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Dáil Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 26 Mar 1952

Vol. 130 No. 4

Committee on Finance. - Vital Statistics and Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Bill, 1952—Committee Stage.

Section 1 agreed to.

I move amendment No. 1:—

In sub-section (7), page 3, line 27, to insert "or any other matter" after "marriage".

That is only a drafting amendment.

Amendment agreed to.
Section 2, as amended, agreed to.
Sections 3 and 4 agreed to.

I move amendment No. 2:—

In line 48, to add at the end of the section "and by the insertion of ‘or who is for the time being in charge of the records relating to the baptism of the child' after ‘was given or altered'".

At the present time, it is permitted to make amendments in the registration within 12 months of the registration of baptismal names. Sometimes this is necessary, especially when children are being registered from homes and so on, and the full name is not given. Sometimes a person comes back and makes a correction. Unfortunately, it sometimes happens that it is over 12 months when the person thinks of making a correction. We are making that right in this Bill. It might happen that the clergyman who baptised the child would not be there, and this is to provide for the fact that the person who baptised the child might have been transferred to another parish or was dead, in which case the person who would be there then could make the change.

Is there any provision for changes in the death certificates? I understand that a lot of deaths have been registered irregularly and that during the War of Independence Irish Volunteers were registered as unknown and members of the British forces who were killed in action were registered as the victims of homicide.

I think that is already provided for. It is not necessary in this Bill.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 3:—

To add to the section the following sub-section:— (2) Where, by virtue of sub-section (1) of this section, a certificate under Section 8 of the Births and Deaths Registration Act (Ireland), 1880, is signed by the person who is for the time being in charge of the records relating to the baptism of the child, the certificate shall be in the Form A in the First Schedule to that Act modified as follows:—

(a) "there was baptised, as shown by the records of baptisms in my charge", shall be substituted for "I baptised",

(b) "to me" shall be deleted.

This is a consequential amendment.

Amendment agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 5, as amended, stand part of the Bill."

It has been asked that I should convey, through the Minister, to the House the question as to the accuracy of birth certificates. Under the present regulations, the Registrar of Births is not entitled to demand any proof of the accuracy of the information given to him by persons registering births and he has to record whatever he is told, even though it might be false. Provision should be made whereby the registrar should have power to have the persons registering births attest on oath and a severe penalty should be imposed on any person giving false information. The doctor or the midwife should also be required to give some form of identity which should be produced when registering.

A number of cases have occurred where particulars were so completely false that a good deal of birth certificates would not now stand examination. I wonder would the Minister consider that point and let me know if there are any precautions taken at present and could he state whether precautions will be taken in future?

The Deputy is not altogether right in saying that there is no obligation on the person to tell the truth and that there is no penalty. The person who registers the child must sign the registry and can be prosecuted if he gives wrong information. I do not think that occurs very often, if ever. I think the elaborate machinery outlined by the Deputy would be a bit difficult for these registrars to adopt. I am afraid we will have to leave it as it is. There is a penalty if wrong information is given.

Would the Minister consider whether a doctor or nurse should give some form of proof that a birth took place? I understand that, beyond the fact that the parents must by law report the birth of a child to the registrar, there is no necessity to prove the fact that the birth has taken place.

As I said on the Second Reading of this Bill, it is an interim measure and it is intended to codify all this legislation as soon as we can possibly reach it. We might be able to consider the Deputy's point.

Is there not an obligation on the hospital or clinic or nursing home to register the fact that the birth of a child has taken place there?

I understand that the obligation is on the parents in all cases.

Section 5, as amended, put and agreed to.
Amendments Nos. 4 and 5 not moved.

I move amendment No. 6:—

Before sub-section (2) to insert a new sub-section as follows:—

(2) Where such regulations provide for the issue of more than one form of certificate or for the issue of alternative forms of certificates, the Minister may by regulation also provide that each particular form of certificate may only be issued for particular purposes and to certain specified persons.

It may be that what I am seeking in this amendment is already provided for in the Bill. The whole purpose of the Bill, so far as the alteration in the form of the birth certificate is concerned, is to provide for the issue of a short form of birth certificate which will provide the minimum amount of necessary information required for ordinary use, at the same time making it possible to obtain the longer form of birth certificate when fuller information is required. As the Bill stands, it appears to me that while the Minister is given power by regulation to deal with the question of the entry in respect of births, marriages or deaths on a certificate containing such items as may be specified in the regulations, it is not clear whether the Minister will have the power which I think he requires—and to which he referred himself on the Second Reading—to enable him to ensure that as far as possible the shorter form will be generally used. I think that the general view of the House would be that while the provision for the issue of the longer form of certificate must be retained it should be confined to persons such as officials of courts, solicitors and other persons who will be duly and properly entitled to obtain such longer form of certificate in respect of certain legal or statutory requirements. It was beyond my capabilities to undertake the task of defining the various categories of persons, but I tried to meet the situation by putting down this amendment to give the Minister power to decide by regulation the particular purposes for which the longer certificate may be required, and the particular persons to whom the issue might be made— leaving it to the Minister and his advisers, on the basis of the Minister's statement, so to indicate and define the purposes for which the longer certificate might be issued. In that way we would, in effect, achieve the purpose which we are all anxious to achieve, namely, the common acceptance and usage of the shorter form of certificate, and make its use not merely common but effective as well, so far as our main purpose is concerned. I do not know whether or not the amendment is necessary, and perhaps the Minister will guide us.

I think it would be extremely difficult to deal with this matter by regulation, that is, to confine the use of the short certificate to certain purposes. I am afraid that, as the law stands, we cannot change it. A person has a right to inspect the register. It often happens that a person is not exactly sure of the day, month or even year of his birth. By paying a small fee he is entitled to inspect the register. There are other reasons why a person might have to inspect the register. Naturally, in looking for his own entry he will find other entries as well. I am afraid, therefore, that there is no possibility of keeping the matter secret because you would create a great hardship for other people. All we can do is to make the shorter form of certificate cheaper and easier for a person to obtain than the longer one and in that way help to make the shorter form more popular. Birth certificates are required under various Acts for a variety of reasons. For instance, they are required for examinations, for entry into certain occupations, sometimes for the receipt of some of the social services, and so forth. In all such cases I think the shorter form of certificate might be sufficient. However, it might be necessary, for instance in a legal case, to issue the longer form of certificate. The best we can do is to make the shorter form of certificate cheaper than the long one. I will give the House an idea of how difficult it is, sometimes, to identify a person unless the particulars as to parents are given. A quarter was taken at random, ending 30th June, 1944. During that quarter 47 Mary Murphys were born in this country and nine of them in Cork City. If there was any dispute about a Mary Murphy born in that quarter in Cork City the only possible means of identifying her would be to get the parents' names. A lot of such difficulties arise.

I am afraid I could not make regulations to provide that a particular form of certificate would be used for particular purposes and, as Deputy Larkin says, to certain specified persons. I might refer now to amendment No. 8 in the name of Deputy MacBride which is on the same lines. I would say to Deputy Larkin that the amendment would not serve any purpose.

Could the Minister assure us that the shorter form of certificate will be accepted for examinations and such other cases? I understand that the position at present is that even the ordinary cheap certificate which is issued in respect of children's allowances, widows and so forth—but children's allowances especially—will not be accepted by the educational authorities as sufficient evidence even though the very same particulars are contained in the dearer certificate. The only difference is that the dearer certificate has a stamp on it.

Well, it is the stamp——

There is no point in introducing the shorter form of certificate if it is not going to be widely used and if it will not be sufficient for examination purposes, and so forth. Unless it is, I submit that the whole object of the Bill will be defeated.

The shorter form will be widely used.

What steps will the Minister take to popularise the use of the shorter form of certificate? I agree that it must be possible to inspect the register but that does not preclude the Minister from making regulations or from taking steps to ensure that the shorter form of certificate will be in general use.

The answer to Deputy McGrath's query is, that I think we should do everything possible to get the various Departments of State to recognise the shorter form of certificate. The other inducement which I mentioned is, that we are making it available at a much cheaper price.

Can we provide in the Bill that the Departments of State will accept it?

Not in this Bill.

Has the Minister power to make these regulations? Take, for example, State or semi-State concerns.

No. I have power to deal only with the price.

I regret that I was not present in the House to move an amendment in my name, but I presume I shall have an opportunity of tabling an amendment on the Report Stage. However, that is a matter that will have to be decided later.

Put down an amendment, anyway.

On the question of the short certificate it will not be effective no matter what is done, whether it be cheap or dear, because a person who is entitled to the long certificate will get it, fearing that the fact of his not having it may denote something derogatory. Therefore the person who is entitled to the long certificate will look for it; I do not care what price you put on it. The British tried to get over that problem in their Act by providing that, when an application is made for a birth certificate, the long and the short certificates are both issued at the same time, but the short one only is used. The person, however, applying for the certificate gets both. That applies in Northern Ireland as well. There is no doubt that the failure to devise some method of getting over the difficulty does impose very great hardship and distress of mind upon a certain type of person in this country. While I am in thorough agreement that everything that can be done should be done to meet that, at the same time when you have this other method you are going to exaggerate the distinction and make it positive that the person who would normally use the short certificate will have attention drawn to him because it is the short certificate he has. I think that the object which it is desired to secure cannot be achieved by the new method.

I was told here on Second Reading that I was a bit of a Pharisee and a violent attack was made upon me by the Minister. I should like to point out that the law relating to the registration of births, deaths and marriages was part of the canon law of the Church practically from the time of the inception of the canon law in the third century, and it was only in the year 1837 that the British Government brought in a Bill to take over civil control of the registration of births, deaths and marriages.

Strange as it may seem, the law they adopted was identical with the canon law and the canon law still stands as the law of the land here. There is a baptismal certificate laid down in the canon law which is a short certificate and the Minister has that power already under the existing law, if he would adopt that short certificate. What I am not at all satisfied about is making a regulation relating to the issue of birth certificates in the future. It is only going to draw attention to certain facts. If I turn up for an examination with a short certificate, I am immediately classed as a certain type of individual whether I am or not.

Do not use it.

You cannot go at all, without it.

I do not agree with that. In the instance which I was aware of, I think it was due to pure snobbishness on the part of the people who rejected the birth certificate that was produced, which was a baptismal certificate. In the case that I am aware of where the certificate was produced, there was no need I believe to ask for any further certificate but as I say snobbishness, or what the Minister calls the uncharitable mind, refused to accept it on the ground that such certificates were not good enough. As I have not moved my amendment, I want only to point out that if this could have been got over prior to this by the canon law or the civil law, you would not wait until 1952 because nobody can charge the Church with being lacking in the virtue of charity and anybody who tries to do so, does not know what he is talking about.

In view of what he said the last day I am glad that whatever views he may hold about the origin of the certificate, General MacEoin admits now that there is nothing in the canon law against the short certificate.

I did not say there was anything against it. I said that the canon law laid it down that the birth certificate should contain certain minimum requirements.

What are the minimum requirements?

It contains much more than the proposed short certificate, which is ample.

It need not contain the names of the person's parents.

Not necessarily.

I find the points made by Deputy MacEoin on this matter very intriguing. The idea of a short certificate is to provide something that will be used for the purpose of authenticating age, to establish age. That is what it is for. If it is sufficient legal authentication of age that is all that is required. You do not want the family history as well. That is what I find General MacEoin suggests.

No, I did not suggest that.

Well, almost the whole family history. We do not want that at all. So far as the general volume of opinion is concerned, it is sufficient to prove age by a short simple certificate which is evidence of age. Perhaps, after a short while, all these objections that are raised now and all the terrific things that are foretold will happen if we change the form of the certificate for general use, will not happen at all, and future generations will wonder how any intelligent person could have objected to the inauguration of such short certificates. Deputy MacEoin knows that when the old age pension came out at first, many people would not take it because they thought they would die very soon. That whole idea has changed.

There were many other beneficial things that were introduced and people would not have anything to do with them, but after a few years everyone accepted them. Now, there is no moral point in this, and there is no conflict with any canon law in it. What we are doing in this Bill is what we are entitled to as a Parliament. If the Minister spoke severely about Deputy MacEoin on the Second Reading it was because Deputy MacEoin set himself up in this House as an authority on the moral law and the canon law. That was the attitude he adopted and took up, and it is right, when any Deputy takes up that attitude in the House, that he should be clearly told that he has no right to adopt it.

It is amendment No. 6 which is before the House now.

It is Deputy MacEoin who is before the House.

No, it is Deputy Larkin's amendment that is before the House.

However, I am speaking as best I can in accordance with the tenor of the arguments that have already been addressed to the Chair on this question. I do not think that, if I were to say any more on the matter, I could improve on it.

We naturally must be guided by the Minister when he tells us that, even if given the power set out in the amendment, he would find it difficult to make effective use of it. If that is the case, he surely can give us a little more information as to what ideas he has himself which would bring about a position in which the short form of certificate would become generally acceptable and effective. He has already replied to Deputy ffrench-O'Carroll, pointing out that, under certain regulations a particular form of certificate is required by him as Minister for Health, and that he has not the power to change the requirements which these bodies now insist on. In what way can he with our support take steps to achieve the object for which this Bill has been introduced?

We are all anxious to ensure that the short form of certificate will become generally acceptable for such simple purposes as Deputy Cowan has referred to—proof of age, place of birth and for ordinary commonplace purposes. Not only those who have to get certificates in relation to themselves but those to whom the certificates will have to be produced, will accept the short form. I am doubtful if the position is going to develop in the way Deputy MacEoin says. First of all, without in any way making it impossible or extremely difficult to obtain the long form of certificate, we can make it much easier to obtain the short form and, secondly, we can hold out the inducement of a reduced price.

It seems to me that, from the point of view of the Minister, he is setting out to achieve a very laudable object. We all wish to support him in that. It is not sufficient, however, merely to hope that the short form will become generally acceptable, particularly if there is any weight to be attached to the viewpoint of Deputy MacEoin. Therefore, if in any way the granting of the powers set out in the amendment could be of any help to, and could be utilised by the Minister on any future occasion when the problem arose, I think it would be better for him to accept those powers, even though at the moment he may not feel ways and means of using them. It would be lamentable if, later on, any difficulties arose which could be overcome by the powers set out in the amendment if the Minister had not those powers.

As far as I can see from the Bill in its present form, the Minister has not got the power to limit in any way, no matter how justifiable or how reasonable, the purpose for which either the short or the long form of certificate may be issued, or the persons who may be entitled to obtain one form or the other. Clearly, if he has not those powers at the moment, I do not see any reason why he should not be willing to accept them even though he is convinced that he will never be able to use them.

As far as I am aware, in certain circumstances there is available at the present time a short form of certificate which gives the person's name, the place of birth and the date of birth. As far as I remember, and I think I am fairly correct on this, an insurance official who wants to check ages with the registrar of births has merely to go in and present a form to him, giving the name and the place of birth with an approximate idea of the date of birth. That is checked by the county registrar who puts his name to the form. That is sufficient as evidence of age for the insurance company.

I wonder will this particular change introduced by the Minister be as effective, or bring the great blessings, that many members of the House think it will. I think that, in a big number of cases, there will still be a need for the long form of certificate. The Minister mentioned the 47 Mary Murphys born last year. Well, we have quite a number of Jim Ryans in Wexford Town and of Larry Walshes, Michael Morans, James Doyles, John Furlongs and Peter Murphys. We still have a big number of old-fashioned baptismal names. In view of that, I do not know if the short certificate is going to be the great boon people pretend it is. We will still need the long form for children's allowances and for widow's and orphan's pensions, and for any young fellow under 18 who wants to play minor football or hurling.

I do not think that Deputy MacEoin is altogether right in his summing up of the position in England and the North of Ireland. They have had the long and short certificate going there for some time, and the short certificate is much more widely used than the long one. We have that knowledge to guide us, and we may get the same results here. With regard to Deputy Larkin's amendment, even if I were to adopt it and make a regulation, I do not see how I could bind, let us say, the Minister for Education not to ask for the long certificate if he wished to do so for the intermediate examinations. What I intend to do is to ask the Departments to adopt the short certificate. If the short certificate is cheaper than the long one, I think we will find that the schools generally will agree to take the short certificate, and that it will satisfy their conditions.

As far as the Department of Social Welfare is concerned, I think that the short certificate will be quite sufficient in most cases. There may be something in what Deputy Corish has said in regard to children's allowances. It is a very important thing to know who the parents are. There may be some difficulty, but I think that we should be able to get over it, in adopting the short certificate. With regard to Deputy Larkin's amendment, I do not see how it could be used to any great effect. I think that any sort of compulsion would be bad. I think it is better to try and persuade the Departments in particular to adopt the short certificate and in that way to popularise it. It will be cheaper and that will be a big inducement.

I suppose it is not necessary to go back again to the history of these things. I am told that nearly all law comes down from canon law, not only this, but practically every law. There is one thing I am certain of and it is that there is nothing in canon law against the short certificate, and there is nothing in canon law that when issuing a birth certificate you must mention the parents' names. We need not worry about that. No one will find any fault with us. As far as the schools are concerned, I am quite sure they will adopt the short certificate if they can get it cheaper than the long one. There will not be any objection from them. Therefore, I appeal to Deputies not to press these amendments which are either giving me power to compel its adoption or limiting me in regard to the charge which may be made for one certificate or the other.

I am not pressing the amendment because it is clear that there is no sense in forcing upon the Minister what he does not want or what he thinks he cannot use. But we must recall the hopes and expectations he has expressed, and we naturally look forward to being able to achieve some of them in the future through his efforts and with the co-operation of other Ministers.

As I said, when we codify the legislation we can bring these things in.

If a Bill like this is put into operation with the goodwill of the Minister in charge, it can do a tremendous lot of good. Perhaps the wisest thing is to give it a trial, as it is an improvement.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendments Nos. 7 and 8 not moved.
Question proposed: "That Section 6 stand part of the Bill."

I am not too happy about the section as it stands. The Minister is taking power to make this regulation. Under the existing law he has power to make a regulation declaring what shall be put in the register itself. What I fear is that a Minister for Health—not the present Minister—at some stage can make a regulation altering what is to be put in the long register. Therefore, when you come to get either a long or a short certificate you may have very meagre information. The Minister admits that there are two or three Departments in which the long certificate is required to prove which of the Mary Murphys was born on such a date and the only way they can prove that is by saying who were the father and mother of that Mary Murphy. Not only that, but as it stands at the moment it sets out what was the occupation of the parents and who was the informant, and so on. In my opinion the Minister without this Bill has power to amend the regulation under which these things are inserted in the record.

You can address yourself to the problem and let the Minister answer whether I am right or not. I say that the Minister, under the existing law, has a right by regulation to decide what shall be inserted in the register.

Why did you not do it when you were Minister?

I am saying that what is in it should be still in it. I assert that the requirements which are there are necessary for practically every purpose. Be that as it may, if at some future date the Minister says that all we require to be stated on a record is that Mary Murphy was born on such date, that she had brown eyes and black hair, and that we should put a clip on her ——

Can you not stamp it on her?

I am arguing that a Minister in future can do all these things, that he can make a regulation as to what shall be entered. Then the new regulation under this is simpler, because when the new regulation is produced and you go to see what is in the long one it is practically the same. That is what I want to guard against. It may appeal to some people to have it made that simple, but I think that they should not make it that easy for a Government or a Minister to alter what has been a long and well-established practice and which is necessary for the good order and well-being of the community. If the Minister has not that power, then I admit that much of my argument falls to the ground. But I assert that he has that power at the moment.

The Minister always had power to make a regulation as to what should appear in the birth register.

That settles it— he has that power. Now a Minister for Health may decide what will go into the long register in future.

There will only be the one registration; it will not be long or short.

I am more concerned with the regulation to be made under sub-section (2), the type of regulation that the Minister may make. One can conceive certain circumstances in which a long certificate might be necessary for a Department, but it is only in very rare cases that that would be necessary, cases in which for one reason or another doubts might be expressed. Some of the officers investigating some particular claim, for instance, under the widows' and orphans' pensions code or the new social welfare code, where there is a doubt, might insist on getting the long certificate. For that reason, I suggest to the Minister that in the proposed regulations under this section for general use in other Departments it should be laid down that only in cases where there is some doubt should the long certificate be required.

If you do that and charge four times the amount for the long certificate, I can assure the Minister that you will very soon popularise the short form of certificate. For instance, if the long certificate cost £1 while the short certificate would be available for 3/-, I am sure the short certificate would very quickly become popularised. In the vast majority of cases the short certificate will suffice. Other Departments will only be concerned in some doubtful cases in which they might insist on the long certificate being furnished. I think the Minister can ensure that the short certificate will be in general use in a very short time if he sets about it in these regulations.

I should like to ask the Minister if the educational authorities will accept the short certificate. It is a well-known fact that certain abuses have been taking place in connection with certificates.

Deputies may have some anxiety when they hear Deputy Moran say £1 for a long certificate. If the price is increased, as I suppose it will be, I do not expect it will be as high as that. However, if a long certificate is necessary, say, for a widow's pension, it can always be provided for that particular purpose at a lower price.

At its present rate of 6d. or 1/-.

Section 6 put and agreed to.
Amendment No. 9 not moved.

On the section, I merely wish to draw the attention of the Minister to two forms, R.1 and R.3, issued under the Marriages (Ireland) Act, 1884. There is an objectionable feature in these two forms as far as the registrar is concerned, and that is, describing himself to those people whom he addresses as "Your most obedient servant." I wonder would the Minister consider having that brought up to date and making a change to cut out that objectionable feature?

Yes, I agree with that suggestion.

Section put and agreed to.
Section 8 put and agreed to.
Amendment No. 10 not moved.
Section 9 put and agreed to.

I move amendment No. 10 (a):—

In line 5, before "or", to insert "and no interim or deputy superintendent registrar is filling such vacancy".

I feared that some deputy assistant registrars who have given long years of satisfactory service might be discharged under Section 10 as it originally appeared, and I think the Minister will see that does not happen.

Amendment No. 10 (a), by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 11:—

To delete paragraph (b) and substitute the following paragraphs:—

(b) Sections 22 and 53 of the Registration of Births and Deaths (Ireland) Act, 1863, and Section 20 of the Registration of Marriages (Ireland) Act, 1863, shall cease to have effect in relation to the district,

(c) Section 26 of the Registration of Births and Deaths (Ireland) Act, 1863, and Sections 21 and 22 of the Births and Deaths Registration Act (Ireland), 1880, shall cease to have effect in relation to the district so far as those sections relate to deputy, assistant and interim superintendent registrars.

This is a drafting amendment. Paragraph (b) of Section 10, as it stands, could be interpreted as taking away the functions of superintendent registrars in relation to the appointment of assistant local registrars, where the public assistance authority becomes the superintendent registrar. This is not desired. That paragraph, as it stands, could also be interpreted as requiring the public assistance authority when acting as superintendent registrar to submit the form of accounts on which the individual superintendents are at present paid fees. The submission of such accounts will not be required from the public assistance authority. These points are being cleared up by amending this paragraph.

Amendment put and agreed to.

I move amendment No. 12:—

To add a new sub-section as follows:—

(2) The foregoing sub-section shall not apply in any case in which an interim superintendent registrar has been appointed for any such district and has held office for a period of not less than five years.

There are a few people in this country who have been employed in an acting capacity for a number of years. If the section is passed as it stands it will create trouble and hardship, and it will deprive a number of people of their livelihood.

That is the point I wish to bring out. There are a number of people acting in a temporary capacity as registrars who have been so acting for a considerable number of years. A couple I know have been in that capacity for as long as eight years, though why they are temporary for that length of time I do not know. It does appear that from the moment this Bill becomes law they must go because they have no established status.

I find myself in a difficulty about this particular clause. I am in agreement with Deputies that where a person has been acting in this position for some time and where he or she is depending upon it, it would be very unfair to put them out. On the other hand there is a number of such people, some of them, as a matter of fact, who are officials of the local authorities, who are not gaining anything by the job. We would like to have them removed and have the position regularised. I would find it very hard to draft a proper amendment. The best solution I can see, if the House would agree, is this, that if they let things go, when we approach the local authorities to take matters over we will say to the local authority: "If the person who was acting is depending upon it you are quite at liberty to employ that person." I believe that is the best way to cover it.

That is only in the case of a person depending on it.

Where the person is depending on it, having no other means of income, that is, nothing worth while—I do not say absolutely— we say to the local authorities: "If you so wish, you may employ that person."

That is a very dangerous line.

Take the case of a county manager or city manager who has executive authority to deal with staffs who are temporarily employed, if he feels that that class of work is taken from him, that kind of undertaking would not safeguard the individual from being put out. It would want to be more specific than that.

We have a case in Cork where a superintendent registrar has retired as secretary of the board of health and is drawing a big pension. He is getting all the registration fees now, as he is still registrar and cannot be removed from that position. I think that is a bad case. He has more now than when he was working.

That is not the case I have in mind. I do not think that is genuine at all.

It is genuine and questions have been asked in this House in regard to it.

If that is so it should not continue. I am talking about people in permanent employment.

A person with a wife and family.

I do not stand for anything like that. I am referring to the person who has no permanent nature in his employment. I do not mind whether such people are married or unmarried. The fact is that if they are not permanently employed there are people who would simply say that there was not sufficient employment and they would have to go without getting a pension.

They would not get a pension anyhow.

That is correct; the posts are not pensionable.

The case I have in mind is the person who has been acting in a post for the last seven or eight years in a temporary capacity. I do not know why he was not made permanent. As the Bill stands, he is not permanently appointed and he goes automatically.

There are certain amendments which could be suggested, but I feel, that none of them would be satisfactory. One amendment could run: "A person who is not otherwise employed or drawing a pension from a local authority." That would cover all the hard cases. Another amendment could be put forward to cover those who have been in employment for over five years. However, that would not cover the hard cases. If the matter is left until the Report Stage, I will try to combine these two.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

In some cases, some of these registrars and officers were taken over in the old days by the local authorities. Their posts are absolute sinecures, they are drawing tremendous amounts of money for little or no work and they have to shoulder little or no responsibility. Nobody can interfere with them in any way. I would like the Minister to consider the steps to be taken in connection with these people between now and the Report Stage. I am aware of one particular case where the person in a post does not perform four hours' work in the week but who has, at the same time, a tremendous rake-off. He happens to be hanging on since the old days and nobody seems to understand why. I do not know who really decides these matters. There is need for reorganisation in connection with these posts, and I would ask the Minister to consider such reorganisation between now and the Report Stage.

Do I understand from the last speaker that there are employees in public bodies getting the full fees from the registration of births and deaths?

I have one particular case in mind. The individual in question never appears in the office himself. He pays two little girls to run the business for him, and he himself lives on the fat of the land.

Is the Minister aware there are employees in public bodies receiving the fees charged for certificates plus their salaries probably?

Would the Minister tell us the position in relation to dispensary medical officers?

There will be no change as far as they are concerned.

Is the Minister aware that what Deputy Moran has stated is still the position with regard to public bodies?

Deputy Moran, I expect, is referring to one of these interim appointments we were discussing.

Section 10, as amended, agreed to.
Sections 11 to 15 and Title agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments.

When is it proposed to take the next stage?

Next Tuesday.

Give us a little longer than that.

Say Wednesday next.

Report Stage ordered for Wednesday, 2nd April.