Thursday, 17 July 1924
Dáil Éireann Debate
AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: I think a question has arisen, and that it will be necessary to make a few changes in the motion. The President will have to withdraw his previous motion and substitute a revised motion.
That a sum not exceeding £20,216 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, 1925, to pay the salaries and expenses of the Institutions of Science and Art in Dublin and of the Geological Survey of Dublin, and annual grants to schools and classes of Science and Art and Technical Instruction, including sundry grants in aid administered by the Department of Education and certain expenses in connection with Technical Instruction from 1st April to 1st June, 1924.
AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: That is the revised motion. I take it that we may continue the debate as if the motion had been correct at first. The change is necessitated by the coming into operation of the Ministers and Secretaries Act.
Mr. McGILLIGAN: On last Friday when I was interrupted for the last time I was endeavouring to deal with Deputy Johnson's point, phrased by him in this way, “that non-university students would by the schemes proposed by the Minister for Education be deprived of certain opportunities.” My answer to that I wish to divide into two parts, because it appears to me to raise two misconceptions. The first is that there are at present people who are described as non-university students and that they are getting education in a university which is described as not a university, and that for the future in order to get the same education in the same subjects they will have to be included in a university, and will, therefore, be  university students. In so far as the point deals with the personnel attending the College of Science, I have already dealt with it in answer to another Deputy, that these students have for years been attending an institution that is in reality a university, and that they have been, to all intents and purposes, of university calibre, and that they have been receiving university instruction.
There is the other point that here is an institution with certain special teaching faculties and that it seems to be now proposed to do away entirely with this and to leave a certain gap, a gap previously filled by the College of Science. Examples, I thought, would have been drawn from other countries to show that technology had been segregated from ordinary university subjects. That, of course, was the fact in Ireland. It grew up out of the historical circumstances around the foundations of the College of Science where it was a fact that in other countries there were other accidental circumstances which explained the reasons why technology was a thing apart. There were certain instances—Manchester was one case-where special developments in particular subjects—and in this case it was engineering—led to the establishment of a faculty or school of engineering, mechanical and electrical, prior to the foundation of the University, and it was incorporated in the University when the University came along. The whole modern trend is to incorporate in a university system any such technological establishment. It is obvious that in ordinary countries that did come about. The universities took up whatever first came. Pure science made its appearance prior to the application of that science and all the chairs belonging to pure science and research in pure science were incorporated in the universities at a time when the application of science, especially, was not being attended to. But when the applied sciences came to be studied, then as the university grew and adapted itself to its environment it took in these subjects. That has been the case with even the older universities which had to be reconstituted. The German universities, in 1826, incorporated various  things and placed them in their Departments, I think, of Science and Philosophy. Now this whole point, and it is an important point, raised by Deputy Johnson was dealt with in a Commission and there was a report from that Commission, a brief paragraph of which I had on Friday intended to read to the Deputy before concluding. This was the Royal Commission on University Education set up in London, and the sittings of that Commission extended over the years from 1910 to 1913. It had to take cognizance of all the aspects and relations of technology to the universities and it especially had to attend to the manifold ways in which this problem presented itself to the Imperial College of Science and to the London University. The conclusions of that Commission were very far-reaching and the following is a brief summary of what they were, if I may just read one paragraph:—
“Technological studies should be included in a city university. The principles underlying the sciences rather than their application are needed by the masters of industry, equally with the doctor and lawyer, and the spirit of the university are necessary to permanent advance in the application of science to practical needs.”“A separate technological university for London, claimed by the Imperial College of Science, is condemned.” They further point out that “The Charlottenburg Technical High School (Berlin) has no true analogy with the Imperial College. Many Germans of standing now regret the exclusion of a technological faculty from their universities. The practice of including technology in many university studies is not confined to England, or the United Kingdom, but it is to be found in all the universities of the Dominions.”
The University of Louvain, since its re-establishment in 1830, has included all the applied sciences and agriculture. The University of Liege similarly in the mining and iron-smelting districts, has developed the technological faculty as a leading feature; and now in England, the University of Cambridge has great departments of mechanical engineering, and is developing  similarly in respect of agriculture and applied chemistry.
All the great universities of the United States of America and of Canada from the long-established Colleges of Yale and Harvard, to those of more recent formation, such as Pennsylvania, John Hopkins', Illinois, Michigan, Toronto, and the other universities of the Middle West have large technological departments dealing with civil, electrical, mechanical, and chemical engineering, and in many cases also with architecture and agriculture.
No line can be drawn between chemistry pure and chemistry applied. It has been urged here that if you send an agricultural student to the university, or as Deputy Good even urged to-day on another question, an industrial student, he becomes unfitted for his work, and that he cannot be brought down again to practice. This is a point that is very often raised, and when it is raised no attention is paid to one big fact, that the medical student is destined to be a practitioner. He must be a practical man, and it has never been suggested that the medical finds himself unfitted by his university association for the very practical work which he has to do afterwards.
Industrial research in this country will for a long time centre around the subject of agriculture, and I think it must be apparent to anybody that any agricultural research that will have to do with the proper feeding of animals, and matters of that sort, will best be done by a man who had a training more in the medical line and more in association with medicals than any other man. I am sorry that Deputy White is not here now. The veterinary profession seems to be a special concern of his and the veterinary surgeon, with his scientific training, is the man in Ireland who is most ordinarily brought into communion with agricultural people. He is not at the moment held in the esteem in which he should be held, mainly because his whole training and his whole research has been directed towards one beast, the horse. But any development in this country in the veterinary branch should be such as would bring the scientifically trained men more into communion with agriculturalists, and in this way they can be taught very definitely  newer things, or at least they can be put in the way of learning newer things, with regard to the methods of feeding of cattle and the feeding of all sorts of animals. I would not like to have it thought by introducing this subject that I am casting an envious and predatory eye on the Veterinary College also. That may come later. But at the moment I notice that the veterinary surgeon is not held in the estimation he might be, and the reason of that is because his education has not proceeded along broad lines, and has not had a proper scientific basis. The real point so far with regard to the College of Science has been this, that the Department of Agriculture seemed to be content to take into it men who had not got a chance to perfect their education, and they turned these men into what has been described as jerry-built summer course experts, and these experts were sent down the country to teach others. For proper scientific work in this country you must get people who have a wide culture and a broad grasp of scientific principles, and that is going to be got better in the University in association with higher scientific training than in the College of Science, separated from the whole University life and outlook.
Mr. McGILLIGAN: The question further has been raised here of a State laboratory, and it seems to be implied that the College of Science should be set apart and that its main functions should be to carry out certain Government scientific services. There ought to be a physical laboratory for the standardisation of weights and measures and the testing of machines and fabrics; a chemical laboratory to analyse foods and drugs, paints and such things; a biological or agricultural laboratory for the purposes of seed testing and the tracing of diseases peculiar to animals, and a meteorological station, and not merely wireless, but possibly some sort of aviation equipment. All these things can be done, but in research no definite separation of these things from a university is immediately called for. The  men working in these various laboratories are servants of the State. They will have time free from their duties, and they will have certain laboratory equipment and they may do certain work, but it is not part of the work they would be paid to do. It would be for their leisure hours. These men can get the opportunity in the university quite easily. To return to the serious contribution which Deputy Johnson made to this debate, there are people who are not merely in a university, as we understand that term in its relation to the College of Science at the moment, that is to say, who are not in a university because they are not attending something called a university. But if there be others who are, if I may put this gloss upon Deputy Johnson's phrase, people who never would attain university standard, then the question is, what is going to be done with these people? I take, for example, the men at present in the College of Science who are attending the short courses. These will get attention in the University College, which has got the equipment of the College of Science. Arrangements can be made in any university. Arrangements are made at present in University College, Dublin, for the granting of short courses leading up to diplomas, but not to degrees, in various subjects. The same thing can be done, and will undoubtedly be done, if the College of Science be put completely at the disposal of University College. I have been reminded that I used a particular phrase last Friday. It has been put to me rather as a mistake, but it appears I did call the College of Science “a perfectly useless institution.”
Taken in the context, the phrase is one that I would stand by, but I desire that there should be no misconception about what I mean. I did not mean that there were useless men teaching there or that they did no work there. I should have used the phrase that “it is a perfectly and completely redundant institution.” I do not want to cast any aspersion on the staff in the College of Science, either on the professors, the lecturers or the demonstrators, or even on the students who went through the college. All I do say is,  and I reiterate this, that the College of Science is a University Institution, but there is no room in the country for it as such. It is redundant. In saying that I do not mean that the people there are of no use. Let me just return to what I commenced with. I view this problem in this way—as I said before, I take the view of the Minister for Education on it—that there is no case for the continuance of the College of Science as a separate institution. For the betterment of education in this country the College of Science should, in my opinion, be incorporated with a university institution; that having concluded so much, and looking around, I see that there is a university college with a claim on the exchequer of this country, and that some of the claims of that university, but only some, may be met by the incorporation in that university of the College of Science. The College of Science means a lot. As far as I am concerned, and I believe the Minister for Education agrees with me, or rather I agree with him, I believe that its funds as set out in this Vote, supplemented by whatever fund is set out in the Vote for the Office of Public Works for the maintenance, cleaning, upkeep, etc., of the buildings of the College of Science, are to be transferred to the two Colleges of the National University of Ireland, and that the buildings are to be transferred. I stress that because one newspaper on Friday last seemed to have a doubt, which I am sure was not shared by Deputy Hewat, that the buildings were to be left as they were. I allude to Deputy Hewat, because it was on a remark of his that I founded the series of remarks I made on the buildings to which he alluded as “the magnificent range of buildings outside.” This includes the handing over to the National University of the funds of the College of Science, which amount to about £40,000 with the buildings, and in addition, I believe it will finally mean the giving to the two University Colleges in Cork and Dublin of certain farms, so as to enable them to carry out properly the agricultural work which they will have to do when they get the money to set up faculties in agriculture. That, however, will arise upon another Vote, and is not included in the  Science and Art Vote. I hope that the Dáil, by its vote on this Estimate, and by any further remarks that Deputies may make, will show sufficient appreciation of the scheme propounded by the Minister for education as to enable the heads of the University Colleges in Cork and Dublin, to proceed immediately to get courses ready for such students as may come to them next year in the new faculties of Agriculture and Engineering.
There is only one other point. The Minister for Education dealt with Galway College. He threw out certain suggestions about certain work which might be done in that University College. His suggestion appears to have been taken to mean that the particular work indicated by him was to be in substitution for all the work at present done by that University College. I do not believe that that was the Minister's intention. I think he meant, if it came to anything, an addition to the work, and I do think that when the Vote for the University Colleges comes along the Minister for Education will show that the funds at present voted to University College, Galway, are to be continued to that college, so that there is at the moment no question whatever of minimising the work that is to be done by University College, Galway. All the Minister meant by his suggestion is this: that there will be an enquiry into that college. It is in a miserable state at present. Its finances are absurd. No work can be done, although people are struggling to do work of a university character there, and are succeeding in doing that. They are doing that work under circumstances which cannot be allowed to continue, and that college must have a thorough examination to see how or in what way it may be continued. It may have additions made to it, or possibly may have to exchange certain of its present functions for other additions. I am completely in support of the project outlined by the Minister for Education.
PADRAIC O MAILLE: Nuair a chualas a bhí le rádh ag an t-Aire Oideachais tháinig brón mór orm. Chuir an ráiteas san mí-áthas ar mórán daoine san Iarthair. Do gheall an t-Aire go  dtabharfaí breis airgid dos na h-Oill-Scoileanna i mBaile Atha Cliath agus i gCorcaigh ach níor gealladh aon airgead d'Ioll-Sgoil na Gaillimhe. Ní ceart san. Is féidir le daoine oideachas Talmhaíochta d'fhaghailt i nGaillimh, agus is truagh nár thug an t-Aire fé ndear san. Tá a fhios agam ná bhfuil sa Dáil fear go bhfuil aigc níos mó cáil i n-oideachas ná i n-Ioll-Sgoile ná an t-Aire Oideachais. Níl puinn meas agam ar Riaghlachas na Sé gConndaethe, ach má leanann an faillighe sin i dtaobh Ioll-Sgoil na Gaillimhe, ní foláir duinn Riaghlachas mar é do bhuanú san Iarthair. Tá an Ghaillimh toilteanach obair an Oideachais do dhéanamh má fhaghann sé seans chun é do dhéanamh. Fé láthair tá an Coláiste i gcruadh-chás.
PADRAIC O MAILLE: It was with feelings of deep regret I heard the remarks of the Minister for Education in reference to the position of the Galway College of the National University in his speech in the Dáil last Friday. This speech, when read in the newspapers, caused grievous disappointment to very many people in the West whom I have the honour to represent in this Dáil. Additional grants were promised by the Minister for Education for the Colleges of Dublin and Cork, but no provision, beyond a vague promise, was made for University College, Galway. Since the time of the passing of the Universities Act the position of Galway as regards funds was far inferior to that of Dublin and Cork. We in the West have no objection to more money being given for university education, and we think that Dublin and Cork are entitled to these grants; but what we do object to is that the disproportion between the relative positions of Dublin, Cork and Galway should be made more marked. In Galway we also have facilities for agricultural education, and I regret  very much that an Agricultural Faculty has not been established in Galway as well as in Dublin and Cork, because we have within an easy distance of University College, Galway, a model farm at Athenry. As I said when speaking in Irish, there is no man in this Dáil who has been more closely connected with higher education and the universities than the Minister for Education. He was for some time the honoured representative of the National University in this Dáil, and at the present time he represents the County Clare, one of the six counties in the West that go to support University College, Galway. I am not a believer in Six-County Government, but if the continued neglect and indifference shown as regards the position of University College, Galway, is to go on, we, the representatives of these six counties, must take seriously into consideration the question of establishing a Six-County Government for the West.
We, in the West of Ireland, have a distinct civilisation and distinct culture as compared with the people of Dublin and elsewhere in Ireland, and although some people may smile at that civilisation, we are not prepared to barter it for your civilisation, and we are determined to maintain our position in the West. Additional funds should be placed at the disposal of the Western University College. Deputy O'Connell said in his speech from the Labour Benches, on Friday, that Galway was in a very favoured position as regards teaching the Irish language, because it is situated in the heart of the Gaeltacht. That cannot be said for any of the other university colleges, and I expect that any Government that will be elected in Ireland will do what it can towards fostering and spreading the Irish language. One of the best ways it can do that is to help higher education in the West. The many students at present attending Galway College would, if by any accident the college were done away with, not go to Dublin, Cork, or the other colleges, so that they would be lost in the field of higher education. It seems to be apparent from the speech of the Minister that his Ministry stood for a policy of centralisation in higher education. If  that is their policy, why do they not begin with Dublin and leave the Western College alone? The Western Deputies representing all parties in this House will call hands off University College, Galway, unless the hands are friendly ones. We know the position the college has taken up in Irish public life and its close association with Galway and the West. We expect great things from the Minister for Education, and we hope before this debate closes that he will be able to give a definite assurance of strengthening the position of Galway University College, and bringing it into line with the other university colleges.
Mr. WHITE: I understand that the Minister for Industry and Commerce referred to a few remarks which I made with regard to veterinary research and the starvation of the Veterinary College. I am glad to know that I have been recognised as a power in the Dáil. I believe it was the remarks that I made that defeated the Government in the last division. Now, with regard to the question of veterinary research, my point is that more money should be spent on the Veterinary College.
Mr. WHITE: Very well. Some years ago a German veterinary surgeon came across here to investigate the cause of scour in calves. I hold that if sufficient money was placed at the disposal of the College in Ballsbridge there would be no need to get outside experts at all. These things could be conducted in the laboratories there. If research were made in the foot-and-mouth disease its origin would probably be discovered and a remedy found and the country would be saved millions of pounds. I maintain that the Veterinary College has been starved by the Department of Agriculture, because sufficient money has not been expended on the college or the college laboratories.
Mr. SEARS: I wish to say with regard to this Vote that we in Connaught take the deepest possible interest in the welfare of Galway College. We are aware of the good work done there on a very small income; in fact, so good is the work and so small is the income that the Minister for Finance might be tempted to say that the best way to get work out of the College is to starve the staff. You cannot expect Galway College to continue doing excellent work on only one half or one-third the income which the other colleges get. Galway College has, in fact, been treated in a very mean way in the matter of income. I am sure that even the Minister himself will admit that. When that point is pressed on the Ministry of Education, and when they are asked to give a generous endowment to Galway College on behalf of the people of Connaught, they say that they do not and need not be expected to finance a college in Connaught in the same way as they would finance one in Dublin, both to carry out the same all-round programme. There may be something in that point, but they have a college there with splendid buildings and grounds, and if their predecessors of foreign Government thought that the educational needs of Connaught deserve that college, and gave it an endowment, I am sure that we can look for better terms from a home Government. I, for one, have no doubt that Galway will, on reconsideration by the Ministry, get  better terms than it has got at present. It is half-starved at present. We are told that Galway College has not a proper programme, and that the whole question of university training in the Saorstát must be looked into. This matter is causing the greatest uneasiness and unrest in Galway College, not alone amongst the staff, but amongst everyone in Connaught interested in the college.
Galway is ready to do its share of the university work of the Saorstát if it is given its fair share. It has a staff that can compare with any staff, and what we say with regard to Galway College is this, that its future is left in the gravest doubt, and that it should have some assurance that its future is to be secure. If there is to be a Commission on this question the sooner it sits the better, and the sooner the future of Galway is marked out the better. At present there is great uneasiness in the province, and I would urge the Minister to say something reassuring on that point when he comes to reply. The present state of Galway College is a very unsatisfactory one.
Professor THRIFT: I do not want to make a speech at this stage, but I would like to know from the Minister of Industry and Commerce whether he is speaking as a Minister or as a Deputy. He spoke as if he knew more about the details of this proposal than the Minister for Education did. He spoke more definitely on it.
Sir JAMES CRAIG: The proposal for which the abolition of the College of Science is adumbrated in the opening speech of the Minister for Education did not come to me with any surprise. During the discussions in October and November, 1922, discussions which originated with questions by Deputy O'Connell, a great deal more was brought from the Minister for Agriculture than the questions put by Deputy O'Connell had asked for. The Minister for Agriculture again and again repeated that the College of Science  would require to be reconstructed. He did not say anything at that time about abolition. He spoke about reconstruction, and that when the reconstruction measures came to be considered they would be considered on their merits. Reference has been made to a promise of the Minister. I do not recollect that he made any public promise with regard to consultation with all who were interested in this subject.
Sir JAMES CRAIG: I think I was there. I took part in the discussion, but what did take place was that Deputy Magennis and Deputy Thrift came to the Dáil, and told us they had been present at a discussion between the Minister and certain members of the staff, I think of the professorial staff, and that the professorial staff were satisfied with the promises of the Minister with regard to arrangements made for their work, and that the Minister had promised the professorial staff that any changes that were made would not take place until consultations took place with those interested in the College of Science. I am not quite sure that the Minister did not on that occasion deny the statement made by the two Deputies to whom I have referred. I am quite sure that if the Minister did not deny the statement on those occasions he is quite prepared to carry out the promise which he gave.
Sir JAMES CRAIG: I did not use the word Commission or Committee of Inquiry. I used the word, I think, Deputy Thrift and Deputy Magennis had used, namely, consultations with those interested in the college. During the speech of the Minister for Education he referred to matters with which I am quite in agreement. He told us that his policy was not to impair in the future the educational value of the College of Science in this country. He told us his policy was to change the conditions of the past in carrying out the work, and that that is to be done by the abolition  of the College of Science, whose work is to be passed over to the University Colleges of Dublin and Cork, and he pointed out that the College of Science was doing a kind of university work with limitations in its scope, and pointed out that the State could not support an incomplete from of university education in this case. With that also I am quite in accord. He pointed out also that his Department was to develop all the economic functions of national life. He has urged on the Minister for Finance the necessity of relieving the needs of the University of Dublin on previous occasions. He desired on his part that no Irish student could get a better education than he could get in Ireland. With that I am also in accord. He said that the National University represents the agricultural community of the country. I am not in entire accord with this statement. I partially agree with it. I think I am right in stating that there has always been a fair number of the agricultural community, who were anxious and willing in the past to go to Trinity College, and I think will probably be willing to pass through Trinity College in the future.
I take a little exception to the statement that the National University alone represents the agricultural community of the country. He spoke about the co-ordination and amalgamation of the work, and pointed out that by passing over the College of Science to the University Colleges in that way they would bring the National University within the needs of the economic life of the country by establishing a fully-equipped Faculty of Agriculture in Dublin and Cork. While the Minister was making the statement it was clear to me that he meant to pass on to the University Colleges the endowment or money spent on the College of Science so as to place University Colleges on a sounder financial basis. Now, with that statement and that policy I also have no fault to find. At the same time I would like to say that we were not discussing altogether the financial status of this or that university. What was before us was rather the education of the agricultural community, I take it. The point, therefore, is, whether the educational facilities offered to the  agricultural community will be improved by passing the College of Science over in toto to the National University. Let me say that, in my opinion, what we want, as far as education is concerned, is research, very particularly research that will be done in the college laboratories. This research work can, in my opinion, be as well done in the University Colleges as it could have been done in the College of Science. But we want more than research work. We want experimental work to be done in the model farms or in the fields, and then we want, in my opinion, the application of the work done in research and the experiments made in the fields. We want that brought to the knowledge of the farming or agricultural community—that is to say, the application of the knowledge gained from research and from the experiments in the field. We want that conveyed in the readiest and easiest way to the agricultural community. Now, I have a very strong feeling that in catering for university education, as far as the agricultural community is concerned, we are perhaps going beyond what is in the best interests of the agricultural community themselves. I have a feeling that the better class of the farming or agricultural community are fairly well able to give educational advantages to their sons and daughters. But I feel that what we want in this country is the education of the sons and daughters of the smaller farmers. We may bring to the larger farmers the result of the research and experimental work, but if we pass over the small farmers who form the larger part of the population of the country, then, I think, we are doing an injustice to this class of the community.
What I would like to impress upon the Minister is the necessity of what was alluded to a few moments ago by the Minister for Industry and Commerce namely, that we must elaborate a good deal more the teaching that is going to be done in the Model Farms. Now, as regards the College of Science, the Minister for Industry and Commerce has told us that the entire buildings, as far as he knows, are to be handed over to the University College, Dublin. I want to point out that the building and lighting of the College  of Science cost £170,000. Another £100,000 was spent on the equipment of the institute and the purchase of land for the building. That is to say, that even without the instruments or appliances that were put in, £270,000 worth of property are to be handed over to University College. In addition to this grant of £270,000 worth of buildings, there is also, as the Minister for Industry and Commerce has pointed out, going to be handed over a yearly endowment of £40,000. Now, the Minister, I expect, would interrupt me when I made that statement, because there has been some little confusion with regard to the staff. The professional staff of the College of Science are civil servants, and, I take it, they will not be transferred to the University College. I take it when the change is made these professors will be pensioned, and that the pensions will not be paid out of this grant that was made to the College of Science, but will come upon the Central Fund. I do not know how many of the staff are civil servants or how many will pass over in that way. There is £28,000 set aside for the salaries of these professors, and there must be a very large amount of this money that would be capable of being passed over for the furnishing of the professorial and teaching staff of the agricultural department that will be established in University College.
Mr. McGILLIGAN: I hesitate to interrupt Deputy Craig, as I suffered many interruptions myself, but I did distinctly say there would be about £5,000 their money; the rest was earmarked and I had no conception of pensions being paid out of the Central Fund after the money set aside for salaries had been contributed to the University.
Sir JAMES CRAIG: I think there would be a large number, unless the Minister says they are going to take over the professorial staff in connection with the University College. If they are not going over with the College of Science, then, I take it, like other civil servants they will receive their pensions, and that, to my mind, will relieve the grant that is given  annually towards their salaries. I regret very much that the University of Dublin, which had maintained for a number of years a fully-equipped agricultural college, and even afterwards an agricultural college which put the students through two or three of their years, so that these students could pass on and get finished in the College of Science, will now lose that opportunity.
I do not think it would be possible to make any arrangement by which students would go for, say, a couple of years to Trinity College and then pass on to University College for the finishing of their course. I wish to say that I, for one, am extremely pleased that University College is going to get this grant of a building worth over a quarter of a million of money, and that they are also going to receive this annual endowment, the sum of which we are not certain about at present. In no way do I grudge University College this grant. I alluded to the fact that a certain number of students passed through Trinity College, and I regret that it has not been possible to give a sufficient annual grant to Trinity College to allow these students to have the full curriculum in the college, because I feel sure a certain portion of the agricultural community would still prefer to pass through Trinity College than any other.
Mr. T. O'CONNELL: In the course of this debate on the last occasion I made certain comments on the action of the Government, and I was charged later on during the debate that I had urged further delay. The point I wished to make then and which I wish to stress now, is that the Government themselves are responsible for having put themselves in the position that that criticism can be levelled at them. We have it now that the Minister for Agriculture did promise consultation before a decision would be taken——
Mr. O'CONNELL: With the various parties interested, so far as I can understand. I was not there to know the terms. I only have the Minister's words which I heard in the debate. What I want to know is whether there  was a consultation, and with whom the consultation was, in virtue of that promise. I have not heard that any party was consulted. I put the question the last day to the Minister for Agriculture, and he did not answer it. I suggested, for instance, that the farmers, through their organisations, would be interested in this matter, and I asked the Minister whether he consulted the farmers. He has not told me whether he did or not.
MINISTER for LANDS and AGRICULTURE: The farmers, through their organisations, were not consulted as to whether faculties of science should be established in the universities or in the College of Science.
Mr. O'CONNELL: I do blame the Government for the two years' delay in coming to a decision on the matter. I think it was the Minister for Industry and Commerce who used, as an argument, that in transferring this to the university they were doing a sort of levelling up. It seems to me that they have gone a very strange way about it. They purport to be removing a disparity, but as between the different colleges of the National University they are creating a very great disparity. We have heard what Deputy O Máille and Deputy Sears have said about Galway. It is proposed in order to make suitable provision for the National University to transfer to it the buildings, the funds, and the endowment of the College of Science. But it is proposed only to transfer those to Cork and Dublin. That is the proposal, as I understand it. I want to know why Cork and Dublin only? Why should not Galway get its share of what is going? Why are Cork and Dublin selected and why is Galway left out? No explanation of that has yet been forthcoming, although three Ministers have spoken on the matter. What was the basis of selection? As between the three colleges, Galway was undoubtedly the one for which least provision was made.  All we are promised, so far as Galway is concerned, is an inquiry. But I should say we are to have a little more. We are told that when the Votes for universities come on we will find that nothing will be taken from us. I suppose we ought to be thankful for that. To my mind, it is like the story of the wolf and the lamb. We should be grateful for not having our head cut off.
Mr. O'CONNELL: I am referring to the statement made by the Minister for Industry and Commerce during his address this evening, in which he said that we would see that the funds of the college would be continued—in other words, that the funds would not be lessened. I say we ought to be duly grateful for that.
Mr. McGILLIGAN: I do not want to deprive the Deputy of a good debating point, but that statement should be taken in its context. The Minister for Education referred to a suggestion which had been made that something was to be taken from Galway and somwthing else given in substitution. I said that the Vote for the Universities would prove that that suggestion was not correct. I do not want to put that forward as benevolence; it is merely justice.
Mr. O'CONNELL: All I wish to say is, that we are thankful that we are to be left what we have got. Agricultural faculties are to be established, and I gather from the Minister that this will mean the provision of agricultural farms in connection with Cork and probably in connection with Dublin. I think it was mentioned by Deputy O Máille that there is a farm which could be used in connection with Galway. There is no explanation forthcoming from the Ministerial Benches as to why agriculture should not be specially provided for in the Western College. Agricultural pursuits, as practised in the West, are very different from the type of agriculture practised, say, in the South of Ireland. I think it might be well if  the conditions suited to that particular type of agriculture in the West were taken note of. As I said the last day in connection with the College of Science, I am in agreement with the general principle enunciated by the Minister of having the work which was done in the College of Science done in connection with the University. But I do not think that after two years they should come along with terms of inquiry with regard to one of the colleges and face us with an accomplished fact so far as the others are concerned, apparently without inquiry. That is what I think the Government are to be criticised for. That is what I criticise them for—their treatment of the Western College and the fact that they have now admitted that an inquiry is necessary. Inquiry is necessary as far as Galway is concerned, but evidently it was not necessary in order to enable the Government to come to a decision so far as Dublin and Cork are concerned.
AINDRIU O LAIMHIN: Táim ar aon intinn le Teachta Pádraic O Máille i ngach rud a dubhairt sé ar an g-ceist seo. Bhí muinghin ag muinntir an Iarthair as an Aire Oideachais agus bhíodar sásta go n-deunadh sé rud ar bith a thiochfadh leis ar son an Iarthair nuair a bhéadh an chomhacht aige. Ach is doigh liom go bhfuil a mhalairt de thuairim acu anois. Ní gádh dom a rádh go bhfuil Coláiste na Gaillimhe suidhte i lár na Gaeltachta. Tá muinteóirí as gach áird d'Eirinn ag caitheamh míosa annsin fá láthair ag foghluim na Gaedhilge. Tá dream eile a' freastail ar Choláiste Bhl'Ath Cliath. Tá ar na muinteoirí anois blian a chaitheamh i gColáiste Bhl'Ath Cliath tar éis dhá bhlian a chaitheamh ins an Coláiste Ullamhuithe. Ach má's rud é go gcaithfidh na mic leighinn seo trí bliana a chaitheamh ar Choláiste, nár bhfearr go gcaithfeadh siad an tearma sin i measg muinntir na Gaeltachta? Deirtear go mbeidh cúrsaí talamhuíochta i gColáiste Chorcaighe agus i gColáiste Bhaile Atha Cliath. Cad tuige nach mbéidh bainnt ag Coláiste na Gaillimhe le na cúrsaí sin? Dubhairt Teachta Tomás O Conaill go bhfuil feirm ar faghail i nGaillimh. Tá feirm  mar sin ag Atha-'n-Ríogh agus bhéadh na mic leighinn i n-ann dul isteach san Oll-Scoil ó'n fheirm sin. Dubhairt an t-Aire Trachtála go g-cuirfear Coimisiún fiosrucháin ar bun chun cheist Choláiste na Gaillimhe a scrudú. Dubhairt Teachta Liam Mac Sioghaird go mbéadh sé sásta le sin agus go mba mhaith an rud dá d-tosnochadh an Coimisiún san gan mhoill. Nílim-se sásta leis. Má tá Coimisiún dhá chur ar bun chun dul isteach i gcúrsaí oibre agus airgid Choláiste na Gaillimhe cad tuige nach bhfuil Coimisiún eile i gcóir Coláiste Bhaile Atha Cliath agus Coláiste Chorcaighe? Nílim-se sásta leis an Coimisiún so agus ní bheidh muinntir an Iarthair sásta leis. Má cuirtear ar bun Coimisiún are bith, ba choir go reachadh sé isteach i ngach ceist a bhaineas le gach coláiste.
SEOIRSE MAC NIOCAILL: Caithfidh mé a admháil gur chuir an oráid a thug an t-Aire Oideachais uaidh Dé hAoine seo thart scannradh orm. Agus chuir sé scannradh ar muinntir Chonnachta agus ar muinntir an Chláir có maith. Tá fhios agam narbh é an rud a bhí ins na paipéirí a bhí in aigne nó in intinn an Aire. Ach cheap muinntir an Iarthair agus muinntir an Chláir go raibh dúil ag an Rialtas deire do chur le Coláiste na Gaillimhe ar fad. Is soléir anois nach mar sin atá an sgeul.
I have very little to add to the speeches that were made by the other Deputies from the West on this question. But I certainly do claim that if the policy of the Ministry of Education is to Gaelicise the country, well, we must Gaelicise it, in my opinion, from the top, and not from the bottom. In Galway we have the real Gaeltacht, the most Irish-speaking district beyond all shadow of doubt in Ireland. That is one point that has been made by Deputy O'Connell, and I should like to reinforce him. The third year's teachers' course should be certainly concentrated in Galway College, because there you have an Irish-speaking district all round. Fifty per cent., certainly forty per cent., of the people of the town of Galway are Irish speakers, but go half a mile outside the town on any side—to Moycullen, Barna. Castlegar, Claregalway, or any of those outside districts, and you are into  the Gaeltacht. If the policy of the Ministry is—and I have no doubt that it is—to Gaelicise education in this country, why should the teachers go to Dublin or to Cork or any other place when they have such an opportunity of learning Irish as they have in Galway?
On the question of the College of Science, all I can say is that from all I have heard in the West—and I have been down all over the County Galway and I have also come into touch with the people in Mayo and Clare— the idea of transferring the College of Science to the National University has the hearty endorsement of the people. They recognise that the proper way to have applied science is through the university, and not through a college like the College of Science. I have not quite made up my mind as to whether it would be advisable to have an agricultural faculty in Galway College, but I certainly would like to hear some reasons why it is not advisable. If I heard any tangible reason—and I think I have been here for the most  of this debate and have not heard it— why there should not be a faculty in Galway, I certainly would not advocate that there should be; but I certainly have heard nothing yet that convinced me that there should not be. I think the position has now become clear, and I am quite sure that the Minister when he concludes the debate will set at case the grave doubts that have arisen in the minds of the people of the West of Ireland, and in the county of Clare, as to his intention as regards Galway University College.
|Last Updated: 16/05/2011 17:46:42||Page of 40|