Christian Ideals In Education
From Ow Dublin Correspondent The Irish Free State has notified the League of Nations of the changes brought about by the new Constitution, in order that the name of the State shall be changed at Geneva to Eire (Ireland).
The Committee of Inquiry into the salary and allowances of President and Ministers has recommended that the President of Ireland be given £5,000 salary, £3,000 upkeep allowance and £5,000 for entertainment, annually. For the future head of the Government, a salary of £3,000 is proposed, and for his deputy £2,500; and £2,200 for other Ministers and the Chairman of the Dail.
The debate on the election of the new Senate has not resulted in a Government defeat and consequent general election, as many feared, but there were bitter exchanges between Ministers and the Labour leaders, who have crossed the House on this issue. The difficulty in which the Government has found itself through the action of Labour led the President to a statement on the P.R. system, which surprised everybody, since he has been the principal defender of it.
" P.R. is on Trial "
-President de Valera
P.R. is now on its trial. Mr. de Valera said. He had supported it despite strong public opinion against it. If it did not work, owing to opposition, they would have to change the form of executive w one like that of Switzerland, or else go back to the single-member constituency. He said this as a prophecy, with regret.
Undoubtedly the President is right in saying that P.R. is on trial. Our experience is being watched by the world. I myself have pointed out here that P.R. would suit human nature if human nature were mathematical. In practice, however, it ensures dictatorship to the minority party.
Thus, in every 4-seat constituency, the big parties always will get two seats each until (what hardly ever can happen) one gets nearly 70 per cent. of the votes. In every 5-seat constituency, there will always be enough votes to get one-fifth for some small party. Thus, all 4-seat constituencies are sterilised, and all 5-seat constituencies infallibly hand the balance of power to the smallest party.
If we can turn our natures into a mathematical mould, this will he changed. Otherwise, we must be permanently governed by the will of the smallest group. So it seems to me. Have the facts proved me wrong?
Travel Will Cost More
The Railway Tribunal has sanctioned an increase in all rail charges (including. I think, omnibus fares—for rail and road are all one with us now) of five per cent., beginning on January 1. This will affect passengers, mechandise and livestock.
Happily, as an offset, the cattle trade is improving, and a bounty on exported fat cattle of 30s. per head is announced for the next six months.
New Industries not Built for Boom
The Minister for Industry and Commerce replied to a Northern Minister who spoke slightingly of the new industries as " swallow industries."
" Recently," Mr. Lemass said, " a very important personage in the part of this island which is outside the jurisdiction of our State, referred to the new industries of the Saorstat as ' swallow industries.' A swallow is a migratory bird, and I presume the speaker intended to suggest that these industries would disappear in due course. I regret that any person holding Ministerial office in another part of Ireland should display such little knowledge of events here.
"The term ' swallow industry ' might he properly applied to any industrial concern established to meet the requirements of temporary circumstances—for example concerns established to fulfil the demands of an intensive temporary re-armament programme.
"Then are no such industries in the Saorstat. It can he said of every new industry set up here in recent years that it was established to meet some permanent need in our home market. There is, surely, no sounder basis on which to build industrial development than on the known requirements of an existing market. The prosperity of these industries is not dependent on the uncertain condition of international trade, but on the purchasing power of our own people.
"If any ornithological metaphor is required for Irish industry. I suggest it might be compared to an ordinary farmyard hen which produces a saleable commodity with regularity and efficiency and is not ashamed to crow about it.
" These desparaging references to our new industries were made on an occasion when an attempt was being made to explain away the fact that unemployment statistics reveal relatively a much lower degree of unemployment in the Saorstat than in the other part of Ireland."
Basque Industry for Gaelic Meath ?
Among the new industries mooted is one connected with the steel industry, which Mr. Ambrose Martin proposes to found' in the neighbourhood of the Gaelic colony in Meath. Mr. Martin says that 163 hands will be employed, of whom 16 will be Basque " key-workers."
Mr. Martin, who has Spanish connections, took a large part in the propaganda on behalf of the former Madrid Government, and his Basque workers, if they come to Meath, hardly will be friends of General Franco.
Schools and the Home
The Minister for Education visited the new vocational schools at Arles, in what formerly was called Queen's County. The new .Bishop of Kildare welcomed Mr. Derrig and praised what he had done to transform Irish education, especially in vocational teaching.
" An ideal woman," Dr. Keogh said, " is the woman who manages her home well, cooks well and keeps her home bright and attractive." He urged the young girls of the country, for God's sake, to avail themselves of the new vocational training, which meant so much to the development of happy, Christian home life.
The Minister said that much could be done to slow down the rush to the towns by giving youth a real understanding of what country life means not only to themselves individually, but to the health and happiness of the community and the nation as a whole. The glitter of the towns was attracting a great many young people, but no life could be happier than that of the country, nor no stock better than that brought up there. They wanted rural youth on leaving the national school to attend continuation school for two or three years. The happiness of husband and wife depended upon the wife's efficiency at household work. Girls should study modern domestic science and bring their cooking and housekeeping to the highest standard.
Boys must study scientific agriculture and gardening, learn how to get the best out of the soil; how to use their hands and do odd jobs about the home; acquire some useful hobby such as the making of simple furniture.
" All Culture Rests on Agriculture "
Another noted figure in Irish education, Mr. James Fenton, one of Mr. Derrig's chief assistants, spoke at Gorey, where a weekend was held to organise next year's '98 celebrations. " All culture," he said, " is based on agriculture. By agriculture is meant the taking of food out of the soil by intensive labour, where each individual is a producer by manual work, and pro tected by a just Government, Of all industries tillage life is the most conservative; of all homes the tillage farmhouse is the most permanent, enkindling in the owner a love of his environment, of the traditions of his regional community and of -the nation of which that community is a living part
" The greatness of a country consists in having multitudes of good farmers with well-cultivated land to support them," writes the great French Archbishop I endIon. " And it will be necessary that you limit the extent of ground that each family is to possess. Everybody will have land but only as much as will make a diligent cultivation necessary." These axioms rule out the ranch and the demesne grounds which appertain to the world of those who seize great tracts of land belonging in justice to the ordinary citizens.
We have made progress in recent years in the way of a proper distribution of land but owing to the operations of the long period of foreign rule very much remains to he done. Belgium, with half our population, has five times as many farmsteads as we. Greece ever since the Great War is limiting the size of its farms to a maximum of some 40 acres, while the normal ten acre farm of Denmark is a joy to behold.
The Dane, trained in tradition and brotherly love, dreads to see his youthful brother uprooted and expelled by un-Christian economic forces and doomed to walk alien streets in tragic loneliness. He will sacrifice even race courses, golf courses and horse show grounds to accommodate the greatest number of landsmen and their families. They have learned the best means of combining agricultural and industrial activities, and in their Folk Schools for farm boys and girls over eighteen they train the youthful nation to revere their saga. their ancient heroic tales, most of which they brought a thousand years ago from Ireland.
Towards Irish Unity
The movement for the re-union of Ireland received two great marks of encouragement within as many days. The Bishop of Down and Connor opened and blessed new De I.a Salle schools at Downpatrick, and exhorted the boys to study the national language, history, culture, arts and Gaelic games. Though Downpatrick was not under the national Government, it held the graves of the three national patrons—SS, Patrick, Brigid and Colmcille.
Cavan County Council, which is on the south side of the Border, unanimously called for a conference of unity, comprising the heads of the religious denominations and political and municipal chiefs. This was done largely on the encouragement of Deputy J. J. Cole, who sits in the Mill as an Ulster Protestant and has led in the effort to bring Ireland together—one more proof that Unity is not a religious question, but one in which our Protestant fellow-citizens have a stake—and, if they are true men, as keen an interest as ourselves.