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English Material In Irish Public Buildings

Volume 181: debated on Wednesday 21 August 1907

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I beg to ask the Vice President of the Department of Agriculture (Ireland) if the English architect employed in connection with the proposed College of Science in Dublin proposes that the superstructure of the new building shall be of brick, faced with Portland stone courses; and, if so, can he state why, in accordance with pledges publicly given, Irish stone and material are not intended to be used in the construction of this Irish building.

Perhaps I may be allowed to answer this Question. So far as I am aware, no pledge has been given of the kind suggested by the hon. Member. The intention announced in my reply of the 14th May last to the hon. Member for South Donegal,† and in previous answers to questions given by my predecessor last session, is being carried out.

Was the architect acting under the instructions of the Government

Is it not a fact that a pledge was given by the Government that the building was to be of Irish building material? and is it not a fact that it is proposed to use now a special kind of English brick on this Irish building?

said that was not so. The architect had found in Ireland a brick quite suitable, and the basement storey was of Irish stone and brick, and Irish material was used in every part of the building where possible. About 75 per cent. of the building would be of Irish material.

Is it not a fact that it is proposed to face this building with English red brick, and also to use a stone called Portland stone? And is it not a fact that stone equally good could be had in Ireland?

No stone or brick except Irish will be used where it is possible to use them.

Did not the right hon. Gentleman give a pledge that Irish stone would be used, and is the hon. Gentleman aware that Donegal stone, which is perfectly suitable, was used in the erection of the Letterkenny Cathedral?

asked why English convict stone was sent over to Ireland? Why did not the Government keep it for their own buildings.

said Irish brick and stone were used where possible, but there were some parts of the building where Irish stone would not be as good as Portland stone, and where the latter was necessary the architect would look for the best stone.

asked whether it was not a fact that the reason the Irish stone was not supposed to be good enough was that it was alleged that in a certain place the Irish stone broke, and was it not a fact that the reason it broke was because it was badly set.

asked whether it was not a fact that experts of great authority had decided that Mount Charles stone in the county Donegal was far more durable than Portland stone.


reminded hon. Members that there were several other Questions on the Paper.