I move the amendment standing in my name on the Order Paper:—
In sub-section (2) to delete paragraph (b), lines 25 to 27.
My reasons for doing so are that, for the past 20 years, there has been an organisation—a private company— which has handled very effectively a nursing service in Dublin and all over this country. It became a limited liability company a few years ago, and has carried on to the very great satisfaction of all the people who had to do with it. It has employed a large number of people. It has a panel of approximately 60 State-registered nurses, and the women and the men whom they employ, too, have given the very greatest satisfaction wherever they have been called upon to help the sick and injured.
They have maintained this service at all hours of the day: in fact, they are running a 24-hour service, and the total calls which they answer average over 4,000 per annum. They also have worked very closely with Aer Lingus in the transport of invalids, and this has become an established feature of their work, and of the work of Aer Lingus. They have done this work, as I said before, to the very great satisfaction of all concerned—and they are a private concern. They have carried on this work in the teeth of the usual competition which a service like this would have to contend with. This society now comes along, I am sure, with the very best motives, but nevertheless the activities of this Red Cross Society are bound to affect the private enterprise which has carried on so well up to date.
I should like to mention that this company in 1945 felt obliged to seek an injunction against the Irish Red Cross Society when they endeavoured to extend their operations on the lines indicated in the Bill. They succeeded in getting a perpetual injunction against the society in the High Court. I think we here should consider very carefully before we set aside, as we shall be doing in this Bill, the action of the High Court which went into the matter very thoroughly. These are briefly the reasons why I propose this amendment. We should be guilty of a very wrong act if we gave the society authority to provide these services which would, in fact, be the ruin of a very fine service run by private enterprise. Something that we do not like to do here is to crush an individual company or any individual with the aid of State money. I would ask the Minister to accept the amendment.