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Mayo Scholarship Dispute

Volume 180: debated on Wednesday 7 August 1907

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I beg to ask the Vice-President of the Department of Agriculture (Ireland) whether his attention has been directed to the proceedings of a meeting of the Mayo technical instruction committee of the Mayo County Council, held on the 23rd July, 1907, at which it was decided not to give a scholarship, won in open competition by a boy named Dowling, on the ground that the candidate was the son of a district inspector of the Royal Irish Constabulary; is it open to the committee to invite competition and then exclude the successful candidate on such a ground; is part of the money that the committee administers provided out of Imperial funds; and has the Local 'Government Board any control in the matter.

(Mr. T. W. RUSSELL, Tyrone, S.)

Yes, Sir; my attention has been called to the proceedings in question The boy Dowling who was refused the scholarship is the son of District Inspector Dowling, of the Royal Irish Constabulary. The money for these scholarships is partly provided by the 'Department and partly by county funds. The Local Government Board has no authority to intervene. In all cases of dispute the rules provide that the matter shall be referred to the Department, whose decision shall be final. It was undoubtedly the intention of the Department to confine the scholarships to the children of the poorer classes in the community, and competition was therefore confined to those attending the primary schools. Dowling, being the son of an officer of the Royal Irish Constabulary, belongs to a different class, but was within the rules as attending a national school. These rules may be altered and revised, but until this has been done he was clearly eligible, and ought not to be denied renewal of the scholarship won in open competition. The Department will do what is possible to close an unfortunate dispute.

I think the hon. Gentleman ought to be content with what I said. The Department will do its best to close this unfortunate dispute.

What does the hon. Gentleman mean by closing the dispute? We have a right to know whether a boy eligible for a competition is going to receive the reward.

Well, I think that if the question had not been asked it would have been settled before now.

Have not the Mayo Technical Committee made a rule that the holder of a scholarship should be resident in the county?

No. The Committee have recommonded an alteration in the rule for next year.

Will the Department in arranging the rules prevent such an occurrence in the future?

agreed that the scholarships intended for particular localities should be confined to the residents in the county. That was a matter for the future. They must proceed now according to present rules.