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Volume 230: debated on Thursday 29 June 1876

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asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland, If he would explain to the House why it is that contrary to the practice heretofore adopted, the Reports of the Head and District Inspectors of Irish National Schools are omitted from the Appendix to the Report of the National Board of Education; and whether for the future these Reports will be included; whether there is any objection to grant, as an unopposed Return, the omitted Reports; what was the cause of the Appendix to the 41st Report of the National Board of Education having been delayed more than six months; and, whether steps will be taken in future to secure the publication of the appendix within a reasonable time after the presentation of the Report?

The annual Reports of the National Board of Education have become quite overloaded with appendices, one result being the annual production of a very large volume, at considerable public expense, containing much information not of very general interest; and another being, either that the publication of the Report itself was delayed, in order that the appendices might be published with it, or that the appendix, as in this instance, was not published until some time after the Report to which it related. Under these circumstances a Departmental Committee of Inquiry, appointed under the late Government, recommended that the Reports of the Head District Inspectors, which extended over more than 200 pages, should be presented to Parliament in future only triennially or quinquennially, instead of with each annual Report; and after some correspondence between the National Board of Education and the Government, to which is mainly due the special delay in the publication of the appendix to the 41st Report, this course was adopted for the future. If any special reason could be alleged for the publication of these Reports for this year, I would consider whether they could be given in the shape of a Return; but I have heard of none at present.