Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Dublin School Corporal Punishment.

29.

asked the Minister for Education if corporal punishment with leather straps or otherwise is administered to boys in care in St. Laurences School, Finglas; if so, how often; for what reasons; and if he approves of this practice.

The rules laid down for St. Laurences do permit punishment administered by the use of a light leather strap in the case of serious misconduct. I understand that such form of punishment is rarely resorted to and I do not propose making any alteration in the matter.

I wish to make two or three brief points.

Question time is over. I will give the Deputy time for one quick supplementary.

How often is "very rarely"? Secondly, does the Parliamentary Secretary approve of boys in care being punished by the use of a leather strap? Thirdly, is there any way in which the Parliamentary Secretary's Department accept a monitoring responsibility in relation to this type of punishment in this kind of institution generally in order, obviously, to avoid abuse?

"Very rarely" means very rarely.

How often in a year?

Less than the number of fingers the Deputy has on one hand in respect of one year, as I understand it.

I am trying to ascertain how the Parliamentary Secretary's Department monitor the situation of the administration of this type of punishment, with which I disagree, for the record.

There are boards of management and school representatives of the Department of Justice and the Department of Health and it is their concern to see that the school is administered in a fashion precisely similar to and governed by rules which govern every national school in the country.

Does the Parliamentary Secretary approve of corporal punishment?

Can I take it, in view of the Parliamentary Secretary's reply, that he is in favour of corporal punishment by use of a strap?

I indicated it was not my intention to change the present circumstances obtaining.

Since this is an institution where the boys are in care and where it is particularly offensive that such children should be punished, would the Parliamentary Secretary accept that there is a case for investigation here? Would he investigate the position and see how discipline can be maintained in this institution without resort to corporal punishment?

I indicated to the Deputy that I have already been in those institutions on two occasions where I discussed, among other things, the matter to which we refer. At the moment I am happy that no wrong has been done to any student in any of these institutions.

There are only two questions remaining in the Education group and if the House wishes to finish them this may be done provided Deputies do not ask prolonged supplementary questions.