The aim of this Bill is to authorise the establishment in a county of two or more county health districts and to make provision for the consequences arising from the division of an existing county health district into two or more parts. A similar power was granted by Section 9 (2) of the Local Government Act, 1925, but it lapsed on the day appointed for the operation of that Act.
The immediate demand for this legislation arises from the request of the Cork County Council and Cork County Board of Public Health for the division into three parts of the Cork County Health District as at present constituted, and for the setting up of a board of health for each part in lieu of the existing County Board of Public Health. This division has become necessary owing to the inability of one board of public health to deal with the volume of work entailed in the administration of the Public Health Acts and other associated services in so large a county health district as Cork. The division of the county is also necessary for a suitable adjustment of chargeability of expenditure incurred under the Labourers (Ireland) Acts, 1883 to 1931. At the same time, an application has been received from the County Council to reduce their present number and to arrange that each member of the Council in future shall be a member of the board of health for the district in respect of which he has been elected to the Council.
The Bill authorises the Minister for Local Government and Public Health, on the request of a county council, to make a dividing Order constituting two or more rural sanitary districts in the county, and also to alter the number of members of the council. Provision is made for the carrying into effect of the dividing Order by the abolition of the existing rural sanitary district and board of health, the constitution and naming of new county health districts, the establishment of a sanitary authority for each such district, and the application to the new district of the provisions of the Local Government Acts.
Arrangements are made for dealing with the property and liabilities of the existing board of health, the transfer of their officers to the new boards of health, the vesting of functions and duties of the existing board in the new bodies. Certain other consequential provisions are included, which are necessary for enabling the requisite adjustment and alterations to be made to meet the changed conditions. It is not anticipated, that apart from the question of the three county health districts in Cork County, the Minister will be called on to exercise the powers contained in this Bill, but it is necessary that the contingency of such an application should be provided for. The provisions are of a non-contentious character, and it is desirable that the powers in regard to Cork County should be available at an early date.