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“Limerick County Council Unanimously Supports Implementation of Compulsory Education Act: Promoting Education and Attendance Rates” – Limerick Gazette

“Limerick County Council Unanimously Supports Implementation of Compulsory Education Act: Promoting Education and Attendance Rates”

A quarterly meeting of the Limerick County Council was held with Mr Thomas Hurley, V.C., presiding. Several members were present, including Messrs. William Gibbins, J.P.; John B Barrington, J.P.; E. Mitchell, J.P.; Daniel Clanchy, John O’Neill, J.P.; John Coleman, Michael Feheny, Michael Naughton, P. Vaughan, Lord Emly, W.W. O’Dwyer, P. Duggan, John Ryan, B.C. Collins, D. Ruddle, J. Bourke, J. McGrath, M. Naughton, E. Sheehy, M.P., C. O’Shaughnessy, P. O’Shaughnessy, J.P. (Newcastle West), P. O’Shaughnessy (Glin), John Ryan, and M. Condon.

The minutes of the previous meeting were read, and Mr Hurley highlighted the extra work done by the accountant, Mr Quaid, in reducing the rates. It was proposed that Mr Quaid should be granted a five percent allowance on the reductions he had achieved, which was agreed upon.

Mr P. Bradshaw, a national school teacher from Cappamore, attended as a representative of the county Limerick teachers to request that the Council implement the resolutions previously passed regarding the compulsory clauses of the Education Act. The Council was aware that a committee had been appointed and certain proposals were agreed upon and incorporated into a report. Mr Bradshaw explained that with each passing year, the need for enforcing the compulsory clauses of the Education Act became more apparent. Progressive nations had already implemented such clauses, resulting in 98 percent of children attending schools, while in Ireland, the attendance rate was only 32 percent. The efforts of the teachers’ agitation had saved the country a considerable amount of money in relation to the equivalent grant and practically provided free education. Mr Bradshaw cited the example of Cappamore parish, where £1,000 per year was saved while only requiring a payment of £6 per year. The cost of enforcing the compulsory clauses of the Act was estimated not to exceed one farthing in the pound on the rates, and he was confident that the County Council would support this modest request.

Mr Hurley inquired whether the total sum required would amount to £500. Mr O’Connor, the secretary, clarified that the total amount needed would not exceed £400. Lord Emly asked about the unanimous adoption of the age clause, to which Mr Bradshaw confirmed that it had indeed been unanimously adopted along with the entire report. Mr Hurley mentioned that some exceptions were taken to the age clause. Mr Bradshaw explained that although he was not personally concerned, some teachers felt that the age limit could be extended for inspectors up to 50 or 55. Mr O’Dwyer inquired about pensions for the appointed individuals, to which Mr Bradshaw replied that pensions were not necessary, as the appointed personnel could be dismissed with short notice. Mr Roche stated that there was nothing in the Act specifying pensions for inspectors.

Upon the proposition of Mr Dwyer, seconded by Mr Duggan, the following resolution was unanimously adopted:

“That, in light of the County Council’s adoption and sanctioning of the principle of compulsory attendance at schools, and with a committee appointed to draft a scheme and regulations in connection with this matter, which has favorably reported, it is now resolved that the scheme formulated by the committee be officially sanctioned by this Council. Our Secretary is instructed to take the necessary steps to bring the provisions of the Compulsory Education Act

Limerick Echo – Tuesday 02 December 1902