Dáil Éireann - Volume 282 - 19 June, 1975

Excess Vote, 1972-73. - Vote 31: Vocational Education.

Minister for Lands (Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick, Cavan): I move:

That a sum not exceeding £30,038,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December, 1975, for Vocational Education including a grant-in-aid.

Mr. Wilson: Does the figure at I.3 include money for the new National Institute for Higher Education in Dublin?

Mr. Bruton: It probably does, but I am not in a position to be definitive in that matter.

Mr. Wilson: It would be a very small amount, if any. When can vocational education committees expect a decision from the Department allowing them to advertise teaching posts for staff required for the coming year? This is an urgent matter. For example, the Cork Vocational Education Committee are being held up in this regard. They are ready to advertise. When will the post be sanctioned?

Mr. Bruton: I am not aware of any problem arising in relation to that matter but, in view of what the Deputy has said, I will have investigations undertaken in relation to the position in Cork. I am not aware that this is a problem this year, any more than it was a problem in other years.

Minister for Defence (Mr. Donegan): I understood there was agreement to pass all these Estimates at 2 o'clock.

[1143] Mr. Colley: Apparently, the Minister has not been informed that it was agreed in the House that we could go on until 2.25 p.m. and, in the remaining five minutes, to dispose of the Appropriation Bill and the double taxation agreement proposal. It was approved by the Minister's Whip, and agreed.

Mr. Wilson: I am disappointed that no cognisance has been taken of the Murphy Report on Adult Education. There is nothing there except elements that were always there. The Parliamentary Secretary should inform the Minister that the people are waiting for him to take some action on the Murphy Report which has been in his hands since September or November, 1973.

Mr. Bruton: I am surprised that the Deputy, as a Cavan man, is unaware that a pilot scheme in relation to adult education has been introduced in County Meath.

Mr. Wilson: I know that. For example, I know that the VEC in Meath appointed an adult education officer and that Monaghan has applied for sanction of such an appointment. Has that appointment been sanctioned yet? The overall framework of the Murphy Report is being ignored. No money is being allotted to it and the whole question is dormant.

Mr. Bruton: Obviously, there are financial constraints in relation to the development of adult education but the Department have taken a step by introducing a pilot adult education scheme in County Meath. Special committees have been set up in the catchment area of each vocational school in the country to co-operate with the adult education officer in the county. That officer is a very active individual and I invite the Deputy to come and see what is happening there. I would be glad to help him in that matter.

I also understand that sanction has been given in relation to County Kilkenny's initiative in the field of adult education. It is wise in a situation of admitted financial stringency [1144] that we should approach these matters on a pilot basis and see whether we can draw conclusions from the practical applications of some of the schemes generalised in the Murphy Report on Adult Education. We will be able to try out the Murphy Report before becoming committed to the total financial commitments involved.

Vote put and agreed to.