Dáil Éireann - Volume 68 - 14 June, 1937
Private Notice Question. - Position of Erasmus Smith Case.
Mr. Breen Mr. Breen
 Mr. Breen asked the President if he is able to say what is the present position of the Erasmus Smith case.
The President The President
The President: It may be within the recollection of the House that early in 1928 the governors of the Erasmus Smith Schools introduced a Private Bill in the Seanad for the purpose of obtaining powers to amend their charter and statute. The Bill was read for a First Time on the 27th June, 1928. Before any further stages were taken a question was raised as to the nature and extent of the objects of the trusts of this foundation and on an intimation that the Bill would be opposed in its further stages, it was not proceeded with and was ultimately withdrawn.
On the 30th October, 1929, the Attorney-General by his fiat allowed the issue of a plenary summons at the instance of the governors to seek declarations as to the true meaning and construction of the several instruments in connection with the foundation. The matter has been in the courts since that date and it will be recalled that, owing to the lamented death of Chief Justice Kennedy, the Supreme Court was unable to deliver judgment on the appeal. It would, of course, be possible for the governors to list the appeal again and have it argued before the present Supreme Court.
Having regard to the lapse of time and the regrettable delay in obtaining an authoritative ruling as well as the growing claims on the trust funds, the Attorney-General recently decided to explore the possibility of arriving at a settlement of the issues involved. He has been in constant touch with the governors and their advisers, and I am glad to be in a position to announce that his patience and care have been rewarded. An agreement has now been entered into between the governors and the Attorney-General which will be submitted to the court upon an application that any further proceedings be stayed. It  is agreed that the property and funds which are set out in lengthy schedules to the agreement should be apportioned in the following manner, between the Minister for Education and the governors. The Harcourt Street, Galway and Drogheda Schools are to be held by the plaintiffs subject to the condition that no person belonging to any Protestant denomination is to be excluded by reason of such denomination from the benefits of any such education. The Tipperary Grammar School is to be transferred to the Minister and to be utilised by him, with the co-operation of the Minister for Agriculture or any other Minister, if necessary, for such public educational purposes as the Minister for Education in his discretion shall direct, regard being had to the localities and classes set out in the charter. The costs of and incidental to the appeal and to the agreement are to be paid out of the funds. In accordance with the agreement the net funds are being divided in equal moieties between the Minister for Education and the governors, and are to be held by them respectively for the same purposes as the buildings. Each moiety of the funds is valued provisionally at £65,000. The governors are at liberty to promote any necessary legislation to carry the provisions of this agreement into effect and this, of course, may also be done by the Government.
The entire question of the Erasmus Smith Schools has been the subject of controversy for generations and it it highly gratifying that by their public spirited co-operation and understanding the governors have contributed to what I hope is the final solution of the problem.
Dáil Éireann 68 Private Notice Question. Position of Erasmus Smith Case.