(forMr. Shaw): I move amendment 1:—
To add at the end of the section the following words:—"(vi) St. Joseph's Orthopaedic Hospital, Coole, Co. Westmeath."
Vol. 38 No. 18
(forMr. Shaw): I move amendment 1:—
To add at the end of the section the following words:—"(vi) St. Joseph's Orthopaedic Hospital, Coole, Co. Westmeath."
As far as I can gather, this is a very worthy hospital, and I think it should be included. It seems to be doing very good work. It made some inquiries into it. It is an hospital that deals with sick children very much as Cappagh does. It is run on very much the same lines.
I know very little about the hospital, but one of my colleagues, Deputy Kennedy, spoke to me yesterday about it, and said just in similar words to those used by the Minister for Justice that this is an hospital that is doing particularly good work for tubercular children. I do not know the exact lines on which it is run. Is it run by the same people who run the Cappagh hospital?
It is run by a community of Nuns, the Sisters of Charity.
The only thing I would ask the Minister is if he knows anything about the circumstances of admissions to the hospital. Is he satisfied that, so far as it can, it complies, as Cappagh does, with the provisions of Section 1, sub-section (2), of the Principal Act?
The question of their financial scheme—how they take in children and how deserving they are—will, I hope, be gone into by the Committee of Reference which will decide what share, if any, of the proceeds of the sweepstake this hospital will receive.
I support this amendment. I know this institution in County Westmeath very well. It is a credit to the people who are running it. It caters for the poorer children who are suffering from tuberculosis, and it deserves all the support which can be given it.
The only point that arises in connection with this amendment or, in fact, with the section, is: whether the Minister, if he received an adverse report from the Committee of Reference, or if he satisfied himself, on examination, that the proposed hospital did not comply with the spirit of this Act, or with the letter of the Principal Act, would have power to prevent them coming into the scheme. Section 2 says: "Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (2) of Section 1 of the Principal Act, that Act shall extend and apply to the following hospitals ..."
Under an amendment which I will move later, a participating hospital need not get a single sixpence if the Committee of Reference thinks it is not deserving.
Am I to understand that the cases of these hospitals will go before the Committee in the same way as the cases of the other hospitals?
I am accepting this amendment, but I do so with some misgivings. Five names were mentioned in the Bill as read a second time. It is proposed to add another name. If there were fifteen or twenty amendments down, the matter would present some difficulty. I am allowing this amendment to be moved, as, in the course of the Second Reading, it was mentioned that consideration would be given to other names, if put forward. When names are mentioned specifically in a Bill—not mentioned as a class of persons or things—the addition of other names presents considerable difficulty from the point of view of order. However, I am accepting this amendment.
I move amendment 2:
In sub-section (1), page 2, line 42, to delete the words "submitted to" and substitute the words "sanctioned by."
As I explained on Second Reading, in the Bill as drafted in the first instance the Committee of Reference were, to a large extent, to be responsible for the running of the scheme. By an arrangement which has been come to the Hospitals Committee will still continue to run the scheme, and, in consequence, the appointment of a Committee of Reference only becomes necessary when the scheme has been actually sanctioned.
This, I presume, is in the nature of a consequential amendment upon an amendment to be proposed by the Minister.
It depends on the deletion of Section 4, which I will propose later.
I would prefer to see Section 4, which was the Minister's original thought, included in this Bill. I think that there is a strong case for the inclusion in this amending Bill of all the items in Section 4. However, we will be discussing that later. It is difficult to keep it out of consideration when discussing an amendment that is really consequential upon it. I wonder would it be a better arrangement if we discussed Section 4 and then went back to Section 3.
It would not be possible to go back to Section 3. There is this amendment and also the amendment to Section 4; then three amendments, 5, 11 and 20, all relevant. If we do not decide to delete Section 4, then we will have on another stage to reinstate the words proposed to be deleted here. That is the position. The best place to discuss this matter would be on Section 4.
If the House decides to accept the Minister's amendment to delete the section then this will naturally follow. It will be necessary for the purpose of working the Bill that this amendment should pass. I would be strongly of opinion—and I would urge this with all the force I can on the Minister—that he should stick to his original thought on this matter and insist on withdrawing his amendment. However, we will discuss that later.
I would like to point out this, that I am quite satisfied that in actual working it would not be practicable for this reason—that in order to have continuity of the Sweepstakes and so that there will not be any breaking off or throwing the employees out of work for a fortnight or three weeks it is necessary that when one Sweep is finished another should be ready there and then. If they had to spend a month or two examining into these hospitals before the Sweepstakes could be sanctioned then you would have a break between one scheme and another. That would be unsatisfactory. On the whole I am satisfied that when the Committee of Reference goes into the question of the sanctioning of the scheme it will take some months' examination into the affairs of the hospitals before it will be able to form an opinion as to whether the hospitals are eligible and if they are not eligible they will not get any money.
The Committee of Reference will not, I take it, have the powers that the Minister proposes to give them under the section if these sub-sections are taken out?
They will come in under Section 6. I agree with the Deputy who has an amendment down to Section 6 that specific power of inspection of hospital buildings, the bank account, and everything of that kind should be gone into. I would be willing to have an amendment more or less on the lines of the Deputy's amendment to Section 6. I will meet the Deputy there.
I find very great difficulty in accepting the position which the Minister has taken up. It seems an absolute perversion of the original intention of the Bill. The reason he puts before the House now for deleting this section is because of the exigencies of those managing the Sweeps and not because of the necessities of the hospitals. These powers of supervision, inspection and investigation which at one time the Minister thought necessary and which we think are very necessary if the original in-tion of the Act is to be preserved, are now to be thrown overboard.
The powers in the original Act will remain.
They will, but why does the Minister include this section in the Bill at all? It must be because he found it was impracticable to operate the powers conferred by the original Act. It must be some difficulty which drove him to draft this section and put it into the Bill. We here are speaking in the dark. We are not familiar with the problems, but obviously when the Minister spends time and money in drafting a section like this he has some good reason for drafting it. Now he proposes to throw it overboard; and not to throw it overboard because of the necessities of the hospitals which was the original purpose of the Bill, but because of the difficulties of those who were managing the sweepstakes. We know that when this Bill was going through the Dáil that was the one objectionable feature in it. It is for that reason now that he proposes to delete the section which he must have included in the Bill for good reasons.
We are not on Section 4 yet. We had better dispose of amendments 2 and 3, and when we come to Section 4 we can debate this matter.
In sub-section (1), line 45, to delete all words after the word "scheme" to the end of the sub-section and substitute the words "to enquire into the financial condition, the state of the buildings and equipment and the eligibility of such hospital or hospitals under sub-section (2) of Section 1, of the Principal Act, proposing to participate in such sweepstake scheme and to present a written report thereon to the Minister and the Minister shall nominate one of such members to be Chairman of such Committee."
This is going over the same ground. The Minister proposes under Section 4 to give the Committee of Reference certain extensive powers, and it is evident that the Minister would not have asked that those powers should be given them, if something has not arisen in the working of the Act that makes the Minister think that these powers are necessary. I think the powers ought to be given to the Committee of Reference. I would prefer an independent committee like that which the Minister suggested, as a Committee of Reference. So long as some committee does examine it, and so long as these powers are maintained, then power is given to have the fullest possible investigation into these hospitals, and into all the conditions of the hospitals, so as to satisfy the Minister and his Department that the hospitals proposing to participate are hospitals that are properly eligible under the Act. Also, I would like that the Committee should investigate the proportion of the available surplus, as it is called, that is to be allotted to each particular hospital.
That is done under Section 6.
I would like that full powers in that connection be given.
The Deputy is possibly under a misapprehension, and he sees a bigger difference between his point of view and my point of view than there is, in fact. It is merely a question of the time when this is to be done. The Deputy thinks that before the name of the hospital appears in the scheme that its financial position should be investigated. That would take a considerable amount of time. I wish to have some investigations carried on, and to have some powers exercised by the Committee of Reference, but I wish to do it later on. I wish to have the scheme sanctioned first, and then the position of the hospitals will be considered by the Committee of Reference.
Unless the Committee are satisfied that they have needs that require financial assistance and that the hospitals are entitled to participate, then these hospitals will receive no share of the proceeds. It is not a question of difference of principle between the Deputy and me; it is only a question of the particular moment at which the investigation should take place. I think it would be holding up the scheme if the investigation were to take place first. Deputy MacEntee says that this does not mean advantage to the hospitals and it leads only to the advantage of the persons promoting the scheme—the Hospitals Committee. Surely it is a tremendous advantage to the hospitals. If you have a whole organisation at work and you break up that organisation for three or four weeks or possibly longer, and then start a new organisation, you cannot expect to have the same efficiency. If you have not efficiency you will not have the same large sums in proceeds. Therefore, it is really vital to the hospitals that there should be continuity.
Is the Minister prepared to say that there will be inserted in connection with Section 6 the necessary safeguards before any money will be given to the hospitals that are allowed to participate?
Is the Minister prepared to assure us first, that before any hospital is permitted to participate it will be referred to the Committee for investigation and, secondly, that the proportion of money to be allotted to each hospital will be withheld until the investigation is completed?
Certainly; it is already in Section 6, but I will bring in an amendment to Section 6 giving full powers to the Committee of Reference. Deputy O'Kelly has an amendment to insert a new section before Section 6. That gives certain powers to the Minister for Justice. I would prefer if these powers were given, in the first instance, to the Committee of Reference and that they would have even more extended powers—that they would have the right to go into buildings and inspect them, the right to call for bank books and examine the whole financial position. I will bring in an amendment on the Report Stage giving them such powers.
Deputy O'Kelly's amendment is not inconsistent with the position the Minister has put before the House. If amendment 2 stands the section will read:—"When the scheme is sanctioned by the Minister...." The investigation can take place after the sanction?
Certainly. The weakness between the Bill as originally introduced and as it now stands is that it would have been impossible for the Committee of Reference to examine the scheme within a period of three months and do it well. Everything would have been held up for three months. Nothing could be done; there would be no activities in connection with the distribution of tickets or anything of that sort. It might possibly be that even a longer period than three months might elapse. Deputies should consider the number of hospitals whose accounts will require to be examined, and they should consider the number of inspections that will require to be made, together with the necessity for having a sort of general scheme of accountancy for all the hospitals instead of the separate schemes that exist at the moment. All that would necessarily involve a delay of at least two or three months. The proposal in the Bill will give what is called a provisional sanction.
If that is clear we would be quite satisfied; but that is not in the Bill. The Bill sets out: "The scheme sanctioned by the Minister."
The Minister is quite prepared to make the position clear. I think Deputy MacEntee completely misunderstands Section 6. There has been what we will call a reconsideration of the scheme. If the point in dispute is that the scheme as sanctioned provisionally by the Minister is not capable of alteration, we can settle that matter in a moment.
That is the point. If the President and the Minister will agree to the insertion of the words "provisional sanction," then the position will be safeguarded. There is nothing in the Bill about this sanction being provisional.
Look at amendment 10.
Even amendment 10 does not cover it.
"The proceeds can then be distributed amongst the hospitals or such one or more of them exclusive of the other or others." If a hospital is not eligible it will not get a single penny. What we are really arguing about is the place in the Bill where this is to occur.
I think the Minister and the President can understand the difficulties which will arise if we merely use the word "sanction" here without any qualification. Once the scheme has been sanctioned and a hospital is included, in the minds of the general public that hospital will have established a right and a privilege which it will be difficult for the Minister to curtail.
No. I am making the matter perfectly plain by this amendment.
The Minister is not doing so. Section 3 naturally takes precedence and, in the minds of the public, the idea will be created that a certain hospital is going to benefit. Afterwards, if an investigation satisfies the Minister that the hospital is not entitled to benefit to the extent contemplated when the scheme was originally sanctioned, then there will be very great difficulty in dealing with the situation. It will be felt that the money collected through the medium of sweepstakes is being merely used to cover up the hospitals' sins. We are going to be faced with the dilemma that we are faced with now when we find the whole sweepstake idea widening and being amplified to an extent that none of us contemplated when the original scheme was introduced. We will have the idea created in the public mind that this is easy money and the hospitals will get it and spend it in any way they like. If a particular hospital is not given the amount originally sanctioned, the public will think that the Minister is unnecessarily hard-hearted and the impression will be created that this hospital is not being fairly treated. Our proposal will make the position quite clear. We suggest that before there is any sanction the whole position of the hospitals should be examined. That is the sort of provision I would like to see in the Bill and I am sure Deputy O'Kelly and others would like to see it too. If the word "provisional" is inserted before the word "sanction" in the first line of Section 1, the position will be remedied.
Is there any objection to putting in the word "provisional"?
If the scheme is only provisionally sanctioned a question would arise as to whether the scheme could legally proceed under a provisional sanction. As far as Deputy MacEntee's point is concerned, all the general public will know is that a scheme is organised on behalf of certain Irish hospitals. The statement on the tickets will merely set out that a sweepstake is being held in aid of certain hospitals in the Free State. The names of the participating hospitals will not be published until afterwards.
The Minister has raised the point that in order to have the scheme made legal it must be fully sanctioned. It is then the difficulties that Deputy MacEntee has referred to will, it seems to me, arise. In advertisements we will have certain hospitals mentioned as having been sanctioned. It seems to me that difficulties will arise on that head afterwards if of the hospitals mentioned should later be cut out of the scheme or if the original proportion of money is altered. It seems to me we will have to have some arrangement under which final sanction will not be given in the first instance. It will have to be made clear to the public that the sanction is only of a provisional character. That should be stated explicitly somewhere in the Bill. It is much easier to proceed on these lines, and to amend the original Act if necessary, rather than allow matters to remain in doubt.
Did the Deputy read Section 6 (4) (a) as amended?
The House is not really discussing any particular amendment. The Bill contains a particular scheme and the Minister has indicated that he proposes to take out Section 4. That means that certain changes will take place. Those changes cannot be appreciated until all the Minister's amendments are carried into the Bill. These amendments are all interdependent. I think the committee would better appreciate the whole situation if the Ministerial amendments were carried into the Bill. The Report Stage could be fixed for some suitable date and on that stage when the House is considering the Bill as amended we could have submitted for consideration such amendments as Deputies might think necessary. We would then be in a better position to understand the Bill and to put in the proper amendments. The present discussion, as far as the Chair is concerned, is quite orderly. I cannot prevent Deputies from discussing Section 6 in conjunction with Section 3, or Deputy O'Kelly's amendment with the Ministers' amendment. But it might be more suitable if the amendments having been explained, they were allowed to be put into the Bill. The Bill could then be reprinted on the understanding that the various amendments suggested now could be discussed on the Report Stage. That may mean some delay, but I believe it would lead to more satisfactory results.
I have read Section 6 (a) to which the President referred. May I take it that his point is that the Minister can direct, after the examination that nothing, for instance, might be given to a hospital which was included in the scheme as sanctioned?
That would get over the difficulty. The only objection to that is having the name of the hospital used in an advertisement.
That is an objection, but the Deputy will understand that it is unavoidable. If we are to get over that particular crux, it would possibly take three months.
Except that the word "provisional" could be inserted.
I should like to point out that under the existing scheme the names of the hospitals participating and the shares they will get of the proceeds must be published on the books of tickets. That is probably what the Deputy has in mind.
That is specifically altered by this Bill, which makes it clear that the shares are to be ascertained at the time of the division of the proceeds and, in consequence, the names of the participating hospitals and the way in which they are to partake in the proceeds are not to appear in future on the books of tickets. All that will appear is that the sweepstake is being held in aid of hospitals in the Irish Free State. Section 7 (1) of the Principal Act is repealed.
Apart from the names on the tickets, they will appear in all the Irish newspapers, with a statement as to the agreed share.
No, because there will be no agreed shares now except for the Manchester November Handicap. There probably will be agreed shares for that, but after that as regards the others, it will be simply stated that the hospitals are participating in such shares as shall be subsequently allocated to them.
Their names will be published in the newspapers as ordinary news as participating hospitals. They have appeared in the case of every sweepstake up to this, not once, but several times.
Up to this. I have explained that that is a matter that we have foreseen and propose to alter by this Bill.
You cannot prevent an hospital from stating that it is participating in a current sweepstake unless you take special power to do so under the Bill, which is not being done. Therefore, an hospital in order to create a vested interest for itself, or which is doubtful as to whether it is going to get what it considers a fair allocation at the hands of the Minister, is going to get into the newspapers and is going to have a Press agent so as to create an opinion in the minds of the public that it is an hospital which should participate, and that if the Minister prevented it participating to the extent it thinks necessary he is acting unfairly.
The Minister is not doing it. It is the facts compel the Minister.
We know about the facts.
The Deputy must be aware of the fact that I occasionally come in for a little criticism and a little more will not matter. I am rather case-hardened.
I have not known the Minister to come in for any criticism that he did not deserve.
That is a matter of opinion.
I think the Minister is right, but the point made by Deputy MacEntee might be met by the insertion at the end of Section 3 (1) of a provision something like this:
Provided always that the sanction given by the Minister is subject to the revision indicated in Section 6.
I do not think that would do the Minister's case any harm, and it would meet Deputy MacEntee's point, if there is anything in it.
I think the President suggested something like that might be put in.
I think Deputy Thrift will get that suggestion in amendment 19: "The Minister may after the passing of this Act revise such a scheme in such a manner as he may think desirable, having regard to the provisions of this Act, including this section." That, of course, is designed really to have effect on a scheme which will be actually current when the Bill becomes law. At the same time, that will be an existing provision.
With special reference to Section 6 I had in mind. I should like the Minister to consider it.
I am perfectly willing to fall in with the Ceann Comhairle's suggestion to have my amendments passed and the Bill printed with my amendments in it, and afterwards recommitted.
May I take it that the Minister accepts the principle of amendment 3?
Yes, that is what I said. I shall bring in a new amendment to Section 6 which, I think, will meet the Deputy. There are, however, other amendments by the Deputy which I must oppose. For instance, the amendments as to how the proceeds are to be divided.
I move to delete the section.
I move amendments 4 and 5:—
To delete sub-section (1).
In sub-section (2), page 3, to delete all words from and including the word "of" where it secondly occurs in line 63 to and including the word "may" in line 65 and substitute the words "managing such sweepstake shall," and on page 4, line 1, to delete the words "allow the committee managing such sweepstake to" and in line 3 to delete the word "estimated" and substitute the word "guaranteed" and in the same line to delete the word "to."
The effect of the amendments is that the money will be lodged in the names of the trustees and not in the names of the Committee. The trustees are gentlemen of high position.
Is the Minister satisfied that they are people of repute?
I think they are safe.
I move amendment 7.
In sub-section (2), line 22, to delete the word "twenty" and substitute therefor the words "thirty-three and one-third."
The subject of this amendment has been mentioned more than once before on this Bill and when the Principal Act was under consideration. I have been spoken to by a considerable number of my colleagues and others who suggested that the amount of money available for the hospitals should be more than was agreed upon when the Principal Act was passed. In the Principal Act the figure set down is 20 per cent. of the proceeds. In fact, 25 per cent. was made available in the last sweepstake.
Both in the "National" and "Derby" sweepstakes.
For the last two sweepstakes 25 per cent. has been set aside for division amongst the hospitals. There is a considerable volume of opinion both inside this House and outside that the amount available for the hospitals should be increased. Sweepstakes have proved a phenomenal success and a tremendous amount of money has come in. Unquestionably that is due to the fact that such valuable prizes were offered. But there is certainly a considerable volume of opinion that the success of the sweepstakes would be just as great if the amount set aside for the hospitals was put at 33 1/3rd per cent.
There is no sweepstake that I know of—and I must say of course I am not very familiar with any of them—that gives such big prizes as are given here. The next biggest that I have heard of is the Calcutta Sweep, but the Hospitals' sweepstakes here give prizes of far greater value. Even if the value of the prizes was not so great and that we increased the amount available for the hospitals to thirty-three and one-third per cent., the amount of the prize money would still be far in excess of anything ever known before as prizes for sweepstakes. The whole object of the Act was to make money available for charitable purposes. It does seem that 20 or 25 per cent. for charitable purposes out of the sweepstakes is a small proportion. Of course we know the reason, but nevertheless to the mind of the man in the street the fact that the hospitals only received 20 or 25 per cent. requires some explanation. The whole purpose of the Act was to secure money for charitable purposes, and of that money only a small proportion, 25 per cent., is going to charitable purposes. The rest goes in prizes. Our case is that the sweepstakes would not suffer, and their success would not in any way be minimised or diminished even if the prize money was reduced by say another 10 per cent. We believe that as the whole principle of the Bill is to secure money for charitable purposes a greater percentage of the available money ought to be used for such purposes, and our belief is that the whole scheme would not suffer if there was a bigger percentage made available for the real purposes of the Act.
I hope Deputy O'Kelly will not press his amendment. I agree with him that in the earliest stages it seemed a small amount to fix on twenty per cent. only for the hospitals. The Hospitals Committees afterwards were able to increase that to twenty-five per cent. The amount of money received by the hospitals from the "National" Sweep was £439,858. The amount they are going to receive from the "Derby" Sweep will be between £700,000 and £750,000. It would be a great mistake for us to jeopardise such a huge success by doing anything that would discourage the sale of tickets. I am told by the Committee that it would be a very serious matter for the success of the scheme if we were to endeavour to get more for the hospitals. In other words, we might kill the goose that laid the golden eggs. For that reason I would like to see no change made so long as we are assured of the twenty-five per cent. I said on the Second Reading debate that I would like to see the twenty per cent. increased to twenty-five. We had been receiving twenty-five per cent., and I think it is the view of the promoters and the Hospitals Committee that that amount should still be available. When one realises the fact that from this sweep the hospitals are going to get between £700,000 and £750,000, I think it would be a very serious mistake to interfere in any way with it or to jeopardise its success.
When the Principal Act was being debated here Deputy O'Kelly put down an amendment to the effect that the promoters be paid five per cent. Nobody contemplated at that time that one of these sweeps would bring in over two million of money. I would suggest that one of the economies that could be very well effected would be that the promoters should receive five per cent. going down on a sliding scale to two per cent. The promoters, as I understand, in the last sweep received seven per cent., but it went down to five per cent. after the first £100,000. My suggestion is that for the first £100,000 they should receive five per cent., and that there should be a sliding scale after that of two per cent. On the first million the promoters would reap a reward of £26,000, which would be a very nice sum, and it would be almost double that on two million, and the savings effected there should go to the hospitals. I am sure that in the Derby Sweep and future sweeps the expenses will be less. The bigger the sum involved the less the expense, and apparently they are conducting them in a business way.
The money saved in the way I have suggested should be devoted to the hospitals and not to additional prizes. I see no reason why the hospitals should not get thirty per cent. of the proceeds. No one can convince me that the fact of the hospitals getting an additional five per cent. would prevent one individual from buying a ticket. When they got an additional five per cent. in the last sweep that did not mean the selling of one ticket less. The inducement to buy a ticket for £30,000 prizes is there, and a person, with that inducement before him, will not bother his head as to whether the hospital is getting twenty, twenty-five or thirty per cent. The Minister should accept this amendment or something which would give an increased amount to the hospitals. Deputy Sir James Craig is in the position of being able to say: "I am well away and to hell with everybody else."
May I ask what the Deputy means by saying I am well away?
As I understand it the hospital that is being equipped for the benefit of Trinity College—Sir Patrick's Dun's—has got very well away under this scheme and Deputy Sir James Craig can say it is all right. I am concerned about the county hospitals——
It is not fair to attribute personal motives to a Deputy, especially in a debate like this, which has been completely free from personalities.
Besides the Deputy is quite wrong in his facts. There is no hospital being equipped for the benefit of Trinity College.
It may be unfair——
The Deputy is basing himself on something that is quite irrelevant to this discussion. Why not take the speech which Deputy Sir James Craig made upon its merits, without attributing motives? Why, in this debate, which has been conducted without any heat at all, attribute personal motives?
It may be quite wrong. I am very much afraid that I cannot thump my breast and say, "Mea culpa" in the matter.
The Deputy is quite out of order in attributing a personal motive to Deputy Sir James Craig. The Deputy ought to withdraw. He must consider what our debates would be like if every member in the House made the same kind of speech that he has made. He must see that the position would be impossible.
Allegations more serious than I am making have been made. I made no personal attack on Deputy Sir James Craig. I said that the hospital that he was interested in was getting well away under the Sweep, and that he did not care what the other hospitals would get.
The Deputy is not entitled to say that Deputy Sir James Craig intervened in this debate for the benefit of a particular hospital. That ruling has been given on previous occasions. Deputy Sir James Craig speaks as a member of the House on this question. He speaks by virtue of being a member of the House, and not by virtue of his interest in any particular hospital any more than Deputy Kennedy himself does.
I speak in the interests of certain hospitals.
Deputy Sir James Craig made his speech as a member of the House, not because he has a personal interest in a particular hospital, and that motive should not be imputed to him.
What I objected to was the statement—I forget the exact words used—that I was getting well away.
"Well away," I said.
I object to that entirely.
Surely Deputy Kennedy must realise that his statement has no foundation, that it should not have been made, and should be withdrawn? The statement made was that Deputy Sir James Craig was well away, and that his position was "To hell with everybody else." The Deputy ought to withdraw that statement.
Order, give the Deputy a chance.
If you, sir, put any personal interpretation on my statement I will withdraw it.
When the Chair asks the Deputy to withdraw the statement he must withdraw it simpliciter. That ruling has been given before.
Well, I will not withdraw the statement.
Then I must ask the Deputy to withdraw from the House for the remainder of this day's sitting.
[Deputy Kennedy retired from the House.]
Would I be in order in explaining that I think there has been a misunderstanding in the case of Deputy Kennedy?
The position is that the Deputy made a statement to which exception was taken, and in all the circumstances the Chair must be allowed to be the judge of what happened. Every patience has been displayed and every opportunity given. When a point is reached when the Chair says a statement must be withdrawn, then I am afraid the statement must be withdrawn, and there can be no more explanation. When the Deputy has refused to withdraw and the Chair has taken certain action we cannot go back. Deputy de Valera will agree, from the practical point of view, that our debates must be conducted in that way.
I accept that.
If Deputy Kennedy, when the returns to the House, has any explanation to make, then nobody will be more pleased than the Ceann Comhairle, but I do not think that we can go into it now or allow any other Deputy to make a statement.
The only point is that Deputy Kennedy's statement afterwards may be misunderstood. I do not think he meant anything like what Deputy Sir James Craig took it to mean.
The Deputy himself will have an opportunity of explaining. He has already had a good opportunity, and will have a further opportunity if he so desires. I do not think that we can have anyone's explanation except the Deputy's own of what he said. That is the position.
I am very pleased to have this opportunity of according the best thanks of the House and of the community in general to Deputy Sir James Craig for his efforts on behalf of the hospitals throughout Ireland.
That does not arise now.
I am also very pleased at the inclusion of the Coole Hospital.
That does not arise either. If the Deputy does not come to the amendment he may find himself withdrawing from the House too.
The position so far as the county hospitals are concerned——
That does not arise now. The House is dealing with amendment 7 to Section 6.
The question is whether it should be 20 per cent., 25 per cent., or 33 one-third per cent. I think that would be a reasonable contribution to the hospitals.
I am supporting the amendment in respect of the thirty three and one-third per cent. as against the twenty per cent. in the Bill. If the amendment is accepted I am certain that the effect of it will be to give relief to a great many hospitals throughout the country that are in a bad way at present. I agree, of course, that twenty per cent. is a good deal in one respect, but when that has to be distributed over a number of hospitals the amount that each will receive will be small. The hospitals that came in under the original scheme have benefited considerably. I think that with regard to the new scheme the thirty-three and one-third per cent. would be a fair and equitable allocation, and certainly if this amendment is accepted it will be very pleasing to every member of the House and to the country generally. The country has subscribed generously to these sweepstakes and we are all proud of the great success they have achieved. If an allocation of thirty-three and one-third per cent. is placed at the disposal of the hospitals concerned it will do much to relieve many of these deserving institutions. I have much pleasure in supporting the amendment.
I think the Deputy misunderstands the amendment. The proposal in the amendment is that, as regards all the hospitals participating in the sweep, not discriminating between one section and another, the amount in respect of them should be raised from twenty per cent. to thirty-three and one-third per cent. That is the purpose of the amendment, and I am against it. I do not think that it is good business or that it is fair. The people who contribute their share towards the sweepstakes are entitled to get the maximum return for their subscriptions. They are being called upon to contribute to an unusual extent to the Irish hospitals, and it is not fair to ask what is being asked in this amendment. The hospitals are getting twenty per cent. from the sweepstake, and that is a very valuable concession. The sums that have been got in the case of the last two sweeps were beyond the dreams of the most avaricious supporters of the hospitals. Surely people ought to be satisfied with the distribution that is laid down in the Bill.
Would the President say if he is in favour of State lotteries?
That question is not before us on this day, when there have been so many irrelevancies. One of the things which has made this particular activity attractive is the fact that it is well run. It is run on a sound business basis. In the case of no other sweepstake that has been run in any part of the world that I have been able to learn of has there been such a large proportion of the money collected distributed in prizes. That really is the measure of its success. I disagree absolutely with the proposal to increase the hospitals' share from twenty to twenty-five per cent., and I told members of the Hospitals Committee that. I do not want anyone to be under any misapprehension about it. It is grasping, and not good business.
We ought to be satisfied with the remarkable success which has attended the sweepstakes, and the hospitals ought to be satisfied with the very large distribution they have received from them. The success that has attended them has been due to this, that in the first place they were run on good business methods. They have set a headline for other activities of the same sort throughout the world. The twenty per cent. gives more than is required to the hospitals. Nobody in his wildest anticipations ever expected that such results would have been achieved. People ought to be satisfied with that. Surely even avarice has its limits.
Charity has none.
I can quite understand members of the House holding different opinions on this as to whether it is not better leave well enough alone. I can understand that argument thoroughly; the danger there may be in interfering with something that is a success. But I certainly cannot understand the argument put forward by the President that it would be grasping on the part of the hospitals to look for more. Are we running these sweepstakes simply as a mere gamble? Is it to facilitate gambling that this thing is being done, or is it being done primarily with the object of assisting certain institutions of a charitable character? At the start I know there was a difference of opinion in the House as to whether or not we should engage in a thing of this kind at all. The interruption from one of the members on this side raised, I think, a very important point, because the President's argument was immediately an argument in favour of the State running public gambling.
Which the Deputy is against.
I am. I am definitely against the State running a gambling show. If it is done as a means of assisting charities there is some sort no excuse for it, but certainly there is no excuse for looking for money for these hospitals on the basis put forward by the President. Are we prepared to go the step suggested by the interruption, which was, "Is the President now in favour of State lotteries?"
Will the Deputy say what are Deputy Ruttledge's views on this?
It is no concern of mine what anyone's views are except my own. I am prepared to give my views on matters that concern me, and when I speak I do so irrespective of whether other people agree with me or not. Possibly there are other members who do not agree with me, and they are at liberty to express their views. What I was disappointed with was the basis on which the President opposed this amendment. I have no fault to find with any member of the House opposing an increase of the grant to the hospitals on the basis that they are doing very well, and that to interfere might endanger success. I am certainly against the President's argument, that it would be grasping, and that all the money should be given in prizes. No more should be given in prizes than would be sufficient to secure as big a sum as possible for the hospitals. Otherwise, if you are going to make it a matter simply of people competing for the prizes, then we are by State action facilitating gambling. I think we ought not to do so.
I want at this stage to say that it is a matter very much of opinion whether a larger percentage should not be given the hospitals than is being given. In my own belief it could be given, and it would not be at all grasping. If this thing has become a success, those who have made it a success have been pretty well rewarded for their work. I agree with others that the success attained has been beyond the expectations of those who were most sanguine, and, from the business point of view, its success is a credit. They have done their work very well indeed. I am quite prepared to admit that they have done well, but the State has assisted them. It is because this business was backed by the State that they have been able to do the work, and it is only fair that the State should come in and claim a greater portion for the hospitals. I think the greater proportion suggested in the amendment could fairly be given without any charge whatever of being unduly grasping being made against the hospitals.
[An Leas-Cheann Comhairle took the Chair.]
I would like to join with Deputy Sir James Craig in appealing to the mover to withdraw this amendment. Dealing with it on the merits, and on the difference between 20 per cent. and 33? per cent., I wonder is Deputy O'Kelly satisfied that if the amendment were carried there would be more money available for the hospitals? In my opinion there would not. It must be remembered that the great draw is the prize money. If you take away the high prize money, and if 33? per cent. were put into the Bill, it might result that instead of the hospitals getting £600,000 or £700,000 under the next sweep, the amount might be reduced to £500,000, because the subscriptions might not be so great. Dealing with the debate, on which we have had a rather unfortunate incident—a Deputy retiring from the House rather than withdraw a statement—I think it is unbecoming that it should be in this House the first unpleasant incident should occur in connection with an hospitals sweep that enjoys world-wide fame. After the first hospitals sweep there was a kind of Press campaign started to spike the second one. The motive of that campaign was practically to tell the people to reduce subscriptions, and it was held out that the proportion of the money devoted to expenses for running the sweep was altogether wrong. I have not heard that anything like that occurred in the case of the second and third sweeps. The Press that tried to torpedo the second sweep with that suggestion has given up that class of campaign, and so popular has the sweep become, even in England, that the Bench there have flouted their own law, believing, as they do, that the hospitals sweeps run in Ireland are run on good honest lines, and that it is only a travesty of law to set up a barrier against people buying tickets in other countries.
There is another aspect to the question of reducing the percentage. This sweep has given an immense amount of much-needed employment in the city of Dublin. No organisation, and no factory, established since this Government took office has given such a large amount of employment in Dublin as the Hospitals Sweeps. That is an aspect of the case that has been overlooked by those who want to try to make very good better. They are running the grave risk of spoiling everything. Supposing the 33? was inserted in the Bill instead of 25 per cent., if the net effect was that there was a falling off in the number of employees required to run the sweep, and if the number of tickets sold were considerably reduced, the services of hundreds of boys and girls who are employed would have to be dispensed with, because we made the foolish mistake in this House of interfering with an organisation that is going on successfully.
I do not like to refer to what Deputy Kennedy said, but apart from the little incident between him and Deputy Sir James Craig, I would say this: I remember a very flourishing concern in this city some years ago when a very eminent financial gentleman was brought in to pull it together because it was a little bit on the down grade. His method of pulling it together was this: He looked at the expenses book and found that the horses in the stables were getting a ration of oats. He thought that that was a little bit too much so he cut the horses' rations down, with the result that he destroyed the institution which he was brought in to put on a sound financial footing. Are we going to cut the horses' oats down, because that is the policy suggested in the amendment. I like Deputy Sir James Craig, would ask Deputy O'Kelly to leave well enough alone, and unless he is satisfied that that 33 1/3 per cent. is going to bring in a bigger sum to the hospitals and that there is not going to be unemployment in the Sweepstakes Office, withdraw the amendment.
I think that I look on this statement a little bit differently from other Deputies. It seems to me that the point is this: The clause, as it stands in the Bill, is a restrictive clause, and requires that those who are managing the sweepstakes shall, at least, allot 30 per cent. of the money received to prizes. It does not bind them in the other direction. I think that our experience in the past has shown that there is no reason for us to restrict them further than we have restricted them up to the present. We all admit that they have managed affairs extremely well. As has been pointed out, they have not kept to the 20 per cent. mentioned in the restrictive clause. In fact, on their own account recently, they raised it to 25 per cent. They have managed matters so well that in my view, at all events, they are the best judges as to what should be allotted in any particular sweep with safety to the real object of the whole movement. I think that the past justifies us in leaving the restrictive clause as it was, namely, in the form in which the Minister has put it. I would not change it to 25 per cent., 30 per cent. or 33? per cent. I think that the people who are the best judges in this matter are those who are managing the sweepstakes.
I am opposed to the amendment, because I think that the percentage suggested is too high. We should remember that in the first year of the sweepstake the hospitals will have got, after the Derby Sweep, practically one and a half million. Each sweepstake is undoubtedly a greater success than the preceding one. If the success of the three sweepstakes in the coming year is to be as great as that achieved in the Derby Sweep, the hospitals will get over two and a half millions per year. There is no reason why the success of the forthcoming sweeps should not be even greater. If the hospitals are in a position to get two and a half millions a year from these sweeps, I do not think that anyone will say that it is not sufficient to meet their needs. There is no doubt that the larger number of prizes that is being given in the Derby Sweep is an added attraction, and it accounts to some extent, at least, for the greater success of that sweep. If we do anything that would take away from the amount of the prize money, I think we would be making a mistake. I would suggest that a compromise could very well be effected between Deputy O'Kelly and the Minister. In the Derby and Grand National Sweeps 25 per cent, was allotted to the hospitals. This Bill definitely states 20 per cent., and the amendment seeks to have it fixed at 33? per cent. We have already given 25 per cent. in the cases of the National and Derby Sweeps, and I do not see any objection to having the same percentage fixed here. If the amendment is put to a Division, I will have to vote against it, but I suggest to the Minister that if the amendment is lost he should bring in an amendment on Report to make it 25 per cent.
I am in favour of the hospitals getting 33? per cent., as suggested in the amendment, but, at the same time, I must feel constrained to oppose it on the ground that it would be killing the goose that lays the golden egg, and would, in fact, defeat its own purpose. It must be remembered that probably 99 per cent. of the people who purchase tickets do so not with the primary object of helping the hospitals but of endeavouring to win a prize. I believe that if the amount of the prize money is reduced the ultimate amount of money that will be brought in will be decreased, with the result that the hospitals, instead of benefiting by the amendment, will lose. Reference has been made to the Calcutta Sweep. It must be admitted that the sweeps which we have run have put into the background not only the Calcutta Sweep but the Danzig and Liverpool Stock Exchange Sweeps. I believe that the sweeps are of great assistance not alone to the hospitals but in the large amount of employment which they are giving, so far, at least, as Dublin is concerned. They provide, as has been pointed out, practically Dublin's biggest industry at present. The only fault which I have to find with them is that employment is not given to more men. If it were, it would be much more beneficial than employing woman labour. The winners of prizes so far, including two Deputies of the House, have, I think, been satisfied with their winnings. The only one who does not seem to be satisfied is Mr. Scala. There is one reason in particular why I would not like to see the amendment carried. I believe it is time that the country hospitals got more out of the sweepstakes.
That is not in the amendment.
I believe, at the same time, that if the percentage is increased to 33? per cent., instead of bringing about the object which I desire, it would reduce the income, and consequently the country hospitals would not get the benefits which I would like them to get. I think that the amendment would be detrimental to the objects which the mover has in view.
My only reason for intervening in the debate is the remark of Deputy White, but I will not leave him very long in doubt as to my views. I am opposed to the amendment mainly on the ground mentioned by Deputy Thrift. For some time I have been in touch with the operations of the Hospital Trust Committee and the experts who are working to make the sweeps a success. To some extent they may be described as experts, because they have organisations throughout the world and have received reports as to the various ways in which the sweeps could be improved. As it is their opinion that it would be dangerous to interfere with the present arrangement and to reduce the amount of prize money, I do not think, especially as the sweeps have been such a success, that we should be a party to interfering with them. We should not do anything that might afterwards be said to prejudice that success. That is the only reason why I oppose the amendment.
My position is very divided in this matter. I can see the force of the statements of Deputy Ruttledge and Deputy Cassidy that the big prizes are undoubtedly a very big factor in the success of the sweepstakes. At the same time, I have a considerable amount of sympathy with the amendment of Deputy O'Kelly. That sympathy has been entirely aroused by the attitude which the Minister for Justice took up on the Second Reading of the Bill when he clearly indicated to the House that, in his opinion, the benefit of any economies which might be effected in the operation of the sweepstakes should go, not to the hospitals, but to the prize fund. I must say that there is no real justification for that. The present allocation has at any rate shown that sweeps are sufficiently attractive to make them a snowball success. Each sweepstake seems to be more successful than its predecessor. I would take up the attitude, at any rate, that the increase in the prize fund in relation to the second sweepstake marked really the limit of the proportion of the total fund which should be allocated to prize money. If we take that limit, the hospitals should get the benefit of any subsequent economies which might be secured in the operation of the sweepstakes, rather than the prize money because the success of the sweepstakes has indicated that the prize fund is sufficiently large to secure the success which we all desire.
Over and above that, the hospitals are entitled to the benefit and the advantage that is, assuming the hospitals require all the assistance which according to some people the sweeps are going to provide for them, in saecula saeculorum. I would be satisfied to accept a compromise based first of all on the suggestion of Deputy O'Dowd, that the statutory allocation should not be less than 25 per cent., and secondly, that we should get an undertaking from the Minister that any economies which are secured in the operation of the sweepstakes should be given to the hospitals and not to the prize fund.
Anything I have heard from the arguments, which have been reasonable, has not changed my personal view on this matter. I understand that the first prize in the last sweepstake was in or about £354,000. My proposal is to take 7½ per cent. additional off the prize money. If we take that figure of £354,000 my proposal would not reduce that huge figure to any appreciable extent. It would take, roughly, £26,000 off, leaving in or about £328,000. Does anybody suggest that any person, inside or outside Ireland, would refuse to buy a ticket if the first prize was reduced from £354,000 to £328,000? I do not think there is any reason in an argument of that kind. I think the great draw in the sweep was the huge prizes offered, and the additional 7½ per cent. to be taken off the prize money will not reduce it to any appreciable extent, as the amount is so large, while it would make a very considerable difference in the money available for the hospitals. That is my whole point. I have heard it discussed inside and outside the House, the question of the different arrangements made in connection with the running of the sweep, for the division of the prize money; and I have heard it stated that the greater number of prizes and the smaller amount of them is more likely to have an ill-effect than my amendment would have. The big attraction to my mind is the huge prize. A deduction of 7½ per cent. from any prize, from £100,000 upwards, is not going to make 5 per cent., or even 1 per cent., of the people interested, withhold their money, or withdraw from purchasing a ticket.
I should like to hear from Deputy O'Kelly, as he did not say anything in regard to it, if he has any authority to speak for the hospitals.
Or from the people who are participating in the sweeps in the past?
I am glad we are clear on that, because we can take it that this is Deputy Kelly's own belief.
If that is the case, each of us is entitled to have his own opinion as to whether the hospitals should get more or not. I think it is important that we should know as far as we have any means of knowing, whether any of the hospitals are satisfied. Perhaps I would be entitled to say that they are more than satisfied in regard to how well they have done during the past year out of the sweepstakes.
The hospitals that have got the money are satisfied, but there are a number of hospitals, which are to get money out of this sweep, which are not satisfied with the division of the fund.
That is with the division as between hospital and hospital?
They do not object to the gross total fund.
I do not think that is the issue that is involved in the amendment here. So far as the gross total is concerned, I think there is a good deal in what Deputy O'Hanlon and Deputy Cassidy stated. Let us be quite honest and ask ourselves to what extent that is a fact. How far does the hospital enter into your mind when you are buying a ticket? To whatever extent that may be so here in Ireland, if we go outside and ask the hundreds of thousands in England, Australia and the United States who are clamouring for these tickets, it will be found that they are not interested in the fact that they are helping hospitals. It may help some to salve their consciences, and, as Deputy de Valera said, to form some kind of excuse for buying a ticket. But that factor does not enter into it very much, and what they have in mind undoubtedly is the question of the extent of the prize. Deputy O'Kelly's last calculation has disappeared altogether, because he was referring to the proportion of money allocated for prizes for the Grand National Sweepstake. That scheme has disappeared altogether now, and if Deputy O'Kelly wins the first prize he can get only £30,000 unfortunately.
I am sure he has not a ticket.
I have several. I wish I had more.
Deputy O'Kelly's interest in the hospitals has forced him to buy several tickets.
I think that a sufficiently strong case has not been made for interfering in this matter. Everybody has admitted that the hospitals have done well. Deputy Thrift has pointed out, quite properly, that we are not confining the amount to 20 per cent. That is fixing a figure below which they should not go. Small things like this may have big effects, and an idea might get abroad—altogether unjustified, I am prepared to say—that the prize money was being decreased and that there was not such a good opportunity as there was under the previous sweeps for those who purchased tickets. As Deputy Hogan pointed out to me in conversation a moment ago, we have to think of those who purchase tickets in big blocks. Those are the people who have to be considered, and an idea might get abroad that would injure the whole scheme, and perhaps in the end Deputy O'Kelly would not have helped the hospitals to the extent that he thinks he would by having the amount increased. I am entirely in favour of leaving things as they are, with twenty per cent. as the minimum. I think the hospitals have done well.
I would like to say that I do not think the President was very happy in his opposition to the amendment. I think he made statements that he will be sorry he made when he reads them. I think he should not have said that the hospitals have got more than enough. I think that was a statement that ought not to have been made by the President, and that he did not help the case he was anxious to support. There are good grounds, as Deputy Ruttledge and Deputy Dr. O'Dowd pointed out, for leaving things as they are.
As I said when I was speaking before, I can quite understand the difference of opinion as to whether it is not wiser to leave a thing that has proved itself a success alone. I quite understand and appreciate to the full the force of that argument, but as against that we are the people who are responsible for seeing that the primary purpose for which this scheme was instituted receives the fullest consideration. We have made ourselves the trustees on behalf of the hospitals, and it is our duty to see that they benefit to the fullest possible extent. Originally we had to look into the future. We had to guess what was likely to happen and to fix a percentage on that basis. Now we are in the position of knowing the facts and being able to take stock, and what we have to ask ourselves is whether the greatest amount of money that could be got for the hospitals in this particular way is being got for them. I believe that if we were sitting here as a board of directors, running this thing for the purpose of getting the greatest possible amount for the hospitals, we would come to the conclusion that the success had been such that we could afford to take from the prize money the percentage that has been indicated by Deputy O'Kelly, and give it to the hospitals. That is my view. I think we could do it, and that we would by no means be killing the goose that was laying the golden egg. It is for that reason that I am going to support the amendment. I believe that we should not allow ourselves to be influenced too much by the thought that things are going very well and should be let alone. If every business man was going to look at things in that way there would be very little progress. Business men would naturally ask themselves could they do better for the hospitals than is being done at the present time? My opinion is that we could. At the same time, I understand why people should differ from me in that particular matter. I think our attitude ought to be that, and that alone, and that any idea that the individuals who are participating should get the biggest possible prizes should be banished from our minds completely. It is to that argument I take chief objection. It is an argument that we should facilitate those who want to bet and to engage in an attempt to get for a little a large sum of money. I, at any rate, am going to support Deputy O'Kelly's amendment.
Suppose we were to check the figures given by Deputy O'Kelly in order to arrive at what is the amount at issue, on prize money of £354,000 the difference would be about £26,000. It would be only a matter of one prize. If the figure rose slightly it would be only a matter of £30,000, and is anybody going to refuse to take part because there is a difference of one or two prizes. So that this discussion is about a matter which is really very small. At the same time the principle involved is a big one from the point of view of people who want to protect the primary object of the Bill. It is an effort on the part of the representatives of the people to press as much as possible for concentration on the object of the Bill and giving as much as possible to the hospitals while maintaining the success of the scheme. The reason why Deputy Kennedy laboured under so much feeling in the matter was because he has the interests of the country hospitals at heart. They are coming into the scheme for the first time, and so that the country hospitals would get as much as possible out of the scheme he is anxious to see the prize money reduced. It was because of that view he laboured under considerable excitement in the matter. I think there is a great deal to be said for that point of view. The new hospitals naturally want to get as much as they can out of the scheme. Another Deputy interested in the county hospitals thought it would be better not to decrease the prize money. I take the same view as those who advocate a reduction of the prize money and an increase of the amount for the hospitals. I do not think there is much in what Deputy O'Connell said about the discussion here injuring the scheme. I think the discussion shows that we are thoroughly in earnest in trying to help the hospitals.
I said that a decision to increase the amount to thirty-three and one-third might injure the scheme. I did not say that the discussion would.
If this amendment were carried it would mean a difference of only about two prizes. So far as that is concerned, it is only a detail and it would not interfere in any way with the success of the scheme. I am rather distrustful of experts in this matter, because when financial experts get their blood up they charge along, and the point of view of the ordinary man outside—the man in the street— is required to keep them in check. A great many people buy a ticket because they want to have a ticket in the sweep and because they want to help the hospitals, but there is a very widespread and uneasy feeling that this whole scheme is not a healthy thing—that its tendency is not healthy. I believe that this amendment will have a very good effect in making people feel that we are trying, as far as possible, to check the more evil tendencies in the Bill. The President said that avarice has its limits. That is exactly what we mean by our amendment. We might add to that that charity should have no limits. In order to carry out the purpose behind the epigram, it should be the duty of everybody in this House to try to check the avarice end and to get as much as possible for the charity end.
If I could be satisfied that proportionately as we reduce the prize money we will increase the money available for the hospitals, I would support the amendment. There is a great danger that, in reducing the prize money, we might also reduce the amount of money available for the hospitals. We cannot be sure that proportionately as we restrict or limit the prize money we will increase the money available for the hospitals. That is a thing that we can have no certainly or guarantee about. It has not been sufficiently emphasised that the figure 20 per cent. is a minimum.
The people responsible for the running of the sweep have to deal with an enormous transaction, representing a very large amount of money. We may, I think, be sure that those responsible will give 25 per cent. or 30 per cent. or 40 per cent. of the proceeds to the hospitals if that can be done consistently with safeguarding the continuous success of the scheme. After all, we are not dealing with a perfect human race. The psychology of people who undertake the distribution of large blocks of tickets has to be taken into account. It is not the psychology only of the man who pays 2/6 for a share in a ticket, or who buys one ticket or ten tickets, that has to be considered; it is the psychology of the people who control the distribution of large blocks of tickets. If you do not make it worth while for these people to operate, they will probably not take the same part in making the scheme a success as they have taken up to the present. Before we take any action which might be calculated to injure the scheme, the success of which Deputy O'Kelly and all of us have at heart in the interest of the hospitals, we ought to pause. I do not think there is any means by which we could be sure that proportionately as the prize money is reduced the amount available for the hospitals will be increased.
I confess that I listened with a good deal of sympathy to the speech of Deputy de Valera. I do find it very difficult to believe that a moderate restriction of prize money would really have the effect to which Deputy Hogan has called attention. At the same time, it is, as Deputy de Valera recognised, a dangerous thing to interfere with a scheme which has on the whole worked successfully. In view of the considerations which Deputy O'Connell and Deputy Hogan put forward, and in view of the danger which Deputy Sir James Craig has indicated, it might be that the amendment moved by Deputy O'Kelly would interfere with the success of the scheme. I rise to ask the Minister whether, with a view to increasing, to some extent, the legal claim of the hospitals, as distinct from what has been available to them in practice, the Minister would be inclined to go so far, without accepting the amendment, as to fix a minimum of 25 per cent. for the 20 per cent. which the hospitals would receive.
My view is that if a decision were come to in the terms of this amendment it would seriously affect the attitude of the public. I take the view that even this discussion will do the very same thing. It will have the effect, however small, of lessening public confidence. There are enemies of the idea of sweepstakes in this and every other country who use discussions of this type as propaganda —people of the extra-puritan type who think that everything is wrong except what they do themselves. While one of our first duties is to help the hospitals, I make no secret of the fact that my sympathy is almost equally distributed between the hospitals and the generous and trustful people in this country and in other countries who come to our aid. Deputy de Valera said that our duty is to help the hospitals to get as much as they can out of the sweepstake. That is not our only duty. From what we heard in the discussion, some people appear to have a sort of contempt for those who buy a ticket with the idea of having a "flutter." I am one of those who have not that sort of mentality. I frankly confess that. It may be wrong from a moral point of view, but that is my attitude. I have as much sympathy with the outside public who trust us and generously subscribe as I have with any other interest in the community. I am sorry that, in my opinion, either envy to some individual or the desire to get more than we are getting is behind some of the speeches delivered. The case has been made by more than one Deputy that it would not affect the success of the sweep if the amount of one prize was deducted. That is put up as an argument why we should depart from the standard that has been set. If that is true in that case, then what addition would that small amount of money mean to the hospitals as a whole? If it makes no difference in one direction, then it can make no difference in the other direction, and you would do far more to injure the object of the scheme by weakening in the smallest degree the public trust in the way things are done than you would gain.
The one thing you had better continue to show is that it is not for avarice you are out. You are out to help the hospitals on a proper basis. Once you sap public confidence in how you do things you sound the deathknell of the object you have in view. For that reason I am altogether against the amendment. I am sorry that some of the things that have been said were said.
Deputy Gorey understood from Deputy Little that the passing of the amendment would only mean the difference of one prize. I think Deputy Little's figures were based on the difference between 25 per cent. and 33? per cent. If we had an assurance that the 20 per cent. mentioned in the Bill would be considered to be the absolute minimum, and that in all probability 25 per cent. at least would be distributed we would be more satisfied, because the difference between 20 per cent. and 33? per cent. is considerable.
Reference has been made to the moral aspect of the question. We are appealing to the gambling instinct for the support of this scheme. If the impression got abroad that if we were trying to get as much as we could out of this for hospitals and trying to curtail the prize money it would undoubtedly damage the success of the sweeps. Many of us here are not at all in favour of this matter of appealing to the gambling instincts of the people, but that is what we are doing. There is no use in pretending that we are not. But if we are anxious to make the sweepstakes a success and get all the money we can for the hospitals we must do it and not interfere with the unfortunate propensity that is in human nature to go in for gambling.
Tá bród orm go bhfuil an oiread seo á dhéanamh d'oispidéil na tíre ach dá ndéanfai an oiread eile dhóibh 'sé mo bharuilse go bhfuil dream sa tír ag déanamh níos mó do dhaoine bochta na tíre— sin iad na banaltraí Jubilee. Tá siad seo ag obair do na daoine bochta in a dtithe féin, ag tabhairt aire do na daoine tinne o oíche go maidin —go minic daoine nach bhfuil in ánn dul go dti na hoispidéil agus daoine go mb'fhearr leo bás d'fháil ná dul go hoispidéil. Tá na mná seo ag obair sna ceanntracha is boichte in Eirinn. Sé an bealach a bhfuightear an t-airgead le hiad d'íoc: daoine anso agus ansúd go bhfuil grádh acu do na bochta agus gur thug Dia go leor dóibh fein tugann siad bronntanaisí don chumann seo. Na daoine fíor-bhochta féin, tugann siad san a sgilling uatha. Má stopann na daoine atá ag tabhairt na mbronntanas seo uatha, mar stop cúpla duine le goirid, caithfear na banaltraí a stopadh annsin. Agus cé'n mhaith oispidéal iongantach a bheith 'na scórtha míle o mhnaoi bhoicht nuair a bheidh sí i dtrioblóid no a leithéide? Nár bhfearr dí seo agus dá leithéide banaltra a bheith sa gceanntar a mbeadh sí in ánn glaoidh uirrthí? Mar sin sé mo bharúil-se, le bheith cinnte go bhfanfaidh na banaltraí sna ceanntracha bochta seo, ba cheart beagán den airgead seo atá ag dúl do na hoispidéil a chur ar leith dóibh siúd. Maran feidir é seo do dhéanamh faoi'n mBille seo, geallaim-se go dtabharfa mé féin Bille isteach le seo do dhéanamh.
An bhfuil an Teachta in ordú an cheist seo do phlé ar an mBille seo?
Gach rud adubhairt mé sa Tigh seo ar son na mbocht bhí sé as ordú do réir na barúla atá agaibh-se.
I agree with what has been said here, and I am afraid that the very existence of this discussion will have done a certain amount of harm to the hospitals sweepstakes. I am perfectly satisfied that if this amendment were carried, very material damage indeed would be done to the hospitals sweeps. I am opposed to this amendment on several grounds. I am opposed to it in the first place because I do not think it will have the desired result. I am opposed to it because I think it would defeat its own ends. To again use that very old expression, if it did not kill the goose that was laying the golden egg, it would certainly reduce the rations of that goose, so that it would lay in the future an egg of a very diminished size.
You have got the experts and the hospitals themselves, and they agree with what is being given at present. They are satisfied with the present proportion, but you want to force upon them something more than they have, and more than they themselves think it wise to ask. There is another thing—I would like to put it from another point of view, and it is this: you talk about people who buy tickets in these sweepstakes, and you talk about them rather with contempt. In the course of the discussion here, it was said that they were persons simply inspired by gambling motives, and that we should do nothing to help gambling by giving them all those prizes. That is exactly what you are doing in this Bill. These sweepstakes have been accepted in principle by the Dáil, and you have made an appeal to the gambling instincts of the people. That is what you are doing, and the question at issue is this: shall you give them a fair or an unfair gamble? I did not follow Deputy Little's arithmetic at all. He seemed to think that 7 per cent. would mean £30,000—seven per cent. of the total receipts. I think the question at issue for our sweep would be nearer a quarter of a million than £30,000.
I simply took the figures that had been mentioned as prize money in one particular sweepstake.
The Deputy does not seem to know that the percentage is taken on the total moneys received by the sale of tickets. The sale of tickets will amount, let me say, to £2,000,000. In that matter there is a very considerable difference between 25 per cent. of £2,000,000 and 33 per cent. of the £2,000,000.
I also pointed out that, according as the prize money went up there was an increase in the number of prizes.
The Deputy took some figure of £30,000. At any rate, it would be a very substantial sum. What is the position that the purchasers of the tickets will be in— they consider not merely the amount of the prizes but also the number of the prizes? They consider also what chances they have of getting a prize. Every gambler looks to this matter of getting a good chance of a prize. If you diminish the prize fund you are not giving a fair advantage to the purchasers of the tickets. They are not getting a fair gamble. I think the purchasers of tickets should be looked to and protected and they should be given a fair gamble. When the world knows that the hospitals are satisfied with a reasonable proportion of the money subscribed, and certainly the 25 per cent. that they are now receiving is a reasonable proportion, the world should know that the hospitals receiving these moneys are receiving them fairly. The world should know that the hospitals are not going to squeeze the last drop of blood out of the purchasers of the tickets. They are to be given a fair chance and the people who buy the tickets are to be given a fair proportion of the money. The sweepstake money does not come from the hospitals, it comes from the people who buy the tickets, and these people should get back amongst themselves a reasonable proportion of their own money in prizes. That is only fair and it is natural justice, and it would be against natural justice if they did not get a fair proportion back—as large a proportion as they can of their own money.
The people who gamble should have a fair chance. The hospitals are getting what they are satisfied with up to the present and the gamblers are being given a fair gamble. The buyers of tickets will know that they are geting this fair play and when the hospitals are getting 25 per cent. that is enough. They have made no claims themselves to get any more. The promoters of the hospitals sweeps think that is all right. A considerable number of Deputies here think it is sufficient, but if you carry this amendment the people outside will think they are not getting a fair deal and they will not purchase tickets in a substantial way because they will consider they are not being fairly treated.
I think it would be most pernicious to carry this amendment. It would completely defeat Deputy O'Kelly's own wishes. I may say I am defending the purchasers of tickets and I am fighting Deputy O'Kelly's battle rather than my own, because Deputy O'Kelly tells me that he has purchased tickets. I have not purchased any and, in consequence, I am regarding the matter entirely from a detached point of view. I think Deputy O'Kelly, who has been sufficiently led away by the gambling instinct as to buy tickets, should get a fair gamble.
When the Committee were considering the Principal Act exactly the same arguments were used as are now used by the Minister when we tried to get 25 per cent. put into the Bill as the minimum.
That is perfectly correct. One would imagine from the Minister's speech that we are giving a fair gamble when we are giving 25 per cent., and we are told it would be terribly unfair to give 33? per cent. If you want a fair gamble you should really give in prize money the whole money received from the sale of tickets. After all, it is only a relative question.
I quite agree.
I think the Minister should make it a really fair gamble by giving all the money collected from the sale of tickets as prize money. That would be fairer to those who purchase tickets.
Give them all the money back in prize money. As I have stated, it is purely a relative question.
I move amendment 8:—
In sub-section (3), line 25, to delete the words "three-fourths" and substitute the words "one-half."
If I have been snowed under in the last amendment I think I should have more support for this one. This sub-section reads:
(3) Where a sweepstake held under the Principal Act is so held by the governing body of one hospital only, three-fourths of the available surplus in such sweepstake shall be paid to such governing body.
Imagine paying three-fourths of the total prize money to one hospital. It is not likely, I suppose, to happen. It is unlikely that any sweepstake will be run by one hospital only, but if one such hospital ran a sweepstake three-fourths of the available surplus, according to the Bill, will be paid to that one hospital. I propose to reduce that to one-half. It is only a matter of theory really, because it is not likely that one hospital only will run a sweepstake. This amendment to reduce the amount from three-quarters to 50 per cent. will be of more value when we come to discuss the later clauses in this section. At any rate, it is necessary to assert the principle here so that we may include it in the later clauses. Up to the present 100 per cent. of the available surplus was divided among the hospitals participating. Under this Bill three-fourths of the surplus will go to what we might call the private hospitals, the proprietary hospitals, such as have been participating in the sweepstakes, and one-fourth will be reserved for the county hospitals run by local authorities throughout the country. This particular clause is not likely to affect the situation very much, because it is unlikely that one hospital only will run a sweepstake, but at any rate we want to assert the principle that whatever number of hospitals are running a sweepstake, whether one or more than one, 50 per cent. of the total available surplus shall go to the proprietary hospitals and 50 per cent. to the county hospitals. I want to raise the amount available for the county hospitals from 25 to 50 per cent. There is more than one hospital in some of the counties.
The Bill makes it possible for district hospitals and the small local hospitals and sanatoria to benefit by the sweepstakes. That being so, the number of hospitals brought in as a result of this amending Bill will be very considerable. The number of hospitals run by local authorities which will be eligible to participate will be greater than the number of hospitals which has been participating up to the present. I do not suggest that each of these county hospitals would be likely to get, or likely to want, as much money as some of the hospitals that have already participated, such as the proprietary hospitals in the City of Dublin. At any rate, the number of county hospitals and local hospitals and sanatoria run by local authorities—fever hospitals and mental hospitals are even included—will be so great that I think we are entitled to ask for 50 per cent., instead of 25 per cent., of the available surplus being allotted to them. That is the sum and substance of the amendment, and it should get much more support than the last amendment.
Anybody who is a member of a board of health or a county council must realise that the condition of our local hospitals is anything but what it should be. In my opinion, the county rates cannot afford to build hospitals and provide them with the necessary equipment. In the poorer counties, where there is perhaps a greater amount of sickness than there is in the wealthier counties, because they are more thickly populated and the people are poorer, the demand for hospital accommodation and equipment is much greater, and the hospitals in these areas are the very hospitals which need money very badly for buildings and improved equipment. I admit that this 25 per cent. which it is proposed to give them is coming to them as a God-send, but it is also coming to them as a right. As a Dublin man, I do not begrudge the money to the Dublin hospitals, and I do not want to limit unduly the money they get. I want to see them treated fairly and justly, and some of them at least have been treated more than fairly and justly—they have been treated generously. As a public representative, knowing something about the condition of the county hospitals and mental homes and the smaller hospitals and sanatoria all over the country, I say that some of them are in a scandalous condition. In some cases that is due to want of appreciation of what is necessary by local authorities and want of appreciation of the sacrifices they should have made in the past. That cannot be said of all of them, because there are counties which could not have afforded to provide all that was necessary, no matter how well they appreciated the necessity for proper medical treatment for the people, and the poor in particular. This Bill will give them an opportunity of providing what is necessary and of doing it under the direction of the Local Government Department.
The money will not be handed out to them to do just as they please with it. The Minister proposes to put in restrictions here, making it necessary for the local authorities to submit their scheme, and to have the full approval of the Minister, and of the Department of Local Government for any scheme for the improvement of their hospitals, on which they may wish to spend this money. The money is urgently necessary all over the twenty-six counties. There are districts where thousands of pounds could be usefully spent, and the public health in general would benefit very considerably if the money was available. I think it is not unfair, seeing what Dublin has already got, and I speak as a Dublin man, to ask that fifty per cent. should be given to the county hospitals throughout the whole of the Free State, the other fifty per cent. being allowed to go to the proprietary hospitals mainly situated in Dublin.
Following upon the statement I made during the second reading of the Bill I think nobody will be surprised to find that I am opposed to the amendment proposed by Deputy O'Kelly. If we agree, and I suppose we cannot get away from agreeing, that any help given to the county hospitals shall not be given so as to relieve the rates, the county hospitals are therefore placed in a very different position from the hospitals that benefited under the original Act. Under the original Act the improvement that takes place in the hospitals may be very necessary, but in addition there must be set aside in each hospital a fund to provide for future income, so that a hospital may not find itself in a few years in the position that it was in before.
I want to stress the particular fact that so far as Cork, Limerick and Dublin, and all voluntary hospitals, that came in under the scheme, were concerned, they were unable to provide for the ordinary upkeep of the hospitals. What the sweepstakes money will do for these hospitals is that it will enable them to set aside fifty per cent. —and I would like to see fifty per cent. set aside—for the provision of future income for the hospitals, and I would like to see the hospitals improved as well.
Let me turn to the county hospitals. I admit many of them are very defective. I would like to see improvements in their structure and far more provision made for the poor people. I would like to see them put into decent beds and I would like to see decent furniture, decent flooring and decent sanitary accommodation in these hospitals. And where there is surgical work I would like to see the provision of a small operating theatre, provision for instruments for doctors and surgeons in these places. But in my opinion £5,000 would go a long way towards the provision of these things. There has been a good deal of talk about the provision of X-ray apparatus. In my opinion it would be a serious mistake to have X-ray installation in any but one hospital in each county. If the smaller hospitals claim, as in my opinion they should not claim, to have x-ray installation they are going to put a great deal of expense upon these institutions. They would require an expert to work the x-ray installation, and x-ray installations are extremely expensive to run. Every x-ray of a patient in a hospital costs at least 10/- and if many of these are taken it would be very greatly increased in the cost. I want to stress the fact that there is no use in putting x-ray installation into the smaller hospitals where there is no expert to deal with it. I have been reading x-ray photographs since x-ray came into existence and I may say I scarcely know anything at all about them. I would not set up as a person able to read x-ray photographs. A man must be trained specially to the use of the instrument. In some of the hospitals larger salaries are always paid to the nurses and sisters appointed to look after that system. I shall not dwell upon that point now, but shall pass on to things that I touched upon in the Second Reading of the debate. Taking the figure that is available for the county hospitals I think it a fair average. I am told it will be greater the next time, but I am taking £750,000 as available for the hospitals and one-fourth of that is a fair average. That would mean £187,000 available for the county hospitals. Dividing that £187,000 by twenty-six you find there will be exactly £7,000 to go to each county out of the next sweep alone. If that is multiplied by nine sweepstakes which may be held between this and 1934 you have for each county £63,000. I say again, although I do not grudge the county hospitals everything that can be given to them, I do not honestly see what they are going to do with £63,000 in each county, because as I pointed out the county hospitals cannot invest the money for future maintenance. If this amendment were carried it would deprive the voluntary hospitals that will number 50 of their proper share.
There were 34 hospitals included in the Derby Sweep. The Minister has added six, which will bring the number up to 40, and there are quite a number of other hospitals coming in that can come in under the original Act. The hospitals in the Twenty-Six Counties would, in my opinion, be getting more than they would know what to do with if the sweeps go on when they get this £63,000 I mentioned. I hope I have shown that I am in favour of having every one of the county hospitals properly equipped and provided for. I want to see the poor people in the county hospitals made as comfortable as possible. I want to see the sanitary conditions improved, and I want to see the accommodation and general equipment of these places greatly improved. But after they have done these things I do not see what else they are going to do. I do not suggest that they should begin to build. If they do they are going to increase the rates in order to provide for an increase of patients in whatever buildings they put up; and if they put in expensive things like the X-rays they are going to run into a great deal more expense than they did in the past. I ask Deputy O'Kelly, therefore, not to press his amendment, because I think I have shown that the county hospitals are going to get quite sufficient by participating to the extent of 25 per cent.
I am inclined to agree with Deputy O'Kelly's amendment. I regret I was not here when the earlier sections of the Bill were being discussed, as I had intended to raise some matters on them. In my opinion, the last Deputy who has spoken has not made any case against Deputy O'Kelly's contention. He says that if this amendment is carried the counties may get £63,000. Why should they not get that?
They will get double that if the amendment is carried.
The only question the House is concerned with is that this £63,000 should be properly spent. I think we have a pretty effective safeguard in the Bill by leaving the matter in the hands of the Department of Local Government. The Minister will have power to go into the whole question. He can frame any conditions he likes as to the distribution of the money. I think that is an extremely valuable safeguard. He can safeguard the interests of the State and can maintain any system of rating that seems to him to be necessary in connection with these services. He can put a certain amount of money to reserve over a period of time, and can give extended facilities in other directions. Seeing that this project has grown to the alarming proportions reached, I see no reason why the scope of it could not be extended in certain areas. When Deputy Sir James Craig introduced the original Bill I voted for it on the principle that I was helping the Dublin hospitals to clear off their debts. I am prepared to continue doing that. The position is that the Dublin hospitals have not alone paid off all their debts, but, as far as I know, if the sweeps continue at the present rate, they will be placed in charge of very considerable funds. Sections of responsible opinion in the community think that they will not know what to do with a great deal of these funds.
I understood the Minister for Justice to say on the Second Reading of this Bill that he had no responsibility as to the methods the hospitals adopted to spend this money. I do not wish to be unfair to the Minister, but seeing that this project has grown to such alarming proportions, it seems to me that he should have gone into the question and endeavoured to get the hospitals themselves to bring forward a scheme for the city of Dublin. There is no common scheme coming forward, and as far as the representatives of rural constituencies in this House are concerned they have good grounds for assuming that all this money is going to be spent, perhaps wastefully, and that in ten or twelve years' time, as some people have suggested, we may have the hospitals again looking for charity. Therefore, I think there is every reason why rural Deputies should look after the interests of their own constituencies in this matter. It seems to me that the hospitals committee, the body nominated by the hospitals, while it has done very good work up to the present in creating the organisation for putting schemes before the House, has not the same responsibility to the public that we have.
We are the people who are responsible, and when the money is there in such large proportions, whatever the interests of the hospitals may be and whatever the interests of the prizewinners, in whom the Minister is manifesting such an interest, may be, it is the general interest of the people that should count. We should see to it that in the long run this money is so spent that every citizen of the State will be able to avail of the advantages it gives in the way of getting the best possible medical treatment. That, I think, should be the governing consideration. I understand that in Dublin you have hospitals doing a large amount of dispensary work. The Minister is allowing into the Sweep hospitals like the Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital that do a big amount of dispensary work. Down the country you also have dispensaries, but they have to be paid for by the taxpayers. Even if the people in the country availed themselves of the red tickets, the ratepayers have to bear the poor law charges. As far as my information goes, if a poor person in the country comes up to any of the hospitals in Dublin, in practically all cases the poor rates have to bear not only the cost of maintenance of that patient in the Dublin hospital—which I believe is about £2 a week—but in addition the other expenses entailed in sending the patient to Dublin.
In the case of my own constituency —Kilkenny-Carlow—even though it is near Dublin, people in portions of that constituency may think it cheaper and that they will get better treatment by remaining at home than if they were to come to the Dublin hospitals, but even in their case they have to pay very large sums to go into private hospitals —as much as eight guineas a week and in addition considerable fees to doctors. Farmers down the country cannot afford that. Now is the time, I think, to try and put an end to that by seeing that the people will be enabled to get locally the best medical treatment in the county town or wherever the hospital may be situate. In the County Mayo you have 180,000 people—half the population of the city of Dublin. Generally they are very poor people. As I said here on a previous occasion, in that county, as far as medical charges are concerned, it is a case of the poor supporting the destitute. There is a small hospital in Castlebar, in charge of which there is a very devoted surgeon. But what can he do? He has not the facilities that he requires. If we take that particular institution as an example, I think that £63,000 could be well spent on it. I believe that sum would be far better spent on it than some of the hundreds of thousands that are not alone going now but in the future, without the Dáil having an opportunity of going into the matter, to the Dublin hospitals. Already they have profited to the extent of something like £750,000.
In the poorer areas of the country the ratepayers are poor and, as I have said, are supporting the destitute. A large amount of work is being done in these areas by the district nurses. There is a general feeling that there should be an extension of medical services. First of all there should be better hospital treatment and better facilities provided in them. As to Deputy Sir James Craig's argument that we cannot get the men, I maintain that we can if we are prepared to pay them. I believe that even the most rabid economist representing the Farmers' Union on the county board of health, if he sees that the local hospital is going to get a considerable amount of this money, will be prepared to pay out of the rates for the surgeons and physicians necessary to staff the hospitals. If, as a result of this money, first-class institutions are set up through the country, I think it is up to the people to pay the medical staff. When this money is available it is up to us to see that the largest amount possible consistent with fair play is given to these local hospitals.
Take the question of tuberculosis. Will any Deputy say that it is possible out of local finances to maintain local sanatoria in the way they should be maintained? The Minister for Local Government is present. I would call his attention to the fact that when he was increasing the salaries of dispensary doctors in county areas it was a pity that he did not go into this whole question at greater length. This Bill provides an opportunity for doing that. I hope that if this amendment is carried, and that the Minister decides to go into the whole question he will try not alone to improve matters as far as the hospitals are concerned, but as far as sanatoria are concerned and cottage hospitals in isolated districts. I hope, too, that he will try to bring about an extension in the nursing services. I think that the time has come to put these nurses, who are doing very valuable work—I would even say more valuable work than the dispensary doctors, in a great number of cases—on a better basis financially than they are at present. They attend midwifery cases, and in many cases you have whole districts depending on their activities. I think they should be definitely established as State services vants. The Minister for Local Government should, I suggest, avail of the opportunity which this Bill gives to try and do that.
We are discussing amendment 14, I understand.
The amendment we are discussing is the same in principle as amendment 9, and I think amendments 12, 13, 14, 16 and 17 would be, more or less, consequential. I am allowing the discussion to cover the whole lot.
I am altogether in sympathy with the argument put forward by Deputy Derrig, for the reason that sanatorium benefit and the treatment of tuberculosis is going without doubt to occupy the attention of the medical profession more in the future than it does at present. In order to give effective service, and to minimise the danger of tuberculosis, that work must occupy the attention of the best brains in the State, or the attention of our statesmen. It has been stated that the Dublin hospitals have got more than they hoped for from the sweepstakes. That is true. The question is how to relieve the voluntary hospitals. The position is that institutions, hitherto supported by voluntary subscriptions, have been relieved, but people who are compelled to subscribe to them are not considered at all. I think Deputy Derrig accurately described the position when he said that it is a case of taxing the poor to support the destitute. Apart from any other consideration, that aspect must be taken into account. Even within the last few months middle-class farmers had to send members of their families for treatment to Kilkenny because they could not afford to bring them to Dublin. They could not meet the charges in Dublin hospitals. If treatment is not available in the county the people cannot avail of it, and the patients will have to work out their own salvation. At least, the best service will be denied them. That is what it amounts to. It is a big question and it should be approached from the big angle that every citizen deserves the best treatment that the State can provide. Before a decision is taken on this matter I would like if this amendment got very serious consideration in all its aspects. It is not a question upon which a conclusion should be lightly arrived at. It is a bigger question than appears on the surface in view of the importance of sanatorium treatment and the general health of the people.
I am very glad to include amongst the converts from the metropolitan mentality Deputy Seán T. O'Kelly. When I mentioned on the Second Reading that the county hospitals deserved a good deal of consideration, and that special provision should, to a certain extent, be made for them, when I was referring to the metropolitan mentality I was thinking of Deputy Sir James Craig and Deputy O'Kelly. I cannot understand the objection to county and district hospitals getting a share of this money. What injury would it do the other hospitals? What does Deputy Sir James Craig mean when he says that if they get £63,000 they ought to be satisfied? If the amount is more than £63,000 why not let them have it? I do not know if Deputy Sir James Craig is acquainted with the conditions under which patients have to be treated in some of these county hospitals. Is he aware of the want of facilities for surgeons in the treatment of patients? I know some hospitals where there are excellent surgeons, men who can do excellent work, save life and relieve suffering, but the conditions under which they have to work are such that they cannot do the necessary work to their satisfaction. Because of that state of affairs people have to come to Dublin hospitals If this work could be done in the county hospitals a burden would be taken off the city hospitals. That has to be considered. I notice that the Minister has included amongst the hospitals to be taken into consideration, mental hospitals. That will necessitate a good deal of money being spent on these institutions. If we are going to make any progress in the treatment of cases suffering from pulmonary consumption, if we are going to do any real benefit instead of spreading the disease by sending these people back to their homes after treatment, we will have to do something to improve sanatoria. If we are going to do any real good work in surgery in county and district hospitals, we will have to give the men who are already giving such excellent service under great difficulties the facilities they require. By doing so we will take a burden off the city hospitals. If the money is going, I do not see why these hospitals should not get even £630,000.
Even on Deputy Sir James Craig's own figures, as quoted by him, there are forty hospitals in the sweep, and each will get £16,250. I think that is not bad, considering all they got previously. I do not want to deprive the Dublin hospitals of anything they get, or can get, to establish a reserve fund to meet expenses in years to come. Recently I had to visit two county hospitals, and I saw the conditions under which the surgeons and physicians had to work. Many of the buildings were never designed for the purpose they now serve. Remodelling and improvements are necessary. I do not see why there should not be an X-ray apparatus in some of these hospitals. As Deputy Sir James Craig knows, a surgeon is greatly assisted by an X-ray examination of patients. We are not to suppose for a moment that all the genius of the medical profession is confined to Dublin. There are excellent men in other places, and they should get facilities for carrying on their work. I think Deputy Dr. Hennessy lamented that so many men in the profession had to go abroad. If posts could be got for them in these hospitals it would be very desirable. People in the country cannot afford to send their friends to the big hospitals in Dublin and proper treatment should be provided for them in the county hospitals. The matter to which I wish particularly to refer is the position of mental hospitals. The Minister has power to decide what amount shall go to them. We all know that there is considerable overcrowding in these mental hospitals at present. There is no chance of segregating the different types of patients at present. There is practically no research work done there and practically no investigation. It would take a lot of money to have special hospitals where they could be segregated and to have homes where there could be proper supervision. I do not think that there is any fear, no matter how much you give to those hospitals, that the money will be wasted in that direction.
It appears to me that there has been a considerable amount of misconception about this matter. A great number of the speeches were not confined to and hardly dealt with the amendment. To hear Deputy Derrig and Deputy Gorey argue, one would think that the question at issue was whether the county hospitals should or should not receive any portion of the proceeds of the sweep. That is not the issue. It is conceded that they are to receive at least one-fourth of the proceeds. The principle is there and the only question at issue is what proportion they are to receive, one-half or one-quarter, of the total proceeds. I would suggest that in approaching that question we should try and estimate, so far as we can, the needs of the local hospitals as compared with those that benefit under the voluntary hospitals scheme. I find that advocates of the amendment are going off on a false assumption. They are assuming that all the voluntary hospitals are in Dublin, and they use the phrases "now participating in the scheme" and "Dublin" as being interchangeable terms.
Deputy O'Kelly, being a Dublin man, seems to consider that all the voluntary hospitals are in Dublin. They are not. Take the present sweep. There are 34 participating hospitals, and out of that number 19 are in Dublin and the balance outside. Further, they are not all voluntary hospitals, in the sense that they are dependent solely on voluntary subscriptions, because a considerable number of them are rate-aided hospitals and they will continue to participate in the voluntary part of the scheme irrespective of this suggested 25 per cent. altogether. I think that that is a matter that the speakers have left out of consideration in toto. For instance, take Cork. I have not the definite figures for the Derby Sweep, so that Deputies will please take me as being considerably out in my figures. The North and South Infirmaries in Cork receive assistance from the rates. In Cork there are five hospitals, as well as a dental hospital, that have received assistance. Cork received about £150,000 for its hospitals. In Limerick, where some of the hospitals are rate-aided, the hospitals received about £80,000. These include Barrington's, Bedford Row, the Maternity Hospital and the County Hospital. Waterford has three, and the County Infirmary there will have received something like £35,000 or £36,000 as a voluntary hospital, and will continue to participate as such. Louth County Infirmary has also participated, and I understand that Meath County Infirmary will participate in the next sweep.
I want the House to understand that this 25 per cent. is going to the country, over and above the sums given to the hospitals, because hospitals there can participate in the voluntary scheme. It seems to me that what the country will get under the suggested amendment is 25 per cent. plus, roughly, one-third of the balance. The country is getting much more than 25 per cent. I thought that 25 per cent. was an agreed figure. We had a discussion here when Deputy Dr. O'Dowd introduced a Bill and when Deputy Hennessy introduced another, both of which were withdrawn. Deputy Kennedy suggested 33? per cent., but no one suggested anything like 50 per cent. I thought, as I say, that 25 per cent. was agreed. It seemed to me at that time that in order to satisfy everybody we should consider, in the light of actual facts, the needs of the county infirmaries. The question at issue is, whether county hospitals other than those which can participate, and which are participating in the voluntary scheme—the ones that come under the 75 per cent.—will get their share of the 25 per cent. These are hospitals that are entirely dependent on the rates and that do not receive voluntary subscriptions.
What are the needs of these hospitals? So far as I can gather—and I have had conversations with doctors and others attached to such hospitals— the sum wanted for a county hospital is £8,000 or £10,000. That seems to be the usual requirement. It appears that persons who are looking for £8,000 or £10,000, which would appear to be the minimum—will probably receive twice or three times that amount. It is not a question whether county hospitals will benefit but whether they will benefit to the extent of one or two million. That seems to be the real question at issue. We have to decide whether the £1,000,000 subtracted from the voluntary hospitals, which really started the scheme and had to do all the work in promoting it, is sufficient to satisfy the needs of the county hospitals. I, as a country man, would naturally be inclined to sympathise more with the county than with the Dublin hospitals, but I have come to the conclusion that approximately £1,000,000 which will be available for the improvement of county hospitals is sufficient.
I agree with Deputy Sir James Craig that as well as bringing up to date their equipment, these hospitals ought to capitalise a certain amount of the proceeds which they receive and put it away. I would suggest, since every hospital will lose a very considerable amount of the voluntary subscriptions which were formerly provided, that they should provide a capital sum the interest on which would supply at least portion of the amount formerly received in voluntary subscriptions. I would not agree with Deputy Sir James Craig that they should keep as a capital sum one-half of what they receive, but I would say that they should endeavour to keep as a capital sum an amount the interest on which would be equal to half of the voluntary subscriptions which they formerly received. I do not think that their voluntary subscriptions will entirely cease. I think people would still continue to give something to hospitals, but undoubtedly the principle of supporting hospitals by voluntary subscriptions has received a terrible shaking under the Bill. That is one of the evils of the Bill. While that principle has received a terrible shaking, I do not think there will be a complete downfall of it. I think, however, that the hospitals should put by a sufficient sum to make up for the decrease in voluntary subscriptions. Roughly, I would say there would be about 50 per cent. decrease. I do think it would be a great pity if you found voluntary hospitals at the end of the period supplied with good buildings and good equipment and with no money to maintain them and faced with the necessity of appealing for voluntary subscriptions again.
On the other hand, if you give too much to the country hospitals it may have the effect that the hospitals which are voluntarily aided and the other country hospitals may be actually receiving an amount which is really more than is necessary for their improvement. I think the House will agree that it would be a very bad principle to raise what should be paid out of public funds by a lottery or a subscription from sweepstakes. I think the House will agree with me that it would be a terrible system of finance if we were directly to relieve the rates of the support of hospitals by financing them out of sweepstakes. I think that would be a very unsound principle in finance. On the whole, it appears to me that this is a matter in which each Deputy should make up his mind for himself. As in the last division, I do not propose to make it a Party question. It is a question for the House to decide. I think myself that 25 per cent. of the whole is ample to supply the real needs of the country hospitals, and I will vote against the amendment.
It is really amusing to hear the arguments put up by various Deputies in connection with these amendments. For instance, the Minister for Justice talks about one of the evils of the Bill being that voluntary subscriptions to hospitals will cease because of the Hospitals Sweepstakes, while the Government was one of the first to set the example inasmuch as they ceased to subsidise hospitals which are benefiting under the sweepstakes. Another amusing argument came from Deputy Sir James Craig. Deputy Sir James Craig, I think, takes upon himself the credit for having forced the Government to appoint county medical officers of health in all counties. In some cases these officers are paid a starting salary of £800, which goes up to £1,000 per annum. Then Deputy Sir James Craig thinks that it is ridiculous that a county having to pay £800 a year to a medical officer of health should get more than £7,000 or £8,000 out of the sweep. There should be some logic in this matter. If it is necessary that the ratepayers should provide an expensive officer of that kind for the preservation of the health of the people, it is only logical that the county should get the full benefit of the money provided by sweepstakes. Some Deputies here want a division of the proceeds on a problematical basis. How do we know whether the sweepstakes are going to continue successfully or are going to suffer a set-back? We do not want to injure them, but it would not be fair to assume that they will always be successful. We do not know what may arise in the future.
The Minister has talked a good deal in regard to what the voluntary hospitals should do with the money they will get. That does not arise under the amendment here. If we had voluntary hospitals in every county, there might be some reason in the Minister's argument, but if you take an area like Connaught you will find that the nearest voluntary hospital for that province is either in Limerick or in Dublin. Yet we are going to deprive the hospitals within these areas of the benefits which they should receive, by cutting down the amount which they might get out of the sweepstakes. Much has been said about x-ray apparatus by Deputy Sir James Craig, and he talked of the danger of these hospitals indulging in extravagant expenditure for the installation and upkeep of x-ray apparatus. Deputy Sir James Craig knows very well that an x-ray apparatus is essential in every hospital to ascertain even the smallest fracture. In many cases, we get a fracture known as Pott's fracture, a fracture of the small bones near the ankle, and these people have to come to Dublin to be x-rayed. There is no great expense in installing an x-ray apparatus which would be sufficient for that purpose. Deputy Sir James Craig knows that there are dozens of doctors here in Dublin who maintain out of their professional incomes, x-ray apparatus in their own homes. If that can be done by an individual doctor, it can be done by a county hospital.
I would like to correct the Minister when he says that those in favour of Deputy O'Kelly's amendment were of the impression that there were no voluntary hospitals outside Dublin. I think Deputy O'Kelly made that clear. As a matter of fact he mentioned Cork and Limerick. We have some Deputies on this side who represent the constituencies in which there are hospitals which have already benefited under the sweep. I say that the voluntary hospitals in certain counties, as far as the people who ordinarily go to the county hospitals are concerned, might just as well be in Dublin. Our concern here should be to see that the funds derived from these sweeps should be given to the hospitals all over the country to the best advantage, that we should make the allocations irrespective of where the hospitals are situated or what amount of money is required by another adjacent place. If the Minister would take upon himself the responsibility of saying, "We will put aside 50 per cent. of the county medical hospitals, and we will see that it is properly expended," he would be taking up a proper attitude. If you threw out the beds and bedding equipment in many of the county medical hospitals and give them money to buy proper equipment you would be doing a good day's work. Most of the patients in these hospitals are not like the patients who come up to the hospitals with which Deputy Sir James Craig is concerned. They are chronic cases and some of them are there for years. There should be some facilities given to the county hospitals to improve the lot of these individuals, whether they are incurable or not.
Deputy Sir James Craig is anxious to retain a bigger portion of the money for Dublin hospitals. It is not that he wants to deprive the county hospitals of anything, but he wants to see that the money will be properly used. What reason can Deputy Sir James Craig put forward against money accumulating to the credit of a county hospital as against, say, a voluntary hospital in Dublin? The voluntary hospitals, I believe, will follow the example set by one of the hospitals with which Deputy Sir James Craig is associated; they will not spend all the money they get on extravagant buildings, but will make provision for the upkeep of these buildings in the future. A county hospital can also set aside a certain sum out of the money it gets.
For the upkeep of, say, x-ray apparatus or for securing the services of first-class medical men. They can use the money in the same way as it can be used in Dublin. I would have liked to have got from Sir James Craig some particulars about any county medical hospital. We are told that county medical hospitals require renovation, if they do not require extensions and alterations. I believe that part of the money could be used for such purposes and for the installation of proper equipment. It has been pointed out that certain of these hospitals have not the means of providing good public service. Deputy Dr. Hennessy has complained frequently of the small number of positions available in this country for native doctors. If we could create twenty-six new vacancies for first-class practitioners and use some of this money to pay portion of their salaries it would be no harm. They could be used in addition to the county medical officers of health who have been imposed on counties where, in some cases, they can do no good. Now we have an opportunity whereby these county medical officers of health can recommend treatment which, owing to the installation of equipment, will bring benefit to the people. One of the leaders of the medical profession asks that these county hospitals must not get more than a certain amount of money and that the rest must go to the voluntary hospitals. These voluntary hospitals have to a certain extent received contributions from the rates. It is not so long ago since the Dublin Corporation almost followed the example of the Government in trying to cut down its contribution. I am glad to say that that did not materialise. We did not want to set an example to the voluntary subscribers. It was unfortunate that the Government were the first to set that example. Perhaps the Minister will now tell us that the usual contributions will be included in the next Estimates. I suggested on the Second Reading of the Bill that the Minister should have control over the voluntary hospitals, since they are benefiting by this Act, in the same way as the county hospitals are controlled by the Minister for Local Government. He should see that they make provision for the future upkeep of these buildings. When this scheme was initiated it was thought that £100,000 or £200,000 might meet their needs, but the result has been beyond the wildest dreams of the most optimistic. As a representative of a city constituency, and a member of the Dublin Corporation, I am not a bit fearful of recommending that 50 per cent. should go to the country hospitals. Dublin has benefited. From 2,000 to 3,000 girls have been employed, and there is no reason why the rest of the country should not have some benefit.
Mental hospitals are going to get some benefits under this scheme. I do not know that Deputy Sir James Craig's figures are correct. He mentioned that there would be £7,000 for each of these hospitals and that there will be another fourteen sweeps which will give them £63,000.
You are altogether wrong in your figures.
What figures did the Deputy quote? He mentioned £7,000 per county and nine sweeps. I am sorry if I made a mistake about the number nine. That would mean £63,000. He was arguing that as against £126,000 that this amendment might bring in. Those figures are only problematical.
I am aware of that. You need not tell me that.
What is the use of using them as an argument? Does Deputy Sir James Craig know what the Minister for Local Government would recommend in the case of a mental hospital where there was particularly pressing necessity to improve the conditions—as Deputy Fahy has said, the segregation of certain patients and the possibility of making one hospital specialise in the treatment of a certain class of lunacy for the purpose of research. I think that when Deputy Sir James Craig reconsiders the position over the week-end and realises the responsibility that he, as a member of the committee of a very important hospital, will have in spending the huge amount of money they have already received and which they will receive from the next nine sweeps, he will be glad to see the rest of the country getting some of that money. The spending of the money on the county hospitals will bring about a great amount of good. I move to report progress.