Imported Woollens and Worsteds. - Veterinary Surgeons Bill, 1930.—Committee Stage.

The Dáil went into Committee.
Section 1 ordered to stand part of the Bill.
SECTION 2.
Question proposed: "That Section 2 stand part of the Bill."

The Minister for External Affairs was very stingy in his explanation of this agreement. He did not explain to us at all why it was necessary to make an agreement of this particular sort. He simply indicated that there were certain legal difficulties, and that this Bill was designed to meet these difficulties. As far as I know, the only difficulty that existed was this: that the Veterinary Surgeons Acts did not run as far as this part of Ireland was concerned, and the register, this volume that is published by the Royal Veterinary College, indicates in a note that they were taking up this matter with the Executive of the Irish Free State. Portion of the note says that "up to the present the Council," that is of the Royal Veterinary College in London, "has contrived to arrange for examinations for the diploma of membership to be held at the Dublin Veterinary College, but an intimation is being sent to the Irish Executive to the effect that the Council are unwilling to undertake further liability after the present session unless some agreement is reached on the question." So, I take it, this agreement has originated by the Council of the Royal Veterinary College intimating to the Executive of the Irish Free State that they were not prepared to hold examinations here for membership, and so on, unless some arrangement was entered into.

This agreement, it seems, is the outcome of the negotiations. Looking through it, I find it very hard to understand what was the pressure which made our Minister for External Affairs, a representative of the National University, agree to sign what seems to me to be a very humiliating document. I said to myself: "Surely there must be some very compelling circumstances to induce the Minister to sign an agreement of this sort." I looked round for them and I cannot find any. The Royal Veterinary College in Ballsbridge, which has been under the control of the Department since 1915, is an affiliated college of the London College and on an average there are only about fifteen students, I think, qualified every year. I would like to know how many of these go abroad and how many of these fifteen require this foreign degree. It is, as far as I can see, for the sake of these students and for these only, that this agreement has been entered into. We are paying a very big price if, say, for the sake of eight students every year, who want this foreign degree, we are entering into an agreement which subordinates veterinary education in this country to the requirements of a foreign college. That is what it means, as far as I can read it.

I would like, instead of pursuing the argument on those lines, to get from the Minister what are the compelling circumstances which have induced the Minister for External Affairs to enter into this agreement. If there were any I would like to hear them, because, as I say, reading this and seeing what is involved, I cannot understand why the Minister entered into that agreement at all, if it is only for the sake of eight students. I believe facilities for these can be provided in a way other than is provided for them by this agreement, and provided in a way that would leave veterinary education in a position of greater dignity than it is likely to have now. Before reading this I would remind the Minister that the Minister for External Affairs, in dealing with this matter, suggested that I had not read the Bill at all when I pointed out that veterinary education was going actually to be controlled by this foreign college. He said that I had not read the Bill, because there was a section in it which made certain provision for registration in the Irish register of students who would be trained at any university or college that would be entitled to give diplomas. Surely, he said, I must have understood, if I read the Bill, that that foreshadowed an arrangement here which would indicate that we were going to have supreme control of our own veterinary education. I had read the Bill at that time, but that was not the inference I drew from this particular section. I will read the section so that we may be clear on the matter at issue.

Mr. Hogan

What section?

It is Section 31. I am trying at present to deal with the agreement. I cannot see any reason why the agreement should be made. I understand quite well there is a reason for establishing the veterinary profession here on a legal basis so as to have control of it and so on. There are two aspects of this Bill. There is the national and the international aspect. The international aspect is almost altogether contained in the agreement, and it is with the international aspect I am concerned at the moment. The Minister seemed to suggest in his reply to a question I asked, that there was a certain scheme in the minds of the Ministry that would be put into effect the moment this Bill was passed. I want information on that. I want to point out that the Minister was absolutely mistaken, when he suggested that this particular section I am going to read would indicate that there was such a plan in the minds of the Ministers.

The section simply says this: "After the establishment of the Register ... every person who at the time of such application (that is the application for registration) is possessed of 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." I had read that before I asked the Minister the question. What would anybody reading that and reading the whole agreement take from it? Simply this: that if at any time there was a college or university giving diplomas, these diplomas would confer the right of registration in the Free State register. I think in the Dental Act or the Medical Act there was a provision that if there should be a new university established, then the degrees of that university would come under the General Medical laws. I took it that here similarly was a provision that if in the distant future certain students were given degrees at a university or college, recognised legal degrees, this would confer the right of registration. There was nothing in that, I submit, that would indicate to anybody that the Executive Council had a definite plan for dovetailing in this agreement with a definite policy of veterinary education. I do not want to speak at further length until we get more enlightenment as to what were the compelling circumstances which induced the Minister to make an agreement of this sort which I regard as humiliating from the national point of view, humiliating in any circumstances, and to be borne only if there was some such compelling circumstance as made it necessary for us to submit to the humiliation. The second thing I want information on is, what was the plan that the Minister had in mind, which he suggested this particular sub-section I have read out had reference to?

He certainly wanted us to believe that the Executive had some general scheme in mind with reference to veterinary education into which this was to fit. I would like to have that information before proceeding to deal with the agreement.

Mr. Hogan

I would have thought that this was a matter that should have been debated on the Second Reading, and I do not propose to debate it at any length now. There is power to establish an Irish register and to confer degrees. That is made quite clear in Section 31, which reads:

After the establishment of the register the following persons shall, on making the prescribed application and paying the fees required by this Act, be entitled to be registered on the register;

and then the following persons:—

Every person who at the time of such application is possessed of a diploma in veterinary science, veterinary surgery or veterinary medicine granted by a university or college in Saorstát Eireann.

Therefore it is absolutely clear in the Bill that there is power for a university to give a degree and for the holder of such a degree to be on the Irish register. That is all the Bill professes to do. As to whether it is proposed to add such a faculty to an existing university is another question which I will not deal with at this moment. It is, in my opinion, quite irrelevant to this Bill, and especially to the Third Stage of this Bill. As to the point that Deputy de Valera made as to what was the necessity for this agreement at all, he wanted to know was it a legal necessity. That is debatable. I will say this at once: it was not essentially a legal necessity. He himself said that even half the students every year, eight out of fifteen, wanted to practise abroad. Why should this arrangement be made for them? I would answer that question by asking exactly the same one. Suppose that in the case of half the students of the country their fathers consider it is in their best interests to have a degree that enables them to practise abroad, why should they not have it? Is not that the right way to approach it? Let us be sure about what we are differing on. That is the way I am approaching it. Why should not they have it, unless there are extremely good reasons against it? That is our point of view. We have made this arrangement here for them. From the veterinary point of view these arrangements must be regarded as adequate. They are arrangements which enable them to go on to the register of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons which is admitted to be the finest college of its kind in the world. Whatever we politicians may think about it, that is the opinion of the veterinary profession.

Deputy de Valera's objection, as usual, is on national grounds. We have made an agreement which is a national humiliation! He said we have made an agreement which subordinates the Irish veterinary profession to the English. Certainly not. We have established here a position under which we have an Irish register, and if any veterinary surgeon has the same peculiar ideas of Irish nationalism as, let us say, Deputy de Valera has, then let him get on to the Irish register and he is absolutely free of English control.

And stay there.

Mr. Hogan

On the other hand, if there are veterinary surgeons sensible like myself, who desire not only to have the full benefits of the Irish register and the full benefits of our nationalism, but also the right to practise elsewhere, let them go on to the register of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, and if they do this and take my advice they will not feel in the slightest degree humiliated, because the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons gives them a diploma and rights, and prescribes their examinations. If they do feel any humiliation they will get no sympathy from me, whatever about the Deputies across the way.

The Minister for Agriculture is not going to get off so easy this time on that line of argument. We do not propose to prevent anybody who wants to go over and get the Royal Veterinary Surgeon's degree from getting it. There is no barrier.

Mr. Hogan

Why should they not get it here?

Why should we provide State funds for an affiliated college of a foreign institution? Why have we our own university at all if that line of argument is going to hold? If half the students of the college want to go why should they not go? We are not preventing them from going. What we say is that there are £5,400 of Irish money being voted every year for the maintenance of a college which is subordinate to a foreign institution. We have other universities and colleges here, and I, for one, want to see veterinary education in this country controlled from this country. I want to see, if public monies are voted, that they will be primarily devoted to those who want to practise in Ireland.

There is another way in which it can be done in a better way than that which the Minister suggests. There is a regulation of the London College by which students from approved colleges abroad can get this degree by a year's course. Instead of getting the same recognition as is given to our medical degrees, we want to get into the position in which the whole curricula and examinations will be prescribed by an institution outside this country. When the question of the Dental Bill was here before the Dáil, I think it was the leader of the Labour Party who described it as "Home Rule within the Empire." This is crown colony government.

Mr. Hogan

It is external association.

It is crown colony government because such are the lines of this agreement. I hope Deputies will not simply take the word of the Minister without understanding quite clearly what they are doing. Take up Schedule one and see what it provides. The second section of the First Schedule provides that the powers and duties formerly vested in or imposed on that college—that is the London College—of holding examinations—I read it: "This agreement for the purpose of testing the fitness of persons to practise as veterinary surgeons and of granting as a result of such examinations diplomas qualifying for registration in the general veterinary register and other diplomas in veterinary science or any branch thereof shall be deemed not to have been affected by the establishment of the Irish Free State." In other words you are going to have exactly the same control by this College in the future as it had in the past. This London corporation is to have control of examinations in the future exactly in the same way as in the past. It is deemed not to have been affected by the establishment of the Irish Free State. If you read on further you will find that they shall exercise "all such powers, jurisdictions and authorities under the charters and the Veterinary Surgeons Acts as the said council and officers formerly had." That is the control of examinations and the control afterwards of those who wished to register as their members.

Mr. Hogan

Surely the Deputy must know that that is so for all examinations for the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.

For the purposes of the register the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons are to have all the powers that they had before. I am going to show what that leads to. The meaning of it is this: that any examinations which would be held in this country will be held by the Royal College of Surgeons.

Mr. Hogan

No, any examination for the register of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.

The Minister has not shown that there is to be any change from the existing situation. It means that students who come into the veterinary college at Ballsbridge have to be trained there and have to go in for an examination set by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. The Minister is not prepared to tell us what provision he is making for the future. He wants us to give him a blank cheque. This is an affiliated college which we are supporting to the extent of £5,400 a year. It is to be in this position, that a professor in any subject may be associated in the examination as an intern examiner, but he is not to be privileged to set the questions. He is to be one examiners out of three. The two other examiners are to be chosen by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. Our students will be paying fees amounting to twenty or thirty pounds a year each. When they become qualified they will be members of the Royal Veterinary College, and, under this agreement, the fees for that College are going to be collected in Ireland. The position at the moment is, apparently, legally that they are not able to control their members here, that they are not able to get any money from their members here. The position under this agreement is that we are getting absolutely nothing, except the fact that students can go on the British register if they wish. We have got the money going out of the country. We have got the upkeep of this college. This outlay is all the more indefensible because there is a way in which this could be done if our people stood up for it. It would be far preferable that a faculty of veterinary science should be set up in one of our colleges. It would be a natural corollary to the taking over of the Albert College by the University College, Dublin. The Albert College was formerly under the control of the Minister. The natural corollary was to have a faculty of veterinary science attached to this college. Then the position would be that if any students wanted to get the M.R.C.V.S., they could get it in a single session in any affiliated college. They could make an arrangement as is done in the case of the medical profession. That is, get recognition of their college and permit a delegation from the Council of the Veterinary college in London to be present at their examinations. There were a number of ways in which this could be done, but the worst way in which it could be done was done in this agreement, because it determines that in the future the whole trend of veterinary education will be as directed by the London College.

I think we have our own particular problems and our own directions of research and all the rest of it and that ought to be the direction in which veterinary education should be determined by our own wants and aspirations. I am not saying that students should not get a foreign degree. We could give them all facilities if they want them. We could arrange that degrees that were given by the university here would be recognised by the London College. There is no comparison whatever between this agreement and the dental agreement or the agreement with the medical profession.

As I tried to illustrate, it is a case of what the Leader of the Labour Party described as "Home Rule within the Empire" and what I call crown colony Government, as the head institution is in London and it prescribes the examinations and the curricula, and will take the fees. I submit there is no necessity for doing that. When negotiations were entered into they should have gone upon the lines of getting recognition of Irish degrees and the first step towards putting the veterinary profession on a satisfactory footing in Ireland should have been to establish a faculty of veterinary science in one of the university colleges, then let there be negotiations for qualifications for a foreign register.

When it comes to the type of control there is to be an Irish council of eight members according to the Bill. Four of these members are to be elected by the members of the London College. Those who have got London degrees and are resident in the Free State have to chose four out of eight. They will have practically what amounts to a total vote, so that the control of the veterinary profession in this country is going to lie with the members who have got this foreign degree and not with those who have the home degree.

There is no provision in this Bill from beginning to end to indicate that the Minister had any relation whatever to any of the Irish universities. I cannot understand it, because as I say, any Minister making that agreement must have some terrible interest forcing him, even though he was not acquainted with the University system here at all, to make him agree to it. But the Minister is a representative of the National University and does that, yet when we look through this Bill from beginning to end we do not find in it a single provision to say that if there was a faculty of veterinary science hereafter established in any one of these colleges it would get fair play. There are about 250 to 300 members at present practising veterinary surgery in this country —nearer to 250.

The veterinary surgeons practising in this country who are members of this college are to be the electors. The Minister for Agriculture says it is the best veterinary degree in the world. I do not know whether it is or not. Exaggerated statements like that can be made and there is no means of checking them. The point is that those who already have got the degree will naturally be interested in promoting the interests of that college and that degree. It will be to them their Alma Mater. They will naturally be interested in maintaining the position of the outside college as against the home college. Suppose we were to establish here a faculty of veterinary science in the National University, it would take four or five years to get students qualified. If we have 15 students every year, look at the number of years it will take to catch up on the number that exists at present. Even if there were only 10 members of the foreign college registered in this country they will ultimately elect half of the controlling council. Half of the controlling body are going to be elected by whatever foreign students there are here. There is not a single provision either as to the governing of the profession at home or otherwise, to safeguard any university or college that in the future might establish a veterinary faculty. I ask Deputies seriously to consider that, and not be guided by the Minister who simply says: "Why should they not go abroad? If half the students want to go abroad why should they not go abroad?" We are not preventing them, but we do not want to see the whole veterinary profession and education here dominated by an outside institution.

I ask Deputies to read this agreement and not simply to agree to it because it has been presented to them by the Ministerial Bench. Deputies should ask themselves whether there is not a better way of dealing with the whole situation. I intend to vote against this agreement, and I ask the House to vote against it. A Bill could be introduced establishing a veterinary college and putting the veterinary profession here on a sound foundation without this agreement. If such a Bill had been introduced and a veterinary faculty was established here in connection with one of these college an agreement could be made on far better terms with the Veterinary College in London. You would be able to get an agreement whereby, having a delegation of their council here at the examination, you would be able to get a recognition of the degree. But if you accept this, if a new faculty is established here in Trinity College or any of the colleges of the National University in veterinary science, the whole of the teaching will be dominated by the interests of the outside examination. No institution is going to run two sets of curricula side by side. Our professors in that college will be compelled to model their teaching on the requirements of the outside institution. There is no comparison between this agreement and the agreement made in the case of the medical profession. In the case of the medical profession, there is something corresponding to external association. There is nothing of the kind here. It is to be dominated from the London College as far as the curricula, control, and everything else, is concerned. I hope that Deputies on the Government Benches will ask the Minister why it is necessary to vote this public money for the upkeep of a college which is to be an affiliated college of a foreign institution when we have independent universities here that could give their own degrees. If there was some special arrangement to be made for those going abroad, that could be made on lines following the Medical Act and not on the lines of this humiliating agreement.

Deputy de Valera is really trying to frighten the House. He has an entire misconception of the circumstances.

I have no misconception.

I wonder does the Deputy realise what would be the position of the medical graduates of the National University, of which he is the Chancellor, if the General Medical Council had no voice in prescribing the curriculum for the medical students of that university?

Who conducts the examinations?

I will come to that. The Deputy began by stating that the curriculum in this case will be prescribed by a foreign body. I say that we have already a precedent for that in the medical profession, that no medical graduate can get on the British Medical Register without complying with the curriculum prescribed. The Deputy knows very well that there are extern examiners in medicine here, and that these are appointed by the General Medical Council. They come here both to examine and to superintend the examinations even in his own University. Deputy de Valera, as Chancellor, should know that. He should not mislead the House. Is there any reason for giving these people a voice in the examination either of medical or veterinary students who are preparing to go on the register? I think there is every reason. Two-thirds of the medical graduates of Ireland will practise in England, and two-thirds of the veterinary graduates also will practise in England. Have the English people no right to know what are the qualifications of these medical men before they put them on the medical register, and give them a right to kill or cure their own people? We may have an intensive nationalist point of view, and say that we will only have a veterinary college or a medical college for the requirements of our own people. That is intelligible, but a great injury will be done to Irishmen, who find a great outlet in Great Britain and in the Colonies, if you adopt such a course. Suppose we have 20 students for the veterinary profession. During their professional career each of these students would spend £600 or a total sum of £12,000 between them. If we adopt Deputy de Valera's suggestion these men, if they have any sense, will go over to England and get their qualifications there, where they can practise, and that £12,000 will be lost to this country.

Another matter we should bear in mind is the question of satisfying the people of other countries, where our chief markets are, that our veterinary surgeons and our medical graduates have the highest qualifications and that the highest standards have been set at their examinations. The reputation of our veterinary surgeons will count for a lot when a question arises as to a clean bill of health for our cattle. We may have the highest standards here, but the English people must have some means of knowing that, and if our veterinary surgeons are up to the English standard, the English people will take their certificates as prima facie evidence of the soundness of our cattle, and there will be a good case for their being allowed into Great Britain. The whole matter has been put in a very exaggerated way by Deputy de Valera. I doubt if there is any way out of this except the way proposed by the Minister for External Affairs, who made a very good case for this Bill. This is on a parallel with the Medical Practitioners Act, which Deputy de Valera seemed to have a very vague idea of, although he is Chancellor of the University.

Deputy Hennessy is not going to get away with it like that in this House. There is no comparison whatever between the British Medical Council and the Royal Veterinary College.

You say so.

It is demonstrable. One is a single corporation which has the right to admit affiliated colleges. There are four or five affiliated colleges, all giving the one degree. The Medical Council has on it representatives from all the British Universities. Again the extern examiners in every subject are appointed by the Senate of the Irish University. They send delegates over here and I have suggested that if we had some system of delegation from the Royal Veterinary College it would be sufficient.

Are the delegates examiners?

They are delegates from the British Medical Council who are present at the examinations to see that they are up to the standard— they are observers.

Where do the extern medical examiners come in?

As far as I know, they are appointed by the Senate, like all other extern examiners.

By the British Medical Council.

They would have no locus standi except they were appointed. There is an agreement upon curricula. But the whole of the papers are set by the professors in their particular subjects. Under this agreement, the professor may be present and may, I suppose, ask oral questions at the examination, but he is not allowed to set papers or do anything else. I say that there is no comparison between the situation under the Medical Council and the situation in the veterinary profession that will be created by this agreement. I pointed out that in the controlling body afterwards a dominant position is given to the students who have got the outside degree. Deputy Hennessy suggests that there is no other way out of it. I suggest that there is, and that is, to have a parallel situation to that of the Medical Council, one in which only Irish degrees will be recognised. There would be no question of this sum of money which is involved. Any student in any recognised college can at present with one session in an affiliated college get a foreign degree.

I was anxious to hear the Minister in order to see whether he had any plan thought out. It should be possible, if all went to all, to arrange to have a special class for the pursuance of what I might call a postgraduate course, if they wanted to get this outside degree. There is no justification whatever for giving the outside body the control of the examinations and of the profession here. We are not putting them off. We do not say that students should not get this degree. Make provision for them if you like, but do not allow that to dominate the whole of the educational system. That is what is done in this agreement. You have domination afterwards. You are paying them all the fees. You are collecting the fees afterwards as long as they remain registered. If you had only half a dozen members with the outside degree resident in this country they could elect four members half of the controlling council in the Irish Free State. It seems to me to be absolutely ridiculous. One would want a front of brass to try and stand over it in any Irish assembly.

Mr. Hogan

I do not propose to waste time answering that sort of drivel. I understand that a Deputy can only make three speeches on the one amendment.

Are you afraid of them?

Mr. Hogan

Not a bit. I am ashamed of them. I am tired listening to the Deputy. The Deputy has made three speeches and repeated the same thing about ten times. I hope that is the last. He might have said it once and be done with it. He has tried to make his opinions clear by reiteration. His opinions are very valuable to himself and quite rightly, but they are no more valuable than the opinions of anyone else. When it comes to a matter like this we are guided not by the Deputy's opinion, which may be all right or all wrong, but by our own opinions and by the opinions of the veterinary profession in the country. I do not think that I need take Deputies through the Bill. I need only say that we provide in this Bill for the establishment of an Irish College with Irish degrees and for an Irish electorate to elect an Irish council completely and absolutely independent. A republic for the vets.—that is what we provide here. Then, because there are certain people in this country who foolishly look to get on the English register, we provide for them. They are just as good Irishmen as Deputy de Valera, but they do not make such a fuss about it or talk so much about it. They are, however, just as good Irishmen. In fact most of them are a lot better. We provide for them here. On the other hand, if Irish people want to get on the English register, they must not complain if they are controlled by the English council. The English council have agreed, generously in my opinion, that for examinations—of course the Deputy was deliberately trying to misrepresent the position—that for the examinations for the English register there shall be one Irish external examiner, and for the English council four members from Ireland, far and away more than we could get on a numerical basis. I think that is a good agreement. The Deputy says that he thinks this agreement is a bad one. He has the cheek to tell us that he can make a better one. He is about the last Deputy who should tell anybody how to make an agreement. I would listen to any other Deputy rather than Deputy de Valera on that question. All his life the Deputy funked every agreement that was to be made. He sent someone else to make it.

That is untrue, and you know it.

Mr. Hogan

All his life he has done that. This is the Deputy who tells us that we did it in a wrong way. As long as this Deputy has been in public life that has been his one constant function—to get someone else to do the hard work and blame him when it is done. As far as he is concerned, I have not the slightest concern as to whether he thinks this agreement is a good one or a bad one. This is the agreement which we made. I think it is a good one and I recommend it to the House. So far as the Deputy's opinion on this question is concerned, I do not think it has the slightest value.

I am not concerned with the Minister, any more than——

Mr. Hogan

On a point of order, is there more than one speech allowed on any one section in Committee?

That is within the discretion of the Chair.

Mr. Hogan

I suggest that the Deputy has already made three speeches, and if every other Deputy in the House abuses his privileges in the way this Deputy does we will not be able to carry on business at all.

The Standing Order which the Minister has in mind is an old Standing Order which does not now obtain. There is no limit with regard to the number of speeches except in so far as the Chair may decide a limit within its own powers. We had better recognise that the section now before the House is the main section of the Bill, and it is only on this section, I think, the Agreement can be criticised. Therefore I am inclined to give a good deal more liberty on this section than, perhaps, on other sections.

If we were considering only the Minister's opinion, I would have as little regard for it as he has for mine.

Mr. Hogan

That is fair, anyway. We understand each other in regard to that.

What I am interested in is this: Members of the House may not have read the Agreement. A number of Bills are fired at the heads of Deputies here, and not every Deputy has time to read them. Many Deputies have to depend very largely for directions on the Minister who introduces the Bill, and if they want criticism they have to depend very largely on those opposing the Bill to put the points of criticism before them. I am convinced that if any Deputy goes through the Agreement carefully and asks himself what is contained in it, and what it implies as far as veterinary education in Ireland is concerned, he will see that I am trying to put the position as contained in that Agreement before him without any exaggeration. The Minister does not want to go through the Bill. I do, and I want other Deputies to go through it. I would like them to read every line of the Agreement.

The Minister suggests that this has reference only to those who want to get foreign degrees. Let him make any arrangement he likes to make it possible for those who want foreign degrees to get them, but whilst making that arrangement let him not make it of such a nature that it is bound to dominate the whole of the veterinary education of this country. That is the position. This arrangement, presumably made for students going abroad, is going to have much wider effects than merely providing them with facilities and providing the foreign college, whose degree they will have, with control over them. Of necessity this is going to affect the whole question of veterinary education here, and it is going to affect the control of the veterinary profession in this country. The Minister said that four of those are getting on the foreign council, and that is more than our numbers would entitle us to. Four out of thirty-six—that is their voting strength. I am not concerned with that at all; I am not dealing with the numbers of our representatives on the foreign council. They are not sufficient to give us any real, effective voice on the council. What I say is that these four will be elected by whatever members of the foreign college there may be, these members being veterinary surgeons with a foreign degree registered abroad; they, and nobody else, will elect the four. No matter what may be his qualifications in the Free State, no other student will be entitled to vote for the four. Those who vote for the four will be entitled to vote again for the other four on the Irish council.

You have the examinations prescribed, the only effective examiners coming from outside. Whatever college is here will be an affiliated college. You are going to have a branch of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons in England. That is going to be the educational institution for veterinary surgeons in this country. There is no provision made in the Bill for an Irish Faculty being established. I say that this Agreement was made without any reference whatever to the home situation. It was made to meet the foreign situation, and that necessity has dominated the whole Agreement. It is going to influence the whole course of veterinary education in this country. If Deputies take the view the Minister has taken it will be our duty to vote in a minority against it. We can make only an idle protest.

Mr. Hogan

The Deputy is saving his face again.

I wish we could do very much more, but all we can do now is to make an idle protest. That is the position I have taken up on other occasions and I am not a bit ashamed. I would prefer to make no agreement than to make an agreement which is a wrong one. I would rather by far that the situation remained as it was, because it was then capable of being dealt with in a proper way. Some people expected that the Minister for Agriculture would have taken the initiative in dealing with it. The moment this Agreement is ratified you have a fait accompli to face, with a position which you can scarcely regain. I do not see how you can regain it. I appeal to Deputies to read the Agreement, and not pass it because it is recommended from the Ministerial Benches. If I have exaggerated the position, Deputies will see that for themselves. As far as Deputy Hennessy's attitude is concerned, anybody who knows the situation as established under the Medical Act and who reads this in relation to it will see the difference.

Deputy Hennessy stated that we are no worse off under this Agreement than under the Medical Agreement. I say that I do not want to defend the Medical Agreement at all. I do not know whether it was the best that could be made, but I do know that this is a much worse Agreement. Let us take one or two points arising out of this Bill. Every offence committed by a medical man—professional misconduct, or offences of that sort—if committed within the Free State by a medical man on the General Register, would be considered by the Irish Council and not by any representatives from the British Council. If such an offence is committed by a veterinary surgeon who is on the General as well as on the Free State Register, that veterinary surgeon will be tried by three members of the Free State Council, together with two members of the British Council. We have gone back this far under this Agreement: we have admitted that our own veterinary surgeons on the Free State Council are not fit to try veterinary surgeons within the Free State for any misconduct. They are, however, considered to be quite fit to take them off the Register for such things as crime or treason.

The question of examinations has already been dealt with by Deputy de Valera. There is nothing in this Agreement about the carrying out of examinations, and there is nothing in the Medical Agreement with regard to the individual examiners who will examine the candidates. It is, perhaps, provided by implication in the Agreement that representatives of the British Medical Council may come around, as they do occasionally, to see if our standard is maintained. Under the Veterinary Agreement the examiners appointed by the British Veterinary Council will carry out the examinations on all occasions. As Deputy de Valera pointed out, it is specifically stated in the Agreement that the principal teacher may be present at the examination, but he will not be allowed to set the papers. We know that in the case of medical schools the professor, with an experienced examiner, sets the papers and examines the candidates.

This Agreement brings in another thing in respect to which it is unlike the Medical Agreement. In addition to the British Medical Register there is the Colonial Register and the Veterinary Register in Great Britain. Persons qualified in veterinary surgery or medicine may be registered in the British Dominions or dependencies or in foreign countries. Provided they are qualified in veterinary colleges recognised by the British Veterinary Council, they can come on to the British Veterinary Register. In the case of the Free State Veterinary Register we must admit any person on the General Veterinary Register in Great Britain if he applies to be admitted. Indirectly we are compelled to admit to our Veterinary Register a person who may be qualified in any part of the world provided he is qualified in a school recognised by the British Veterinary Register. That is not so in the case of the Medical Agreement. We are compelled to admit only members of the General Medical Register, and they are qualified in Great Britain. But we are not compelled to admit anybody else.

The Minister made light of the point of people going on the British Medical Register. Every veterinary surgeon who goes on the Free State Register must put down £2 or two guineas every year, I forget which. The Veterinary Council here, if that man is also on the General Register, will hand over the guinea to the Council in Great Britain. He is to vote then for the four members who are elected by the members to the General Register. He is also to vote for the four members who are elected by those on the General Register and those who are not on the General Register. In addition to that he has the option of going into Great Britain of Northern Ireland at any time to practise. Is there not an inducement to him to go on the General Register? His fee has already been collected from him. He must pay the two guineas and it will cost him nothing extra to get on and he has the advantage on the General Register of having a double vote and having the option of going to Northern Ireland or Great Britain to practise. Through this agreement we are going to collect the fees for those on the General Register here. We are going to do something that the General Council in England could not legally do because, according to the Act of 1920, Section 2, sub-section (4), which was passed by the British Parliament, it is set out: "This section shall not apply to members of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons who do not practise in the United Kingdom."

They did that when they were fixing the fee at £1 1s. 0d. for practising veterinary surgery. It is illegal for the General Council in Great Britain to collect fees from the veterinary surgeons practising here, but by agreement we are going to get the General Council in Great Britain out of the difficulty they placed themselves in under the 1920 Act. There was no indication at that time that we were going to go outside the United Kingdom.

The Minister for External Affairs, by signing this Agreement with Mr. Thomas, made it possible for the General Council in Great Britain to collect the fees in an indirect way. He offered in this Agreement to collect the fees from those members in this country and hand it to the British Council. In that way the British Council will get over the legal difficulty. Perhaps it might be said that the Minister who signed the Agreement is not altogether to blame because he might not know what was in the Agreement. If anybody takes the trouble to read the Second Reading debate on the Bill he will see that the Minister stated there was nothing about treason in the Agreement. There is something about treason; it is mentioned specifically. As a matter of fact, in the previous Agreement with regard to medical practitioners and dentists there was no mention of treason, although there was reference to crime and misdemeanour. We have treason brought in under this Agreement. Perhaps it was some official who signed the Agreement on the Minister's behalf and the Minister did not know what the Agreement contained.

No member of the Executive Council can be excused for bringing an Agreement here and pleading ignorance of its contents. It is quite evident that the Minister did not know what was in the Agreement, judging by the remark he passed about treason. Perhaps Mr. Thomas, who drew up the Agreement, without the knowledge of the Minister put in the word treason in order to make sure that we would conduct ourselves a little bit better in the future. The Minister for Agriculture asked why should not the students qualified in veterinary surgery have the right to go to Great Britain and practise there. He asked why we should not equip them and spend public funds so as to enable them to practise in Great Britain. Why should we not vote £5,400 a year to the Veterinary College at Ballsbridge to send them across and why should we not collect the annual fee from every veterinary surgeon practising here and send them across also? Deputy Hennessy said that two-thirds of the veterinary surgeons will practise in England. Two-thirds of the qualified coach-builders will henceforth be working in England and we have not spent public funds upon them. We have deprived them of their livelihood here, but we have not equipped them to work in England or elsewhere. We have 15,000 or 20,000 people emigrating every year, mostly unskilled labourers.

Is it not worth while to consider the money they pay for their qualifications here?

Where does the money come from?

From the Irish people. Your point is to send them to England and let them spend the money there.

Equip them out of public funds and make their parents spend money sending them across.

Send their parents' money across?

And there is the examination fee also—£5 per examination. We are sending 15,000 or 20,000 people, mostly unskilled labourers, to other countries. Why not do something for these people to help them to face conditions in America, England or Scotland? If these people were taught some sort of skilled trade before going to those countries they would be enabled to make a good living. As it is they have to go across unskilled. Why do more for eight veterinary surgeons who go out of this country every year than for anybody else? Why do more for them than for the thousands who have to go across every year to earn a livelihood?

It is all right for Deputy Dr. Hennessy to come in here and advocate the case of the doctors who go across to earn their living in Great Britain, Northern Ireland, or elsewhere, and to draw a parallel with the veterinary surgeons who leave the country. If we had as able an advocate here for the unskilled labourers who have to leave the country he could make a much better case for them, because he would have much bigger numbers to argue from.

Deputy de Valera, when speaking on this, mentioned many other defects in the Agreement. There is, for instance, the matter of representatives of the British Council being present at our veterinary examinations. Have we any right to see that veterinary surgeons who come here from Scotland or Northern Ireland are properly qualified before they are allowed to practise here? There are veterinary surgeons in the Free State who have come from Scotland or Great Britain. Some of them are in official positions. Henceforth, if any of the friends of these men come here to practise we have no means of finding out what the standard of examination is that is maintained in the British or Scottish colleges, but the British have the right to see that we keep up our standards here. Returning to the question of professional misconduct, if a person who is registered both on the General Register and on the Free State Register is charged with an offence within the Free State, our men here will have no right to try him. He must first be tried by three members, one of whom must be a member of the British Council, and, in addition, there must be two real Britishers from the British Council. Therefore the position will be this, that you will have three members of the British Council trying him. In other words, that means that there is no change with regard to the present position.

Take the case of a man living in the Free State who goes across the Border and is charged with professional misconduct there. He is tried absolutely by the British Council. The Free State Council has no right to send a representative to see that he gets fair play. Therefore, the position is this: that there are no reciprocal rights with regard to examinations or with regard to trial for professional misconduct. The only thing the British have trusted us with is—apparently they believe that we are competent to deal with this— in regard to the crime of treason. The Free State Veterinary Council is given full power to strike a man off the register if he is found guilty of crime or treason, because they know that we are the most efficient of all the Dominions within the British Empire in the matter of trials for treason or crime.

Mr. Hogan

The Deputy, in his tearful speech, forgot to tell us anything about the other side of the picture. He did not tell us of the plight of the unfortunate British veterinary surgeon who wanted to get on our register. Look at the wretched plight he is in. The Deputy told us of the plight of the unfortunate Irishman trying to get on the English register—that the examiners would be all Englishmen, and that having got on, if he was charged with anything, all the members of the Council trying him would be Britishers, and so on. What about the other unfortunate man that wants to get on the Irish register that we are going to set up? He will have to sit for an examination at which all the papers have been set by Irishmen, and by Irishmen only.

He will not.

Mr. Hogan

Certainly he will.

Read Section 31.

Mr. Hogan

We can throw him off our register without any Englishman having a seat on the Council.

You cannot unless you try him for treason.

Mr. Hogan

What about that poor man? I hope that if this Agreement is to be sanctioned by the British House of Commons that they will not tumble to that position, because if they do, a very serious situation will arise.

It is a scandal for a Minister to have charge of a Bill about which he knows absolutely nothing. A man on the General Register in Great Britain is entitled by Section 31 of this Bill to get on the Free State Register. The section sets out those who are entitled to get on: Every person who is at the time of such application registered in the general veterinary register and every person who has qualified in Ireland.

Mr. Hogan

I am talking of the gentleman who is not on the English register at all.

The Minister is talking about the British veterinary surgeon who is not on the British Register—a cow doctor.

Mr. Hogan

I said that the Deputy in his tearful speech drew a horrible picture of the plight of the Irishman who wanted to get on the British Register. I would ask Deputies to remember that there are Irishmen who want to get on the British Register. That is the cause of all the trouble. That may be right or wrong, but they want to get on. Being an intense nationalist I am assuming, for the sake of the argument, that there is an Englishman who does not want to get on his own register, but wants to get on our register. We can do what we like with him. If he is charged we can try him for treason and throw him off our register. There is no Englishman and no Scotsman called in, not even a Celt from Wales to help him.

As Deputy Ryan has said it is a positive scandal that a Minister should come forward in charge of this Bill without knowing anything about it. He is trying to make up with his glibness for his want of knowledge of what is contained in the Bill. The position as regards the Englishman who is coming over here is that we are not getting domination of English veterinary education in order to make facilities for him. The British college has got everything it wants: complete control in this country for its own degree men. We have got absolutely nothing in return except that our students may get their degrees and may practise. We provide them with a college and with students. We provide them with examination fees and with teaching, but while we do all that we will be in a subordinate position. We are giving them every facility to get students, to get fees and to get control of veterinary education, while we are getting nothing in return except the mere right that our students can get their degrees.

Mr. Hogan

Would the Deputy point out where I was inaccurate?

The Minister was inaccurate until he corrected himself and he will have to correct the Official Reports.

Mr. Hogan

You can have it that way.

We are in the unfortunate position in discussing this and other matters in this House that the majority party never take the trouble to read Bills. When we point out the bad things that are in Bills the Cumann na nGaedheal people begin hazily to realise that fact for the first time. If the Minister happens to be in an impudent mood, impudent to cover up his ignorance, the members of the Cumann na nGeadheal Party will follow him into the lobby and legislate with their feet. On the last occasion that we were discussing this the Cumann na nGaedheal members did not realise that if the Bill went through, as it was introduced by the Minister, that a farmer could not give a bottle to a cow. It was not until their attention was drawn to that by the Fianna Fáil members that they realised what was in the Bill. Even the Minister who introduced the Bill did not know that. The Minister says that he is guided by his own opinion. I warn Deputies in the Cumann na nGaedheal Party that the Minister's opinion on most subjects is not worth very much. I am sure if Deputies who snigger when the Minister says impudent things examine the Bill they will find that his opinion on this particular section of the Agreement is worth about as much as his knowledge of slander which cost him £500 recently.

The Minister says it is a good Bill. It is a good Bill, because it embodies an Agreement which he had the honour to sign with His Majesty's Minister, Mr. Thomas. The Minister stated that the British Veterinary College was the best veterinary college in the world. The Minister does not know very much about it. It is just part of the Cumann na nGaedheal adoration of British institutions. There are other veterinary colleges in the world. I am perfectly certain that the Germans would stand up for the German Veterinary College against the British; that the Americans would stand up for the American institution, and that numerous other countries have not got the inferiority complex of our little Ministers here, who go over and playact in satin breeches and silk stockings with the British Ministers. That is the Ministers' admiration of British institutions. You would know from the Minister's joyous admiration that he had dined and wined with the British, and one would think he was still carrying on the spirit which he imbibed at the British dining-table, attired in silk stockings and a satin knee-breeches. We want to warn members of the Cumann na nGaedheal Party who are going to legislate with their feet, who are going to follow the Minister like driven cattle into the Lobby to make law of this section in the Agreement, that they are going to put the Irish veterinary people here definitely under the control of the British. There is no use appealing to them not to do so. I know that perfectly well. It is unfortunate that when these things are pointed out by our leader, Deputy de Valera, and by Deputy Ryan, they are not heeded. We know that, and we can only hope that the day will soon come when the Cumann na nGaedheal people will have the pleasure of sitting at home and allowing someone else to read the Bills and legislate with their heads. When that day comes, those who make an agreement with the British will not have this inferiority complex, to agree to everything that the British propose, to agree that every British institution is a great one, and that we cannot even train men to look after our cattle unless we get the sanction of the British.

Deputy Hennessy, in the usual way, supported the Minister for Agriculture. Deputy Hennessy is a little wiser than some of the other people, and he kept his mouth shut during the latter part of the debate. Having put his two feet in it at the beginning, he then kept his mouth shut discreetly. Let Deputy Hennessy get up and endeavour to prove that under this Agreement veterinary surgeons here are going to be in the same position as doctors. We would like to hear him on that again. I suppose he will keep his mouth shut and snigger. That is about the best thing the Cumann na nGaedheal people can do. They are very good at sniggering, but very little good at reading Bills. However, there is no use trying to educate them at this time of their lives.

I do not think any member of this House, whether he is on the Fianna Fáil benches or sits, like the Minister, on the Government front benches, is any longer in any doubt, after Deputy Ryan's analysis of the Agreement, of the fact that henceforth the dominating force in the education of veterinary surgeons in this country is going to be the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons in Great Britain. The Minister endeavoured to cover that up by a rather cheap joke asking us to pity the poor Britisher. After all, this House is not concerned with the woes of the British citizen. We are concerned with the rights of Irish citizens. That is what we are here for; not to safeguard the interests of persons born in Great Britain, not to endeavour to safeguard the interests of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, but to look after the veterinary education of our own people. We have to start on the assumption that we are dealing with, not unqualified men in either country, but with qualified men, whether they belong to Great Britain or belong to Ireland. And it was clearly demonstrated that the British under this Agreement will be able to control the education of our veterinary surgeons, and to determine what qualifications will be exacted from them before they get on the register in this country. We are unable to exercise that right in regard to British veterinary surgeons who, under the Agreement and because they are on the British register, are ipso facto entitled to get on our register. That is a very important point.

I am perfectly certain that a considerable number of Deputies in the Cumann na nGaedheal Party take up our attitude in that regard. Certainly they would not stand for the one sided Agreement that has been drawn up, and if that Agreement had been submitted to them, before it was signed, in the private counsels of their own Party, they would take up the same attitude as we are taking up in this House. It is a rather unfortunate thing that the Minister who is in charge of the Bill knows very little about it.

Mr. Hogan

I know all about it.

The Minister thinks he does. Why was the Minister so anxious to shorten the debate? Why was he so anxious to take refuge behind the Chair in order to curtail the debate 35 minutes ago. Why did he appeal to the Leas-Cheann Comhairle to save him from the exposure which he knew was coming? The Minister's part in this debate has neither been dignified nor amusing. I know he interjected a lot of heat into the debate which was quite unnecessary. I know that he dragged in the question of making agreements. Who is the Minister to talk about agreements to this House? He admitted that he sold a toffee factory and was sorry for selling it, that he made an agreement but could not enforce it, and that when those to whom he sold it were unable to pay he had to buy it back again at a cost of £10,000 to the State.

That is getting very far away from the Veteriaary Surgeons Bill.

Mr. Hogan

I did a lot of other things but the Deputy does not know about them.

I am afraid that the Minister thought that the Bill might have in some remote way, at some remote time, a personal application to himself. Let me assure him that that is not so. Let him note that a veterinary surgeon will never be called to the Minister's bedside because though under the Bill they may treat asses they will never be called on to treat asinine bipeds even though they sit on the Government Benches.

It is rather late now to start a new hare on this agreement, but there is one point to which I would like to draw attention in connection with the agreement in Section 2. It states that, notwithstanding anything in the Irish Free State Constitution Act or the Irish Free State Consequential Provisions Act or the Constitution of the Irish Free State passed by the Provisional Parliament of Ireland, certain things may happen. That seems to me to be a rather cavalier way of altering the Constitution, as, in fact, that is what it is. It says that, notwithstanding anything that may be in our Constitution, the Royal Veterinary College shall be deemed not to have been affected by the establishment of the Irish Free State. It is the custom, I believe, in British legislation especially, and in some of our legislation also, to say in an Act of Parliament that notwithstanding previous Acts certain things may happen. While that may be all right in regard to ordinary Acts of Parliament I do not think that it is right when it refers to an instrument like the Constitution of the Free State. It may be that in drawing up this Agreement the people who drew it had in their mind what is common in British Acts of Parliament and the fact that there is no written British Constitution, but we have a written Constitution and, before we put into a Bill of this kind something which may alter the Constitution of the Free State, we should try and find out whether there is any other way it could be done. We are, quite incidentally and casually, altering the Constitution of the Free State. If that is going to go into an Act of Parliament such as this there is no reason why it should not go into some other Act and why it should not be stated that notwithstanding what may be in the Constitution certain things may be deemed to be the case and always to have been the case. I would draw the attention of the Minister to that because I think it is a matter of some importance. While I understand that there is something like it in previous agreements and that attention was not called to it at the time, there is no reason why attention should not be called to it now. I think it is a matter that ought not to be so lightly put into an Act of Parliament.

It was, I think, Mr. Justice Hanna who stated that you cannot alter the Constitution by a side wind. In this particular instance the Executive Council or the Minister who is responsible for this Agreement is certainly trying to alter the Constitution by a side wind and to give the Veterinary College, a branch of the British Veterinary College, extra constitutional privileges. On the matter of the Constitution we are not much perturbed. It is pleasant to see that it can be so easily pushed aside, even by a line in a small agreement, as if the Constitution was not of much importance, though we spent many months upon, I think, thirteen Bills in changing it. I think it would be more befitting of the Minister to answer the objections raised to-night than to become glib about an unfortunate Englishman who had not been a member of the British Council. He talked about his woes. We are concerned with the position of Irish veterinary surgeons, and when the Minister talks about taking the advice of the Irish veterinary surgeons—I know many of them who are admirable men and excellent Irishmen—there is this to be said that they are graduates of a Veterinary College that is a branch of a British institution and that their outlook might possibly be coloured by the fact of their being graduates of that college and that they may not be the fittest men, without consulting anyone else, to decide what course veterinary education should take in this country. It might be advisable to take the Universities into consideration and to consult with them. I wonder were they consulted as to what should be done with veterinary education in this country. That displayed ignorance of the position here. Even the Minister who introduced the Bill equally displayed ignorance of that Agreement when we were discussing it here a few days ago. He starts off with the statement that there is nothing about treason in the Agreement and his next statement was: "There is nothing in this Bill that is not in the Agreement." The word "treason" is in the Bill. I wonder what sort of logic the Minister learned at the National University if he says: "There is nothing in the Bill that is not in the Agreement." The word "treason" is in the Bill, but it is not in the Agreement. I wonder where he got that conclusion from or how the word "treason" was brought in. We have not heard a word from the Minister who deputises to-night for the Minister for External Affairs as to why that word is in the Bill. Perhaps it had something to do with the delicate negotiations we are hearing so much about. I do not know. Perhaps it would be treason if the veterinary surgeons ignored the Constitution, as the Minister tried to ignore it to-night. It is well that he is not a veterinary surgeon because he might be expelled from the profession for bringing this clause into the Bill.

It all depends on the definition of "treason," and evidently the British authorities or Mr. Thomas was satisfied with the Minister's definition of the word "treason" when he allowed members of the Irish Council to try Irish veterinary surgeons for treason, the only thing that they would be allowed to try members of the profession for. There is no use making jokes to disguise the fact of the position of this Council. The members of the British Council who are affiliated to it and who are resident in Ireland select four members and vote for another four, so that there will be eight members on it and they will be voting twice. I do not think that it is right that the British should be here and set examinations. Deputy Dr. Hennessy cannot get over the fact that in this Bill the Agreement differs from that in regard to medical men. Why does he not try to induce the Minister to get it re-cast, at any rate to the same extent as in the other cases?

They prescribe the curriculum and take part in the examinations.

They may be here but they do not always come to the examination. In the case of veterinary surgeons, however, they do come here and set the examinations. The professors who teach the students cannot set the examination.

They prescribe the curriculum.

They cannot set the examinations and that is an indignity to the professors of that College, if they had any trust in them. I move to report progress.

Progress reported.
The Dáil adjourned at 10.30 p.m. until Friday, 20th March, at 10.30 a.m.