Veterinary Surgeons Bill, 1930—Second Stage.

I move: "That the Veterinary Surgeons Bill, 1930, be now read a Second Time." This Bill in its main outline follows the models that have already been before the House in connection with medical practitioners and dentists. The Bill is founded upon an agreement which forms the First Schedule. Outside that, and as far as the country is concerned, the Bill establishes a Council which is to regulate the veterinary surgeon's profession in the country for the future. There is a variety of clauses which deal with the method in which that Council is to be elected and there is a certain arrangement made to fit in. with the agreement which forms the First Schedule. Under the agreement the Council that at present controls veterinary education in England, and which used to control that education both in England and here, is to be enlarged by the addition of four members who are to be elected here by those who are qualified veterinary surgeons registered in the General Register, which is the English Register, but resident in this country. They will vote in a particular way that is laid down here. These four will become members of the General Council and they will have certain functions assigned to them as such. In addition they will have functions in connection with veterinary education in this country without any relation whatever to England, Scotland or Wales. There are also to be four members who are to be appointed from amongst the professional men resident here, whether registered in the General Register or not, as long as they are qualified veterinary practitioners.

Sections 30 and 31 lay down the conditions under which people in this country may be registered on the register which will be established here. Section 30 sets out: "There shall be registered in the register at the establishment thereof—(a) every person who is registered in the general veterinary register immediately before the establishment of the register and is then resident in Saorstát Eireann, and (b) every person who is registered in the general veterinary register immediately before the establishment of the register and is then resident outside Saorstát Eireann and applies to the Council within one month before such establishment to be registered in the register." Those are entitled to go on our register who have a registration effected for them in the general register on the other side or who hold a diploma in veterinary science, veterinary surgery or veterinary medicine granted by a university or college in Saorstát Eireann "and for the time being recognised by law as a diploma conferring on the possessor thereof the right to be registered in the register."

The main point with which the agreement deals is connected with erasures from the register. Here a somewhat different system has been established to what was effected with regard to medical practitioners or dentists. The position in future will be that if an offence is committed which seems to warrant an inquiry, possibly leading to erasure from the register, if the person is practising as a veterinary surgeon exclusively outside the Free State, or practises both outside and within the Free State, and the offence is alleged to have been committed or, in the case of continuing conduct, begun outside the Free State, the right to inquire into it falls on the Council on the other side. The report of that Council shall be conclusive as to the facts, but the Irish Free State Veterinary Council shall form their own judgment on the case independently. With regard to people practising exclusively in the Free State, or both within and outside the Free State, and the offence is committed or, in the case of continuing conduct, begun within the Free State, then the right to investigate shall fall on the Council here and the corresponding result follows, except as regards the finding of facts, upon which they will form their own judgment. The Council for this country will have control of veterinary education, and it will decide whether any person can properly be registered. It will also see that the rules are properly kept. It comes to this, that hereafter we will prohibit the practice of veterinary surgery by persons not registered. The register on the other side only comes in by reference, and a person registered there may have his name entered on this register.

I do not intend to go into details with regard to how the Council is elected. All that is dealt with in the Bill and can be read. There are two points with regard to the Irish Free State representatives who sit on the General Veterinary Council, and the investigation of any offences, whether criminal or of the unprofessional conduct type, and what follows on the finding of facts by each body. Outside that the situation is that the old Veterinary Surgeons Acts remain in force in this country in so far as they are necessary to carry out the agreement. The power of the old General Veterinary Council to hold examinations, to supervise examinations and to grant diplomas which entitle persons to registration on the General Veterinary Register, is still continued just as if the Free State were never established. This agreement corresponds exactly with the agreements made for dentists and the medical people. There still remain to be decided what are the bodies that are to be entitled to give diplomas which, for the time being, would be recognised.

Does the Minister realise that we got this Bill only this morning?

Would not the Minister postpone the consideration of the Second Reading for a week or two?

Why not take it to-morrow?

Is there any change from the principle of the Dentists Bill?

Very little. There are changes in the internal arrangements. There are changes in the method of appointing the Council, and in some smaller details. The Bill is on the lines of the Dentists Bill. The Dentists Bill dealt with a different situation. This is a different matter, but the difference that arises in substance in the principle of the Bill is in two sections of the Agreement. In fact the difference is in Section 4 dealing with the Agreement. There is also Section 6, which is somewhat different, but Section 6 is a minor matter. Section 4 is really the section with the great change that has been made as between the arrangements for the medical and the dental people and the veterinary surgeons. It means what I have just said—that in the old scheme there had been a council of a particular type and there was no necessity for a change.

In this Bill the change is required because the old council consisted of 32 people and it is intended to enlarge that body of 32 to 36. The four extra members will be people appointed from those veterinary surgeons who are resident here but who are on both registers. As far as other things are concerned the preservation of the old jurisdiction of the Veterinary Council for the purpose of keeping a general register, preserving their right to investigate offences and preserving their own jurisdiction with regard to examinations—just as in the Medical and Dental Councils—is preserved here. There is a small point about the extra representatives.

We might be able to take it to-morrow. My points would be more for the Committee Stage than for the Second Reading.

Debate adjourned until Thursday, 11th December.