Veterinary Surgeons Bill, 1931—Committee Stage (Resumed).

Debate resumed on amendments 3 and 4.
(3) To add at the end of sub-section (3) the words "and are not registered in the general register."
(4) In sub-section (5), to delete the word "neither" in line 33, and the words "nor be a qualification" in line 34.

I was speaking on amendments 3 and 4 when progress was reported. I was about to withdraw the amendments with a view to bringing in a modified form of provision on the Report Stage.

Amendments, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 7 agreed to.
Sections 8 to 11 agreed to.
SECTION 12.
Question proposed: "That Section 12 stand part of the Bill."

I wonder if the Minister realises, in connection with the four members to be elected members of the Council who will also be entitled to sit on the General Council in Great Britain, that it is a condition of membership of the General Council of Great Britain that the person concerned must be at least twenty-six years of age, must have been five years in practice and must have been a professor. I do not know if we have a very large selection of men of that type. I should like to know if, during the negotiations the Minister had on this matter in London, he raised that question with the British representatives. Naturally, under present conditions in Great Britain, they must insist on these qualifications, but I would like to know if the Minister suggested to the British representatives that the Irish representatives should not be required to have such qualifications. I think that our selection would be very small if this were to be the case and I do not know if four such members could be found in the Free State at the present time.

This matter is governed by Section 4 of the agreement, which simply states that necessary steps shall be taken by means of a supplemental charter or legislation, or in whatever way they think fit, to ensure certain things, and it simply goes on to say that the remaining four members shall be representative of the members of the said college resident in the Irish Free State, and so on. These are the only conditions.

I did read that section in connection with this matter, but it appeared to me only to alter the existing charter so as to admit four members additional on the General Council in Great Britain. I do not think it sets out that the qualifications of those who would be admitted could be altered.

After all, those who signed this agreement on the other side have agreed that the necessary steps will be taken to have the Council enlarged, and the only thing agreed to is what is here. That will have to be interpreted by these people when they come to amend their charter, and they will have to provide for an exception in the conditions if this agreement necessitates the making of such an exception.

Section 12 agreed to.
Sections 13 to 17, inclusive, agreed to.
SECTION 18.
(1) The Council shall keep in such form as the Minister shall by order prescribe all proper and usual accounts of all moneys received or expended by the Council, and such accounts shall be audited at least once in every year by a chartered or other qualified auditor appointed for the purpose by the Council, and the fees of such auditor and also the expenses generally of such audits shall be paid by the Council.

I move:

In sub-section (1), page 9, lines 21 and 22, to delete the words "in such form as the Minister shall by order prescribe," and before sub-section (2) to insert a new sub-section as follows:—

"(2) The Minister may, if he so thinks fit, prescribe the form in which the Council shall keep accounts in accordance with this section, and if the Minister prescribes such form the Council shall keep such accounts in the form so prescribed."

As the Bill stands the Minister has to prescribe by order a form of accounts. We want to leave it open to the Minister for Agriculture to say whether or not he will, in fact, prescribe the form of accounts. We amend the section by cutting out the mandatory words, and make it mandatory on the Council to keep all proper and usual accounts. By an additional sub-section we provide that if the Minister thinks fit he may prescribe the form, and if he does, then they are bound to follow it. It leaves the Minister a certain amount of discretion as to prescribing the form of the accounts.

Amendment agreed to.
Question—"That Section 18, as amended, stand part of the Bill"—put and agreed to.
SECTION 19.
(1) There may be paid by the Council to the members of the Council or of any Committee thereof such travelling and subsistence expenses in connection with attendance at meetings of the Council or any committee thereof as shall be determined by the Council.
(2) The Council may pay to the general elected members of the Council such travelling and subsistence expenses in connection with their attendance at meetings of the Council of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons as shall be determined by the Council.

I move:—

"To delete sub-section (2)."

Attention was drawn on the Second Stage of this Bill to the fact that the Free State Council will send one guinea each year to the Council in Great Britain in respect of every member of the General Register. I think that is a service that the General Council in London has not been enjoying up to the present. They should at least pay out of the fees paid to the General Council in London the expenses of members from the Free State who attend the meetings. It is altogether unfair to expect that the Council in the Free State should pay the expenses of the members attending the meeting of the General Council when one guinea has been paid for each member who is on the general register. After all, if you take the case in Great Britain, there the members pay the ordinary fee of one guinea, and having got that fee from those residents in Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the General Council pays the expenses of members attending the meetings.

Does the Deputy say they do?

I presume they do.

No. They do not. The Council does not pay any expenses.

I was not aware of that.

The Veterinary Council, as far as I know, has never paid the expenses of people travelling to attend their meetings, I think that is the case also with the Medical and the Dental Councils. Members travelling are not paid their expenses.

I am prepared to accept what the Minister stated. I took it that, having got the fee of £1 1s. from the members they paid their expenses.

I do not believe any expenses have been paid by the General Council in respect to travelling to attend the meetings of the Council. I will verify that before the Report Stage.

I am satisfied with that.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Sections 19 to 24 agreed to.
SECTION 25.
Question proposed: "That Section 25 stand part of the Bill."

This section states that the powers under it can be delegated to the Registrar. I think it is rather risky to allow even the Council to delegate to the Registrar the power of removing from the register all entries therein procured by fraud or misrepresentation. I take it that the Registrar would have to be a judge of what is fraud or misrepresentation, and I do not think there is any appeal against that by a member who might be removed. At least it should be made a condition that the Council would exercise that right and not be allowed to delegate it to the Registrar.

Remember that the words are "may delegate" and that if they delegate it it will have to be by regulations made under the Act. There is certain power in the Minister to supervise and regulate some matters in relation to the Council. I think that could be attended to. If you look at the actual practice rather than rely on speculation as to what might happen, the Registrar is only permitted certain formal duties in connection with removals. I do not think the Registrar would ever be permitted to decide what is fraud or wilful misrepresentation so as to disentitle a man to be on the register. There is a certain amount of discretion left to the Council as to whether or not they will delegate that to the Registrar I think we can rely on a body of men appointed in a certain way not to delegate that to the Registrar. I prefer to leave the section as it is.

Question put and agreed to.
Section 26 agreed to.
SECTION 27.

I move:—

To add at the end of the section two new sub-sections as follows:—

(3) Where a person who pays a registration fee in accordance with this section satisfies the Council that he has paid to the Council of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons a registration fee in the year current at the date of payment of the registration fee to the Council or has paid in respect of the said year to the Council of the said College an annual fee, the Council shall refund to such person the amount of the registration fee or annual fee (as the case may be) so paid by him to the Council of the said College.

(4) In this section the word "year" means a period of twelve months commencing on any 1st day of April and ending on the next following 31st day of March.

This amendment deals with registration fees and puts into Section 27 with regard to registration fees a clause almost identical with sub-section (6) of Section 28 in regard to annual fees. The position we want to achieve is this, that when a person is about to be registered it may be found that he has paid a registration or annual fee already for that particular year to the other college. In that case he is not mulcted twice. There is a rebate made to him with regard to either of these things. We had not a clause similar to sub-section 6 of Section 28 in regard to registration fees and we want to establish the same thing.

Amendment put and agreed to.
Question—"That Section 27, as amended, stand part of the Bill"— put and agreed to.
SECTION 28 (4).
(4) The annual fee shall be of such amount as the Executive Council shall from time to time appoint by order and, until the Executive Council so appoints the amount of such fee, the amount thereof shall be two guineas.

I move:—

In sub-section (4), line 15, to delete all words after the word "be" to the end of the sub-section and substitute therefor the words "ten shillings and sixpence".

The Minister has already referred to this amendment as a ludicrous way of dealing with the matter. The idea that we had in mind in framing the amendment was that the Council should not be asked to collect a guinea from those who are on the general register, that if that guinea for those on the general register were to pass through the Council, it should, at least, be collected in a different way. It seems unfair to compel all those veterinary surgeons who register on the home register to pay £2 2s., whether they want to remain on the general register or not. It would appear to me that if they want to remain on the home register only they should be asked only for such fee as would pay the expenses, and so on, of that register. That is why a sum of 10s. 6d. is put down. The question of the guinea going to the General Council can be dealt with afterwards. The Minister for External Affairs has given a rather peculiar view of this question of the general register. At the close of the debate on the last day he gave us to understand that his view was that if a veterinary surgeon got his degree from the Royal College, the College had power, in case he did not pay his annual fee, to take his degree from him, so that in that way he would be no longer an effective practising veterinary surgeon.

I think that, having brought this Bill in, we should look at the matter in a different way. I am talking about men who are at present practising veterinary surgery in the Free State. I think that we should make it possible for a number of them, if they wish to practise here, to remain on the home register only, thereby relieving them of the necessity of paying £1 1s. 0d. to the general register. A number of them have, I take it, made up their minds to remain in practice here, and have no intention of practising in Great Britain or Northern Ireland. They would not pay £1 1s. 0d. a year for the privilege of practising there. and I think that we should frame the Bill so as to relieve them from paying £1 1s. 0d. a year to the general register. I suppose that all our veterinary surgeons have the degree of M.R.C.V.S., and have thereby been admitted to the general register. That means that they are qualified and pronounced competent to practise veterinary surgery, and, if that is so, surely they should be, from the Free State point of view, all right for the rest of their lives. They intend to practise here, and I take it that they are willing to do so. At least, if they are not willing, we would, I think, be entitled to compel them to pay an annual fee to the Free State register for the protection we are going to give them under the Bill.

So far, a number of them have been paying the annual fee for the privilege of having their names on the general register, and they do not want to pay any fee for going on the general register in addition to the home register. If they are told, first of all, that they must go on the home register to practise veterinary surgery in the Free State, and if they have the option of registering on the general register, they will have to pay £1 1s. 0d. in addition to that paid for being on the home register. If they opt to go on the general register, you can allow them to pay an extra £1 1s. 0d. into the Treasury of the Free State Council, who can send it across to the General Council. They should, at least, have the option of saying whether they intend to go on the general register or not, and, if not, they should be relieved of paying the second guinea. I propose that the amount to be paid for registering on the home register should be 10/6. I think that when the Minister referred to this as being a ludicrous way of trying to meet the views of people, he did not look at it from the point of view of the man who wishes to register on the Free State register only. I do not know whether under this Bill we are in a position to register the existing veterinary surgeons on our own register here without compelling them to remain on the general register also. I think that it should be pointed out by the Minister where we are forbidden to do it. If we are forbidden to do so, we should have an opportunity of amending the Bill so as to make it possible for us to do that.

The Deputy has now explained the amendment. He divided his explanation into two parts. He wants to cut down what he describes as the existing fee of two guineas by cutting off a guinea to start with and then by halving what is left. First of all, I want to point out that it is not a two-guinea fee, but whatever sum the Council determine or may appoint by order. Until such is determined by order the two guineas is taken as something to start on. The second guinea, to which the Deputy refers, may really not be a guinea at all, but will be whatever sum the Council find hereafter to be necessary to enable them to carry out their duties under the Act. It will go up and down according to whatever work falls on them and whatever expenditure they have to incur. As to the other guinea, the section is meant to give the Executive Council power to determine one fee for the people who want to go on to both registers, and then a different fee for people who want to go on the home register only. It was the intention that there should be no obligation on a man to pay two guineas unless he wants to be on both registers.

If he wants to be on both registers he pays a guinea for the privilege of being on the outside register and pays a guinea, or whatever the Council determine is necessary, to meet the expenses here after the Council has got into its stride. The Deputy said that, so far, people need not pay that sum. I tried to explain on the previous occasion that it was very difficult to argue that point in a precise way, because negotiations in regard to the agreement started at a time when the situation was somewhat more complicated than it is now. Having gone through these negotiations, I can honestly say that if we do not collect that guinea and pay it on the other side, or, alternatively, if we do not give these people power by action in our courts to obtain that guinea from those who obtain the degree of M.R.C.V.S., and who are practising here, they would take power to strike them off their own general register.

That is the situation, and I think it is fair play for both sides. If they take out an examination on the other side and get a certain degree they must submit themselves to the same conditions as all the others in the old United Kingdom who got that degree. That at present involves a payment of one guinea. I do not know whether the Deputy wants to make another change to complicate the matter a little more, whether he wants the situation to be such that a man may take the M.R.C.V.S. degree, may get on the general register for a year and on the Irish register without any other degree, and then afterwards say "I will not pay my guinea. I will drop my M.R.C.V.S. degree, and I will remain as an Irish qualified veterinary surgeon, having taken only the M.R.C.V.S. examination."

I do not think that that is fair. If he wants to practise in Ireland, if he is concerned with having the M.R.C.V.S. degree for the sake of practising in Ireland, and if he does not want to leave the country, then we are going to make such provision as will enable him to get an Irish degree, to entitle him to be on the Irish register and to practise in Ireland. Why should a man get the degree of M.R.C.V.S. and then get on our register in an underhand way, and say "Good-bye, I have got my qualifications and I will not pay any further fee to you"?

With regard to people who have already got the degree of M.R.C.V.S., the plea might be put up that they took out the only degree open to them at the time when they got that particular diploma; that they have attained a certain stage in veterinary science, and that consequently they are entitled to practise here. That plea, which taken in the abstract is a fairly good one, must be met in this way, that when these negotiations were started we were impelled by the fact that the Veterinary Medical Association met twice, once in 1925 and once in 1926, and passed resolutions asking their people to regularise their position with the Royal College by voluntarily paying up money which, under the existing laws, could not be collected compulsorily. They expressed a desire to be continued in association with the Veterinary College, and stated that they had what amounted to an unanimous approval of the members who were circularised with regard to the matter. They themselves do not regard it as a hardship that, having got the degree, they should be called upon to pay this guinea. Later on, when we get an institution in this country, if people think fit and if it is not regarded as tricky methods or underhand practice, we will see if it is right that the degree of M.R.C.V.S. should be regarded as something entitling the possessor to an ad eundem degree. If a man claimed that he got the degree with a view to practising for the rest of his professional life at home, then there might be some case for getting out of the payment of the guinea fee. That was not in the minds of the people who framed the agreement, and it would be sharp practice to deprive them of the guinea in that case.

We intend the clause to give the Executive Council power to determine separate fees for those who are on both registers and those who only go on one. Therefore, it is not intended to be obligatory on all students hereafter to pay the guinea which is supposed to be collected for the general register. It is only to be paid by people who wish to be on both registers. As far as the other guinea is concerned, it is a movable sum according to whatever the expenditure of the Council may be. There is no intention to penalise the veterinary surgeon, whose practice is a falling one in this country and whose practice, from what I heard in the House, is likely to be a still more decreasing quantity in future. There is no intention to penalise him for fees from which he is getting no benefit.

I agree with a great deal of what the Minister stated. I am glad to know that the intention of the Council is to collect the fee for this general register, and then whatever is necessary for the home register afterwards. That is why the amendment is necessary. I fixed the sum of 10/6 or whatever sum is necessary, for the first year. Secondly, I agree with the Minister that if we had an alternative college here for qualifying veterinary surgeons for practise in the Free State, or if a veterinary surgeon were to take out the degree of M.R.C.V.S. even for practise in the Free State, the Royal College would have a claim on him for an annual fee. I agree that there is a case for those who have taken out the degree of M.R.C.V.S., and who still continue to take it out, until an alternative college is provided. The Minister says that as soon as the alternative college is established, then we can see that the whole of the M.R.C.V.S. degree can be taken out as ad eundem degree to practise within the Free State. I do not know whether it is necessary to wait. The Minister thinks that it might amount to sharp practice in regard to the people with whom he negotiated in London. I think it is rather unfair to ask the present people to wait. After all, we made up our minds by legislation before in the case of the dentists. Men were admitted to the Dentists' Register who had no degree, and we did not say that an honorary degree or any other degree should be conferred on them in order that they would be allowed to go on the register. We only took into consideration the fact that they had been practising dentistry.

We could do exactly the same thing in the case of veterinary surgeons. We could say that the men who had been practising veterinary surgery could continue to do so and therefore permit them to practise in the interim until a home college is set up that is going to confer degrees which will be recognised within the Free State. I think it is rather unfair to ask these men to wait. The Minister says that a number of the veterinary surgeons were circularised before the negotiations were started and that he got a practically unanimous reply, that they were willing to pay a guinea a year to regularise their position on the general register. That may be, but I take it that the men who were interested in that subject or interested in keeping the M.R.C.V.S. degree and keeping everything regular, were the only men who were likely to reply. I believe the men who have no interest in the subject, who did not want to remain on the general register and did not want facilities to practise in Britain, are men who would not apply. I think if they knew that they had to pay this fee the decision would not be so unanimous.

Perhaps the Minister could tell us to how many people these circulars were sent.

To all veterinary surgeons of the country.

How many replied?

I do not know.

Before this matter is put to a vote I would like to find out from the Minister whether he intends on the Report Stage to modify the draft of this so that it would be quite evident that what is intended is that there shall be a charge of not more than one guinea. What I mean by that is that there should be a charge of one guinea until the Executive Council decides otherwise for those who want to be registered on the home register only and that for those who want to be kept on the general register there should be a further fee of one guinea. I am not quite sure whether the Minister means that, but that is what I interpreted him to mean.

We also think that is what the draft means.

I do not think anybody else is likely to agree with you. As far as I see it, the draft is inclusive of the other fee. One of the objections I had to the Bill as a whole was that if it remained like that there was a clear inducement to all veterinary surgeons here, seeing that they had to pay two guineas fee and that they were getting an extra privilege, to get on the register whether they liked it or not. I think that nobody would hold with the interpretation given by the Minister. I think the interpretation is quite other than that.

That is one point. With respect to the continuance of the fee by those who at the moment are on the general register, and have got the M.R.C.V.S. degree, I think there is a good deal of justice in what the Minister says about those who may in future take such a degree. But I think there is no justification for it whatever if you apply it to those who have got that degree. They are going to practise here. The State here subsidised the affiliated college. Fees were paid in the past to the Royal College in London, and I do not think there is any obligation whatever on the part of those who have got that qualification to continue paying a guinea to that college in the future, unless they want to be on the general register. If they are prepared to say, "We do not want to be put on the general register, we want to be on the Irish register," why should they be compelled to pay a guinea a year to the foreign college? I do not think anyone going for a degree like that had in mind that he was under contract with that college to pay a guinea a year to that college, even though he did not want to get on the general register. I take it the fee of a guinea a year was to entitle him to practise in the area which was at that time controlled by the college. That area has been diminished and we have a new area now. Therefore, I think that while there would be justice in compelling anyone who might by that particular plan actually want to get a degree, and avail himself of a certain privilege in future, when there are other ways by which he could get his qualification, I do not think that could be held to apply to those who have got their degrees at the present moment. With regard to the people who have been circularised, they were written to at a time when the home register was not set up. It is only natural in that case that they should want to be associated with the particular college in which they had their degree, and also to be kept on the only register that existed, so I do not think the replies, even if there were a large number, and if they were unanimous—and the Minister indicated how many replies he got, but not the percentage—but even if we got a substantial majority to do it under present conditions, I hold it is no indication of what they would do if they knew there was a home register, and that they could get on it. So that the great harm, or a certain amount of it, which I see in this Bill would be obviated if the interpretation the Minister has given of his intention is put down explicitly in the Bill, and secondly, if it is understood that those on the register at the present time would be entitled to go on the home register without paying any fee except the home register fee.

The Minister has alluded to tricky methods. It is precisely because I do not want to see in the future any suggestion that action taken, which would mean that this fee was to be discontinued to the British college, would be set down as being tricky that I want to see it done here and now. This is the time to make clear the terms of the contract. We ought to be quite clear about it so that there can be no accusation of bad faith in the future if it is decided here and now that it was not right that the money should be sent over to a foreign college. I happened to get since the last debate a copy of "The Farmer, Stock Breeder and Agricultural Gazette." That is a British farmers' paper, dated March 23rd, and it has an article headed "Save the Royal Veterinary College." They want one quarter of a million pounds. They are asking the British Treasury for this money and the State has agreed to subsidise them to the extent of £150,000 provided they can get £100,000 otherwise. They are appealing to the agricultural population in Great Britain to assist them. Now, transmitting fees unnecessarily from this country over there must appear to anybody who understands the situation to be an attempt to subsidise this college from home funds. We have quite enough to do with our own money not to attempt the task of trying to subsidise a foreign college.

What is that college?

The Royal Veterinary College in London.

That is not what we are talking about.

I am talking of the transferring of these fees to that college.

It is a different college. The Royal Veterinary College is an affiliated college of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. We are subscribing to the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.

This refers then to the London Branch. There is a difference between the Royal Veterinary College and the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. That was my mistake. But this was sent to me as pointing out that those subsidies were going across. At any rate we object to sending over this money unnecessarily. We think that in subsidising the college in Ballsbridge we were doing our part for the training of the people from Ireland who got the M.R.C.V.S. degree but once we have paid for those degrees in one way in the past I do not see why we should continue paying for them.

In an interruption, I have just answered the point the Deputy was making. There is no subsidy being sent to the Royal Veterinary College, which, it is stated, is in need of funds. What we are subscribing to is the headquarters of which that is a branch—the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons—and we are only subscribing in so far as the agreement lays it down in Clause 6 (1) that there is to be paid "the sum of one guinea in respect of every person (subject to the exception hereinafter made) who during that year or any part thereof is registered in the Irish Free State veterinary register, and is also registered in the general veterinary register, and pays to the Irish Free State Veterinary Council in respect of his registration in the Irish Free State veterinary register the annual fee payable for such registration." If a man is not on the general register no guinea goes across. The fee is being paid for something which is considered to be worth while—the holding of the M.R.C.V.S. degree. That is all that is being done. As to people hereafter being, say, admitted to an ad eundem degree in University College, Dublin, that can be considered, and had better be considered at that time. Any move such as that certainly was not talked of. I do not know how far these people may have envisaged that sort of thing happening, but as far as I know, it was not before the minds of the people who signed the agreement. What their reactions will be can be seen at the proper time. The Deputy spoke as if there was some hardship on these people in having to continue paying a guinea. There is no hardship. They entered into a contract with regard to the college. They took that degree, and were subject to certain money payments. A certain Act came along afterwards, and there is not the slightest doubt that every veterinary surgeon felt with regard to himself that his obligation would have been, and was likely to be, the payment of a guinea in respect of that. The only hardship is the paying of the additional sum, either 10/6 or one guinea, for being registered on the Irish Register if he wishes to do it.

One should be enough.

He need not do that. He can continue to pay to the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons alone and pay one guinea.

What about the Irish register?

The Irish register will miss that man and his subscription and if the expenses of the Irish Council are heavy those on it may have to pay more than one guinea for being on the Irish register only. They will have to bear their own charges. That is good economy.

If a man pays a fee to the General Register do I understand he will not be asked to pay another fee to the home register even though practising here?

Unless he applies to be registered here.

He could not practise without that.

That is another side which will have to be looked into. I am not sure that that is absolutely clear. As to Deputy de Valera's first point about this section, I shall look into the section to see if there is any necessity to have it amended to meet what I said was my intention. That intention was declared and this is the draft given to it:—"The fee—shall be of such amount as the Executive Council shall from time to time appoint by order—" I do not see any prohibition of the fee being fixed in a particular way.

The section goes on to say "and until the Executive Council so appoints the amount of such fee, the amount shall be two guineas."

The two guineas only means that we had to take something. There had to be some fee to enable the Council to have some money coming in until they see what their commitments and expenditure will be. Supposing it is two guineas to start with for the first year: Who are the people who are going to be involved for the first year? Really, it does not matter. After the first year is over and the Council gets some idea what the expenditure will be, is there anything in that section which prevents the Council saying, for those who are going to be on both registers, two guineas, and for those who are only going on one, one guinea?

Except this: If that were the Minister's intention, why should he not say that it shall be one guinea? If that were fixed, we could then say, "with such additional sum as the Executive Council may from time to time determine."

Because we thought this exactly met the same point. It was the draftsman's view of the proper way to get at it. The Deputy may have a different view as to the draftsmanship from the professional people. Let us be precise about this. The intention is the particular thing, and this can be looked into in the meantime to see whether it carries out the intention. To make it abundantly clear we can even divide the section into two—one with regard to those on both registers with whom the agreement deals, and the other with regard to the people only going on one register.

As to the position of the old-time veterinary surgeons in this country I sent out no circular to anybody. The Veterinary Medical Inspection Association circularised their members and presented me with a resolution which they said to their mind represented the unanimous view of the profession. Later on, they sent me a memorial which had been circulated for signature to the veterinary profession, and which, I think, backed up that particular judgment of theirs. That memorial asked for the adaptation of the Veterinary Acts, so that they would really apply to this country as before. That was signed by about 300 members, and I do not think there are more than 300 veterinary surgeons in the country. There is pretty good proof that the judgment of the Association was sound when you get a circular like that signed by 300 members.

Were they not asking for a different thing—for the regularisation of the veterinary profession? What they had in their mind when they sent out that memorial was protection for the profession.

They asked for the re-adaptation and amendment of the old Veterinary Acts, so as to bring them into operation in this country.

With regard to another matter which the Minister raised, I find, according to the Bill, that if a man is not registered on the home register he will not be permitted to practise here. The Minister has some doubt as to whether such a man could practise if he was on the general register only. Under Section 45 unregistered persons are prohibited from practising veterinary surgery or medicine. A person would be an unregistered person if not registered here and would not be allowed to practise.

That is a matter of interpretation. That, I think, is the intention. However, I want to ask this question. Would Deputies like to have this as the situation? That if people wanted to take out an R.C.V.S. degree and that only, they should be admitted to practise here on the same footing as those who took out an Irish degree, without going on the Irish register; in other words, that in all matters of professional misconduct and everything else there would be people with that degree practising here who would be outside the control of the Irish Council?

I did not catch what the Minister said.

Let us assume that the Bill ties up every man who is entitled to practise here to the Irish Register. The other situation in order to save expense would be this: That you would say: "If you want to be a member of the R.C.V.S. and be entitled to practise in this country, we will amend the legislation so that you would be deemed to be a registered person if you are on the General Register although not on the Irish Register." In that way, such a person would only pay the veterinary college across the water and would pay nothing here. Is it considered desirable that we should have in this country persons practising in that special way, not subject to the control of the Irish Council?

I am altogether against that. That is why I wanted to show the Minister that he was wrong even in suggesting that a man should be on the General Register and practise here without being on the home register. I think he should be on the home register.

The Minister spoke about saving expense. The people to whom we want to save expense are those practising here who do not want to be on the General Register. I have in mind particularly those who have got the M.R.C.V.S. degree at present. They want to get on the home register and when they are on the home register and paying the home fee, if they do not want to get on the general register we see no reason why a fee should be taken from them. That was our objection to what appeared to be an inclusive fee.

I should like to be clear about the contract, at least as to the Minister's position in respect to it. I do not believe that those who went up for the M.R.C.V.S. degree entered into a contract to pay an annual sum of a guinea. To my mind they paid the guinea fee for permission to practise by being on the register. That was for the privilege of being on the British register. A home register is now being set up, and why should they have to pay that continuing fee to the British college, and, in addition to that, have to pay their home fee? We think that they ought to be admitted to the Irish register from the time it is formed, and that thereafter they should be compelled only to pay the Irish fee. If they want to be put on the British register, let them pay the additional fee.

Again may I explain the machinery of it? As to the contractual relationship that the students in the old days undertook by going for the M.R.C.V.S. examination, up to a certain date there was no obligation with regard to an annual fee. There is a mixed situation in this country by reason of the change over. Take the corresponding men in Scotland. Certainly, when the new legislation was passed these men took on the obligation of paying an annual fee. What is the annual fee for? It is to pay the expenses of the examination, because this Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons has no money, any more than the Royal Veterinary College. It is like a federated body of the National University. Its main duty is to regularise examinations. There is expenditure in connection with these, and the fees are entirely for the purpose of paying the expenses of the examinations. If a certain amount of money which is counted on as coming from this country does not come from it, then the new people from this time on who will be taking out their degree will probably have to pay not a fee of two guineas, but probably five guineas. They will be bearing the expenses of the others. We thought it better to spread it over the whole body, particularly as 300 of them—probably the whole of them—have requested that we should put them back on the old footing with the Veterinary College. There is no money being taken from this country that is not expended again in connection with these examinations. That was inquired into closely, and the expenses of the examinations will run to at least £300 per year. They will not collect that from this country.

They have the examination fees as well. Students who are going up will pay four fees of £5 and I do not know whether there is an additional final fee. It will amount altogether to between £20 and £30.

There are only three or four students going for the final each year. That would not be more than about £20.

I am certainly against this. Before the amendment is put, will the Minister say if he is prepared to re-consider this from the point of redrafting so as to make it clear?

As I have already stated, there may be a different fee for those going on both registers.

That is all right.

Amendment put and negatived.

Section 28 agreed to.
SECTION 29.
(1) The Council shall in every year pay to the Council of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons the sum of one guinea in respect of every person (subject to the exception hereinafter made) who during such year or any part thereof is registered in the register and is also registered in the general veterinary register and has paid to the Council the annual fee payable under this Act in respect of such year.

My amendment reads:

In sub-section (1), line 56, to delete the word "shall" and substitute therefor the word "may."

I think this question has been so much argued on both sides that it is hardly necessary to have it argued again. We will oppose it in another way.

The amendment is not moved?

It is. I am moving it.

Even if it becomes "may," in so far as the agreement is concerned it is, in effect, "shall."

All right. We will vote against the section then.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Question—"That Section 29 stand part of the Bill"—put.
The Committee divided: Tá, 61; Níl, 50.

  • Alton, Ernest Henry.
  • Bennett, George Cecil.
  • Blythe, Ernest.
  • Bourke, Séamus A.
  • Brennan, Michael.
  • Brodrick, Seán.
  • Byrne, John Joseph.
  • Carey, Edmund.
  • Conlon, Martin.
  • Connolly, Michael P.
  • Cosgrave, William T.
  • Crowley, James.
  • Daly, John.
  • Davis, Michael.
  • Doherty, Eugene.
  • Dolan, James N.
  • Doyle, Peadar Seán.
  • Duggan, Edmund John.
  • Dwyer, James.
  • Egan, Barry M.
  • Esmonde, Osmond Thos. Grattan.
  • Finlay, Thomas A.
  • Fitzgerald, Desmond.
  • Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.
  • Good, John.
  • Gorey, Denis J.
  • Haslett, Alexander.
  • Hassett, John J.
  • Heffernan, Michael R.
  • Hennigan, John.
  • Henry, Mark.
  • Hogan, Patrick (Galway).
  • Jordan, Michael.
  • Keogh, Myles.
  • Law, Hugh Alexander.
  • Lynch, Finian.
  • Mathews, Arthur Patrick.
  • McDonogh, Martin.
  • MacEóin, Seán.
  • McFadden, Michael Og.
  • McGilligan, Patrick.
  • Mulcahy, Richard.
  • Myles, James Sproule.
  • Nally, Martin Michael.
  • Nolan, John Thomas.
  • O'Connell, Richard.
  • O'Connor, Bartholomew.
  • O'Donovan, Timothy Joseph.
  • O'Mahony, The.
  • O'Reilly, John J.
  • O'Sullivan, Gearóid.
  • O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
  • Reynolds, Patrick.
  • Roddy, Martin.
  • Sheehy, Timothy (West Cork).
  • Thrift, William Edward.
  • Tierney, Michael.
  • White, John.
  • White, Vincent Joseph.
  • Wolfe, George.
  • Wolfe, Jasper Travers.

Níl

  • Aiken, Frank.
  • Allen, Denis.
  • Blaney, Neal.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Boland, Patrick.
  • Bourke, Daniel.
  • Brady, Seán.
  • Briscoe, Robert.
  • Broderick, Henry.
  • Buckley, Daniel.
  • Carney, Frank.
  • Carty, Frank.
  • Cassidy, Archie J.
  • Clery, Michael.
  • Colbert, James.
  • Corish, Richard.
  • Corry, Martin John.
  • Crowley, Tadhg.
  • Davin, William.
  • Derrig, Thomas.
  • De Valera, Eamon.
  • Doyle, Edward.
  • Fahy, Frank.
  • Flinn, Hugo.
  • Gorry, Patrick J.
  • Goulding, John.
  • Hayes, Seán.
  • Hogan, Patrick (Clare).
  • Houlihan, Patrick.
  • Jordan, Stephen.
  • Kennedy, Michael Joseph.
  • Kent, William R.
  • Killilea, Mark.
  • Kilroy, Michael.
  • Lemass, Seán F.
  • Little, Patrick John.
  • Maguire, Ben.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • MacEntee, Seán.
  • Moore, Séamus.
  • Mullins, Thomas.
  • O'Dowd, Patrick Joseph.
  • O'Leary, William.
  • Ruttledge, Patrick J.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Sexton, Martin.
  • Sheehy, Timothy (Tipp.).
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Walsh, Richard.
  • Ward, Francis C.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies Duggan and P. S. Doyle; Níl, Deputies G. Boland and Allen.
Question declared carried.

I would like to make a few remarks with regard to Section 30. This section deals with the persons entitled to be registered at the establishment of the register. It embraces the two classes of persons registered in the general register. One class includes every person who is registered in the General Veterinary Register immediately before the establishment of the register, and who is then resident in Saorstát Eireann. That is the class we have been discussing. They evidently go automatically on the register when it is established here. I think in another section of the Bill it is stated that, even though the General Council in Britain may remove a man from the General Register, that is no reason why our Council should remove him from our register. Under this Bill we would be legally entitled to adopt men with the M.R.C.V.S. degree on our register, and if the General Council in Britain tried to remove them because they did not pay fees or for some other reason, we could still keep them on without any change in the law. Does the Minister agree with that?

As far as this section is concerned they are entitled to go on the register; that is all this section deals with.

Then we can deal with the matter I have in mind when we reach the other section.

Section 30 agreed to.
SECTION 31.
(2) No person whose name shall have been erased from the register by the Council on account of his having been convicted of treason or a felony, misdemeanour, crime or offence, or on account of failure to pay an annual fee, or on account of his having been adjudged guilty of conduct disgraceful to him in a professional respect, shall be entitled to have his name restored to the register under this section solely by reason of his being registered in the general veterinary register.

I beg to move amendment 10:

In sub-section (2), line 41, to delete the words "treason or."

I think it is hardly necessary for me to state the reasons why I put down this amendment, because this matter was argued before on the Committee Stage of the Dentists Bill, and it was decided by a vote of the House.

Quite a different argument was put in the case of the Dentists Bill. I would like the Deputy to explain what he means by suggesting the wiping out of these two words.

As far as the Bill is concerned the words are exactly in the same sense as in the Dentists Bill. It is true that they are in the agreement that governs this Bill, and they were not in the agreement that governs the Dentists Bill. The Minister stated on the last day that he introduced treason into the Bill in order to cover cases where a person might be on the general register, might get removed from our register on the grounds of treason, and might afterwards try to come back to our register through the general register. I find on looking up the agreement that that is true. That is how treason applies in the agreement. The point that Deputy Fahy made was that treason was introduced into this agreement for the first time; it was not in the dentists' agreement or the medical agreement. He asked the Minister what was the necessity for introducing it, and the Minister said: "Where is treason in the agreement?" This is the Official Report of what was said:

"Mr. Fahy: It is in the implementing of it, and therefore it was deliberately introduced by the Minister.

Mr. McGilligan: There is nothing in the Bill except what is in the agreement."

With a note of interrogation. I hope it has a note of interrogation after it.

I do not think so.

Does not the sense make it clear that it should have? There is an immense amount of stuff in the Bill that is not in the agreement. I think that remark was meant to be sarcasm.

If I watched the Minister's face at the time I would know that.

I may tell the Deputy it was.

The Official Report goes on to say:

"Mr. Fahy: The Minister might explain why he introduced it when it was not in the other agreements?

Mr. McGilligan: Nor is it in this agreement."

That settles the note of interrogation.

On the Committee Stage I made the point that the Minister had signed an agreement and did not know exactly what it contained. I gave as an instance that treason was included and the Minister evidently did not know it was included; he denied it was contained in the agreement. As far as this particular amendment is concerned, we are dealing with exactly the same case as in the Dentists Bill, but in the agreement there was a difference.

What does the Deputy mean to achieve by dropping these two words?

Perhaps we might as well get down to what we mean with regard to treason on this clause, as on any other clause. The name will be erased from the register if a person is convicted of treason, felony, misdemeanour or crime. Our objection at the time an amendment was introduced on the Dentists Bill was that the word "treason" was used and the present Government had included far too wide a range of offences, in our opinion, under the heading of treason. We felt that under the Dentists Bill advantage might be taken certainly more of a political opponent than of a criminal, and the same holds here.

Advantage to do what?

The Executive Council by introducing this are more likely to take advantage of having a political opponent removed from his means of livelihood than they are of taking advantage of a criminal.

What the Deputy is claiming is that treason should not be a reason for removing a man from the home register.

Treason, as defined by the Minister.

That is what the amendment means.

Then the amendment is to the wrong section.

I propose to put amendments to both sections. The same thing applies to both.

This has nothing to do with removal from the home register.

It is connected with getting back again.

The Deputy apparently has not understood the meaning of this section, although he has put down an amendment to it. What this section amounts to is, if a person has his name removed from the register here for treason we say that man is not going to go to England, assert his right to get on the general register there and come back here by reason of his being on the general register only. Apparently the Deputy wants to achieve that the only man who can assert his title to the general register in order to secure admission to the Free State register after having been put off the Free State register is the person who has been convicted of treason. In other words, the treasonably convicted person is going through an English agency to get back to the Irish register. That is a peculiar situation for the Deputy to find himself in.

It is not exactly that. Surely the Council here at home can refuse a man if they like even if this section were not put in?

They may refuse to restore the man's name to the register.

That is the reason for the clause in the agreement.

This deals with persons entitled to be registered, but there is another clause.

Clause 34 talks about erasing a man's name. This is a different thing entirely.

As a matter of fact in the first line of this we have "no person whose name shall have been erased from the register."

Look at the end of it: "shall be entitled to have his name restored to the register under this section solely by reason of his being registered in the general veterinary register."

That is quite all right. I recognise that, but we are asked to say that if a person is adjudged guilty of various offences, and so on, and if his name has been erased from the home register, he cannot come back and get on the home register again.

That is the point.

The Minister says that if my amendment were carried the council here at home must admit the man back.

A treasonable man.

I do not believe that.

Let me try to explain it. This clause states: "No person whose name has been erased by the council from the register"— that is, from the home register by the home council—"on account of his having been convicted of treason or a felony, misdemeanour, crime or offence or on account of failure to pay an annual fee or on account of his having been judged guilty of conduct disgraceful to him in a professional respect, shall be entitled to have his name restored." Let us drop the words "treason or." The sense of it is this, if a man has been erased for any reason other than treason he shall not be entitled to come back by reason of his position on the general register. By the ordinary legal interpretation of these documents, having excluded everything else, you bring this into the special position that the only man who could assert his right through the general register, is the man who had been struck off the Irish register for treason, so you would have an Irish court finding a man guilty of treason, and an Irish council striking him off, and the only man who could get back would be the man committed for treason.

This is a reference to a later section, and the word "treason" occurs in a later section where it is one of the offences. If, for instance, that section were to be altered when we had passed this one, we could not get back to this one again. As this is to be consequential to the passing of Section 34, it is obvious that this is the time to deal with the whole question.

Nonsense. That is not the way out of this. What does the Deputy do? He does not want treason regarded as an offence entitling a man to be struck off the register. Therefore the amendment is going to mean taking "treason" out of Section 34. If that is done, what is the effect of leaving "treason" in this? There would be no effect, because a man cannot be put off for treason if the Deputy carries his point.

The Deputy does not clearly know what that particular amendment aims at. Is there any reason why we should not prohibit a man, struck off for various offences in this country, asserting his right to the general register and through that asserting his right to the Irish register? The Deputies opposite want to strike out the word "treason" and that would bring about the effect I have stated that the only person who can assert that right would be the man found guilty of treason in this country and after an Irish council found it proper to strike him off the register here. The felony man would be prohibited but the treasonable man would not. Deputy Ryan has talked of the wide range of offences covered in this country by treason. I would like to know what offences he is aiming at. This is the foundation of his argument. There are many things here entitling people to work out any political vendetta of their own. In the discussion we have had every point from a court sentencing a man to death down to the small point of striking him off the register for professional misconduct, but the Deputy did not go into what offences he thinks should be covered by the word "treason."

The Minister's rule of interpretation will not apply if the word "treason" does not occur in Section 34. There is no quibbling whatever about it; it will not apply. I am quite willing to admit that if "treason" were knocked out here and left in in Section 34, then the argument of the Minister would hold, but as the intention is to wipe it out everywhere it occurs, for the reasons Deputy Ryan indicated, this is the first place we meet it in the Bill and that is why the amendment is put in here to meet it in this case, because the rules of interpretation which the Minister refers to would not apply to the persons who are not mentioned at all in the Bill. Then it would not apply in this particular case.

Assuming that an amendment were duly tabled to Clause 34 and the difficulty which the Minister has suggested with regard to the present amendment were thereby removed I still think that Deputy Ryan has not placed fully before the House his real intention and the import and effect of this amendment. There has been loose talking, if I may put it so, with regard to the word "treason." It has been suggested, in fact, that it is something the Minister might define and the purpose of this amendment is to prevent any person being penalised who was in any way connected with an offence which some people might term of a quasi political nature. Treason is perfectly clearly defined in the Treasonable Offences Act, 1925. It partakes of two different characters. It is levying war against Saorstát Eireann or attempting, by force of arms, to overthrow the lawful Government established in accordance with the Constitution here. I do not know if Deputy Ryan seriously suggests to this House that a person who is convicted of one or other of these offences should receive any, as it were, preferential treatment over ordinary persons. He did not fully understand and further I am sure it is a matter which will be of considerable gratification to this House if Deputy Dr. Ryan's amendment as it stands were carried it would penalise for once and for all a person who by force of arms attempted to overawe a Minister. That is felony, not treason. It would also penalise effectively any person engaged in military manoevres. That is also a felony. It would penalise effectively for good and for all a person who was merely engaged in the innocent pastime of the maintenance of a military force not recognised by law. That is a misdemeanour. So that the net effect of this amendment is that the person who wages war against Saorstát Eireann or a person who by force of arms attempts to upset the Government established in accordance with the Constitution is to get preferential treatment over the person who simply maintains a military force, if he is unfortunate enough to be detected in it. The only reason I can see in favour of the amendment is that the person who, as it were, was preparing for a full attack on the life of this State and is foolish enough to be detected should be punished for all time, but the gentleman who is not detected and who succeeds in having a full-blooded war against this State is to receive preferential treatment.

I think from the Deputy's statement there is surely enough included under felony without going to treason.

The Deputy wants the felony man penalised.

I suggest that these words might be of considerable value five or six years hence, when the bug that seems to inhabit the Deputy's brain will have died of old age. I suggest to the Deputies on the benches opposite that the operation of this bug is clouding their intellects.

I must again insist on my point, that this amendment has not been attended to. Deputy de Valera's attempt to get Deputy Dr. Ryan out of his mistake has not been successful either. Deputy Ryan, when asked what the amendment intended to do, replied that his aim was to prevent a man being struck off the register for treason, and that he was doing it under this section. He is not doing it, and no quibbling will make him pretend he is. Deputy Finlay has given us the other side of this question. Deputy Ryan does not want to have any of the penalties imposed on felonious people taken away. The man who is treasonable is to get preferential treatment. I suggest that Deputy Gorey's statement gives the proper line of thought of the Deputies opposite. Let them clear their minds on the present situation. Supposing you had in five years' time a Labour Government here, and that Deputy Lemass had been able to make a deal with them to become as big wheat fiends as himself, and get the whole country over to wheat. Suppose the live stock people, led by the veterinary surgeons, raised an armed rebellion, would that prove to the wheat-affected Government that it was a proper thing that these people should get preferential treatment, simply because they rose in force of arms instead of trying to overawe individual Ministers? If the Deputies opposite would look a little bit to the future, they might get a proper appreciation of the need for imposing penalties on people treasonably affected.

May I say that should the Veterinary Surgeons win in their attempt to defeat the Government, instead of being treasonable persons, they would become loyal persons, and if they were defeated this thing would not be of any use to them?

A lot of people have been defeated for treasonable practices who are yet allowed to do damage in the country.

A lot of people who were successful in treasonable practices are now sitting on the front benches of the Free State Government.

A Government established by law.

Question—"That the words proposed to be deleted stand part of the Bill"— put.
The Committee divided: Tá, 66; Níl, 43.

  • Bennett, George Cecil.
  • Blythe, Ernest.
  • Bourke, Séamus A.
  • Brennan, Michael.
  • Brodrick, Seán.
  • Byrne, John Joseph.
  • Carey, Edmund.
  • Cassidy, Archie J.
  • Coburn, James.
  • Colohan, Hugh.
  • Conlon, Martin.
  • Connolly, Michael P.
  • Cosgrave, William T.
  • Crowley, James.
  • Daly, John.
  • Davin, William.
  • Davis, Michael.
  • Doherty, Eugene.
  • Dolan, James N.
  • Doyle, Edward.
  • Doyle, Peadar Seán.
  • Duggan, Edmund John.
  • Dwyer, James.
  • Esmond, Osmond Thos. Grattan.
  • Finlay, Thomas A.
  • Fitzgerald, Desmond.
  • Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.
  • Good, John.
  • Gorey, Denis J.
  • Haslett, Alexander.
  • Hassett, John J.
  • Heffernan, Michael R.
  • Hennessy, Michael Joseph.
  • Hennigan, John.
  • Henry, Mark.
  • Hogan, Patrick (Galway).
  • Jordan, Michael.
  • Keogh, Myles.
  • Law, Hugh Alexander.
  • Lynch, Finian.
  • Mathews, Arthur Patrick.
  • McDonogh, Martin.
  • MacEóin, Seán.
  • McFadden, Michael Og.
  • McGilligan, Patrick.
  • Morrissey, Daniel.
  • Mulcahy, Richard.
  • Myles, James Sproule.
  • Nally, Martin Michael.
  • Nolan, John Thomas.
  • O'Connell, Richard.
  • O'Connor, Bartholomew.
  • O'Donovan, Timothy Joseph.
  • O'Hanlon, John F.
  • O'Mahony, Dermot Gun.
  • O'Reilly, John J.
  • O'Sullivan, Gearóid.
  • O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
  • Reynolds, Patrick.
  • Roddy, Martin.
  • Sheehy, Timothy (West Cork).
  • Thrift, William Edward.
  • Tierney, Michael.
  • White, Vincent Joseph.
  • Wolfe, George.
  • Wolfe, Jasper Travers.

Níl

  • Aiken, Frank.
  • Allen, Denis.
  • Blaney, Neal.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Boland, Patrick.
  • Bourke, Daniel.
  • Brady, Seán.
  • Briscoe, Robert.
  • Buckley, Daniel.
  • Carney, Frank.
  • Carty, Frank.
  • Clery, Michael.
  • Colbert, James.
  • Corry, Martin John.
  • Crowley, Tadhg.
  • Derrig, Thomas.
  • De Valera, Eamon.
  • Fahy, Frank.
  • Flinn, Hugo.
  • Gorry, Patrick J.
  • Goulding, John.
  • Hayes, Seán.
  • Houlihan, Patrick.
  • Jordan, Stephen.
  • Kennedy, Michael Joseph.
  • Kent, William R.
  • Killilea, Mark.
  • Kilroy, Michael.
  • Lemass, Seán F.
  • Little, Patrick John.
  • Maguire, Ben.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • MacEntee, Seán.
  • Moore, Séamus.
  • Mullins, Thomas.
  • Ruttledge, Patrick J.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Sexton, Martin.
  • Sheehy, Timothy (Tipp.).
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Tubridy, John.
  • Walsh, Richard.
  • Ward, Francis C.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies Duggan and Doyle; Níl, Deputies G. Boland and Allen.
Question declared carried.
The Dáil went out of Committee.
Progress reported.