Committee on Finance. - Vota 36—Oifig an Aire Oideachais.

Wednesday, 8 April 1959

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 174 No. 1

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Aire Oideachais (Seán Ó Loingsigh): Information on John Lynch  Zoom on John Lynch  Tairgim:

Go ndeonfar suim nach mó ná £261,520 chun slánaithe na suime is gá chun íoctha an mhuirir a thíofaidh chun bheith iníoctha i rith na bliana dar críoch an 31ú lá de Mhárta, 1960, chun Tuarastal agus Costas Oifig an Aire Oideachais agus chun Costas a haineann leis an gComhairle Oideachais.

Risteárd Ua Maolchatha: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  An bhféadfadh an tAire a rá cad iad na Meastacháin atá ag dul le chéile anois?

Séan Ó Loingsigh: Information on John Lynch  Zoom on John Lynch  Sé an gná rud a deintear ná na Meastacháin go léir a thogaint le cheile ach gan ach ceann amháin a mholadh i dtosach.

Risteárd Ua Maolchatha: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  Sé sin 36 go 44. Ní theastaíonn uaim ach a bheith cinnte.

Séan Ó Loingsigh: Information on John Lynch  Zoom on John Lynch  Ins na naoi Vótaí go bhfuilim-se freagrach iontu tá £15,578,870 sé sin, £1,078,230 níos mó ná mar a soláthraíodh sa bhliain airgeadais seo caite. Ina theannta san [56] tá £1,600,000 fé Vóta 9, Oibreacha Poiblí agus Foirgintí, chun tithe scoile náisiúnta a thógáil, a mhéadú is a dheisiú. Dá bhrí sin, sa bhliain airgeadais reatha, tá £17,178,870 san iomlán dá sholáthar le haghaidh oideachais. Tá an méid sin ag tarraingt ar 15 per cent. den iomlán atá dá chur ar fáil le haghaidh na Seirbhísí Soláthair ar fad.

Siad costaisí riaracháin na Roinne atá sa Vóta so, £386,520 an méid atá i gceist, agus is £7,850 de mhéadú é sin ar an tsuim don bhliain roimhe seo. Séard atá sa mhéadú sin den chuid is mó ná an t-airgead breise a b'éigean a chur ar fáil chun íoc as costaisí breisithe tuarastail d'oifigigh nach bhfuil barr a scálaí sroiste acu go fóill.

Sé méid glan atá sa Vóta so ná £9,819,600, sé sin, £378,070 de mhéadú. Mórán ar fad, séard atá sa mhéadú san ná soláthar breise i gcóir tuarastal agus aoisliúntas múinteoirí agus i gcóir glanadh agus téamh na scoileanna Náisiúnta. Is as dhá rud go príomhdha a shíolraionn an méadú le haghaidh tuarastal-toradh na h-eadrána ar an éileamh ar bhonn an chostais mhaireachtála agus an fás atá ann i gcónaí ar líon na múinteoirí. Maidir leis na deontais i leith glanadh agus téamh na scoileanna, tá ionadaithe na mbainisteoirí agus na múinteoirí le tamall anois ag áiteamh orainn nár leor iad in aon chor na deontais a bhí á n-íoc go dtí seo. Is cúis áthais dom bheith in ann a rá go bhfuil socair 25 per cent. de mhéadú a dhéanamh ar na rátaí deontais a bhí iníoctha roimhe seo.

Tá méadú fós ar líon na scoláirí atá ag freastal ar na scoileanna náisiúnta. Bhí 504,401 ar na rollaí ar an 30ú Meitheamh, 1958, i gcomparáid le 503,381 ar an 30ú Meitheamh, 1957. Sa scoil-bhliain 1957-58, bhí 13,554 múinteoirí fostaithe i scoileanna náisiúnta i gcomparáid le 13,402 sa scoil-bhlian, 1956-57.

Sa bhliain darbh críoch an 31ú Márta, 1959, ceadaíodh deontais darbh [57] méid £1,250,000 chun 81 de scoileanna nua do thógáil, chun 21 de scoileanna d'fhairsingiú, chun mór-ath-dhéanamh nó mór-athchóiriú a dhéanamh ar 64 de scoileanna agus chun mionoibreacha a dhéanamh in a lán eile scoileanna.

Nuair a cuirtear an chion-íocaíocht áitiúil de £215,818 leis an tsuim sin, faightear meastachán de £1,465,818 ar chostas na n-oibreacha ar fad atá i gceist. Chaith Coimisinéirí na nOibreacha Poiblí timpeall £1,500,000 ar thógáil scoileanna i gcaitheamh na bliana. Tógadh 86 de scoileanna nua agus deineadh 59 de scéimeanna fairsingthe is mór-athchóirithe.

Tar éis dom fíricí agus figiúirí áirithe do thabhairt, tá roint nithe go mba mhaith liom tagairt speisialta a dhéanamh dóibh. Chonaic sibh go léir tagairt ó am go ham do na ranganna móra. Siad an dá phríomh-shlí ina bhféadfaí deireadh a chur leis na ranganna móra san ná an chóiríocht scoile d'fheabhsú agus feabhas a dhéanamh ar an gcoibhneas idir múinteoirí agus scoláirí. Maidir leis an gcéad slí, chuireamar i gcrích anuiridh an clár tógála scoileanna ba mhó a sroiseadh riamh ó bunaíodh an Stát. Léireofar é sin má deirim go raibh ar dháta áirithe le déanaí céad is tríocha de scoileanna nua fé thógáil. Sa bhliain airgeadais reatha tá níos mó airgid ná riamh dá sholáthar le haghaidh tógála scoileanna.

Maidir leis an tarna slí, thug deireadh a bheith curtha leis an gcosc úd ar na mná pósta, thug sé sin timpeall 330 de mhúinteoirí oilte breise dúinn go dtí seo agus beidh a thuilleadh fós á fháil againn gach bliain dá bharr. Dá bhrí sin, tá socair agam tosnú anois le feabhas a chur ar an gcoibhneas idir múinteoirí agus scoláirí. Ón gcéad lá de mhí Iúil seo chugainn, an meán ar rollaí agus an meán-tinnreamh atá riachtanach chun an dara cúntóir do cheapadh i scoileanna ina bhfuil slí do thriúr múinteoirí, laghdófar iad ó 100 agus 85 go dtí 90 agus 75, fé seach. Sin iad na scoileanna, measaim, is géire a dteastaíonn breis foirne uathu.

Le linn dom bheith ag trácht ar na múinteoirí agus foirne na scoileanna, [58] ba mhaith liom tagairt a dhéanamh do cheist na múinteoirí neamh-oilte. Is mór an t-ábhar áthais dom bheith ábalta a rá go bhfuil deireadh le bheith le hearcaíocht múinteoirí neamh-oilte. Tá fógraithe cheana féin nach mbeidh aon chomórtas ann i mbliana le haghaidh fo-mháistreásaí cúnta—an ghnáth-aicme de mhúinteoirí neamh-oilte.

I rith na bliana, bócáid pléisiúir dom a fhógairt go raibh athrú sa chóras cigiríochta féna gcuirfí deireadh leis an “marc fiúntais” ach amháin i gcásanna speisialta, agus féna dtógfaí leabhar tuairimí an chigire amach ar fad as na scoileanna. Nil aon amhras orm ach gur chuidigh sé sin leis an spiorad breá dea-thola agus comhoibrithe atá idir na cigirí agus na múinteoirí—spiorad gur chuir sé áthas orm a chloisint fé ó ionadaithe na gcigirí agus na múinteoirí araon.

Mhol an Chomhairle Oideachais ina tuairisc ar an mbun-scoil go gcuirfí rannóg taighde agus comhairleachan ar bun sa Roinn d'fhonn comhairle do chur ar fáil i dtaobh modhanna agus gléasanna teagaisc i gcoitinne agus sa bhun-scoil ach go háirithe. Tá a leithéid de Rannóig bunaithe sa Roinn anois agus i tar éis dul i mbun dualgaisí. Níl aon dabht orm ach leis an gcomh-oibriú a gheobhaidh an Rannóg ó na dreamanna éagsúla go bhfuil baint acu le hoideachas go ndéanfaidh sí obair fhónta.

Gníomh eile a deineadh i gcaitheamh na bliana do b'ea Coiste do chur ar bun chun scrúdú do dhéanamh agus tuairisc do chur ar fáil ar na prionsabail a d'fhéadfadh bheith ina dtreoir chun cinneadh ar choibhneas idir an tuarastal a bheadh iníoctha le múinteoirí náisiúnta oilte, meánmhúinteoirí aitheanta agus gairmmhúinteoirí lán-aimsearacha seasta, fé seach. Cé go bhfuil a scéim IdirRéitigh agus Eadrána féin ag gach ceann de na grúpaí seo tá oibriú gach scéime neamh-spleách ar an scéim eile sa tslí nach bhféadfaí an cheist a tugadh don Choiste le plé a chíoradh fé na scéimeanna san.

Tabharfar fé ndeara nár dheineas aon tagairt do scéal na Gaeilge. Sén [59] fáth atá leis sin go bhfuil Coiste i mbun oibre fé láthair a cuireadh ar bun ag an Rialtas chun breithniú a dhéanamh ar na nithe go mba chóir a chur i bhfeidhm chun cur le dul ar aghaidh na teangan. Le linn don Choiste sin bheith ag gabháil dá chuid gnótha measaim nár chuí domsa tagairt a dhéanamh don scéal.

Sé an meastachán iomlán don Vóta so ná £2,491,530, agus tugann san £263,690 é thar an iomlán a vótáileadh i gcóir meán-oideachais sa bhliain airgeadais seo caite.

Tá beartaithe a thuilleadh airgid a sholáthar faoi gach uile mhírcheann, nach mór, den Vóta, ach, tabharfaidh na Teachtaí fé ndeara gurab iad dá ní is mó go bhfuil méadú i gceist ina leith ná an deontas caipitiochta atá iníoctha leis na scoileanna agus an tuarastal incriminteach atá iníoctha leis na múinteoirí.

Ba mhór an pléisiúr dom bheith in ann a rá tamall ó shoin le bainisteoirí na meánscoileanna go raibh an Rialtas tar éis cinneadh ar gan leanúint den 10 per cent. de ghearradh a rinneadh i meastachán na bliana 1957-8 ar an deontas caipitíochta agus ar na deontais i leith na scoileanna na bhfuil an obair go léir nó cuid den obair á dhéanamh tré Ghaeilge. Taobh amuigh den mhéadú san sa deontas, áfach, b'éigin a thuilleadh soláthar a dhéanamh, leis, mar gheall ar an bhfás buan atá ar an líon daltaí atá ag freastal meán-scoileanna agus deontas caipitíochta iníoctha ina leith. Sé líon daltaí a bhí ar rollai na meán-scoileanna i dtús na scoilbhliana seo ina bhfuilimíd ná 69,568, sé sin, 3,300 níos mó ná a chomhfhigiúr sa scoil-bhliain roimhe sin. Le sé bhliain is fiche sé meán-mhéadú a bhí ar líon na ndaltaí ins na meánscoileanna ná 1,500 duine sa bhliain.

Tá glactha le cúig mheánscoil nua ó thús na scoilbhliana ina bhfuilimíd agus sé líon meánscoileanna faofa atá ann anois dá réir sin ná 494. An chúig mheánscoil nua i mbliana, laghdú isea é ar an meán-líon bliantúil de scoileanna nua ar glacadh leo [60] le sé bhliain is fiche anuas, ach ina thaobh san ní miste bheith ag cuimhneamh, leis, ar an méadú mór atá luaite agam thuas ar an líon daltaí. As líon iomlán na scoileanna faofa tá 231 a bhfuil an teagasc á thabhairt tré Ghaeilge ins na hábhair go léir nó i gcuid acu agus 76 de scoileanna ina bhfuil an teagasc go léir á thabhairt tré Ghaeilge.

Méadú mór ar líon na ndaltaí, is nádúrtha an ní go dtiocfadh méadú ar líon na múinteoirí faofa dá réir. Sé líon na meán-mhúinteoirí faofa fá láthair ná 2,955, agus sin 141 de mhéadú ar a chomhfhigiúr i leith na bliana 1957-58. As na múinteoirí seo tá 1,669 nó 57% a bhfuil incrimint speisialta á fáil acu de bharr céim le honóracha bheith acu, agus 968 acu a bhfuil incrimint speisialta á fáil acu as ucht bheith ag teagasc tré Ghaeilge. An dá líon san de mhúinteoirí is mó iad ná a gcomh-líon de mhúinteoirí i leith na bliana 1957-58. An méadú úd ar líon na múinteoirí, an méadú atá ar lucht na n-incrimint speisialta ina measc agus an méadú a fuair siad go léir de bharr Eadrána le déanai, sin iad na nithe is cúis leis an soláthar breise atá ann faoin teideal tuarastal incriminteach.

Le linn dom bheith ag caint anuraidh ar mheastachán na bliana so caite, chuir mé síos go measardha mion ar an stáid ina bhfuil an eolaíocht i meán-scoileanna sagainne agus do léirigh mé cé nach bhfuil an scéal ar bharr feabhas mar ba mhian linn é bheith, nach féidir a rá gur míoshásúil an bhail atá ar an ngnó ó thaobh éagsúlacht na gcúrsaí eolaíochta agus líon na ndaltaí atá ag freastal na gcúrsaí sin. Ina thaobh san sé a ndéarfaidh mé i mbliana go bhfuil feabhas áirithe ann le bliain anuas.

Dhá mhíle sé chéad caoga is a naoi de ranganna Eolaíochta a bhí ann an uair úd a raibh deontas Saotharlainne iníoctha ina leith, agus 2,832 de ranganna dá leithéid sin atá ann anois. Tá soláthar breise ann dá réir sin faoi Mhírcheann A2 den Vóta i leith na ndeontas so, deontas atá iníoctha ar theagasc praicticiúil na heolaíochta turgnamhaí na heolaíochta talmhaíochta, na heolaíochta tis agus an teagasc láimhcheirde.

[61] Is éigin soláthar breise a dhéanamh i mbliana, leis, i leith scrúdaithe teistiméireachta na meánscol. Is amhlaidh a dheallródh sé go mbeidh 1,300 d'iarrthóirí breise ann i mbliana thar an 22,116 a chuaidh faoi scrúdú i 1958, agus is ionann san is a rá go gcaithfear níos mó ionad scrúdúcháin, níos mó feitheoirí agus níos mó scrúdaitheoirí cúnta bheith ann.

Do tionóladh faoi sciath na Roinne an samhradh so caite athchúrsa sa tíreolaíocht i gcóir múinteoirí meánscoile, cúrsa ar éirigh leis go rathúil. Táthar ag beartú athchúrsaí Gaeilge dá leithéid bheith ann i mbliana, ceann acu i mBaile Átha Cliath agus an ceann eile i gCorcaigh, agus táthar ag beartú, leis, athchúrsa sa mhatamaitic bheith ann i mbliana, in am níos faide anonn sa bhliain. Sé príomh-chuspóir na gcúrsaí seo ná na modhanna teagasc a fheabhsú agus a thabhairt i gcuid chothrom leis an lá den saol atá ann. Ar chaint na Gaeilge agus ar an áit ba chóir bheith ag filíocht na Gaeilge ins na scoileanna is mó a bheifear ag luí san athchúrsa Gaeilge. Táthar ag beartú, leis, athchúrsaí bheith ann ar ball in ábhair eile, sa mhatamaitic agus san eolaíocht ach go háirithe. Sé mo dhóchas gur mór an tairbhe do na múinteoirí na cúrsaí seo sa mhéid go mbeidh eolas le baint astu ar idir nua-mhodhanna múinte agus nua-eolas a bhaineann leis an ábhar léinn áirithe a bheidh i gceist.

Ní miste a rá anso leis go bhfuil cúnamh eile i ndán do mhúineadh na Gaeilge ins na scoileanna i bhfoirm triúr cigirí breise a mbeidh cúram na Gaeilge agus comhairliú na mbainisteoirí is na múinteoirí ina thaobh ina dhualgas speisialta orthu. San am i láthair, níl ach triúr de na gnáthchigirí a bhfuil cúram speisialta na Gaeilge orthu, agus ar ndó bíonn ar an triúr san ábhair eile seachas an Ghaeilge a fhiosrú, leis, gan trácht ar a ngnáthdhualgais eile, ceapadh páipéar scrúdaithe, stiúrúchán na hoibre i gcoitinne agus dá réir sin. Ba chóir, measaim, anathairbhe a theacht as cigire bheith sa scoil níos minice ná mar is féidir leis fá láthair óir beidh deis aige féin is ag an mbainisteoir is ag an múinteoir na deacrachtaí a bhaineann leis an obair a chíoradh, i dtreo gurb é a thiocfadh as a gcomhairle [62] go léir a chur le chéile ná caighdeán na Gaeilge a fheabhsú fós agus teagasc agus foghlaim na Gaeilge a bheith níos éascaí i gcoitinne. Tá beartaithe agam mar an gcéanna triúr cigirí breise bheith ann i leith na heolaíochta agus na nua-theangacha. Taobh amuigh, áfach, den stiúir is den chúnamh a thabhairfidh na cigirí breise seo do lucht na scoileanna, tá siad ag teastáil go géar don obair scrúdúcháin, ó tharla an méadú mór bliantúil úd ann ar líon na n-iarrthóirí.

Fé mar is eol díbh, tá an Chomhairle Oideachais ag ullmhú a tuairisce ar chlár na meánscol agus tá súil agam go mbeidh an tuairisc sin ar fáil roimh dheireadh na bliana. Foilsiú na tuairisce sin, táim cinnte go dtabhairfidh sé caoi do gach aon dream lena mbaineann, agus na scoileanna féin agus an Roinn ina measc san, cúrsaí na meánscoileanna a bhreithniú níos grinne agus, b'fhéidir, tairiscintí a chur ar aghaidh lena thuilleadh feabhais a chur ar an ardchaighdeán oibre atá á bhaint amach ins na scoileanna i gcoitinne fá láthair.

An £1,367,950 de sholáthar atá ann i gcóir an ghairmoideachais, tá £98,990 de mhéadú ann ar mheastachán iomlán na bliana so caite. Sé áit is mó ina bhfuil an méadú ann ná na deontais atá iníoctha leis na coistí gairm-oideachais, ach tá a thuilleadh airgid á iarraidh, leis, i gcóir (a) oiliúint múinteoirí, (b) scoileanna neamhspleácha atá ag soláthar gairm-oideachais agus (c) aisíoc cuid den chaiteachas a bhí ar na húdaráis rátúcháin i leith pinsean agus deontas ata orthu a íoc le daoine a bhí tráth ina n-oifigigh ag coistí gairmoideachais.

Ó bhí an chéad lá d'Aibreán, 1958, ann, is amhlaidh a hosclaíodh seacht gcinn de ghairm-scoileanna nua agus a cuireadh síneadh le hocht gcinn de ghairm-scoileanna a bhí ann. Tá seacht gcinn eile de ghairm-scoileanna á dtógáil fá láthair agus fairsingú á dhéanamh ar ocht gcinn de ghairm-scoileanna atá ann. Tá beartaithe tosnú ar sé cinn déag de scoileanna nua, agus foirgintí áirithe ar n-a gceannach a chur i bhfóirithint d'áireamh in a measc san, sa bhliain airgeadais seo, ar chostas measta [63] £480,000. Tá beartaithe, leis, cúig cinn déag de scoileanna atá ann a fhairsingiú i mbliana, agus sé costas atá measta don fhairsingiú sin ná £155,000. Tá cuid mhór mhaith á dhéanamh dá réir sin chun riar ar an éileamh ar an ngairmoideachas, ach ba ghá a thuilleadh eile fós d'airgead caipitiúil bheith le fáil chun an scéal a chur ina cheart ar fad den taobh sin.

Taobh amuigh den airgead caipitiúil a fháil agus é a chur chun a chaite, tagann as tithe scoile nua agus ranganna nua go mbíonn breis caiteachais ar na coistí gairmoideachais ar a bheith orthu an riar breise múinteoirí, fearaistí agus dá réir sin a chur ar fáil, maraon le costas cothabhála na scoileanna nua. Sé Ciste an Stáit is mó atá ag soláthar airgid do na Coistí, ach tá comh-sciar áirithe d'ioncam an Choiste ag teacht ó na rátaí, leis. Sé uasráta is mó atá ceadaithe ina leith sin fá láthair ná 15d. sa £1 i gcás na Scéimeanna Gairmoideachais contae, ach amháin Contae Chorcaí agus Contae Longphoirt, dhá áit ina bhfuil 18d. d'uasráta ceadaithe.

Tá cúig contae ann, áfach, a bhfuil luacháil dhlí na mbocht íseal iontu agus nár leor i mbliana an t-uasráta iontu chun dóthain de chomhsciar a tharraingt ón Státchiste le riar ar an ngnáthchaiteachas agus ar an ngnáthfhorbairt. Chun uasráta níos airde bheith ann is amhlaidh a caithfí an tAcht Gairm-Oideachais a leasú, agus idir an dá am do b'éigean na deontais Stáit don chúig chontae sin a mhéadú go speisialta. Siad na contaethe atá i gceist Liathdroim, Dún na nGall, Sligeach, Muigheo agus Ciarraí, agus sé suim breise in iomlán atá á sholáthar do Choistí Gairmoideachais na gcontaethe sin £15,768, suim atá áirithe sa soláthar méadaithe atá á dhéanamh faoi Mhír-Cheann B den Vóta so. Socrú sealadach é seo agus tá beartaithe leasú ar an Acht a chur fá bhráid an Tí ar ball, leasú a chuirfidh ar chumas na gCoistí seo agus Coistí eile breis ioncaim a fháil ó na rátaí.

Sa scoil-bhliain 1957-8 bhí 267 de bhuan-scoileanna gairmoideachais i mbun oibre agus ina theannta san 475 [64] de ranganna ann in ionaid eile. Sé líon na múinteoirí lán-aimsire seasmhacha a bhí ar fostódh i dtús na scoilbhliana sin 1,537, sé sin, 50 duine de bhreis ar a raibh ann bliain roimhe sin. Bhí 1,121 de mhúinteoirí páirtaimsire ann, sin beirt thar an méid a bhí ann bliain roimhe sin.

Tá soláthar breise á dhéanamh i mbliana chun a thuilleadh múinteoirí a oiliúint. Tá cúrsaí Oiliúna sa Mhiotalóireacht (17 d'ábhair múinteoirí) agus san Adhmadóireacht (20 ábhar múinteoirí) ar siúl fá láthair agus beidh críoch leis na cúrsaí sin i 1960. Sé costas na gcúrsaí sa bhliain airgeadais reatha ná £14,666. Tá beartaithe tús a chur le dhá Chúrsa eile den saghas céanna i mí Dheireadh Fómhair seo chugainn, i gcóir 16 agus 20, fá seach, d'ábhair múinteoirí, agus sé a gcostas sin, de réir mar tá measta, i leith na bliana 1959-60 ná £6,886.

Tá beartaithe a lán cúsaí samhraidh i gcóir múinteoirí agus abhar múinteoirí bheith ann, leis, cúrsa ar mhodhanna múinte na hEolaíochta Tuaithe i gcóir Céimithe san Eolaíocht Talmhaíochta, cúrsa san Eolaíocht Ithreach i gcóir múinteoirí Eolaíocht Tuaithe, cúrsa fá bhiadha agus cothú i gcóir múinteoirí Tís, cúrsa i ndearthú troscáin i gcóir múinteoirí Adhmadóireachta agus sa táthú i gcóir na múinteoirí Miotalóireachta. An gnáthchúrsa do Chéimithe Iolscoile a bhíonn ann roimh an scrúdú cáiliúcháin don Teastas Timire Gaeilge, tionólfar sin ar an gCeathrúin Rua, Co. na Gaillimhe, i mí Iuil agus tionólfar cúrsa ar mhodhanna múinte i gcóir múinteoirí Béarla i nDún Laoghaire i mi Iúil, leis.

An méadú atá ann faoin Mhircheann D. 1, séard tá i gceist ann den chuid is mó ná riar ar an ardú deontais atá iníoctha as na cúrsaí a tugtar sna scoileanna cónaí Tís agus i scoileanna agus ranganna áirithe eile nach bhfuil faoi bhainisteoireacht na gCoistí Gairmoideachais. Tá soláthar breise á dhéanamh, leis, chun riar ar an tuilleadh uaireanta tinrimh a mheastar a dhéanfaidh daltaí na scoileanna sin ar na cúrsaí úd agus fós ar chúrsaí oideachais leanúnaigh ins na scoileanna san.

Na liúntais seachtainiúla atá iníoctha [65] le mic léinn a toghtar chun freastail ar na cúrsí bliantúla a tugtar ar an bhfoirgníocht tuaithe, ar an ngaibhneoireacht agus ar an oiliúint mhuirí fé Choistí áirithe, tá siad á méadú ó £3 go dtí £4 an mac léinn, rud a mhíníonn an soláthar breise atá faoin mírcheann D2. Níl ach an t-aon chúrsa amháin lena thionól sa ghaibhneoireacht in aghaidh na dtrí gceann a bhí ann i 1958-59, agus mar an gcéanna don oiliúint mhuirí, ach beidh cúrsaí ar an bhfoirgníocht tuaithe á dtionól i gcúig ionaid.

Gearr-amharc ar an nGairmoideachas i gcoitinne, teaspáineann sé go bhfuil méadú ann i gcónaí ar an líon daltaí atá ag freastal na gcúrsaí lán-aimsire lae san oideachas leanúnach. Bhí beagnach 23,000 díobh so ar na rollaí sa scoil-bhliain 1957-8, sé sin míle scoláire de mhéadú ar an mbliain roimhe sin. An méadú san, is maith agus is fíormhaith ann é, pé acu ó thaobh forbairt na talmhaíochta, an tionscail nó na tráchtála é, agus is maith ann é, leis, ó thaobh chúrsaí sóisialta agus chúrsaí cultúir. An t-oideachas leanúnach, suite mar atá sé ar bhonn daingean an dea-theagaisc a fuair na páistí sna scoileanna náisiúnta, is maith an chloch idir dhá phort é más linn rath a dhéanamh in aon ghné de na gnéithe a bhfuil mé tar éis iad a lua.

An fás san ar an éileamh atá ar an oideachas leanúnach, tá sé le braith fén dtuaith ach go háirithe. Is iondúil tinreamh anmhaith ar gach aon saghas scoile fén dtuaith ach is amhlaidh a b'éigean cuid de na gairmscoileanna fén dtuaith a fhairsingiú chun riar ar an éileamh úd ar na cúrsaí leanúnacha.

Séard atá tagaithe den mhéadú seo ar an líon scoláirí atá ag freastal ar chúrsaí oideachais leanúna i dteannta leis an méadú mór bliantúil ar an líon atá ag freastal ar mheán-scoileanna agus ar na meán-bharraí ins na scoileanna náisiúnta ná go bhfuil os cionn dhá dtrian de na páistí san aois-ghrúpa 14—16 ag freastal ar chúrsaí lán-aimsearacha oideachais. Agus an méid sin a bheith ráite agam tá súil agam go gcuideoidh sé leis an scéal a chur ina cheart ó thaobh bréagnú a dhéanamh ar na ráiteasaí a deintear ó am go ham nuair a bítear ag iarraidh a chur i gcéill nach [66] bhfaigheann ach percentáiste beag dár bpáistí aon oideachas foirmeálta tar éir dóibh aois cheithre bliana déag a shroisint.

Tá breis daltaí ag freastal, leis, ar chúrsaí lán-aimsire san oideachas teicniceach, cúrsaí ar a raibh 855 ar na rollaí i 1957-8 in aghaidh 705 sa bhliain roimhe sin. Na cúrsaí teicniceacha so, is le hoiliúint teicneoirí innealltóireachta agus leis an eolaíocht thionscalach is mó a bhaineann siad.

Ar an taobh eile de, na printísigh ceirde a ligtear saor ar feadh cuid den am chun freastal ar ranganna ceardscoile, ní dhealródh sé go bhfuil aon mhéadú a bfhiú ag teacht ar a líon san. Timpeall 2,500 díobh san atá ann ar fad, agus is mór an chaill gan a thuilleadh acu bheith á ligean chun na ceardscoile. I mBaile Atha Cliath atá timpeall 60% den iomlán díobh atá ar na rollaí. Is bocht an scéal é go bhfuil 9 scéimeanna contae ann agus dhá scéim i mbailte móra agus gan aon phrintíseach dhá ligean chun na ceardscoile ar feadh cuid dá am seirbhíse.

Luaigh mé anuraidh gur éirigh go maith leis na printísigh Adhmadóireachta a bhí páirteach sna comórtais eadarnáisiúnta a tionóladh dá leithéid i Madrid. An samhradh so caite chuaigh seachtar déag de phrintísigh ón tír seo isteach ar chomórtais Adhmadóireachta agus Miotalóireachta sa Teaspáinteas a bhí ann sa Bhruiséal agus bhain duine acu céad duais amach agus bhain an chuid eile roint dara duaiseanna agus tríú duaiseanna amach. Ba chóir gur mór an t-ábhar bróid é sin dóibh agus dúinn uile go leir, óir bhí printísigh i gcoimhlint leo as a lán tíortha gur fada bunaithe iontu oiliúint agus traidisiún na ceardaíochta.

Tríd is tríd, is mór agus is éagsúil na cúrsaí atá á dtabhairt ag ár gcuid gairmscoileanna agus níor bhféidir, gan miontuairisc fhada a thabhairt, leorchuntas ná lánléiriú a dhéanamh orthu. Nílim ag cur rómham aon mhiontuairisc den saghas san a thabhairt díbh ná ní dóigh liom go bhfuil an Tigh ag súil lena leithéid uaim, go mórmhór ó tharla a lán de na Teachtaí agus dlúthbhaint acu leis an nGairmoideachas.

Maraon leis na gnéithe eile den [67] oideachas, tá an Gairmoideachas ag cur roimhe an duine iomlán a aibiú agus a mhúnlú i gcruth is gur fearr a thiocfaidh leis a bhfuil i ndán dó ag Dia a bhaint amach ar an saol so agus ar an saol thall. A lán de na cúrsaí Gairmoideachais, sé a ngarchuspóir, leis, oiliúint theicniceach a chur ar fáil de gheall ar bheith ag cur le leas na tíre. “Ag cur le” leas na tíre, adeirim, óir ba chóir gur léir go leor nach féidir don oideachas uaidh féin ár gcuid fadhbanna geilleagracha a fhuascailt. Ach mar sin féin is mór a lán is féidir leis an oideachas a dhéanamh leis an tír a chur ar aghaidh. Is maith is eol san dóibh siúd a bhfuil dlúthbhaint acu leis an nGairmoideachas agus ní beag ná suarach an méid cúrsaí atá bunaithe agus é de gharchuspóir acu oiliúint theicniceach a chur ar fáil i leith tionscal nua nó ar mhaithe leis an táirgeadh a mhéadú. Ón taobh sin de, is inmholta an rud é gur tharla oiread sin ócáid ann ina raibh comhar agus comhoibriú idir mo Roinn féin, Ranna eile Stáit agus Coistí áitiúla, agus fós idir Coistí áitiúla agus tionscail áitiúla thall is i bhfus ina leith sin.

Tá méadú glan de £16,650 ar an Vóta i gcóir 1959/60 i gcomparáid leis an meastachán bunaidh do 1958/59. I Mí Feabhra, seo caite, ámh, glacadh sa Dáil le meastachán breise darbh méid £10,850 ar fad. Den mhéid sin ba dheontas a bheadh ann ó bhliain go bliain £7,850, sa tslí gurab é an méadú fírinneach atá sa Vóta ná £8,800. Is leis na breiseanna so lúide suimeanna áirithe go ndéanfaidh mé tagairt dóibh ar ball a déantar suas furmhór an mhéaduithe sin—£3,835, i gcóir tuarastal; £1,000 le haghaidh ceannach leabhar don Leabharlainn Náisiúnta; £500 i leith foilseachán i nGaeilge; £600 do Scoláireachta Iolscoile; £1,600 i gcóir Coláistí a chuireann cúrsaí i nGaeilge ar fáil; £3,200 i gcóir tréimhseachán i nGaeilge agus £500 don Choimisiún Béaloideasa.

Siad na suimeanna áirithe atá le baint de na breiseanna san ná £3,479 d'ardú ins na Leithreasaí i gCabhair [68] agus sábháilt de £724 ar an soláthar i gcóir Choimisiún na Lámhscríbhinní.

Síolraíonn an méadú i gcóir tuarastal ó ghnáth-chúrsaí agus níl aon ardú ar líon na foirne i gceist leis. Níl ins na méaduithe i gcóir ceannach samplaí agus eile don Mhusaeum agus le haghaidh ceannach leabhar don Leabharlainn Náisiúnta ach dul ar ais go dtí na suimeanna ina leith san a bhíodh ann roint bhlian ó shoin.

Tá £500 sa mbreis á sholáthar i leith foilseachán i nGaeilge. Meastar go mbeidh £1,000 eile ag teastáil ó Bhord na Leabhar Gaeilge ach go mbeidh laghdú de £500 sa mhéid a bheidh ag teastáil ón nGúm. Ó tosnaíodh i 1952/53 leis an scéim chun deontais a thabhairt i leith foilsiú leabhar i nGaeilge do fhoilsitheoirí príobháideacha híocadh deontas i leith 68 leabhar. Foilsíodh 15 díobh san i 1958/59 i gcomparáid le 5 i 1952/53. Bé an ceann ba thábhachtaí d'fhoilseacháin an Ghúim i 1958/59 ná an t-athchló a cuireadh ar Leabhar an Aifrinn. Tá anois san athchló liotuirge leasaithe na Seachtaine Móire. Níorbh fhéidir déanamh de réir mar a bhíteas ag súil leis agus an foclóir BéarlaGhaeilge d'fhoilsiú roimh deireadh na bliana 1958/59. Tá an cló deiridh ag dul ar aghaidh go mear agus táthar ag súil leis go mbeidh an foclóir ar an margadh in am don scoil-bhliain seo chugainn. Tá beartaithe ins na míosa atá ag teacht tosnú le hullmhú foclóir Gaeilge-Bhéarla. Ní bheidh, ar ndóigh, an méid céanna oibre ag baint leis seo is a bhí ag baint leis an bhfoclóir Béarla-Ghaeilge de bhrí nach mbeidh i gcuid mhaith den obair ach an foclóir Béarla-Ghaeilge d'iontú druim ar ais. Ba chóir mar sin go mbeadh an foclóir Gaeilge-Bhéarla ullamh i gceann trí nó ceithre bliana ar a mhéid. Nuair a bheidh an dá leabhar so ar fáil ba chóir go mba shimplí-de saothar lucht foghlamtha agus scríbhneoirí iad, go mór-mhór ó thaogh caighdeánaithe agus téarmaíochta dhe.

Níor caitheadh aon airgead de chuid an Stáit sa bhliain 1958-59 ar obair Chumann Drámaíochta na Scol, Cumann a bhí ag fáil cúnamh airgid ón Stát ó 1935-36. An fáth a bhí leis sin ná gur socraíodh anuraidh féile dhrámaíochta na Scol a chur siar go dtí dáta tar éis an 31ú Márta. Tá obair fhónta [69] á dhéanamh ag an gCumann so agus tá beartaithe cur le scóip na hoibre sa bhliain reatha sa tslí go bhfuil an deontas á mhéadú dá réir ó £650 go leith go dtí £850 go leith.

Tá luach scoláireachtaí na Roinne do mhicléinn ón nGaeltacht agus do mhicléinn go bhfuil fúthu cúrsaí do dhéanamh tré Ghaeilge á mhéadú ó £150 go dtí £175 sa bhliain—£125 i gcás macléinn go bhfuil cónaí orthu sa mbaile. Sin é is cúis leis an soláthar breise fé mhírcheann B. 3 i gcóir 1959-60. Tá beartaithe cúig cinn de scoláireachta a bhronnadh i mbliana ar mhicléinn ón nGaeltacht agus dhá cheann is fiche (ar a n-áirítear dha cheann a cuireadh siar i 1958-59) do bhronnadh ar mhicléinn go bhfuil fúthu cúrsaí Iolscoile a dhéanamh tré Ghaelige.

Méadaíodh an deontas do Chomhdháil Náisiúnta na Gaeilge i rith 1958-59 go dtí £13,800—méadú de £4,000 ar an mheastachán bunaidh. Tá sé á choimeád ag an bhfigiúir chéanna i gcóir 1959-60.

Tá méadú beag de £250 go leith á dhéanamh ar an ndeontas í gcabhair don fhéile chultúir—an tOireachtas. Tá £750 go leith d'iomlán an deontais de £1,750 á sholáthar fén choinníoll go mbaileofar oiread céanna i bhfoirm síntiúisí.

Tá airgead breise á chur ar fáil chun íoc as na deontais tinrimh a meastar a bheadh iníoctha as an líon méadaithe scoláirí a fhreastalóidh na Cúrsaí Samhraidh ins na Coláistí Gaeilge. Tá sé cinn déag ar fad de Choláistí go mbíonn na cúrsaí seo ar siúl iontu agus tá líon na scoláirí ag méadú go seasta le cúig bhliana anuas ach go háirithe.

Tá an soláthar i gcóir tréimhseachán i nGaeilge le méadú de réir £3,200. Tá £2,922 den mhéid sin ag dul don pháipéar “Inniu” toisc an deontas a bheith á mhéadú ó £148 10s. i leith gach ceann de 51 eagrán sé leathanach go dtí £198 10s. i leith gach ceann de 52 eagrán ocht leathanach. Tá méadú freisin de £3 an t-eagrán ar an ndeontas don dá pháipéar míosúil “An tUltach” agus “Ar Aghaidh”.

Gheofaí ceist do chur i dtaobh cén fáth ar tugadh furmhór an airgid bhreise do pháipéar amháin, go háirithe, ós é an páipéar sin a bhí ag fáil an chuid is mó de na deontais [70] cheana féin. Tháinig mé ar an mbreith sin tar éis dom na fíoraí ar fad agus, go háirithe, na cinn a luafaidh mé anois a bhreithniú go han-chúramach:—

(a) Ní raibh ach méid áirithe airgid bhreise ar fáil do na páipéir agus na tréimhseacháin seo agus níor mheasas gurab é an tslí dob éifeachtaí é d'usáid é do roinnt ar na tréimhseacháin ar fad idir sean-chinn agus cinn nua a bhí ag lorg scair de.

(b) “Inniú” an t-aon pháipéar amháin a foilsítear in aghaidh na seachtaine, tá a dhíolachán ag méadú, tá sé á léamh réasúnta coiteann agus tá méadú ar an bhfógraíocht ann.

(c) Déanann “Inniu” freastal go speisialta ar na daoine óga de gach aicme agus sé is gaire do ghnáthpháipéar nuáiachta i nGaeilge.

(d) Sé bun-aidhm atá leis an ardú deontais ná páipéar atá ann a mhéadú.

Is trua liom, ar ndóigh, nach féidir liom cabhair airgid do chur ar fáil do thréimhseacháin nach bhfuil deontas acu cheana féin ach níorbh fhéidir é sin a dhéanamh leis an airgead a bhí ar fáil mura ndéantaí na deontais a bhí iníochta leis na tréimhseacháin a bhí ag fáil cabhrach do laghdú.

Is chun íoc as costaisí foilseachán nua atá deontas breise á sholáthar don Choimisiún Béaloideasa. Tá lámhscríbhinní ag an gCoimisiún anois atá, ó thaobh an ábhair atá iontu, thar a bheith luachmhar, ní hamháin don saineolaí béaloideasa ach don fhear teanga, don staraí, don cheoltóir agus do lucht staidéar a dhéanamh ar chúrsaí sóisialta. Ba chóir go bhféadfaidís sin agus an gnáth-léitheoir bheith in ann staidéar a dhéanamh ar a gcaothúlacht ar oiread agus is féidir den ábhar sin agus an t-ábhar a bheith i gcló chuige sin.

Fén Vóta so, táim ag iarraidh ar an Tigh aontú le £264,280 de sholáthar, sé sin, £20,300 níos mó ná mar a bhí i meastachán na bliana so caite. Sé cúis atá leis an soláthar breise ná an [71] méadú ins na rátaí deontas caipitíochta atá iníochta ón Stát i leith leanaí agus daoine óga a chothú i scoileanna teastaithe. Fógrafodh na méaduithe sin anuraidh ach is i 1959/60 a bheidh siad iníochta den chéad uair i leith bliana in iomlán.

An titim i líon na ndaoine sa dá chinéal scoileanna a tugadh fé ndeara le roint bhlian anuas tá sé ann i gcónaí ach amháin nach bhfuil an ráta titime chomh hard is a bhíodh. Bhí 148 fé choimeád sa scoil cheartúcháin do na buachaillí ar an 31ú Nollaig, 1958, i gcomparáid le 159 ar an 31ú Nollaig, 1957. Bé líon a bhí san dá scoil do na cailiní ar na dátaí céanna ná 42 agus 44, fé seach. Ins an 49 de scoileanna saothair bhí 2,192 de chailíní agus 1,921 de bhuachaillí ag deireadh na bliana 1958 i gcomparáid le 2,268 agus 1,865, fé seach, ag deireadh na bliana 1957.

Léiríonn na tuairiscí a fuarthas ó na cigirí ar na scoileanna ceartúcháin agus ar na scoileanna saothair go bhfuil riarú na scoileanna, cothú agus oiliúint na bpáistí iontu sásúil i gcónaí. Bhí 347 de mhúinteoirí ins na scoileanna saothair ar an 31ú Iúil, 1958— duine sa bhreis ar an líon a bhí iontú i 1957. Ní raibh aon athrú ar líon na múinteoirí náisiúnta ina measc—64 ar a raibh naonúr tuath-oidí. Seachtar is fiche de mhúinteoirí atá fós ins na scoileanna ceartúcháin. Orthu san tá deichniúr tuath-oidí gur múinteoirí ceard ochtar díobh.

Go minic faightear scoláirí ó na scoileanna saothair i measc lucht buaite na scoláireacht do mheánscoileanna agus do cheard-scoileanna a chuireann na húdaráis áitiúla ar fáil. Ní hiad lucht buaite na scoláireacht san an t-aon dream amháin ó na scoileanna saothair a fhaigheann iarbhunoideachas,—de bharr na socruithe speisialta chuige sin a dhéanann lucht stiúrtha na scoileanna.

Maidir leis an Áit Choinneála speisialta i dTeach Maoilbhríde i nGlasnaoidhean, tá áthas orm a bheith ar mo chumas a fhógairt go bhfuil gníomh cinnte á dhéanamh chun an fhundúireacht san d'aistriú go dtí foirgneamh eile, mar chuid d'fhundúireacht nua go bhféadfainn mar ainm [72] shealadach “Ionad Slándála” a bhaisteadh air. Tá beartaithe go mbeadh an t-ionad san fé Ord Crábhaidh. Tá na pleananna don fhoirgneamh á n-ullmhú agus nuair a bunófar é tá beartaithe go mbeidh foireann mhúinteoirí ann ar a mbeidh saineolaí san aigneolaíocht agus go mbeidh clár á leanúint ar a mbeidh corpoiliúint agus ábhair phraicticiúla den chineál a d'oirfeadh d'aoiseanna agus d'aicmí na mbuachaillí a bheadh i gceist. Tá scrúdú á dhéanamh ar Achtanna na Leanaí ó thaobh iad do leasú d'fhonn soláthar níos fearr a dhéanamh don fhundúireacht nua agus d'fhonn cur leis an dtréimhse maximum ar féidir páiste a choimeád in áras da leithéid. De bhrí go bhfuil roinnt nithe go gcaithfear teacht ar chomhairle fúthu go fóill níl beartaithe agam a thuilleadh mioneolais fén scéal a thabhairt i láthair na huaire.

Seachtó och míle, ceithre chéad go leith punt an meastachán don Institiúid Ardléinn i mbliana, sé sin, £9,150 thar Vóta na bliana seo caite. Faoin Mhír-cheann B atá £5,000 den mhéadú san, sé sin, soláthar caipitiúil i gcóir obair thógála agus cóiriúcháin ag Réadlainn Dhún Sionca. An ceithre mhíle agus céad go leith punt eile, séard tá ann soláthar le haghaidh tuilleadh fearaistí agus dá réir sin, den chuid is mó i Rannóig na nGaethe Cosmacha agus i Rannóig na Réalteolaíochta i Scoil na Fisice Cosmaí.

Sé iomlán an tsoláthair le haghaidh gnóthaí reatha ins na hiolscoileanna agus coláistí ná £863,130, sé sin, £210,990 ós cionn an méid a tugadh anuraidh. Sé an meastachán iomlán le haghaidh caiteachas caipitiúil ná £90,000, sé sin, £71,940 de mhéadú ar sholáthar na bliana so caite.

Lenár linn féin tá tábhacht anmhór tar éis teacht go hobann in obair na n-institiúidí Iolscoile, go mórmhór ó thaobh theagasc agus taighde na heolaíochte de thar mar a bhí ann leis na céadta bliain, agus is baol nach raibh dóthain airgid le blianta beaga [73] anuas ag na hinstitiúidí sin in Éirinn fré chéile i gcomórtas leis an méid atá á fháil ag a leithéid i dtíortha eile. Cuireann sé áthas orm dá réir sin bheith i riocht teacht de chabhair orthu go measardha substainteach i mbliana.

An dá chéad is deich míle naoí gcéad nócha punt breise in iomlán atá á soláthar do na Coláistí i gcóir gnóthaí reatha, is amhlaidh a roinneadh eatarthu é ar bhonn riachtanaisí gach Coláiste, chomh fada is ab fhéidir é sin a mheas i leith an ioncaim iomláin a bhí an gColáiste, an líon macléinn a bhí ann, an coibhneas a bhí ann idir an fhoireann is an líon macléinn, agus aon fhreagraíochta speisialta a bhí ar an gColáiste.

Fé mar is eol do na Teachtaí, tá Coimisiún Rialtais ag breithniú le tamall na riachtanaisí ó thaobh cóiríochta de a bhaineas le gach aon cheann de na trí Coláistí d'Iolscoil na hÉireann. Níl an tuairisc críochnaithe go baileach fós ag an gCoimisiún san ach tuigtear dom gur goirid ar fad eile go mbeidh. Idir an dá am tá deontais áirithe, fé mar atá léirithe agam, á soláthar i leith na bliana seo chun riar ar riachtanaisí práinneacha.

Dhá mhíle déag, trí chéad agus nócha punt atá á sholáthar faoin Vóta so. An £600 de mhéadú atá ansan, sé is cuis leis ná gnáthmhéadú tuarastail agus páighe. An deontas-i-gcabhair chun pictiúirí a cheannach agus an soláthar i gcóir léachtaí poiblí tá sin mar a bhí anuraidh.

Ristéard Ua Maolchatha: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  Tuigim ó'n rud a dúirt an tAire go bhfuil cóoibriú maith idir an Roinn agus é féin agus na hudarásaíthe a bhaineann le cúrsaí oideachais agus is maith linn go léir go bhfuil an scéal mar sin.

Tugann an tAire roint eolais dúinn ar conus atá an scéal fá láthair ins gach saghas scoile ach is beag an teolas a thugann sé dúinn i dtaobh na laethanta seo chughainn.

Is maith linn a chloisint gur féidir leis cabhair a thabhairt do na múinteoirí i dtaobh an choibhnis atá idir mhúinteoirí agus scoláirí agus gur féidir leis tuille múinteoirí a sholáthar.

[74] Tá súil agam go n-éireoidh leis dul chun cinn a thuille leis sin.

Deir an tAire go bhfuil rannóg taighde agus cómhairleachain curtha ar bun sa Roinn fé mar mhol an Chomhairle Oideachais ina tuairisc ar an mBun-Scoil ach ní abrann sé linn cad iad na rudaí atá tugtha don rannóg sin chun taighde a dhéanamh orthu ar dtús. Ba mhaith liom a fhiafraí de an bhfuil aon obair á dhéanamh ag an rannóg sin nó aon rud ceaptha i dtaobh múineadh na Gaeilge agus múineadh tré Gaeilge sna scoileanna.

Ní deir sé a thuille linn i dtaobh cad tá beartaithe ag an Rialtas i dtaobh an aois fagtha scoile a ardú go dtí 15.

Nuair a thagaim go dtí an rud a deireann sé linn i dtaobh an Chomhairle Oideachais agus na tuairisce ar na meánscoileanna, ní thuigim in aon chor cad tá i gceist sa ráiteas atá tugtha dúinn.

Is dóigh liom gur mío-amharach an rud é gurab é seo an chéad mheastacháin a thagann roimh an Teach chun díospóireacht a dhéanamh air fá lathair mar tá dhá rud a cuirfeadh isteach ar chaint ar chúrsaí oideachais go mbeadh aon chiall leis. An chaint a deineadh le roint mhí anuas tá sí ag cur go mór i gcoinne nádúir an duine maidir le cúrsaí oideachais. Tá eolus againn i dtaobh nádúir an duine maidir le cúrsaí oideachais. An chaint atá ar siúl sa Teach so le roint míosa anuas tá sí go mór i gcoinne na tuairime agus an chreidimh sin.

Sé an tarna constaic nach féidir le héinne sa Teach so cúrsaí na scoileanna a thuiscint fé láthair. Do cuireadh an Chomhairle Oideachais ar siúl roint blianta ó shoin. Cuireadh Comhairle eile ar bun breis agus cheithre bliana ó shoin ach níl aon eolas againn ón Aire i dtaobh cad tá ar siúl acu san. Ní féidir rudaí a chur i gceart le cruinneas nó le tuiscint gan eolas bheith againn i dtaobh cad tá beartaithe i dtaobh na céad tuarascála agus cad a bheidh beartaithe nuair a bheidh an tarna tuarascáil againn.

It is very unfortunate that Government policy should be that education is the first thing we are asked to discuss at the present time. All the discussions that have taken place in this House have been discussions from [75] the Government side on a basis that is contradictory to the basic notion of human nature upon which our educational policy is founded. The information which the Minister has given us here is just that things are going on in a way which is improving the harmony, the co-operation and the contact between himself and the main bodies responsible for the conduct of education, that is, the managers, the teachers and those who have the direct control, the direct training and direct carrying-on of the work of the schools.

There is a gap in the information that the members of this House have at their disposal which makes it impossible to discuss in a constructive kind of way things that are urgent. There is a good deal of casual comment and criticism about education. It is very desirable that there should be full understanding as to who are the functioning bodies capable and qualified to carry on our educational work and who are the co-ordinating authorities streamlining the actual educational organisation and enabling the people to see that there is a qualified machinery dealing with education. Any public or Parliamentary discussion carried on in the absence of that fundamental information can only add to the confusion and to what I would call uninformed opinion.

I suggest certain things to the Minister. First and foremost, various opinions have been expressed and various urgencies appear to those who are attempting to carry on the many phases of Irish life including an organised development of the resources of our people. We have had many examples of it recently in the various educational conferences which have taken place. Whether they are conferences like those of the teachers' organisations, Christus Rex, Macra na Feirme or any of those other organisations, there is a vast volume of important effort going on in the country emphasising the necessity of improved educational facilities and the necessity, particularly at the adult level, of seeing that there is a proper moral, spiritual and practical approach dealing with our general economic and public affairs.

[76] In view of the bad example from the adult point of view that is given to those interested in general public affairs in the country, I would draw the attention of the Minister to page 12 of the preliminary paper relating to the Council of Education to which I spoke when it was first established in April, 1950. I said:—

“It is more than appropriate because of the occasion itself and of the times in which we live that I should record that in its relation with the individual, the family, and religion, the State approach to education in the Irish Republic is one which unreservedly accepts the supernatural conception of man's nature and destiny. It accepts that the proper subject of education is man whole and entire, soul united to body in unity of nature, with all his faculties, natural and supernatural, such as right reason and revelation show him to be. It accepts that the foundation and crown of youth's entire training is religion.”

Later on I said:—

“The State declares the existence of that nation, not so much for the purpose of political nationalism but as a manifestation of the work of God's providence and as bearing on the roots, tendencies and potentialities of our people for themselves and for the world...

To benefit by the past which is enshrined in that heritage, to ensure that our people will follow as closely as possible the line of growth and development that is native and natural to them, our young people must be given the opportunity of becoming acquainted with the thought, the philosophy, the belief and the achievements of their ancestors. Education in this country has a task laid upon it in this connection that is almost unique.”

I referred to the atmosphere created by the kind of discussion that has gone on here in relation to the foundation of our political institutions. It is important in relation to facing the question of our political institutions, their [77] basis, strength and authority, to ask whether in our approach to our education and the various sections of our education we accept that as the basis.

In relation to that, I find it desirable to draw attention to remarks made by the Rev. T. Hamilton, S.J., Lecturer in Social Theory and Ethics, at the Christus Rex Congress in Kilkee. He also dealt with the various kinds of societies which have developed in this country—some have changed their objects and some have failed—and the necessity for adult education. Dealing with certain aspects of our difficulties and with certain aspects of our problems here he declared that the work done in the schools, the training of the character of our people for life could only flower at the adult level. He says:

Yet it is our conviction that there remains a real and widening need for education for social responsibility, especially in the present situation where an ever-increasing stress is being placed on technological efficiency as the key to the prosperous and even the happy life.

In challenging reply to many of the statements made that many of the things in this country are not of Irish origin, we ought at least claim credit for our schools, the spirit of our schools and the way in which they are carried on, that our primary schools are based on Irish tradition and Irish thought. They derive their stength and whole spirit from the foundation of education laid down by the great religious Orders that, when Irish democracy was asserting itself at the end of the 18th century, came into being, supported by people of every creed and class to establish Irish educational institutions based on a truly Christian tradition and, above all, to minister to those least able to help themselves. Our primary schools are based on Irish tradition and I am sure it is quite clear, from anything known of the approach of the Department of Education and all its Ministers, and the reports of the Council of Education with regard to primary education, that that is so.

[78] In relation to our secondary education, I should like to recall that, when speaking to the Council of Education in November, 1954, on the question of the inquiry I was asking them to undertake with regard to the programme for secondary education, I used these words:—

“In few of our institutions is an Irish tradition so effectively and satisfactorily enshrined as in our Secondary Schools. Broken as has been by different phases of its political history the intellectual and educational life of the nation, the spirit in which were established the Secondary Schools of to-day and the spirit which maintains them to-day stems back even over the gap created by the Cromwellian conquest to the spirit which enlivened and sustained Irish scholarship back in the middle ages and further.”

When we have our people thinking of our educational institutions, we cannot afford to have them misled by any section of the people here, with the suggestion that our educational institutions are institutions imposed on us and distorted in their development in any way. Irish spirit and Irish workers are inside them and have made them Irish institutions—as Irish today as in the days we speak of, when, as I say, our primary schools were first established. Our secondary schools carried on the same tradition and spirit.

As far as our vocational schools are concerned, both as regards our great schools in Dublin and the development of vocational schools that has taken place around the country, they are completely Irish in spirit.

There is a tendency among many people in the political world to declare that so many aspects of our political life today were forced upon us, including the Constitution of 1922, and that cry is backed up by others outside. That type of cry, that can be used in the political arena, is made more effective outside when directed against educational and other such institutions, particularly when speaking in terms of history in that decrying kind of way with regard to institutions of today and [79] institutions of yesterday. There is that danger there and it is one thing we have to kill.

I raised the other question with regard to the educational programme and its relation to the spirit of man by reason of the fact that when dealing with Constitutional matters during the debate on the Third Amendment of the Constitution Bill, I asked whether the opinions of individual men and women upon which our parliamentary institutions were based, were to be set aside in a sneering kind of way because they did not support the ideas or the principles of some political Party, and I was asked did I think, or did I want to suggest, that such a thing as proportional representation——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  That does not seem to be a matter for discussion on the Vote for the Department of Education.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  It does not seem to be a matter for discussion now, and I admit it is not, but I said it was unfortunate that we had to come into the House to discuss the first Estimate of the year in an atmosphere that still was agitated and rather stank with the type of discussion and the type of philosophy we had to listen to here. Education is a matter on which there is unanimity of mind in Ireland, but there are all kinds of opinions, of one kind or another, with regard to it that may easily develop into matters of bitter controversy, if we are not sure of our foundations. But, if we are sure of our foundations, and our people are fully informed as to what is the machine, what is the spirit and what is the plan working in education, then we can cold-shoulder and outflank criticisms of that kind.

But I say it is hard to understand, and very unfortunate at the moment, in view of the urgency of understanding our educational needs, on the one hand, and educational organisation, on the other, that there is so much left unsaid in what the Minister has said to us to-day. He stated:

“Fé mar is eol díbh, tá an Chomhairle Oideachais ag ullmhú a Tuairisce [80] ar chlár na meánschol agus tá súil agam go mbeidh an Tuairisc sin ar fáil roimh dheireadh na bliana.”

Tá sé sin olc go leor—that is bad enough—ach annsin dúirt sé:

“Tuairisc sin ar fáil roimh dheireadh na bliana. Foilsiú na Tuairisce sin, táim cinnte go dtabharfidh sé caoi do gach aon dream lena mbaineann, agus na scoileanna féin agus an Roinn ina measc san, cúrsaí na meánscoileanna a bhreithniú níos grinne agus, b'fhéidir, tairiscintí a chur ar aghaidh lena thuilleadh feabhais a chur ar an ardchaighdeán oibre atá á bhaint amach ins na scoileanna i gcoitnne fá láthair.”

When the Minister was concluding his reply to the discussion last year, he had so many things to reply to, naturally, that he halted for a moment to inquire if he had anything else to reply to. I suggested I could help him and he was good enough to allow me to do so. I put to him a question that I might now summarise again. The first Council of Education were asked to consider, as well as the functions of the primary school, what ought to be the programme up to 12 years of age, and they reported on that. While their recommendations on that were being considered by the Department and put to the various authoritative bodies, on the managerial and staff side, with a view to seeing how a generally acceptable reaction to the recommendations could be brought about, the Council or Education were asked to consider what was thought to be an isolated problem, that is, the programme of the secondary schools.

It was thought that, if that were considered, the way would be open, with a Government decision expected and general agreement with the teaching authorities as to what the problem up to 12 years of age would be in the primary schools, and agreement and understanding as to what would be the best programme for the secondary schools, the work that was proper to the national schools from the age of 12 up and the vocational schools could be fully considered. But when we are told that we [81] must wait, or that we can expect to wait, until the end of next year to see the report from the Council of Education on the programme for the secondary schools, the ordinary person must wonder where he is and those who must listen to the discussions going on in the country generally about improved education to meet changing world conditions and so on, are left without any knowledge of the basis upon which that other side of education will be raised and studied in a way that everybody can understand.

The account the Minister gives indicates that the natural quality and capacity of those dealing with the higher ages in the national schools is satisfactory and that they are going ahead with their work satisfactorily, and that the work of the vocational and continuation side is developing satisfactorily. So far so good, but the plan and vision that anybody looking for a proper ordering of society would expect and that the people generally would look for, as a kind of guarantee that our educational matters were properly organised, are completely absent.

I appreciate the Minister's difficulty and the Department's difficulty in the matter, but I feel, in relation to the report from the Council of Education on secondary education, there must be Departmental—and Ministerial, shall I say?—negligence of some kind. The Council was first set up in April, 1950, and the first meeting took place on 5th May, 1950, that is, the first meeting dealing with the programme in primary schools up to the age of 12. The first report was made in May, 1954. It took the Council four years to carry out its examination into the present system and have its report sent in. It was printed and in the hands of the public by August, 1954.

The first meeting of the Council to consider the secondary programme took place on 12th November, 1954, and what the Minister says to-day suggests it will take them five years to send in a report on the question I read out earlier. That question is framed in a technical way, but it covers the making of recommendations and reports on the programme in regard to [82] secondary schools. When anyone considers the work the Council had to do, taking into account its first recommendation, and the exhaustive report on the history of Irish education that they were able to give as an introduction to their report, and the ground they had to cover on the primary school programme, I find it very difficult to understand the cause of the delay.

The Minister did say in reply to me last year, I think, that he expected the report of the Council of Education in regard to the secondary school programme almost at once and I think, in the interests of our understanding, he should give us some information. The more people are told about the difficulties in approaching and considering these matters, the more they will be prepared to understand and the greater their assurance that matters of importance are not being neglected.

The Minister will have some appreciation of what arises by way of difficulties in the piling up of—shall I say? —polarisations if he looks at the statements made by, I think, the new President of the Vocational Teachers' Association. As reported in the Irish Times, 2nd April, he said:

“Constant demands are being made for facilities and training at all levels. These demands cannot be met unless the basic needs of a general education are first provided.

He suggested that the need could be satisfied by ending primary education as such at sixth class or at thirteen years of age, and that up to 15 years of age the course should be of a general nature which would include science, mathematics, manual training or domestic economy as the case may be.”

He goes on:

“I cannot agree with the suggestion that makeshifts attached to national schools should be considered even as a temporary measure.”

A statement of that kind should bring home to the Minister the type of thought, development and ideas that can gather momentum in the vaccum [83] that exists at present. We have at present recommendations from the Council of Education covering the programme up to the age of 12, but even those are left in vacuum. The Minister has indicated he is able to make provision for certain better staffing of the schools and for research in certain matters, but he has said nothing about recommendations in regard to additions to the curriculum for those up to 12 years of age. He has said nothing about what, if any, necessary consultations with teachers or managers as responsible bodies in the matter have taken place with a view to moving in some of the directions recommended by the Council of Education as I am quite sure we would all agree is desirable.

There is a complete vacuum as regards the thought that should be given to what should be going on in the national schools after 12 and in the vocational schools. That, as a basis, is not clear and the flanking institutions, the secondary schools on the other side, know nothing about what is likely to be recommended. When we see the delay that has taken place since the recommendations were first made and considered, and since acceptance of the recommendations was suggested in the Department in regard to changes in the primary school curriculum and consider the years that have passed since the Council were asked to consider the secondary programme, we find that so far as there being machinery helping the people outside to understand the position with regard to the educational structure, our great hopes in that matter have vanished, if the work of the Council of Education is not being cold-shouldered completely.

I hesitate to think that that is the position. I am prepared to think that there may be difficulties in the matter. There may be difficulties on the departmental side, as there were on the financial side, and there may be difficulties even on the side of those who are discussing very difficult problems. But I think these difficulties ought to be aired by a Minister, and if they are not, what is the use of asking the [84] Dáil to talk about educational policy? The ordinary Deputy cannot talk with any more information than the people in the streets who are writing uninformed suggestions and criticisms of our educational system.

For that reason, I do not know what kind of discussion on his Estimate the Minister can expect to get. I, for one, do not see any use in discussing any other detail of the matter. Everybody here will assure the Minister that no one wants to see any kind of clashes with regard to policy arising for any reasons in relation to the work of the Department of Education or the general work of the schools. In speaking in the way I am speaking here this afternoon, I do so rather as a cri de coeur as an ordinary member of the Dáil, who perhaps sees a little bit deeper in regard to the educational position than the ordinary Deputy might; but I speak very much for myself and very much for the ordinary Deputy.

I assure the Minister that he cannot expect any kind of reasoned discussion except on odd, scattered points of individual matters in the educational sphere in the absence of an indication of what the Government propose to do. After, no doubt, the serious and constructive conversations with the managers on the proposals for the improvement of the curriculum in the primary schools up to 12, what on earth will be done with regard to consideration of the position in the primary schools from 12 up and in the vocational schools? In the absence of that information and information on what is likely to happen in the secondary schools, the Minister can expect no reasoned discussion.

Pádraig Ó Fachtna: Information on Padraig Faulkner  Zoom on Padraig Faulkner  Tá muidinne uilig den bharúil, agus nuair a deirim muidinne ciallaím na daoine uilig a bhfuil baint acu le h-oideachas sa tír seo, go bhfuil an tAire Oideachais, Seán Ó Loingsigh, ar an Aire is éifeachtaí agus is cróga dá raibh riamh san Aireacht ó bunaíodh an Stát. Mar adúirt múinteoir amháin liomsa ar na mallaibh, rinneadh níos mó ar son an oideachais taobh istigh den dhá bhliain atá caite ná mar rinneadh le fiche bliain.

[85] Tá mé fhéin im bhall de Chumann Múinteoirí na hÉireann ó thosaigh mé ag teagasc agus is cuimhin liom, fríd na blianta, a bheith ag iarraidh i gcuideachta na múinteoirí eile, athraithe a fháil ins an chóras oideachais, a shíl muid a rachadh chun socair an oideachais sa tír seo. Ní rabh muid ábalta a thuighbeáil cad chuige nach gcuirfeadh Airí Stáit níos mó suime ins an méid a dúirt muid agus ins na h-aragóintí a bhí againn, mar, gidh nach rabh muid ag iarraidh a chur 'na luí ar an Roinn Oideachais gur againne amháin a bhí an t-eolas uilig, ag an am chéana is muidinne a bhí ag déanamh na h-oibre ins na scoileanna agus mar sin bhí sé soiléir go rabh an t-eolas praicticíul againn agus gur thuig muid na constaicí fosta.

Is cuimhin liom bliain amháin a rabh mé im ionadai ag feis bhliantúil Chumann na Múinteoiri i gCill Áirne. Bé teidiol na h-óráide a thug Uachtarán an Chumainn uaidh an bhliain sin ná ‘The Teacher—a Suspect’. B'shin an dearcadh a bhí ann ag an am sin. Buíochas le Dia agus le cuidiú fior-thábhachtach an Aire Oideachais, tá athrú mór tagaithe ar an scéal iniu, agus san ré úr atá ag foscladh amach in oideachas in Éirinn, beidh áit fé leith ag an Aire seo.

Taobh istigh de chúpla bliain tá athraithe móra tagtha ar an chóras oideachais. Tá deire curtha leis an gcosc a bhí ar mhná pósta leanstain den teagasc. Tá leabhar an chigire, leabhar a rinne an oiread sin dochar don oideachas, ar cheal. Tá deire curtha leis an ‘merit mark’, agus leis an scrúdú le daoine neamhoilte a cheapadh mar mhúinteoirí. Ach an rud is tabhachtaí ar fad tá an mothú imeasc na múinteoirí go bhfuil gradam acu nach rabh riamh acu cheana féin, go bhfuil siad saor, go dtig leo suí thart ar bhórd le h-oifigí na Roinne agus go n-aithnítear an dá thaobh a bheith ar aon chéim lena chéile, go n-aithnítear go bhfuil an cuspóir céanna acu ar aon, oideachas fónta a thabhairt do pháisti na hÉireann.

Ba mhaith liom cúpla focal a rá arís i mbliana fén stair. Abhar fíorthábhachtach atá anseo. Mo bharúil fhéin gur bunchloch na náisiúntachta í, agus go mbrathann gach gné den náisiúntacht [86] uirthi, idir teanga, cultúr, tradisiún agus uile. Ba chóir don Roinn níos mó ama a chaitheadh ar chlár níos fearr a cur ar faíl agus ar dóigheanna úra le stair a theagasc a mheas, agus na cinn is fearr a scaipeadh imeasc na múinteoirí. Tá mé go láidir den bharúil ma mhúintear an stair mar is cóir go bhfásfaidh an spiorad shibhíalta nó an ‘civic spirit’ go nadúrtha agus go mbeidh a thoradh sin ar an tír. I láthair na h-uaire níl an t-am ann san bhun-scoil le stair a theagasc mar is cóir. Tá dhá leath-uair a chloig ann sa tseachtmhain le stair na hÉireann a theagasc ón aimsir in allódh go dtí an lá atá iniu ann. Ag deireadh na bliana tá roinnt ainmneacha agus dátaí ag an pháiste, ach cailleadh an spiorad ar an bhealach agus bheadh sé chomh maith aige táiblí a trí agus a ceathair a bheith aige.

Sin Fáth amháin gur mhaith an rud é deireadh a chur leis an scrúdú le haghaidh an Teastas Bun Scoile.

Dúirt mé cheana féin go rabh mé den bharúil go rabh an scrúdú seo ag déanamh dochar don oideachas agus do labhairt na Gaeilge. Tá mé den bharúil sin go fóill. Sé an tséú rang san scoil náisiúnta an rang is tábhachtaí do 80% de pháistí na tíre seo mar ní bhfaighfidh siad a thuille oideachais formálta in a dhiaidh sin. Is beag atá ar súil sna ranganna seo anois taobh amuigh de aistí Gaeilge agus Béarla a scríobh, suimeanna a dhéanamh agus ag siar-cleachtadh scrúdaithe. Shílfeá gur am curtha amú atá san léightheoireacht, stair, tír-eolas, 7rl. Tá an páiste ré ag an aois seo leis an stair agus an tír eolas a fhoghluim agus a thuigbheáil. Tá sé riachtanach sa tsaol atá iniu ann go mbeidh an stair agus tír eolas foghlamtha go maith ag na páistí seo, ach níl an t-am ann dó. Ní ar na múinteoirí atá an locht, ach ar an chóras. Do réir mar is cuimhin liom dúirt an t-Aire nuair a rinneadh an scrúdú seo éigeantach nach gcuirfeadh sé isteach ar mharc an mhúinteora dá dteipfeadh ar pháistí sa scrúdú, ach níor casadh riamh orm múinteoir a chreid sin. Cibé ar bith ní ar na múinteoirí a chaithfimíd a bheith ag smaoitiú ach ar na páistí agus an dóigh ina bhfuil an córas a gabháil i bhfeidhm orthu sin. Mar a dúirt mé [87] ar tús, sílim nac é a leas atá san chóras mar atá sé fé láthair.

Tá fhios agam go bhfuil coimisiún ag scrúdú cheiste Aithbheocanna na Gaeilge, agus labhair mé ar feadh tamaill mhaith fé seo anuraidh, ach ba mhaith liom tagairt a dhéanamh dó arís, agus cúpla rud a mholadh.

Tá muid anois le dhá scór blian in dhiaidh triall a bhaint as módhanna múinteoireachta leis an Gaeilge a aithbheoú. D'éirigh linn an teanga a choinnilt beo agus í a scaipeadh ar fud na tíre. Tig linn a rá anois nach mbeadh sé ciallmhar ag duine ar bith rud a rá os ard i nGaeilge nár mhaith leis go mbeadh an t-eolas sin ag daoine eile. Ach ar éirigh linn an teanga a thabhairt thar n-ais mar theanga labhartha na ndaoine? Ní thig linn a rá gur éirigh linn, agus mar sin sé an rud a mholfainn don Aire ná seo, a bheith sásta gur chuidigh na módhanna a bhí againn leis an Ghaeilge a choinnilt beo agus a scaipeadh imeasc aos óg na tíre, ach a admháil go bhfuil sé soiléir go gcaithfear athruithe móra a dhéanamh anois leis an aidhm iomlán atá againn a chur i gcrích, sin an Ghaeilge a bheith againn mar theanga labhartha sa tír. Mholfainn dó, mar tús, deireadh ar fad a chur le scríobh na Gaeilge 'sna scoileanna náisiúnta go ceann deich mbliana, an bhéim ar fad a bheith ar labhairt na Gaeilge agus ina dhiaidh sin ar léamh na Gaeilge. Tá mé cóir a bheith cinnte nár thiontaigh páiste riamh in éadan na Gaeilge cions go rabh air an teanga labharta a fhoghluim. Tá sé nádúrtha teanga a fhoghluim ag páiste. Tig sé go nádúrtha chuige gan stró, gan trioblóid. Ach ní thig le gach páiste aiste a scríobh nó litriú a fhoghluim. Tá mé cinnte gur san áit seo atá an dochar á dhéanamh agus d'iarrfainn ar an Aire a gabháil isteach go mion sa cheist seo. Tá an rud céanna á rá ag daoine atá ag iarraidh an teanga a aithbheoú, le blianta fada, sin, go gcaithfidh múineadh na teanga a cheangailt le h-áthas agus le gáire.

D'iarr mé ar an Aire go minic cheana agus tá mé á iarraidh air arís deireadh a chur le scríobh aistí 'sna coláistí Gaeilge. Ní hé seo mo bharúil [88] fhéin amháín, ach barúil coiste choláiste Gaeilge, a bhfuil taithí fada acu de bheith ag reachtáil Coláiste Gaeilge. Tá leabharthaí nótaí ag na scoláirí in a ghlacann siad nótaí 'sna ranganna, agus ina bhreacan cuid acu focail a fhaghann siad ó mhuintear na h-áite. Is fiú seo. Obair fhónta atá intí. Ach rud eile ar fad atá sna h-aistí. Níl ionta seo ach gnáth-obair scoile agus ár mbarúil, am curtha amú i gColáiste Gaeilge. Baineann seo fosta leis na moltaí a rinne mé cheana féin. Ní maith leis an gnáth-pháiste a bheith ag scríobh aistí, agus rud ar bith nach maith leis, nuair atá sé a ghabháil don Gaeilge, is fearr é a sheacaint, más féidir é.

Rud amháin eile: Is minic a bhíonn an Ghaeilge riachtanach do phostanna, go mór mhór, nuair a bhíonn an obair le déanamh ag an duine a thógtar comhgarach don Ghaeltacht. Tá mé go mór i bhfáthach le seo. Tá sé riachtanach leis an teanga a choinnilt beo sna h-áiteacha sin. Ach seo rud ar mhaith liom tagairt dó. Is minic nach bhfaghann an duine go bhfuil na cáilíochtaí is fearr aige an post agus nuair a chuirtear cheist fá dtaobh den fháth deirtear nach bhfuair sé é, gidh go rabh Gaeilge mhaith aige, cionnus nach rabh a chuid eolais ar an teanga foirstineach (competent). Tá mé den bharúil go bhfuil seo ag déanamh dochair do'n Ghaeilge agus ag tarraingt dí-mheas uirthí.

Ba mhaith liom a iarraidh ar an Aire an bhfuil sé sásta leis an scrúdú do na Coláistí Ullmhucháin fé mar tá sé fé láthair, nó an bhfuil an tír nó an teanga a fháil an toradh as an chóras uilig a bhí in intinn na ndaoine a bhunaigh an córas céana.

Ag tagairt do na Coláistí Oiliúna bhfuil muid sásta go bhfuil an dóigh is fearr againn le múinteoirí a oiliúint? Táimid ag glacadh daoine óga isteach sna coláistí oiliúna agus á gcoinnilt annsin ar feadh dhá bhliain. Is beag an bhaint a bhíonn acu leis an gnáthshaol fhad is a bhíonn siad sa choláiste. Tagann siad amach as an choláiste i ndiaidh an scrúdú deiridh a dhéanamh agus táimid a dúil go mbeidh siad in a dtreoraithe sna ceanntair ina mbeidh siad ag teagasc. Ní fheicim fhéin caidé mar thig leo a [89] bheith nuair nach bhfuil baint acu leis na daoine fhad is bhíonn siad sa choláiste.

Ba mhaith liom arís, a iarraidh ar an Aire gan dearmad a dhéanamh de na múinteoirí a chuaigh ar phinsiún roimh 1950. Rinne ár sean-mhúinteoirí obair mhór le linn cogadh na saoirse agus arís lenár dteanga a aithbheoú agus sílim go bhfuil sé de cheart acu sin, b'fhéidir thar dream ar bith eile sa tír, nach ndéanfar dearmad díofa.

Molaim an tAire as ucht an uimhir de scoileanna nua a cuireadh suas i rith na bliana a ghabh tharainn. Tá roinnt daoine ag cáineadh an Aire cions nár tógadh níos mó scoileanna i rith na tréimhse sin ach ní foláir dúinn a choimilt ós comhair ár naigne an méad mór airgid gur gá a fhaghail le haghaidh na hoibre sin agus, fosta, tárlaíonn sé go minic gur'ab iad na daoine a dhéanann an chasaoid sin na daoine céanna a bhíos ag casaoid faoi's na cáineacha sa Chainfhaisnéis.

Iarraim ar an Aire scrudú a dhéanamh ar cheist na nionadaithe do mhuinteoirí. Tá sé fíor-dheachair ionadaithe a fhagháil fé láthair. Ní dhéarfaidh mé a thuille 'sa chás sin anois ach bhéinn buidhioch do'n Aire dá ndeantaí an cheist sin fé'n a scrúdú.

Is é Inniu, dar liom, is mó a gheibheann deontas ón Aire agus nach bhfaigheann na foilseacháin nua ach an chaolchuid. D'iarr mé anuraidh ar an Aire an deontas a thabhairt don pháipéar sin na Gaeltachta—Amáireach—agus ní dhearna sé rud orm. Mar is eol do chách, cuireann muintir na Gaeltachta suim mhór sna nithe a tharlaíonn ina ndúthaigh féin. Bíonn an nuacht sin le fáil in Amáireach agus, mar gheall ar sin, is ceart, dar liom, go bhfaighdís deontas airgid ón Rialtas—mar ní bheadh ann ach cothrom na Féinne. Níl fhios agam an léightear Inniu go fairsing sa Ghaeltacht—bfhéidir go léightear ach tá sé cinnte, mura gcuirtear eolas ar fáil dóibh i nGaeilge faoina ndúthaigh féin, go loirgeoidh siad an t-eolas sin i nuachtáin Béarla.

Is áthas liom a cloisint go bhfuil sé ar intinn ag an Aire líon na scoláirí ins [90] na ranganna a laghdú. Iarraim air cuimhniú go speisialta ar scoileanna fé'n dtuaith, áit a bhfuil níos mó ná rang amháin fé gach muinteóir. Is dóigh liom go bhfuil fíorghá le laghdú a dhéanamh ar uimhir na scoláirí sna ranganna in a leithéidí sin de scoileanna.

Traoslaím don Aire thar cheann an mheid oibre fóghanta atá déanta aige i rith na bliana agus sílim go mbeidh múinteoirí uile na tíre ar aon fhocal liom san méid sin.

Mr. Palmer: Information on Patrick W. Palmer  Zoom on Patrick W. Palmer  Having been absent from the State for some time, I did not know, until I arrived here this afternoon at about 3 o'clock, that this Estimate would be taken today. For that reason, it would be very difficult for me to deal with the Estimates in a detailed fashion. I listened to the Minister's opening speech, which was all in Irish; then I listened to the former Minister for Education, Deputy Mulcahy, and, just now, Deputy Faulkner. They were all very interesting. While they spoke entirely in Irish I think that I, a former teacher, will speak in the language that the few Deputies present at the moment will understand——

Mr. Crotty: Information on Patrick J. Crotty  Zoom on Patrick J. Crotty  Agreed.

Mr. Palmer: Information on Patrick W. Palmer  Zoom on Patrick W. Palmer  ——not that I have anything to add to what Deputy Mulcahy, the former Minister for Education, and Deputy Faulkner have said in Irish.

Seán Ó Loinsigh: Information on John Lynch  Zoom on John Lynch  Is féidir le morán de's na Teachtaí atá annseo anois an Gaeilge do thuiscint go maith, freisin.

Mr. Palmer: Information on Patrick W. Palmer  Zoom on Patrick W. Palmer  In view of my present difficulties in relation to these Estimates, I propose to refer to matters of education from the teacher's point of view. From the foundation of this State, all our Ministers for Education have done their best to provide a system of education suitable to the needs of our people. A programme conference was held about 1923 or 1924 at which the question of the best method by which Irish would be restored as the living language in this country was dealt with.

[91] I need not go into details of the programme then advanced, set up and recognised by the Department of Education. After 35 years, or more, I am afraid many people are disappointed with the results of the steps taken to advance the restoration of Irish as the spoken language of our people. We must admit that it is a difficult problem. Very many educationalists hold that it is most peculiar that when children who come from an English-speaking home go into the school they hear nothing but Irish and that it is not the best way by which to advance the language.

I have been associated for a long time with an organisation which always held that that was not the correct way and the I.N.T.O. has frequently requested the Department to have a reassessment of the methods employed to restore the language. Neither the Department, which I do not blame, nor the Ministers have accepted the requests of that organisation, although I hold that the people who have to teach in the schools should be the best judges of how to restore the language. I do not mean to say that at the inception of this policy in 1922, 1923 and down the years, the teachers had sufficient knowledge of Irish to make the progress that the Ministers and the Department expected them to make. I am sure they all did their best and, in fact, I remember before the foundation of the State, when I first became a teacher, that we went voluntarily to Irish colleges to learn the language. Not only did we learn the Irish language but we learned it during our holidays. I believe that the conditions under which we studied Irish were more congenial by far than the conditions after 1922 and 1923, when it became more or less compulsory.

People say that teaching through Irish is compulsory. That is not exactly the situation. That really only occurs where the teacher has a sufficient knowledge of Irish, and the pupils have a sufficient knowledge of Irish, and would apply, I suppose, to the Fíor-Ghaeltacht and Gaeltacht areas in which the children imbibe a knowledge of the language during the best years of their young lives. I do not [92] know whether inspectors still give a mark to the teachers in accordance with their knowledge of the language and that shown by their pupils. If it is still the position, it is not good for advancing the restoration of the language. Personally, I never had any grievance in that regard. Not being a native speaker I never had sufficient knowledge of the language to impart to my pupils all that I desired, from the point of view of the spoken language. I had the knowledge from the point of view of grammar and otherwise, as any teacher in my generation had. I do not think we are going the correct way about the restoration of the Irish language.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish  Zoom on Brendan Corish  So it seems.

Mr. Palmer: Information on Patrick W. Palmer  Zoom on Patrick W. Palmer  I think the time has come when there should be some reassessment of the position. The Minister, who is certainly doing a good job, like his predecesors, should, before he leaves office, do something to bring about some kind of conference of teachers, representatives of the Department of Education, managers and parents. When I say parents I really mean parents and not professional gentlemen who may not be parents at all. I am speaking now from the primary school point of view. Unless there is a proper system by which the children could be taught Irish during their years in the primary schools, with that system continued on again to something like a higher primary school programme, and continued afterwards for those children who go on to secondary and vocational schools and universities, I do not think you will ever restore the Irish language to the position of being the general language of the country.

Just like anything else, education in general must be built up from the very foundation, from the very time the child comes to school. It must continue through the classes in the primary school, in the secondary school, in the vocational school and in the universities. As you are all aware, only about ten per cent. of the children of this State—I do not know about other States—can continue that programme. Anything from 85 to 90 per cent. of the children finish their [93] education in the primary school so that the real foundation of education is in the national school.

If you want to carry on education properly, you must first of all think of the child when he or she comes to school at five or six years of age. You must consider the school and its surroundings, the type of teacher and the school programme which would be suitable to the position that exists in all the schools. Teachers will remember when a child first comes to school, full of hope. It is like a new world to the child coming from home. We all realise the importance of the home upbringing, not only in childhood but afterwards when in adult life, so that you must combine the home first of all with the school and afterwards with whatever education the child can get.

We have spent millions on education. I see that in this Estimate there is an increase—which, of course, I appreciate very much—but I wonder will we get full value for the money expended because that is what we must think of here. If we are getting full value and if the children of this country are advancing in education, not only from the point of view of passing examinations and getting a position in life, but also of getting the type of education that will improve their characters and their scholarship, and make them the type of men and women this country will want for the advancement of its cultural and economic position, well and good. Some people may ask why we should educate our children to such an extent, as mostly they will emigrate. I take a different view from that, and I am sure all members of the House do so, too, because no matter where the youth of this country go, whether they stay at home or emigrate to England, America or elsewhere, we should ensure that they have the best type of education to enable them to take their places with the people of other countries in which they may find themselves.

As I stated, primary education is our children's basic education. It is in the primary schools that basic knowledge is gained by the vast majority of the [94] children of this country. The advantages given by scholarships under various headings—secondary or university —do not really count because only a small percentage of our children qualify for scholarships. In fact, I think that most of the money spent thus is not to the advantage of many of the pupils who qualify for them. Some people hold that we should not make these scholarships available because the people who get them and go to secondary schools or universities subsequently emigrate. That is no reason why they should not be able to avail of them. It is not so much the amount of money we can make available but the amount of education we can make available that counts. It is the use that can be made of the money so that our children will be among the best educated in the world, whether in primary or national schools, or secondary schools and universities.

We should have schools which are fit for our children. We have some of the best and some of the worst schools at present. The fault really does not lie with ourselves at all, or with any Minister for Education or with the Department. We were left with a legacy of miserable schools which were not fit to house even cattle. Wonderful improvements have been made in the building of new schools, the renovation of old schools and so on, and let us hope within a certain number of years, perhaps five years or ten years. We shall have some of the best built and most comfortable schools of any country in the world.

I believe the schools being built now are rather costly. They are bound to be costly because they are, perhaps, a little elaborate. In 40 or 50 years' time, we may want a different type of school as happens with any other type of building. The same holds good for vocational schools which are most costly. Our vocational schools are situated in villages and towns, but I think they should be built somewhere in the rural areas. After all, vocational education should deal principally with matters other than primary education. Provision should be made by which gardening talks and talks in connection with agriculture would be provided. They [95] should not deal so much with the subjects dealt with by the primary schools but, so far as I know, when children leave the national schools and go to the vocational schools, for a long time they learn the same subjects as they did in the national schools.

I think the fault lies in the fact that children are allowed by the regulations, I believe, to leave the national schools at the age of 12 years and to go to the vocational schools. I think I heard Deputy Mulcahy dealing with the ending of national education at 12 years of age. According to the school Attendance Act, 14 years is the school-leaving age. That point should be put before the Council of Education to deal with because children, especially in the rural areas where they have to go long distances, cannot start attending school until they are five or even six years of age and to attain the eight standard in a primary school takes seven or eight years.

To my mind, a higher primary school should be attached to every national school in areas where there is no secondary school available which, of course, is the position in almost all rural areas. Having got that extra education in the higher primary school until they are 16 years of age, they could then go to the vocational school for at least two years or more. I am speaking now of children whose parents cannot afford to send them to a secondary school to do their intermediate and leaving certificate examinations, their matriculation examination, or to the university. I am thinking of the children of the ordinary people who cannot afford to do that.

I know that all this would entail the expenditure of further money, but, after all, if we are to look ahead and plan ahead, we must remember that the progress of our people and their prosperity will depend on the educational advancement of our youth. For the welfare of the children in primary schools, the teachers must be well trained and well qualified. They must have a vocation for the work just as in any other profession. There is something special about teaching. The men and women who go forward for [96] that position must have some vocation for the job. They must be fond of children in a general way and wish to see them advance. I can assure the House that, if a teacher has not a vocation, that teacher will feel somewhat out of place and will not carry out the education of the child in character and mind as it should be done so that the child may be able to take its place in the future work of the State.

The selection of teachers is very important. In each school there are various types of children. In order to do the job properly, the teachers must have some idea of the home life of the child and of the type of child to be dealt with. Those three matters— the child, the school and the teacher— are well worthy of consideration. If any teacher finds, after having been trained, that he or she is not really made to be a teacher, it would be better for that person to try something else.

In regard to the curriculum, the present programme was drawn up in 1923 or 1924. Some reassessment of that programme is necessary; especially in connection with the method of teaching Irish and the restoration of the Irish language. It is felt generally that the money expended on the restoration of Irish has not brought about the situation which was expected of it. That is not exactly the fault of the teachers, who have done their best. It is not really the fault of the Minister for Education or of his Department. Perhaps the Council of Education or some other body should be asked at this stage to look into the whole matter, to see what progress has been made and what has been done. I understand that some such commission was set up recently. I do not know its constitution or if it has reported, but I hope it had in its membership people who understand the position as regards primary, secondary and university education.

During the past couple of weeks, the Minister heard the views of the national teachers, at their congress in Youghal. He also attended the Congress of Secondary Teachers and the Congress of Vocational Teachers. I am [97] sure that nothing which anyone here could say would enlighten him more than what he heard there.

I turn now to the question of the pre-1950 pensioned teachers, of which mention was made prior to the Adjournment last December and of which every Minister for Education is aware since this partition of pensioned teachers was made in 1950. When the Minister received a deputation of teachers, representatives of the various Parties in this House, two or three months ago, he was very sympathetic. We hope now that the financial position has improved, he will be able to meet the demands of these teachers to some extent. Successive Ministers for Education have always done their best and there is no question of any of us trying to gain political advancement because of our views on education. We have always tried, within our organisations of teachers—the I.N.T.O. and the organisations covering teaching in the secondary and vocational schools and in the universities—to see what can be done for the advancement of education, which is really the foundation of all the progress the State may make.

It is only right that the teachers of the past, who taught the children in difficult times, who retired before the 1st of January 1950 and who were deprived of their gratutities, should have something done for them now, to give them the benefits which they seek. As members of the deputation to the Minister last November or December said to him, if the financial position will not allow him to give the full gratuities payable to those teachers, he should at least ensure that the Minister for Finance in his Budget, this day week, makes some provision by which those poor old people, many of whom are on very small and miserable pensions, will have some happiness before they pass to the next world.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish  Zoom on Brendan Corish  I do not think anyone could make any criticism of our general system of education. That is obvious from the fact that there has not been any such general criticism by members of this House for very many years. Generally, in regard to education, [98] we are as good as most other countries. Ministers have come and gone in the last 20 years and, while they have not made revolutionary changes, they have made changes which could be termed improvements.

The main bone of contention seems to be the position of the Irish language and the question whether or not it retards the progress of the pupils, especially in primary and secondary schools. The Minister made scant reference to it, though he did give the reason why he did not elaborate on the position of the Irish language; he said it was due to the fact that a commission had been set up—in his speech he described the body as a committee; I think it is a commission—to consider the steps which should be taken to advance the language.

That is a step in the right direction, but I trust this commission will report very, very soon because there is no doubt whatsoever that, if we continue as at present, cynicism as far as the Irish language is concerned will grow more and more. There is a certain amount of cynicism now with regard to Irish. Possibly that is due to the situation in which we find ourselves, a situation in which boys and girls learn the language only to find that it is useless to them because they have to emigrate in search of employment. The Minister might at least have told us—he failed, as far as I remember, to do it last year—about the progress that has taken place, if there has been any progress. One of the surest indications as to whether or not there is progress would be an expansion in the Gaeltacht area and an increase in the population in that area. Questions along those lines were posed to the Minister last year, but I do not think any reply was forthcoming.

It seems to me now we must adopt a new approach to the language and to the teaching of it in the schools. I am not alone in my belief in that regard. Neither is this the first occasion on which that suggestion has been made by me and other people too. Every time a new Minister takes office in the Department of Education he seems to adopt the same attitude as that adopted by all his predecessors. [99] It is a well-intentioned attitude, but the Minister should remember that he has now an admirable opportunity of making a name for himself if he does something to revolutionise the approach with regard to the Irish language. I have no hesitation in saying that he is a good Minister. He is approachable. He does not snap the nose off one when asked a civil question here. That is more than can be said about some of his colleagues. It is more than can be said about many Ministers. In the last two years the Minister has made many changes, changes which have benefited both pupils and teachers.

My views as to how the language could be furthered are already on record. I disagree with Deputy Palmer in his statement that there is no compulsion in the teaching of Irish. Irish is a compulsory subject. There is no doubt about that. The pupil in the primary school must learn Irish. The pupil in the secondary school must learn Irish. I do not say the children should not have Irish. They should, but as long as they are slapped for not knowing it and as long as they must have it in order to get into certain employment, so long will it be an imposition upon them and, therefore, something to be resented.

I welcome the increase in the grant for the heating and cleaning of schools. The percentage increase is a welcome one and I hope that it will be spent on the heating and cleaning of schools.

The Minister said that the number of pupils in the national schools continues to increase. As a matter of interest I should like to know how that increase has come about in view of the fact that we have a declining population. There are no outward indications that I know of that the population is increasing, even taking into account the natural increase in births because that increase is more than offset by emigration. Is the explanation that children are now put on the rolls who did not appear on the rolls hitherto? Sometimes very young children of 2½, 3, 4, 5 and six years of age toddle along to school but are not registered until they reach the age at [100] which they should normally appear on the rolls. Is it the practice now to register these children and is that the explanation of the increase?

I should like to mention something now which has caused me some concern in the past. There are some boys and girls who work longer hours than many workmen. Under the Conditions of Employment Act a man can work only a certain number of hours per week; after that he must be paid overtime at the appropriate rate depending upon the duration of the overtime. Workmen, in other words, get a bonus for extra effort. What is the situation as far as these boys and girls in our schools are concerned? I know pupils who turn into school at nine o'clock in the morning; they break at 12.30 for three quarters of an hour; they resume at 1.15 p.m. and they finish school at 3.30. They get an hour's break and they go back again until half-past five, and they get such a colossal amount of homework they have to be hunted up to bed at 11 o'clock. Does that make for topnotch scholars? Does it make these pupils gold medalists? Does it equip them in such a way that they can command the best jobs in the country? Does it mean they go abroad equipped to take a leading place in whatever profession they chose? Frankly, I do not think all this work is good and I should like to know from the Minister if he considers it necessary? Who is responsible for all this work, I do not know. I suggest the Minister ought to inquire into this aspect of our education system. I do not know what is gained by compelling boys and girls to study for four or five months of the year for 12 hours a day. I do not think it is right. I do not think it is fair to the children or their families. It is certainly not good for their health.

The House applauded the action taken by the Minister's predecessor, the late Deputy Seán Moylan. He had a very human approach to the general idea of education—I do not say that the Minister is, or that his predecessors were, lacking in that respect—and he gave the teachers permission to devote one hour per week to [101] any subject they themselves might choose or any subject in which they thought the children might be interested. It could be rural science.

As far as the late Seán Moylan was concerned, so long as the children learned something, the subject chosen was a matter of indifference to him. It could be Gaelic football, soccer, or practically anything under the sun, as long as it was designed to increase the children's knowledge, especially their general knowledge. I should like to know from the Minister if he has any indication as to whether or not this hour is utilised by the teachers, and, if it is, whether or not it is the success which the late Seán Moylan and all of us hoped it would be. I suggest that that hour could be well spent, especially in secondary schools, in the education of pupils in matters which are very vital to the country.

The Budget will be introduced next week. To hundreds of thousands of people a budget means some instrument in Dáil Éireann which determines whether the price of cigarettes or beer will be increased or decreased. In the secondary school—I shall not say the primary school—this hour, or an hour to be provided, ought to be spent in educating the youth as to how the country or a local authority is administered. This country has the reputation, especially in America, of being very politically-minded, merely because we provided a certain number of politicians in America over the last hundred years, but the masses of the people know very little about pure politics or political economy. I do not want them to become professors of that subject or to have the detailed knowledge that officials in the Department of Finance would have but at least the teenage children should be taught, for instance, what rates are, how the money is collected and how it is spent.

Side by side with that instruction there could be inculcated a sense of civic pride and civic responsibility. That is merely a suggestion. It is necessary that such things should be taught rather than that the youth should receive their general education from films and the radio, over which [102] we have no real control. In regard to films we have only censorship control. In regard to the radio we have a certain control in that we have Radio Éireann but there are thousands of children who prefer to listen to the B.B.C. light programme or Home Service or, more unfortunate still, Luxembourg or A.F.N.

The Minister, as the leader of education in this country, can do a great deal to brighten schools. Some of them look like dungeons. The primary school should not look like a lecture hall or operating theatre. It should be a pleasant place. Many of the convent and Christian Brother schools in Wexford have been made attractive by the use of educational charts, views, and nature study pictures. That system should be encouraged by the Department. It may be suggested that such pictures might divert the attention of the pupils from their lessons but I do not think they would have that effect. They certainly would make the school a much more pleasant place.

School has become a much more pleasant place than it was even 20 years ago. There is greater appreciation, greater tolerance, greater liking of school on the part of the children now. There does not appear to be the same amount of “mitching” as there used to be or the same reluctance to go to school. The children seem to go gladly to school, and that is a good thing. By a circular to the managers and heads of schools, the Minister could encourage them to brighten the schools.

I support Deputy Palmer's plea on behalf of the pre-1950 pensioned teachers. Ministers for Education, I am sure, have tried to prevail upon various Ministers for Finance to do something for these people. They seem to get nothing but sympathy. They get sympathy from Labour Deputies, Fine Gael, Clann na Poblachta and Fianna Fáil Deputies, but the difficulty is to persuade the Minister for Finance to give the money. If the Minister for Finance has a little to spare—there is not a great deal of money involved—he should rectify the grievance of these ex-teachers in the [103] 1959 Budget. They are a deserving section of the community. They laboured under difficulties which do not affect existing teachers. As Deputy Palmer said, they are coming to the end of their years in difficult times. They had a difficult time during their period of service because of the bad schools in which they had to work. They had a difficult time in fitting their pupils to take their part in the world. We would all agree with and applaud a statement in the Budget to the effect that the Minister for Finance would pay to these people the balance which everybody believes to be their due.

The section of the Whitaker Report which deals with education is a most valuable contribution to economic progress. The author emphasises education and, in particular, vocational education. Various Ministers and various Governments have done a great deal in recent years for vocational education. Ministers for Education have provided certain facilities. They have provided plenty of schools and have provided money over the last two or three years for education but that is not sufficient in itself.

We have a Minister and Department of Education sympathetic towards vocational education. We have excellent teachers and it looks as if we have the pupils, that is, generally speaking. Some schools may be slack, but there is something else equally important to ensure the success of vocational education and to ensure that the best benefits will be derived from it for the general good of the country. In short, in my opinion, we must have greater co-operation from industry and commerce, and from the trade union movement. When I say “industry and commerce” I do not mean the Department of Industry and Commerce or the Minister for Industry and Commerce; I mean industry and I mean commerce in this country.

It seems obvious to me from one paragraph in his speech that the Minister is not at all satisfied that there is that co-operation about which I have just spoken. At page 10 in the English [104] version of his speech, the Minister says:

“Attendances at day-release technical courses for trade apprentices on the other hand remains almost stationary at about 2,500, which in view of its value and possibilities is to be regretted. About 60% of the pupils enrolled are from Dublin, while nine county vocational schemes and two urban schemes show no enrolment for this type of course.”

It may, therefore, be that there is reluctance on the part of many of the employers to allow their apprentices to go to the technical schools. I am sure there is in many places, but these employers should realise the advantage there is to be derived, not alone for their apprentices but for themselves, in having their apprentices better equipped to do the job in which they are engaged.

For that reason, therefore, an extra effort should be made to ensure that employers and manufacturers generally and those engaged in trade and business will allow their apprentices or their younger workers to go to these technical courses which are provided for them by the ratepayers and taxpayers of the community.

I know that the personnel of many of the vocational committees are excellent people. They are representative of the local bodies, in the main, of people who are educated in industry and of the different teaching establishments throughout the country, but I think the Minister should make an effort nationally at first, that is, between the trade union movement, the vocational educational committees and the different Chambers of Commerce, the Federated Union of Employers or the other employers associations, to ensure that industry and commerce will derive the greatest advantages possible from vocational education.

I know there is no use denying that vocational education in some places has fallen into disrepute by reason of some of the mistakes which have been made. Some of them have initiated or established courses for this that or the other thing with bare promises to the [105] effect that there would be an adequate attendance and without giving real thought as to whether or not the course would be a success or not. That sort of course, to my mind, merely means wasteful expenditure for the ratepayers and the taxpayers. It is something that should be guarded against.

I would not say that every twopence-halfpenny demand for a special course for this, that or the other should be resisted but the vocational schools should be on their guard to ensure that they will not be a dead loss financially, as far as the ratepayers and taxpayers of the country are concerned. There should be some sort of uniformity with regard to these courses. As far as I can gather, in many parts of the country, courses are initiated at the drop of a hat—courses for the shearing of sheep, courses for this, that or the other and for all sorts of silly things. There should be some uniformity in the courses run by the technical schools. I think the Minister can give a lead in that.

Lastly, I should like to advocate what I advocated last year, that is, a system of vocational guidance. Again, I think the Minister can give a lead in this regard. I do not say that he can ensure that there will be some association or some form of vocational guidance in every city, town or village in Ireland, but, again, I think we should try to insist by a mere word in a circular to the different teaching establishments in the country that there ought to be vocational guidance. I think parents certainly would welcome it.

As I said last year, too often have we a situation where boys and girls, at the behest of their parents, merely go in for education. I remember asking a person last year or the year before what was her daughter going to be. The person in question was a shopkeeper and she said she would not put her child behind the counter but would put her into education. That is pretty vague. It is just as vague as the plans that many parents have for their children.

In my opinion, there is not sufficient liaison between the teaching establishments in this country and the parents [106]—the people who really matter. I suppose a child could go right through the primary school and the secondary school without any sort of discussion or conversation taking place between that child's parents and any of the teachers who have taught him over a period of ten or 15 years.

I do not want to wish any trouble on the teachers in this country. I know that could cause a tremendous lot of trouble. There could be many difficulties with what could be termed a parents' association. Periodical meetings between the parents and the teachers in any town or village might develop into a bit of a brawl now and again. There ought to be some sort of liaison so that the parents would have the advantage of knowing from the teacher how, if at all, a child is progressing in a particular subject and so that the parent could get an opinion from the teacher as to what that boy or girl would be best suited for. The parents ought to be enabled to know whether the child should try for the Civil Service, should be encouraged to go on to win a scholarship to the university, should try to apprentice himself or herself to a trade, should leave school and try to get a good labouring job.

I think that vocational guidance is important. It is something to which we have not paid sufficient attention in this country. Once again, I urge upon the Minister to ensure that there is some system of vocational guidance which will get the best out of our vocational facilities.

Donnchadh Mac Seoin:  Is mian liom ar dtúis comhgháirdeachas a dhéanamh leis an Aire agus leis an Roinn maidir leis an oráid a rinne an tAire um thráthnóna. Ba mhaith liom a chloisint uaidh an dul chun cinn atá deanta maidir lena lán rudaí i rith na bliana. Nuair a fhéachann muid ar dtuis ar an meastachán so ba chóir duinn cuimhneamh go b'fheidir go bhfuil baint aige leis an gcúigiú cuid de mhuintir na hÉireann.

Cuidíonn an méad airgid atá soláthraithe annseo suas le sé céad míle daltai scoile, cioca ins na bhun scoileanna, ins na meán-scoileanna nó sna ceardscoileanna [107] agus, nuair a smaoineann muid ar sin ní dóigh liomsa, ar aon chor, gur mór an méad airgid í i gcóir séirbhís mar seo a thugann caoi do na leanbhaí tús maith a chur ar a saol annseo.

Tosnaígheann an t-Aire annseo leis an mBord Oideachais agus san méid sin atá ráite aige, is soiléir dúinn go léir go bhfuil a lán maitheasa tagtha as an méid a roinneadh san bhliain atá thart.

Déanann sé tagairt don méadú ar líon na scoláirí atá ag freastal ar na scoileanna Náisiúnta agus cionnus mar chuir sin isteach ar obair na múinteoirí. Sé mo bharamhail féin gur ceart agus cóir na daltaí a choimeád sna scoileanna comh fáda agus is féidir agus dá mba rud é go bhféadfaí an aois scoile a ardú, sílim go dtiocfadh tairbhe ana-mhór as sin. Ins na bun scoileanna fágann an chuid is mó díbh an scoil nuair a bhíonn an séú rang sroichte amach aca. Téigheann cuid acu ar na meán scoileanna agus cuid eile ar na ghairm scoileanna, acht an méid ata fágtha ni theigheann siad ar aon scoil ar bith. Is dóigh liomsa gur fearr dóibh sin dá bhfanaidís ar scoil ar feadh tamaill eile, ós rud é go nglacann siad, nó an chuid is mó díbh, obair nach bhfuil oiriúnach dóibh.

Maidir leis an meadú ar lion na múinteoiri a tharla i rith na bliana is dóigh nach ró-luath a tharla sé, go mór mór mar do bhí méadú ar líon na scoláirí, a rinne mé tagairt do cheana. Ina theannta sin is maith an rud é a chloisint o'n Aire go bhfuil sé ar intinn aige na ranganna a ísliú chun feabhas a dhéanamh ar an gcoibhneas idir mhúintéoiri agus scoláirí, agus do bhí trácht aige ar an meán-thinreamh atá riachtanach, agus an méid atá ar na rollaí. Cuideóchaidh sé sin go leor chun feabhsú ar an gcaighdeán oideachais mar beidh níos mó ama ag múinteoir a bheidh in ndon níos mó cúram spesialta a thabhairt do no leanbhaí san rang. Ní feidir é sin a dhéanamh nuair a bhíonn a lán daltaí san rang. Sar a bhfágaim an cheist sin is mian liom tagairt a dhéanamh do thógáil scoileanna. Is mór an dul ar agaidh atá déanta, gan dobhta, ach is mó ná sin an dul ar agaidh atá le [108] déanamh fós sul is feidir an cheist a chur ar leath taoibh. Ní feidir sin a dhéanamh nó go mbíonn scoileanna oiriúnacha ar fághail in ngach aird den tír. Beidh seans againn níos mó a rá ar an gcheist sin ar Meastacháin an Taoisigh.

Maidir le meán oideachas tá feabhas tagtha leis ar an méid daltaí atá ag freastáil ar na meán scoileanna. Taispáineann sé sin an creideamh ata ag na daoine in oideachas. Maidir le spreagadh ár dteanga féin, rinne mé tagairt do seo anuraidh, agus sílim gur maith an rud é go bhfhuil dul ar agaidh déanta maidir le soláthar an Foclóir Béarla-Ghaeilge. Is mor an chabhair sin do mhúinteóiri na tíre chun an gramadach agus an foclóir céanna a theagasc.

Caithfidh mé trácht a dhéanamh ar ghairm oideachais agus nílim i ndon caint ach i leith mo chontae féin. Tá dhá bhaile mhóra sa chontae sin, Rath Caola agus Cill Moceallóg nach bhfuil gairm scoile ann. Tá fhios againn go bhfuil plan ar fághail maidir le scoil i Rath Caola acht níl fhios againn cad a tharla do. Ba mhaith liom go ndéanfadh an t-Aire fiosrú cionnus tá an scéal maidir leis an scoil sin, agus go mbeidh se ábalta a rádh go dtosnóchfar ar thógail na scoile sa bhliain atá le teacht.

Ba mhaith an rud é fosta cloisint go bhfuil méadú tagtha ar líon na daltaí sna ollscoileanna. Is breagh sin a fheiscint agus is maith an rud é go bhfuil níos mó airgead ar fáil ar son na n-ollscoileanna. Bhféidir go bhfuil daoine ann a deireadh nach ceart sin a bheith ós rud é nach bhfuil postanna go leor le fáil aca nuair a fhágann siad na hollscoileanna.

Mas rud é go mbíonn ar dhaoine óga dul as an tír, bheadh sé i bhfad níos fearr dá dtéidís as an tír oilte go maith. Más mian leo imeacht nó más amhlaidh go mbéadh orthu imeacht ní ceart go n-imeochaidh siad gan an t-oideachas sin. Gheibheann siad na postanna de bharr an oideachais a bhíonn acu.

Rinneadh tagairt anseo tráthnóna maidir leis na h-iarrathoirí múinteoireachta. Anuraidh nocht an t-Aire dúinn [109] go raibh ar intinn aige teist a bheith aige, ar a mbíonn an t-ábhar a gheibheann siad sna coláistí oiliúna oiriúnach don oideachas. Sílim go bhfuil tús curtha i mbliana ar an méid sin. I mbliana, leis, tá tús dhá chur ar bhéaltheist na Gaeilge, maidir leis an Árd Teistiméaracht. Is maith an rud é go bhfuilimíd ar intinn níos mó feidhm a bhaint as labhairt na Gaeilge agus a theaspáint comh tábhachtach agus atá sé go mbéadh an Ghaeilge dá labhairt i bhfad níos mó ná mar a bhí. Chabhróchadh sé i bhfad níos mó le dul ar aghaidh na teangan ná mar a thuigeann daoine fé láthair.

Rinneadh tagairt anseo tráthnóna maidir le gluaiseacht na Gaeilge ins na scoleanna agus nocht Teachta anseo, atá ar mo thaobh féin, go bhfuil saghas dabht aige maidir le na leithéid, gur ar éigin atá dul ar aghaidh déanta againn. Is í an Ghaeilge an ghnáh-theangain in a lán áiteanna agus úsaidtear í idir mhúinteoirí agus leanaí. Tá orm a rá arís i mbliana mo thuairim faoi seo—ná bhfuil iachall agus nach raibh iachall ann, an Ghaeilge a chur, mar a déarfá, síos tré mhuineál éinne, sé sin, nach mbíonn ar mhuinteoirí aon scoil ábhar a mhúineadh ach más rud é go bhfuil siad sásta go mbíonn na leanaí oiriúnach agus sásta, agus go bhfuil sé ar chumas aige féin an t-ábhar a mhúineadh tré Ghaeilge.

Nuair a bhí an Teachta Mac Fheorais ag labhairt ar an cheist sin, dúirt sé rud éigin maidir le “Irish compulsory” mar go mbíonn orthu í a chleachtadh agus í a mhúineadh chun dul isteach san seirbhís, nó go mbíonn sí le deanamh acu sna scrúduithe. Sin é mar atá an scéal agus ní dóigh liom go bhfuil a mhalairt de scéal in aon tír eile. Cén fáth go dtógfaí an Ghaeilge? Cén fáth nach bhfuil tracht ar “Compulsory English” nó “Compulsory Mathematics”? Sé an rud céanna atá i gceist. Mar a dúirt mé anuraidh, sílim go ndéanann sé maitheas d'intinn an leinbh an teanga a bheith dá múineadh.

Is féidir an chéim ar agaidh atá tógtha againn a mheas más rud é go smaoinfimíd ar an méid Gaeilge a chloistear anois. Tá fhios againn an tsuim atá dhá chur ag daoine móra inti i ranganna Gaeilge a bhíonn ar siúl faoi na Coistí Ghairm Oideachais. [110] Chímíd an méid daoine a bhíonn ag céilithe. Chímíd an caoi inar féidir le muintir na tíre nuair a théann siad isteach ag cuirmeacha ceóil—go mórmhór nuair bhíonn leanaí ann—go dtuigeann siad an méid a bhíonn ar siúl. Tá an méid sin á chleachtadh agus ag dul ar agaidh. Chímíd go bhfuil daoine ag leanúint sa Mheán—Oideachas agus sna hOllscoileanna, daoine a d'fholuim a gcuid Gaeilge roimhe sin agus atá dhá leanúint anois chun céim Ollscoile a bhaint amach. Níor dhein sé dochar dóibh an toideachas a fuaradar, agus i gColáiste na hOllscoile i nGailimh déantar na céimeanna sin tré Ghaeilge. Cruthaíonn sé sin nár dhein sé aon dochar, agus gur féidir oideachas fónta a fholaim tré Ghaeilge. Tá an dul ar aghaidh sin déanta againn.

Dúradh anseo go raibh locht ar chuid de na modhanna múinte. Bhfeidir go bhfuil. Beidh a lán tuairimí ag daoine faoi sin. Ba breagh liom a fheiscint go bhfuil córas curtha ar bun anois ionnas go mbeidh rannóg taighde agus comhairle sa Roinn i dtaobh an oideachais i gcoitinne sna bun-scoileanna go háirithe. Is deas an rud é a'fheiscint go bhfuil an rannóg sin bunaithe sa Roinn agus go bhfuilid le tús a chur ar a n-dualgaisí a chomhlíonadh. Beidh muid go léir ag súil le deagh-thoradh a theacht as an méid sin.

Ní féidir liom críoch a chur leis an chainnt seo gan focal a rá maidir leis na sean-mhúinteoirí. Sílim go bhfuil rud éigin tuillte acu sin. Ba mhaith liom mo bhuíochas a ghabháil leis an Aire as ucht an tslí a thug sé éisteacht dúinn um Nollaig maidir leis an cheist seo. Sé an rud atá ag teastáil ó na múinteoiri sin go ndéanfá rud éigin dóibh. Mar adúirt mé anuraidh agus mar atá sé soiléir anois, tá líon na múinteoirí sin ag dul i luighead. Tá suil againn go, ndéanfaidh an tAire rud éigin chun an locht seo a chur ar ceal.

Ba bhreagh liom d'fheiscint go bhfuil roinnt níos mó airgid dá sholáthair arís i mbliana don Ard-Mhusáem agus go bhfuil roinnt beag sa mbreis ag dul go dtí an Gailleiri Náisiúnta. Ba bhrea an rud é go mbeadh sé ar chumas an údaráis chuid des na pictiúirí sin a thabhairt ar iasacht do seodlanna ar fud na tíre. Dheineann sé a lán maitheasa dúinn go léir, agus don aios-óg [111] go háirithe, go mbíonn seans againn cuid des na seoda luachmhara sin atá i mBaile Atha Cliath d'fheiscint ar fud na tíre. Deineadh tagairt anseo dó, agus b'fhéidir go mbeadh sé ar ár gcumas rud éigin a dhéanamh maidir leis sin, fiú amháin, cuir i gcás, cáirtí poist, griangrafanna, no mar sin, díobh san a sholáthair.

Mar adúirt mé cheana, ba bhrea liom a chloisint ón Aire an méid a bhí le nochtadh aige anseo go bhfuil cuid des na lochtanna a bhi ann scriosta agus go bhfuil cúpla céim ar aghaidh déanta againn i ngach áit sa tir. Nil ar intinn éinne againn ach go dtabharfaí an t-oideachas is fearr a oirfeadh dár muinteoir má bhíonn orthú imeacht as an tír.

Cormac Ó Breasláin: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  Ba mhaith liom comhgháirdeachas a dhéanamh leis an Uasal Ó Loingsigh, Aire Oideachais, mar gheall ar an deaghobair atá déanta aige i stiúriú na Roinne. Tá dul chun cinn an mhór déanta i dtaobh an oideachais ó cuireadh an Stát ar bun agus tá moladh ag dul do na hAirí Oideachais a chabhraigh chun an obair sin a dhéanamh. Baineann an moladh sin go háirithe leis an Aire atá againn anois agus tá súil agam go leanfaidh sé den iarracht agus go mbeidh rath ar a chuid oibre.

Chuir muintir na tíre seo suim mhór ariamh i ngnóthaí oideachais agus léinn. Chuir muintir na Gaeltachta suim sna gnóthaí sin. Sin é an spiorad a bhí beo riamh agus táim cinnte go gcoimeádfar beo í mar a bhí sa Ghaeltacht céad bliain.

Bhí lúthgháir orainn i dTír Chonaill cúpla lá ó shoin nuair d'oscail an Taoiseach go hoifigiúil an mheán-scoil sin i nGaothdobhair. Bhí Aire na Gaeltachta i láthair comh maith ach ní raibh an tAire Oideachais ábalta bheith i láthair cé go mba mhaith linn dá mbeadh sé ann. Táim cinnte go rachaidh scoileanna den tsórt sin chun socair don tír ar fad.

Ó am go ham cloisimíd daoine ag rá nach bhfuil an Ghaeilge ag dul ar aghaidh. Nílim ar aon aigne leis na daoine sin. Sílim féin go bhfuil an Ghaeilge níos láidre anois ná mar a bhí [112] sé am ar bith. Tá Gaerlge le cloisint sna busanna, sna traenacha, sna sráideanna sna bailte móra agus bailte beaga. Tá Gaeilge in a lán áiteacha nach raibh focail Gaeilge le cloisint scór go leith blian ó shoin. Táim sásta go bhfuil muintir na Gaeltachta, na múinteoirí, an tAire agus an Roinn ag déanamh a bpáirt chun an Ghaeilge a chur ar aghaidh.

Bíonn lúthgháir orm ag amharc ag na páistí ag teacht isteach do Ghaeltacht Thír Chonaill as na Sé Conndaethe. Tá siad ag taispeáint níos mó spiorad agus cur níos mó suime in imeachtaí na Gaeltachta ná na páisdí sna Sé Contaethe 's Fiche. Tá siad ag taispeá do mhuintir na Sé Contaethe Fiche gur ceart an teanga a choinneál beo agus ba mhaith linn dá ndéanfadh páistí scoile annseo a bpáirt féin san obair sin. Cluinmuid go leor i dtaobh “compulsory Irish” agus “mental torture” toisc go gcaithfidh páisdí scoile sa tír seo a dteanga féin d'fhoghluim. Níl na argóint a cuirtear ós ar gcomhair in a thaobh sin ion-glachtha. Ní dhéineann foghluim na Gaeilge dochair ar bith d'intinn an pháisde.

Tá an dul ar aghaidh in aithbheochaint na Gaeilge le feiceáil annseo sa Dáil. Fiche bliain ó shoin ní raibh morán Gaeilge á labhairt annseo. Anois tá mór chuid de na Teachtaí ar gach taobh den Dáil ábalta a gcuid óráidí a dhéanamh i nGaeilg.

Deireann daoine ó am go ham fosta go bhfuil caighdeán oideachais níos ísle sa tír seo toisc go bhfuil páisdí ag fáil a gcuid oideachais tré Ghaeilge. 'Sé an fhírinne go bhfuil an caighdeán oideachais níos aoirde ná mar atá sé i dtíortha eile fiú amháin i Sasana agus Meirocá. Comh maith le sin, na páisdí atá ag fáil a gcuid léinn tré Ghaeilg, níl aon dochar dá dhéanamh dóibh i gcomparáid leis na páisdí a dhéanann stuidéar i mBéarla.

Déanaim comhghairdeachas arís leis an Aire agus leis an Roinn mar gheall ar an obair mhaith atá siad ag déanamh. Tá súil agam go leanfaidh siad den deagh-obair sin sna blianta atá le teacht.

Captain Giles: Information on Captain Patrick Giles  Zoom on Captain Patrick Giles  This is an Estimate which I believe will pass smoothly [113] because there is very little of a controversial nature in it this year. It votes a considerable amount of money but I am satisfied that that money is properly provided for education. It is money which will give a good return. There is now a change of atmosphere as compared with the time that the teachers and the Department were very far apart. Over the last few years both the Department and the teachers are seeing eye to eye on many things. I hope that we will progress in future to a position in which we will have a happy unity between the Department, the teachers and the managers. Since General Mulcahy, the late Seán Moylan and the present Minister took over the running of education, we have had a happy atmosphere and we are getting down to bedrock. I am glad the present Minister is following the footsteps of his predecessors because a contented teaching community is of immense importance.

The only black mark left—and I hope it will be wiped out soon—is the position of the pre-1950 pensioned teachers. They are neglected and they should not be. Many of them are living in very meagre circumstances, and that is unfair seeing that they laid the groundwork for the young men of to-day. I would ask the Minister to reconsider the whole position and see what he can do about easing their suffering.

For a good many years here I have been referring to the school leaving age. There is a time lag between the time a young boy leaves school at 14 and comes to do manual work at, say, 17. That time lag is bad for those young people. They have two years during which they are at a loose end, and it is at that period that most of the bad characters are formed. They should get some type of education. At 15 they usually are not of much use to their people at home, although in some cases they may be useful for work. They have their whole life to look forward to and should not be left at a loose end.

The past history of this country is such that it forced both old and young to be deceitful and to tell lies. They had to do it to save our people from [114] extermination. That tendency is there even to the present generation, but I hope, with the passage of time, our people will get out of that. There is a great tendency towards deceit amongst our young people, a tendency to tell lies in places where a lie is not necessary at all. It is something ingrained in our character over the past 100 years and I hope it will be removed because it is not good for character formation.

The formation of character, Christian doctrine and a realistic nationalism—these are the three main points. If we could give our children more instruction on them they would be able to face the world and answer questions on religious doctrine or other important points. In regard to realistic nationalism, I think that the type of nationalism which has sprung up here over the past two years is narrow, mean and bigoted. What we want is a noble nationalism springing from a man's heart, and not the kind of nationalism which, because a flag is waving over him, causes a man to lose his head and become hysterical and to believe that unless he kisses Wolfe Tone's grave and parades on Easter Sunday, he is not an Irishman. If we educate our youth on these points, I am satisfied we will turn out reasonably good boys and girls who will be able to fend for themselves, stand up for their religious ideals and will not indulge in lies and deceit.

A lot of the petty crime and larcenies we have at present in Dublin is caused by the time lag to which I have referred. Take up the evening paper this evening and across the front page you see a story of the wholesale robbery of every type of house, not only robbery for the purpose of getting money but malicious damage from a spirit of pure vandalism. There must be some weakness in the character of the people. It is up to us here and the Department of Education to see that our youth are moulded to be the best type of citizens. I believe the problem is a carry-over from the last two wars. But we must fight it or otherwise we are rearing up a set of young hooligans it will take more than the police and, possibly, the army to [115] control at a later date. These are matters about which the Minister will have to think, to try and see where the weakness is which allows a Christian country to turn out people who go crawthumping on Sundays while for a whole week afterwards thousands of them are out looting at night time. Something is wrong there and we should do something about it.

I am very keen on vocational education and I am glad to see it spreading. No young man should be without a course in vocational education. We have made great strides; we are building more and better schools, but more money will have to be spent. Boys and girls should not be turned out without being able to fend for themselves. If they are able to do so, we will not have them looking towards the emigrant ship. They will be able to do something on the land, in the home or in the workshop, or perhaps they may be able to start off in private enterprise of their own. Vocational education is the foundation from which the youth of Ireland can spring off to a good start.

There are not half enough school centres. We have a reasonable number in my county, but not enough. Until we see every child getting vocational education we should not be satisfied. We must put up new schools, provide teachers and pay for them. Even if it costs a few millions, it should be done. We can save in other directions, but never on the education of our youth. If in the next eight or ten years the Department continue spreading vocational education as they are at present, it will be of immense importance and we will turn out generations of splendid Irishmen later.

I want to refer now to Navan Vocational School. I am a member of the vocational committee in Meath and of all things there priority should be given with the utmost speed to the building of a vocational school in Navan. We have hundreds of pupils higgledy-piggledy in classes all over the town, and we expect our teachers to turn out those pupils as proper citizens. They cannot do it at present. The Department know their [116] wants and I hope that the Minister will grant us the money needed with the utmost speed so that we can build that school. When that is done we can have proper education under proper conditions. The manner in which classes are at present in different centres is not fair to teachers, pupils or parents. The pupils cannot be supervised or controlled. There was a lack of money over the past few years but that seems to have eased off and lending concerns seem to be throwing money at everybody. I hope the Department will be able to grab some of that money and spend it on the building of our vocational school.

The Department has hard and difficult work, but with the money at its disposal it certainly is giving us reasonably good value. As a body, the teaching profession are of a noble type, a most splendid type. The teacher in the local area is next to the clergyman. He is the man who is looked up to to lead and guide both the school children and the youths and you will nearly always find him in the vanguard of anything that is national. You always find a spearhead in the country areas provided by the national teacher.

I am glad the Minister is to provide more teachers in our country areas. In many areas, there are far too many pupils in the classes and the teachers are not able to contend with them. It is only quite right that we should have more teachers and that every effort should be made to see that the classes are small. One thing which I always oppose is allowing young pupils to move from their national schools to the bigger centres. It is a type of snobbery and it should be stopped. No school provides a better groundwork for rich or poor than the national schools. In them, they get the corners knocked off them and the children find that they are only the same as anybody else. There is a tendency in the country areas to get what is called “seating accommodation” in the nearest big centre. This is done by the type of people who feel that they are better than their neighbours and it is a low type of principle for people to adopt. There should be [117] no snobbery in this country and the children should be made to remain in the national schools until they reach the required leaving age. After that, they can go to any school they wish but their formative years should be spent in the national school, mixing with the ordinary country boys and girls and blending together as decent Irish children should.

We should not have the attitude: “Why should I stay amongst the ignorant? I want to get amongst the élite, where I can feel I am somebody.” There is too great a tendency towards that attitude and the religious orders in different big towns more or less have their hands out to grasp those people and to bring them in. The Department should make an effort to see that children under 14 years remain in the national schools. Otherwise, a vast number of young teachers will have to leave the country areas because the school attendance has gone down as no effort was made to keep it up. Those are things that should be very closely looked into. In the past, we had class distinction but there should be no class distinction in Irish Christian life. That is what we want to achieve, with every man as good as the next and all feeling that they are equal. Because one man may have a few shillings more than another, he should not think he is a better man.

The Minister should see that the national schools are not depleted of the youth through being sent off to the bigger centres. The magnets in the bigger centres always try to bring them in before the age limit is up. Let them go where they like after the age of 14, but let them remain in the local school until then. The teachers should be able to have decent averages and not be put into the position of having to say: “I am here to-day but will I be gone to-morrow?” Those are things which are very important. After all, we want to build up the country areas and to keep our children and teachers in the country areas because these are the places where you will build Ireland.

Mr. S. Flanagan: Information on Seán Flanagan  Zoom on Seán Flanagan  First of all, I should like to congratulate Deputy Giles on his speech. Some of the people here seemed to be amused by the [118] section of the speech where he referred to the necessity for inculcating the virtue of civic spirit, pride in the country and the natural virtues of truth, honesty and justice into the young people of the country. It is perhaps a relic of our history, but it is undoubtedly true, that we as a people have less regard for the natural virtues than for the supernatural ones, and that we have a less developed sense of the importance of the natural virtues of truth, honesty, justice, civic spirit and civic pride than other countries have.

I believe it is essential that in the direction of education in the coming years, an all-out effort should be made by all teachers in all grades to inculcate the importance of these natural virtues in pupils of all ages. I believe it is essential because of the structure of the economy of this country, because we have the responsibility ourselves now and we cannot blame anybody else. First of all, life should be a joyful thing and a cheerful thing for children and I feel even in regard to the teaching of religion in the schools that religion itself is depicted as something of a series of “Don'ts” and of cases about what a child may not do. I believe that is reflected in their afterlife, when they grow up and become citizens and adults in the State. Life should be a glorious thing and the practice of religion should be a glorious thing and civic spirit and pride in ourselves, and a proper pride in ourselves and the country should be the guiding principles in the life of the people.

I regret to say that I cannot see that in operation, particularly in some rural parts of Ireland at present. Of course, it is one of the imponderables about rural Ireland to-day that by educating a person, one may fit him merely to be a labourer in England. I say it is imponderable because I do not know the answer and I do not think anybody else does. Oscar Wilde once said that all art is useless and somebody else said that as far as the West of Ireland is concerned, all education was useless because eventually the people there would all emigrate. I think it is true to say that some people [119] who have spent five or six years in a secondary school have made themselves unfitted for the type of life to which they were born, that is, farming, the type of life which they should live, and then, as a result, they find themselves labourers in England having during their period in secondary education lost the desire to stay on in the life into which they were born.

For that reason, I feel that we should put our weight more and more in favour of vocational and technical training and that as far as possible we should try to find out at the age of 14 what bent children have in life, so that we can channel and direct their energies towards that particular bent and away from the more generalised form of secondary education and that more particularly where the parents of the child cannot envisage a university education afterwards, or alternatively, where the child cannot be considered to have the ability to win his way by scholarships to the universities afterwards.

For some years, I have been rather perturbed by the fact that in secondary schools the proportion of lay teachers has been steadily declining. This is a delicate subject but it is one about which I am not afraid to speak. I think it is true to say that 20 years ago every secondary school in Ireland had a certain proportion of lay teachers and a certain proportion of clerical teachers. In some secondary schools, the clerical teachers have not qualified as such and, therefore, when I say there should be a balance between the two, I say it, not because I think lay teachers are better teachers than priests, but simply because I believe a balanced outlook is given with the general mental development of the young boy or girl. In diocesan schools, the tendency has been progressively towards staffing by priests alone, and since the priests themselves do not go through any particular training during their student years to fit them for positions as teachers, but merely find themselves put into teaching positions in a secondary school for a period of years after they have been ordained, it is [120] only fair to say they are, in fact, doing a job for which they have not been trained, and beginning at the age of 26 or 27 years. It is a job many of them quite unashamedly say they do not enjoy. They would far prefer to be out doing the missionary work for which they have vocations and which they looked forward to doing after their ordination.

For that reason, and again from the point of view of the balanced development, from the point of view of the children—and after all, the child is the most important person—I have deplored and still deplore the squeezing out of the lay teachers from secondary schools. In my opinion, it is not a good development, and it is one that should be arrested. The plain fact is that other countries, including England, Scotland and Wales, are very short of priests at the present time, and would be only too glad to take Irish priests on loan for a period of years, if they are willing to go. That would be work which they themselves would prefer, following their vocations as priests for a few years in England, Scotland or Wales, rather than finding themselves teaching, when they were not cut out to be teachers in the first instance. I do not say that in any spirit of criticism of the work they are doing and I believe my remarks in that respect will be thoroughly understood.

It made me feel very nostalgic to hear the beautiful Irish which you spoke, a Leas-Cheann Comhairle, and I thoroughly approve of what you had to say. I regret that I could not speak with any fluency in the Irish language. Again, it is one of those imponderables that one comes across, particularly in the West. It recalled to my mind the time when my parents engaged one or two domestic servants from the heart of the Gaeltacht who spoke the most beautiful Connemara Irish. Their hope was to ensure that we would be able to speak Irish as our language and to speak it throughout our lives by picking it up from those girls. I am afraid the only time I ever heard them speak the Irish language was when they lost their tempers and began to swear. Other than that they used the opportunity for the purpose of learning enough English and learning [121] enough about running a house to enable them to clear off to England or America.

It was and is the experience of many other people that when you take native speakers out of the Gaeltacht, the sad fact is that they try to learn English as quickly as they can and they do not bother with their native language any more. It is for that reason that I have always approved, and still approve, of every measure designed to preserve that essential nucleus to make it economical in every way possible for native speakers to remain on in the Gaeltacht as the inexhaustible well from which the nation can draw in its efforts to retain the Irish language.

In contrast with that, over the past few years, one has noted the tremendous development of interest in music and drama. That is something which has been achieved by the people themselves, without any support or aid from the State. Looking through the Minister's speech on the Estimate, one is struck by the fact that very little provision is made for the advancement of music and drama in the schools. It is a very happy situation in the sense that it is not necessary because it is something which is racy of the people, equally as racy of the people as their language, and something which they have shown over the past few years they have grown more attached to than the language, that is, their distinctive music and their own drama.

I am glad to hear that the Irish language is progressing, and it makes me equally happy to be able to say with confidence, that Irish music, particularly in the west of Ireland, and interest in drama, equally particularly in the West of Ireland, have made terrific strides in the past few years. It make me happy because it has been done without any great help or pushing from the Department of Education or any other Government Department. It has sprung instead from the hearts of the people themselves.

Going back to what Deputy Giles said, and to what I said at the beginning, it is important that teachers should concentrate on inculcating into the children the virtues of civic spirit [122] and true pride in their country devoid of Chauvinism, devoid of false values, and devoid of the kind of so-called nationalistic rubbish we hear on all sides and on all platforms, from organisations big and small. Away with it. Let us get down to the virtues of living in Ireland, and being in Ireland, and being proud of Ireland. That is something which the teachers in all the schools and the universities could help to inculcate into the young, the adolescents, something which I believe in the course of the next ten years or so, will do away with false nationalism, and a lot of the old clichés, and leave in their place the true spirit of Ireland—a spirit of a people who do not hate but love; a spirit of a people who do not try to do their neighbour down but try to lift him up; a spirit of a people who are prepared, as they were before, to make sacrifices to preserve the things they love, with or without direction or compulsion from above.

Mr. Barrett: Information on Stephen D. Barrett  Zoom on Stephen D. Barrett  I was glad to hear Deputy S. Flanagan and Deputy Giles referring to the importance of inculcating into our young people a civic spirit and a civic pride. That is one of the most important aspects of education and, in my opinion, unfortunately, an aspect of education which has been overlooked. I often feel that the Minister might seriously bend his mind to the possibility of including in the curricula of schools, some short course on constitutional law. We have a Constitution which is our fundamental document, and in it is contained the sum of our rights and our duties, our abilities and our inabilities. I think every schoolboy and girl should be told while at school: “You are entitled to this; it is your Constitutional right. Under the Constitution, you are debarred from doing this or that.” That would obviate many difficulties we have to meet to-day.

I am glad to see that on both sides there is a plea to the Minister that he should try to increase civic spirit and civic pride and not just civil spirit or civic pride but national pride and national spirit. I think Deputy S. Flanagan, when dealing with false nationalism, was very close to the bone [123] regarding some of the problems with which we are faced. We have suffered from repetition and reiteration of cliché and so-called nationalistic phrases.

Probably it is inevitable that a student of our history should feel a certain prejudice in regard to our near neighbours, but if we could deal with history in so far as possible by concentrating on what we have done as a nation since we won self-government and think less of the wrongs and the ills we suffered at the hands of our near neighbours over 700 years, it would make for a better nation. We are inclined to remember too much the glories of Brian the Brave and the horrors inflicted by Cromwell, to the exclusion of more important and immediate things, the more recent things we have done as a nation with self-government. It would be an excellent thing if we could inculcate a sense of pride in our achievements as a nation in our young people and less of a sense of grievance about the years in which we failed to achieve freedom.

I welcome the Minister's statement about additional grants for experimental and agricultural research, for domestic science and manual instruction. At some future date, I hope when a future Estimate is being introduced by the Minister—or preferably by his successor—there will be a grant for physical culture. Sufficient attention is not paid to this subject, either in our primary or secondary schools. There may be some difficulties in doing this, but one thing a discerning native, and certainly a visitor notices about our young people is their sloppy department and bad carriage in the streets. It is most important that the young men, and especially the young women, should be taught how to walk properly. It gives a sense of well-being which is lacking in many of our young people to-day.

I welcome the extra grant for schools drama, a most important aspect of school work and in passing I should like to pay a tribute to the many voluntary musical bodies such as that which sponsors Cór-Fheile na [124] Scol in Cork and which is doing remarkable work. It is wonderful to see children of six or seven years forming bands of their own, conducted by children of six or seven. It is wonderful that these children are capable of conducting a 20 or 30 piece band. That generates self-reliance and self-confidence. It shows an appreciation of the musical arts lacking in our educational facilities in the past.

I always approach this Vote with a certain amount of diffidence because I feel that the lack of proficiency in Irish found in the average person under the age of 45 is a most damning indictment of the approach to the popularisation of Irish by successive Ministers. All these people have been educated under a native Government. When we first won our freedom, a certain attitude was adopted and I see no reason why that should not be made and re-made. As the years passed, they showed that the teaching of Irish in the schools and the policy being followed by the Department was not producing results for which every Irishman would hope. To a large extent, I feel that is because the school boy or girl approaches an examination with the feeling that if he or she fails in Irish, they are down in everything.

I asked the Minister for Education a question about that during a previous session and he said that about one-fifth of those who failed the leaving certificate or the intermediate had failed because they failed in Irish. I think the figure was about 500 in the intermediate or the leaving certificate —I do not know which. There you have a number of young men and women who start off with a grouse against the Irish language: they failed their examination because they failed in Irish.

When I attempted to broach this subject on another occasion, the Chair pointed out that this would be the proper time to discuss it. At that time, the Minister for Finance was sitting opposite and asking was I also against compulsory mathematics. I answered him then by saying, as I say now, that I do not want the young Irishman or woman to learn to love mathematics. [125] I am not interested in their approach to mathematics. It is a practical necessity to know that two and two make four and they can progress in the mathematical field as far as they find it necessary to go, but I want every young man and woman to grow up loving the Irish language, with no reason to fear any examination in regard to it.

The policy of compulsion, in so far as there is compulsion, in the sense that if you do not succeed in Irish in the intermediate or leaving certificate examinations you fail the examination, in many cases, I think, produces a fear neurosis in the young people which never forsakes them. Undoubtedly, we have the practical results which can be demonstrated to any Deputy who leaves here and goes into the first ten shops or offices he meets. Let him try to carry on a conversation in Irish with the first ten people he meets in them and he will find he will not be able to do so, because the average young man or woman is glad to have got through the Irish examinations and is then glad to forsake Irish.

That is not a situation we should welcome but one we should try to alter, so far as we can. We should try to foster the Irish language by inculcating a love for it. I know the Minister is not responsible for all these things; I know there are in some cases prejudices built up against the language by the false enthusiasm of certain elements in the country. There is a word in the Irish dictionary, “seoinín”, which is used much too often in regard to anybody who is not aware that “anuas” means “up” or that “aníos” means “down”. The word is used loosely and used as a term of opprobrium. It is a word which has caused more damage to the Irish language than any other word ever coined in our native tongue. I deprecate the use of it. I hope every Deputy does likewise.

The Minister referred to industrial schools. He said that they continue to be satisfactory. It cannot be said that the situation in Cork City in regard to industrial schools has been satisfactory of late. There was an old established industrial school in Cork, Greenmount. [126] It gave excellent service down the years. It was with no small regret that the citizens of Cork discovered on 31st March that this school was ceasing to function. That was a loss to the City of Cork, to the parents and to the children in the school. The circumstances in which this school was closed down could not have been more gloomy or more depressing. One would have thought that whoever was responsible for closing down the school and dispersing the boys would at least have had the courtesy to notify both the boys and their parents, or those who were in loco parentis, that the school was being closed down and the pupils dispersed to various other schools. In my submission, there was even more than an obligation in courtesy. There was an obligation to recognise the rights of parents.

I am sorry to say that the rights of parents in this instance were completely ignored. Many of the parents did not know to what school their children had been dispersed. That is, to say the least of it, a regrettable feature of the closing down of this school. The Minister should investigate and explain to the House, and to all others concerned, why this school was closed down in such dismal circumstances. He should also tell the House whether, in his view, the parents had a constitutional right to be informed that their children were being moved.

There is another aspect to the matter. I am not quite sure as to whether this comes within the scope of the Minister's Department or within the scope of the Department of Justice, but I take it most of these children were committed by District Justice, They were committed specifically to Greenmount. I do not know whether it is within the power of anybody to transfer children from one industrial school to another without getting some order from the Court. I have not had time to look into the legal situation. I should like to know if the manner in which these boys were dispersed was legal.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  Some of the arguments advanced by Deputy Giles, Deputy S. Flanagan and Deputy [127] Barrett on this Vote have been quite interesting. They are all agreed the Minister should do something—whatever the something is, I do not know— in regard to the teaching of civic duties to children. Deputy Giles mentioned the wave of lawlessness sweeping the country. It is quite wrong to lay the cause of that at the feet of the Minister and his Department. Teachers can teach civics in the schools but, if the teachers are not permitted to discipline the children, all their teaching is in vain. Teachers to-day are better qualified than their predecessors, but they have a much more difficult task because the parents will no longer allow them to discipline the children under their care and the teachers, therefore, cannot do anything with the children. These children get their own way in school and out of school. They leave school and, if they are lucky enough to get jobs, no employer, or anyone else, may tell them what to do because the mere fact of being told to do something makes them retaliate, and then they lose their jobs. The only thing the Minister could do is to appeal to the managers to ask parents to trust their children to the teachers. Until the parents are prepared to do that, we will not be able to do with the children all that we would like to do with them.

The movement for the restoration of Irish has not had the success it should have had. The fault does not lie with the Minister, his Department or the teachers. It lies with the people of Ireland and their children. Do the people want Irish? Unless we find an answer to that question certain people will continue to yell for the restoration of the language. They do their yelling in English and they never spare as much as one hour to try to learn the language but they try to ram it down other people's throats.

This country has had experience of volunteers. This country knows what volunteers can do. The Minister should ask himself seriously: Would volunteers be better than conscripts in the restoration movement? At the moment the children are conscripted. The phrase “compulsory Irish” is [128] used, but that is not the correct designation. We make Irish essential and a child who fails in Irish fails the entire examination. Deputy Barrett said that last year 500 children failed in Irish in a certain examination and those 500 children went out with a grudge against Irish. How many more went out in previous years with a grudge against Irish? I am convinced that if Irish were taught as a subject we would have a much better result. I am convinced Irish would no longer be looked upon as a burden, an obstacle, a stumbling block. That is the way in which it is regarded at present.

There has been a great revival in interest in music and drama all over the country, even in the smallest places. A great deal of the credit for that is due to the Department of Education because a lot of that interest has been awakened by teachers. Take the position as regard music in Waterford city at the moment. About two months ago, an officer of the Department of Education organised, in conjunction with local teachers, a Fleadh na Scol in the Waterford Theatre Royal. The theatre was over-crowded for every performance—overcrowded not only by parents who would regard it as their duty to go along to see their children, but by people who went there night after night to enjoy the most delightful performances given by children from various schools. There was music, singing in English and in Irish and verse-speaking in English and in Irish. These are worthwhile activities and the Department should go ahead with them. I am not saying they have not done so—they have—but they should continue with that work and I congratulate everybody concerned with the effort.

I come now to Vote 44, the National Gallery. The Minister said to-day that a sum of £12,390 is being provided under this Vote. He said the increase of £600 over last year's Vote is accounted for by normal increases in the provision for salaries and wages and that the Grant-in-Aid for the purchase of pictures and the provision for public lectures remain at last year's figures. I have nothing to say to that. [129] I was informed to-day that, thanks to the success of My Fair Lady, the Shaw Trust has been able to weigh-in a substantial amount of money and that the National Gallery were able to make some very valuable acquisitions. We have great treasures in our National Gallery and a magnificent staff of dedicated men there who are working under frightful conditions.

The storage accommodation for our treasures in the National Gallery is not what it should be. I suppose the best that can be said about it is that it is dry and that these treasures will not deteriorate. Our treasures are stored in such a way that it is impossible to make a proper inventory of them. It would be impossible for the Minister to go there at short notice and be shown some particular treasure stored there. Even if he got a list of all the treasures there and asked for some of them, it would not be possible to produce them at short notice, without first moving a lot of stuff which is in the way.

That point should be taken up immediately by the Minister in so far as the National Gallery and the National Library are concerned. He should see to it that if there are any available places in the vicinity of these two buildings, they should be made available to the officers of the National Gallery or the National Library for the safe storage of our national treasures in such a way that it will be possible to make proper inventories and that anybody engaged on research who goes to the National Library will be able to obtain, at very short notice, documents and books he wants.

I do not make these remarks because I have been approached by any member of the staff of these two national institutions. I discovered there were difficulties because I am a member of the Public Accounts Committee. I had to wait a good length of time as the evidence at the Public Accounts Committee was published only recently, where I got this information. Now I am free to mention it. I again appeal to the Minister to have an immediate investigation—a personal investigation—into the position [130] of the National Gallery and the National Library and to see to it that, in the coming year, suitable storage accommodation will be available for both these institutions.

Mr. Sherwin: Information on Frank Sherwin  Zoom on Frank Sherwin  I was hoping the Minister would be here. I have very little faith, ever, that what is said here will have much effect. The little chance one might have is that when the Minister responsible is here, he may at least give some attention to what a Deputy says. The Minister, I regret, is not here now.

I am not speaking as an educationist, because I cannot: my education was practical. I was engaged at work most of the time when other people of my age were educating themselves. However, I learned what is what—and, in life, what counts is knowing what is what. I agree that a good education is essential and that everyone should aspire to it. It is a tremendous help to the person with ability as well as to those without it, except that, very often, it is not a creative asset to the community. Sometimes it places people who are not so bright in very important positions. When judging people for administrative or important positions or, at any test, I believe some form of intelligence test should weigh largely in the choice of the people and not so much their academic knowledge. I have met a lot of duds in my time who had many years' more education than I had. They seemed to know what they learned but, outside of that, they seemed to be at sea.

I want to refer to some points I raised on the Estimate last year. The Minister should encourage athletics in the schools because the health of children is very important. Some provision should be made for prizes to encourage athletics in the schools. We used to pride ourselves on being a very athletic race. We were supposed to be the champions of this and that, but the vast majority of our people are just onlookers. Only the few participate. I want to see the multitude participate. I want to see the bulk of the children at school taking part in the various forms of athletics. The Minister should encourage that.

On the subject of the school-leaving [131] age, there may be reasons—maybe economic—why it is 14. I feel that, at least in the case of boys, the school-leaving age should be raised. Most girls marry at an early age and have not to fight the battle of life as boys have. If it is a question of economics, at least we could think in terms of raising the school-leaving age for boys. There is another reason for this. Any employment we have had as a result of our industrial efforts has, largely, benefited girls. I know that from experience. It is easy enough for a girl of 14 years to get a job but it is almost impossible for a boy. It is my experience that boys between 14 and 16 years of age are unemployed. I see them hanging around at corners. They are referred to as “teddy boys” but we are responsible for making them teddy boys in finishing their schooling at 14 and having no employment for them to go to. They have nothing to do but hang around and gang around. Because there is very little employment for boys, they have to wait until they are old enough to go to England and then they go at a great disadvantage, practically illiterate.

I have heard it said that Irish is not the cause of illiteracy. I am not interested in dragging in the question of Irish and putting the finger on Irish as being responsible for illiteracy. I meet a tremendous number of people. I speak with knowledge. I have nine children of my own. I have asked children to write a simple letter and they cannot do it. They misspell every second word.

Girls can get employment at 14. Largely, their vocation is marriage. The boys have to fight the battle of life. Something should be done to ensure that they will get a fair chance in life. The school-leaving age should be raised to 15 or 16 so that they would have at least a fair knowledge of English and could get better employment, if they have to go to England, than digging the road.

Last year I raised the question of lack of schools in the built-up areas. I want to be fair to the Minister. I spoke to the parish priest of one of the built-up areas this afternoon and [132] he said, “Do not go hard on him. He is doing all right.” I want the Minister to know that in the Finglas area 800 children have still to come into town to school and in the Ballyfermot area there are 1,500 children in the same position. Therefore, there is need for more schools in these built-up areas. The parents are very largely poor people, always in trouble about their rents. The cost of sending their children to city schools—which may be from 9/- to 15/- a week—is in some way responsible for their inability to pay rent.

I agree that the Minister is doing his best but I would point out to him that there is need for more schools in the Ballyfermot and Finglas areas. House building was suspended for a while but another 80 houses are being built in Finglas this year which will mean that another 80 families will be living in Finglas 12 months hence. That will have the effect of increasing the number of children who will be depending on city schools. It stands to reason that many children miss school when the parents have not the money for their bus fares.

Recently a girl of 14 years of age was in court for non-attendance at school and was sentenced to two years' detention at some home. She won the case on appeal. I do not know what the Minister can do in the matter but I would suggest that once a child has reached 14 years there is no point in sending her to school. That is the age at which she can get a job. For a child who has reached the age of 14 the question of sending her to an industrial school should be suspended.

I referred last year to the question of the employment of married female teachers. I may appear to be sceptical but I have no great faith in our ability to overcome our unemployment problem. My solution is that whatever employment we have should be distributed as widely as possible, that there should be a levelling up and a levelling down. At present the Minister may have no choice and must engage married female teachers but he should aim at the employment of single female teachers in order to do [133] his share in keeping as many persons in employment as possible.

The most important point I wish to raise is the last one. It arises out of questions 27 and 28 which appeared on the Order Paper of the 10th March, 1959, in connection with grants to Irish language periodicals. The Minister was not present. He was in France. I obtained permission to raise the matter on the adjournment but as the Minister was absent I adjourned the matter generally. I may claim the right to raise it later if I do not get satisfaction. I raise it now on the Minister's Estimate.

A constituent of mine applied for a grant for a nicely produced exclusive Irish paper for women. The person concerned was anxious to extend his business. He is a man who has a very Gaelic outlook, but he happens to be a critic of the Government. He is the publisher of “Aiseirghe”, an independent paper which criticises the Government. Nevertheless, if the man has the language at heart—half of this partly political monthly paper is in Irish— whether he criticises the Government or not, he should be encouraged, especially when he applies for a grant for a woman's periodical which is in no way connected with politics.

He applied for a grant and got no satisfactory answer. I raised the question as I have mentioned and I asked the Minister to state precisely what were the rules, regulations and conditions governing the granting of moneys and if he would publish them. The answer I got was:

“With regard to Question No. 27, I have stated the basis on which grants are made to periodicals published in Irish. I do not propose to publish regulations as suggested by the Deputy or to set up a statutory body to administer these grants.”

This is the point I want to make clear. This citizen applies for the grant. He is not allowed to get anywhere. He asks why he was not allowed. He asks what were the regulations and conditions and he is given no information. He asked, in a question through me, how he should go about making an application and what [134] he would have to do to make it right. The answer he is given is that the Minister does not propose to publish regulations. History is a mass of corruption and graft. I am not suggesting that in this case but I want to make my point. All those things were done in a way the public are not aware of.

One of the great advantages of Questions in the House is that every Minister can be brought to book. Every citizen's grievance can be ventilated here. No Minister likes it but the one thing about the Dáil is that if you ask a Minister anything, he has to answer. Surely a citizen is accordingly entitled to ask the Minister what are the conditions that he must abide by to get a grant and why does his application fail and what must be done? He is told there will be no answer and that the Minister does not propose to publish regulations.

I notice that provision was made to increase by £2,922 a grant to Indiu, a paper which, I understand, is controlled by a former Minister. He may be doing good work. The bulk of the increased grant this year—90 per cent. of it—is being made to subsidise publications controlled and directed by a former Minister. Surely this man has reason to complain? I merely ask that the conditions under which grants are made should be made public. A man should be told whether he has committed any crime or done something wrong. He should be given some assistance.

I am protesting and demanding that regulations as suggested should be made. This House should be told what are the conditions under which a person may apply for a grant. Unless I get some satisfaction, I shall still raise the question later on the Adjournment of the House. Whether a person criticises the Government or not, he is a citizen. There is one way in which you can hope to make people law abiding and that is to let them feel they know they will get as much justice as anyone else. This man feels he has a grievance. He should get some satisfaction. He wants to know upon what grounds he is turned down and what he must do. The man in question is an enthusiast. He wants to extend his [135] business in the interests of the Irish language and not in any other interest at all.

Tadhg Ó Maonghaile: Information on Tadhg Manley  Zoom on Tadhg Manley  Is mór an tsuim airgid atá an tAire dhá iarraidh sa Bhóta so agus is íontach nach ndéanann éinne gearán mar gheall air sin. Níl locht ag éinne maidir leis an méid a caithfear ar oideachas i mbliana. Tá sé soiléir uaidh sin go dtuigtear go bhfuil oideachas anriachtanach dár mhuintir féin. Bhíomar tamall fada sa tír seo agus ní raibh fáil ag ár muintir ar oideachas d'aon tsaghas. Tá an t-oideachas anthábhachtach do dhaoine atá sa tír so agus do dhaoine abhfuil orthu imeacht thar lear. Má tá oideachas acu agus iad ag fágaint na tíre beidh seans níos fearr acu postanna a'fháil thall agus má tá siad oilte maidir le hoideachas speisialta beidh seans acu postanna a'fháil agus dul ar aghaidh a dhéanamh sna tíortha thar lear. Ó 1922 anuas tá roint mhaith déanta ag an Roinn Oideachais. Tá seans ag ár muintir anois. Tá oideachas acu chun dul ar aghaidh a dhéanamh.

There has been a great awakening in this country as to the value and importance of education—education which was denied to our people down the years. The want of that education from which our people suffered such a great handicap has now to be made good. No matter what money is brought in here, no matter what money is envisaged for educational purposes, it is generally accepted throughout the country that there is a crying need for it. As a matter of fact, people still cry out that education is starved of finance in this country. I do not think the Department or the Minister at the moment can be blamed for that. Within their resources, they are certainly doing a good job in this country at the moment. In spite of all the criticisms we hear, we must admit that there has been a great advance in the past 35 years.

Since the national system of education was established in this country in 1832, I think, our people had to depend for years on the primary system alone. There were no schools. They had to be built up in the early [136] years of the last century. These came to be replaced at the time this country was handed over to our own control. The onus then rested upon the Department of Education to provide for the replacement of those schools. They have done that steadily down the years. They have renovated many more schools and from the figures the Minister gave today, we must be realistic and honest and admit that a very major job is being done and that the Department is going as fast as it can towards the reconditioning and replacing of schools, where such is necessary.

The Minister and his Department are to be congratulated on their efforts to ease the position for teachers in over-crowded classrooms and to ease the position whereby extra teachers can now be employed in certain larger schools. It is physically impossible—it is a well-known fact to anybody who has any experience at all in education—for any teacher to manage a class of very young children to the number of 50 or 60. It has been in many cases the cause of a breakdown in the health of people who had to face such a responsibility down the years. It is more difficult to-day. It is getting more difficult as time goes on to get young children particularly to apply themselves. There is, as we all know too well, a slackening in the control and influence which the home was able to exercise in the past. That makes it more difficult now for teachers who have to take responsibility for the training and education of the youth. It will be some comfort to find that in future they will not have to face classes as numerically high as those they had to face in the past.

A former Minister for Education, the late Deputy Moylan, gave the teachers the privilege that on a certain day of the week—the day being of their own choosing—they could devote two hours of the school time to any particular subject or subjects, or to any particular activity in the school which they thought would be of help to the children of the locality. I know that that privilege is being used in some places. It is not easy to avail of it in all cases [137] because circumstances change from locality to locality, because there is so much to be done in school and, because it is so much trouble to get through the normal programme in a year, teachers are slow to avail of the privilege.

I know that in some cases music has been taught and in others Irish step dancing, but I think the best use to which this time could be devoted, these particular “free hours”, as they are known, is the teaching of civics. That has already been referred to by Deputy S. Flanagan on the other side and by Deputy Giles and Deputy Barrett on this side. With the modern trends we see around us to-day and the distractions that are impacting upon our children, I think that time would be well spent if children could be taught, free from a school atmosphere, what their civic responsibilities are. If that time could be devoted to the formation and training of character it would be very important, perhaps, more important than any other aspect of our educational system.

There is a great movement forward nowadays towards the promotion of technical education. We all realise that we are living in an age when specialisation is the order of the day, and the technical schools can help to provide the specialised training that is necessary. It is a good thing to see the way in which technical education is blossoming out in this country. I know there is a lack of schools in some cases but I see no reason why ordinary national schools could not be made available to provide a harbour for technical school instruction in the evenings and at night. Even if extensions had to be built to these schools surely there should be sufficient understanding and co-operation between the Departments to provide such extensions and accommodation?

In our limited circumstances here, and with a population of 2,900,000 people, we find we have three systems of education under three different directorates. Personally, I think there should be some co-ordinating link between these systems so that they would [138] dove-tail, one into the other, and so that there would be mutual understanding between the operatives in these systems. There is no reason why the operatives should not be interchangeable. Some years ago the Irish National Teachers' Organisation submitted a scheme to the Department under which all their operatives should do a university course and that, in the fourth year, they would move into the training colleges for instruction on methods of teaching and psychology. Personally I think it is an ideal suggestion and it would be an ideal situation if this were brought about. In such circumstances the teachers would have a common status and they would be readily interchangeable. That scheme would obviate shortages and it would be of very material help in a national way.

Irish has been mentioned a great deal during the course of this debate. In this country we owe a lot to the Irish language and I think we should never lose faith in it. It has been argued during the past 50 years—and it was the greatest argument we had when we were agitating for our own freedom—that it was the greatest badge of nationality. It was the language which St. Patrick learned and it was the language through which we imbibed the faith, the Christianity we have, and I think we should be very slow to turn our backs on it. We have not made the greatest use we should have made of the Gaeltacht which is now shrinking so rapidly. The Minister knows an example in Cork.

I am referring to the work carried on by a very enthusiastic priest teaching in the seminary in Cork who, on his own initiative, went down to the heart of the Kerry Gaeltacht and, at Ballyferriter, built a little timber hut. To that hut he took the boys from the seminary, in relays of 15 or 16, and kept them there for three weeks. No school whatever was associated with the place but they spoke nothing but Irish and, by going around amongst the inhabitants, each of them became fluent in speaking the language. Many of them went on to Maynooth but returned to what they called their alma mater to refresh the knowledge they [139] gained there as boys. Finally, the Department of Education was generous enough to give that priest a grant to build a modern structure in which he could accommodate treble the number he could accommodate up to then. Personally, I believe no man has done more for the language than he by his faith and enthusiasm.

It might be out of order to mention television on this Vote but it struck me, when some Deputies spoke about drama, music and other things, that there is one way by which we can help to preserve our traditions and other things so dear to our people, and that is with the aid of television. With regard to television, which does not come under the Department of Education, I will put it to the Minister and I am sure he, as a good Irishman, will use his influence with his own Government when that Government comes to make a decision about television, that our Irish societies, like Gael Linn and others who are very anxious to start T.V. and to put up money to finance T.V. here, will receive consideration. They are anxious to provide programmes that will be worthwhile, programmes covering the music, the songs, the drama and the activities of our race. It is grand to see Irish societies still determined to preserve these things and I am sure the Department of Education will be sufficiently interested to see that that will be done.

I think the fact that the Vote was accepted with such realism and with such calmness is a tribute to the Minister in charge of the Department and is a tribute to the Department itself.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon  Zoom on James Matthew Dillon  In this atmosphere of calm to which Deputy Manley has paid tribute I would like to ask a question very dear to my heart. Is it unthinkable, even at this eleventh hour, that we could abolish the word “compulsory” in association with the Irish language? In my lifetime I have seen that word do more to kill the Irish language and our people's love for it than all the forces arrayed against the language in all the generations that went before us. I have often asked myself why I liked to speak Irish and if I were pressed for a reply I would [140] find it extremely hard to produce any logical and coherent explanation. The nearest I can get to it is that a person gifted by God with a voice wherewith to sing gets a peculiar kind of satisfaction just from singing and a person with a gift for playing a musical instrument can derive infinite satisfaction from playing that instrument alone in the absence of an audience, simply because the indulgence of that faculty that God has given him pleases something within him that it is extremely hard to define.

I do not mind confessing that I experienced an analogous sensation in speaking Irish and what I remember when I was learning Irish at Ballingeary and at Gortahork in Donegal is that 90 per cent. of the young people, who were then there at those Irish colleges with me, were induced to go and spend their holidays in those Irish colleges for reasons of the kind that I have sought to describe. We had no prospect of reward, no prospect of material advantage and, indeed, no desire to associate reward or material advantage with our study of the Irish language. We went on a Saturday afternoon, I remember, to Stephen's Green in those days because it was generally understood that the students of the two Universities who had any degree of fluency in Irish would assemble in the vicinity of the bandstand there opposite Iveagh House just for the pleasure of meeting other people who spoke Irish.

I think all that is gone. I think it is gone because there has intervened a generation of school children to whom Irish has become a horror because it is associated in their minds with compulsion. When I went to school we had to look for Irish. We had to be candidates to get the chance to learn Irish and in our father's day, eager as they might have been to learn Irish, they could not get the facility to do it. That facility was denied them.

It is manifest to all of us to-day that in our father's day there was a passionate resolve on the part of all our people to keep the language in being. In our day there was a mystical urge within ourselves to promote the language and to speak it, but who will deny that in the present generation [141] school children and those who have recently left the secondary schools— the vast majority of them—express the utmost detestation of the language and do not want to learn it. I am as certain as I am standing here that if that atmosphere of compulsion is maintained for another decade all prospect of preserving Irish as a living language will perish in our time.

I would be sorry to see that but it is well for us to remember, we who desire, possibly for illogical reasons, to keep the Irish language as a living language, that there are many people in the world who think a multiplicity of languages is a bad thing and that seeing a living language which is spoken only by a small minority perish, is a good thing. I think they are wrong, but if I were pressed for logical reasons for that conviction I would find myself in some difficulty. The true answer, I think, is that it is just as reasonable to argue that playing the fiddle is an unproductive occupation as it is to argue that you should let a language which is living die. If there is among us a sufficient body of people who get from the use of the language the same spirit of satisfaction that multitudes get from music and from art, that feeling of the relatively small minority is a valid reason for preserving the language which we call our own. I believe the thing has gone so far that to salvage the language as a living language very radical steps must be taken.

It shocks me a little that there is coming to be associated with the language movement an ignorant, intolerant attitude which would suggest that anyone who does not subscribe to the most obscurantist ignorance of the so-called “Gael” is, in some respect, a depraved person. Most of the bruhaha of the professional “Gaels” makes me sick and I believe the bulk of them to be fraudulent. I do not deny that even among the most extreme elements there are individuals who are driven by high motives but they should examine their consciences and should not repudiate everybody who does not subscribe to their narrow obscurantist views.

I think compulsion has failed and that the whole horrible fraud of [142] attempting to teach subjects through the medium of Irish to children whose home language is not Irish, whose vernacular is not Irish, is all wrong. The whole question has become so bedevilled by confusion that it is difficult to sort out the truth from the falsehood. No rational person objects to the módh direach of teaching a foreign language, if it is prudently employed, but when you extend the meaning of the módh direach to mean that you ought to teach children who do not know Irish, Latin or Algebra through the medium of Irish when in fact neither the teacher nor the children know Irish then, I think, you are scraping the bottom of the barrel of iutility.

I know the Minister for Education is obliged to say that the regulations provide that unless the teacher is qualified to teach through the medium of Irish and unless the pupils are fitted to receive with benefit instruction through the medium of Irish, nobody is required to use Irish as a medium of instruction. On the other hand, if teachers are not so qualified they are immediately suspect in the eyes of the Department, or they believe themselves to be.

What I should like to do is abolish the whole concept that there is any compulsion of that kind. In every sphere of life in this country I should like to abolish compulsion—compulsion in the university, compulsion in the Civil Service, compulsion in the local service and compulsion in the schools. Forget it absolutely and announce a completely new departure. I believe there is means of restoring Irish as a living language without submitting any individual creature to any degree of compulsion and at the same time doing a great service to the children of this country, which might only be a part of what we would wish to do but which would be an important step towards the ideal of making available to our children what is now available in Great Britain and in Northern Ireland, and that is free secondary education to those qualified to receive it.

To that end, I would hope to provide for any child attaining to honours [143] standard in Irish in the primary certificate examination that such child would be entitled to a scholarship to a secondary school and, providing the child attains to honours standard in the intermediate certificate, that that scholarship would continue to carry it on to the Leaving Certificate. On the understanding that it attains to honours in Irish in the leaving certificate and gets a reasonable standard of excellence in its other subjects, it would be entitled to a genuine scholarship adequate to carry it to university in whatever faculty the young boy or girl desires to qualify. I would envisage a boy taking engineering, medicine, law or whatever his heart yearns for, making it a condition that if he wished to retain a language scholarship he should in each examination, in addition to the subjects appropriate to the faculty he had entered, present Irish and present it at an honours standard, on the understanding that if he failed to do so he would lose his scholarship. It would then be the responsibility of his parents to see him through or he would lose the opportunity for education up to the degree to which he aspired.

If that procedure were adopted we would place within the reach of every child in this country from the humblest poorest home in Ireland the means to earn for himself, by burning the midnight oil appropriate to a child of five, his own progress all the way up to a university degree; and in a relatively short time we would be turning out of our universities, and indeed out of our secondary schools, a growing army of young people bearing two hallmarks: one, mastery of the Irish language and the other, the hallmark of higher education. And, overnight, the Irish language, instead of being as it is today a horror for the children who are constrained to learn it, would become the passport to higher education in this country and a hallmark of superior education. I think it would be desirable if we could provide free secondary education for all the children of this country. I doubt if our resources would permit of it at present. But I believe if you prescribed that simple test it would serve as a useful albeit rough [144] measure of any child's capacity to benefit by secondary education: the very fact that it was prepared to undertake the additional study which qualifications of the kind described by me in the Irish language would involve.

I doubt if the Minister would have the moral courage to do that, and I would have a great deal of sympathy with him, because every obscurantist Gael in the country would be out after him like a lamplighter denouncing him. On the other hand, if he had the moral courage and the vision to do what I suggest I think posterity would have it to tell that he saved the language. But I often wonder if you plumbed the minds of the Fianna Fáil Party do they give two damns about the Irish language. I do not think they really do. What alarms and shocks me is that if I were to look today for people who really love the language for its own sake, I think I should find that the numbers of such are steadily dwindling. Of course, there is the customary army of people looking for jobs, the customary army of people who are incompetent in their professional sphere and hope to surpass their professional superiors by acquiring a certain proficiency in the Irish language.

I remember a case when I was Minister for Agriculture in which I wanted a lecturer in veterinary pathology in the veterinary college. An examination was held by the Local Appointments Commission. There were several candidates and among them was a research professor and lecturer from Cambridge who was a graduate of our own veterinary college —the very man to suit the position open in the college here. There was another candidate, a very decent chap who graduated the previous December. He knew as much about veterinary pathology as my foot. He was a very decent boy, who just scraped through his degree and went out practising on the cows in Kerry. The examination was held. Of course, the Cambridge research lecturer walked away with it. But, hold your horses, there was to be a test in Irish. There was a test in Irish, and I was presented with my friend from Kerry. He got it open and above board. The marks he got in Irish put him above the other [145] fellow. He was entitled to it; there was no jiggery-pokery about it. I would not appoint him and I am happy to think I did not appoint him, but I think there was a bit of a row afterwards. My successor fought a vigorous rearguard action and I do not know how it wound up in the heel of the hunt. That was a gross scandal but that happened frequently, to my personal knowledge, and I only knew the ins and outs of one Department. It frequently happened that technical men who would have been great acquisitions to the public service of this country were prevented from making their services available because men with lower standards of competency were able to score a higher mark in the Irish language. I think that is deplorable and I think it is deplorable from the point of view of the language itself.

I do not pretend to have much hope of prevailing on this House to make a radical change and probably from my purely political interests, it would be better for me to keep my mouth shut on this topic, but I belong to that generation which loves the Irish language and I hate to see it die and there is not an honest Deputy who does not know it is dying. When I first went to Gortahork, you would not hear a word of English from five miles east of Falcarragh right to the coast. You would not hear a word of Irish today until you got to Derrybeg or up to Ranafast. When I first went to Ballingeary, you would not hear a word of English spoken and now you would not hear a word of Irish in it.

When I first went to live in Ballaghaderreen, half of the people over 45 years coming in from Killmovee spoke Irish. An Irish speaker in that area today is as rare as a white blackbird. When I used visit Tourmakeady, Irish was the vernacular in the whole area. You would not hear a word of Irish spoken within five miles of Tourmakeady to-day. That all happened in the past 25 years. We are still battering away, fooling ourselves into the belief that what is going on in the national schools at present is an effective substitute for the progressive erosion of [146] the Gaeltacht that is proceeding every hour and every day.

Just imagine if we had said to our community to whom the language was a vernacular 25 years ago: “Every child in this area has open to him what no other child in Ireland has, that is, the power to earn education up to the university degree by the use of the language that he learned at home.” Does anybody believe the Gaeltacht would have shrunk as it has shrunk if Irish meant that? I always remember going to the Aran Islands with my brother who was a very much better Irish speaker than I, and that would not have been very hard for him. He was very proud of the language and he liked to speak Irish. I remember the greeting we got on going into a house in Aran, when the woman of the house called one of the children over and said: “Come over and listen to these people because you will hear English from them.” It suddenly dawned on me that even in Aran in the heart of the Gaeltacht, Irish had become detested by the people and that even they wanted their children, who were going to all-Irish schools, to learn English and wanted them to approach people from the mainland in the hope that they would hear them talking English, we having journeyed to Aran for no better purpose than to have the opportunity of talking Irish.

I am not sure that there was not something of that feeling in the Gaeltacht years ago because they thought in the old days that there was a material advantage in having access to English. I am not sure that they were not right but the terrible mistake we made was that we did not admit that fact, that the people who either wanted to travel abroad temporarily, as some of the migratory labourers did, or wanted some of their children to make a career in America or in Great Britain, were right in the belief that it was a hindrance to set out in the world at 16, 17 or 18 years of age mono-lingual, with only a knowledge of Irish. By all means, let the children learn English, but if they want to attain to the highest level of education possible in this country, let them not lose their Irish because that [147] is the instrument by which they can perfect that education for themselves. Whatever they do hereafter is their own business, but if they are to go abroad, let them go abroad with a university degree, and they may find that when they get that university degree they may not need to go abroad, that there is plenty of scope here to earn a living with that qualification.

Think of being able to say to every child in York Street or in Crumlin or in the back streets of Cork or Limerick that higher education is available to any child who wants it; that any child can earn it for himself and that the only condition is that, when he comes out from all the advantages of that free education, he will be an educated Irish speaker. And the community are prepared to make that contribution to his education just in order to add to the body of educated people in this country who constitute the corpus of the living language.

When I think of what we are prepared to grant to someone who is prepared to set up a stocking factory in Oughterard, or a flower pot factory in Borris-in-Ossory, I also think how relatively little it would cost us to provide education for children who otherwise must do without secondary and university education, at the same time, making the language beloved by our people, making our language the hallmark of higher education in Ireland and abolishing, once and for all, the whole horrible cloud that hangs over the children in school at present, of compulsion associated with Irish.

I wonder does the Minister believe that what is going on at present is making any contribution to the survival of Irish as a living language? I cannot imagine that he does. Perhaps he has made up his mind that it is not possible to reverse the trend that has been proceeding in the past quarter of a century. Maybe it is not, but I think it is worth having a trial. Of this I am certain: if there is any chance of making a real effort to reverse the trend which has been going on in the disappearance of Irish it is on the lines I now suggest. I would make the effort mainly for that purpose, but, in [148] part, in order to dissipate the growing hatred of the language which is as offensive to me as it is to hear people speak of classical music or painting as being worthless and offensive to their sense of reason. That is as much as I can profitably say on this topic but there are one or two other points which I wish to make.

I understand in Great Britain and in Northern Ireland, if you want to be a secondary teacher in classics, you must take classics in your degree. If you want to be a teacher of science you must take your degree in science. I understand that in this country a person who takes a degree in Commerce can turn up in the morning as a teacher of the Romance Languages or indeed of Latin or Greek, provided he has a degree and provided he has a Higher Dip. in Ed., the greatest cod that was ever foisted on this country —armies of fellows trotting down to take a course of lectures in Cork or Dublin, trotting down then and sitting for the Higher Dip. in Ed. Everybody knows it is a fraud. Everybody piously subscribes to the fraud and goodness only knows why.

Mr. Lindsay: Information on Patrick James Lindsay  Zoom on Patrick James Lindsay  There is a fee.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon  Zoom on James Matthew Dillon  Give them the fee, anything to shake ourselves free of this detestable fraud with which we encumber ourselves. Everybody goes around saying: “You cannot change that. What would so-and-so do? He would be out of a job.” Give him the job. Let him set up and teach anybody who will come to him and, if he does not, let him take a holiday and sit in the lecture room if nobody comes. How many people would take the Higher Dip in Ed. if it did not mean they would qualify for a higher salary and certain teaching positions which they could not get without it? Is that sane or is it consonant with human dignity to maintain a fraudulent racket of that kind when the very mention of it in this Dáil brings a derisive smile?

I want to put it on record that I am speaking in Dáil Éireann and on the mention of this fraud every face in this House breaks into a derisive smile and I exclude no Deputy from [149] any bench. I shall not particularise further than that. Yet I venture to say that in five years' time we shall still be grinding away at the Higher Dip. in Ed. Can anyone find with any degree of precision what the programme of that degree is or what conceivable advantage it is to any living creature who acquires it?

There is one other very important matter to which I wanted to direct the Minister's attention and here is something which could be reformed by regulation in the morning. Certain schools in this country seek to provide the Romance Languages and the Teutonic languages for their secondary school students and they get a graduate from Heidelberg, Madrid or elsewhere to come in here to teach Spanish, German or French as the case may be. The purpose is to bring in the best that can be got so that the children will acquire the proper intonation, accent and idiom of the language they are concerned to learn. No such person can qualify for incremental salaries if he does not know Irish and has not the Higher Dip. in Ed.

Surely that is daft because it means that 90 per cent. of our secondary schools cannot afford to employ the most highly efficient teacher that could be got for the teaching of a foreign language? Surely these persons, where it can be established that they are citizens of the State or that they were born citizens of the State the language of which it is their concern to teach, should be exempt from the obligation either to have what is euphemistically described as a competent knowledge of Irish or the Higher Dip. in Ed.? Is there any hope of the Minister taking steps to remedy that situation because it would be a great boon if he would?

Education is so wide a subject that one could speak almost indefinitely upon it but I want to make one other special appeal to the Minister. I took the trouble to go down to a book shop. To the consternation and surprise of the assistant there I bespoke a copy of a history currently used in the primary schools. It was manifest to the assistant that I had not got the Higher Dip. in Ed. and it was probable that I was not going to seek instruction in history [150] in the volume which I bespoke, but I got it. I want to submit to the Minister that that volume had this fundamental error incorporated in its text and that was that you could not serve this country without spilling somebody's blood, that anyone who had ever served this country to any purpose spilt blood and that if you wanted to serve it in the future you must want and be ready to spill blood. It was the most perfect gospel of hate and sour rancour I have ever read.

Mr. McQuillan: Information on John McQuillan  Zoom on John McQuillan  Was it as good as the Sunday Press?

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon  Zoom on James Matthew Dillon  The Deputy tempts me to be tendentious but, as he knows, that is a temptation which I consistently resist. The Minister set so glowing an example of detachment and objectivity on a recent occasion in Carrickmacross that I am trying to preserve the same standards of discussion to-night. I am one of those people who share Tom Kettle's view. I refuse to forget anything. I keep the past for pride and I think there is very little in our past we have any reason to be ashamed of, but that past is proper to the past. It may be the subject of legitimate difference in the present generation but it is utterly deplorable if you are presenting the past of this country on the basis that it contains nothing of value that was not associated with the shedding of blood. It is utterly appalling to use the story of the past to foment hatred and misunderstanding between peoples in the present day in an entirely different context and in an entirely different set of circumstances, to which the historical past has no relevance at the present time.

It is deplorable to indoctrinate children with the idea that the British people persecuted the Catholic faith in this country because it was Irish. They did not persecute the Catholic faith in Ireland because it was Irish but because it was Roman. They were just as busy burning one another as they were hanging us, not because we were Irish primarily but because we were Roman Catholics. The British were burning the British and the Irish were burning the Irish if the truth were told. But that you should use the piteous [151] events of those days to exacerbate and promote hatred and detestation between our people and the British people or any people, seems to me to be utterly evil and wrong.

I appreciate the difficulty of imparting recent history to children in simple language and in simple form. There is a great deal to be said for suspending the teaching of history in primary and secondary schools at a point 50 years ago, because it is very hard to be objective about recent events. Of course, that does not chime with the proposition that Irish history began on Easter Monday, 1916. Unfortunately, there is a grave tendency to suggest that nothing significant happened in the history of this country in the past 100 years except what happened then. There are people who hold that view passionately but surely there are also people who hold the opposite view just as passionately. Surely we can agree on this proposition that our troubles in the past should not to-day be made the means of exciting hatred which may manifest itself in forms which would be very shocking to those instrumental in exciting it.

I wonder did the Minister or his colleagues undertake recently an inquiry into the places of education of the internees they recently released from the Curragh Camp. If they did not, I suggest they might with advantage make that experiment. If they do so, they might just find out where all those chaps were educated and see does any remarkable statistic emerge and, if it does, make further inquiries into the kind of instruction they received, where they got it and from whom. If they do they might find a means of arresting a good deal of wrong-headedness at its source, and put the blame for the perversion of young minds, which are naturally inclined to disinterested public service but which are persuaded into certain courses of conduct greatly inimical to the welfare of the country on the kind of education they have been getting, which is largely of a kind that suggests that hatred is stronger than love, and a vindictive desire for revenge is more [152] potent than a will for reconcilation and mutual understanding.

It is a terrible responsibility if children are perverted in that way and if there are schools in which that kind of doctrine is being promulgated. I do not think it is unreasonable for me to say to the Minister that he has a solemn duty to exert himself through the appropriate channels to put an end to a great evil. I am suggesting to him that he has immediately available to him a very useful criterion by which he could get a very clear indicator of the source of a great deal of the trouble to which I refer.

That is all I have to say on the Minister's Estimate this evening. I dislike the Government to which he belongs. I think they are a bad lot and I think it is a great misfortune that they are where they are, but I like to give the devil his due. What the Minister has said, and his attitude in public, reflect great credit on himself and, indeed, on the Government of which he is a member. Perhaps when I say that much, he will change his tune and become more like what we had expected him to be, being a member of the Government to which he belongs.

Ad interim, I should like to express my appreciation of the Minister's attitude in so far as he had referred to educational matters. When he gets talking on P.R. he, of course, like all the others, has to use, what has been described in another place, as the single transferable speech. I do not blame him for that. He explained splendidly on one occasion that he joined a Party, and when he joined that Party, he undertook to do what the Party told him, provided he was allowed to speak his mind in the Party before a decision was taken. That is not a view with which I am prepared with any vigour to dissent from, and I assume it is because of that obligation as he interprets it, that he reels off the single transferable speech.

As Minister for Education, he does his best. There is no living creature, man or woman, who can do more. I congratulate him on that. I heard him recently in Carrickmacross saying, [153] as he opened a technical school, that occasions of that kind caused him some embarrassment, because he was conscious of the fact that the plans for and the initiation of that school derived from his predecessor. I have heard several Ministers making that admission, too, but he rose in my estimation, when I heard him, on that occasion, making so fair a protestation. I earnestly hope he will continue in that manner in the future. Perhaps as an inducement I can hold out to him the persuasive fact that the moderate and restrained tone of my observations this evening was very largely imposed upon me by the example he had set for us.

Mr. O.J. Flanagan: Information on Oliver J. Flanagan  Zoom on Oliver J. Flanagan  It is not my intention to make a long speech; I just want to make a few rather brief observations. The Minister for Education occupies not only a very important position in the Government but the Department of Education may be looked upon as, certainly, one of the most important Departments of State. The education of our young people, the provision of schools and the provision of teachers, are related to the foundation of society and the foundation of the community.

I want to avail of this opportunity to comment very briefly on some matters and I trust the Minister will not take any of my observations as being directed personally at him, but that he will take them as being made in a general way. The Minister for Education has been, and is, looked upon by Deputies on all sides of the House as a decent man. He is a man who has discharged his duties, in the high Ministerial post which he holds, in a most impartial manner. He has dealt fairly and reasonably with all the educational interests during his term of office and he has dealt equally and impartially with Deputies from all Parties who had occasion to approach him on their problems.

The Minister for Education has a direct responsibility towards the young people who are attending various schools throughout the country. I want to make this statement; I do not know if it was made in this debate earlier to-day. The Minister cannot close his [154] eyes to the fact that, no matter what the papers may say, no matter what the officers of his Department may say, no matter what our up-to-date journalists may write, the standard of education is falling rapidly in this country. I make that admission with a full sense of responsibility, from the close contact which I personally have with the younger people in the Midlands. There are people leaving school to-day who can do no more than write their names or spell c-a-t. Their standard of arithmetic is deplorable: they have not a proper knowledge or a good grasp of the English language. They cannot speak properly. They cannot address each other properly. Their standard of manners is deplorable. The general trend of the education of the young people as they leave school, year after year, seems in my opinion to be lower.

I do not know the cause of it, but if I were asked honestly what the cause is I would say that there is too much concentration on Irish and that the curse of the schools to-day is Irish, in all the schools throughout the country. I make that statement as a Deputy who in his heart feels that the Irish language should be the spoken language of this country. In my own small way, whilst I am no lover of the Irish language, in order to let the Minister see that I have a few sentences of Irish, I shall continue in Irish.

Nuair a bhí mé ag dul ar scoil, ní raibh focal amháin Gaeilge agam, ach tar éis scoil, chuaigh mé go dtí an rang Gaeilge gach oíche sa Móinteach Milic. Ó na ranganna sin, tá a lán Gaeilge agam anois, ach níl an blas ceart agam. I have spent quite a considerable time learning Irish. I have addressed letters to Ministers in Irish. I have, I think, written to the Minister for Education in Irish. I am the father now of a school-going family and when my children return from school I speak Irish to them and I address them in Irish. I point at the various objects which may be in or around the house and speak of them in Irish. I try to encourage it as far as I can, because I know that it is the duty of parents to help and assist in every possible way towards the furthering of the language.

Nevertheless, whilst I do not propose [155] to be a hindrance or barrier to the language, either in my own home or anywhere else, I want to justify my own conscience by standing up in this House and saying that the ruination of education in this country is compulsory Irish. The sooner someone has the courage to scrap compulsory Irish and do away with it, the better. Then more time could be devoted to teaching our children manners, how to respect one another, how to be good citizens, the fundamentals of proper citizenship, teaching them arithmetic, how to write their names properly, how to spell, and equipping them with an education with which they will be able to take their place in this country at whatever profession or calling they may be called upon to work.

If they have to hang down their heads in shame and are forced to take the emigrant ship across the irish sea, to the land of our traditional enemy, whether they have to work in English coal mines, in English factories or in English shops or, as the case may be, on English farms, let them at least have a proper education before they go. If they have to emigrate to Canada, New Zealand or Australia, when they go into those countries at present they go deprived of a good education in the essentials of life. No matter what knowledge of Irish they may have, and no matter how many long years the teacher may have spent in teaching it, from the time the school opens until it closes in the afternoon, teaching his pupils through Irish, that Irish is of no value whatever to them once they have to leave this country.

The Minister may know in his heart and the officers of his Department may know it, but there are too many making a racket out of the Irish language. Not alone are they making a racket out of it, but big money has been made out of the Irish language. Big jobs have been secured out of the Irish language. It is not too long ago since we saw in the newspapers where a county manager for Galway, I think, could not appoint a highly qualified nurse because she had not the necessary qualifications in Irish. The question of having Irish, or a certain [156] standard of Irish, should not arise to hinder a citizen from obtaining an appointment in his or her own country.

If I am asked to express my opinion on this question of compulsory Irish, I want to say here and now, and I want it recorded on the Debates of this House, that I am not speaking on the policy of the Party of which I am a member, but that I am giving my own honest views on it. I am against compulsory Irish; I hate compulsory Irish. Compulsory Irish is driving ignorant people out from the shores of Ireland, to seek a livelihood elsewhere, when they are neither educated nor equipped to cope with the standard of education abroad. I hope that there will be, some time, a Government which will face the facts. Then Irish will be taught in the school, as a mere subject, for an hour or two.

The question of having algebra and arithmetic done through the medium of Irish is all “baloney” and tomfoolery. I have known, in the town of Tullamore, not one but a number of children who could very clearly count up to 20 in Irish but who could not pass seven when they were asked to do so in English. They are only in the lower classes. It shows that their little minds are becoming confused. There is a certain amount of confusion all the way up through the line. Not alone am I sorry for those young children who are going to school and who have to face this ordeal of Irish, but I am more sorry for those who have to leave off school, because they are leaving off when they have neither a first-class knowledge of Irish nor a first-class knowledge of English. The whole result is that we are exporting an uneducated, ignorant section of our community, whom we have deprived of a proper and sound education because we are wasting too much time on Irish.

I venture to say that the youngest Deputy here may live to be a very old man but, no matter how long he lives, he will not see Irish as the spoken language of the people. Therefore, the sooner we cease wasting money and spending time and energy on the language, the better for ourselves. Personally, if there were a [157] vote in this House, a free vote, as to whether there was to be compulsory Irish or not, I would vote against Irish. The reason why I would vote against it is that I feel it is not in the best interests of our school-going population.

Teachers have great responsibility and there is not a finer body of citizens than our teachers. The national school is looked upon quite properly as the poor man's university and the national teacher has been referred to as the poor man's professor. Time and again the teachers have, through their organisation, made proposals to the Department of Education and these proposals have not always been accepted. I suggest that such proposals should be accepted by the Minister because the teachers never put up unreasonable proposals or proposals which would not be in the best interests of education and their own profession in the long run.

Some teachers to-day are working under great difficulties. The schools are overcrowded and the classes are overcrowded. No teacher can successfully do his work under such conditions. The problem of overcrowding should be tackled with even greater vigour and more enthusiasm. Great improvements have been made in the past 15 years but there is still overcrowding; there are still schools in bad repair and there are still unsuitable schools. I do not say that the blame in all cases rests with the Minister and his Department. There are unreasonable school managers and it is difficult at times to compel these to take the necessary action to improve schools. In such cases I think the Minister and his Department should step in.

I am glad to see that the grants for heating and cleaning have been increased. The provision of airy classrooms, well heated and well kept will be an added attraction to the children to attend school.

A reference was made at the last I.N.T.O. Congress to the question of promotion. The Minister is well aware that there are outstanding grievances in this regard and that very little can be done to remedy the position under existing regulations. I am not advocating now a change in legislation, but I [158] want to assure the Minister that all school managers are not angels. For some reason or another, teachers in some instances have been by-passed for promotion or have not been given the recognition to which they are entitled. In such circumstances, the Minister and his Department should be in a position to ensure that justice is done. There are some teachers who are labouring under the handicap of unreasonable managers, managers who are not prepared to act impartially. When I say all school managers are not angels, I must equally point out that all school teachers are not angels, either.

I want to sound a note of warning now to national teachers. There are teachers who are using the schools for political purposes. If I come across a case of that in my constituency, I will go to the local Church gate the following Sunday morning and make the parents aware of all the circumstances. Recently I asked a question here about a school in Laois in which the pupils were told that there were only two men who ever did anything for Ireland—one was Eamon de Valera and the other was Dan Breen. The Minister told me that the complaint, in the first instance, should be made to the school manager, but if the complaints were made to the particular school manager, he would agree fully that there were only two men who ever did anything for Ireland— Eamon de Valera and Dan Breen. Where, then, can one have such a complaint remedied?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  If it is not a matter for the Minister, how can the Deputy discuss it on the Estimate?

Mr. O.J. Flanagan: Information on Oliver J. Flanagan  Zoom on Oliver J. Flanagan  The Minister answered a question and that was the Minister's advice.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish  Zoom on Brendan Corish  Did he not say anything about Christy Ring?

Mr. O.J. Flanagan: Information on Oliver J. Flanagan  Zoom on Oliver J. Flanagan  The Minister advised me to make my complaint to the school manager. If the teacher was seeking promotion by expressing the sentiments of the school manager, that is something of which I would take a very serious view. At the [159] moment in the Midlands, there are teachers lecturing their pupils on the merits and demerits of proportional representation. That may or may not be education.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish  Zoom on Brendan Corish  If they do it impartially, it might not be a bad idea.

Mr. O.J. Flanagan: Information on Oliver J. Flanagan  Zoom on Oliver J. Flanagan  They are commencing to ask questions like: “How many governments have there been in France?” and they try to convey——

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  The single transferable speech again.

Mr. O.J. Flanagan: Information on Oliver J. Flanagan  Zoom on Oliver J. Flanagan  ——that there is something inherently wrong in the system and that only one man knows what is the right thing for the country—Eamon de Valera. I do not want to stand in the way of any teacher and his political views. He is welcome to them. We all have them. But the teacher who tries to push this down the throats of his pupils is asking for trouble, and I appeal to the Minister to tell his inspectors not to close their eyes to any complaints they get. There are certain parents who do not like their children to be given political lectures during school hours. After all, the school teachers have their public platform on Sunday morning at the local church gate. Let them keep politics outside the school.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  I would not agree with that at all. I know a teacher who brought his children out of school to interrupt a Minister.

Mr. O.J. Flanagan: Information on Oliver J. Flanagan  Zoom on Oliver J. Flanagan  The teacher's job is to help to educate good citizens and he cannot command the respect to which he is entitled if he does not conduct himself with propriety.

I do not propose to make a long speech on this Estimate. I have risen just for the purpose of making these few remarks which, I trust, the Minister for Education, in his wisdom, will see fit to note. On the whole, the Department of Education is a Department at which one cannot hurl a good deal of criticism. I venture to say that the [160] administration of this Department is second to none. What is wrong, in my opinion, is the system of education. That cannot be discussed on the Estimate. I do not propose to discuss it now but it is something which I feel requires overhaul and the application of a suitable remedy. Until there is a change in the entire system, we shall not make good headway in the education of our young people because there are too many handicaps standing in their way.

I want to refer to the matter mentioned by Deputy Dillion in the closing of his address here tonight, that is, the attitude towards the teaching of history in our schools, which is entirely wrong. It is about time the whole question of the teaching of history in this country were recast. To stir up either anger or hatred in the minds of our young children is nothing short of a national disgrace. There are teaching Orders to-day—I shall not name them singly for the Minister—that take the greatest possible pride in standing up before the classes and referring to the English and to the British as the murderers of the Irish. They avail of every possible opportunity to quote portions of history with the deliberate intention of belittling the British and the English people. I shall not go so far as to make any reference to the manner in which recent Irish history is dealt with in our schools.

It would be a far better day for this country if the teaching of history by way of bitterness and hatred were put aside and the subject were taught in our schools in an impartial manner. It is wrong that our young people should be given the idea that every Englishman is an enemy of Ireland and that the greatest enemies the Irish ever had are the British. If—and it has been taught in our schools—we continue along those lines we are treading on disastrous ground. History should be taught in our schools impartially. Teachers ought not to go out of their way to disturb the young minds of their pupils by commenting unfavourably on the British people. The best friend Ireland ever had is England. I am not afraid or ashamed to say it in this House.

[161]Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish  Zoom on Brendan Corish  The Deputy need not look at me.

Mr. O.J. Flanagan: Information on Oliver J. Flanagan  Zoom on Oliver J. Flanagan  Half the country to-day would be starving or dead from hunger, were it not for England. Our Irish farmers would not be heard of to-day, were it not for the British market.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  That does not arise on the Estimate for the Department of Education.

Mr. O.J. Flanagan: Information on Oliver J. Flanagan  Zoom on Oliver J. Flanagan  I agree—but our teachers ought to respect Britain and ought not encourage, through the teaching of history, a certain amount of bitterness in Irish children.

The Minister for Education has a most difficult job. Many Deputies have paid a tribute to the manner in which he has discharged his duties. I would add my word in saying that I look upon him as one of the two gentlemen of the present Government. Coupled with the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs, they are the only two men who have displayed——

Mr. J. Lynch: Information on John Lynch  Zoom on John Lynch  I must examine my conscience.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish  Zoom on Brendan Corish  Lack of impudence.

Mr. O.J. Flanagan: Information on Oliver J. Flanagan  Zoom on Oliver J. Flanagan  ——lack of impudence and shown the Deputies and everyone concerned at least some quota of the courtesy that is so much lacking in their other colleagues.

Mr. Moloney: Information on Daniel J. Moloney  Zoom on Daniel J. Moloney  I am quite sure I should be misrepresented if I associated myself with the words of praise offered to the Minister by Deputy O.J. Flanagan, for the very excellent report he has given us this afternoon on the work of his Department. I share the views of Deputy O.J. Flanagan on that report and on the work done by the Department of Education in the past year, as expressed also by other Deputies, who have stated that the Minister, as head of the Department of Education in this country, has a rather tough job to carry through. Since he has taken office here he has given a very satisfactory account of his stewardship.

There have been times in this country when the relations between [162] the teaching staffs of the various types of schools which come under the Department of Education and the Minister in charge of it have not been as cordial as the people would like. Any little friction that seems to have existed appears largely to have been eliminated by the very wise administration of the present Minister. We know that, during the year under review, a number of difficulties of which teachers were complaining for many years have been removed, without in the least way affecting the general efficiency of the Department of Education. I am rather glad the Minister has been so realistic in his approach to these few very vexed problems and has had the courage to admit that these difficulties were, to some extent at least, militating against the very satisfactory relations that should normally exist. With the removal of such disabilities now, I should think the Minister can look forward with a very high degree of confidence to the work ahead and expect satisfactory results from the teachers employed under his Department.

More than one Deputy referred to-day to the general standard of education that seems to exist in the country at the moment. Some Deputies gave their experience in this connection. I feel, accordingly, it will not be out of place if I give mine. I have given a good deal of thought to this matter: I think I spoke on the point last year. I have no hesitation in saying that the pupil nowadays who completes the national school programme, reaches 7th standard, can compare favourably, and in some cases more than favourably, with the pupils who left school 15 or 20 years ago with the same degree of education.

We are living in modern times and it is only reasonable to expect that pupils attending national schools now should be able to acquire a more satisfactory standard of education than pupils of a quarter of a century ago. Nowadays, the pupils resident in large villages and towns have the advantage of films shown in local picturehouses and the travelling shows which come to rural areas under the auspices of local voluntary organisations. That medium [163] has been very helpful to those pupils in acquiring the standard of education which would seem to be so necessary at present.

Those of us who are employers and have from time to time to interview children for certain minor positions should be in a position to know that the general standard of education is reasonably satisfactory. I often feel that nowadays the national schools do not aspire to such a comprehensive standard as was necessary 15 or 20 years ago. That is due to the fact that 50 per cent. of the children who leave the national schools proceed to secondary and vocational schools where they do what could be regarded as continuation courses, at least in the first couple of years. It is doing the general service of education no good to make exaggerated complaints with regard to what the standard is at the present moment. I would say again, for the Minister's information, that in the rural areas particularly, the standard of education obtained in the national schools compares favourably with any standard that was in operation within the past 25 or 30 years. If the standard was satisfactory in former days, it should be equally satisfactory now.

There are certain trimmings which should be attended to. I entirely agree with Deputy O.J. Flanagan's complaint with regard to the standard of manners of primary school children. I do not blame the teachers for that. It goes back to parental supervision and to an extent seems to indicate failure in parental discipline. The Department of Education would do well to indicate the feeling of Deputies in this matter to teachers. In that way, it might be possible to bring about an improvement in the general standard of manners which is very necessary. People from other countries who come here and have occasion to speak to our children are unfavourably impressed by the manner in which children address strangers and the unintelligent way in which, very often, they answer very elementary questions.

The complaint has been made here that there is too much concentration on [164] the Irish language and that the general standard of education thereby suffers. I do not subscribe to that view. My experience is that the children who are most proficient in Irish are equally proficient in English and other subjects of the curriculum of the primary school. Parents must co-operate in this aspect if there is to be an improvement.

I was rather glad to read the Minister's address to the recent Congress of the I.N.T.O. in which he referred to the contribution that teachers, particularly primary teachers, could make to a solution of the grave problem of unemployment. It is about time the Minister made known that view to teachers. Many teachers are conscious of their obligations in this connection but until it was brought to the point of being made known to them that it was now national policy, we could not expect to get results.

The problem of emigration has been referred to already in a separate debate and can be referred to in a passing way on this Estimate. The Minister was well advised to make that appeal to the recent Congress of the I.N.T.O., and I would go so far as to suggest to him that he should follow up that appeal by every means at his disposal and have special instructions issued to primary school inspectors to impress on teachers their responsibility in this connection. I have no doubt that in a few years that appeal would bear fruit and that we would turn one of the corners involved in this very grave problem.

I notice in the Estimate that additional money is being provided in the financial year for new school buildings and improvement of old buildings. The rate of progress in building new schools has been very satisfactory for some years past, but I feel that the policy is slightly too conservative in one way and not conservative enough in another way. There are a large number of schools to be replaced and even though the national requirements in that connection are being overtaken reasonably well, there are a number of school buildings in such a bad condition that their replacement cannot await the normal course.

The amount of money being provided in the circumstances is adequate, [165] but my complaint is that the buildings erected are in too grandiose a style, which reduces the number of buildings that can be provided. If the standard of construction were not so elaborate more schools could be built and the position would be more satisfactory. I have seen rural schools in which the teaching accommodation provided was not too great but where quite unnecessary trimmings were added.

With regard to playground accommodation, school managers have informed me that the main difficulty in the provision of a new school is to obtain a site which will meet the Department's requirements which oblige the manager to secure a larger parcel of land than would have been expected in former days. While playgrounds must be of a reasonable size, they can also be too large. I think experience will prove that some of the larger playgrounds which are being provided at the present moment will never be used in their entirety at all. I would respectfully suggest to the Minister that that is an aspect of policy that could usefully be reviewed by the Department at the present time.

Mr. McQuillan: Information on John McQuillan  Zoom on John McQuillan  What portion of the playground can be made into a garden?

Mr. Moloney: Information on Daniel J. Moloney  Zoom on Daniel J. Moloney  I am very grateful to Deputy McQuillan for the remark he has made because I was just about to come to that point. It is not desirable but absolutely necessary that if space is provided for playgrounds, a sizable portion should be made available for the teaching of rural science and other subjects of that kind. We have a lot of leeway to make up in that connection. Rural science is an important subject in the curriculum of the preparatory schools. It is something which, I believe, was taught in olden times when there were no facilities to teach it and when teachers had very little space available to give practical demonstrations. Rather than have a large area of ground allocated for playing purposes, I think it would be better if part of it was, as I have already said, earmarked for gardening and other subjects which could be [166] taken in hands by the teaching staffs of the national schools.

In the matter of the heating and cleaning of schools, it is very satisfactory, indeed, that the Minister has found it possible to give a 25 per cent. increase in the scale of these grants. The general heating and cleaning facilities in national schools, particularly in rural areas, are not satisfactory. I feel that now, when there is at least a substantial increase given in the grants that are available already, there should be a condition attached to the granting of these increases to the effect that a charwoman or some independent person outside the school children should be employed to carry out the cleaning duties, particularly in the schools.

Occasionally a special cleaning might be carried out at the expense of the principal teacher through the manager, but by and large the general cleaning duties attached to the school are carried out by school children. That is something to be deplored. Whatever excuse there may have been for it in years past, with the additional funds which the Minister is now making available for the purpose, I feel it is not too much to ask that special arrangements should be made to have that work carried out by adults employed for the purpose. Parents have complained bitterly that pupils, particularly juveniles, have to be kept in often after hours—they also have to come earlier in the morning—to do this type of work.

With regard to the heating, in most rural areas, it was possible to have any satisfactory degree of heating provided in the past only by the parents of the school-children contributing fuel in the form of either turf or coal. There is no longer any excuse for demanding any such gratuities from parents. With the 25 per cent. increase in the grants for heating and cleaning now, sufficient money should be made available to the managers to do the job reasonably well. I have no doubt that the Department of Education will ensure that the money so allocated will be spent for the purpose for which it is assigned.

Another subject I should like to deal with is the planning for the building of [167] new schools or the improvement of old schools. Most people, particularly Deputies, seem to accept that considerable delay takes place from the time the initial plans are submitted to the Board of Works and the time the final plans are prepared and the contracts issued. I think the time usually taken to complete this work is somewhat unreasonable. It may be due to the fact that there is not sufficient personnel attached to the staff of the Board of Works which undertakes this work.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  Would that not be a matter for another Department and not one for the Minister for Education?

Mr. Moloney: Information on Daniel J. Moloney  Zoom on Daniel J. Moloney  It is dealt with in the Estimate. The Minister dealt with it in the course of his report this afternoon.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  The question of delays in another Department is one for that particular Department.

Mr. Moloney: Information on Daniel J. Moloney  Zoom on Daniel J. Moloney  I accept your ruling in that connection. I shall pass on and reserve anything I have to say for the discussion on the Estimate for that Department. A very notable advance made by the Minister in recent times was the announcement that from 1st July, he will reduce the number of pupils necessary for the appointment of a second assistant teacher. I am glad to see that he has to some extent been able to meet this pressing problem which has been a matter of contention for a number of years. The Minister has at least made a start by reducing the number from 100 and 85 to 90 and 75 respectively. That is something which will relieve to some extent the overcrowding of classes, particularly in two—or three—teacher schools. It is something which will probably give him an opening for the making of further improvements as time goes on.

There is one very important matter I should like to bring to the Minister's notice, that is, the question of old schools, those schools which are discarded and are no longer required. [168] There are quite a number of old schools that are condemned unnecessarily. They could lend themselves to suitable overhaul for a reasonable sum of money and thus save considerable expenditure, both from the point of view of the Central Fund and local parochial funds, on the provision of a new school. I have seen many old schools which are run by local voluntary organisations, very often, vocational organisations and I find that with a little expense, they are able to put such schools into a fit state of repair to enable them to be used for other forms of instruction or as local parochial halls.

We are sometimes inclined to condemn a particular type of old school as being unsuitable, not worthy of repair, when, in fact, with moderate expenditure, it should be possible to make it fit for use for another 25 or 40 years. That remedy would to some extent enable the Department to give priority to the provision of new schools, where the old schools were really bad. Unless we can take some steps in that direction, I am afraid we shall find ourselves eventually, due to the fact that the local contribution may not be forthcoming in some parish, faced with the position where we shall have a number of very bad schools which it will be quite impossible to put into good condition.

With regard to vocational education, there is quite a lot that could be said. One matter I should like to deal with is the employment of teachers by vocational education committees.

Progress reported; Committee to sit again.


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