IN COMMITTEE ON FINANCE. - VOTE 48—TECHNICAL EDUCATION.

I move:—

Go ndeontar suim ná raghaidh thar £90,051 chun slánuithe na suime is gá chun íoctha an Mhuirir a thiocfidh chun bheith iníoctha i rith na bliana dar críoch an 31adh lá de Mhárta, 1929, chun na gCostaisí a bhaineann le Ceárd-Oideachas.

That a sum not exceeding £90,051 be granted to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1929, for the Expenses connected with the Technical Instruction.

It is rather a curious coincidence that the matter to which Deputy O'Connell last night and the Minister for Education this afternoon devoted a good deal of time, that is, the question of the standard of primary education in the Free State, is the subject that has been troubling technical education authorities for a great number of years. Any of those who have glanced through the Report of the recent Commission will find that the Commissioners had a good deal to say on the question of primary education. In view of what has been said, I do not want to take up the time of the House referring to it at any great length. But I am sure the House will agree with me when I say that we have very great regard for the opinion of the Minister on this matter. I would also like to say that we have quite a regard for Deputy O'Connell's opinion as to the standard of primary education. But I do not think any of us would look upon either of those two as impartial witnesses on this important subject. The Minister on the one side, naturally, would support the views of his Department. Deputy O'Connell, on the other side, would support and lay stress on the importance of the work done by the teachers. It is possible to get from information that reaches us a more or less impartial view of the particular standard of primary education as we find it to-day.

On a point of order, are we discussing Vote 47 or Vote 48! On the board it appears we are discussing Vote 48. I submit that Deputy Good is discussing Vote No. 47.

I understand that Deputy Good is leading up to the subject of technical education.

I will read from the Report, if necessary, of the Technical Education Commission.

That is what I wanted to know.

That may satisfy you. The Deputy will find the figures I am now going to refer to in that Report. In the City of Dublin, those leaving the primary schools register, if they have not got employment, in the juvenile Department of the Labour Exchange. Amongst the large number of registrations there, an example was taken of 115 boys and 94 girls in order to get at the standard of education. I am reading again from the Report of the Commission. These were applicants who applied to the Labour Exchange for employment between June and September of last year. Of those 115 boys, 60 per cent. had only reached the 5th standard; 9 per cent. had not gone beyond the third standard, and of the girls 47 per cent. had only reached the fifth standard. The importance of that is this, namely, in order to take advantage of the work in our technical schools a boy or girl must at least have reached the sixth standard before he or she can make any progress whatever.

Hear! hear!

I am glad to hear "Hear, hear" from the Deputy. Thus the matter is of vital importance to those engaged in the work of technical education, and we should get at least a sixth standard amongst those leaving our primary schools, but we are only getting that, as these figures will show, in a much smaller percentage than we would like to see amongst those leaving our primary schools. A fairly high educational standard from the point of view of employment is very important. This matter was inquired into quite recently by the London County Council and they found that amongst the unemployed juveniles 95.5 per cent. of the males and 92.5 of the females had left the primary schools before reaching fifteen years of age. I mention that to show the important connection there is between education and employment. It is hardly necessary for me to point out that all education is training and equipping for after careers. Notwithstanding what was said by Deputy O'Connell last night as to the condition of our school buildings being one of the greatest blots on our educational system, to my mind the greatest blot upon it is the fact there is practically no connection between education and industry in this State.

What happens? We educate our boys and girls, spend a good deal of money on them up to the age of fourteen when they leave our primary schools and, in the great majority of cases, the State takes no further interest in them. To my mind, the period after they leave school is the most critical period of their lives, yet our State takes no interest in these boys and girls at that most critical time. That, to my mind, is the greatest blot on our educational system as we know it in the Free State to-day. It is true to say that in connection with another Department of our Ministry we have what is known as an Advisory Committee on Juvenile Employment which operates under the Labour Exchange. It is administered by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce. As I said before, all boys and girls leaving primary schools have to register under the 1926 Act at the Juvenile Department of the Labour Exchange. That Advisory Committee interviews the parents and sees most of the pupils, boys and girls, and does its best to try and guide them into different departments of employment but, owing to the difficulty of there being no roads between education on the one hand and industry on the other, it finds the greatest difficulty in finding useful employment for them with the result that not ten per cent. of the boys and girls registering at this Department of the Labour Exchange find employment through that medium. That is a very serious problem.

In our city alone each year over 6,000 boys and girls leave primary schools and register at the Exchange, but less than 1,000 of them find employment through that source. The question is: What becomes of the remaining 5,000? A number of them, doubtless, who are able to wield interest and get their friends to work for them find employment in various capacities, but I am quite satisfied that, at least, a moiety of those making applications do not succeed in finding any employment and are to be found at the street corners and elsewhere. All of them have been educated by the State; many of them are boys and girls of more than ordinary ability, but they get no opportunity of using that ability. Again I say that that is one of the worst blots on our educational system. If our State goes to the trouble and expense of educating these young people, the least it might do is to see that they get an opportunity of using that education and applying their talents properly. They get no opportunity of doing so. That is one of the problems that confront the Commission which recently inquired into and made recommendations in connection with technical education in our country.

I do not want to take up the time of the House discussing these problems, though they are all vital matters to the State, but I just want to ask the Minister one question. The report of the Commission is dated 5th October, 1927. It may, of course, have been some little time subsequently before it reached the Minister. I do not know what delays there may have been, and perhaps that is the date on which the report was signed. The recommendations in that report, in view of what I have said, are of great importance to a great number of people. Every month over 600 boys and girls leave our primary schools. Are they to get no opportunity of making useful citizens in this or any other country? Is no help to be afforded them by the State in order that the talents they possess may be properly used? These are matters that have been dealt with in considerable detail by that Commission, and I am anxious to know from the Minister what steps his Department proposes to take in connection with the Commission's report.

I know, as the Minister has already pointed out, that to put these recommendations into operation would mean the expenditure of a considerable sum of money. All Departments are agreed at the moment that this State is sufficiently heavily taxed. I quite agree, and for that reason I do not want to press the Minister to put in an elaborate and expensive scheme, such as putting the whole report into immediate operation would be. I think, however, that we might take steps whereby the different recommendations in the report would be gradually brought into operation. Even that cannot be done without involving some expenditure, but I do not think, if done in that particular way that the expenditure would be unduly heavy, and, as I have said, this report has been some time in the hands of the Minister, and one would be glad to know, as a result of the consideration which I am sure both he and his Department have given to it, what their views are on these recommendations.

I want to submit to the House that Deputy Good has made wrong deductions from the statistics which were made available to him and which he has attempted to digest. I can only compare his state to that of the chronic dyspeptic who seeks to cure his complaint by a course of cheese and chestnuts. Deputy Good has given us some figures as to the number of boys registering at the Labour Exchange. He quotes the figure of, I think, 94 per cent. of boys whose educational qualifications are of a very low order. Has Deputy Good taken into consideration the thousands of boys who leave school and go into the ordinary commercial and industrial occupations in this country without ever having registered at a Labour Exchange? These are the false deductions to which Deputy Good has fallen a prey on this occasion.

It is not the first occasion that the Deputy has followed the maxim of reductio ad absurdum in matters such as this. He speaks for those poor children for whom he pretends to have so much solicitude and sympathy, but I would like to point out to Deputy Good, and to those who think like him, that it is only the sheerest necessity that drives these boys from school at an early age when they have to get on to the labour market. We ought not forget that were it not that the parents of these children are under-paid in many cases or are unemployed, these children would not have to register at the Labour Exchange or enter upon the blind-alley occupations which are such a source of infinite trouble in this country.

I do not require to be educated in the history of technical instruction in this country. I have a fairly long experience of the working of the Technical Instruction Act. My experience is that we frequently find boys who, under the circumstances I have referred to, had to leave school at an early age and who, when entering on a course of technical instruction were found so backward in elementary subjects such as arithmetic and mathematics generally, that they were not able to assimilate the education which we provided for them in the technical branch. The result was that we had to establish a class known as the "Junior Tech.," in other words a junior technical instruction course through which these boys had to pass. That delayed the whole technological course for at least twelve months. I know that that has been a very serious drawback to the technical education of our youth and the only remedy I see for it is that which Deputy O'Connell touched upon —namely, the raising of the school-leaving age. I think that would meet many of Deputy Good's objections in that connection.

Quite recently a series of meetings were held in Cork city and in some of the adjacent counties, I understand. I think it will prove acceptable to the House and possibly will be a headline to Dublin, when I tell you that the capital of the South—namely, Cork—has been able to reach an agreement on this subject of technical instruction, at any rate. When I tell you that people with such varied points of view and such a gulf between them as the President of the Chamber of Commerce and myself were found proposing and seconding a resolution and that we found a basis of common agreement I think you will regard that as very desirable. I am only sorry that the Minister for Local Government is not here. He would I am sure be enlightened by the attitude of intelligent Corkmen and he would not be dealing with the quidnuncs he met when careering around the south on his war-horse. One of the parties to the resolution was the ex-President of the Association of Chambers of Commerce of the Irish Free State. That is a very high sounding title and I hope that it will carry some weight, even with Deputy Good. I am sure it is very dear to his heart, this Association of Chambers of Commerce. The resolution was seconded by Mr. R. Anthony, T.D., and supported by the Vice-Chairman of the Cork County Borough Technical Instruction Committee. The resolution was adopted but I am not going to give the wording because we are wonderful people for wording resolutions. It stated "That this public meeting of the citizens"— by citizens I mean people of the type of Deputy Good—"fully endorse the findings of the Commission on technical education in the Saorstát and strongly urge that steps be immediately taken to pass the necessary legislation to allow the recommendations of the Commission to be put in force and in the meantime that the recommendations not requiring legislation be given effect to."

Deputy Good has given half-hearted support to the findings of the Technical Commission. I cannot quite square his attitude with some of the other things he said. First of all, he found fault with the low standard of education of some of the boys registered at the Labour Exchanges. In the next breath, while giving credit to the Technical Commission, and accepting its findings, he suggested that only some of them should be put into operation, and these gradually because of the expense. Does Deputy Good not realise, as we all should as people of ordinary intelligence, that this money will be well spent? It is bound to be reflected in industry and commerce. Employees and apprentices will, in turn, if the recommendations are put into effect, give better and more remunerative service to the people whom Deputy Good represents. They are really standing in their own light by not instructing Deputy Good to give the greatest possible support to the recommendations of the Commission. I suggest that if the recommendations are put into effect the money expended will not be lost. We must incur certain expenditure. When we appoint a commission every Deputy knows that something will evolve out of it which will entail further expenditure. I know, of course, that the usual suggestion is, if you ask for improved local social services, that you will have to foot the bill. I agree. The recommendations of this Commission, if put into operation, would mean spending money with one hand which we would get back with the other.

I ask the House, in dealing with this Vote, not to make it a party matter. This is not the only Vote upon which I have had to make that remark. I take very strong exception to making party matters of and glorifying into big national questions matters of social reform. I also suggest that even if there should be an adverse vote on this, the Executive Council should not consider it as a vote of no confidence. That kind of thing does not appeal to me, and I am sure to many level-headed people on the other side. There are a few level-headed people on the other side. We should be able to get rid of this party question altogether in a matter of this kind. It is really questionable whether the party system is good for the country. There are some things at least on which we can unite. It is certainly noteworthy that Deputy Good and I can see eye to eye in asking the Government to accept the recommendations of the Commission. That is all that we ask. We have the Chambers of Commerce on the one hand and representatives of the Labour Party on the other, asking that that should be done, and that should commend itself to the Government.

Would I be in order in raising the question of the appointment of a principal in the Wicklow Technical Schools?

By whom was the appointment made— by the Minister?

Approved by the Minister. I will deal with letters to the Minister's Department which will show that I am in order. These letters were sent to the Technical Committee in connection with the appointment. The vacancy was created by the resignation of the Principal, and the Technical Committee unanimously agreed to allow the appointment to be made by the Local Appointments Commissioners. They filled in the forms sent down by the Commissioners and agreed to the Commissioners' recommendation that applicants should not be over 40 years of age. After a lapse of two or three months a further letter was sent to the Committee asking them to agree to increasing the age to 45. The Committee, realising that the Principal appointed would have to travel over a very difficult country, was of opinion that he should not be over 40 years of age and refused to agree to increasing the age. The Committee notified the Department of their refusal. Notwithstanding that, the Appointments Commissioners inserted a second advertisement and sent down for appointment the name of a man of 45 years of age.

The Deputy should be aware that he cannot criticise the Appointments Commissioners on this Vote or any appointments made by them.

I am criticising the Minister for sanctioning the appointment. In the letters sent to the Committee, the Department notified the Committee that it was only a matter of courtesy to ask the Committee to consider either the qualifications or the age of any candidate and said that that was entirely a matter for the Appointments Commissioners. I am not attacking either the Commission or the Minister; I am criticising the Selection Board which made the selection.

The Deputy must not do that on this Vote. If the Deputy wants to criticise the Minister he can do so.

The Department then sent a letter notifying the Committee that if they did not agree to the appointment all grants would be stopped. When that failed, the Department sent a letter to the Parish Priest, as Chairman of the Committee, ordering him to call a special meeting and to put the Department's view before the Committee as to the serious loss which would be entailed if they refused to appoint this particular person. The Committee have notified the Department that they would not appoint this particular person, and up to the present I am not aware that they have received a reply. They refused on the ground that he has not the necessary qualifications and that the Department have exceeded their powers by appointing a person of 45 years of age, when the Committee and the Appointments Commissioners had agreed that the age should be not exceeding 40. They also held that, as they were spending over £1,000 a year on Irish teachers, the principal appointed should have a knowledge of Irish. They pointed out that the person whom they were asked to appoint had no knowledge of Irish. This was the man who was to look after the seven or eight Irish teachers in the county. The Minister's Department notified the Committee that all grants would cease if he were not appointed. We are not going to worry about that, because the Minister cannot prevent us under the 1899 Act from raising a rate of a penny in the £ for technical education purposes, and we will probably be able to carry out a scheme that will give more satisfaction to the people than the scheme approved by the Minister.

I notice that even some Labour Deputies are anxious that the man whose name was sent down for appointment should be transferred to Wicklow. If he is such a wonderful man in his own area, why not retain him there? We have no local man in view for the position. We are not attacking the Government, like other Deputies, because a local man was not appointed. We do not care where the man comes from, what he is, or what his political opinions are, if he has the qualifications that the Committee ask for. We are only asking for justice. We ask that the man should not be over 40 years of age, should have a knowledge of Irish and be able to look after the Irish teachers in the county. The Minister, through his Department, has refused. If the Minister states that there were no candidates forthcoming at the first examination with the necessary qualifications, I am going to insist that the names of the candidates at that examination be placed upon the Table.

Is not that a matter for the Appointments Commissioners?

Surely if the Minister stands over an appointment or a selection made, it is the Minister that will have to answer in this House and not the Appointments Commissioners?

The Minister for Education is not the Minister, I think, to answer here for any appointments made by the Appointments Commissioners. The Deputy will have to confine himself to the question of sanction by the Minister.

I think the Minister is responsible for the withdrawal of the grant?

I am not preventing the Deputy in any way from discussing the withdrawal of the grant, but when the Deputy goes on to the question of the Appointments Commissioners and how the appointment was made, then that is another matter.

The Minister is justifying the action of the Commissioners by approving of a man who does not meet the requirements of the local committee. He intervened through the Department and withdrew the grant simply because the Committee are standing by their first advertisement. The man appointed has not the qualifications to act as principal in the County Wicklow. First of all, he is over the age, and secondly, he has no knowledge whatever of the Irish language. There is £1,000 spent in the teaching of Irish, and here we are asked to appoint a principal to look after the Irish teachers who has no knowledge of the Irish language whatsoever. A letter was sent to the parish priest asking him to summon a meeting because he was Chairman of the Committee. The Department refused even to recognise the assistant to the Technical Committee. Up to the present the parish priest has refused to be a party or a servant of the Government. He pointed out that there were men well paid in the Department to carry out this work. We attended a meeting of the Technical Committee, and up to the present I am not aware of any further communication sent by the Department. The Minister is responsible, I say, with all due respect. He has approved of the appointment of this man. I ask the Minister now is it a fact that two of his inspectors were visiting this man previous to his appointment? The Minister may not be aware of that, but I could give the names of the inspectors.

It is very unfair to civil servants, who are absolutely unable to defend themselves, that the Deputy should raise this question without notice. He has given me no notice. He suggested in one portion of his speech that he did not wish to criticise myself or the Department, and that he only wanted to get in a blow at the Selection Board. Now he comes and makes insinuations against inspectors that they were practically guilty of corruption. If I understand the charge he is going to make, it is nothing less. To do that without giving any notice of raising a question, the details of which I could not answer without notice, is most unfair.

I do not suggest corruption, but I say it is a strange coincidence that two inspectors of the Department should visit this gentleman previous to the appointment. Is the Minister prepared, if responsible people are ready to give him the names and dates, to hold an inquiry? If the names are submitted of the two inspectors alleged to have visited this gentleman previous to his appointment will the Minister hold an inquiry as to what their business was on these particular dates and why they visited this man previous to this appointment?

I put it to the Dáil that this is an exceedingly important matter. Wicklow has a very large urban population and technical instruction was making great headway there. I think it would be a very strange reflection on the Department of Education if now, when they have obviously blundered, rather than retreat from their position, they are prepared to allow the whole machinery that has been created there, the whole spirit that has been created during the past few years by real enthusiasm for technical instruction, to disappear rather than sacrifice a little of their pride and admit that they were at fault in the matter. It is quite obvious, I think, that the county committee have a very strong case inasmuch as they were prepared to allow the Appointments Commissioners to make the appointment. They had no axe to grind in regard to any particular person. They agreed entirely as to the terms of the appointment, and it was only when the Local Appointments Commissioners, for reasons not satisfactorily explained, wanted these terms changed that the trouble started. It should not, and it need not be emphasised that there is something very anomalous about the appointment of a man as Principal for technical education when that system of education includes Irish classes all over the county and involves the expenditure of a thousand pounds out of local rates on classes for Irish, to appoint a man who does not know a word of Irish to superintend and organise these classes. That is one of the peculiar features of it which I think will take a lot of explaining from the Minister.

Further, after the dispute had actually developed we find this extraordinary unusual thing that instead of writing to the Secretary of the Committee of Technical Instruction, the Department wrote to the Chairman of the Committee who never conducted any correspondence with the Department, and who as he stated publicly was not prepared to undertake the task of correspondence. He himself regarded it as discourteous and in my opinion justly so to the officer who was there to receive letters and to reply to them. But it looks as if the Department had something very peculiar to explain in this matter and I hope the Minister is not going to say, as one might expect him to say from the remarks he made a while ago, that he is not prepared on this matter and that he should have been given notice that it was to be raised. If he is not prepared to state the position on an important matter such as that when the Vote for Technical Instruction comes on it would look as if he was not very familiar with the working of his Department. There is a very strong feeling in the County Wicklow with regard to the matter, and it is to be hoped that the Minister will be able to say that they are prepared to compromise a little, and meet the Committee and settle a thing that is not a credit to the Department and for which the local committee is not responsible.

As regards that matter this is one of the numerous disputes that go on through the country in the different sections of my Department. I suggest it is absolutely absurd for the Deputy to think that I would have all the details of a matter of this kind without any notice so as to answer charges made by the Deputies. I had no inkling that a matter of the kind would be brought up. I knew that there was a dispute on this particular matter between the Department and the local committee, but as to the details, and it is a question of detail, I am not certainly prepared to speak now. I gather even by the ex parte statements made by the Deputies that the Committee claim to have the right to suggest the terms of the appointment. Generally speaking, I deny that. That is not the right of the Committee. That is the right of the Appointments Commission after consultation with the Minister, but even apart from that a name was sent to me by the Local Appointments Commission. I suggest there was nothing for me to do under the circumstances but to appoint that man. Deputy Everett meant to make an attack on the Board. The Deputy objected I understood to the Selection Board, and to their selection.

We give preference to Irish. I understand the Selection Board always does, but there cannot be such a difference between the various candidates that the Irish preference will be unable to breach it over, as apparently was so in this case. I certainly, at a moment's notice, cannot deal with the details raised by the Deputy, much less with the mere suggestion of Deputy Everett that two members of my Department visited the house of one of the candidates, and therefore I am to conclude that the honour of these two is sufficiently impugned to hold an inquiry into it on a frivolous pretext of that kind, and also the honour of the Selection Board.

If the names are submitted by a responsible person——

No matter how responsible the person is he will have to submit a charge and base the charge on something.

The peculiar coincidence was that this appointment was made on a second advertisement.

I cannot hold an inquiry on what practically amounts to corruption on what the Deputy calls peculiar coincidence. There have been a few points raised by Deputy Good and Deputy Anthony. I trust Deputy Anthony will not think that he will ever convince Deputy Good of the danger of dealing with figures. I have failed for a couple of years in this House to make any impression on Deputy Good in that respect, and I do not think that Deputy Anthony will be anything more successful. On the other hand, I do not think Deputy Anthony was quite fair to Deputy Good when he described Deputy Good's attitude towards the Technical Report as a half-hearted support of that. Really, I suggest to Deputy Good that to take the special type of boy or girl that comes into the Labour Exchange with whom he comes into touch in his Technical Advisory Committee as a class on whom you can base an average deduction, for all the people who leave the primary schools may be very correct, but may be very incorrect as well. It is certainly a most unscientific and very dangerous conclusion to draw. I will admit that there ought to be a closer connection between education and industry in this country, but I suggest that neither the schools nor the State nor the local authorities are altogether to blame if there is not a closer connection. We found it extremely difficult to get business men, employers and manufacturers, to give any preference very often to the products of some of our technical schools, and Deputy Good. I think, knows that.

I have had occasion, I think, sometimes to refer to the lack of respect there is for education among the various classes in this country. In the Compulsory Attendance Bill we found it necessary to pass a law to compel some parents to realise the importance of education. I always felt that there was some excuse for the poor, uneducated parent in the slum or in the country who took up an attitude of that kind when I saw a similar attitude in practice adopted by the better off and more educated people. I have often seen the same contempt for training shown by leaders of industry and big businessmen as is shown by the poor parent who refuses to send his or her child to school. Again, it is an exaggeration to say that there is a complete neglect, and that even up to the present there has been a complete neglect of the pupils between the ages of fourteen and sixteen. That is not so. It is an exaggeration at the very best. I should say that practically one-third of the number are in attendance at school. I think, as well as I can remember, that the attendance at primary and secondary schools between fourteen and sixteen is about 40,000. That does not at all get rid of the very serious problem that Deputy Good described, and which the Technical Commission had to deal with. It is, if you like, a commentary on the neglect of this matter for twenty-five years. I will quite admit that. But while admitting that I am not accepting responsibility for all that particular neglect. I claim that the Technical Commission which was set up had a difficult problem to deal with, that they produced a most valuable report, and that they did make a number of extremely valuable suggestions. I refer to Deputy Good because he was on the Commission, and because he is familiar with every detail of the report. I ask the other Deputies who, I hope, have given this report the attention it deserves, to consider that report again, and ask themselves what are the necessary steps to take in an exceedingly difficult report to digest properly—that is, how you are to start if you do not make a mistake.

Deputy Anthony referred to the necessity of putting it all into force at once. If there were no question of money in the matter, and remember money must be taken into account, whether it is a question of spending a small or a big amount this year or the year after, the State must scrutinise its finances very carefully before it spends it. I am not saying that if it is necessary an effort should not be made to find it. I think nothing could be more unfair to this report than to think that you can put it all into force at once, as Deputy Anthony suggests. I think the Commission realise that. Running through this report you will find the suggestion, here is a programme you will realise only in the course of ten or fifteen years. I think that is a perfectly fair summing up of the attitude of the Commission themselves.

Deputy O'Connell asked, I think last night, why not make a start at once in a particular place. If Deputy O'Connell will turn to page 136 of the Commission's report he will notice an extraordinary thing. Twice in the report they have indulged in the luxury of printing things in large capitals, drawing special and careful attention to them. I will read out what they have printed in the second of these instances, and I presume they were doing it because they felt not merely the necessity of warning but that a lacuna existed as well. This is the quotation:—

"Schemes of continuing education must be preceded by intensive training of teachers. It would be fatal to embark on new educational ventures with untrained and insufficient teaching staffs."

That is, I quite admit, late in the report but, from the point of view of administering it, it is certainly one of the first steps we would have to take, that is the training of teachers. It is an extremely difficult and complicated report, difficult and complicated in the sense of knowing precisely where and how you are to start. Some portions of it, for instance, require legislation; others only require administrative action. But legislation is extremely difficult. We have no code to which we can simply tack this on as an amendment of the old code. For technical and continuation education we will have to draw up a new code, and that will be difficult. I will take one instance. So far as the mere words go —I, of course, realise fully that they were not put down by the members of this Commission without the fullest consideration—after looking at the matter from every angle they put down a recommendation for proper continuation education. Suppose we grant that there should be compulsory continuation education part time or whole time, when you begin to work out the details of a little thing like that you are up against all sorts of consequences that follow from it, namely, the excuses that will be reasonable why persons should not attend. You can only have schools of this kind at certain centres and there will be the question of distance and the attitude of the employers. You require, at any rate, legislation to carry out a simple recommendation of that kind and the legislation will require a great deal of consideration.

Supposing at present we were in a position to adopt these proposals. If we were told in the morning that the carrying out of the recommendations would cost over a quarter of a million, and that the State would find no difficulty in providing the money, I think it would be a waste of money to attempt to put it into force immediately. I think there is that to be said for Deputy Good's point of view, as against Deputy Anthony's, namely, that you can only do this gradually. Supposing next year you were able to start a scheme of continuation education in the city of Dublin, how is it to be paid for? I am not saying now that the money would not be there, that is not what I mean by the question. As the members of the Commission realised, and as the Deputies who have read this report must realise, the question of the contribution of the local authority comes in. If these recommendations of the Commission are to be carried out, as everybody knows who has read the report, it means a bigger contribution from the local authority than they have given up to the present. There is a suggestion of a minimum rate. If you start a scheme of that kind in one part of the country without the proper rate from the local authority you will have great difficulty in getting away from that example in the rest of the country. I want to be quite clear. I am urging the question of expense not as an objection to the adoption of the recommendation, I urge only that it requires careful scrutiny of expenditure so far as these schemes are concerned, and that it is only very gradually, with the best will in the world, that we can try to put this report into effect, and that is the sense of the whole report. Now, I hope it will be possible to consider whether certain steps cannot be taken, if the financial condition allows it even in the present year to at least make a beginning, to set the scheme in motion at all events. What I have done is this: I have got this report very carefully taken to pieces, if I may use the word, to show exactly what is involved in it and what are the first steps that ought to be taken, so that we should know thoroughly what is the precise system of education we are aiming at. I have asked that model programmes on the new lines should be drawn up. As I have said before, it will require that steps be taken before the scheme can be fully realised.

May I ask the Minister if he will undertake to inquire into the position in Wicklow? It is a very serious position if the whole system of technical instruction there should break down simply through a dispute between the Minister and the local authorities. And it is surely worth making a further effort to solve it before serious consequences ensue.

I certainly will inquire into the matter. I will give it very careful consideration.

Vote put and agreed to.