In Committee on Finance. - Vote No. 28—Universities and Colleges.

Thursday, 21 June 1934

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 53 No. 7

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Dr. Ryan:  I move

Go ndeontar suim ná raghaidh thar £79,150 chun slánuithe na suime is gá chun íoctha an Mhuirir a thiocfaidh chun bheith iníoctha i rith na bliana dar críoch an 31adh lá de Mhárta, 1935, chun Deontaisí do Phríomh-Scoileanna agus do Choláistí (8 Edw. 7, c. 38; Uimh. 42 de 1923; Uimh. 32 de 1926; agus Uimh. 35 de 1929).

That a sum not exceeding £79,150 be granted to complete the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1935, for Grants to Universities and Colleges (8 Edw. 7, c. 38; No. 42 of 1923; No. 32 of 1926; and No. 35 of 1929).

Mr. Curran: Information on Richard Curran  Zoom on Richard Curran  Surely the Minister will make some statement on this?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  This is a statutory Vote, of course.

Mrs. Concannon: Information on Helena Concannon  Zoom on Helena Concannon  I should like to draw the attention of the Minister to an anomaly which exists in University College, Galway, with respect to two sets of Irish lectureships there. In 1927 there were established as a definite advance in the policy of Gaelicisation, to which both the Government and the College were committed, lectureships [993] on the teaching, exclusively through the medium of Irish, of the following subjects—economics, history and mathematics. To each of the lectureships a salary of £400 a year was attached. Some time later, encouraged by the success of the initial experiment, three new lectureships were established for the teaching through the exclusive medium of Irish of Latin, Greek and the theory of education. The Government was in a more generous mood on this occasion and the salary attached to each lectureship was £500 a year. I am asking the Minister now to raise the salaries attached to the first set of lectureships to the level of the second set. In the excellence and importance, both educational and national, of the work done, in the number of hours taught and the number of students attracted, in the eminence and zeal of the lecturers, there is no room for discrimination. Both sets are doing extraordinarily good work and very gladly I take this opportunity of paying tribute to it. Indeed, I do not know of any expenditure of public moneys which has given a richer return than these lectureships through the medium of Irish in University College, Galway; and as the money this House is being asked to vote to-day is to be, in part, expended on them, I think it right to give Deputies some account of the part Galway College is playing in the revival of the use of Irish as a full-grown literary language.

The Lecturer in Greek, through the medium of Irish, has edited in Irish a number of Greek plays and has done his work with such scholarship as to earn the praise of distinguished critics. The Lecturer in Mathematics has, with An Gúm, ready for publication some most important mathematical works. The Lecturer in Education is busy with an authoritative work on the theory and practice of education. The Lecturer in History— a brilliant woman—is engaged on a history of Ireland in Irish, which will fill a clamant need. The Lecturer in Economics, who has done remarkable work in his faculty, is, I am glad to [994] say, about to extend beyond the circle of his fortunate students the benefits of his work by the publication of a book in Irish on national economics. The Lecturer in Latin—another brilliant woman—has in hands a Latin grammar in Irish. It will thus be seen that in the production of text books on subjects of vital national and educational importance the Irish lecturers in Galway College have deserved well of their country.

I would also like to take advantage of this Vote to reassure the House of the effects of the compulsion it exercised some years ago on University College, Galway, when it passed a law to secure that professors and lecturers in all the faculties should be able to lecture through the medium of Irish. This law has had the happiest results, to judge from the eminence of the professors and lecturers and the services they have been able to render, not alone to the college but to the country. The Professor of French has written a very fine geography in Irish. The Professor of Geology has to his credit a splendid manual of geology—all this apart from the members of the Celtic faculty who have published works which have made their names and scholarship familiar to all Irish scholars. In another branch of the Gaelic revival in Galway, University College has played a vital role. I speak of An Taidhbhearc—the Gaelic theatre. The precious name is a pearl found in the stream of recent Irish literature. Several of the professors and lecturers of the college have written or translated into Irish, from continental languages, plays for production in that theatre. The gifted wife of the Professor of Chemistry, with the Professor of French and Prionsuis Nic Dhiarmada —a master of the dramatic art—form a triumvirate which has to its credit some of the most artistic and satisfying productions I have ever seen. The actors, too, have to a large extent been drawn from the college— students, professors and lecturers— and as their dramatic “coach” is one of the finest in Europe, they have learned from him to use the Irish [995] tongue with that melodious grace and ease that were its birthright, but which it had to sacrifice to some extent during its long penal night. For these reasons I would ask the Minister to be as generous as he can with University College, Galway, and to remove the anomaly in these lectureships which is regrettable.

Dr. Ryan:  In reference to the question raised by Deputy Mrs. Concannon in regard to the discrepancy between the salaries payable to the lecturers who teach through the medium of Irish, the question, I understand, is under consideration by the Minister for Education. I shall also make it my business to pass on the representations made by Deputy Mrs. Concannon.

Mrs. Concannon: Information on Helena Concannon  Zoom on Helena Concannon  I should like the Minister also to take cognisance of the fact that the original set of lecturers were appointed for seven years and that this period of seven years will come to an end in September.

Vote put and agreed to.

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