Mr. Ryan

With respect, that is what is wrong with education in this country. We are supposed to isolate it into different watertight compartments. I insist upon saying that as a result of an educational policy stimulated by the Department of Education, the children in one parish did not receive the sacrament at the alter of God on the same day as the others, because we have a situation in which we have allowed an institution which receives State aid to keep those children apart.

Acting Chairman

The Deputy is going outside the terms of the Estimate. I have already drawn his attention to that.

Mr. Ryan

Again I repeat that what is wrong with education is clearly proved by the farcical report we received from the so-called Commission on Secondary Education in which primary, secondary, university and technical education are all separated into watertight compartments with no inter-communication between them, and no community of interest between them. That is a despicable type of snobbery and ignorance and so long as that continues, there will be a lack of communication and understanding between the different sections of the community.

The outmoded respect which the recent report showed for the teaching of classical languages in our secondary schools is an indication of how far out of touch we are with the needs of the modern age. The Department will have to stimulate the teaching of modern continental languages in our secondary schools. If it is regarded as acceptable that the Department of Finance should give tax reliefs in respect of exports, if it is regarded as appropriate that the Department of Industry and Commerce should subsidise the setting up of industries by foreigners, it should surely be acceptable that the Department of Education should subsidise the teaching of modern continental languages in our secondary schools.

At the moment if there are a number of schools in favour of the teaching of continental languages, we have not sufficient teachers to teach them. Until such time as the Department is prepared to confer a bonus upon schools which have teachers of continental languages on their staffs, I do not believe the secondary schools will change over from the classical to the modern languages.

One of the reasons the schools are reluctant to change from the classical languages to the modern languages is that so many are run by religious orders, the members of which, in the course of their religious education, have occasion to master and use the classical languages, but we must face the fact that most of our students will not have occasion to use them after they leave school. It is much more important that they should be able to communicate with their competitors in the great modern world rather than know what Caesar did in the Gallic Wars or what Aeneid was doing roaming around the Mediterranean. I do not for one moment decry the value of a classical education, but in the limited number of hours available in a secondary school, it is wrong that we should concentrate on certain subjects which are of little real value in the modern world in which these children will have to live.

Another aspect of education which the Department is reluctant to try to discipline is the school attendance hours. The Minister's attitude is that it is a matter for the individual manager. Where the welfare of the community at large is involved, the Department of Education has a considerable responsibility and while we respect the managerial system, steps should be taken by the Department, at first by encouragement and if that is not successful, then by compulsion, to ensure that the parents are not discommoded by a lack of uniformity in the hours of attendance. I am aware of more than one parish in Dublin where boys' and girls' schools have different hours of attendance. The result is that mothers who have boys and girls going to school in such a parish have to spend as much as three hours a day bringing the children to school and home again and in the intervening time, cook meals or keep them warm for members of the household who come in at different times.

This is a very real problem and as long as the Department allows it to continue both the educational welfare and the health of our children will continue to suffer because of the imposition of this atrocious and unnecessary hardship. This is particularly so in the case of large workingclass families in the city and the ostrich-like attitude of the Minister is simply not good enough.

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

Mr. Ryan

The final point I wish to make is in relation to training and preparatory colleges. There is a matter which is the cause of some bewilderment to me. I am subject to correction on this but I think the situation is that three or four of these institutions were closed within the past 12 months and some of them, in rather peculiar circumstances, were handed over to bodies other than State bodies. One of these institutions is so unwanted that it is still on public hands and being maintained at great public expense. I find it extremely difficult to understand how the Department has given a grant of £1,000,000 for St. Patrick's Training College, Dublin, if other training colleges in other parts of the country are idle for want of recruits. I see the Minister shaking his head and if I am wrong, I should like him to explain the puzzle, as it is a puzzle to me.

Before the Minister concludes, there are two points I should like to raise. One particular point has not been adverted to by any Deputy. I refer to what I regard as a glaring injustice. The Minister and the Department have expressed a desire to see more suitable applicants attracted to the teaching profession and have adverted to the facilities it is intended to provide for training teachers. I refer to the regulation that exists at the moment that aspirants to the teaching profession should have an ear for music. This denies to some girls—I have one in particular in mind—the possibility of going for the teaching profession.

The girl I have in mind had an avid interest in the teaching profession. From the moment she entered school, the one thing she wanted to do was to become a teacher. She secured sufficient marks in her examination to qualify her as a teacher and was sent by the convent school for the examination, which she passed with flying colours. She had been given very special attention by the music teacher in the school, but just because Divine Providence did not endow her with an ear for music, that girl was denied admission to a training college and consequently had to take up a profession in which she is unhappy. The one profession to which she wanted to devote her life was teaching. I regard that condition for the recruitment of trainees to the teaching profession as scandalous. It is also true that this system operates where male aspirants do not obtain a certain level of marks.

It is outrageous to expect any pupil to acquire something which cannot be acquired. Unless Providence has given them the ability at birth, the profession is denied aspirants who are full of enthusiasm and whose vocation in life is to take up the teaching profession. Surely it should be possible to provide from the staff of any school some teacher who is proficient in the teaching of music and who is able to impart to the classes the knowledge of music and singing required by the Department and not expect every teacher to have what God may not have given at birth. I refer to this point because it was brought forcibly to my mind in this particular instance but I am sure many Deputies down the years have also had this experience. I should like the Minister to look into it and if he can change that regulation, he will be doing a good job. He will not have it done in time to permit the girl I refer to to take up the profession and who has been forced to change over to a profession in which she has nothing like the interest in or adapability which she could devote to teaching.

I shall conclude with one other reference to this matter. I am not breaking new ground because other Deputies have already referred to it. It is in regard to the appointment and promotion of vocational teachers. I am a member of the Cork County Vocational Educational Committee and it is an embarrassment to the members of this or any vocational committee to be bombarded by teachers trying to secure appointment to a vocational school or promotion to a headmastership, but the embarassment to committee members is nothing to the embarrassment caused to the unfortunate applicants for such positions. It is outrageous that they have to take to the road like that.

Indeed I do not think I have seen any exercise like it since the last Seanad election, and when you think of a county of the size of Cork, this becomes really a test of stamina—to see which aspirant for the job can cover the most country, see the most people in the shortest space of time. It is a most outrageous defect in our vocational educational system and I would urge the Minister to examine some alternative and more suitable way of making appointments to the one at present in existence. It is terrible to see aspirants to these posts making these repeated visitations to the homes of the various members of the vocational education committees. If they did not, they would not stand a chance on their merits. I hope that, during the coming 12 months, the Minister will apply himself to these two points.

I dtosach báire, ba mhaith liom mo bhuíochas a ghlacadh leis na Teachtaí a labhair as ucht na suime a chuir siad i gcúrsaí oideachais. Tá sé nádúrtha go n-abróidís rudaí áibhéileacha ar ócáid mar seo, ach, ar an iomlán, fuaramar a lán tuairimí go raibh machnamh géar déanta ortha. Is maith liom ar ócáidí mar seo tuairimí daoine eile a chloisint agus iad a chur ag obair ar an mbóthar atá romhainn. Is trua liom nach raibh cuid dem óráid, agus mé ag tosnú ar an Meastachán intuigthe——

Níor thuig mise é toisc gur léi an tAire é, ach tá mé i ndone é a thuigsint anois nuair atá sé ag caint linn.

Ós rud é nach bhfuil aistriú agam ar an méid atá le rá agam anois, labhróidh mé i mBéarla. As I say, I have not got prepared notes and therefore I cannot give to Deputies a translation of what I intend to say. For that reason I shall speak in English because there are Deputies who would not follow me if I spoke entirely in Irish. Sometimes it is the canúint and sometimes the lack of knowledge and fluency in Irish. I should like to thank the House and the Deputies who spoke for the excellent debate they have given us, in spite, perhaps, of the absence of a big audience at times. We certainly had a big number of contributions and it was obvious that the majority of them had a fair amount of contemplation and preparation behind them. That is a very welcome sign.

It did strike me—and it is reasonable—that the average person does not quite comprehend what the system of education implies and I think many of the faults in the administration of the system are sometimes put down to deficiencies in the system itself. For that reason, while I have faith in the capacity of the system to meet our needs, not everybody can appreciate that, because there is not a clear understanding of the system. I have therefore caused to be prepared—it is in the course of preparation—a book describing the system of education so that people will understand it. When it is prepared, I shall circulate it to Deputies.

Will it be banned?

I sincerely hope not.

The censors will not get it, anyway.

I only intend it to be a factual description of the educational system. Indeed the opening speech I made was intended only to be a factual appraisal of the year's work and for that reason, it seemed to disappoint some Deputies who did not find in it anything they could call revolutionary or dynamic. I should like, therefore, to close the debate by stating that I am in no way satisfied with our present position as regards education and that if I appear to be complacent, I do not intend to be because any complacency would be completely unwarranted. If my statements in relation to education appear to be sober, it is because I see and believe that we must proceed in an orderly fashion. It is also because I do not believe in seeking credit for expressing some future intentions while there is a great deal of work to be done and to be got down to.

It may help Deputies if I say something about the present position and the development in this field in the past few years. The present position of the system is that for the first time we are so placed as to be able to plan and project for the future. I say that because up to a few years ago the system was absolutely bogged down with a great many handicaps. These handicaps took decisions and money and time to remove and perhaps it will be some indication of the belief of this Government in investment in education if I show Deputies the improvement that has occurred as between the Budget of 1955-56 and the present one. The 1955-56 Budget provided for education, £13,761,074. The present one provides £22,210,920.

Mr. Ryan

Wages have gone up.

And pensions.

Yes, but there has been an increase and it is an indication of a trend.

The number of pupils has dropped.

This year, for the first time, the number of pupils in primary schools has gone up. Five years ago, almost 25 per cent. of our primary teachers were untrained. We had a 50-year backlog of bad schools and what was worse was that there was no sign of our catching up on that backlog. The number of new places we provided for pupils annually was no more than the number about to be replaced and up to a few years ago there was no hope of catching up on any part of the backlog. Up to that time, as I am sure many Deputies will know, the relations between the Department of Education and the teachers were anything but good. In the last analysis, any system of education must depend on the teachers. At that time the universities were overcrowded. Their staffs were in despair and they were losing morale. For economic reasons, the grants to secondary schools had been cut.

The main flaw in our post-primary education, as I saw it, was that it was not open to all and there were no signs of its becoming open to all. In the past five years, there have been a number of what I might call reforms. In my opening statement, I mentioned that, in order to provide for normal wastage, it was estimated it was necessary to build for about 6,000 pupils annually. As well as doing that, we are providing new accommodation for another 7,000. In fact, the present position is that 164 major building schemes are being carried out and these will in time provide accommodation for 18,500 pupils. That is very much better than was done before. As I said, the fact that we have made such great progress is poor consolation for the manager of a bad school or the parent who has to send his child to it. Plans I am now examining will, however, lead to a much greater acceleration of the school building programme. However, I do not want to detract from the good progress already made in replacing schools and catching up on the backlog.

There is also the problem of staffing. Twenty-five per cent. of the teachers in the primary schools are untrained, but at the time I refer to, it was worse than that. Each year, there was a loss of trained teachers through marriage and the numbers were diminishing. Thousands of children never laid eyes on a trained teacher and had no prospect of doing so. By increasing the number of teachers being trained, removing the marriage ban and allowing married women to continue teaching, we have achieved a position unique in the world in that we are no longer recruiting untrained teachers.

It is possible, as I said, that when the buildings planned for St. Patrick's Training College are completed we will have a 50 per cent. annual increase in the number of male teachers. At present, two out of every three teachers are women. Apart from the extension of the accommodation in St. Patrick's, there is also the question of improving the accommodation there. All Deputies are agreed that the schools in which the children are taught should be improved. The very fact of being taught in a good building is, in itself, an education. Soon after my appointment, I inspected St. Patrick's Training College from basement to roof and I was convinced at that time it was not a suitable place to accommodate teachers in training. Last year, I announced my intention of having this building replaced and this year I announced the new buildings were going ahead.

The other handicap I mentioned was the poor relations between the officials of the Department and the teachers. That these relations have improved is evident from the statements of officials of the teachers' organisation. The representatives of this organisation have paid public tribute to the better relations. This indeed augurs well for the spirit of teaching within the schools.

We have faced up to the problem of university overcrowding. In the five or six years mentioned, we increased university grants by 50 per cent. The building at UCD is being undertaken at once and the first sod of the science block is being cut tomorrow. The Galway needs have been met to some extent and Cork is also receiving attention.

I said the main flaw in post-primary education was the fact it was not available to all our young people of ability. In that connection, I should like to state unequivocally it is the aim of the Government that every child likely to avail successfully of post-primary education should have the opportunity of doing so. Last year, a step was made in that direction by the passing of the Scholarships Act. I emphasised at the time, and I should like to repeat it now, that that was only a start. However, as a start, it will result in thousands getting post-primary education who otherwise might not have had the opportunity of doing so.

We have also given grants for the furnishing of science laboratories to try to stimulate the teaching of science in schools where it has not been taught up to now and to extend the teaching of science in schools where it is already taught. To encourage in our secondary schools the teaching of modern continental languages, I introduced the system whereby incremental credit on the salary scale is given to teachers with teaching service in the country of the language concerned.

As I said, all in all, we are spending something more than £8 million more on education than at that time. The silent progress of the past five years has put us in a position that we can now make plans. Future progress towards what seems to be agreed upon in the House should now be accelerated. I do not intend to make any announcement on the basis of "Live horse and you will get grass". I want to say, however, that our blueprints for the future in the matter of post-primary education are well advanced. When the time comes in the near future to disclose these plans, I feel confident they will meet with a large measure of approval.

Again, let me stress that the Government are proceding on the basis of opportunity for the clever boy or girl to reach the top of the educational ladder. Before the reforms I spoke of took place in the past five years, it would have been unrealistic to talk of planning. Deputies will readily see that without a sufficiency of trained teachers very little can be done about the reduction of the very large classes which we all desire. If we want to reduce the size of the classes we must have more teachers. I have already announced on four or five occasions an improvement in the ratio. That improvement depends on having extra teachers available and money available to pay them.

There is another question which I am happy to see Deputies interested in and that is the problem of the handicapped child. As I said in introducing the Estimate there is not a great deal we can do about these children until we have a sufficiency of teachers. There are children who come under this heading who are not really the problem of the Department of Education but who would be in need of medical care. Quite a number of these children can benefit from education and the biggest part of the subnormal group could benefit from education in the ordinary national school, only, of course, if the class were small enough to permit the trained teacher to give particular attention to this type of child.

If we had not provided for the number of teachers we could not plan for the smaller classes for the mentally retarded child and we could not think of expanding the curriculum. Those Deputies who are teachers will appreciate the difficulty of adding subjects to the curriculum. We can look forward to reducing the size of the class so that one teacher can take care of it and in that case we can look forward to widening the curriculum in the national schools.

I hope that this résumé of the silent progress of the last five years will explain to Deputies why my statements are sober. We have to wait not only for the finance but for the time. The reason why an orderly approach appeals to me can be brought out by a reference to a statement made by Deputy Pattison. He thought that we could go ahead right away with a certain recommendation of the Council of Education. The recommendation was that there be further scholarships at intermediate level and the Deputy could not see any reason why we should not accept the recommendation without further consultation with anyone as he thought that everybody would be agreeable to it.

There is a wide divergence of views on scholarships at intermediate level and many educationalists believe that scholarships in that examination tend to defeat the purpose of the examination. They say that it makes for specialisation and concentration on the gaining of marks rather than giving a broad education. If some educationalists hold that view in regard to the small number of scholarships already available I am sure the Deputy should wait to get their opinion on the question of extending the scholarships at that level. Without wanting to prejudice the idea I should like to state that there is a not inconsiderable body of opinion that it is unsound to have honours at the intermediate level.

That body of opinion is that the first function of the intermediate examination is to indicate to parents whether they should allow their children to continue an academic course or to direct their education elsewhere and, also, that scholarships at that level would tend to specialisation too early. If there is specialisation at the examination, there will also be specialisation for a couple of years before it in preparatiton for it and a particular body of opinion would not altogether agree with that.

A number of Deputies made reference to a document entitled Investment in Education in the Republic of Ireland. It is the result of a great deal of hard work by a group of proprietors of secondary schools. Some Deputies seem to think that because they changed their name to the Federation of Irish Secondary Schools they represent all the secondary schools but actually they have about 5,000 or 6,000 of the 80,000 secondary school pupils. I have read this document and have had it examined and there is quite an amount of incorrect statistical information in it, some statements which are not fact and a certain amount of false deductions.

I do not intend to deal with them all but in Table 1 in that document the statement is made that in England and Wales 88 per cent. of children of the age group 15 to 19 years attend secondary schools and that the comparable figure in Japan is 98 per cent. That is nonsense. Obviously what has happened is that the pupils analysed as attending secondary schools in those countries, the vast majority of whom are under 15 years of age, have been included in the age group of 15 to 19 years.

It is also stated that the percentage figures for school attendance for the age groups 15 to 16 years and 16 to 17 years are about 30 per cent. and 11 per cent. respectively. The comparable figure in this country for the 15 to 16 age group, which is the only one I have, is much higher than 30. Table 2 expresses the total enrolment in secondary schools as a percentage of the 12 to 18 years age group and the resultant calculation that only 22½ per cent. of our children attend secondary schools is misleading. As Deputies know, quite a number receive secondary school education up to the age of 16. The number is smaller up to the age of 17 and smaller again up to the age of 18. There is a drop. But, even as a figure for the people who complete the full secondary course, the 22½ per cent. is still misleading.

There are other tables which apply the cost of vocational teaching, full-time and part-time. It is misleading. I am availing of the opportunity of dealing with it to say that we need to have something done about producing statistics. I intend that the Department shall produce adequate, reliable statistics in the future.

Deputies raised a number of points ranging from native music and native language to the Cork University problem. The Irish language question produced a little heat and I think my part would be to define our policy on education as it fits into the whole context of the language movement. It seems to be agreed that it is desirable that the Irish language should be restored as the vernacular. The new theory which has been mentioned here is that if you take away the compulsory teaching of Irish in the schools and leave it to the voluntary bodies you will do better. That is based on the statement that the work of the schools has failed. As I have said elsewhere before, the work on Irish in our schools over the past 30 or 40 years has been on a literary basis. The schools have been teaching Irish as a literary subject and it has produced Irish writers. There are many biographies, short stories and novels written by Irish writers. It has produced a reading public—as evidenced by Club na nOg —for Irish books and I think it accounts also for the great revival in Irish drama throughout the country.

Drama is the link between literature and the spoken word and it is a sign that the next step will be taken by our people, that is, to have Irish spoken. The work of the schools has succeeded in giving a basis through teaching Irish as a literary subject. In recent years Government policy has been to try to get on to the next stage and that is to bring the stress on to the speaking of Irish and the teaching of spoken Irish, the development of fluency in children who learn Irish. For that reason more than two years ago I sent a circular to the schools on the teaching of Irish and, as Deputies know, the leaving certificate Irish examination has had an oral part attached to it for the past two years. It has been very successful as an examination. The running of it has gone very smoothly but it is too early to say what will be the result on the spreading of Irish as a spoken tongue.

The circular which I sent to managers and teachers in relation to teaching Irish is one that I should like to read again because there is a certain amount of talk about compulsion and about bringing the child into an unfamiliar milieu. The circular advised teachers that the first step was to get away from the old idea of dividing Irish into separate components by teaching Irish as one subject with special stress on the spoken word. Teachers were told that they should teach the class of that particular year through the medium which the teachers themselves thought to be most effective having regard to the teacher's ability to teach through Irish or English and the pupils' ability to learn.

May I ask the Minister was the circular ever published apart from being sent to the teachers?

It was published. I mentioned it in the Dáil. I sent it to the teachers and managers of schools and it was published in the newspapers.

I am sorry to interrupt the Minister, but were the teachers recommended to consult the parents?

I think I know what the Deputy has in mind but one has to limit the judgment to some one person. It could easily arise that children would come from mixed homes. You cannot have separate schools and it is left to the teachers to judge the ability of the class and teachers tell me that the ability of classes to speak Irish and learn subjects through Irish varies from year to year. The only reason for teaching through Irish was not to force Irish on the children but to use the teaching of a number of simple subjects, if possible, through Irish as a way of developing fluent use of it. It was never intended to force Irish but rather that the teacher should make use of the medium of Irish to make children familiar with the language.

And that there would be no compulsion?

It should not be forced: it should be used as a medium of instruction.

The former Parliamentary Secretary behind the Minister does not seem to agree. He seems to be grumbling.

I am grumbling at the Deputy's interruptions.

We did not see very much of the Deputy for the last few days ach tá fáilte roimhe mar sin féin.

Do labhair mé ar an Meastachán seo. B'fhéidir nár thuig an Teachta mé.

Deputies have had a very good innings for the last three days and should allow the Minister to speak without interruption.

We apologise to the Minister.

I appreciate that. I think I should read this circular now so as to have it on record. It is in Irish and English and, for the benefit of those who really need to know what is going on, those who are arguing, I shall read it in English.

The Irish version will do.

No, I shall read this one:

With reference to the attached copy of Circular No. 16/59 relating to inspection, the Minister for Educacation desires to call special attention to the fact that in future a teacher's work in the teaching of Irish will be assessed as a whole and that there will not be separate assessments of Oral Irish and Written Irish.

What we have been preaching.

I did this before you started preaching at all.

But you kept it quiet.

I did: perhaps I am too quiet. The circular continues:

It should be understood, however, that the Inspector, when making his assessment of the work as a whole, will attach greater importance to Oral Irish than to Written Irish. In this connection the Minister wishes to stress his desire that the teachers should make every effort to advance as far as possible and as quickly as possible the speaking of Irish amongst their pupils. If, with this in view, a teacher is satisfied in relation to pupils whom he may have in a junior class in any year that, having regard to the level of their intelligence etc., he would be likely to make more progress with them in Oral Irish by transferring the emphasis from teaching through Irish to the teaching of Irish Conversation, then such teacher will be free to act accordingly. That of course will be on the understanding that his work in the case of Irish will be assessed principally from the point of view of the advance made by the pupils in the spoken tongue.

Who is the Minister? Is it Deputy Ó Briain or Deputy O'Donnell?

An léifidh mé amach é?

Tá mé sásta.

Ní bheadh sé in ordú.

There was a varied range of opinion as to the subjects that should be taught in the national schools. Until we have sufficient teachers, we cannot hope to teach them all, but it is no reason, as some Deputies have suggested, to stop teaching our own language. I do not know that it is a matter for arguing about. I believe we should have our own language and other Deputies say they believe the same thing.

The policy of those on the opposite side of the House seems to be: leave it to the voluntary bodies, to the voluntary associations. A literary base for the knowledge of Irish is provided in the schools. Somebody mentioned "The School Around the Corner". Anybody who is worried about the ability of the children to learn Irish should be impressed by that programme.

Mr. Ryan

Only one in five uses it.

This base in the school is essential and will remain essential for a long time to the work of the voluntary bodies. Indeed, I went so far as to say recently and I think I should repeat it that if others who are interested in Irish had done as well in their aspect of it, in promoting the speaking of the language among the public, as the schools have done in giving a knowledge of the language, we would have gone much farther on the road.

I do not intend to go through the dreary arguments but it remains the policy of this Government that Irish be taught to our children. We shall at the same time, as we have been doing, support the work of the voluntary bodies, as anybody reading the Estimates can see. It may be that some time in the future this work in the schools will not be necessary, that the speaking of the language may get such a grip that it will not be necessary to argue about what is going on in the schools. However, for the present and as far as I can see, it will be essential to teach Irish as we are doing in the schools and it seems that it will be essential for whoever is speaking of what is going on in the schools to keep repeating that it is not being driven down anybody's throat.

For 300 years, Deputy Kennedy said it is.

Yes, for 300 years, English was forced down our throats.

I always work on the assumption that my duty is not to do what is dimly in the distance but to do what lies clearly at hand. I shall do my duty as far as I can see it and in 300 years' time somebody may be very happy to see the results of all our work.

Physical education in our schools was mentioned. As far as secondary schools are concerned, a teacher can be registered and receive incremental salaries from the Department of Education for the subject of physical education. Many of the vocational education committees have physical education teachers. Excellent work is being done in Dublin in that regard. I hope there will be an extension by the secondary schools of proper physical education as distinct from physical jerks—education in movement, fitness for sport, hygiene and all that is included in the fullest sense of the term "physical education".

An appointment was made to the men's training college the year before last or last year of a professor in physical education and each annual group of teachers being trained in St. Patrick's Training College are receiving a course in physical education which will equip them in the national schools, without the need of any complicated or expensive equipment, to give children physical education. Every teacher coming out from now on will have that training. Indeed, any of the teachers who have read last month's Múinteoirí Náisiúnta will have seen an article on physical education by that professor in the training college for teachers already in the service. I hope we shall be able to get summer courses going for teachers who are already trained and who wish to take this further training in physical education. I should like to encourage so far as I can national teachers to take up this physical education and I shall do all I can when occasion rises to encourage them in the schools.

Some Deputy asked about Irish music. While it is strong in some counties, it is not so strong in others, but I should like those Deputies interested to know there is work in hand now in relation to the publication of such music in Irish. I cannot quite say when it will be completed but again we shall give any help we can to the promotion of Irish music. It is part of our culture and heritage and seems at the moment to be dependent in a great measure on the enthusiasm of private groups.

There was a question of changing of text books every year and a Dáil Question was asked during the year on the same issue. I find it difficult, as Minister, to reconcile my advice with the statements made by Deputies and I should very much appreciate if Deputies who have a firm knowledge of the changing of text books too frequently or unnecessary expense being imposed upon parents would write to me or come to me, because I cannot get full proof that such is the case. I would be grateful to any Deputies who bring me firm evidence that it is so.

Text books in Irish have been the subject of research by the bureau mentioned by Deputy Jones. There has been a co-operative assessment of the text done between the research bureau and the Department of Education, the INTO and the teachers. This has led to a grading of texts and word counts, plus the very complicated work that has to be done before texts can be recommended. It has advanced far enough now for the suggestions of the bureau to be put before those concerned with the production of textbooks.

The question of hours of attendance was, as far as I can remember, dealt with here by way of Parliamentary Question. I think the safest thing is to leave the matter of hours of attendance to the manager. The manager is there as the representative of the parents. If I were to fix a general rule, it could only be a requirement as to a certain number of hours and those hours could be done in one session or in broken periods. In one district, a single unbroken session may suit; in other districts, parents may prefer a broken session. It is for the parents to agree with the manager as to the particular kind of session they want.

Mr. Ryan

I wonder would the Minister encourage managers to have uniformity of hours as between boys' and girls' schools in the same parish?

Anois, ná bí ag cur isteach.

The session would have to be agreed to by a majority of the parents. Not everybody can be pleased because some may live far away from the school and some may live in close proximity to the school. However, I am sure the manager would meet the wishes of the majority.

Mr. Ryan

They could not care less.

Career guidance was mentioned in the debate. Someone suggested we should have a team of experts touring from school to school suggesting to each child what his particular aptitude was. That sounds attractive, but I am not convinced of the ability of an expert to deal with a strange child.

Career guidance, presumably, for jobs in Brirmingham, Liverpool, and all the other places.

The teachers and the parents should have a very good idea of the aptitude of the child. They will also have a better knowledge of the opportunities available to the child. Career guidance does not create opportunities. A child can only be guided on its aptitudes, but guidance will not necessarily create opportunities. It can, of course, be useful and the City of Dublin Vocational Education Committee have arranged for vocational career guidance. This is done in co-operation with the Department. It is hoped to extend the scheme as soon as trained personnel become available. Everything depends on the availability of trained personnel.

Two Cork Deputies referred to the grants to University College, Cork. There has been a certain amount of noise recently from Cork about their grants. I regret the invidiousness of the comparisons made with other colleges. It is my hope to deal with each institution according to its needs. I visited Cork, went through the departments, and have, I think, a good idea of their troubles. I think the money necessary to meet their needs will be available once the full needs are known. I do not think, however, that we can satisfy their needs by trying to take something away from somebody else.

I was accused by some Deputy of protecting the teachers in relation to excessive punishment in the schools. There are two problems involved here. I should like to tell the House that I deal personally with every complaint of excessive punishment because I abhor excessive punishment, be it physical or mental. Deputies will, I am sure, understand that for the normal person, who is not a member of this House, having his name publicised in Dáil Éireann is worse than any punishment the Minister could inflict on him. It is, perhaps, difficult for a person who lives by exposure of his name and his opinions to appreciate how the ordinary person suffers if his name is publicised here. If I take adequate action, and I have to take it knowing all the facts as far as I can get them, I do not think I would be justified in adding the extra punishment of publicly trying the teacher's character here, if one may put it that way. It appears to some apparently that by not doing this I am evading penalising teachers who transgress.

I should like to read for the House the reply I gave to a Parliamentary Question on 4th May of last year. At column 1775 of volume 188 of the Official Report, I said:

I have already on a number of occasions made clear that I am not prepared to disclose what action I have taken in individual cases of the kind concerned. The reasons for that I shall give in a moment, but I should like first to explain my general attitude on the question of excessive punishment.

My responsibility in the matter is twofold. On the one hand it is for me to see to it that the children are not ill-treated and on the other that they receive efficient instruction.

The teacher holds for the time being the place of the parent and so for the time being carries in this matter the rights of the parent. In these circumstances it would be unreasonable for me to forbid the teacher to adopt any deterrent that might be adopted by a just and wise parent, and a just and wise parent might on occasion deem it necessary to inflict an adequate amount of corporal punishment in order to control the child and bring him up in the way he should go.

Even a parent, however, has no right to inflict excessive punishment and is liable to court penalties if he causes injury to the child. In that regard, I wish to say that I personally abhor excessive punishment of any kind, either physical or mental. I will go further and say that I will not countenance any punishment in the schools that goes beyond the limits of adequacy.

My powers to impose penalties for excessive punishment comprise withholding of salary in part or entirely; withdrawal of recognition of status where the teacher holds a senior post; withdrawal of recognition of a teacher in a particular school or area; and, finally, withdrawal of recognition as a teacher, temporarily or permanently.

Since I took up office I have used most of these powers, and used them severely. I intend to continue so doing.

At the same time, I cannot act irresponsibly. It is for me, with all the available evidence before me, to be judge of the conduct that is befitting a teacher. There are various types of cases which require deep consideration in this regard. For example, there is the teacher who in a single instance loses his temper under provocation. He is to be distinguished from the teacher who has offended more than once. Again, where the parent has had recourse to the courts and where there is an appeal pending, I must obviously await the result of the appeal before my function comes into operation. That function, as I have said, is to impose a suitable penalty, where such is merited, on the teacher for being guilty of conduct unbefitting a teacher, and, if he persists in such conduct, it is in my power, as I have said, to withdraw recognition from him as a teacher.

Finally, my reasons for not considering it proper or desirable to disclose the action taken by me in any individual case are, first, that I could not, in fairness to all concerned, disclose publicly my findings in any particular case without making public also all the information, some of which may be confidential, which enabled me to come to a decision. Secondly, such public disclosure of information and decision could in itself constitute in particular cases a punishment in excess of that which I had concluded to be adequate. It will, I think, be appreciated in that regard that I could not make public use of findings in one case and not in another. I should have to disclose the action taken in all cases or in none.

I think that is a fair statement of the case. It is unfair of any person who accuses me of protecting teachers who inflict excessive punishment. I do not protect them from punishment but I do protect them, and I think it is only right, from the mental torture and anguish which can visit a person whose character is publicly tried. That is all I want to say in that regard.

Deputies are aware that this country joined UNESCO, that is, the United Nations Organisation for Education, Science and Culture. The first step in our taking part in that organisation is the establishment of a National Commission. I sent invitations and we have now received acceptances from all the people invited by the Government to act on this commission. I expect to be able to announce the names of these members in a few days.

The functions of the National Commission will be:

(a) to advise the Minister for Education in matters relating to UNESCO;

(b) to co-operate by all suitable means in the implementation of the programme of UNESCO in Ireland;

(c) to foster interest in the promotion of international collaboration through Educational, Science and Culture;

(d) to take appropriate steps to inform public opinion in Ireland of the purposes and work of UNESCO.

I think I have dealt with all the points raised by Deputies. I shall be very pleased to answer any other point that may be raised.

Question: "Go gcuirfear an Meastachán siar chun a aithbhreithnithe" put and declared lost.
Vote put and agreed to.