LOCAL GOVERNMENT BILL, 1924.—FIRST STAGE.

I beg for leave to move the introduction of the Local Government Bill of 1924. This Bill introduces various reforms in the law of Local Government, which our experience has proved to be necessary or desirable. The main object of the Bill is the unification of the administration of various local services with a view to greater economy and efficiency. The two main portions of the Bill are those dealing with roads and public health. Modern developments in transport make a complete change in our policy with regard to roads highly desirable, if not absolutely necessary. Accordingly, we propose to make various changes in the law, changes which will be looked on from the point of view of the nation, rather than from the parochial standpoint, which was the point of view from which most changes in the law relating to road administration were made previously.

The public health portion of the Bill provides for the placing of the administration of health services in the county, both curative and preventive, under one body. Heretofore, the administration of health services was divided between various authorities—Boards of Guardians, County Council Committees, Rural District Councils, and various other authorities. This change, it is hoped, will do away with a great deal of confusion and numerous anomalies, and make for much greater simplicity and much greater efficiency in the administration of our public health services.

The Bill also provides for certain changes in the law relating to superannuation. The law of superannuation was in many respects very indefinite heretofore. It also makes various changes of a miscellaneous character in the general law of local government. I do not think there is anything further to say at this stage, I will go very fully into the matter on the Second Reading, but I would bespeak for this Bill in its passage through the Dáil, the cordial co-operation and friendly criticism of the Deputies, many of whom I know have very valuable and enlightened views on matters relating to public health and local government, views derived from practical experience in the administration of local authorities.

Question put and agreed to.

When shall we take the Second Stage?

Wednesday week.

When are we likely to have the Bill in hands?

I think in two or three days.

I think we should have time to read the Bill between the time we receive it and the time we take the Second Reading.

I would like to support Deputy Johnson on this matter. I am sure this Measure must be really complex. After all if we are to give reasoned statements on the Second Reading, it is right that we should have the Bill in hands at least a week or more, because many interests have to be considered, and many different points of view.

We may be able to circulate the Bill to-morrow. It is already set up.

Would the Minister say Thursday, so that we will have a full week to consider it before the Second Reading?

Very well.

Second Reading ordered for Thursday, 29th May.