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Seanad Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 1 Jul 1931

Vol. 14 No. 24

Public Charitable Hospitals (Amendment) Bill, 1931—Committee Stage.

Section 1 agreed to.

I beg to move amendment 2:—

Section 2. To add at the end of the section a new paragraph as follows:—

"(vii). The City of Dublin Skin and Cancer Hospital, Hume Street, Dublin."

I am perfectly aware from what I have heard outside that I am doing what those who are in the know describe as an unpopular thing. I am not deterred on that account. As far as I have been able I have looked into the facts of this case and I do not think justice is being done. I know there are a great many things stated in private that cannot be stated in public. It would be a revelation to some people if they heard stated here to-day what was stated to me privately about this institution. I can assure the Seanad that I know nothing first-hand about this institution or its management. I really did not know it existed until the other day. On the facts as placed before me I do not think it has received fair treatment. It has tried all along to be a participator in these sweepstakes schemes. In the case of the first sweep it was approached and asked if it wanted to participate. It said it did, but it heard nothing further. In the case of the Derby Sweep it was asked on the 22nd June to put forward its accounts and certain statements necessary to prove that it was qualified and on the 28th June it was told it was too late. A period of only six days elapsed.

I would like to ask the Minister whether the name of this hospital was sent in to him. I will read for Senators Section 2 (4) of the Principal Act. It is as follows:—

A committee appointed under this section for the purposes of a sweepstake shall prepare and submit to the Minister a scheme specifying in relation to such sweepstake the following matters, that is to say:—

(a) the name or names of the hospital or hospitals the governing body or bodies of which desire to hold such sweepstake, and such particulars of such hospital or hospitals as may be necessary to establish the fact that it is or they are a hospital or hospitals to which this Act applies,

This hospital claims that it is qualified and it has submitted figures to that effect. Will the Minister say whether the application to be included went forward and if the necessary particulars also went forward? In point of fact this hospital has been denied participation without any reason being stated.

It is common knowledge that there is objection to this hospital in professional quarters. What the objection is I do not care. I say that in a public measure of this kind any body that is turned down should be heard and given definite reasons why it has been turned down. It is not sufficient to say that there are good reasons which cannot be stated. I do not think that is right. I think the Minister should now indicate for what reason this hospital was excluded. He might also tell the House whether the name of this hospital went up to him and whether he considers the hospital is qualified. If this hospital is not qualified why should it not be allowed in on the border-line like other institutions? There is a cancer hospital here that will now be included in a scheme. I am informed that St. Anne's Hospital at Northbrook Road is a cancer hospital, and it is included. Why should not this particular hospital be included?

I wish to assure the Seanad that my object is simply and solely to have all these things done openly, and everybody should be given a fair crack of the whip. I do not think it is fair that this particular hospital should be turned down without some good reasons being given for turning it down.

I suppose I should preface my remarks by pointing out that it is a distasteful duty to say certain things or to discuss this place that is calling itself a cancer hospital. It had its origin in something of the nature of a throat hospital house in Hume Street, and then it changed hands and was called the Skin, Cancer and Urinary Hospital. It originated under a Dr. Swan, and it gradually fell out of use. It then was acquired by a medical man in Dublin, and at last it was called the Skin and Cancer Hospital. It got an endowment of £60 a year from the Corporation. Those who could prove that they were poor, or who resisted the charges, were treated in this place, but the facilities were no better than those given in other hospitals in Dublin. The Corporation of Dublin gave poor patients a sum of £6, and they presented themselves in due course to the Cancer Hospital. They were subjected to the x-ray therapy we hear so much about. After a period of two years, when the Corporation took a register of the patients they endowed at £6 a head for the Skin and Cancer Hospital there was not one of them living.

Senator Sir John Keane stated that he did not care what the professional objections were to this hospital. It is a significant thing that when Sir William Taylor, Sir Conway Dwyer and Sir James Craig were connected with that hospital they resigned and walked straight out of it. This was because of professional etiquette to some extent. Let us discuss professional etiquette. It is not a mysterious thing; it is merely a barrier against quackery or chicanery. If a lady patient is susceptible to fear, a doctor will not increase her apprehensions by suggesting that she may be suffering from cancer. He will not, in other words, use spiritual terrors which are far greater than the physical discomforts to which nature is subject.

This country has been circularised by the proprietor of this Cancer Hospital with pamphlets which purport to show the devastating effects of certain diseases, the suggestion being that they are all cancerous. In the heart of the residential part of the city you will see men with their noses in bandages walking about and drinking out of the public fountains such as there are in Stephen's Green. All these persons are patients from the proprietary Cancer Hospital in Hume Street. The country was circularised all in the interest of a one-man show, a show out of which Sir James Craig, Sir William Taylor and Sir Conway Dwyer walked. They dissociated themselves completely from it. They found incompetence, and they realised that an attempt was being made to make a corner in cancer in Ireland. It is not without significance that the profession is unanimously against this hospital. It is charitable to suggest that the only reason it is a one-man show is that its owner wished, like other men, to be attached to an hospital. If I were to put in a house of mine a couple of beds, got an electric torch and treated house patients—if they did not give me £100 I would send them to the Dublin Corporation in order to get £6—and if they all died without exception, even I myself would begin to think that it was a quack show. I do not say that this Cancer Hospital is necessarily a quack show, but I say that it is a proprietary show, a self-appointed one-man hospital seeking to be supported by public moneys—a superfluous, unnecessary hospital. This hospital is in this respect different from any other hospital.

If the efforts now being made by this hospital to benefit by the sweepstakes are permitted to succeed, it is enough, in my opinion, to make the whole structure of the sweepstakes scheme unsound. It is distasteful to me to have to say all this, but the facts are there. This particular institution is not what is known as a public charity. It is a cancer farm. I think this whole thing is socially injurious to the State, and if this private institution were allowed to benefit, the whole purpose and structure of the sweepstakes scheme would be seriously invalidated.

As regards this amendment, I do not see that it does any good whatsoever. There are a lot of things about this sweep which, if one were to sit down and consider them coolly, one might look upon from a different aspect. This whole thing has come with some suddenness upon the people. Under this Bill a body is set up to advise the Minister, and the Minister is given powers practically to adjudicate on certain matters.

I do not see how this House can review in individual cases all that has been done outside. We have set up a body, and given certain powers to the Minister, and we cannot, on the complaint of this person and that person, go into details and decide whether an institution has or has not been unjustly treated.

We may take it that this hospital made application to the proper authorities, and was turned down. I am quite satisfied that it was turned down for good reasons. I support Senator Dr. Gogarty in what he said regarding the hospital. I know nothing to recommend it, and I am sure that it was turned down for good reasons.

I am not satisfied that we have sufficient evidence to refuse to include this hospital. I know a great number of people who attend the dispensary there, and I hear a great deal of praise about the treatment and attention they get. Of course, there are always people dissatisfied with the treatment they get in any hospital, but until some valid reason is given for excluding this hospital, I am going to support Senator Sir John Keane, though I do not often do that.

A specific question was put to me by Senator Sir John Keane, as to whether in the list of hospitals that were applying this Cancer Hospital was included. It was not included. It was not in the scheme which came up to me for approval, and which I sanctioned. I am aware, however, that the Cancer Hospital made application to the promoters of the scheme for inclusion. The Hospitals Committee did not include the name of that hospital. When I received a letter from the Cancer Hospital, I spoke to the Committee about it. They satisfied me that they had grounds for refusing the application. I do not wish to express my view about this hospital. I am extremely loth to make charges, the grounds of which are not within my own knowledge. From what I have seen, this is a hospital which I would not recommend the House to include in this Bill. I have heard statements made about it, but, on the accounts handed in, I am satisfied that it is not a voluntary hospital. The accounts which they handed in, and which I had the advantage of seeing, were very unsatisfactory. Ordinarily, an auditor certifies that accounts are correct. In the case of the 1931 accounts of this hospital, the auditor merely stated that he had compared the accounts with the books, and believed them to be correct. That is not a definite certificate at all. There were some other items that I did not like. In 1928-29 salaries were £863, and in 1930-31 they had sprung up to £2,067. Those are things that make one suspicious, and I am rather inclined to think that when the Hospitals' Committee refused to be associated with this hospital they had good justification for their decision. In the year 1928-29, according to the accounts, the patients paid £5,038, and the total expenditure was considerably less— £4,727.

It is very hard to believe that 25 per cent. of the patients were paying less than 10/- per week when the receipts of the hospital exceeded its expenditure. I have no personal knowledge of this hospital and I do not want to say anything that would be damaging to it. I think it is unfortunate that the affairs of the hospital have come in for so much discussion here. Considering that very eminent men in the medical profession refused to be associated as consulting surgeons or physicians with that hospital, I have nothing to go on and I could not recommend the House to include this institution. On the whole, I think that the Hospitals Committee in refusing to be associated with this institution were probably right.

As a member of the Hospitals Committee, perhaps I might be permitted to say a few words on this question. It is alleged that this hospital was turned down without full inquiry. I can say that that is not the case. The Hospitals Committee is composed of a number of laymen like myself who represent certain hospitals and, in addition, a number of most eminent medical men. These medical men occupy the highest positions in their professions in the Saorstát, and we, as laymen, must be more or less guided by their opinion. The circumstances of this hospital were fully investigated, as the Minister has told you and as Senator Dr. Gogarty has told you. Three of the most eminent consultants in the country who were associated with this hospital severed their connection with it. They had certain grounds for doing so. The Minister has mentioned some of these grounds and has dealt with the majority of the points which are really at issue. All the members of the Hospitals Committee were satisfied that the decision made was the correct one. It was a unanimous decision.

At first blush, I was inclined to support Senator Sir John Keane because I felt that this hospital was being victimised. I came to the conclusion not so much on what Senator Sir John Keane has said as on the circular which was sent out. I suppose all Senators got a copy of that circular, which stated that this hospital had applied repeatedly to be included in the list of participating hospitals and that it was turned down without any reason given. I have no doubt at all as to the fairness of the Hospitals Committee but I cannot see why that hospital or any other hospital which does not come within the terms of the sweepstakes scheme should not be told the reason. I think a sufficient case has been made for excluding this institution—indeed, after the statement made by Senator Dr. Gogarty, it is questionable whether it should be allowed to masquerade as a hospital. It should be the subject of inquiry, not merely by the medical profession, but by the State. I understand that it is the very poorest in the city who go to this place, and when a very prominent member of the medical profession stands up in this House and says that it is born in chicanery and quackery it is time for the layman to sit up and take notice.

There is a question which I would like to put to the Minister. It arises only indirectly—the Chairman may say remotely—on this amendment. Since the Second Stage of this Bill I received a letter from the Rev. Chairman of the Meath County Infirmary, from which I gather that they have some doubt as to their status under the Bill. They say that there is some difficulty in deciding whether the infirmary is to qualify in the section reserved for voluntary hospitals or in the section reserved for allocation by the Minister for Local Government. The Committee feel that unless they get a decision on this matter there is a danger that they may not be allowed to participate. I should like to get an assurance from the Minister that the Meath County Infirmary will be included in the list of hospitals.

If they cannot come in under the voluntary section, unquestionably they will come in under the other section.

That was my own view.


Perhaps the Senator would communicate privately with the Minister and get all the information he requires.

I do not for a moment regret having raised this matter. I hold no brief for this hospital. I am not a partisan of any hospital and if, following upon the debate to-day, the Government see fit to order an inquiry into the affairs of this hospital, I shall support their action, and I am sure the hospital itself would welcome such inquiry. If half of what Senator Dr. Gogarty said has substance, such inquiry should be held. The medical profession would, I think, have power within themselves to take action in view of the fact that all the professional people associated with this hospital are qualified men. You have heard the issues discussed openly, and I think that has done good. We know where we stand. I am not going to press this amendment. It seems that it would have no chance of passing. As far as I can see, it was mandatory in law on the Hospitals Committee to send the name forward to the Minister——

The Act says: "A committee appointed under this section for the purposes of this sweepstake shall prepare and submit to the Minister a scheme specifying in relation to such sweepstake the following matters, that is to say:—(a) the name or names of the hospital or hospitals the governing body or bodies of which desire to hold such sweepstake and such particulars of such hospital or hospitals as may be necessary to establish the fact that it is or they are a hospital or hospitals to which this Act applies."

Under the Bill, it is contemplated that there might be more than one sweepstake. The hospitals join together themselves, and "such scheme" there means a scheme which is being put forward at the time. It does not follow that every hospital has a right to join with every other hospital.

I see that I was incorrect on that. I have no apology to offer and no regrets for having brought forward this matter. I think it is far better to have it ventilated, and, as a result of the debate to-day, I hope the matter will be further attended to.

Nearly every member of this House is called upon from time to time to subscribe for supplies of radium for hospitals. I suggest that the committee which is to take charge now should consider the advisability of reserving portion of the proceeds of the sweepstake for the supplies of radium that are required. We often read in the newspapers of lives being lost owing to lack of radium, due to the cost. I think that is a matter which the Minister ought to consider.

I think that radium would be part of the equipment of any hospital, and that they could spend the money on it.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment 2:

Section 2. To add at the end of the section a new paragraph as follows:—

"(vii) St. Patrick's Hospital for Cancer and Consumption, Wellington Road, Cork."

In the case of this hospital, no decision has yet been arrived at as to whether or not it shall be included in the scheme. There are about 70 or 80 beds for patients in the hospital and it has been always supported by collections and by charitable donations. The medical staff consists of very eminent men in the City of Cork, and I am not aware that there was ever any disagreement between them and the general members of the profession in the city. A great many of the patients are treated free. Some of them pay a small sum, but the hospital would be fully qualified, even under the old Act, to be regarded as suitable to come under the scheme. It was only recently I got particulars of the hospital and I regret I was not able to furnish them to the Minister. It appears from the Bill that the Committee of Reference will inquire into all these hospitals before they are included in the scheme. I hope, therefore, that the House will agree to include this hospital. It is run by the same Order of nuns that has charge of Cappagh Hospital, and I hope that the precedent established in the case of Cappagh will be followed in this case. It has been difficult to maintain the collections from year to year at a figure sufficient for the requirements of the hospital, and I do not know of any institution more deserving of receipt of portion of the proceeds of the sweepstake than this hospital. I leave it to the good sense of the House to include this institution. If the Committee of Reference find afterwards that it is disqualified in any way, the name can be knocked out.

I support the amendment moved by Senator Linehan. To my knowledge, the hospital has done very valuable work for the poor people of Cork. It is almost entirely a hospital free to poor people. It is conducted by the same ladies who run St. Vincent's Hospital, Dublin, and if there is no technicality which prevents its inclusion in the Bill, I would press the Minister to consider favourably the claims of St. Patrick's Hospital.

I am in a very difficult—in fact, an impossible— position with reference to this hospital. Until I got the amendment sheet this morning, I never heard of the existence of this hospital. As to whether it is a good or a bad hospital and as to what kind of work it does, I am completely in the dark. If, as Senator Dowdall stated, this is a hospital which does a tremendous amount of charitable work and is a qualified hospital, it could go into the scheme without having its name specially included here at all. I have just got a note here saying that this is a hospice for the dying. If that is so. I do not think it would come within the provisions of the Bill at all. But I am completely in ignorance as to what sort of institution it is.

If I may speak on this matter from personal knowledge, I should like to point out that an operation was performed on a woman there thirty years ago and she is alive still. I do not think that is the kind of hospital that could be regarded as a hospital for the dying.

As this hospital has not been considered by the promoters of the scheme, perhaps the Minister would consider the circumstances before Report Stage.


I was about to suggest that.

I think it is most inadvisable that Senators should be putting down amendments to include certain hospitals in this Bill. That practice is altogether wrong. If hospitals are genuine institutions and are entitled to come under the scheme, the proper procedure is to apply to the Committee in charge of the scheme. If the Committee in charge turns down the application, the hospital then can appeal to the Minister, who is in a position to inquire into all the circumstances. How am I to judge whether a particular hospital should be included in the Bill or not? If I were to vote on this matter I would be voting on a matter that I would know nothing about. I am as anxious for the welfare of the hospitals as anybody else, but I think the proper procedure is not for Senators to put down amendments to include particular institutions, but for these institutions to apply to the Committee in charge. If they do not get satisfaction from the Committee they can appeal to the Minister and have the matter investigated.

I was just about to suggest the course which Senator Farren has recommended. Members of the Hospitals Committee, of which I am one, knew nothing about this hospital until they saw the amendment on the Order Paper. I can assure Senator Linehan and the other Senators from Cork that if this hospital makes application in the ordinary way to be included in the Bill the Hospitals Committee will give it every consideration, and will, likewise, give the Minister any information or advice which it is in their power to give. I think it would be most undesirable for the Seanad to include the name of this hospital without full inquiry. No inquiry has been held up to the present into the matter. If a claim is made it will be given every consideration, especially in view of the desirability of assisting inquiry and research work in regard to the terrible scourge of cancer.

I am willing to fall in with the suggestion that the matter be postponed until the Report Stage to give the Minister an opportunity to make inquiries with regard to this hospital. Having regard to the fact that we have the names of other hospitals specially mentioned in the Bill, I cannot see any inconsistency in having the name of this hospital inserted. If the Minister says he will consider the matter on Report Stage I will withdraw the amendment.

I think it would be better if the matter was brought up on Report Stage. The hospitals mentioned by name in the Bill are hospitals which, by the nature of their work, could not come under the scheme because they do not give so many beds at 10/- per week. They could not do that, because they have to support patients, sometimes, for years. It may be that this hospital is of that kind. If it turns out to be simply a home for the dying, I am afraid it would not come within the general principle of this Bill. A great number of homes have made application to be included in the list, and we had to take a rather strong line with them. They included blind asylums and homes which did not effect cures. These do not come under the terms of the Bill.


The Senator will get the necessary information forwarded to the Minister before Report Stage?

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 2 ordered to stand part of the Bill.
(1) When a scheme is sanctioned by the Minister under the Principal Act, the Minister shall forthwith appoint a committee consisting of three members (in this Act referred to as a committee of reference) for the purposes of such scheme and the sweepstake to which it relates, and shall nominate one of such members to be chairman of such committee.

I move amendment 3:

Section 3, sub-section (1). After the word "Minister" in line 35 to insert the words "shall lay on the Table of each House of the Oireachtas a copy of such scheme and."

This amendment requires the Minister to lay on the Table of the Oireachtas a copy of the scheme which he has sanctioned. It may be recalled that the Principal Act sets forth that a hospital committee which desires to promote a sweepstake "shall prepare and submit to the Minister a scheme specifying in relation to such sweepstake the following matters, that is to say:—(a) the name or names of the hospital or hospitals the governing body or bodies of which desire to hold such sweepstakes..., and (b) the names of the members of such committee, and (c) particulars of the prizes intended to be distributed, including the money value of any prize which is not a sum of money, and (d) the number of drawings of prizes intended to be made in such sweepstake..., (e) the price intended to be charged for tickets in such sweepstakes, and (f) the amount or the maximum amount proposed to be allowed or expended by way of commission, prize, or other remuneration in relation to the sale of tickets in such sweepstakes, and the proportion of free tickets proposed to be allotted by way of reward to the seller of any particular number of tickets in such sweepstake." Then there are various other provisions. It is important that the terms of the scheme which the Minister sanctions under the Act should be made public, because the sweepstake system has at least a quasi-official backing. The sweepstakes are specially authorised by Acts of Parliament. Certain obligations are imposed upon the committees. The scheme has to be sanctioned by the Minister, and audited accounts have to be published. One generally assumes that all things are done in accordance with the scheme sanctioned by the Minister. My proposition is based upon the idea that it is useless to try to assure the public or give it the confidence which is necessary unless the scheme which the Minister has sanctioned has, at some time or other, been made public. We have had from time to time news items published in the papers indicating what purported to be the prize scheme, but in no case was that scheme the scheme sanctioned by the Minister.

You get a general idea of the names of the hospitals, their number, the proportion of the prizes and matters of that kind. It seems to me to be an essential feature of this whole scheme that the scheme approved of by the Minister should be made public. I lay emphasis on paragraphs (e) and (f), which I have read, with regard to the prices charged for tickets in such sweepstakes: the amount proposed to be allowed or expended by way of commission, prize or other remuneration in relation to the sale of tickets in such sweepstakes, the proportion of free tickets proposed to be allotted by way of reward to the seller of any particular number of tickets in such sweepstake. I refer more especially to the proportion of free tickets proposed to be allotted by way of reward to the seller. The auditors' reports with regard to two sweeps have been circulated. They give us a certain amount of information and, no doubt, are entirely in order according to the Principal Act, which provides in one of its sections that when calculating the amount of moneys received from the sale of tickets in a sweepstake the value of tickets issued free by way of reward to a seller of tickets is not to be taken into account.

In discussing some of the sweepstakes and statements of accounts issued I was faced with criticism of this kind: that too much money was paid by way of commission for the sale of tickets or by way of free tickets. I pointed out to the critics that the matter was secured by the provisions of the Act, by the scheme sanctioned by the Minister and by the assurances that were given to the House when discussing the Bill a year ago. It will be remembered perhaps that Senator O'Doherty put forward an amendment to provide that no tickets should be issued free except by way of reward to the seller and that tickets so issued were not to represent more than five per cent. of the money received. That amendment was discussed fairly freely. The suggestion was made that the scheme was not water-tight, that it would allow, if anybody were so inclined, to be distributed a considerable number of tickets which would not be covered by any return that might be made by the auditors. It would not be covered by the amount of the proceeds of the sale of tickets. Those who were speaking on behalf of the Bill gave most positive assurances then that such a thing could not possibly enter the heads of the promoters or the Hospitals Committee. I note the point was made by one Senator to the effect that the matter was quite secure under the provisions of the Bill.

Senator Comyn, in making the case that there was no safeguard as to the amount and the number of free tickets that might possibly be issued under the Bill, said, "I always understood there was one free ticket in every book of twenty." Senator Hooper responded, "For every one in ten, I think." Later the Cathaoirleach drew attention to the matter in these words. "Senator Comyn says there is no limitation to the number of tickets a man can issue free, thereby taking from the chances of the bona fide purchased tickets.” Senator Hooper, in supporting the Bill, replied, “This scheme will have to go before the Minister, so that the promoter will not be free to insert an absurd condition of that kind in the scheme. If he does the Minister will strike it out, and the scheme will fall to the ground unless the Minister sanctions such a proposal.” Again, the Cathaoirleach pointed out, “I would be inclined to think that every block of tickets that went out would be accounted for by the Committee,” and to that Senator Hooper responded, “There is to be an accountant for this scheme. Surely an accountant of standing, approved of by the Minister, is not going to allow a swindle of that kind to be carried out.” Senator Farren, who, in the absence of Senator Bigger through illness, had undertaken to pilot the Bill through the House, gave similar assurances. They were perfectly honest and sincere, and I think we could rely upon them. I took it that the assurances that were given by Senators who were backing the Bill were reliable and had been carried out. Senator Jameson put this question, “Am I to take it from Senator Farren that his case is that no free tickets are to be issued except the usual free tickets that are given as remuneration for the sale of a book of tickets,” and to that Senator Farren replied “Yes.”

That being the case I relied upon that in answer to my critics, and pointed out that it was common knowledge, although not stated in any scheme that had been made public, that the seller of every ten tickets got two others by way of remuneration: that in fact the figures given in the cash returns circulated of the proceeds of the sale of tickets indicated the amounts which came to the coffers of the Hospitals Committee, and that all you had to do was to add one-fifth to the amount to arrive at the sum which the public subscribed for tickets. In the case of the Grand National Sweep the public subscribed, say, two million pounds. There was deducted from that by way of commission to the sellers of tickets two tickets out of every twelve, and the balance, £1,672,000 went into the coffers of the Hospitals Committee. I take that to be the position in respect to this scheme, as defined by the Act and substantiated by the assurance given in this House when the Principal Act was going through. But I think it is important, having regard to those facts, that at least we should know, when sanction is given to a scheme, the figure that has been approved of by the Minister as to the maximum amount proposed to be allowed by way of commission, prizes, or for remuneration for the sale of tickets, and the proportion of free tickets proposed to be allotted by way of reward to the seller. I submit that portion of the scheme should be made known, and I think I am justified in assuming that the maximum proportion allowed under the scheme is two tickets added to every ten. That is to say, two tickets out of every twelve is the proportion allowed by the Minister's sanction to be awarded for the sale of tickets. As that is common knowledge it seems to me a very important thing that we should dissipate all doubts and queries to the contrary effect.

Somebody pointed out that there is a machine required for the distribution of tickets. Undoubtedly. I was asked how was that machine to be worked and how were the men to be paid—I mean wholesale distributors, as one may call them if one speaks in trade terms. Obviously, the answer is that they are paid out of the £42,000 which is the payment to the Hospitals Trust, Limited, for promoting sweepstakes. The sum of £46,000 was paid in respect of the Manchester November Handicap, and I think it is obvious that the administration and distribution expenses in connection with the work of the Hospitals Trust, as distinct from the work of the Committee, will come out of the remuneration paid to the Hospitals Trust. To remove all possible cause of suspicion we should have clearly made public the terms of the sanction given by the Minister. Having that, we can trust the Hospitals Committee, composed of representative and honourable men, to guarantee that there is no departure from the scheme as outlined by the Minister. If we have those assurances, then I think you will have a complete return of confidence and that you will at once dissipate the various doubts and queries that have been set abroad.

I object to the amendment because it amounts to a vote of want of confidence in the Minister. It is really more than that, because it amounts to a want of confidence in the public who, in spite of what Senator Johnson has said, have contributed these huge sums. I think that the percentage offered is very small. Two free tickets were given to the seller out of every twelve. Senators have to remember the conditions under which these sweepstakes are worked. It is tantamount to this, that you have to endow people to break the laws of another country because, in the end, that is what it comes to. I think the proper answer to Senator Johnson would be for the House to adopt an amendment to add a half per cent. to the emoluments of the men who organise these sweeps. They have done their work well. In connection with these sweepstakes the sum of about £200,000 was spent in the giving of employment. The work was done with amazing efficiency by the staff engaged. As a result of them the country has really been embarrassed with riches. It would really be a very serious thing to suggest that there might be anything wrong with the sweeps.

I do not say Senator Johnson did that. From the very start there were certain papers in England which attacked the sweeps, and Senator Johnson's amendment may be thought to be drawing in line with them. They said that the percentage allowed for distribution was too high. I think that the two men behind these sweeps are not rewarded half as much as they should be. At the outset we only envisaged a couple of hundred thousand resulting from these sweeps. As we know, millions have come in. If this amendment in the name of Senator Johnson was to be considered at all it should have come on at the outset. You simply cannot lay a scheme on the table and have it debated. In view of Senator Johnson's reputation for seeing ahead it is surprising that he was not against this at the start. The House must realise the difficulties that would ensue if the amendment were adopted. The accountant would have to go into the very smallest details. The law at present gives the bookmaker no protection as regards collecting his debts. I think that that is inequitable. In the old days a man could gamble away his patrimony, but now he cannot gamble away his patrimony if the bookmaker cannot collect it from him. I suppose there are things that had better be left unsaid.

I think the fact that the Minister has to be satisfied with the conditions under which the sweeps are promoted ought to be sufficient. Those already held have been an amazing success. There is no need for going into all the details that have been referred to, and I think in view of what has been said that Senator Johnson might withdraw his amendment.

In supporting the amendment I want to say that from the very start I supported this idea of hospital sweepstakes. In my opinion Senator Johnson is not asking for anything impossible. He is only asking for publicity. I think this is a case in which there should be publicity. I think the House should know exactly what the scheme is. The Minister has to sanction the scheme, but I think this House has also the right to see it. I support the amendment.

It appears to me that there is no necessity for this amendment at all. Under the Principal Act the scheme is prepared. A number of hospitals are allowed to participate in that under the regulations laid down. The scheme has to be submitted to the Minister for his approval. The Committee in charge are bound to inform the Minister with regard to the prizes they propose to offer and with a list of hospitals participating. The Minister has to examine the scheme and see that it is in conformity with the regulations. Nothing would be gained by providing that the scheme be laid before both Houses of the Oireachtas. As soon as the tickets are printed we know what the scheme proposes and what the prize money is to be.

All this talk about additional tickets is outside the scope of the Bill. I think I was responsible for having an amendment made to the Principal Act to the effect that no free tickets should be given other than those given in the book as remuneration for selling a book of tickets. All we have heard about extra tickets is extraneous to this amendment. It is laid down that there shall be no distribution of free tickets other than the two included in the book as a reward for the seller of the book.

That is the question that I want made clear.

That is the law.

Is it? I ask the Minister to take a note of that.

It clearly is the law that two of every twelve tickets go to the seller. Senator Johnson, in bringing this forward, has certainly raised doubts in the minds of members as regards the carrying out of the law in connection with certain sweepstakes. I feel that we ought to know more from him as to what he has in mind. Is it his contention that more than two tickets are being given for the sale of a book of twelve, or that in some way commissions, distributions or remuneration are being paid for the sale of these tickets and that these are not properly set out in the balance sheet to comply with the Act? That is the impression I have got from his argument, and it is something that requires explanation either from Senator Johnson or from the Minister, and probably from both.

I do not agree with Senator Gogarty that there are some things better left unsaid. After all, if the Hospitals Trust and the sweepstakes generally are to carry the confidence of the public, then the public are entitled to know everything in connection with them. It will be a sign of weakness if they try to conceal anything in their balance sheet that the public feel they are entitled to get.

Senator Johnson did seem to suggest that there was some form of remuneration, either by tickets, commission or otherwise, which was passing into certain hands outside what the regulations allowed. If that is the situation I think the House is in all justice entitled to know what exactly he has in mind. I agree with him that the more details the House has at its disposal the better it will be for everybody and for the credit of the sweepstakes generally. If that is the impression he wants to create, that certain commissions or tickets are given in excess of what the Act allows, then I think we ought to have a statement from him.

I regret the introduction of this amendment for several reasons. I regret it largely for the reason Senator Connolly has mentioned, that Senator Johnson's amendment in a kind of way suggests that everything is not exactly what it ought to be. The Senator told us that he brought forth his amendment with the idea that it would restore public confidence. Surely the best proof of the public confidence in the honesty and straightforwardness of the sweepstake has been the amount of money subscribed? It has exceeded all possible anticipations. Anything that would throw a doubt or discredit upon that method of raising money for the hospitals is to be deplored. What would be gained by the adoption of this amendment? Senator Johnson suggests that the scheme be laid on the Table of both Houses. I think it is public knowledge that very few people read papers that are laid on the Table of both Houses, except, perhaps, the Senator himself, and probably in this case any person who would be hostile to the sweep. There are such people. We have had some instances of that within the last week, when a rival scheme was promoted. Anything that would help these rival schemes or enable them to pick holes or raise doubts, or do anything that would be detrimental to the success of the sweeps promoted under the Act, would look upon as very injurious indeed.

Surely the public has all the security it wants in the fact that the scheme has to be submitted to the Minister? The Minister is a public representative. As I know from experience, the Minister has a very able staff. If there is anything wrong, improper or doubtful in a scheme they will certainly knock it out. That, I think, is sufficient protection for the public. It would be a most dangerous thing to raise doubts in connection with these sweeps. Henry George, in one of his books, says somewhere that the most timorous thing on the face of the earth is one million dollars except two million dollars, and when people are expecting to win the prizes offered under these sweeps, if any point is raised that would be calculated to shake their faith in the straightforwardness or in the honesty of the way the sweeps are run it would be most injurious. Consequently, I hope that the House will not agree to the amendment.

I regret the note of suspicion that has been introduced in connection with this Bill. Before this matter reached the House some of these insinuations were made in a very influential cross-Channel paper. This paper was hostile from the beginning to the idea of holding sweepstakes here. Without in any way suggesting that my colleague, Senator Johnson, got his ideas in that direction, it is a singular thing that he was very hostile to the getting up of sweepstakes in this country. It is unfortunate that, having opposed, and bitterly opposed, the setting up of these sweepstakes, he should be the first to sound a note of doubt as to the honesty in the carrying on of these sweepstakes. I submit that the amendment is superfluous. It does not in any way ensure greater guarantees or safeguards for the great purchasing public of these tickets. The Minister can be made responsible for any wrong that he may do in sanctioning these schemes.

He can be pilloried in the Dáil and Seanad for having approved of a scheme that was not up to date and in accordance with the law. He is there to be brought to ask for anything he may do in that direction.

That is the test that we are to apply to this amendment. Has he done anything contrary to the law or approved of a scheme that has in any way mulcted the purchasing public? I submit that the success of the sweeps is an indication that he has not, and up to a few days ago I never heard a single individual express any doubt whatever about the honesty of the sweepstakes held here. I suggest that the amendment ought to be withdrawn. As long as we have the Minister responsible for sanctioning these schemes we have an absolute guarantee. If we find that he has approved of a scheme that is not in accordance with the law he can be dealt with for that as well as for any other matter that arises in the administration of his Department.

I am afraid that we have struck a bad patch in our debate on rather delicate and invidious matters. Senator Barrington, speaking more or less in an official capacity, referred to suspicions. There can only be suspicion if people will not give the facts. If this thing is all right, I do not suggest that it is not, then why should there be any objection to the amendment? The control of the Minister is not sufficient for Parliamentary purposes. We have a responsibility over and above the Minister. In connection with another Bill, one Minister said: "We are the servants of the State." The comment of Dublin Opinion on that was: “We know what our servants are.” To be perfectly candid and looking at this apart from all suggestions and things of that sort, is not the question this: what is the value of each ticket in the drum?

On the face of it, each ticket should be worth 8/4d., because £5 is paid for a book of twelve tickets. Even if each ticket is only 8/4d., or for that matter 8/-, well and good; but we should know definitely what it is. As conditions exist we do not know what each ticket is. If you know the total number of tickets in the drum anybody with a knowledge of elementary arithmetic can calculate, but you are not told the amount of the commissions. We have a right, the public have a right, and the participators in the scheme have a right, to know the total expenses connected with this business. The total expenses are not revealed by the cash disbursements. The total expenses include, not only the cash disbursements, but the value of the free tickets and the value of the commissions that are given. We are told that this matter is subject to audit. I do not think the Seanad cares how it gets the information, but it believes that it has a right to get the information. I do not think the sweepstakes will gain anything by trying to keep the truth and the whole truth away from the public.

I would like to make a few comments, particularly upon the remarks made by Senator Sir John Keane. He said there were rumours and suspicions in the air and the promoters of the sweepstakes would suffer unless they produced the facts and made available all the information. That is not a fair analysis of the position. You have the Public Charitable Hospitals (Temporary Provisions) Act of 1930, under which the sweepstakes were brought into operation. Under that Act the Hospitals Committee, the Minister, the promoters and others, have allocated to them their respective duties. The duty is cast upon the promoters of the sweepstakes to submit a scheme to the Minister, together with full details as to how the scheme will be carried out. They have also to submit certain figures to the Minister. Does anyone suggest that they have not submitted all the figures that are required? I hold that they have submitted all the necessary information. They have complied with the law and I think there can be no charge brought against them of bad faith or wrong dealing in any respect.

If this House chooses to alter or amend the Act of 1930 so as to obtain from the promoters additional details and figures, then let the House make that alteration or amendment, but it should be made aware of what it is doing. This sweepstakes scheme was brought into operation by reason of circumstances which made that step necessary. I was one of those who did not welcome the Public Charitable Hospitals (Temporary Provisions) Act. The fact is, however, that we have a scheme definitely in operation, and there is one thing everyone of us ought to do: that is, we should help the scheme rather than in any way hamper it. That is clearly our duty.

I am not attributing any ulterior motives to Senator Johnson. I dare say he is impelled by a high sense of public duty when he calls attention to certain matters. I know nothing of the facts of the case. I know, however, that you have the promoters of this scheme doing everything that is required of them by law. If there is any suggestion of wrong dealing, or lack of fair play or fair methods, then by all means let those who make the suggestions come forward and seek an amendment of the law. They will, of course, have to establish a case for such amendment of the law. Suspicion is going to do no good and rumour is going to do no good. I have heard the rumours and the suspicions. I maintain that we should all give a helping hand rather than hamper this scheme at this juncture. The scheme will operate only for a few years. Senator Johnson, no doubt impelled by that high sense of duty which usually impels him, has called attention to this matter. He is not in a position to put forward any facts or figures in substantiation of his statements, or in substantiation of the suspicions or rumours. Having drawn attention to the matter, I think that he ought not now to press his amendment.

When I hear people talking about confidence and other things I feel inclined to think that it would be much better if we left out those words. In connection with the sweepstakes scheme, the essential thing is to have facts and figures before us. It is because the facts and figures have been placed before us that the scheme has been so successful. The whole world recognises that everything was honourably and straightforwardly carried out. There is no question at all about that.

After a scheme has worked for some little time it may be that certain little leakages will appear. I do not say there are any in connection with our sweepstakes scheme. If they do occur, however, it is our business to correct them as far as we can. I am far from suggesting that anybody has profited improperly from this scheme. I do not suppose anybody has. I have always been in favour of the scheme. We have been told that some people are suspicious about it, but I have not heard anything of that sort. Perhaps there are some who are suspicious. The great thing is to have everything above board; that is the greatest barrier against suspicion. I hope this amendment will be carried, because I believe it is essential that everything should be above board. If that is done the State will be saved from any question of suspicion.

I am going to oppose the amendment. I cannot see any great necessity for it. Like other Senators, I regret that suspicion has been aroused with regard to the administration of the sweepstakes. There seems to be no recognition on the part of Senators who have spoken of the fact that there are hundreds of thousands of tickets sold without any remuneration whatsoever to the sellers. Take the person who gets a book of tickets and sells four of them. There is no free ticket given to him, and neither is there any percentage given. Similarly, at headquarters there are tickets sold and no free tickets are given. All these things have to be taken into consideration. I think it is regrettable that this amendment has been introduced.

Senator Johnson may, no doubt, be imbued with that high sense of public duty that Senator O'Hanlon attributes to him, but I think he holds an entirely mistaken view of this matter. He is acting on the assumption that this is a State lottery. If it was a State lottery there would be something to be said for his attitude. As far as I can judge the matter, the Oireachtas has sanctioned the running of sweepstakes for certain institutions. It has not undertaken the running of the sweepstakes. That work is being carried out by a body of public men in whose probity, intelligence and standing everyone has great confidence. The State has given to them the opportunity of running sweeps and has prescribed certain statutory limitations within which they must operate. I think it is merely common sense to leave it to that body of men to make the best bargain they can in order to run the sweepstakes successfully. I think, as a matter of fact, that Senator Johnson's amendment is out of order. It is irrelevant to the spirit of the principle of the Bill. It would be in order if it was a State lottery that was under consideration. That, however, is not the case. I think if this amendment were adopted it would have the effect, practically, of making the Oireachtas, to a very considerable extent, the administrators of the sweepstakes, and that is not desirable. I do not think that was the intention of the Oireachtas when this measure was passed. I believe it would be a very big blunder if this amendment were carried.

I have already spoken and I do not intend now to take up the time of the House for long. The words "insinuation" and "suspicion" have been used so often in this debate that I feel bound to protest against both one and the other. I am not in the habit of making insinuations myself, and I do not say that any insinuation is involved in this amendment. I am not a suspicious person either. I say that we legislators who have supported this sweepstake legislation are not asking for anything unreasonable when we are asking for what this amendment seeks. We simply want that the facts should be laid upon the Table. I am perfectly certain that it will be very much better in the public interest in the long run if this is done. It has been said that this is not a State lottery. In a sense it is not, but it is allowed, sanctioned and patronised by the State and it is really a monopoly. In point of fact we are just as responsible as if it was a State lottery. I shall certainly support the amendment, but I should like Senators to put out of their minds the idea that all of us who support the amend ment are prompted in doing so by certain insinuations or certain suspicions. That is not the case. We are merely asking in perfectly plain language for a presentation of all the facts and figures. The debate has travelled a long way from the amendment, which really seeks full publicity.

I wonder if Senator Johnson is aware of what might probably happen if his amendment were carried? Anybody who has any knowledge of matters connected with the sweepstakes must be aware that a vast amount of the money comes from countries where tickets have been sold contrary to the law of the land. In fact, the selling of our sweepstake tickets in Great Britain is exactly the same as bootlegging in the United States of America. I have not the slightest doubt that the scheme as passed by the Minister is fully in accordance with the Act. I have not the slightest doubt that the law is being complied with. In connection with the scheme there are certain conditions for selling tickets. I am perfectly certain that there have to be remunerations given in the way of free tickets to people who are breaking the law in England by selling our tickets which, probably, Senators, if they were made aware of them, might not like, and if they did not approve of them as the Minister has approved of them, they might be prepared to break up the whole thing.

I believe that if we pass the amendment without knowing what the scheme is, and without knowing why the Hospitals Committee and the Minister have had to make the scheme what it is, we would wreck the whole thing. I think the House ought to recognise that. Whether it is a wise thing for the Oireachtas to continue for a long time to help our hospitals in this fashion is another matter. If I am wrong in what I say, and if big numbers of tickets have not to be given in order to get people to run the risk of selling books of tickets, then the Minister will correct me. It is nonsense to talk of only two tickets being given free out of every book of twelve. I have not a doubt but that is what is lying in the minds of the gentlemen who do not wish the facts known in the manner suggested in the Senator's amendment. They know that there are necessary conditions in the carrying on of a sweep which it is not advisable to publish. The Minister will, no doubt, deal with that matter when he is speaking later on.

The real danger of passing Senator Johnson's amendment is that it may tend to kill the sweep. I have in front of me figures relating to the sweepstake on the Grand National, and these figures are certified by Messrs. Craig, Gardner and Co. I see here the proceeds from the sale of tickets. What the Senator wants opposite that is how many tickets were sold. He wants to know the number of tickets sold to the public and at what average price.

The public are paying 10/- for each ticket.

We know they are not; they are only paying 8/4. Anybody can buy a book of 12 tickets for £5. The whole question revolves around that. Let me read, for the benefit of Senators, Section 9 of the Principal Act:

When calculating for the purposes of this Act the amount of moneys received from the sale of tickets in a sweepstake, the value of tickets issued free by way of reward to a seller of tickets shall be excluded from the calculation...

That is what is really being referred to. I am sure that any sanction the Minister has given is only in accordance with the law. This is where the weak point comes in. As far as the Hospitals Committee are concerned, they publish a statement; they give you the amount of money received, and if they spend out of that amount of money £134,000 odd they tell you that that represents 7.6 per cent. of the proceeds. There is no mention in the whole account of the number of free tickets which have been given to the sellers of tickets apart from the two tickets in each book.

There is no evidence of that.

What about the commissions?

I challenge the Senator to produce some evidence that tickets have been given as remuneration for selling tickets other than the two given in each book.

I will produce it at once.

That is the real issue.

As a matter of fact, and I think the Minister will agree with me, tickets have been sold in large numbers for £4 10s. per book instead of £5, and I defy anyone to deny it. They were sold to a big institution in the City of Dublin. I believe that to be a fact, and that is only one of the facts.

Did they take them wholesale or what?

Certain conditions were attached to them. The statement that £5 is paid for every book of tickets is not true. Large numbers of tickets have been got for considerably less. That means that people have a certain amount of free tickets given to them when they buy books at less than £5. To any ordinary individual looking at the figures as submitted it would appear as if they had accounted for the whole of the money, but in the money dealt with by the auditor there is no mention whatever of the numbers of free tickets for which the sellers of tickets have got money and put it in their pockets. There is no question about that. The number of tickets sold is far more than anybody knows. The only people who know what quantity of tickets have been sold are those who are aware of the number of vouchers for tickets put into the drum. If we had the figures showing the number of vouchers for tickets put into the drum we would know exactly how many tickets were involved in the Grand National Sweepstake for £1,700,000. That is the information which nobody has got. I do not know if that is what Senator Johnson wants. My own belief is that if the House passes his amendment it will tend to wreck the next sweep.

It is just as well that we should talk about facts now. If anything I have stated is wrong I shall be glad to hear it corrected. As far as I have been able to find out anything about it, I believe it is absolutely necessary to do what the Minister and the Committee in charge of the sweepstakes have done in the way of paying for the distribution of tickets, and that will have to go on in the next sweep too. I doubt if it is in the interests of the hospitals to pass the amendment. I think we are safe in leaving everything in the hands of the Minister who is acting in strict accordance with the law. Whether or not the Act was a wise one to pass is another matter.

I must confess to amazement at the last Senator's speech. He suggests, and I am not now dealing with the merits or the demerits of the amendment, that we should condone certain things in the interest of the hospitals. I do not know how far he is justified in making certain charges. He started off by comparing the sale of tickets to bootlegging in the United States. He may be right in that, but the one thing I would like to protest against is that he more or less conveys to the public that the Seanad has approved of such a line of action. I do not think that the Seanad approves of anything of the sort. I would be long sorry to think that the opinion held by Senator Jameson with regard to bootlegging these tickets, so to speak, is justified. The Senator's speech was all the more amazing in view of the fact that he seems to be opposed to the amendment. If I felt as Senator Jameson seems to feel I would be in favour of the amendment. He makes the definite charge that tickets are being sold at £4 10s. and that they are being bootlegged in other countries against the law existing in these countries. He wants a sort of hush-hush policy with regard to the sale of tickets and accounts and commissions, and he asks the Seanad not to say anything about the conditions of sale in certain cases. The Senator disapproves of the amendment, yet he wants us to be a party to breaking the laws of other countries; but at the same time we must adopt a hush-hush attitude. That is a most dangerous attitude to take up. I am sure the Seanad would not stand for that.

We stood for it when we passed the Act.

I am horrified to find such an eminent Senator as Senator Jameson preaching a policy of condonation of irregularities.

I wish to make a few remarks in reference to this matter. Senator MacLoughlin stated that this is not a State lottery.

Senator MacLoughlin did not say anything of the sort.

I beg the Senator's pardon. I should have said Senator Milroy. Senator Milroy mentioned that this was not a State lottery. What I object to is that the rules of scrutiny and audit which govern every public company are not allowed to operate in this case. Every auditor has access to particulars about commissions and other things of that sort, and if there was a free distribution of tickets that would also come within the purview of the audit. There are certain factors concealed in this case, and I think that is thoroughly wrong. Having seen how these sweepstakes have developed, I believe we have every right to ask that the whole facts should be disclosed. I am afraid this debate to-day will do the sweepstakes some harm, but the responsibility is not on those who moved or supported the amendment. There was a clear duty cast upon Senator Johnson and others to ventilate this matter. It is the refusal to place all the facts before the public that has caused the harm, if any harm has been done. We should not condone an incomplete audit in the case of a monopoly, and we should not recognise a form of audit which the law does not allow in the case of any public company in the country.

I disagree entirely with Senator Sir John Keane when he says that this will do a considerable amount of harm to the sweepstakes in aid of the hospitals. I do not think that it will. I think the people who buy tickets in the sweeps will observe that there has been a great deal of insinuation but that there has been very little of a specific nature said against the scheme. I want to make my position in this matter perfectly clear, because it strikes me that Senator Johnson has not got the remotest idea of what the position of the Minister for Justice is in this matter. My position is that a scheme is put before me and I decide as to whether that scheme is in accordance with the provisions of the Act. That is the one function I have got in the matter.

Senator Johnson says that the scheme should be laid upon the Table of the House. For what purpose? For the purpose of seeing whether that scheme is a legal scheme. That would be the sole result of placing this scheme upon the Table. The House would have no further function than seeing that the scheme was within the four corners of the Act. I object to this because, in spite of what Senator Sir John Keane has said, this is not a State lottery and it must not be taken as such. Because it is not a State lottery I say most specifically that neither I, nor the Dáil, nor the Seanad, have any responsibility with reference to this—no direct responsibility. What happens is that the hospitals make their own bargains with the promoters. They select their committee; the committee selects the promoters; they select everybody and they carry out their scheme. I see that it is within the four corners of the Act. They make all their own bargains.

Is there any question of that body acting corruptly? They are men of the highest position in Ireland. A great many of them are doctors of high standing. A number of the others are well known laymen. Are they acting unfairly or dishonestly, or do we think they have anything to hide? Senator Jameson says that tickets are sold in bulk more cheaply than individual tickets. That is more than likely. I should imagine that if you got a person in Hong Kong or Singapore to sell 10,000 tickets for you, it would be highly probable you would give him very good commission. That appears to be good business. You are selling an article—a sweep ticket—and you pay the man for selling it. But this is not a matter which really concerns the Oireachtas, nor is it a matter which concerns me either. It is a matter which concerns the promoters of the sweep. Are the promoters of the sweep acting fairly and as common-sense men would act in the matter? I am perfectly satisfied that they are. This discussion, so far as I am concerned, is quite irrelevant. The question as to the remuneration paid for selling tickets is not a matter contained in the scheme and, therefore, does not arise here. My strong objection, however, is to laying the scheme on the Table of this House. That would make the sweepstake a State lottery and I am strongly opposed to that. We have authorised a scheme but we have not and should not undertake the operation of the scheme.

This House would not question the Minister's opinion as to whether a particular scheme came within the four corners of the Act or not. I am sure that they have sufficient respect for the Minister's legal acumen to trust him in that respect. But what does Senator Johnson want? All he wants is that there shall be laid on the Table of each House a copy of the scheme. We do not say that it is for legal reasons we want the scheme to be laid on the Table of the House. It might be for politic reasons. The Minister's attitude on this sweepstake question has been peculiar.

He is not alone in that respect.

My attitude on this matter has been absolutely consistent from first to last. I hope the votes I will give on this Bill will prove that, including the vote which I intend to give against Senator Douglas's amendment. It is desirable that these schemes should be laid before Parliament, so that Parliament would know whether they are politic or not. The Minister says that he has no responsibility for sweepstakes. I stated, when the original Bill was before the House, that the Minister did not seem to be acting with the full sense of his own responsibility. He was against sweepstakes, and yet he allowed them.

What does the Senator mean by saying I allowed them? They were legalised by the Oireachtas and not by me.

They were legalised by Parliament. The Minister was opposed to that, but he is responsible for the sweepstakes. He had responsibility for the original Act and for the schemes framed under the original Act. He is doubly responsible now, because he is taking a part of the money in aid of public rates. He will probably—this was the reason I was against sweepstakes—get into trouble with the Governments of other countries on account of the sweepstakes, and he can get out of it as best he can. He cannot escape that responsibility. He, with the Seanad and the Dáil, have full responsibility for these sweepstakes, and, for that reason, I think Senator Johnson's amendment is a statesmanlike amendment and ought to be accepted by this House.

I do not like intervening in this discussion, because I think the amendment has been already over-discussed. The discussion is not going to help the sweepstakes. What laymen outside have made a very brilliant success of, with considerable benefit to the hospitals and to the poor of this country, legislators in this House—no matter how high their intentions—are going a long way to wreck. I have mixed with the public as much as anybody, and I never heard any of these terrible suspicions expressed that have been hinted at here. All this amendment can satisfy is the curiosity of individuals. Senator Jameson made a very clever, but I suggest, an extremely mischievous speech from the point of view of this Parliament, because he actually insinuated that crooked and underhand things were being done, that the Minister had actually condoned these things, and that we would have to condone them. I do not agree that any such things have been done or have been necessary.

If there have been payments by way of commission on sale of tickets, the accounts have been audited by Craig Gardner, one of the most eminent firms of auditors in this or any other country. I do not think that we should bow down to the demands of one of the most virulent opponents of Ireland, a certain cross-Channel daily, which has been looking for this sort of information in order, by twisting it in every conceivable form, to smash the sweepstake. I do not suggest for a moment that those who support this amendment want to help the Daily Mail or any other paper, but, unfortunately, that is what is being done in this discussion. The greatest testimony, as has been said already, to the implicit confidence placed in the management of the sweepstake is the amount subscribed by the people of every country in the world to it. What unscrupulous and jealous opponents have endeavoured to do outside this country let us not do by passing this amendment.

I am not perturbed by the suggestion that I am acting with evil motives in raising this question. When we proceed to legislate on a matter of this kind, each individual Senator has a responsibility. I do not know what the Daily Mail has been saying, but I know that there was a discussion in this House on this question in May, 1930. It was pointed out then that there was a gap in the scheme in the Bill. The Minister has spoken of the four corners of the Bill. On an amendment by Senator O'Doherty it was pointed out that within the limits of the scheme certain looseness was displayed—that is to say, that a much greater number of tickets could conceivably be put into the drum than the values mentioned in the report would indicate. The Senator suggested an amendment—that the number of free tickets should not exceed 5 per cent. The case was argued here. It was pointed out that it was usual for a certain number of free tickets to be given and we were assured that the number was well understood. Two in ten or two in twelve was indicated as the number. Having in mind what took place on the occasion of that discussion, and realising that the Minister has a certain scheme which he sanctions, I still want to fill the gap which Senator O'Doberty referred to at that time. We were assured on all sides at that time that we could trust implicitly the scheme sanctioned by the Minister and the management of the scheme by the Committee of doctors and others. That is the position.

I asked the Minister to-day to tell us what was the amount, or the maximum amount, proposed to be allowed by way of commission, prize or other remuneration and the proportion of free tickets proposed to be allowed in connection with the sale of tickets. Despite what Senator Jameson has said, I will continue to believe that the assurance given to this House with regard to the number of free tickets which are given by way of bonus—two in twelve, as mentioned by Senator Farren—is being adhered to. That is the figure given time and again, and, despite what Senator Jameson says, I shall not accept any assertion to the contrary. But surely it would be conclusive if the Minister would tell us that in the scheme which he sanctions, the maximum amount of commission or allowance of free tickets is two in twelve.

The Minister speaks of the scheme which he sanctions as being within the four corners of the Act. This is a corner of the Act. The legislature has sanctioned a departure from the regular law in respect of a particular type of sweepstake which conforms with certain conditions. We have laid down the conditions. One of the conditions is that there shall be a scheme submitted to the Minister and sanctioned by him. That scheme must contain a provision regarding the proportion of free tickets proposed to be allotted. Is it an extraordinary thing, is it not rather an obvious thing, that we should be told what the proportion of free tickets is? I do not know whether I take an extremely foolish view of this matter, but it appears to me that if you declare in your scheme that the price intended to be charged for tickets shall be included in the scheme and if you print on the face of the ticket 10/- as its price, then every purchaser of a 10/- ticket assumes that every ticket going into the drum and participating in the chances is a 10/- ticket. Is this a business? Are we going to treat this matter merely as a commercial matter, or is it a scheme for extracting from the public funds for the hospitals?

If it is, then every subscriber of 10/- believes that, subject to a normal rate of expense, the sum that he subscribes will go to the hospitals.

He knows that the bulk of it will go in prizes.

He knows that the cost of printing, of distribution, the prize money and the cost of running the scheme must be taken out of the proceeds of the tickets, but he understands that the balance will go to the hospitals. The legislature has sanctioned and the Minister has set down a certain amount of what I might describe as "dilution." The tickets are marked 10/-. We get the sum of £1,761,963 as the proceeds of the sale of tickets. Normally, one ought to be able to calculate how many tickets that means. I am assuming that the only addition we can make to that figure is the proportion of free tickets which are given away with every book of tickets sold. We ought to have a statement from the Minister now, that the scheme which he sanctioned allows only such a proportion of free tickets as is in accordance with the assurrances that have been given in this House. He has not done that. We do not know what proportion he sanctioned. The Minister has suggested that we do not understand his position in this matter. When the Minister has a responsibility under the law in regard to sanctioning a scheme, he is responsible to either House for that act of sanction, and he has to undergo the criticism that may be levelled at him on every opportunity that offers for such criticism.

I am not suggesting dishonesty; other people have suggested dishonesty. I believe that the scheme is being conducted on the highest possible level of efficiency and integrity. I refuse to treat this as a matter of ordinary commerce, as a matter—as Senator Dowdall will understand—of over-weight in margarine; you nominally buy 1 lb. but you get 1½ lbs. Surely it is the simplest thing in the world to say, "Here is a scheme which is being run in the interests of the hospitals; tickets are being issued for participation in a draw. Every purchaser of a book of tickets gets two free tickets, and those are all the free tickets that are issued." All I want is that assurance from the Minister and from the Management Committee of the hospitals. If that assurance is given, I do not think there will be any doubt or hesitation in believing that there is no undue loading of the drum, that there is no debasing of the currency. I cannot account for Senator Jameson's assertion that some people are getting more than two tickets out of twelve. If that is so, it is a departure from what we have been assured of. I want to know what assurance there can be in law, apart from discretion and general good faith, that 10/- tickets are not going to be sold to some people at £1 each. There is no assurance whatever unless we get a statement from the Minister that there is a definite proportion of free tickets allowed. Then we could trust the Hospitals Committee not to depart from the scheme. When we are deprived, by the attitude of the Minister, of knowledge of what he has sanctioned in the way of free tickets, the public do not know and never will know where they are. That is going to bring discredit on this institution, because—whether we like it or not—the public have got it into their heads that this is an Irish Free State affair and that the Government is bound up with it. Formally, that is not so, but in the minds of the public it is. The sweepstake has spread to great dimensions now, and some people believe it will grow even further. We must have the keenest regard to every possible gap, so that we can say that there is no chance whatever of the things that are alleged being, in fact, allowed.

Somebody asked what was the purpose of laying these schemes on the Table of the House. I do not know that people are always so particular about formulae. Everybody knows that the purpose of laying a paper on the Table of the House is to give it publicity. If the Minister thinks there may be some undesirable development from that method, I hope that he will adopt the plan adopted with regard to these accounts, and that the members of the Oireachtas will be furnished with a copy. If it is only a question of the formula, it is a very small matter. So far from withdrawing this amendment, the discussion has made me more insistent upon the desirability of having the whole thing made public, so that we can be perfectly confident that the scheme secures all that is sought, and that the Hospitals Committee can say that they have absolutely carried out the scheme. It is quite wrong to suggest that there is any responsibility upon the Minister for seeing that the scheme is carried out. There is not the slightest responsibility upon the Minister, and he would be the first to disown responsibility in that respect. The position is that he sanctions the scheme and leaves it at that. We ought to know at least, what the scheme is that he sanctions.

It seems to me that a certain amount of confusion has been introduced into this debate and I should like to try to dissipate it. Under the Act, it is absolutely clear that not only two free tickets in every twelve are legal as remuneration for the sale of tickets, but that commission, in addition, is legal.

Would not five free tickets be legal if the Minister sanctioned that number?

Yes, if the Minister sanctioned it. We all know that there have been two free tickets given with every twelve, and that is what is referred to in Section 9 where it says that the value of the free tickets is to be deducted from the gross sum. The auditor will, of course, furnish his certificate having regard to the provisions of Section 9. The people who are running this sweep are entitled, not only to give these two free tickets, but they are entitled to give a commission beyond that if they so choose. The auditor has to ascertain the value of the tickets issued free by way of reward to a seller of tickets, and to exclude that from the calculation of the number of tickets sold. There has also to be deducted from the nominal selling price of all other tickets all commissions.

Would the Senator explain where that duty is cast on the auditor?

Under Section 9.

Would the Senator mind reading the operative section?

"When calculating for the purpose of this Act the amount of moneys received from the sale of tickets in the sweepstake the value of tickets issued free by way of reward to a seller of tickets shall be excluded from the calculation, and there shall be deducted from the nominal selling price of all other tickets all commissions, prizes, and other remuneration given in relation to the selling of such tickets, and no tickets shall be issued free except by way of reward to a seller of tickets."

How does the Senator link that up with the duties of the auditor?

The auditor has to ascertain the sum which he puts on the left-hand side of this account—the sum of £1,761,963. That represents the proceeds of the sale of tickets, and it is arrived at in accordance with Section 9 of the Act. This sum he has ascertained after deducting the value of free tickets and commission paid for tickets that were not free.

Under Section 6, the auditor's duties are merely to audit the accounts of receipts and disbursements.

And Section 9 says what the receipts are. Whether we like it or not—and I dislike this whole sweep system—it is perfectly obvious that not only remuneration by free tickets but remuneration by commission, in addition, is perfectly legal under this Act. One of the things which the scheme which comes before the Minister has to contain is, according to Section 2, sub-section (4) (f) "the amount or the maximum amount proposed to be allowed or expended by way of commission, prize or other remuneration in relation to the sale of tickets in such sweepstake and the proportion of free tickets." That, again, shows that these forms of remuneration are perfectly legal, and are allowed by the Act.

Nobody has doubted that.

When the Minister gets the scheme, he sees that there is a maximum amount provided for commission. All the auditor has to see is that that maximum sum is not exceeded. If he does that he does his duty. If the Minister sees that the maximum is reasonable, he does his duty. Whether we like it or not, this system is perfectly legal and perfectly straight.

Amendment put.
The Committee divided: Tá, 11; Níl, 30.

  • John Bagwell.
  • Sir Edward Coey Bigger.
  • Michael Comyn, K.C.
  • Joseph Connolly.
  • James G. Douglas.
  • Sir John Purser Griffith.
  • Right Hon. Andrew Jameson.
  • Thomas Johnson.
  • Sir John Keane.
  • Colonel Moore.
  • Séumas Robinson.


  • Dr. Henry L. Barniville.
  • William Barrington.
  • Samuel L. Brown, K.C.
  • Miss Kathleen Browne.
  • R.A. Butler.
  • Right Hon. Alfred Byrne.
  • Mrs. Costello.
  • John C. Counihan.
  • The Countess of Desart.
  • Michael Duffy.
  • Sir Thomas Grattan Esmonde.
  • Thomas Farren.
  • Thomas Foran.
  • Dr. O. St. J. Gogarty.
  • The McGillycuddy of the Reeks.
  • James MacKean.
  • John MacLoughlin.
  • Seán Milroy.
  • James Moran.
  • Joseph O'Connor.
  • Joseph O'Doherty.
  • John T. O'Farrell.
  • M.F. O'Hanlon.
  • L. O'Neill.
  • Bernard O'Rourke.
  • Dr. William O'Sullivan.
  • Michael Staines.
  • Thomas Toal.
  • A.R. Vincent.
  • Richard Wilson.
Tellers: Tá, Senator Johnson and Senator Sir John Keane; Níl, Senator Farren and Senator Gogarty.
Amendment declared lost

I move amendment 4:—

Section 3, sub-section (1). To delete in line 36 the words "three members" and to substitute therefor the words "five members, one of whom shall be a person ordinarily resident in the City of Cork."

This amendment proposes to increase the number of the Committee of Reference from three to five. One of my reasons for moving the amendment is that the available surplus from the sweepstakes far exceeds anything that was contemplated at the start. The Principal Act laid down no machinery for dealing with it. In my opinion, it would be much better if the Principal Act had been repealed and a new measure introduced instead of this Amending Bill, because if that had been done we could have introduced a number of amendments which it is not possible to move to the present Bill. It is well known that all our banks are governed by boards of directors. They are composed of far more than three members. These boards of directors have not to deal with larger funds than the one that will be available if the sweepstakes to be held in the future are as successful as those already held. I think it is hardly fair to put that large responsibility on three members. It is well known that the directors of a company have their procedure to guide them. They have the experience gained in the past with a good deal of knowledge handed down to them, but this Committee will have no such knowledge. It will have to originate all its own procedure and deal with important questions for which there is no precedent. I consider it highly desirable that the number should be increased from three to five. I also suggest in the amendment that at least one of the members should come from the South of Ireland.

Senator Linehan mentioned to-day the case of an institution that had never heard of the sweepstakes and that did not know the steps it should take in order to participate in them. If there had been a representative from Cork those connected with that institution would have been able to approach him, and he could have taken steps to see that the application was properly considered.

I oppose the amendment. I think it is a bad principle to introduce provincialism into the setting up of a committee of any kind. No doubt if a certain district has a representative on the Central Committee it is more likely to have its interests well looked after than a district that has no representative. But we cannot have representatives on the Committee from all over the country. For instance, Tirchonaill would be as much entitled to have a representative on the Committee as Cork. I think it would be a very bad principle to put Tirchonaill, Cork or any other County into the Bill and for that reason I hope the House will reject the amendment. The people selected to serve on the Committee may come from different parts of the country, but if the Bill provided that members were to represent any particular centre it would be a bad thing.

I see that my friend Senator O'Doherty has no objection to that part of the amendment which suggests that the number should be five. Five is a reasonable number and I am sure there will be no opposition to that part of the amendment. As regards the representation of Cork, I am a Munsterman myself although not a Cork man. I am sure there are Cork men in this Assembly who will say something for that city. The thing to be said for it, of course, is that in regard to Munster Cork is a great centre. A great number of patients from Kerry, Limerick, Clare, Tipperary, Waterford, etc., go to Cork where there are very eminent surgeons and physicians and very good institutions. I am sure it is hardly necessary to mention the fact that there should be a representative from County Cork on this Committee of five. In any case, I am sure it can do no harm to mention it because I am satisfied that the Minister will have some representative from Cork on the Committee, and he ought to have a Committee of five. The Senator who moved the amendment is a man of tremendous experience. All his life has been spent on public health work. He has had a great career and he has great judgment and experience. Although Cork is mentioned in the amendment, and there is a very good reason for doing so, I would recommend the House to accept the amendment notwithstanding the objection which my friend Senator O'Doherty has made.

I suggest to the Seanad that the amendment should be negatived. I entirely agree with Senator O'Doherty that the mention of the City of Cork in the amendment is very unwise. There seems to be a tendency in this country that local patriotism will be the only kind of patriotism that you will have; that you will have good men from Cork, Tirchonaill, Mayo, Clare, or any of the other counties. There seems to be in certain quarters an inability to rise beyond mere local associations and to recognise that you have got the State as a whole. If Cork comes in I cannot for the life of me see why Donegal, Limerick, Waterford or any other county should not have its own representative.

Is Dublin to have all three?

According to the amendment Dublin might not have one at all. As the Bill stands there is nothing to prevent Cork having all three, but why Cork should be put in a preferential position or on a higher scale than Dublin, I cannot see. There is this to be said on the other side, that the majority of the hospitals which will benefit under the scheme—the larger hospitals which are benefiting—are unquestionably the Dublin hospitals. I am quite satisfied that Cork is not the slightest bit dissatisfied with the way in which it has been treated up to this. If you take the Cork and the Dublin hospitals, I should say that Cork has gained rather more than Dublin.

It usually does.

As regards anything I am saying, I do not want to try and inflame any antagonism that may exist between the two cities, because I sincerely hope that no such antagonism will ever really grow. If there are seeds even of antagonism or jealousy between these two cities, I think the Seanad should spend all its energy in trying to destroy that antagonism rather than to spread it or, even as this amendment might do, to create it. Our primary responsibilities are to the country as a whole, and not to any particular corner of it. If anything there is too much local jealousy and too much local feeling, and not enough national feeling.

With regard to the second portion of the amendment, I think three is a better number than five. There is the question of remuneration and expenses which has to be considered. That, of course, is really not a matter of vital importance if it were established that five was the better number. I do not think any case has been made for making a change to five. Senator Sir Edward Bigger, on the Second Reading of the Bill, put forward the view that this body of three would be an ineffective body, because it would not have sufficient time to go into the matter and discuss it. It seems to me that three people would get through their work much more quickly than five. That is the common experience. If you have a small body, and everyone does his share of the work, I think three is quite enough to have on it. I personally believe in a small body. Large bodies are unwieldy. I suggest to the Seanad that the Bill should be let stand as it is.

Supposing you have a Committee of three, and that one of the members is ill, you will then have a Committee of two. That, I think, would be a very bad thing. In a situation of that sort a crux may arise, as there may be disagreement between the two members who are acting.

Decisions will have to be made from day to day. The Committee will go through the needs of each hospital and consider them. If a member of the Committee were ill for a week or a fortnight that does not mean that the whole thing will be held up.

These are not decisions that will have to be made from day to day. They will be decisions made in regard to advances to particular hospitals. Senator Sir Edward Bigger, who has had great experience, suggests that there should be five on the Committee. Senator Jameson thinks that three is a bad number. Instead of one member being sick, as Senator Jameson has said, two members may get ill, and in such a case you would simply have a Committee of one. I have gathered from the Minister's speeches from time to time in this House that he is opposed to large numbers on Committees. Why then has he any Committee at all? Why not leave this to the Minister? The Minister has made no case against the amendment, an amendment that is backed up by the weight of the authority and experience of a man like Senator Sir Edward Bigger. Therefore, I think the House ought to accept the amendment.

With the leave of the House, I am prepared to withdraw that portion of the amendment which states that one member of the Committee shall be a person ordinarily resident in the City of Cork. I still think that the number should be five, and I intend to allow that portion of the amendment to go before the House.

Leave granted to amend the amendment on the lines indicated by Senator Sir Edward Bigger.

I suggest to the Minister that he ought to accept the amendment in its amended form.

As one who has had some experience of serving on Committees I am in favour of the smaller number. With what the Minister said on that I agree. To meet the difficulty referred to by Senator Jameson, perhaps the Minister may be able to amplify the section and provide machinery for filling up a vacancy that may occur in the circumstances referred to.

I opposed the amendment in its original form, but now that it has been amended, I am prepared to support it, because I think it is desirable that the Committee should consist of five instead of three.

Amendment, as amended, put and declared lost.
Sections 3 and 4 agreed to.
(1) In this section and in the next following section the expression "the available surplus" means the balance of the moneys received from the sale of tickets in the sweepstake in relation to which the expression is used remaining after paying or providing for the prizes distributed in such sweepstake and the expenses incurred in holding such sweepstake.
(2) The available surplus in any sweepstake held under the Principal Act shall not be less than twenty per cent. of the moneys received from the sale of tickets in such sweepstake.
(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.
(4) Where a sweepstake held under the Principal Act is so held by the governing bodies of two or more hospitals the following provisions shall have effect, that is to say:—
(a) three-fourths of the available surplus in such sweepstake shall be divided between and paid to such governing bodies or such one or more of them exclusive of the other or others and in such proportions as the Minister shall direct having regard to the needs and circumstances of such hospitals respectively;
(b) the Committee of Reference appointed under this Act for the purposes of such sweepstake shall, when requested by the Minister so to do and after consultation with the committee managing such sweepstake, report to the Minister as to the proportions in which the said three-fourths of such available surplus should be divided under this sub-section between the governing bodies concerned;
(c) the Minister shall not determine the proportions in which such three-fourths is to be divided until he has received the report of such Committee of Reference in relation thereto and in determining such proportions the Minister shall have regard to but shall not be bound by such report;
(d) before determining the said proportions, the Minister shall consult with the Minister for Local Government and Public Health in regard thereto.

I move amendment 5:—

Section 5, sub-section (2). To delete all after the words "twenty per cent." in line 22 down to the end of the sub-section and to substitute therefor the words "of the aggregate nominal selling price of the tickets amongst which the prizewinning tickets have been drawn."

This amendment proposes to alter the proportion of the surplus which is to go to the hospitals. The Bill provides that "the available surplus from any sweepstake held under the Principal Act shall not be less than twenty per cent. of the moneys received from the sale of tickets in such sweepstake." The amendment proposes to delete all after the words "twenty per cent.," and to make the sub-section read: "The available surplus in any sweepstake held under the Principal Act shall not be less than twenty per cent. of the aggregate nominal selling price of the tickets amongst which the prizewinning tickets have been drawn." That is to say, that the twenty per cent. shall be calculated, not from the amount which appears on the balance sheet after all the expenses of selling tickets have been deducted, but twenty per cent. of the nominal value of the tickets which appear in the drum. In the case of the Grand National, say, it would not make any great change. The amount subscribed to the hospitals would be rather more under the proposed scheme than was actually subscribed, provided that the calculation of two tickets in twelve is accurate. The acceptance of the amendment would mean that you were dealing more fairly with the subscribers, because it would ensure them that at least one-fifth of what they subscribed eventually reached the hospitals. That is its purpose.

I ask the House not to accept the amendment. The effect of the amendment, if it has any effect at all, would be to reduce the amount of the money which is distributed in prizes. What Senator Johnson proposes is that twenty per cent. should not be taken upon the money that has actually been subscribed but that you should take the twenty per cent. on tickets of which you know that a very considerable number have not been sold—two in every twelve. You know that these have not been sold, and you are going to give the hospitals this money upon an entirely artificial basis. You are not giving the hospitals a proportion of money which you have received; you are giving it a proportion of the money that you have received plus tickets for which you have received nothing. That seems to me to be a very artificial basis to go upon.

I should point out that twenty per cent. is the minimum in the scheme which has been sanctioned. In at least a few of the schemes it is not twenty per cent. but twenty-five per cent. that is actually allowed to the hospitals. That has been given upon a correct and proper basis. I could not approve of the amendment. The proportion that the hospitals were to receive was discussed at considerable length in the Dáil. After a long debate a minimum was finally decided on. I am strong upon this that the hospitals should receive a fair proportion. As we are legislating in this matter we owe a certain duty to the buyers of tickets. They should have a fair proportion of their own money because it is their own money they are gambling with. If Senator Johnson's idea is to cut down the amount of the prize money to give more to the hospitals than they are getting I would be opposed to that also. I think, if anything, the hospitals are getting too much rather than too little, but nevertheless I think it is a fair figure to leave it at.

Amendment put and negatived.

Amendments 6, 8, 10 and 12 on the paper in my name to Section 5 are consequential on my amendment to Section 6—that is, amendment 13—and I will ask the leave of the House to postpone them.

Leave granted.

Amendment 7, which is in my name, has already been met in the Bill and I beg leave to withdraw it.

Amendment 7, by leave, withdrawn

I beg to move amendment 9:—

Section 5, sub-section (4). To delete all after the words "as to" in line 41 down to the end of paragraph (b) and to substitute therefor the words "the following matters:—

(i) the proportions in which the said two-thirds of such available surplus should be divided under this sub-section between the governing bodies concerned;

(ii) the amount (if any) of the proportion payable to any governing body concerned which should, in the opinion of the committee of reference, be applied towards providing or improving accommodation for paying patients of limited means, and

(iii) the amount (if any) of the proportion payable to any governing body concerned which, in the opinion of the committee of reference, should be invested and form a fund for the future maintenance and requirements of the hospital.

In making such report the committee of reference shall give to the Minister the reasons for their recommendations."

The amendment is divided into three parts. The first part is only preparatory. The second deals with a rather important matter. This question has been engaging the attention of thoughtful people in England and Scotland for several years. When the Amending Bill was before the House this day fortnight I had in mind what has been done in London. Since then I have been furnished with a scheme which is in actual operation in Newcastle-on-Tyne. The position is that the voluntary hospitals which were established for providing the best medical and surgical attention for the sick poor have, owing to straitened circumstances, been compelled to admit patients who are able to pay something for treatment. In fact, they favour those who can pay rather than admit patients unable to pay for their maintenance. This amendment will relieve both classes of patients.

Since I spoke here a fortnight ago the Scottish Board of Health have sent me a copy of a scheme which is in actual operation in the Royal Victoria Hospital, Newcastle-on-Tyne. Here are some particulars relating to the scheme:—

The Pay-Bed Section of the Royal Victoria Infirmary has been opened to provide an up-to-date hospital service at a cost which persons of limited means can meet.

The medical service will be of just the same kind as is given in the wards of a large general hospital, i.e., a combined or team service, and will be rendered by the Visiting and Consulting Medical Staff of the Royal Victoria Infirmary. It will be complete in all branches of diagnoses and treatment. If the member of the Staff in charge of the case feels that the interests of his patient demand the help of a physician, surgeon or specialist, one or all of these will be available. A resident medical staff will be on call as required.

Radiological, pathological and bacteriological investigations will be made when circumstances indicate their need.

The medical service charge is not based upon the usual fees payable in private medical practice, but is a materially reduced contract rate designed to meet the needs of provident wage earners and people of small incomes in business and professions, and the one charge will include all medical services rendered.

Patients of moderate means will thus be saved valuable time and cost in respect of the multiple consultations which are often necessary for the diagnoses of their complaints, and the combined work of consultants and specialists will be available in the treatment of any case without additional fee.

Patients will be graded in four classes:—Class A—Income not exceeding £250 per annum. Class B— Income between £250 and £350 per annum. Class C—Income between £350 and £500 per annum. Class D Income exceeding £500 per annum.

The scale for patients in Class A is:—Maintenance charge (according to room or ward), 7/-; medical services charge, 2/-, making a total of 9/-.

Anyone going into this hospital will not have his independence interfered with. He will feel he is paying only what is reasonable and fair. If my amendment is adopted it will merely allow the committee of reference to consider the matter. It in no way compels them to do so, nor does it require any hospital to make any provision. The Committee of reference will have ample funds, and it will be a disaster if they are not given discretion. It is merely a discretion I am asking for.

I have very great sympathy with what Senator Sir Edward Bigger has said. I do think there are considerable numbers of persons who are not well off and who are not able to pay for private hospital treatment. They are persons who really ought to receive certain consideration from the hospitals. I would be very glad if some hospitals would make provision for persons who have got comparatively small incomes, out of which they cannot pay the fees charged by private hospitals. I am referring now to people who, owing to the position which they hold, do not want to go into the wards of public hospitals.

I do not think the Senator's amendment would work, and I do not think it could be made to work. I am not talking now about the actual wording of the amendment. Of course the expression "paying patients of limited means" is very loose. I think we all have limited means. Nobody, not even Mr. Henry Ford, can be stated to have unlimited means. That, however, is merely only verbal, and it does not go to the root of the matter at all. The committee of reference would have no power over hospitals. They have not any money which they will distribute to a hospital so as to make terms with that hospital. The committee of reference will see various schemes which hospitals put forward, and they will examine the financial condition of the hospitals. They will balance one hospital against the other. I do not think the committee of reference should have complete power in the arrangement of the internal affairs of hospitals. I do not think they should, as it were, take over the rules of the hospitals, nor should they be able to tell the hospitals that they must make provision for certain classes of persons. They should not be able to tell the hospitals they must do a certain amount for the money they are getting or otherwise they would get no money at all.

I think the Minister rather misunderstood me. I did not suggest that the committee of reference should compel any hospital to do anything. The hospital authorities, however, might come to the committee and say: "We are prepared to put up 20 or 40 beds for private patients and we will charge them so much." That would be similar to this scheme in Newcastle-on-Tyne. Then it would be open to the committee to say: "We will help you to such an extent." It is optional; it is not compulsory. The committee are not compelled to do anything nor is the hospital.

Under the Bill the committee can do that. The committee will see any scheme, and if the scheme appears to them to be good they can then take action.

If the Minister will say that this matter will be put before the committee, and it will be open to them to act, then I am quite satisfied.

Would not the Senator's idea be better carried out if he went to the hospitals and made suggestions to them? He would probably have the object he is aiming at better achieved in that way. The committee should not start schemes for the hospitals. They should see the schemes the hospitals prepare, and they could then decide whether or not they are good. They should not originate schemes. I suggest the Senator should go to the hospitals, perhaps all of them, and see if they would embody in their schemes something on the lines he has suggested.

I am satisfied if it is understood that there is nothing in the Bill to exclude provision being made for private patients.

There is nothing in the Bill to prevent that.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Remainder of Committee Stage adjourned till to-morrow.
The Seanad adjourned at 6.45 p.m. until 3 p.m. on Thursday, 2nd July.