Skip to main content
Normal View

Seanad Éireann debate -
Thursday, 2 Jul 1931

Vol. 14 No. 25

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

I move amendment 11:

Section 5, sub-section (4). To delete paragraph (c) and to substitute the following new paragraph therefor:—

"(c) the committee of reference shall be entitled to make all such inspections and inquiries and to call for and be furnished with all such information as shall be necessary for the purpose of making the report to the Minister under the foregoing paragraph of this section."

This amendment is for the purpose of giving the Committee of Reference larger scope and wider discretion. They are in no way hampered by this amendment. In the Bill, certain specific things are set out which the Committee may investigate. Certain very important matters are not mentioned. I understand that if a number of matters are set out specifically in a Bill, and if a particular matter is not referred to, you cannot read that into the Bill. In that way, I think the hands of the Committee would be tied. They should be free to investigate any matter that they think important. For that reason I move the amendment.

The fullest and amplest powers are given to the Committee by clause (c) of Section 5. Those are wider powers than Senator Sir Edward Coey Bigger proposes to give them under this amendment. For instance, under clause (c) they are entitled to see and examine all the accounts of the receipts and expenditure of the governing body of hospitals. Under Senator Sir Edward Coey Bigger's amendment, they would not be entitled to see any books at all. They would be only entitled to call for a report, and when they got that they would not be entitled to see the original documents at all. I am satisfied that the Committee have ample powers under (c), and fuller powers than they would have under the amendment.

I am sorry to have to contradict the Minister. From my knowledge of administration wider powers are given by the amendment I have moved than are given by the Bill. The amendment sets out that the Committee of Reference shall be entitled to make inspections and inquiries and to call for and be furnished with all necessary information.

They will be entitled to get certain information.

And inspections.

No. They are not entitled to call for the particular books and accounts on which the information is based. On getting information from the hospital, the Committee might desire to look into the books. The provision in the amendment is narrower than that in the Bill.

Amendment put and negatived.


(1) One-third of the available surplus in any sweepstake held under the Principal Act shall be paid to the Minister for Local Government and Public Health and shall be applied by him in such manner as he shall think fit in or towards the provision, improvement, or equipment of institutions for the prevention, treatment, or cure of physical or mental diseases or injuries of human beings.

(2) The following provisions shall have effect where the Minister for Local Government and Public Health applies or proposes to apply any money under this section in or towards the provision, improvement, or equipment of an institution which is wholly or partly maintained by a local authority, that is to say:—

(a) such application may be made conditional upon the fulfilment by such local authority of such conditions as the said Minister shall think proper to impose;

(b) the money so applied shall be in addition to and not in substitution for the moneys expended by such local authority for or towards the ordinary maintenance of such institution and shall not be taken into consideration by such local authority when determining the amount to be so expended by them.

I beg to move amendment 13:—

Section 6. To delete the section.

I want to make it clear that although I have put the amendment down in this form I am, neverthless, in favour of having the county hospitals adequately equipped. I have used this method of bringing the matter before the House because I think it is probably the best way of getting a proper debate on this subject, which was not dealt with on the Second Reading. I hope that out of this debate may come some suggestions which will improve the whole Bill. I have three objections to Section 6. First of all, I object to the county hospitals getting such a large percentage of the money as is proposed—33? per cent. In the second place, I consider that the direction to the Minister is very much too wide; and thirdly, I consider that sub-section (2) (b) should not appear in the Bill at all. I propose to take each objection in turn.

As regards my first objection, there are a great many optimists living in this country who at one time thought that the late war would go on for ever and they are suffering very much because it is ended. It seems to me that, so far, the Oireachtas has taken up exactly the same attitude with regard to the income that is to be derived from sweepstakes. How do we know that we are going to have continued success with these things? At any time you may have a serious set-back; you may have clouds of all sorts upon the horizon and there is no reason at all why the success attending the sweepstakes that already have been held should not very suddenly disappear. It is quite possible that action might be taken to enforce the law in England. The Englishman is very fond of obeying the law in most things, excepting, perhaps, sweepstakes. One can also conceive a very big propaganda campaign with very serious results to an Irish sweepstake. For that matter there might be a huge sweepstake started in England or elsewhere with very much bigger prizes than we could offer here. If any of those things happen we would be bound to find an appreciable reduction in our sweepstakes revenue.

For that reason I am budgeting for the next nine sweepstakes bringing in a smaller income than people are generally inclined to assume. The Grand National Sweepstake benefited the hospitals to the extent of £436,000. I am budgeting for £400,000 for each of the forthcoming eight sweeps, and I am allowing for a reduction of £20,000 for the following sweep. That gives me a total of £3,180,000. That is the sum that I calculate will be received by the hospitals by the time this legislation expires in 1934. My figures are very conservative and even arbitrary. Any optimist can add on a million or two if he likes. If we do get more money, I shall be all the more pleased. On my figures, the board of health institutions would be entitled to get a sum of £1,060,000. That works out at £151,000 for each sweep, or about £6,000 for each board of health. What is the board of health going to do with so much money? No doubt it will mean the erection of new buildings or the installation of equipment. When this legislation comes to an end a few years hence it will mean that there will have to be an increase in the rates—extra taxation in some form—in order to keep up the very much improved establishments. These additional establishments will have to be maintained so as to prevent their falling into decay. In my opinion, a levelling up of all services to a very high standard, such as is now suggested, cannot fail to increase expenditure in a few years' time when there will be no sweepstake.

Those who know something about boards of health will admit that amongst the large and small institutions all over the country a great deal of money can be spent, and, what is more, it can be wasted, frittered away in many directions. In many counties they have not even decided what they are going to do. In some cases they are closing down some institutions and they will probably close others. Fantastic estimates are made in different places with reference to the needs of various counties. The advice which the Minister has had from the medical profession is, I believe, that an average of from £8,000 to £10,000 would adequately provide the needs of these different institutions. I think that is more or less the sum required. Some of the reasons given for the large expenditure are that there are no X-ray facilities in some hospitals and these hospitals should be put on the same basis as other hospitals which possess an installation.

If you are going to put a really good X-ray apparatus into a hospital you will require an expert to operate it. The average practitioner can read an ordinary X-ray photograph, but for practical work you require the attendance of an expert. If you have an expert in a hospital he will take the photograph, read it right away and write out his conclusions. In the case of a man who is not an expert it takes him years to learn anything worth while. We are told that in some hospitals there are no operating theatres; in other hospitals where there are operating theatres they are in a very poor condition. Again, the suggestion is advanced that there should be a sanatorium in every county. That is very debatable. In some counties the climatic conditions might be totally unsuitable. We are told that in many institutions in the country there are no maternity wards or beds. There are many complaints of that sort made. These things have been painted with local colour to such an extent that, without a careful examination, the average observer would be left under the impression that the situation in most counties in the Free State is really most dreadful. Any reader of the report of the Poor Law Commission will get a clear idea of the situation. He will see that in some counties the position is good, in other counties it is bad, and in some places it could be somewhat better. It is not always in the counties that are poor that councillors have not appreciated their duty towards the poor.

There is another aspect of this question with which I would like to deal. In my calculation a total sum of £1,060,000 would go to the county hospitals. That leaves a sum of £2,120,000 available for the suggested endowment fund for voluntary hospitals. Assuming that the money is invested at 4 per cent. there would be available for the county hospitals £84,000, or £2,100 per annum for each hospital. I wonder if that is enough. I do not think it is. The House must remember that modern social legislation, Acts like the Principal Act and Bills like the Amending Bill we are now considering are undermining, and have undermined, the will to give. If the will to give had been there, there would be no necessity for this legislation. It is my opinion, that when this legislation ceases, the will to give will not revive when the necessity for its revival arises. I think, therefore, that we should consider very carefully indeed the question of investment against a rainy day. We would be well advised to consider seriously whether a sum that would mean £2,000 a year for the voluntary hospitals, which will have practically no income, and which will have increased responsibilities because of the additional buildings that are being constructed, should now be so generously handed over to minor rated institutions. I think it is the function of this House to examine a problem of this kind impassively and without any of the local influences which affect people elsewhere. We should examine the needs of the two classes of hospitals; we should see which of them is dependent one upon the other. We must remember that medical schools must of necessity be in the towns. This is not a case of town versus country. Where you have a medical school the expert must of necessity centre around that school. That being so, I think that, without a high and progressive standard in the medical schools, the work in the country institutions will necessarily suffer.

The remaining points are of relatively minor importance. As the direction to the Minister stands, it is a sort of compromise between several suggestions put up elsewhere. I do not think any of them was really seriously examined. I wonder at the Department of Local Government taking on the extra burden which this involves and laying itself open to continuous and serious political pressure which it necessarily must entail. I suggest that the direction to the Minister should include a condition that money is only to be given when there is an equivalent amount of money offered from the rates.

As regards sub-section (2) (b), I have only to repeat what I said on the Second Reading. Any contribution for any purpose for this fund is, in effect, a subsidy to the rates. It has been suggested that the money could not have been got from the rates. I maintain that that is not the case. The first occasion on which I had the privilege of addressing this House was on the question of the neglect of a certain board of health to make adequate provision for the poor. That particular board of health since that time has spent immense sums of money on what are called new works. They have carried out road schemes, and made by-roads. They have constructed new roads to the turbary, and so on. They had managed without any of these things before. They erected a new sanatorium which has never been occupied, and which will never be occupied. It will continue for years to be a burden on the ratepayers. They have taken no action on the hospital question. Finally, it turned out that they were dissolved. A Commissioner is there now, but instead of acting on the hospital question he is merely waiting for an egg from the golden goose; in other words, for a grant from the sweepstakes. I maintain that if they get money now, after eight years' neglect on the part of the local authority, it will be merely a direct subsidy to the rates.

Although I am prepared to admit that, according to the Principal Act, it is legal for these hospitals to come in, I do not think they should get these enormous sums at the expense of the bigger and more important hospitals, the hospitals on which the minor institutions really depend. If the House considers that this matter should go further, I will be prepared on the Report Stage to submit amendments so as to provide that a definite sum shall be taken from the available surplus and placed in the hands of the Minister for Local Government to be utilised for assistance purposes where it is required, on the condition that an equivalent amount will be subscribed from the rates. I am prepared to submit an amendment which will provide for investment on the part of the voluntary hospitals against the rainy day. It is our duty to see that when all these sweepstakes are finished the situation will be sound. Finally, I will submit a proposal on a fifty-fifty basis in relation to the question of rates and grants from the sweepstakes fund for the purpose of benefiting the county hospitals.

It is not so easy to discuss this Bill if one is to follow exactly on the lines set out by Senator The McGillycuddy of the Reeks. The Senator more or less agreed, in the first instance, that the Bill was right in principle and that contributions might be allotted from the proceeds of sweeps to relieve county hospitals and to provide equipment for them. His amendment sets out to establish that no portion of the proceeds resulting from sweepstakes should be allocated for that purpose. I have to argue on the basis of the Senator's amendment, on the basis that there will be no appointment at all of the proceeds of the sweeps between the county and the district hospitals.

Senator The McGillycuddy of the Reeks said that we should examine this question impassively on the basis of definite figures. I entirely concur in that respect. In so far as we have that respect. In so far as we have figures, they should be thoroughly examined. The Senator gave three reasons why his amendment should be carried. He gave three reasons in opposition to the apportionment of a certain percentage of the sweepstakes money for the purposes set out in the Bill. He declared that the proposed percentage was too high. I cannot argue that, because the amendment does not set it out. If anyone wants to argue the question of a too high percentage it will have to be argued in a different way, because it raises entirely new matter. I have to follow the exact lines of the amendment. The Senator stated that his second objection was based on the ground that the direction to the Minister is too wide. I think the direction is specific enough. Section 6 of this Amending Bill sets out:

One-third of the available surplus in any sweepstake held under the Principal Act shall be paid to the Minister for Local Government and Public Health and shall be applied by him in such manner as he shall think fit...

I think that is a specific and a sufficiently direct instruction. I think it would be impossible to tighten it up any more than that. It would be impossible for this House, through the medium of this Bill, to say to the Minister for Local Government that a certain proportion of the moneys allocated shall go for the provision of X-ray apparatus in a certain hospital. It would be quite impossible for us to suggest things in that way, and all we can give is a general direction.

I followed the statement of Senator The McGillycuddy of the Reeks with considerable interest. I am really surprised at the amendment he has proposed. I think the Seanad would be well advised to leave well enough alone. There should not be any more interference with sweepstakes. They are serving their purpose and they are making admirable progress. A sufficient amount of money is being provided through the medium of the sweepstakes. I would like to get back to the conception originally underlying sweepstakes. I could understand a case being made in support of the amendment along the lines that this Bill cut across the conception originally underlying sweepstakes. I could understand an objection being raised on the ground that the allocation of money for various county hospitals was not in a worthy cause. Objections of that type could well be understood.

Let me come back now to the idea underlying the introduction of sweepstakes in this country. I have read all the debates upon the measures put before the Oireachtas in relation to sweepstakes. I have talked to representative men and to members of the Sweepstakes Committee. I find that the idea underlying the initiation of sweepstake legislation was to prevent certain existing hospitals in Dublin City from going into bankruptcy. That was the position then existing. What did they set out to do? They set out, first of all, to wipe off the liabilities of these hospitals. There were six or eight hospitals named and the liabilities amounted to £60,000 or £70,000. The second object was to provide the hospitals with certain equipment and to give them, so to speak, a fresh start. That was rather an ambitious programme. I may say that the idea originally conceived has been more than realised; it has been exceeded to an enormous extent. Originally they did not require very much money, speaking generally. Perhaps £100,000 or £200,000 would be quite sufficient to meet the needs of the hospitals. The hospitals on whose behalf the sweepstakes idea originated have already secured in round figures £1,250,000.

We are faced now with a totally different problem to that which confronted us when the sweepstakes originated. We have to look upon the matter from an entirely fresh aspect. The suggestion now is that, having done what we set out to do in regard to certain hospitals, we should do something for the county and district hospitals, which urgently require assistance. That is all that is attempted in this Bill. Those of us who cast votes in connection with the sweepstakes legislation in the first instance had, I dare say, definite ideas in mind. What I had in mind was that if money was available out of the scheme, after the requirements of certain hospitals had been met, that money should be devoted to looking after the sick and ailing, particularly the sick poor. There is no use now in attempting to narrow the benefits of this scheme down to the six, eight, ten or fourteen hospitals that were mentioned in the first instance, simply because they were mentioned and that they happen to be voluntary hospitals. It is almost inconceivable that any person will, in view of the altered circumstances, and in view of the manner in which the original scheme has developed, seek to keep to the idea originally conceived. Can 33? per cent. of the proceeds of the sweepstakes be allocated to the county and district hospitals? Of course it can.

At the very beginning there was one particular hospital mentioned as being especially deserving of assistance. That is the National Maternity Hospital in Holles Street. That hospital had overdrawn its bank account to the extent of £2,000. Its revenue from voluntary contributions did not exceed £500 per annum. In 1929 the cost of running the hospital was £6,413. It was felt that under those circumstances the hospital could not continue. At the same time it could not be allowed to close, and some means, it was felt, would have to be provided for raising funds. At one time it was suggested that the State might step in, and that funds might be provided out of the National Exchequer in order to enable the hospital to carry on. That really would be the next logical, legitimate step to take if nothing else could be done.

What is the position of the Holles Street Hospital to-day? At the present time it is embarking on a reconstruction scheme costing something like £130,000. What is going to be the future position in respect of that hospital which, a few years back, was the most needy hospital of the lot? It has already secured practically £100,000, much more than it ever hoped to get, and much more than the most optimistic person behind the idea of a sweepstake ever thought it would get.

The line of reasoning adopted by Senator The McGillycuddy of the Reeks is not a fair line of reasoning. He said that his figures are conservative. They are much too conservative. If the Senator thinks that, arising out of the organisation of sweepstakes for the next three years there will be a sum of only £3,000,000 available for hospitals, he is making a big mistake in his calculations. There is available from the last sweepstake a sum of close on £1,000,000 for hospitals, and there is every likelihood that the November Handicap Sweepstake will produce a far greater sum. Judging by the results of sweepstakes in the Free State up to the present, on a conservative calculation there will be available for hospitals in this country a sum of at least £5,000,000 or £6,000,000. What is the position of the National Maternity Hospital at Holles Street at the moment? They have wiped out their overdraft, and they have embarked upon a reconstruction scheme. Already they have practically enough money to carry through the reconstruction scheme. On a most conservative estimate they should be able, when the sweepstakes are ended, to capitalise at least £250,000, and that should bring in an annual income of £10,000 a year. If we are to have nine more successful sweepstakes, the position of the National Maternity Hospital will be that it will have an annual income of £10,000 a year. Compare that with the £500 a year it received in past years by way of voluntary subscriptions.

One may logically ask why something cannot be afforded out of the scheme for the county and district hospitals. Are they not deserving of some consideration? Of course they are. According to Senator Gogarty, the Richmond Hospital is embarking on an entirely new building scheme costing £100,000. Some hospitals are already embarking upon big reconstruction schemes, and it is very likely that we are going to have huge building schemes organised by more of them in the very near future. As far as the county and district hospitals are concerned, I believe that any money that we apply to them from the proceeds of sweepstakes will be applied to a most worthy object.

The city hospitals cater for the requirements of reasonably wealthy people as well as poor people. Many of those who have to go into the city hospitals have to pay substantial weekly sums as well as fees, and there is nothing very free there at all. The county and district hospitals cater for the very poorest of our people, and accordingly on that basis they are most deserving of help. The hospitals listed here will, as a result of these sweepstakes, be able to set aside a big sum of money on which they can draw in the future. They will receive sums that will enable them to carry out improvements, to instal the most up-to-date equipment, and to increase salaries, as was suggested yesterday, but the argument in favour of the amendment is that the county and district hospitals should be left to carry on in the way they are at present, with poor buildings, ill-equipped, badly lighted, and with inferior surgical equipment. In many of these county and district hospitals additional maternity wards are required, up-to-date instruments, and X-ray apparatus. The beds are of the poorest type as well as the bedding, and generally these county and district hospitals are of the poorest description. Can anyone argue that nothing should go to their relief? That is what the amendment seeks to convey and what the House is asked to agree to, that no help should be given to the county and district hospitals.

Senator The McGillycuddy used the argument that no contribution from the proceeds of the sweeps should go as a subsidy in the relief of rates. What interpretation can one put on the term "relief of rates"? My interpretation of it would be any sum which would go for the purpose for which rates paid by the ratepayers ordinarily go. The Bill sets out that this sum shall not go to the relief of rates. It sets out specifically that the money so applied shall be in addition to and not in substitution for the moneys expended by such local authority. If that is in the Bill it will be carried out, and I think it is the function of the Minister for Local Government to see that it is carried out. If one wants to analyse the thing in a technical way it is quite clear that the money will not go in actual relief of rates. The only other interpretation that one can put upon the term is that certain additional equipment and additional buildings which, perhaps, should be provided for out of the rates, but which for a very good reason cannot be provided out of the rates, will be provided for out of the money resulting from the sweepstakes. If these county and district hospitals require certain equipment, reconstruction and alterations there is no reason why they should not get it, provided that the other hospitals already in the scheme receive their share and a little more.

The statement has already been made that the ratepayers could make provision for these things. Does anybody suggest that at the present time the farmers of the country, who are the main body of the ratepayers, and with the price of butter what it is, and with the pig industry in its present condition, could bear an increase in their rates for the purpose of providing X-ray apparatus in these county and district hospitals, or to meet the expenditure required if those responsible were to embark on schemes of reconstruction and equipment? I do not think that the farmers' representatives on the county councils would listen to any such suggestion, or that at the present the farmers could afford to meet an increase in their rates. Already there have been some departures from the conception that was behind the original Act. At the outset an attempt was made to establish it that the percentage on the receipts to meet expenses, promoters' fees and so forth should be 30 per cent. Happily there has been a departure in that direction, because the actual percentage under that heading is much less than 30 per cent. At the outset it was accepted that 20 per cent. would be applied to the hospitals. The actual percentage at the present time is 25 per cent. There are certain hospitals listed here that are receiving money out of the proceeds of these sweeps. You have the Dental Hospital and the Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital. These institutions are to a greater degree dispensaries than hospitals. Yet they are going to receive huge sums out of the proceeds of the hospital sweeps. The county and the district hospitals are also, to a large extent, responsible for dispensary work. The expenses of the county and district hospitals which do a lot of dispensary work have to be met by the ratepayers, but the other two institutions in the city of Dublin, which are largely concerned with dispensary work, are going to have their funds greatly increased out of the proceeds of the hospitals sweeps.

Even on the question of the relief of rates, I hope that the hospitals in the city of Dublin which have been accustomed to take in patients sent to them by the local authorities throughout the country will, in the future, see their way not to charge the fee of two guineas a week, which has to be paid in the case of certain patients sent up. That money comes out of the rates, and it is a charge that has to be met by the various boards of health throughout the country. Already there have been a number of departures from the spirit that was behind the original conception of the Act, and I do not think there can be any great harm in going a little bit further.

There is another point I would like to deal with. At the present time there is an increasing tendency in the various counties to send fewer patients to the city hospitals. The tendency is to treat the patients in the local hospitals. The number of patients going to the Dublin, Cork, Galway and Waterford hospitals is fewer to-day than it was some years ago. If that is the tendency, and we know it is, then we should see to it that the county and district hospitals, which provide for the poorest people in the country, should be well equipped. One would imagine from some of the comments that have been made, not, I must say, by Senator The McGillycuddy, that the people in the cities of Dublin and Cork were the only people who contributed to the revenue of the hospitals in these cities. That is not so. The people in the country parts, who will be affected by this amendment, were also contributors, and large contributors, to the funds which went to the aid of the city hospitals. The fact of the matter is that if the sweeps had not been started the State would have had to come to the aid of these voluntary hospitals in the City of Dublin, because, as we know, many of them were on the verge of bankruptcy and would have had to close their doors. It must be remembered that not only are some of the hospitals listed here State-aided, but they are rate-aided as well. It is already admitted in practice, and if this scheme embraces the county and district hospitals no one is going to suffer. Upon the other hand, a lot of good is going to be done. Some of the poorest of our people are going to be provided for in a way that they have not been provided for up to the present. They are going to enjoy some of the treatment ordinarily given to patients who enter the big city hospitals. There is nothing illogical in the demand we are making. It is not unreasonable and not unjust. The hospitals listed here have already been so well provided for that it is now possible to extend the field of their operations. We will not injure them in so doing if we bring in the county and district hospitals, and I hope the House will approve of that.

There is such a conflict of opinion in face of the extraordinary income received from the sweepstakes already held that I think it is high time that some committee or commission should be appointed to examine the position. As has been pointed out, it was pressure from the banks to get rid of hospital overdrafts that brought about the legislation of sweepstakes. As a result of them, the Dublin hospitals have got, roughly, one and a half million pounds, but while that is so the poor man is not any nearer to his free bottle of medicine.

Nor nurses nearer to getting a living wage.

No, nor shorter hours. We have a falling population, yet we never see any hospitals closing. The hospitals in the City of Dublin are on sites where they are simply creating slums. The slum, in turn, creates illness and delicacy, and you have that vicious circle without anything being done to check it. I think it is essential that we should have a Commission to inquire into the position. That Commission should have the assistance of a modern hospital architect.

One of the greatest charities in this country is the National Maternity Hospital at Holles Street. The fact that it has got out of debt and has been able to acquire four houses in Merrion Square should not be used to pillory it. I do not suppose there is any provision to compel the donors of the fund to go around the country to the county councils and say, "Here is £100,000; you must take it, for we want to get on with the next sweep." There ought to be a committee appointed, a committee that would have the assistance of a modern architect who would control the present position, where you have 100 hospitals for less than 3,000,000 people. The X-ray apparatus has been referred to. In order to use it you require a highly skilled technician and then a man to interpret what he has photographed. No radiologist of any standing is going to bury himself in a county town seeing that those in Dublin can hardly get a livelihood. The way to deal with cases of that kind would be to use the transport of the country to send them to Dublin, where there should be the most modern equipment, thereby centralising medical services.

There is one clause in the Bill giving a direction to the Minister. On the last occasion Senator Foran referred to it and suggested that portion of the moneys should be used for dealing with the slums which, as I have pointed out, simply lead to the creation of disease. It should be at the option of the Minister to employ part of the funds in doing preventive work of that kind. There are towns which badly need a water supply. Take the case of the town of Kinvara in South Galway. There is no water supply. The people there have to rely on a well which is about half a mile away from their town, a well in which the tinkers wash their rags. That is the water that the people drink afterwards. It is pathetic the way that hospitals have been thrust on the people while so little is being done to prevent disease. It is homes the poor want: houses, not primarily hospitals.

In connection with these county and district hospitals there is another point that is to be remembered. What will the position be if you look at it from the ratepayers' point of view? You may have this position—that deputations will come up to the Minister holding, as it were, a pistol to his head and saying: "If you do not allocate a certain sum of money to us we are not going to pay any more rates, and your Party are not going to win our constituency in the future." If one liked one could stretch that argument and say that you could have the existence of the Government depending on the Manchester November Handicap.

I think Senator O'Hanlon and Senator The McGillycuddy were rather optimistic about these sweeps. The only thing that keeps them in existence is that to salve the Englishman's conscience there is a charitable side to them. He argues that the law of charity is the greater law, and therefore he says: "I will break the ordinary law." I cannot see anything less helpful to the sweeps than the debate that we have had on the Bill. The position with regard to the sweep is that at present we are depending on outside revenue for their success. It is perhaps a desirable position for any country to be in, but I suggest that we should apply the money wisely and not put it in bricks and mortar. The poor man is not any nearer to getting his free bottle of medicine. I suggest that we should have a committee to examine into the position. That committee should have the assistance of a modern architect. Let us have one good hospital equipped in the most modern manner, and let us have an inventory of the number of delicate, expensive machines such as the X-ray that are required. Ten years ago no one would have thought that we would have at our disposal to-day £12,000,000 for our hospitals. Let us have one good one now. Vienna, which has two-thirds of our population, has only one hospital. The centralisation there brings students to it from every country in the world. We should spend this money wisely, and not set about equipping country houses as hospitals, setting up maternity hospitals throughout the country which there will not be mothers enough to supply. Let us boldly apply our millions to housing.

I have been unable to find out from the speech he has just delivered whether Senator Gogarty is for the amendment or against it. I want to say that I am against the amendment. I am a member of the board of management of four different hospitals that I hope will benefit under this Bill. One is a county hospital, one a county home, one a county infirmary, and the other a mental hospital which serves the needs of three counties. Senator The McGillycuddy asked what would these boards do with £6,000 or £10,000 if they got it. I can relieve his mind on that point. There is an enormous amount of work to be done in those hospitals. That work is absolutely essential, and it ought to be done in the interests of the welfare of the people living in those hospitals.

What I asked was what will they do with the £54,000 per county—not £6,000.

I can assure the Senator that in the mental hospital to which I have already referred the congestion amongst the patients is so great that the nurses have not room to make the beds in the wards. The beds have to be shifted about to enable the nurses to make them. There is not room for the nurses to get round the beds to arrange the bed clothes. The nurses themselves are housed under such conditions that there is only one room in the hospital available for them. The walls in that room were never plastered and there is no fire-place in it. Seventeen nurses are housed in that one room. All the boxes belonging to the nurses are piled one upon another at the end of the room so that if the nurse who owns the box on the floor wants to get anything out of it she has to take down the other nine boxes that are piled on top of it. There is not even room for a chair in the room. If a nurse wants to write a letter she has to try and do it by sitting on the side of the bed. There is no sitting-room for them. When they come off duty they have no place to go to except their bedroom. There are 1,140 patients in that hospital and about 180 nurses and attendants. If the sum of £54,000 was available it could be very easily spent on that hospital in making additions to it, and equipping it as it ought to be equipped. The ratepayers in the three contributing counties are not in a position to put up the money required to have the necessary work done.

The county maternity hospital is an old workhouse building. It is in a very bad state of repair. The roof was so bad that we had to take it down because we feared it might fall on the patients and kill them. The county infirmary at Navan is in much the same condition. In spite of that we have provided two sets of X-ray apparatus. It is not that the ratepayers are unwilling to do all this necessary work, but they are unable to afford the cost. It is absolutely necessary, in the interests of the welfare of the poor in these counties, that these institutions should be put into a proper condition. I think it would be unjust that the Dublin hospitals simply because they are called voluntary hospitals should get all this money and that nothing should be given to the county infirmaries.

There is a county infirmary in Navan which is partly voluntary and partly supported by the rates. There are county infirmaries also in Kildare, Mullingar and Westmeath. All these are just as much voluntary institutions as the Dublin hospitals and are as much entitled to get some of the money that is available from the sweeps. I think it would be a grave injustice, particularly on the poor people in the rural districts, if they were to be deprived, by the passing of this amendment, of getting the facilities that they are so badly in need of in their local hospitals.

It is quite evident from this debate that many Senators look at this subject from different points of view. All seem to be rather well acquainted with the subject. It is easy to see, I think, that money could be unwisely spent on county hospitals whether they are rate-aided or otherwise, and also that a good deal of money could be spent wisely on them. I am not in favour of any amendment which would prevent the Minister from spending any of this money on rate-aided hospitals, because in some cases I am quite certain that it is proper and desirable that some of it should be spent in that way.

I am not at all certain that the section as it stands is quite satisfactory. As it stands it places a tremendous amount of responsibility on the Minister. I do not know whether he is quite happy about that. I know I should not be very happy about it if I were in his position. As to whether the Minister shall not spend the whole of the one-third on rate-aided hospitals is left entirely to his discretion. That may be a wise way of doing it, provided he is capable of dealing with all the demands that will be made upon him. It rests with the Minister to say whether he thinks it is satisfactory or not. If the amendment were accepted it might result in a better section being put into the Bill than the one that is in it, and for that reason I am prepared to vote for it. I find myself in a rather difficult position, because in so far as the amendment would preclude the Minister from having any money spent on rate-aided hospitals, I am not in favour of it.

There seems to be an idea in the Seanad, particularly amongst some Senators who have spoken, that the proceeds of these sweepstakes have nothing whatever to do with the relief of rates. On that I want to ask the Seanad a question. In the country it has been said that there are no voluntary hospitals. What sum of money would be required from the ratepayers of the City of Dublin if the voluntary hospitals in the city were non-existent? I say that when you help the voluntary hospitals in Dublin through sweepstakes you are doing the work that the ratepayers of Dublin should do to the extent of 25 per cent. of their accommodation. Therefore, the hospitals in Dublin have got rate relief under the Principal Act. In view of that, why should there be all this talk about refusing to help the rate-aided hospitals in the country? Indirectly the hospitals in Dublin are getting that relief. I see no reason why there should be any differentiation between the Dublin hospitals and the country hospitals.

There is great need for good central institutions in each county where the needs of the poor can be dealt with. The law provides that the poor be given treatment out of the moneys raised by the rates. That work cannot be done on as big a scale as it should be. The reason is that the money is not there. The work can now be done when money is made available from the distribution under this scheme. The spending of that money will be under the supervision of the Minister for Local Government. He will have control over that money. The Dublin hospitals get their share in a lump sum, and there is no supervision. The Minister for Local Government will know the needs of the various institutions throughout the country and can be relied upon to see that it is spent to the best advantage. No case has been made for the amendment. In the case of the Dublin hospitals, the sweepstake money was given to them, and, as I pointed out, it went towards the relief of the rates. The same should be done in the case of the county hospitals.

I am entirely against the amendment. I think there has been a great deal of unprofitable discussion on this question whether country hospitals are going to be given some of this money and whether it is to go to the relief of the rates or not. As Senator O'Hanlon pointed out, the underlying idea of these sweepstakes was to help certain hospitals. The sweepstakes reached a degree of success that nobody ever anticipated. We have got now to adjust our minds to a sensible and profitable spending of the very large sums of money available. It is impossible to say what the total of these sweepstakes will be. Three have been held already, and to the hospitals concerned they have brought a sum of £1,270,000. The first sweep brought in a sum of £131,000 odd. The second sweep brought in a sum of about £539,000, and the third brought in over £600,000.

Therefore if you take an average for the further nine sweeps, it is not unfair to place the figure at £425,000. I should like to say a few words about the voluntary hospitals. There is quite a lot in what the last Senator said, that, in a way, these hospitals are assisted by rates. I think that quite a number of them are getting funds from sources which derive assistance from rates. It is a quibble, I think, to differentiate between them and hospitals that are definitely supported by the rates. The whole question we have to decide is whether this is an equitable way to spend the money. I do not quite agree with Senator The McGillycuddy's figure, but it is very close to mine. The result will be that the voluntary hospitals will get roughly £3,810,000, and they have had £1,270,000 already. That figure of £3,810,000 is a conservative estimate, if the success of the sweepstakes continues. The figure may be larger than that. It may be smaller, but I have taken the average. The amount will go to these hospitals which were in debt.

What does this question amount to? We must trust somebody in this world. We have, first of all, got to trust the body set up as being a competent body to go into the affairs of the hospitals. We must also place reliance on the governing bodies of these hospitals to act in an ordinary, business-like commonsense way. If we do not do that, we shall be poking our noses into details which should not come before us at all. We are not setting up, as some people seem to think, a hospital system as a State institution. We are making the best of what one may call a windfall, and so long as we see that the money is spent on the lines existing at present, to the benefit of the whole country, we shall be doing our duty. I should say that any community of business-men would consider £1,800,000 sufficient to put these hospitals in an efficient state. Nobody dreamed of that amount two years ago. It is quite a large sum. That leaves £2,000,000 for investment. Of course, if the governors of these hospitals do not invest, but spend all their money, we cannot defend their action. We hope, however, that they are not going to do that. Take the hospital that has been mentioned—the National Maternity Hospital.

They have received £88,000 from the three sweeps. They ought to have sufficient for capital expenditure and a sum which will give them an income bigger than they had before for supporting the material result of that expenditure. I see no reason why that should not be done by the governing bodies of these hospitals. On the other hand, the county hospitals have an income from the rates. The sum they are to get under this scheme will be about £1,270,000. If I were to be told that improvements to the tune of £1,270,000 could be made in three years out of rates, I would say it would be impossible. This sum is making possible what was impossible before. To say that that is in relief of rates is like one of those arguments of philosophy which used to take place in the Middle Ages. It is making possible what I personally think is absolutely necessary—that the county hospitals should be made less like jails than they are in many places. Though the county hospitals are supported by rates, I think there are not many people taking a great interest in them. I should like to see the people of the counties take an interest in their hospitals. They have an opportunity under this Bill of doing so. It is specifically stated that this money shall be devoted to capital expenditure. I see no reason to doubt that the authority set up—the Minister for Local Government and Public Health —will carry out all the duties in an efficient and satisfactory manner. If the Minister did not do that, there would be so much criticism that a change would have to be effected. It would be a great pity to alter in any way the amounts that are to be paid, respectively, to the voluntary hospitals and the county hospitals. The figure has been arrived at as a rough compromise between parties who—quite unnecessarily—fought over the question. I do not think that amongst medical men or hospital authorities in the cities of Dublin, Cork, Limerick or elsewhere this money for the county hospitals is grudged at all. I think the majority of them agree that this is a very reasonable and common-sense way of dealing with a question which is much larger than anybody anticipated it would be.

I am glad to hear from the last speaker that this one-third portion to the county hospitals is not grudged by the voluntary hospitals, because, during the course of the debate, I had a suspicion that it was really grudged. After hearing the speech made by my friend Senator Wilson, and the speech by my friend Senator Duffy, I think there can be only one decision arrived at by the Seanad with regard to this amendment—that is, that the county hospitals should get one-third of the new windfall. It seemed to me that the voluntary hospitals, having got more than they expected, and being richer than ever they hoped to be, were now becoming avaricious.

That seemed to me to be the case. They seemed to me to be becoming avaricious, and to desire that their poor relations throughout the country should not get anything. I am glad to hear from Senator Farren that that is not the case. Why, then, should there be any dispute at all about this matter? Let this one-third be given to the county hospitals, and let this amendment be withdrawn. If it is not withdrawn I would recommend the Seanad to vote against it.

As one who took a keen interest in this question of sweepstakes in aid of the hospitals I should like to say a few words on this question. There has been a suggestion that the voluntary hospitals are so avaricious that they do not want the county hospitals to obtain a share of the proceeds of the sweepstakes. I deny that. It is absolutely untrue. I think I know something about the Dublin voluntary hospitals. The only anxiety the people in control of the Dublin voluntary hospials have is to attend God's poor. If that can be done equally well in other parts of the country they will be delighted. It is somewhat discreditable to us that we should have all this discussion with regard to the "division of the spoils," and that unpleasant things should have been said in connection with this particular matter.

It is only fair to say that those of us who supported this scheme of sweepstakes for the hospitals did so because we saw no other way of procuring the money necessary to attend to the sick poor. It was the only solution open for the dreadful situation which had arisen with regard to the voluntary hospitals.

The proposal under discussion now has reference to the right of the county hospitals to receive a share of the proceeds of the sweepstakes. I must congratulate, at the outset, Senators Duffy and Vincent on the manner in which they dealt with the subject. There is no difference of opinion, so far as I know, amongst the people responsible for the voluntary hospitals in Dublin on this matter. They do not grudge the county hospitals their share of the sweepstake proceeds. They are perfectly satisfied, as I think most right thinking people are satisfied, with the provision in the Bill—two-thirds to go to the voluntary hospitals and one-third to be handed into the custody of the Minister for Local Government and Public Health, who shall have power to allot the money, under specific regulations laid down in the Bill, to hospitals in the country which need assistance to enable them to look after the sick poor. Is not that the business-like way of dealing with the situation? Surely nobody will suggest that it is only the sick poor in Cork, Limerick, Waterford or Dublin that should be attended to. Do not we all wish to see the sick poor, no matter from what part of Ireland they come, receiving the treatment which they are entitled under the law of God to receive? Do we not all desire to see the means placed at the disposal of those in control of the hospitals throughout the country which will enable them to treat the sick poor? Personally, I should be very glad to see the county hospitals properly equipped. Those who have had any association with the hospitals in Dublin know that most of the beds in the voluntary hospitals have been occupied for many years by patients from the country districts to the exclusion of the poor of the City of Dublin. That is well known. Everybody who is acquainted with conditions in the Dublin hospitals knows that it is almost impossible for the Dublin poor to get into the voluntary hospitals, because the beds are occupied by patients from the country who are paid for by the local authority or recommended by subscribers.

If for no other than the selfish desire to see the sick poor in Dublin properly provided for in the Dublin hospitals, I should be glad to see the county hospitals so equipped that the people from those areas would be able to receive proper treatment in them without bringing unfortunate sick and crippled people from all parts of Ireland into the Dublin hospitals.

I hope, in the discussions that are taking place on this Bill, we will get away from this idea of "dividing the spoils." I do not like talk of that nature. It is unsavoury. We have introduced this system of raising money because we were not able otherwise to cater for our sick poor in a proper way. For goodness sake, let us regard the matter from that point of view and let us not talk about discreditable methods or anything of that kind. This scheme has been successful—more successful than we anticipated. Let us not do anything to damage it. At least, we have proved this—the world admits it—that the organisation behind these sweepstakes has been the best of its kind ever known. I go further and say that the purchasing public of the world—the people who have subscribed for these tickets—are perfectly satisfied that never in the history of the world has a draw taken place under fairer conditions than the draws which have taken place under this Act. Having made that reputation and got to the point where we can raise money for this great social service which we want to see established, let us not be quarrelling about the spoils. Personally, if Dublin has enough I am satisfied. I do not say that in a selfish way, but I say, no matter where a hospital is, if it requires assistance to enable it to look after God's poor, in the name of God give it to it and do not be quarrelling about it.

I am very pleased to notice the change in the tone of the debate in the Seanad from that which obtained on the last occasion that this matter was under discussion. I am glad that the general body of the Seanad are desirous of assisting the poor not alone of the City of Dublin but of the rural areas of the Saorstát.

I wonder if the Senator who moved this amendment speaks for the county from which he comes or merely for himself? I think it is not at all fair that if a mistake was made in that county and money spent on a private sanatorium which was not suitable other portions of the country should suffer. I come from a county which has gone to considerable expense within the last few years in providing accommodation for the suffering poor. They provided a sanatorium at a cost of £5,000. Heretofore, what was the course open to an unfortunate individual suffering from consumption? He might either die at home in his own little cabin, thus spreading the disease perhaps to a whole family, or he might go into Peamount or some other such institution. The Seanad should remember that patients were not sent to Peamount free of expense. Peamount had to be paid fees for treatment of the patients. Now, in the county from which I come we have provided about seventy beds for the poor, and we can accommodate the people who have a prospect of improvement. We can also relieve the people who are infected and who have families, so that they will not be the means of spreading the disease. To my mind, that is an exceptional advantage to the people of the county.

Then, again, as regards the county hospitals, we are, according to the Local Government Department, bound to appoint competent surgeons in the hospitals—men of standing in their professions. At present, we are engaged in capital expenditure on our county hospital amounting to £7,000. We should then have the necessary equipment for the treatment of the patients. Heretofore, our patients had to be taken to Dublin. Very often an accident will occur in a rural district and there is no accommodation. There are no means of conveying the patient to Dublin. If there is no ambulance available what is to be done? The patient might die before he would be half-way to Dublin, whereas if there was proper accommodation in the county hospital he could be treated there. That is what we are trying to do—to provide accommodation for the poor who have been so long neglected. That Dublin should be well provided as regards hospitals is as it should be. We do not grudge Dublin its up-to-date hospitals but we think we are entitled to do the best we can for the treatment of the sick poor in the country districts. We must remember that the ordinary poor man in a country district has no means of getting to Dublin. If he does get there, he has not the wherewithal to pay for hospital accommodation. Neither can he pay fees, whereas if he could go into his own local hospital and get proper treatment at reduced fees it would be of great advantage to him.

I am delighted to find that the overwhelming majority of the House are imbued with a spirit of fair play and a spirit of sympathy with the people of the rural districts who have made such a great effort in the past to provide accommodation for their poor. We are asked by Senator The McGillycuddy of the Reeks how we could spend £60,000. I will tell him how in a small county we will spend it. We are forced to provide accommodation for mental hospital cases at a cost of something like £40,000. We are spending £7,000 on the county hospital and £5,000 on a sanatorium. We have a number of district hospitals, too, that require attention. I can assure the Senator that there will be very little difficulty in spending £56,000 in providing accommodation in the counties for the sick poor, and that that money will be by way of capital expenditure and not in relief of rates. It is only fair we should have proper equipment for the treatment of our sick in the county hospitals.

On the Second Reading of this Bill I opposed Section 6, to which this is an amendment. I gave my reasons. I considered that Section 6 introduced a new principle altogether. Personally, I should like to see the difficulty created by that section got over, but I do not think that the amendment proposed by Senator The McGillycuddy would get over it. Two amendments which follow this amendment will be discussed later, and they will go some length, at all events, towards clearing the situation. To my mind, the situation is anything but clear. I agree absolutely with what Senator Dr. Gogarty said in connection with hospital organisation generally. There seems to be confusion of thought regarding the whole situation. That is due to the fact that we, laymen, are confronted with the making of a decision which should, in the first instance, be taken by a board of medical men. How can we decide whether the present organisation of hospitals throughout the country is either efficient or economical? It has been suggested that those putting forward and supporting this amendment grudge the amount of money which is being given to the sick poor. I feel that they are just as anxious about the sick poor as anybody else. I should not like to think that any man, no matter what party he belonged to, would grudge money necessary for the nursing of the sick poor. I feel that those Senators desire to do the right thing and that they are put into their present position by want of knowledge. I believe, with Senator Dr. Gogarty, that a special commission should be appointed to inquire into hospital administration throughout the country —whether there should be county centralisation or provincial centralisation, or whether three or four counties should have centralised accommodation and be linked up with the city hospitals. Let that decision be come to, and let the allocation of money be left in the hands of a committee or in the hands of the Minister acting through a committee, with the sanction of the Oireachtas. Until such time as that is done, I do not think it is right or proper to hand over this money to these organisations throughout the country and to give them carte blanche under conditions laid down by the Minister without reference to the Oireachtas as to what these conditions shall be. The section to which this is an amendment specifically places in the hands of the Minister the right to hand out the money to a particular county home or infirmary and neglect, if he thinks fit, some other county home. I think that that will end in confusion. As these institutions are organised at present—and I am not saying that the present organisation is a fit one—allocations should be made only on the recommendation of a committee which has medical knowledge and a national outlook with regard to the hospital services generally.

This is an interesting debate. Senator Farren converted me to the sweepstake principle in favour of the Dublin hospitals, and I voted in favour of that principle. I have listened to-day to a speech from Senator Vincent. I hope we will hear the Senator again, because it seemed to me to be a weighty and a wise speech. The question of the relief of the rates is, to my mind, an obstacle to the hospital sweepstakes. I am aware that the hospitals in Dublin get certain assistance in lieu of rates in respect of patients from the country who are treated in these institutions. This, of course, is a question of money. I think the suggestion made by the last speaker as regards a commission is a very advisable one. This commission could go into the whole question and advise the Government as to what course they ought to pursue.

The question of rating is mixed up in the hospital sweepstakes. There is no doubt about it that county hospitals should have as good a right to proper treatment in financial matters as the Dublin hospitals. There is the question of the proceeds from sweepstakes being given in relief of local rates. That is a very great danger, and it may be that it will have further consequences. At the same time, I agree that county hospitals should be treated in the same way as the hospitals in Dublin or Cork, or any other city. Of course it is all a question of money. It may be that we shall interfere with the hospital sweepstakes. Other countries make laws, and they may object to the Free State taking money out of their citizens' pockets to pay off public debt. Of course, the sweepstake principle, or the lottery principle, is a bad one. We should be very careful how far we proceed in the direction of a national lottery. I will vote for Senator The McGillycuddy of the Reeks' amendment if he presses it, but I think that the proper course would be to appoint a committee of responsible people who will advise the Government eventually, and who will go into the question de novo.

There is a good deal of discussion about Section 6. I consider it is the best drawn section in the whole Bill. I do not approve of Senator The McGillycuddy of the Reeks' amendment. I think it is a very wise provision to give the Minister for Local Government power to deal with the hospitals which are wholly, or partly, maintained by a local authority. There has been a good deal of discussion about county infirmaries, but no county infirmary has been mentioned here. We are told that county infirmaries receive money from local rates. That applies to nearly all the hospitals. If we consider the hospitals that have already received contributions from the proceeds of sweepstakes, we will find that they have received fully one-third of the amount of their available surplus. We are giving the Minister a very wise discretion, and I am sure he will use that discretion properly. I think we should deal with the hospital system as a whole. I do not think we should deal with the hospitals in Dublin and the hospitals in the country separately; they must be dealt with as a whole. I hope that ultimately there will be one scheme embracing all the hospitals.

We are in the very happy position to-day of having a full-dress debate in connection with the distribution of finance, very little of which we subscribe ourselves. It was hard to avoid getting excited and enthused when Senator O'Hanlon spoke of the great future in store for the hospitals. The only thing we require to complete the picture is some provision to have bigger and better graveyards.

And more people to put into them.

As one who supported the sweepstake idea, I can use nothing but words of praise for those who have made the scheme such a success. I am very doubtful as to the psychological effect of the proposal in Section 6 in countries where the sweepstake is run in defiance of the law. That applies to most countries. That is my only concern. The question of giving relief, or distributing the money amongst the different hospitals, is really beside the mark, once the objective is good and the ultimate result beneficial. I am just wondering whether we are not travelling in the direction of drying up the source of this fairy gold. The money has come in such quantities that it looks almost like fairy gold. It would be unfortunate if, as a result of a tussle over its division, or the adoption of bad principles in its distribution, we should dry up the source. In other words, it would be unfortunate if we should drive Governments that are just pretending to be suppressing it, but are not actually doing so, into doing something that would make our sweepstake impossible in their different countries.

A Prime Minister in a country from which a great amount of the money for sweepstakes comes gave a very angry interview to Press representatives after the last sweep, and he indicated a determination on the part of his Government to take steps to prevent the next sweep being such a success. A threat like that cannot be taken lightly. That was at a time when almost everybody believed that the sweepstakes were in aid of hospitals supported by a charitable public, through the medium of voluntary contributions.

If opponents of our sweepstakes and those who are jealous of our sweepstakes elsewhere use this further provision as an argument, there may be sufficient pressure brought to bear on the Governments of other countries to take the necessary steps to prevent future sweepstakes here being a success. Any nation can do that if it wants to. If the necessary penalties are imposed very few people will be prepared to take the risks. That is my only consideration in regard to the matter—the danger of drying up what has been a splendid well-spring up to the present. Senator O'Hanlon said that there should be no more interference with sweepstakes. I agree. We should not interfere in any way for the present. That is why, yesterday, I opposed new regulations that in my opinion would interfere with a scheme that has been working very smoothly.

I agree with everything that Senators Duffy, Farren, Toal and Vincent said with regard to the deplorable condition of the county hospitals—some of them, in any case. But is not that a pitiful admission to send out to the world? Fancy these statements about barbarous conditions being circulated through the medium of the Parliamentary Debates throughout the whole world! It is an admission that we are living under conditions bordering on barbarity, as Senator Duffy described them. Why are we living under these conditions? Simply because we refuse to subscribe the necessary rates, in the case of rate-supported hospitals, that would put them into a civilised condition. Because we cannot afford to do that, and because we have not a sufficient sense of what is necessary under modern social conditions, we refuse to subscribe the rates. We must then go out as the world's mendicants and get the money that we are not prepared to pay ourselves as ratepayers or taxpayers. That is a deplorable condition of affairs.

Senators have submitted cases that would bring tears to one's eyes as a justification for the adoption of a certain course of action. Senator O'Hanlon said that a large amount of money would be required to put the rate-supported hospitals into a suitable condition. He said that the farmers cannot afford to pay more rates than they are paying. We are not able to pay the rates we are supposed to pay and then we must get the money from some place outside this country.

[Mr. Dowdall took the Chair.]

Other Senators proceeded along the same lines. The suggestion was that we should either not accept any responsibility for hospitals at all as ratepayers or taxpayers, or else we should put them into a suitable condition. It is either right or wrong that the provision of hospital treatment for the sick poor is a charge on the State or on the local authority. To a certain extent we have accepted it in the case of rate-supported hospitals. We have admitted here that we have not fulfilled our obligations and now we have to collect money from the world in order to do what we, as ratepayers, have refused to do. The care of the sick poor should be a charge on the State. It is surely as necessary to care for the sick poor as it is to provide for prisons and for mental hospitals. Senator Duffy mentioned one mental hospital, or, in other words, a lunatic asylum, that is supposed to benefit from the sweepstakes. It is a deplorable state of affairs that we have to collect money, through sweepstakes, for the maintenance of our unfortunate insane.

The estimates that have to be made are absolutely problematical. Senator The McGillycuddy of the Reeks said he went on a conservative estimate. I doubt if he did. Senator O'Hanlon was certainly wildly optimistic. He talked about having five or six million pounds within the next three years from sweepstakes. I sincerely hope we do. Let us take care, however, that our attitude in regard to this Bill may not mean reducing even Senator The McGillycuddy of the Reeks' estimate of the proceeds. In any case, we are entirely dependent upon the good will and the gambling instincts of people outside our own shores and the toleration of Governments in other countries.

Senator Duffy gave an instance of a hospital built 70 or 80 years ago, and he mentioned that the walls of the room in which the nurses slept had never been plastered. Is not that a frightful accusation against the people who are responsible for running that place? They would not even raise a sufficient amount to plaster the walls of the interior of the building.

In view of the volume of support in favour of the proposal, it is exceedingly difficult to oppose it. I would like to take the line suggested by Senator O'Doherty. A proper committee of inquiry should be established to examine the general conditions and to see what are the best and least objectionable methods of applying to the relief of the sick poor without, if possible, going to the relief of rates, the money derived through sweepstakes. If the money is applied in the manner laid down in the Bill it will be said everywhere that it is merely a question of relieving ratepayers of their responsibilities, their very solemn responsibilities. These hospitals are, in the main, supported almost directly through the rates. If the general belief is that we are relieving the ratepayers of their responsibilities that will be the straw that will break the camel's back, and that will tend to make these sweepstakes, that have been such a brilliant success in the past, a failure, much sooner than we might anticipate.

I resent one statement made by Senator O'Farrell. He said that the money will be spent on the maintenance of patients in hospitals. That is not what is intended at all. The real claim is to permit hospitals to carry out necessary extensions, and to instal new equipment, and so bring them up-to-date. It is not the intention to maintain the patients, and I resent the suggestion. It has been stated that the people are unwilling to pay for the maintenance of these hospitals. That is not so. In many cases the fact is that the ratepayers are unable to pay.

I am opposed to the amendment. I cannot understand the attitude of the mover of the amendment when it is obvious that he must know something about the conditions in the country. There are two classes of poor patients who, ordinarily, are expected to receive free medical and surgical treatment in our hospitals. We have the very poor who are entitled to treatment according to law. They are the patients who have no visible means. The poor law defines the people who are entitled to medical treatment as those who have no visible means; in other words, no material property. That type of patient is either treated in the Dublin hospitals or takes advantage of the alternative treatment in county hospitals, at the expense of the ratepayers. The other class of patient I have in mind is the small farmer. Possibly he would have other means of living, such as fishing, or road work, or working for large farmers. If the poor law is strictly defined, this type of patient would not be entitled to any treatment for which the rates would be liable.

That class of patient seems to have been completely overlooked. These people, while not being entitled to any free medical or surgical treatment, have to contribute to the rates from their little properties towards the relief of others. When it was suggested that those small farmers should contribute towards the maintenance and equipment of hospitals, it was admitted that there were many of them who could not afford to contribute. It has been suggested that it would be a good thing if a committee were set up to examine this question. I think it would be most appropriate if a committee examined the claims of the class of patient I have referred to. Very often these unfortunate people have to travel long distances to central hospitals, and if they have to visit specialists in Dublin it means a huge, and an almost unbearable, expense. I have no hesitation in saying that it is really a nightmare to a poor man in the country, when serious or protracted illness occurs in his family.

Several Senators have asked for a committee of inquiry, which will investigate the allocation of these funds. I think the time is appropriate to appoint such a committee, and when these windfalls are ready for distribution the patients to whom I have referred should be remembered.

Senator The McGillycuddy of the Reeks mentioned, when opening this discussion, that the will to give on the part of the people in this country, who could afford to give, ceased, and that caused the introduction of the sweepstakes. The sweepstakes have not been brought about in that way. The will to take has developed, and the people who could afford to give, and who did not give, are ready to take now, because the sweepstakes have been such a success. No matter how the Minister may contend that no attempt will be made to relieve the rates through this Bill, I believe it would be very difficult for him to resist approaches from various people throughout the country for assistance for their particular hospitals. His job certainly will be a very difficult one. All the hospitals throughout the country will suddenly discover that their equipment is out-of-date, and their buildings are entirely antiquated. They will undoubtedly want relief.

I submit that it is the fundamental duty of the State to look after its sick poor. The State that does not do that is failing in a fundamental duty. It is deplorable that the State should take advantage of these sweepstakes to relieve themselves of a responsibility. Instead of calling this a Public Charitable Hospitals Bill it ought to be called a Sweepstakes Bill for the Relief of the Ratepayers, because that is what it comes to in the end. Everybody seems to be delighted to have an opportunity of relieving the ratepayers through this means, although many of them objected to the scheme when it was introduced.

This is rather a curious discussion, because, excepting towards the end of the debate, nobody said a word in favour of the amendment, not even the proposer himself. The effect of the amendment is that the rate-aided hospitals shall not be entitled to receive a single farthing, and yet, through the whole of the speech of Senator The McGillycuddy of the Reeks, he seemed to go on the assumption that they should get something. If the Senator thought they should get something, it seems strange that he did not make that proposal instead of the proposal which he has put before the House to the effect that they should receive nothing. The one point at issue, and the point which the House, if it divides on this amendment, will have to decide is: should the county hospitals, and other institutions of that nature, receive money from the proceeds of the sweep?

There has been a certain amount of acrimony brought into the debate by partisans on both sides. I heard attacks on hospital boards in Dublin, how they would get enormous sums of money, and that they would inevitably waste the money. I heard attacks upon the poor law authorities, the boards of health, etc., and statements that if they got money they would inevitably waste it. With the exception of the outspoken opinions of one Senator, there seems to be a universal idea that all the hospitals consist of beggars on horseback, and all the county authorities consist of exactly the same. We are told that if we give them money they will do away with it. There is no justification for such statements, and there is no foundation for spreading the belief that the hospitals are going to waste the money.

I do not think it is fair to make such statements. It does not appear to me to be a fair thing to do. It is not right to spread the idea that if county authorities get the money they must inevitably waste that money. That is merely giving quite a wrong impression to the world at large.

We heard what I consider, at any rate, to be two very ingenious speeches directed towards injuring the whole of this hospital sweepstakes scheme. I have in mind especially Senator O'Farrell's speech. Of course, in a way, indirectly, you can say that this is in aid of the rates. If you have a perfectly doctrinaire mind and nothing else, no broad view, and no real commonsense behind you, you can say that this is in aid of rates. In theory it may be, but in practice we know perfectly well that it cannot be. Everybody knows that certain work will, in fact, be done out of the rates, and that other work will not be done out of the rates. This money will go to do the work which we know, in fact, will not be done out of the rates. We know that improvements are required in certain hospitals in Dublin and also in certain hospitals in the country. We know perfectly well that these improvements will never be carried out if it is left to the ratepayers to do them. The boards of health will say: "What is there is quite good enough." The real explanation is that they simply take too low a standard. We think that that standard can be raised, and it can be raised by means of this money. That will not save the ratepayers of the country one farthing, and, therefore, this money does not go in relief of rates. It may be, theoretically, in relief of the rates which Senator O'Farrell thinks ought to be spent, but it certainly is not in relief of the rates which are collected out of the ratepayers' pockets. In my judgment, at any rate, this money cannot be considered as going in relief of the rates.

Senator The McGillycuddy of the Reeks stated that this Section 6 was hastily drawn up and very ill-considered. I think he said it was the result of a compromise. The selection of one-third was the result of compromise in the Dáil. The Bill, as originally introduced, suggested 25 per cent. of the available surplus. There was an amendment put forward by a gentleman on the Front Bench of the Opposition to the effect that it should be raised to 50 per cent. The Bill was treated in the Dáil entirely as a nonpolitical measure, as it really is. Finally, more or less by way of compromise at the very end, one-third was fixed. That is the only thing which has anything of the sign of compromise about it. No section has been more carefully thought out or drafted—for that matter re-drafted—and on no section has more time been given, or have more people interested in hospitals been seen, than this particular section. It is not right to say that this is a hastily-conceived or carelessly-drafted section.

There is one thing I would like to refer to again. It is a matter which I just touched upon a few minutes ago, and Senator Vincent also touched upon it. He said that the voluntary hospitals did not object to this sum being given to the local hospitals. I believe that is so; I am pretty convinced that is so.

No protest as to the proportion to be given to the local hospitals has come from the Hospitals' Committee. I believe the Hospitals' Committee are perfectly satisfied with this. I would like to know from Senator The McGillycuddy if any voluntary hospital approached him and asked him to bring this forward.

Therefore, we have this position, that the local bodies are satisfied with the share that they are going to get. I believe that the other hospitals, the voluntary hospitals, as we call them, are satisfied with the share that they are going to get. The parties interested are satisfied and yet the House spends a considerable time debating this. I venture to suggest that the amendment should not be accepted.

I have very little to say. I am still convinced that I was perfectly right in putting before the House a warning that very possibly, in a short time, there may be a change in the financial circumstances, and that some of this money might be better spent than in the way proposed. The time to discuss the question of the hospitals is when Bills of this kind come before the House. You cannot go round the street talking to people about them, or write to the newspapers. The place to talk about them is in this House. These financial propositions are entirely my own. I was not approached by any hospital, and I am sorry the Minister should have suggested that. I said at the start that I did not grudge the county hospitals adequate equipment. I still hold to that. The main question that I wanted to have discussed by the House was whether the money that we hoped to get in the next few years was going to be spent to the best advantage. This is a national undertaking legalised by an Act of the Oireachtas. Whatever Senators may say about it, the moment that we legalised it it put on us a certain amount of responsibility. We cannot just say that we hope the governing body of the hospitals will invest the money to the best advantage. If the governing bodies fail to do that and come along later saying that the voluntary subscriptions are not coming in and that thereby their income is reduced, what is the Minister going to do? He is responsible for putting the Bill through. Why not make provision for the investment of this money? The Minister misunderstood me on one point. I did not say that Section 6 was hastily drafted. I said that the direction to the Minister as it stands is a compromise between several conflicting proposals, none of which, to my mind, have been adequately examined. That is what I said and what I meant. As I find that the feeling of the House is against my proposal I ask leave to withdraw it.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
(1) One-third of the available surplus in any sweepstake held under the Principal Act shall be paid to the Minister for Local Government and Public Health and shall be applied by him in such manner as he shall think fit in or towards the provision, improvement, or equipment of institutions for the prevention, treatment, or cure of physical or mental diseases or injuries of human beings.

On behalf of Senator Hooper I move amendment 14: Section 6, sub-section (1). To delete in line 5 the word "provision."

I hope that the consideration of this amendment will not take as long as the last one. The Minister has stated time and again that it is not the intention of the State to allow this money to be used for the relief of rates. The object of the amendment is to ensure that none of it will be spent on putting up buildings. It is contended that the word "provision" in this section would give the Minister power to put up new buildings if he so desired. In the Bill as originally drafted the word "provision" did not occur, and as far as I know no authority was given for its inclusion. One can visualise a deputation coming from South Mayo and asking the Minister to sanction the allocation of a sum of money for the building of a hospital in that area, or possibly, a library. We can picture the difficulty the Minister would be in in a situation like that. If he agreed to give a certain sum of money for that purpose it is likely that shortly afterwards he would have a deputation waiting on him from Waterford or some other centre asking him to allocate money for a building in that area. I think if this word is allowed to remain in the section it will have the effect of creating a vicious circle. I do not think that the removal of it is going to make any great difference. All it will do is to ensure that the money will not be spent on the erection of new buildings.

I ask the House not to accept the amendment. It may be that new buildings will be provided. You may have a county infirmary that may require an extension. That extension may be put up 50 yards away from the present buildings. If it is thought proper to do that, I do not see why it should not be allowed. I agree with the Senator that I think it is rarely the question will arise. I feel that a discretion should be left to the Minister. What will happen is this. If a county board of health wishes to participate it will have to send up a scheme to the Minister stating what they want, what is the estimated cost of the work, and what are their needs. The medical and ordinary inspectors of the Local Government Department will visit that centre and will be able to judge for themselves as to what the real needs of the hospitals are, whether the work proposed ought to be done completely out of the rates, or whether it should be semi-rate-aided. The Minister need not accept every scheme. He will be the judge as to whether it is right or not.

Senator Foran, in moving the amendment, said he was sorry for the Minister, that pressure would be brought to bear on him. Ministers have to stand up to pressure. I can assure the House that the Minister for Local Government is quite used to pressure, and that it comes from every county. If there was pressure from Waterford I am sure there would also be pressure from Mayo, Wexford, and every other county, but that does not matter in the slightest. Surely the Minister and the Department of Local Government will be able to withstand pressure and do what is right?

Amendment put and declared lost.

I move amendment 15:

Section 6, sub-section (1). To add at the end of the sub-section the words "and for this purpose the Minister for Local Government and Public Health shall prepare a scheme."

This amendment, and the one that follows, are in the name of Senator Connolly and myself. It is right to tell the House at the outset that the amendment is in no sense a Party one. I do not think it ought to be a contentious question and therefore I bespeak the attention of the House for the few observations I have to make in support of it. Senators will have observed that the Minister for Justice has very wisely called to his assistance a committee of experts. Section 3 provides for the appointment of a committee of reference. The functions of that committee are to examine the schemes proposed by the voluntary hospitals, to report to the Minister and to assist him. This committee will probably consist of experts. It will be their business to examine the various schemes and to advise the Minister, thereby taking a considerable amount of very onerous work off his shoulders, leaving to him, however, a final decision.

I think that is the plan of the Bill so far as it relates to the two-thirds that is to go to the voluntary hospitals, and, if I may say so, I think it is very wise. With the permission of the House, I would like to have the two amendments debated together. I will accept the decision of the House on the first amendment as governing the second one. My object in the two amendments is to secure that the Minister for Local Government and Public Health shall have the same assistance in relation to the one-third that the Minister for Justice has in relation to the two-thirds.

I agree with Senator Sir Edward Coey Bigger that Section 6 is very well drafted and, with the Minister, I agree that it has been carefully thought out. But this is a new suggestion. The meaning of it is that when you have this committee of reference appointed and when it is going to examine schemes for the voluntary hospitals in relation to the two-thirds of the available surplus, it is desirable that the same committee should have power, at the request of the Minister for Local Government and Public Health, to examine any schemes that he might put before them. They will be experts in the work. They will have special knowledge and will have been selected by the Minister for Justice to assist him. My suggestion is that these same persons should be empowered to help the Minister for Local Government and Public Health in the event of his calling for their assistance. In order to carry out that we are proposing these two amendments to the House. The Minister for Local Government will be the only person who will have the necessary information in regard to the county hospitals. These schemes will be in his office when they are prepared. Amendment 15 proposes to add at the end of sub-section (1) the words set out in the amendment. Amendment 16 reads:—

Section 6, sub-section (2). To insert before the sub-section a new sub-section as follows:—

"(2) The committee of reference appointed under Section 3 of this Act shall, when requested by the Minister for Local Government and Public Health so to do, report to the Minister for Local Government and Public Health as to the proportions in which the said one-third of such available surplus should be divided between the institutions mentioned in such scheme."

I heard the Minister for Justice say, in his reply to the last amendment, that the county boards of health would prepare schemes. It seems to me that something further will have to be done in order to complete the arrangements under Section 6. I submit to the House that the best thing to do is to take advantage of the committee of reference that will be assisting the Minister for Justice. Let that committee report to the Minister for Local Government as to what proportion of the one-third surplus is to be distributed, and to the Minister for Justice as regards the two-thirds. This is not a controversial matter, and it certainly is not a Party matter. We have no interest in this except to improve, if we can, the section in the Bill and to provide for its equitable working so far at least as the one-third available surplus is concerned.

I agree with the Senator that this Bill was not treated as a Party matter in the Dáil. This section especially is non-Party. In the Dáil it received most eulogy from the Party to which the Senator belongs. One of the arguments put forward by the Fianna Fáil Party in the Dáil was that a larger proportion of the available surplus should go to the county hospitals and that provision should be made to see that the money was spent in a proper fashion. I cannot see how the Senator's amendment would work. The Minister for Local Government does not prepare schemes. I suggest that if the word "scheme" in the amendment means anything, it is that the Minister would have to draw up plans and specifications and everything of that kind to be applied to every county in the country. That would create an absolutely hopeless position, because every county will have its own particular needs. What the hospitals require will vary in every single case. I do not see how any Minister could carry out the amendment. Quite apart from the terrible waste of time that would be involved, I do not think it would be possible for him to carry out what is laid down in the amendment. I think you would be putting a burden on him which is beyond human ability to discharge.

As far as the other part of the amendment is concerned, there is a great difference between the Department of Justice and the Department of Local Government in dealing with matters of this sort. The Department of Local Government is accustomed to dealing with work of this kind. It has its medical and other inspectors going around the country. They can see things for themselves, and they know the needs of each particular hospital.

When a board of health sends in its suggestions and states what it wants the Minister for Local Government can get a report from his architects and from his medical inspectors. There is no necessity for him to have any advice. If he wants advice there is nothing to prevent him getting it. Why should there be a necessity to call in somebody for advice as to the spending of, say, £5,000 got out of the hospitals sweeps, and not in the spending of £100,000 collected out of the rates? I cannot see that he would require more expert advice in one case than in the other. I do not see how the amendment could be worked at all.

It has occurred to many Senators that there should be some central body to advise the Minister for Local Government as to the different schemes put before him in view of the fact that a committee of reference is to be set up in connection with the voluntary hospitals. The Minister has just stated that the different county authorities will prepare their schemes and send them to the Minister for Local Government. I understand that these schemes will be examined by the inspectors of the Department, but as far as the House knows, that is the only kind of technical advice the Minister will get as to whether the schemes are good or bad.

I said that if the Minister for Local Government requires expert advice he can get it. There are engineers and architects attached to his Department.

The point made by Senator Comyn is that there is no provision in the Bill making it necessary for the Minister for Local Government to get expert advice. As the Bill is drawn, what will happen is the different counties will prepare their schemes and send them to the Minister for Local Government. If he chooses he may call in somebody to consult as to whether these schemes are good, as to whether the different counties are playing into each other's hands, or whether they are out individually to get all they can grab. He may get advice from his medical or other inspectors, but as far as one can see from the Bill there will be no unified plan for dealing with the matter. Senator O'Doherty put the point in an extremely able way. He said the Bill made no provision to set up a body to advise on the expenditure of this money, and that the whole burden was put on the Minister for Local Government.

Provision is made in the Bill for a committee of reference in the case of the voluntary hospitals. I think what Senator Comyn has in mind is that before the Bill is passed we should have some proposal from the Minister for Local Government as to how he intends to handle the situation. At the moment the Minister has no committee of reference behind him. I think the House ought to consider the matter seriously before the Bill is allowed to leave it in that happy-go-lucky way, trusting the Minister alone to do what is right. Many of us would be much happier if we knew that when schemes were put before the Minister he had some body of experts to advise him. Senator O'Doherty, in his speech, reflected the feelings of many of us when he said there was a gap so far as Clause 6 is concerned with regard to those county schemes. The Minister should certainly have some body to advise him as to the schemes that are put before him. Before the Bill is passed we should have some statement on that.

I wish to support the amendment. If anything, I think the amendment does not go far enough. I am still of the opinion that Section 6 demands that a committee of inquiry should be set up to investigate the whole position with regard to hospital administration throughout the country. The Minister seems to treat us like a lot of babies and says "Rely on the Minister for Local Government as regards the disbursement of this money." The Minister attempted to draw a parallel between the disbursement of £5,000 received from the sweeps and £100,000 raised from the rates. There is no parallel. The Minister should have nothing to do with the disbursement of money that has not been raised by him. He is not responsible for the raising of this money. I am still of opinion that the Minister should only be allowed to disburse the one-third surplus available after he has been in consultation with a committee of experts in connection with the county hospitals.

I do not think that either amendment will achieve what is required. I did not agree with all that Senator Gogarty said to-day but I do agree with what he said on a previous occasion, and what he said then was emphasised to-day by Senator O'Doherty. It was this. Assuming that there is a large sum of money available for the county hospitals that money, if possible, should be used to create some kind of national cohesion between those hospitals and the city hospitals.

I think there is a general desire that that should happen. Adding a few words providing that the Minister "shall prepare a scheme," but not imposing on him the obligation to bring that scheme before the House, will not achieve that. If an amendment could be framed by which a body of doctors would submit a scheme to the Minister or to this House, I would be in favour of it. To add the words "shall prepare a scheme" will not accomplish much, because we know that the Minister will have to prepare a scheme. This is not a Party issue, and there is a pretty general desire amongst a great many people that if there is to be a large sum of money made available for the county hospitals it should be used to bring about more cohesion and co-operation than there is at the present moment.

I am glad that I have found in the House such a measure of agreement—I might almost say unanimity—on the idea underlying these two amendments. Senator Douglas says that he is afraid that the amendment, as drafted, will not achieve what is desired. Perhaps it will not. Perhaps these amendments are not drawn as perfectly as they might for the purpose of achieving the desired object. But those two amendments were drawn with extraordinary thought and consideration. In their drawing, I had the assistance of a gentleman of very great skill and experience. You will scarcely get more skilful assistance in the drawing of amendments than I had in the drawing of those two amendments. Senator Douglas also said that he expected that the Minister for Local Government and Public Health would prepare a scheme. The Minister for Justice had said five minutes before that the various counties would prepare schemes. I quite agree with Senator Jameson that there is a gap in this section which needs to be filled— that something needs to be perfected before this section can work. I think the Seanad will not be acting wisely if they reject these two amendments and substitute nothing for them.

I want to say a few words in favour of the form of these amendments. Designedly amendment No. 15 is drawn in its present form—"and for this purpose the Minister for Local Government and Public Health shall prepare a scheme." That is a general scheme. The idea behind that is that the various counties will send up proposals.

The Minister for Local Government and Public Health and his assistants will be the central authority. He will be, what I might call, the clearing house for all the schemes that will come in from the various counties. Having all this information, he will get his assistants in the Department—very skilful men—to prepare a scheme. That is the meaning of the first of my amendments. A scheme will be prepared by the Minister on the information which he will derive from the various requisitions sent up from the different counties. As regards the second amendment, the Minister having got his assistants to prepare that scheme, I suggest that he ought to have an expert body to advise him. The Minister for Justice has very wisely provided himself with an expert body of three to advise him as to the distribution of the two-thirds. The original Bill dealing with sweepstakes was passed last year or the year before. The Minister for Justice, with the experience gained in that period, provides himself when he comes forward with his amending Bill with a committee of reference. My proposal is that that same committee of reference should be available for the Minister for Local Government and Public Health. I had intended raising another point, but I have lost the note which I made of it. I think I have put all the arguments in favour of these two amendments. If the amendments in their present form are not suitable, I ask the House not to reject them, especially as many Senators are of opinion that something is needed to make the section workable.

As the Minister is absent at the moment, perhaps I would be permitted to make a few observations. I think the House should fully appreciate the intent and purpose of this amendment. What is sought, judging by the comment which has been made, is that a committee should be set up in connection with the allocation of the proportion of the proceeds of the hospital sweepstakes which will go to county and district hospitals, that committee being similar to the committee of reference set up under another portion of the Bill.

I suggest that the same committee should be availed of.

For the same purpose. What is the purpose of this committee of reference set up under the Bill? The purpose of this committee under the Bill is merely to report to the Minister as to the proportions in which two-thirds of the available surplus should be divided between the governing bodies and the reasons for the adoption of such proportions. That has nothing to do with the preparation of schemes. In the speeches made here it was urged that there should be a proper analysis of the schemes put forward. That committee of reference does not report on schemes. If claims are to be analysed and submitted to the Minister, that parallel with the committee of reference established under the Act cannot hold. The reason for setting up this committee of reference under the Bill is that under the existing law no individual has any right to enter the premises of hospitals, examine their books, analyse their reports, or inspect their premises. In order to arrive at some reasonable solution of the problem as to how the money is to be applied and in what proportions, powers are conferred on the Minister to set up a committee of reference. This committee of reference has the right to enter hospitals, inspect books and documents, inspect the premises and report to the Minister as to the proposed allocation of the money resulting from the sweepstakes. There is no necessity, good, bad or indifferent, to set up any such committee in connection with the county or district hospitals. The Minister has all that information already. He has his inspectors, his auditors, his medical experts, his building experts, his engineering experts and his architectural experts going through the country, and it would be sheer redundancy to set up a committee of experts to report on these matters to the Minister. There is no particular wisdom in setting up a committee and calling them a committee of experts simply because they are set up for that specific purpose, when the Minister for Local Government and Public Health has experts in his own Department, under his own control who can furnish him with all the information that he will require.

I cannot see that any purpose would be served by the Seanad adopting this amendment. All the information the Minister requires he has at hand, and no committee of three will be necessarily more expert in respect of the matters upon which they may be called upon to report than the Minister's own experts who are going through the country and who are specially charged with the job.

[The Cathaoirleach resumed the Chair.]

Perhaps I will be permitted to refer to the matter which I had forgotten. I want to call attention to the fact that the committee of reference appointed under the Act 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 two-thirds of such available surplus should be divided under this sub-section between the governing bodies concerned and the reasons for the adoption of such proportions." I would ask the Seanad to do the same thing for the Minister of Local Government and Public Health that is being done for the Minister of Justice.

May I make a suggestion—an obvious one. Three or four Senators have indicated strong reasons why there should be some committee of reference. I suggest that time be given so that these Senators may get together and frame an amendment for Report Stage. Perhaps some understanding could be come to on the matter.

Is not the amendment before the House in proper order?

Senator Douglas said that it was not exactly according to his idea, and Senator Jameson does not seem to think it is right.

I suggest that the movers of this amendment should withdraw it and ask the permission of the House to move an alternative amendment on Report Stage.

As the Minister has now got back, perhaps he would be prepared to accept the amendment.

I have spoken as strongly as possible against the amendment. I cannot see what scheme the unfortunate Minister could draw up.

We have been told since you left that the Minister would draw up a scheme, and you have told us that the county councils will draw up a scheme, so that we really do not know where we are. I think this matter has not been thought out at all.

It has been completely thought out.

Amendment put and declared lost.

I ask for a division.

Division ordered.

Would it be possible for me now to withdraw the amendment and ask leave to bring in a modified amendment?


A division has been called for and we must proceed with it. If the House rejects the amendment now, I shall not allow the same amendment to be moved on Report, as the matter has been sufficiently debated. But a modified amendment might be in order.

The Committe divided: Tá, 10; Níl, 23.

Michael Comyn, K.C.James Dillon.J.C. Dowdall.Sir John Purser Griffith.Right Hon. Andrew Jameson.

Thomas Johnson.Seán E. MacEllin.Colonel Moore.Joseph O'Doherty.Séumas Robinson.


William Barrington.Samuel L. Brown, K.C.Miss Kathleen Browne.R.A. Butler.Mrs. Costello.John C. Counihan.William Cummins.Michael Duffy.Sir Thomas Grattan Esmonde.Thomas Farren.Thomas Foran.Thomas Linehan.

The McGillycuddy of the Reeks.Seán Milroy.James Moran.Sir Walter Nugent.Joseph O'Connor.M.F. O'Hanlon.Bernard O'Rourke.Dr. William O'Sullivan.Michael Staines.A.R. Vincent.Richard Wilson.

Tellers: Tá, Senators Comyn and Robinson; Níl, Senators Miss Browne and O'Hanlon.

Amendment declared lost.
Amendments 16 and 17 not moved.
Question proposed: "That Section 6 stand part of the Bill."

It appears that this section is an interpolation in the scheme of the Bill, it strikes one as being a foreign body imported into the general plan. I have no objection to it on principle. I stated on Second Reading that I could not draw the line that some people did between the nominally private hospital receiving public moneys, whether through rates or contributions, and the public hospitals receiving private patients and private moneys. There are two points to which I should like to draw attention. It seems to me that the first two lines of the Bill should rather have appeared in a Finance Bill because they constitute a 33? per cent. tax upon the income of the Hospitals Committee derived from sweepstakes and presumably the money will be paid into national funds as it is to be paid over to the Minister for Local Government. It is directed that the Minister shall apply the money in a certain way. It can hardly be said with equal conviction in the future that this general sweepstakes scheme is by no means a State scheme, because one-third of the profit, as one may call it, is to be paid to the Department of Local Government and the revenue derived in that way is specifically earmarked for a particular purpose.

Another point is worth calling attention to, though it is not of great importance from my point of view. It may be, however, of great importance from the point of view of other people. When one-third of the surplus is paid into the funds of the State and the Minister is given direction to apply it in a certain way, it seems to me inevitable that the Comptroller and Auditor-General shall be entitled to test whether the amount paid in was in fact one-third of the surplus or not. Of course, he would also satisfy himself that the moneys had been applied in the way directed by the Act. The fact that he had to satisfy himself that one-third of the surplus, as defined by the Act, had been paid into the hands of the Minister would bring the Comptroller and Auditor-General within the scope of this general scheme. Again, it is going to be more and more difficult to affirm in the future that this is by no means a State scheme of sweepstakes.

I cannot agree with what the Senator said, that the Hospitals Committee will pay income tax. I do not see why the Hospitals Committee should pay income tax on income which they do not receive. The proceeds go to the particular hospitals and the Hospitals Committee do not receive any money for themselves. I would be also very much surprised, indeed, if the Comptroller and Auditor-General took the same view of his duties as the Senator has suggested he should.

Section 6 ordered to stand part of the Bill.


I am obliged to rule amendment 18 out of order, because it seeks to amend the Principal Act in a manner inconsistent with the principle of the Bill as read a Second Time.

Section 7 put and agreed to.


As regards amendment 20 (to insert a new section), I am obliged to rule this amendment out of order on the ground that it seeks to amend the Principal Act in a manner inconsistent with the principle of the Bill as read a Second Time.

Without questioning that ruling, might I ask if it is made under Standing Orders?



Under the existing Standing Orders?


Yes. I make a ruling and it is under Standing Orders.

I quite understand.


I want to draw attention to the implications and consequences of this section. The section provides that Section 9 of the Principal Act shall apply to the calculation for the purposes of this Act of the amount of the moneys received from the sale of tickets in a sweepstake. Section 9 of the Principal Act provides, "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, 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."

I intend to vote against the insertion of Section 8 because it means the reenactment, in respect of this Bill, of Section 9 of the Principal Act. The case seems to be that this is a trading organisation, this is a business operation, and must be thought of in terms of trade and business, and not in terms of subscriptions for hospitals. I want to treat it for the moment in that light. The original Act provides that there should be issued an audited statement of the receipts and disbursements. There are other conditions and, presumably, those conditions have been imposed with a definite object. We have been told that the Hospitals Committee are all honourable and competent men, quite able to carry out their duties in this matter, and they can be absolutely trusted. I accept that fully. But conditions have been imposed, and I have always assumed that these conditions were imposed for the assurance of the public, who are the buyers of tickets.

Treating this matter in the way it was treated yesterday, as a business proposition, it would seem that in the view of the majority the only concern that the public have is how the net receipts have been disposed of. Let us say that an article is manufactured in a factory, and let us assume that we are only concerned with how the wholesale manufacturer's receipts have been disposed of. We are not concerned with the difference between what the manufacturer charges his distributors and the price paid by the consumer. We are, so to speak, in the position of a proprietary firm which has a manufacturing and a distributing end. An article is issued and sold to the public in packages, and the price of the package is indicated on the face of each package. The position we take up is this, that going out of the factory the goods are charged at a certain price, and it is no concern of the public what differences there are between the price the factory charges and the price the public pay. If we accept that view, and the House, in the main, has done so, I can quite understand the satisfaction with the maintenance of this clause and with the kind of return which is presented and circulated.

If one thinks of this whole business in terms of contributions raised by way of sweepstakes for hospitals, contributions which are authorised by Act of Parliament, one must take into consideration that there are certain conditions imposed by Act of Parliament, conditions which have had the sanction of the Minister, and there is supposed to be a financial return presented to every member of the House. I submit that the popular view, and the view that was intended to be taken, is that there should be made known what proportion of the amount of money that the public contributed reaches the hospitals, and what proportion is paid away in prizes. With this section in the Act those facts are denied. As Senator Brown pointed out last night, it is quite legal for a certain number of tickets to be given free to the sellers of tickets. The Minister makes a condition that it shall not exceed a certain proportion, but he denies to us a knowledge of what that proportion is. The Hospitals Committee have denied to the public a knowledge of what the proportion is.

In addition to that we allow, by law, that there shall be deducted from the selling price of the tickets all commissions, prizes, and other remuneration given in relation to the sale of such tickets. Whether those commissions are issued by way of free tickets capable of being sold, or whether they are issued in cash, I do not know, and we never shall know. It is impossible to find that out according to the Act, and according to the returns published. The consequence is, clearly, that this statement of receipts and disbursements, though in accordance with the Act and perfectly legal, is pure camouflage, is an empty, hollow pretence, and has no value whatsoever from the point of view of the purchasers of tickets or the public as a whole. It has a value, if we are only concerned with the net amount of money that comes into the coffers of the Hospitals Committee, and if we are only concerned with how they dispose of that proportion of the public contribution. That, to my mind, is extremely unsatisfactory. It was never intended by those who supported the Bill, but who declined to take the warning that there was a gap and a looseness. I think we ought not to perpetuate by positive action the insertion of this provision repeating the original section. We ought not to perpetuate the hollow mockery of an official return.

I think Senator Johnson ought to be asked to withdraw that. He has stated the return is in accordance with the law, and he finishes up his statement by remarking that it is a hollow mockery and a pretence. I do not think that is fair.


That is the Senator's opinion.

My assertion is that the law provides for a hollow mockery.

What Senator Johnson says is perfectly correct, and the Minister confirmed it yesterday. There is no question that all these commissions that are given, and the sale of tickets at the price which we all thought they were being sold at, are perfectly in accordance with the law. When this Act was passed I, for one, had no idea whatever that large commissions were going to be given for the sale of these tickets, or that the tickets were going to be sold at a price less than £5 for each book of twelve. We never dreamed of that. We are now aware of how the Act is working, and we are aware that large sums have to be paid, and that it is essential for the success of the sweep that these moneys must be paid. That is where the difficulty that anybody who does not like these things going on is in. If we were to do what Senator Johnson wants us to do, if this scheme were published in full for the benefit of the world at large, and if it was realised that people who sold these tickets were getting large sums of money, it would probably do away altogether with the success of the sweep. There is no question about that.

Of course, everything is being carried out in a perfectly legal way. All these disbursements are in strict accordance with the scheme submitted to the Minister. They are audited and passed, but they are not disclosed. Their disclosure is forbidden by the section to which the Senator is objecting. If they were disclosed, it is evidently the belief of those who voted against us yesterday that the hospitals' scheme would be wrecked. It would be wrecked, because the people would not subscribe if they knew the immense cost involved in the carrying out of the scheme. There is one point upon which I disagree with the Minister. He says that "as long as the scheme complies with the law and is within the cover of the original Act, I cannot object."

I did not say that. I say I do not object.

The Minister says he does not object. When we were considering the Bill originally we did think the Minister would have the scheme submitted to him and that he had the right to modify that scheme. Therefore, if the scheme passes without modification, it has got his approval from top to bottom. That is undoubtedly the belief of all the people who buy tickets. We who pay 10/- for a ticket believe this scheme has got the approval of the Minister, and undoubtedly that is so. He has the right to object and he has not objected. The position is that all these things are done by Act of Parliament, but nevertheless there are certain matters tied up and not made known to the public. We passed legislation, and that is the use that is being made of it. Candidly, I do not like it, and I think there are a good many other people in the State who do not like it. I fully recognise that the scheme is being carried out legally, and that all the payments are being made strictly in accordance with the law. They are submitted to the auditor and passed, but all the figures are not disclosed to the public. The people who buy tickets know nothing about them. The opinion is evidently held here that if they were known it would wreck the scheme. Personally, I will not carry the matter any further, but I do not like it.

Senator Johnson mentioned that on the Committee Stage of the original Act I brought in an amendment which covered, specifically, the points raised in his amendment yesterday. I admit that. At that time the Bill was in the hands of a member of the Labour Party who handled it very ably. There were some people who did not agree with my amendments and that particular amendment was opposed. I did my utmost to safeguard the investors in the sweepstake on that occasion. The structure of the Bill was completed, and we next saw the Act in operation. The Act gave satisfaction, not merely to the ordinary investors but, as far as one can judge, to every member of this House, even those Senators who were opposed to the original Act. I thought yesterday, and I believe now, that the introduction of Senator Johnson's amendment, notwithstanding the fact that it covers the same point as I raised on the original Bill, ran the risk of doing terrible harm to the success of the sweepstakes.

The House agreed yesterday that the debate on Senator Johnson's amendment did irreparable harm to the whole idea of sweepstakes, but I think it would be hard to conceive a more injurious statement than that made by Senator Jameson to-day. I am sure it was a statement that he made quite unintentionally. He stated that if the figures he requires to be made available were made available the whole sweepstakes would be ruined.

I stated that in my opinion those who opposed the publication of these figures believed the scheme would be wrecked if the figures were published, and that is a totally different thing.

I understood Senator Jameson to say what I have stated and I think the Official Report will bear it out. The Senator may have his own opinion in regard to the effect of the publication of those figures. I hold the definite opinion that if the House were agreed that no useful purpose was served by yesterday's discussion, it certainly should not proceed to discuss this matter anew. I do not see why it should proceed to discuss the matter again. Senator Jameson is not entitled to speak for the House when he states that the whole scheme would be ruined if the figures were made available. Within the last twenty-four hours certain figures were made available to me arising out of recent sweepstakes. I was given the percentage expended in commissions, and I may say that the amount expended in commissions—and the figures were made readily available to me—is ridiculously small. Even if the figures were made available no harm whatsoever would result to the sweepstakes. Whether or not those particular figures should be made available is an entirely different matter. I am sure Senator Jameson made his statement unintentionally. I merely rise to contradict him. I hope the House will not proceed further with this discussion. I deliberately refrain from saying anything more, beyond contradicting the Senator's statement.

One of the reasons why I am speaking so freely to-night is that when we saw the papers this morning we observed that every single word we said yesterday was not published. We are perfectly free to discuss matters as we like here, because, apparently, the papers do not consider the speeches we make of sufficient importance to give them publication. They are not considered sufficiently important to appear in the leading Dublin papers. Scarcely a single line of what is said here to-day will appear in to-morrow morning's papers.

It will appear in the Official Report.

I intervene only because of the expression used by Senator Johnson. The Senator referred to the statement of receipts and disbursements as being a hollow mockery and a sham. I want to know exactly what Senator Johnson wants this assembly, and those who may read what he has said, to understand from that remark. Is it his intention to convey that this State is concealing a fraud from the public? I would like him to answer that question. Is it his desire that it should go out from this assembly, and that it should be recorded as the opinion of this House, that the State is not merely acquiescing in a fraud, but is concealing fraud under its statutes? I can gather no other inference than that from what the Senator said. If that is so, I hesitate to use the word, I think it is treachery to the cause which this Bill was intended to assist; that is, the cause of helping the hospitals in the State.

I think that Senator Johnson has adopted strong views in regard to this whole subject and is opposed to the principle of the legislation. I think, however, that even the strongest convictions do not warrant such statements as the Senator has made. Even if the Senator's opinions do not carry weight with the majority that is no reason why he should try to leave a sting behind in this discussion by indicating that this State is condoning a felony or trying to legalise a fraud on the public. If I have misinterpreted the views of the Senator, I would like him to say so. If I have interpreted him correctly, I think, if he has any respect for the public life of this country, he ought to withdraw his statement.

If these figures have been made available for Senator O'Hanlon why could they not be communicated to other Senators? If the figures representing commissions are so very small it would save a lot of discussion here if they were communicated to Senators.


That does not arise on the section.

What I said I stand over, and what I said has no reference to covering up fraud—no reference at all. There is no suggestion of covering up fraud. What I said was that the statement of receipts and disbursements submitted to the House, fully in accordance with the Act, gives no indication whatever of the disposal of the moneys subscribed by the public for the hospitals sweepstakes. There is sent out by the Committee from the factory, as I have described it already, a million tickets which are bought by the public. At the time the tickets leave the factory there are certain charges such as commissions and there are free tickets which are in the nature of charges. A million tickets go into the drum. What is the face value of the million tickets and what is the amount that goes into this statement of accounts? The value of the commissions and of the free tickets is deducted and it is what might be called the wholesale factory price that appears in this statement.

It is true that, according to this clause and an earlier clause in the Act, there shall be a stated proportion of free tickets, but we are not allowed to know what that stated proportion is. If we knew how many tickets were in the drum, it would be a simple matter to relate the face value of the tickets to the figure we get in the statement of receipts and disbursements. The fact that those figures are denied to us makes it palpably obvious that as evidence of the proportion of the public contribution which goes to the relief of the hospitals, it is absolutely useless and, therefore, as I say, it is a hollow mockery and of practically no value whatever. Its only value is as a check upon what the Hospitals Committee have done with the sum that goes to their account. It represents the net amount that goes into their account. If anybody can designate that as a charge of fraud it is not, at any rate, my designation. In my view this is a defective Act. It allows it to appear that there is a strict accounting to the subscribers of the fund for the hospitals, when really, from their point of view, it is absolutely of no use whatsoever.

I would not intervene at this stage were it not that if I did not do so my non-intervention might be misinterpreted. Senator Johnson has indicated that there is an accounting to subscribers. There is nothing in the Act which refers to accounting to the subscribers and the scheme does not suggest that there is any accounting to the subscribers. There is an accounting to the Seanad and to the Dáil. I think the whole of the Dáil, and an overwhelming majority, as far as I can gather, in the Seanad, are perfectly satisfied with that method of accounting and are perfectly satisfied that everything has gone, and is going, right. Even Senator Johnson and Senator Jameson who seemed rather by insinuation to suggest that there was something wrong, have now, as far as I understand their remarks, both definitely stated—and I hope they will set me right if I am misinterpreting them— that they are perfectly satisfied that this scheme is being run competently, skilfully and entirely above board.

I have always said that.

Though it may have appeared at one time that this debate might do harm, possibly in the end it has really done good because it has established definitely to the purchasers of tickets the world over that the Parliament of this country is satisfied that they are being justly and fairly treated, and they are satisfied that this scheme is being run as economically and as much in the interests of the purchasers of tickets as it could be run.

Sections 5, 8, 9, 10 and 11, the Schedule and the Title, agreed to.

There were certain amendments in the name of Senator The McGillycuddy of the Reeks not disposed of.

They were consequential upon a later amendment and they were withdrawn.

Bill reported.

I think the Minister agreed that a hospital in Cork which he recommended might be considered with a view to having it included. That matter was left over until the Report Stage. Some investigation will have to be made as regards that hospital, and if it would suit the convenience of the Minister perhaps it would be better to have the Report Stage taken on Wednesday, 15th July.

If the Report Stage were not to be taken until that date, and if the amendment referred to were carried, it would mean putting the Bill back for six months. The Bill could not then go to the Dáil until next October, and as an Act it would not be operative for the Manchester November Handicap.


Senator Linehan was advised that it would be necessary for him to have his amendment ready for Wednesday next.

If the inquiries in regard to the hospital can be carried out within the next week, I am satisfied.

Report Stage ordered for Wednesday, 8th July.