Committee on Finance. - Public Assistance Bill, 1939—Report and Final Stages.

There are some six amendments on the Report Stage which deal with the inclusion of Dublin City and County which were expressly excluded from the Bill as read a Second Time. These, being amendments of substance, I think, should be taken in Committee at this Stage. Possibly, it would be sufficient to take the discussion on amendment No. 1 in Committee and in the discussion on No. 1 the substance of amendment Nos. 9, 12, 13, 19, 29 and 34 might be dealt with.

I move amendment No. 1:—

In page 4, to delete Section 2.

The Bill as drafted did not apply to the Dublin City and County area and on the Second Reading debate Deputy Doyle expressed a desire to have a number of the provisions of the Bill applied to Dublin City and County area but we found on examination of that position that it was not possible to apply certain desirable features of the Bill to Dublin without applying the whole of the Bill as there would be considerable difficulties in relation to drafting. The position in Dublin City and County at the present time is that the Poor Relief Acts are still in force. No scheme was ever adopted in pursuance of the Local Government (Temporary Provisions) Act, 1923 for the amalgamation of the poor law unions and the abolition of the workhouses. In Dublin City and County there are three poor law unions at present, Balrothery, Dublin and Rathdown. Each of these unions is administered by a board of assistance elected, in the case of Balrothery and Rathdown, by the county council and, in the case of Dublin, by the county council and corporation. As I have said, all the Poor Relief Acts are still in force in Dublin City and County. An additional Act passed in 1929 the Dublin Poor Relief Act, enabled poor law authorities to give outdoor relief to able-bodied persons. Before that they could only assist such persons in the workhouse. It is now proposed to apply the full provisions of the Bill to Dublin City and County and amendments are being submitted to the House for that purpose. The amendments, of course, are all consequential, or would be consequential, on the acceptance by the House of amendment No. 1, deleting Section 2, which excluded Dublin City and County from the operation of the Bill.

I rise to support the amendment introduced by the Minister, making this Bill applicable to Dublin City and County. The only comment I wish to make is that which I made on the Second Reading of the Bill. I am sorry that now that he has made a further change, the Minister did not see his way to try and bring all the Local Government Bills before the House in or about the same time. However, I think the list of amendments that he has tabled here will be very acceptable. I am only speaking on my own behalf. I think they will provide a very useful piece of machinery for the carrying out of relief administration throughout the country, and especially in Dublin. I hope at a later stage to ask the Minister to give some consideration to other matters.

Amendment agreed to and reported.

I move amendment No. 2:—

In page 4, line 16, Section 3, to delete the words "Subject to the next preceding section".

This is a drafting amendment consequent on the deletion of Section 2.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 3:—

In page 5, to add at the end of Section 4 the following definition:—

the expression "the Dublin area" means the area consisting of the county of Dublin and the county borough of Dublin.

This is a consequential amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 4:—

In page 5, Section 5 (1), to delete the word "shall" in line 7 and substitute the words "are hereby repealed" and to delete the words "cease to have effect outside the county borough of Dublin and the county of Dublin" in lines 8 and 9.

This is a drafting amendment consequential on the application of the measure to Dublin.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 5:—

In page 5, line 12, Section 5 (2), to delete the word "cesser" and substitute the word "repeal".

This is also a drafting amendment consequential on the application of the measure to Dublin.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 6:—

In page 5, line 28, Section 7 (1), to delete the words "area to which this Act applies" and substitute the word "State".

This is a drafting amendment consequential on No. 1.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 7:—

In page 5, Section 8, to delete sub-sections (1), (2), and (3) and substitute the following sub-sections:—

(1) In the Dublin area—

(a) the area of the Dublin Union as constituted immediately before the commencement of this Act shall be a public assistance district to be styled and known as the Dublin Public Assistance District.

(b) the area of the Rathdown Union as constituted immediately before the commencement of this Act shall be a public assistance district to be styled and known as the Rathdown Public Assistance District, and

(c) the area of the Balrothery Union as constituted immediately before the commencement of this Act shall be a public assistance district to be styled and known as the Balrothery Public Assistance District.

(2) Outside the Dublin area—

(a) wherever, immediately before the commencement of this Act, a county borough and a joint district in a county adjoining such county borough are, for the purposes of the relief of the poor, administered as one area by one authority, the area consisting of such county borough and such joint district shall be a public assistance district,

(b) every county borough to which paragraph (a) of this sub-section does not apply shall be a public assistance district, and (c) every joint district to which paragraph (a) of this sub-section does not apply shall be a public assistance district.

On amendment No. 7. This amendment is changing Section 8 of this Bill, and is, I understood, to be taken as in Committee now.

No, not in Committee—only for No. 1.

The point is that one portion of this amendment—I allude to clause (2)—is continuing the injustice which has been forced on the rural area of Cork for a considerable period. The amendment in the first place is wiping out clause (1) of Section 8, but it is inserting a new clause which perpetuates the injustice. On the Committee Stage of this Bill I raised this objection, and the Minister said we were a happy family, that there was no objection in Cork to this measure or to this amalgamation. I have here a copy of this day's Cork Examiner, which shows that all the representatives of six rural districts in Cork, which comprise the South Cork Board ri = "6"of Health area, unanimously objected and protested to the Minister against the inclusion of this clause in the new Bill. It is a rather extraordinary thing that Limerick City, which is by far a smaller city than Cork, has a separate assistance area. We have the extraordinary position of Limerick City being a separate entity for home assistance purposes and Limerick County being another entity, and, on the other hand, Cork City and a portion of the rural area of Cork bound up together. We have the unfortunate position in Cork that the rural population, for whom all Parties in this Dáil seem to have a great amount of sympathy, lip sympathy, at any rate, subscribe eightpence out of every shilling of the cost of home assistance in the area. When the division of the shilling comes about, eightpence of that shilling is spent in Cork City and four-pence goes back to the rural areas. The Parliamentary Secretary and the Minister are not in ignorance of this matter. For 20 years there have been protests to the Minister from all sides.

Mainly from Deputy Corry.

I certainly object and protest against the inclusion of the new sub-section given in the amendment. Even at this period I think the Minister would be wise to withdraw it. People of the South Cork area have made their protest very emphatically on the matter in the short space of time between the Committee Stage and the Report Stage of this Bill, and I ask the Minister to withdraw that clause.

I hope that the Minister will not take the statement made by Deputy Corry very seriously, because a very large percentage of Deputy Corry's constituents are within the area and come under the Corporation housing scheme. The Minister himself was in Cork last week, and was really alarmed at the extent to which the city is expanding into the country. I am afraid that Deputy Corry could say a good deal more about the way the county council is favoured by getting the rates from these houses. Over 1,600 houses of the Corporation housing scheme are within the county council area, and the occupants are Deputy Corry's constituents. I am surprised to hear Deputy Corry make the case that that district should not be included. We are not claiming it; I personally will not interpret the Bill in that manner. One might say that each area should pay its own home assistance, and I think Deputy Corry would agree. One of the greatest revenue districts is within the suburbs of Cork City, and that is the reason why the Bill is framed as it is.

I have no question——

The Deputy may not speak twice.

Deputy Corry will have to make the next speech at the South Cork Board of Assistance.

Question put.
Division challenged.

A division has been challenged. Will the Deputies desiring to challenge a division please stand up?

Deputies Brasier, Corry, Daly, Gorey and McGovern rose in their places.

The Dáil divided: Tá, 70; Níl, 6.

  • Aiken, Frank.
  • Allen, Denis.
  • Bartley, Gerald.
  • Beegan, Patrick.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Bourke, Dan.
  • Brady, Brian.
  • Brady, Seán.
  • Breen, Daniel.
  • Crowley, Tadhg.
  • Derrig, Thomas.
  • De Valera, Eamon.
  • Doyle, Peadar S.
  • Everett, James.
  • Flynn, John.
  • Flynn, Stephen.
  • Fogarty, Andrew.
  • Fogarty, Patrick J.
  • Friel, John.
  • Gorry, Patrick J.
  • Harris, Thomas.
  • Hickey, James.
  • Hogan, Daniel.
  • Humphreys, Francis.
  • Hurley, Jeremiah.
  • Kelly, James P.
  • Keyes, Michael.
  • Killilea, Mark.
  • Kissane, Eamon.
  • Lemass, Seán F.
  • Little, Patrick J.
  • Loughman, Francis.
  • Lynch, James B.
  • McCann, John.
  • McDevitt, Henry A.
  • Breslin, Cormac.
  • Briscoe, Robert.
  • Buckley, Seán.
  • Byrne, Alfred (Junior).
  • Carty, Frank.
  • Childers, Erskine H.
  • Cooney, Eamonn.
  • Corish, Richard.
  • Crowley, Fred Hugh.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • MacEntee, Seán.
  • Maguire, Ben.
  • Meaney, Cornelius.
  • Moore, Séamus.
  • Morrissey, Michael.
  • Munnelly, John.
  • Murphy, Timothy J.
  • Norton, William.
  • O Briain, Donnchadh.
  • O Ceallaigh, Seán T.
  • O'Loghlen, Peter J.
  • O'Reilly, Matthew.
  • O'Sullivan, Ted.
  • Pattison, James P.
  • Rice, Brigid M.
  • Ruttledge, Patrick J.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Ryan, Martin.
  • Ryan, Robert.
  • Sheridan, Michael.
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Traynor, Oscar.
  • Victory, James.
  • Walsh, Richard.
  • Ward, Conn.

Níl

  • Brasier, Brooke.
  • Broderick, William J.
  • Corry, Martin J.
  • Daly, Patrick.
  • Giles, Patrick.
  • McGovern, Patrick.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Little and Smith; Níl: Deputies Corry and Brasier.
Question declared carried.

I move amendment No. 8:—

In page 5, line 46, Section 8 (4), to insert before the word "shall" the words "under the immediately preceding sub-section of this section" and to insert before the word "public" the word "such".

This is consequential on the previous amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 9:—

In page 5, before Section 9 (1) to insert three sub-sections as follows:—

(1) The public assistance authority for the Dublin Public Assistance District shall be the Dublin Board of Assistance.

(2) The public assistance authority for the Rathdown Public Assistance District shall be the Rathdown Board of Assistance.

(3) The public assistance authority for the Balrothery Public Assistance District shall be the Balrothery Board of Assistance.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 10:—

In page 6, line 2, Section 9 (2), to insert before the words "of a" the words "of the whole".

This is also consequential.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 11:—

In page 6, line 6, Section 9 (3), to insert before the words "a joint" the words "the whole of".

This is also consequential.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 12:—

In page 10, before Section 16 to insert a new section as follows:—

(1) Every public assistance authority whose public assistance district is in the Dublin area shall appoint an officer to be the secretary of such authority.

(2) Notwithstanding anything contained in the immediately preceding sub-section of this section, where, immediately before the commencement of this Act, a person is the clerk, either permanent or temporary, of a poor law union in the Dublin area, such person shall upon such commencement become and be the secretary, either permanent or temporary (as the case may be), of the public assistance authority for the public assistance district consisting of such poor law union.

This amendment provides that each public assistance authority in the Dublin area shall appoint a secretary. Hitherto, the executive officer of the board of assistance was known as "clerk of the union." Sub-section (2) provides that each of the existing clerks shall become a secretary to the public assistance authority for his area. One of the clerks is temporary, but that temporary clerk is also being appointed.

Will this regulation work automatically when the Bill becomes law, or will any procedure have to be adopted?

He will be appointed automatically.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 13:—

In page 10, line 50, at the end of Section 18 to add the following words:—

"save that in the County of Dublin and in the County Borough of Dublin, the provisions of Section 2 of the Poor Relief (Dublin) Act, 1929 shall remain in force and no person to whom that section applies shall be granted Home Assistance unless such person, at the time when he is so relieved, has been resident for a continuous period of not less than two years either in the County of Dublin or in the County Borough of Dublin or in the said county and county borough."

The Parliamentary Secretary is aware that Section 2 of the Poor Relief (Dublin) Act, 1929, provides for the granting of relief to destitute poor persons, who before its passing, might be relieved only by the county home and that the grants of home assistance to able-bodied persons in the Dublin area who are relieved on account of want of work are made pursuant to its powers. I would draw his attention to the fact that it enacts that no person shall be granted home assistance unless at the time when he is so relieved he has been resident for a continuous period of not less than two years in either or both of the county or county borough of Dublin. I feel that the omission of this safeguard will be availed of by all and sundry who have any desire to come to Dublin from the country and to bring their dependents here, and, in the case of unemployment, to be placed on the rates in the city.

I also point out that there is every possibility that the unemployment list in Dublin will be considerably augmented if this safeguard is omitted. The Government's policy is to endeavour to keep people on the land, and I feel that if the Parliamentary Secretary examines the position as we know it in Dublin—and I presume the same might apply to Cork, and it might be a matter for Deputy Corry to argue that the section ought equally to apply there, or, in fact, to any of the cities, because there is a tendency for people to fly from the country into the cities —he would agree that some provision should be made to protect the ratepayers of the city. I hope the Parliamentary Secretary will see his way to accept the amendment.

I want to oppose this amendment. I think it is a case of parochialism gone mad. After all, if there is any pretence to any conception of Christian responsibility and Christian standards of conduct, surely we do not contemplate a situation whereby a person may come from any provincial centre—Cork, Donegal, Mayo or anywhere else—obtain employment for three, six or twelve months, then unfortunately lose that employment and find himself in such a position that he is unable to go back whence he came. Such a person may not even have a home to go to there. What is a person like that, who has lost his employment, to do? Deputy Doyle's remedy is to deport him back.

And pay his fare back.

Deport him back and get rid of him in Dublin. Dublin people are not to behave as Christians. No person deliberately gets into a state of need. Nobody deliberately gets into a state of economic distress, and nobody deliberately invites a state of destitution and hunger to himself. I say if persons living in Dublin are in need of assistance, whether they come from Kildare, Donegal or anywhere else, they ought to be relieved by the public authority charged with the function of relieving distress. Deputy Doyle says, "Put them out of Dublin.""Put any person who is likely to be a charge on the rates out of Dublin." Now, suppose every other county did the same, what is the position? You have got the very worst form of parochialism, and got it at a time when it is most undesirable to get into any such state of thinking. I hope the Parliamentary Secretary will set his face against this amendment, and that he will insist that the people who are in need will be relieved by the statutory authority in Dublin, whose function it is to relieve them, and that every other local authority must do the same.

I consider this a most amazing amendment. I am surprised at this amendment of Deputy Doyle's, the more so when we consider that in the first instance there has been disbursed in Dublin 90 per cent. of the salaries that are paid in this State. All the civil servants who are living in and around Dublin are being paid their salaries here. They spend their money here. The wealth of the entire country pours into Dublin. Now, if an unfortunate fellow from the country happens to come into Dublin for a day's work and does not get it, what is to happen to him? Deputy Doyle would deport him back or send him to the workhouse. The Deputy does not want anybody here but a member of the family. I cannot understand the mentality of the Deputy who produced that amendment. Surely this is Dublinitis gone mad. God knows we have enough Dublinitis around the country without bringing this into it. It is an extraordinary position that first of all the Deputy wants all the wealth of the country to concentrate in Dublin. All the salaries paid by the State, or nearly all of them, are paid to individuals living in Dublin and all of that money is spent in Dublin. Then the unfortunate country boy who has no salary comes along to Dublin looking for work and cannot get it. At the end of the first week Deputy Doyle would deport him home. I suggest that the Deputy is not serious. I cannot believe he is.

I have very fully considered this amendment standing in the name of Deputy Doyle, and I hope he will not be unduly disappointed when I tell him I cannot see my way to accept it. Apart from the arguments that have been advanced against the amendment by the two Deputies who have taken part in the debate, there are some other snags in relation to it, of which perhaps Deputy Doyle himself is aware. I do not think that the amendment is fully understood by some Deputies who have contributed to the discussion. The amendment does not propose that people who come into the Dublin area from outside and who are in need of assistance shall be debarred from all forms of public assistance but that they shall be debarred from home assistance. It would be open to the local authorities, as it is open to the public authority at the present time, to afford them institutional assistance or medical assistance.

That is just the aspect I want to have cleared up.

They will have the opportunity of going to the poorhouse.

I wish Deputies would not interrupt me when I am trying to explain the position. I hope to make my position reasonably clear. I do not think Deputy Doyle will find himself in full agreement with me in this. I do hold very strongly that in the case of young people or in the case of able-bodied people looking for work that the workhouse is not a suitable or a proper place in which to afford them assistance. If the Dublin Board of Assistance do not think well to return these people to the area from which they came, I think, taking the long view, that much better results would be obtained by affording them home assistance. There is a point of view that can be advanced from the other side, too. Deputy Doyle must have feelings of uneasiness lest there should be a wholesale influx of people from rural areas into Dublin, attracted by the generous scale of public assistance afforded by the Dublin Board of Assistance. I do not think that is likely to occur. If people come to Dublin seeking employment they will probably be able-bodied persons entitled to unemployment assistance. Not many of them will be attracted by the possibility of getting public assistance from the public authority here. At any rate, under Section 18 of the Bill, the Dublin Public Assistance authority will have full discretion in the matter. "It shall be the duty of every public assistance authority to give, in accordance with this Act, to every person in their public assistance district who is eligible for public assistance, such public assistance as shall appear to them to be necessary or proper in each particular case and to make, in accordance with this Act, due provision for that purpose." Now, it will be open to the public assistance authority in Dublin to refuse to give them home assistance if they think that that is a proper thing to do. At any rate, they have full discretion. I do not think the Minister or the House should be asked to put a statutory barrier in the way of the public assistance authority in Dublin and to say: "In no circumstance must you give home assistance to any person who has not been resident for a continuous period of not less than two years in the County of Dublin or the county borough of Dublin." I would like to point out to Deputy Doyle that very serious hardship might be inflicted on even the ordinary residents of Dublin under his amendment.

If there is any interruption whatever to this two years' period of continuance residence a hardship might be inflicted on a Dublin resident looking for home assistance. A Dublin resident might go to some other area in quest of employment. He may not succeed in getting employment or he may succeed in getting employment for a few months. If the amendment were accepted by the House, the Dublin Board of Assistance would have no option but to put these people into the workhouse after they had come back and applied for home assistance. These people could not be afforded home assistance in their own homes. I think that would be an undesirable thing. Under the Bill, as it stands, the Dublin Board of Assistance have full discretion. If they think it a wise and a good policy not to afford home assistance to certain classes of people the decision rests with them. But, having fully considered the matter, I feel that I cannot accept the amendment.

Would the Parliamentary Secretary accept "one year" so as to bring it into conformity with the Unemployment Assistance Act?

I am afraid that, for the reasons I have stated, I cannot accept the principle at all.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 14:—

In page 10, Section 19 (1), to delete in line 52, the words "officers of public assistance authorities" and substitute the word "persons," to delete in line 53, page 10, the words "officers for the purpose" and substitute the words "persons for the purposes," to delete in line 1, page 11, the word "officer" and substitute the word "person," to delete in lines 1 and 2, page 11, the words "an officer of a public assistance authority" and substitute the words "a person," and to delete in line 4, page 11, the word "officer" and substitute the word "person."

Would the Parliamentary Secretary say what he means by changing the word "officers" to the word "persons", and who are the persons that are in mind? Will the change interfere in any way with permanent or temporary officers at present operating the Public Assistance Acts?

No. In the original section the Minister was empowered to specify officers who were to have power to give assistance in cases of urgent necessity. The word "officers" is now changed to "persons" for the reason that in practice it may be found that this power to give assistance in urgent cases should not be limited to officers. In cases of urgent necessity it may be desirable to empower other persons to give assistance. For example, we had a discussion the last day on the question of appointing wardens for the purpose of issuing relief tickets. Now, wardens could not be "officers" but they would be other "persons" concerned in the administration of relief. The Deputy need not have any fear that the powers and functions of statutory officers existing at the present time will be interfered with.

Mr. Brennan

Is there any danger of the word "persons" being extended to the members of the council?

I do not think so. The council as a whole will be the public assistance authority.

Mr. Brennan

You say "persons", but you do not qualify the word in any way. You do not specify the "persons".

The Deputy might give the Minister, even a future Minister, the credit of having some common sense.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 15:—

In page 11, line 5, Section 19 (2), to delete the word "officer" and substitute the word "person".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 16:—

In page 12, to delete Section 23 (2) and substitute the following sub-sections:—

(2) The public assistance authority of a public assistance district may, in any case in which they think proper, bring into and bury in such district the body of a person eligible for general assistance who has died outside such district.

(3) Where a person eligible for general assistance dies while in receipt of public assistance from a public assistance authority in an institution outside the public assistance district of such public assistance authority, such authority may bury the body of such person in any burial ground at a convenient distance from such institution.

This amendment proposes to substitute two sub-sections for sub-section (2) of the original Bill to make it clear that the public assistance authority may, if they think proper, bring home for burial the body of any person eligible for assistance who has died outside their district. This is merely bringing out, in more detail, what we had intended to bring out on Committee Stage. This is considered to be better drafting, and leaves no doubt that the intentions of the House will be implemented in the Bill.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 17:—

In page 16, line 13, Section 30 (1), to insert before the word "homes" the words and brackets "(if any)".

The Minister promised to consider an amendment to Section 27.

I have very fully considered the position as I think Deputy Hughes knows. I find that it is not possible to introduce an amendment that will cover the position that the Deputy has in mind. There are two classes of persons that Deputy Hughes and many other members of the House were concerned about: the person who is injured in an accident in a public roadway, and, as a consequence, receives treatment in a hospital under the control of a public assistance authority. I would like to draw the attention of Deputies who are interested in this matter to Section 174 of the Road Traffic Act, 1933. Under that section, if a person receives hospital treatment for injuries sustained by him by reason of the negligent driving of a mechanically propelled vehicle the governing body of the hospital can recover repayment from the person liable up to a maximum of £35 in respect of treatment, and also a reasonable sum not exceeding £15, in respect of special treatment such as massage or electrical treatment. That deals with one class of accident case where a local authority may maintain a poor person for a long period in hospital, and perhaps has not fully availed of the possibilities of that section in the past.

The other class of case could only be dealt with by amendment of the Workmen's Compensation Act. As Deputies will appreciate, we cannot amend the Workmen's Compensation Act in a Public Assistance Bill. Therefore, I have not been able to do anything to meet the type of case that Deputies have in mind, because it would mean materially amending the Workmen's Compensation Act.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 18:—

In page 16, line 24, Section 30 (2), to delete the word "or" where that word occurs secondly and in the same line to insert before the word "for" the words "water supply, lighting, heating, or any other service."

I indicated on the Committee Stage that it would be necessary to move this amendment. We are adding "water, lighting and heating" services to the services which we had already covered.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 19:—

In page 16, Section 30 (3), to delete in lines 32 and 33 the words "a county scheme authority under a county scheme," and substitute the words "the authority charged with the administration of the relief of the poor in any area which is by virtue of this Act a public assistance district"; and to delete in lines 34 and 35 the words "which is under this Act the successor of any such county scheme authority" and substitute the words "for such public assistance district."

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 20:—

In page 17, line 13, Section 32 (1), to delete the words "sudden or" ...

Amendments 20, 21 and 22 more or less go together. This amendment is introduced consequent on the discussion we had on Committee Stage. We are dealing here with the question of sudden or urgent necessity. By the amendment we are removing the words "sudden or" and substituting "urgent necessity," without any qualification.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 21:—

In page 17, to delete Section 32 (2).

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 22:—

In page 17, before Section 35, to insert a new section as follows:—

Where a district institution provided by a public assistance authority is available for the assistance of a particular class of persons, or provision has been made by a public assistance authority with the consent of the Minister for the assistance of a particular class of persons in a home, hospital or other institution not provided or maintained by such authority, the Minister may, by Order, direct that such particular class of persons shall not be assisted by such public assistance authority in any institution except (as the case may be) such district institution or such home, hospital or other institution, and thereupon it shall not be lawful for such public assistance authority to assist (except in cases of urgent necessity) any person of such particular class in contravention of such Order.

This amendment is brought forward in consequence of discussions on Committee Stage. The effect of the amendment is that where a special institution is available for a particular class of persons and the Minister directs that such class of persons shall not be assisted by a public assistance authority in an institution other than such special institution, it shall not be lawful for the public assistance authority, except in cases of urgent necessity, to assist any person in contravention of such direction. We had a good deal of discussion on the principle involved in this on the Committee Stage. The amendment makes this change in the position as contained in the original draft of the Bill: that if such institutions are provided for particular classes of persons, the public assistance authority cannot assist such persons in any other institution. The bar to affording them home assistance, for example, is removed. I think that completely meets the Deputy's point.

Yes, that is what the objection was taken to.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 23:—

In page 20, line 44, Section 41 (1), to insert before the word "in" the words "and maintain".

This is a drafting amendment to ensure that where a public assistance authority provides a residence for a dispensary medical officer they will be required to maintain such residence.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 24:—

In page 20, Section 41 (1), to insert in line 45, before the word "any" the words "the use while holding office of."

This amendment and amendment No. 25 hang together. They are intended to provide that where a residence is provided for a dispensary medical officer he can only use the residence while he holds the office.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 25:—

In page 20, line 51, Section 41 (2), to delete the word "a" where that word occurs secondly and substitute the words "the use while holding office of any."

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 26:—

In page 23, line 10, section 46 (1), to insert before the word "by" where that word occurs secondly the words "where such child is not less than fourteen years of age".

This amendment and amendments Nos. 27 and 28 govern the question of the age at which the Minister may permit a child to be put at a trade or calling, and limits the age to a minimum of 14 years.

We have a number of children in the South Cork area boarded out by another organisation, and they give £60 spread over a period of four years. The foster-parents of those children are mainly people receiving unemployment assistance or unemployment benefit, and they come along to the public assistance board for assistance. Is it the intention of the Minister to bring in that class of children?

In what way?

Under the control of the board of assistance. We have, as you know, an organisation in the country boarding out children without the knowledge and consent of the public assistance board, and giving a certain sum of money for maintenance over a period of four years. This has became a very serious problem for the public assistance board, particularly the one of which I am a member, because a number of those children have come to the board for assistance. We have sometimes been compelled to give assistance, but they are not covered by those Acts. The boarded out children under the public assistance board cost the board something like £15 a year. In the case of children in industrial schools they get a grant from the State, and we feel that that should apply also to the public assistance board. We feel that in the case of boarded out children in the board of assistance areas there should be the same concession.

I do not know if I clearly understand the Deputy's case. I understand from him that another organisation in his area boards out children. The Deputy desires that the public assistance authorities should have control over those children boarded out by another authority?

I cannot see that that control could operate under this Bill unless those children are in receipt of public assistance. If they are in receipt of public assistance from the public assistance authority, well then the public assistance authority's control would begin to operate.

But they are not.

Well, if they are not I am afraid you have no control over them at all.

I know we have no control over them at the moment, but we have the problem that we are faced with demands from the foster parents of those children for home assistance. Those foster parents are given a sum for the maintenance of those children for a period of four years.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 27:—

In page 23, line 23, Section 46 (2), to insert before the word "placing" the words "where such child is not less than fourteen years of age".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 28:—

In page 24, line 17, Section 46 (4), to insert before the word "at" the words and brackets "(not being less than fourteen years)".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 29:—

In page 26, before Section 51 (2) to insert a new sub-section as follows:—

(2) The money required to meet the expenses of the public assistance authority of a public assistance district the whole of which is situate in the County of Dublin shall be supplied to such public assistance authority by the council of that county.

This is a drafting amendment consequential on the application of the Bill to the Dublin area.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 30:—

In page 38, First Schedule, to delete in the third column opposite the mention in the second column of the Poor Relief (Ireland) Act, 1838, the words and figures "Sections 13 to 18" and substitute the words and figures "Sections 13 to 17".

This is a drafting amendment intended to retain Section 18 of the Act of 1838, That section relates to the constitution of district electoral divisions, and it is considered desirable to retain those areas.

It should be necessary to put in the word "inclusive."

I think we will depend on the draftsman for that.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 31:—

In page 38, First Schedule, to insert before the repeal of the Poor Law Act, 1889, a repeal of Section 4 of the Public Health (Ireland) Amendment Act, 1879 (42 and 43 Vic., c. 57).

Section 4 of the Public Health (Ireland) Amendment Act, 1879, which it is here proposed to repeal, gave certain powers to boards of guardians in relation to the burial of deceased persons. The powers are embodied in this Bill.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 32:—

In page 38, First Schedule, to delete in the third column opposite the mention in the second column of the Local Government (Ireland) Act, 1898, the words and figures "Sections 13, 30, 39, 43, 61" and substitute the words and figures "Sections 13, 24, 25, 30, 39, 43, 61."

This amendment proposes to repeal two additional sections of the Local Government Act, 1898. Section 24 of the Act provides that each rural district councillor shall be a poor law guardian, and deals with the representation of urban districts on boards of guardians. Section 25 deals with the election of additional members, and the appointment of chairmen for rural district councils. Both sections have now become obsolete.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 33:—

In page 39, First Schedule, to delete in the third column opposite the mention in the second column of the Local Government (Temporary Provisions) Act, 1923, the words and figures "Sections 1 to 10" and substitute the words and figures "Sections 1 to 8; Section 10".

This amendment proposes to retain Section 9 of the Local Government (Temporary Provisions) Act, 1923, which transferred the administration of the Vaccination Acts to the Public Health Authorities in counties in which county schemes were operative.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 34:—

In page 39, First Schedule, to insert before the repeal of the Public Assistance (Acquisition of Land) Act, 1934, a repeal of the whole of the Poor Relief (Dublin) Act, 1929 (No. 40 of 1929).

This amendment is consequential on the application of the measure to the Dublin area.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 35:—

In page 41, Second Schedule, to delete Rules 10 and 11 and substitute the following Rules:—

10. Every board of public assistance shall hold meetings for the transaction of their business at least once in each month and at such other times as may be necessary for properly exercising their powers and performing their duties.

11. The first meeting of a board of public assistance shall be held after the election of members of such board has been completed on a day to be appointed by the Minister, and shall be an annual meeting.

12. Every board of public assistance shall, at its first meeting appoint a day of the year not earlier than the 17th day of July nor later than the 1st day of August for the holding of subsequent annual meetings, and may at any subsequent annual meeting alter the day so appointed.

13. Every board of public assistance shall hold an annual meeting in each year, and such meeting shall be held on the day which is for the time being appointed for the holding of such meetings under these rules, unless such day shall be a Sunday or bank holiday, when such meeting shall be held on the next following day which is neither a Sunday nor a bank holiday.

14. If the first or any other annual meeting of a board of public assistance is for any reason (including a quorum not being present) not held on the day appointed for the holding of such meeting under these rules, the secretary of the board shall as soon as may be summon a meeting of the board for a convenient hour on the day which appears to him to be the earliest convenient date for the purpose, and the meeting held in pursuance of such summons shall be for all purposes an annual meeting held on the date appointed under these rules.

This amendment was indicated on the Committee Stage. The original draft provided a fixed date for the annual meeting of boards of public assistance. It was represented to me that this might sometimes be inconvenient in actual practice, and a certain amount of elasticity is being introduced by the amendment.

I take it that public bodies have different dates on which to hold the annual meetings?

Presumably many of them will be meeting in the next couple of weeks. Will the regulations proposed under the Bill be circulated to those bodies before the appointed day?

The appointed day is probably a long distance from us at the present time. The difficulty which Deputy Doyle has in mind is that this will arise at some future time if not guarded against?

I am anxious to ensure that the public body will not be holding probably two annual meetings in a few months.

We will have to keep an eye on that, in consultation with the secretaries, to ensure that there will not be any clash.

Amendment agreed to.
Question—"That the Bill, as amended, be received for final consideration"—put and agreed to.
Question—"That the Bill do now pass"—put and agreed to.