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Dr O'Dwyer Raises Concerns Over Education Commissioners' Directive |

Dr O’Dwyer Raises Concerns Over Education Commissioners’ Directive

LIMERICK, Saturday – Dr O’Dwyer, K.C., Bishop of Limerick, has issued a circular to the Managers of Limerick National Schools expressing grave reservations regarding a recent directive from the Commissioners of National Education. The directive in question pertains to the distribution of a pamphlet titled “Patriotism,” authored by Mrs. May C. Starkie, purportedly aimed at discussing patriotism but perceived by Dr O’Dwyer as a veiled recruitment manifesto.

In his communication, Dr O’Dwyer vehemently opposes the imposition of this pamphlet on Irish children, citing a growing sense of discontentment among the populace fuelled by recent events, including perceived betrayals by the English Government regarding Home Rule and promises of self-government during wartime. He asserts that such attempts to instil lessons in patriotism from English sources are met with staunch resistance in the current climate of heightened sensitivity.

Dr O’Dwyer decries the omission of key figures from Irish history, such as Grattan, Emmet, O’Connell, Butt, and Parnell, from the pamphlet, highlighting a bias towards Anglo-centric narratives. He expresses concern over the potential repercussions of enforcing this directive, warning of the absurdity and inherent dangers of politicized indoctrination within educational institutions.

Moreover, Dr O’Dwyer questions the relevance of examples drawn from distant lands like Belgium, Serbia, and Montenegro in shaping the patriotism of Irish children, emphasizing the need for a curriculum that fosters a genuine appreciation for Ireland’s history, struggles, and national identity.

The circular concludes with a sharp rebuke of Mrs. Starkie’s efforts, suggesting that her energies would be better spent elsewhere, and expressing scepticism regarding the compliance of Irish children with such directives. Dr O’Dwyer intimates that attempts to enforce such materials may be met with defiance from the youth, who are increasingly attuned to their own national consciousness and resistant to external influences.

The concerns raised by Dr O’Dwyer underscore the delicate balance between education and political agendas within the Irish schooling system. As debates surrounding curriculum content intensify, the voices of educators and community leaders like Dr O’Dwyer will undoubtedly play a pivotal role in shaping the educational landscape and safeguarding the integrity of Irish education against external pressures.

Dublin Daily Express – Monday 07 August 1916

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