I am afraid, seeing that I have no amendment down to Section 5, I would not be allowed to dilate on the section as Senator Sir John Keane has done. But as he has been permitted to speak at some length, I should like to recall to the mind of the Seanad what happened at the last meeting here. The Parliamentary Secretary spoke, rather lightly, in my opinion, of the fact that Dublin Corporation, by imposing 1/- on the rates, could raise £100,000, and that a like rate would raise a further £20,000 from the County Dublin. If that suggestion were put into operation, Dublin City and County would be mulcted for a matter of £120,000 for services which they were getting, up to now, almost free, services to supply which the Sweep Funds were originally created. We must throw our minds back to the time when the appeal of the Sweeps was international and the funds were devoted solely to the voluntary hospitals. On that account a very large sum had been accumulated. Through the Act of 1933 the Minister got power, more power and authority than ever he was entitled to, to deal with these funds. Apparently, if he has his way, he is going to exploit that power to the very utmost, so much so that he is going to create a tremendous amount of hardship and suffering on the people in this city.
Take one section of the community alone, the Dublin Corporation tenants. Their rents are regulated by their rates. Put up their rates by 1/- and up go their rents also. These people are not in a position to meet any increase in their rents. They find it difficult enough to live as things are. Again, take the case of industries. An increase of 1/- in the £ means in one case, with which I am familiar, where the administrative expenses are up to the limit and cannot bear any further strain, another £100 a year. Mark you, all this for some notion the Minister has of spending the funds in a certain way and making the citizens of Dublin City and County pay another £120,000 for services, very excellent services, which they are getting from the voluntary hospitals at present almost free. The international sweepstakes were organised to augment and maintain the funds of these hospitals. Naturally there is a deficiency all round but nothing very abnormal. If things were looked after in the right way, these deficiencies could be properly met. I do not know what the Parliamentary Secretary has in his mind against the citizens of Dublin City or County but why should he, at this period when people are put to the pin of their collar to try to live, disturb fairly settled conditions? We have rent restrictions, but these will not remain if the rates are going to be substantially increased.
I submit that in Dublin, where the rates are at present fairly substantial, the addition of 1/- is going to make a very big difference all round. It will upset many things that are fairly settled as matters stand now. It is not going to give a better medical service to the people of Dublin City and County but it is certainly going to put a very big financial burden on them. I want to put it to the Parliamentary Secretary that the citizens of Dublin are getting very excellent services from the voluntary hospitals at present.