Health Bill, 1947—Committee Stage.

Section 1 agreed to.

I move amendment No. 1:—

At the end of sub-section (1), to add to the sub-section the following definition:—

the expression "general Order" means an Order which applies to all health authorities.

The purpose of the amendment is to add a definition to the Bill. Perhaps the House would be prepared to let this stand over until we find out whether the definition is needed. If the subsequent amendment is not accepted, the definition will not be needed.

Decision on amendment No. 1 postponed.

Sections 3 and 4 agreed to.

I move amendment No. 2:—

In sub-section (3), line 31, after the word "regulations" to insert the words "and general Orders".

The object of the amendment is to ensure that all machinery necessary to bring the Bill into operation is the subject of notice by the Oireachtas. As is obvious, the Bill is largely dependent on the regulations. The Minister is given wide powers to make regulations on a number of matters; and it is the regulations that are really a matter of concern, not so much the powers we are giving. The regulations have to be laid on the Table and, under the section, they can be annulled within a certain period. What I am concerned about is the distinction between regulations and Orders. I have been unable to find anywhere any distinction and it occurs to me that the Minister may be able to achieve under Order what he might hesitate to do under regulation that has to be laid on the Table.

When the Minister is replying, perhaps he will make clear the sphere of the regulation as against an Order. It is most important that any instructions of a general nature should be tabled, but it would be unreasonable to ask the Minister to table every Order. There may be Orders to one authority only, governed by special circumstances, which one would not expect to be tabled. That is why I have tried to confine the tabling of Orders to general Orders which, by definition, will affect every health authority. If that amendment is accepted, the Oireachtas will know what regulations and Orders—in fact, what general measures—are being taken to carry the enabling powers of this Bill into effect. My purpose is clear and I would like the Minister to say what objections there are to my approach.

I suggest to the Senator that it might speed up the consideration of the point at issue if amendments Nos. 2 and 3 were withdrawn, as I think the Minister has an unquestionable and effective answer to the Senator's case. No reasonable person would ask the Minister to table every general Order—it might be a general Order directing all county councils to use blue forms—simply because they are general in their application, for the purpose of having them annulled if necessary. The purpose of this would be better discussed on amendments Nos. 4 and 5. Amendment No. 4 deals with the method of tabling and implementing certain types of regulations, and amendment No. 5 deals with the making and tabling of Orders of a limited class, applying to certain sections. If Senator Sir John Keane were to withdraw his amendment so that the matter might be discussed on the subsequent amendments, it would speed up the consideration of the Bill and, if he is dissatisfied, I suggest he can retable his amendments on the Report Stage.

I am satisfied to adopt that course.

Amendments Nos. 1 and 2, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 2 agreed to.
Amendment No. 3 not moved.

I move amendment No. 4:—

In page 7, to add to the section the following new sub-section:—

(6) No regulation shall be made under Sections 28, 31 or 49 of this Act unless a draft of the regulation has been laid before the Oireachtas and has been approved by resolution of each House of the Oireachtas.

Now we come to the point raised, in part, by Senator Sir John Keane. Section 5 enables the Minister to make regulations and sub-section (5) of that section requires that every regulation made under the authority of Section 5 must be tabled in both Houses and provides that, in the event of a resolution being adopted by either House annulling any regulation so tabled, that regulation shall be annulled accordingly. I do not think that, in the circumstances of this Bill, this provision is necessarily the best kind of provision because, as has been observed already, this is merely an enabling Bill. It is a Bill which does not set out a scheme of public health, but which authorises the Minister to frame regulations, which may be very comprehensive, in relation to public health and provides the penalties which may be inflicted for a breach of the regulations.

Some of these regulations are of tremendous importance and, in my opinion, they will be very comprehensive. Therefore, they should not be written into our laws until they have been considered by both Houses of the Oireachtas and approved by them. I refer particularly to the regulations which may be made under Sections 28, 31 and 49. Under Section 28, the Minister is authorised to make regulations regarding the exercise of the powers of the health authority under Part III of the Bill, which relates to the mother and child services. This is a most important part of the Bill, and we have no indication of the intentions of the Government or of the Minister regarding these services beyond the mere skeleton set out in that group of sections, 21 to 28, inclusive, Section 28 being the section which authorises the Minister to make regulations in respect of that part of the Bill. It is not unreasonable to ask that the regulations should be submitted for approval by both Houses before they become effective.

Then, again, we have the making of regulations under Section 31, which deals with the spread of disease. I would draw attention particularly to the provisions of the Second Schedule, which indicates what may conceivably happen under this part of the Bill. The regulations made under Section 31 may cover any matter under the 21 separate headings referred to in the Second Schedule. Strong exception was taken to the Health Bill of 1945, and the Minister, very wisely and very diplomatically, dropped that framework. He is taking in this Bill all the powers which were so obviously conferred in the Bill of 1945. It is only necessary to look at Section 31 and to relate that to the Second Schedule of the Bill to see the wide powers which are being conferred on the Minister in relation to the subjects dealt with in the Second Schedule. Again, here is a case in which the regulations should be specifically approved by both Houses before being put into operation.

Thirdly, there is that group of regulations under Section 49 relating to the prevention of the spread of infestation, again dealing with matters which impinge on the lives, the well-being and the happiness of the whole community. I am not arguing that these regulations should not be made. I am in favour of their being made, and I favour generally the view that this class of legislation is done better by regulation than by statute but I do say that where regulations are made they should not come into force automatically but should be brought into force only after they have been submitted to both Houses and approved by resolution of both Houses.

Heretofore the view was taken that regulations which were made by a Minister of State did not become effective automatically. There was a cooling process so that the public would have an opportunity of knowing what the regulations covered. Apparently, that has been abandoned, whether lawfully abandoned or not, I do not know. I draw special attention to the provisions of the Rules (Publication) Act of 1893. Section 1 of that Act provides that at least 40 days before making any statutory rules to which the section applies notice of the proposal to make the rules and the place where copies of the draft rules may be obtained shall be published in theGazette. That, as we know, has not been done and there is a peculiar history behind it. The question as to whether or not the Rules (Publication) Act applied in this country was raised on two occasions before two Chief Justices. One Chief Justice expressed the view in the course of a judgment in 1935 that the Rules (Publication) Act applied in this country and that no set of rules to which the Act applied could be effective or operative unless Section 1 of the Rules (Publication) Act had been complied with. In 1943, another Chief Justice expressed the view, when the matter was pleaded before him, that the Rules (Publication) Act does not apply to Ireland because, he said, the Act was never adapted. I do not know how many lawyers agree with that. I know that some contest it. I wish to point out that the purpose of the Rules (Publication) Act was to ensure that the public would be made aware of what was being done by regulations made in Government Departments. If that Act is not being complied with, as it obviously is not and never has been complied with in this country, then I suggest that the public are entitled to some safeguard. They are entitled to have some machinery, and there is an obligation on us to provide some machinery for them, by which the man in the street will know what is being done by a regulation affecting his life, his liberty and his health. Consequently, I urge that no regulation shall be made under the three sections I have mentioned unless a draft of it has been laid before the Oireachtas and has been approved by it. I strongly urge on the Minister to accept my amendment.

I, too, hope that the Minister will see his way to accept this amendment. As Senator Hayes pointed out on an earlier stage this is a Bill in which all of us, no matter on what side of the House we sit, are considerably interested. We want to give the Minister such assistance in getting it through as our consciences decide we are justified in giving him. When this measure becomes law we want it to be of such a character that it will command the confidence of intelligent people who are concerned about the health of all our people. It is of the utmost importance that this measure should be framed in such a way that it will satisfy the people who are interested in this matter, and that it is a suitable instrument to achieve the ends which both the Minister and the Oireachtas have in view. It is, therefore, highly important to convince people that there are not inherent in this measure some hidden powers which may at some later stage in our lives prove a menace to the security of the community and to the rights of the human person.

Senator Duffy specifically mentions three sections in his amendment. The Minister, I am sure, will not deny that in these sections he is taking extraordinary powers. The position is this, that I must deliver up my body, so to speak, to the Minister's officers, and give them authority to do with it what they decide. That is really an extraordinary power to ask. It is quite conceivable that at an early stage the reactions to this measure, if it were administered in a particular way, might be very unfavourable indeed. I am not making the charge either against the Minister or his Department that something very foolish or very stupid may be done. I know that the Minister is cautious and careful, and that he has had considerable experience of human nature, but, at the same time, the fact that I have mentioned remains.

I do not think that Senator Duffy is asking too much in his amendment. This measure is going to be made operative through regulations. We are giving the Minister power to make them. In my opinion these regulations should have the imprimatur of the Oireachtas before they become law, just as the Bill itself must have our imprimatur. Section 31 is referred to in Senator Duffy's amendment. I would draw the attention of the House to sub-section (4) of that section under which authority is given to levy taxation, because the sub-section provides:—

"Regulations under this section may provide for and authorise the making of charges for the purposes of the regulations or for services performed thereunder and may provide for the recovery of such charges."

I am sure the Minister is seeking the co-operation of all classes as regards the enforcement of this measure. Indeed, it can only be effective if there is such co-operation. He has to evoke the feeling from the people that this is a measure for their protection in order to get them to co-operate with him and his Department in the effort to ensure that disease will not be spread amongst us and that it can be stamped out.

How is that spirit of co-operation to be cultivated? In the first place, the people ought to have a knowledge of what the law is, and one of the best ways to ensure that is to have a discussion on these regulations before they become law. If that is done the Minister will be in a very strong position because his regulations will have the sanction of the Oireachtas. The Minister and his Department will, by reason of this, be in a really better position than they otherwise would be to deal with any form of disease that may manifest itself, and with individuals as well. On the other hand, if the regulations are not submitted to the Oireachtas for approval, and if the Minister finds himself in conflict with the considerable body of opinion with regard to some regulation which he makes under the Bill as it stands, that regulation when it becomes law may be challenged in some peculiar way. In that situation the effort to improve our health services will, at the very beginning, get a very rude shock indeed, such a shock that it may not recover from it for a very long time. Fears are felt by fairly well-informed people as to the dangers that are inherent in these particular sections and in the powers which it is proposed to vest the Minister with. The Department and its officials will have the power to make these regulations. For myself, I am not quite clear as to how the regulations are made, whether they are framed by members of the medical profession only or by members of the medical profession in collaboration with officials of the Department, or whether they are made by Departmental officials who are not themselves medical men. There is, I think, this unchallengeable fact that, however the regulations are made, the Minister would be wise to endeavour to secure the co-operation of all the people in tackling this great problem of disease, and in my submission the way to do that is to have the regulations put before the elected representatives of the people before they become law. In that way, the responsibility will be put on the people's elected representatives of passing judgment as to how the problem of disease should be tackled. I think the Minister would be wise to accept the amendment. His acceptance of it would help to remove a considerable degree of the disquiet there is as to what may happen.

I would like to support the principle of the amendment. It seems to me that regulations or Orders may be roughly divided into two classes, namely, those which are of an administrative character and those which, in effect, are the making of new legislation. Where they are administrative, it would seem to me to be quite sufficient that the Minister should make them, and that no action should be taken in connection with them unless some member of either House wished to do so. The Minister in that case would, of course, be secure in the knowledge that nothing could be done to upset his Orders unless there was a majority against them.

As regards the other type of Order or regulation, which is of the legislative kind, the position is somewhat different. I cannot conceive that at any time, no matter what Government is in power, the question of public health would ever become a Party issue. I do think, however, that when new legislation is being framed it is highly desirable that there should be public discussion of it before it takes final form, so that helpful suggestions from people in different parts of the country can be expressed before the Minister finally makes up his mind. One of the sections to which this amendment applies is Section 28. Before I read that section I should like to point out that Section 28 deals entirely with Section 21. Section 21 says:—

"A health authority shall, in accordance with the regulations made under Section 28 of this Act, make arrangements for safeguarding the health of women in respect of motherhood and for their education in that respect."

Section 28 says:—

"The Minister may make regulations applicable to every health authority, every health authority of a particular class or a particular health authority as to the manner in which and the extent to which they are to exercise their powers under this part of this Act."

There is nothing in this Bill to indicate how the arrangements are to be made by health authorities for safeguarding the health of women, something of which we are all in favour. There is nothing to indicate how there is to be education, a matter on which there may be at least some honest difference of opinion. It seems to me that this is the kind of regulation as to which it would be wise to provide for a discussion. In the ordinary course, if it were anything other than public health, I doubt very much if any Government would seek for powers to make what is virtually a new Act of Parliament dealing with this matter. Therefore, it seems to me that, as far as Section 28 is concerned, it is a good suggestion that before the regulations are made there should be a discussion. I do not very much mind how it takes place. That is why I said that I am supporting the principle of the amendment. We had a somewhat unusual but, in that case, very satisfactory procedure adopted in the case of compensation for bombing by which the Government thought fit to introduce something in the nature of a memorandum which was discussed in both Houses before finally passed and the discussion led to very considerable amendment. This is in no sense hostile criticism on my part. It seems to me that regulations such as will be made under Section 28 will be better regulations if the Minister responsible hears the views of members of both Houses.

I am assuming, as some Senators suggested, that we are all concerned to make this the most effective measure possible for dealing with public health and I am speaking from that point of view also. First of all, I notice that the general trend of legislation for many years back has been in the same form as this— that some power would be given to the Government or to a Minister by a Bill, as the case may be, and then regulation to implement these powers could be made and laid on the Table of each House and would be effective unless annulled by either House. We are following the same procedure here. It never struck me, I must say, in drafting the Bill that we should change the procedure in the direction in which Senator Duffy has proposed in his amendment. I take it there must have been some good reason for the trend of legislation over the last 20 or 25 years. Nobody has ever strongly objected to the way that we were going on. I know there has been a certain amount of uneasiness, especially in this House, about the powers given, the unknown powers, as they are sometimes referred to, given to Ministers in this way and attempts have been made to establish some sort of machinery to examine these regulations when laid on the Table. I think, however, it would be a great pity to amend this Bill in a way that has not been done before, generally speaking, with any Bill which came before the House. I think I can claim in connection with this Bill that it would be actually dangerous to agree to such an amendment.

Three matters have been referred to by Senator Duffy. One is the regulations connected with mother and child welfare; the second is connected with infectious diseases and the third with infestation. With regard to mother and child welfare, it was stated that the Seanad did not know what the intentions were. I gave as full an account as I could of what I visualise we should do with regard to mother and child welfare in speaking on the Second Reading. But, apart from that, there have been regulations made during the last 15 or 20 years on mother and child welfare, and they have been adopted in some of the cities and towns and in few of the countries. So far as I know, it was never suggested in connection with the previous Bill that these should have the approval of either House of the Oireachtas. The regulations were made by the Department and the public authorities, so far as they could, carried them out. Therefore, we are not departing from the present procedure in this Bill. We are merely saying that, as we have done for many years back, if we make regulations under this Bill with regard to mother and child welfare, the same thing will be done. The regulations will be laid on the Table of both Houses, but we are not putting in the Bill that we should seek the approval of either House when they are laid on the Table. That would be making a change in the present procedure.

As I pointed out on the Second Reading, what I intend to do is to lay down what might be regarded as a model scheme of mother and child welfare, but it will not be issued as an Order to the local authorities. It will be sent to the local authorities and they will be asked to come as close as they can to what we regard as the ideal scheme. We do not expect that any local authority will be able to come up to that scheme immediately. We quite recognise that for many years some local authorities will not come up to it. It will not be one of these legalistic documents which we will send to the local authorities; if you like, it will be much more in the form of advice as to what we think they should do. I admit that there will be sanctions behind it, but we cannot apply any sanctions unless we come to the conclusion that the local authority is not doing as much as it could do in the circumstances to safeguard the health of mothers and children.

That document will be a very voluminous one and possibly there will be amendments from time to time. I think I said on the Second Reading that in all probability when we send this model scheme down to the local authorities some local authority will put it to me or to the Department that there are a few particulars in which they would like to depart from the scheme in order to suit their conditions better. If I agree with that, then I must make a new regulation to enlarge the scope of the regulation to suit a local authority or maybe one or two local authorities. Therefore, as I said, a very voluminous document will be sent to the local authorities and following that on many occasions there may be amendments made, which will of course be regulations in themselves, but will amount to amendments of the original scheme. I am putting it to the Seanad, therefore, that I am following what has been the practice for years back as far as mother and child welfare is concerned. As I said, this will not be one of those legalistic documents which will be sent to the local authorities, but a model scheme which will be drawn up from the public health point of view and from the administrative point of view. They will be asked to come up to it as far as they possibly can. I am quite sure it will have to be amended from time to time for some local authorities at least, or perhaps, if we find a demand from many of them, it may be amended for the whole lot in certain respects.

With regard to infectious diseases, we must make regulations in that respect. We have to make these general regulations with regard to diseases which are notifiable and with regard to those diseases in respect of which vaccination or immunisation should be carried out and so on, but if a regulation is necessary, as it would be under Section 31, as mentioned by Senator Duffy, to deal with an epidemic, it would be a very urgent matter. I had the experience, when in the Department of Agriculture, of dealing with an epidemic when there was an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease. I got a lot of help from everybody concerned—from the Dáil and Seanad, from the veterinary profession, from the farmers and so on—and I got a lot of criticism. That criticism was all in one direction—that I had not acted quickly enough. Nobody ever said to me: "Why did you not tell the Dáil and the Seanad you intended to do this before you did it?" Nobody ever thought of saying to me that I was taking too drastic powers or going too fast. I got any amount of criticism, especially in the Dáil, for not going fast enough, and I am quite sure that if we passed this amendment, and if there was an outbreak of smallpox or some other of these dreadful diseases and I allowed it to spread until the Seanad could be called together, the Seanad would say to me: "Why the hell did you bother about that amendment which we passed?" There would be no use in my saying that I could not do anything on account of that amendment.

I thought infectious diseases were dealt with by Order?

A general regulation may be made to deal with infectious diseases and a general regulation may be necessary in the case of an infection, if it is a general matter.

You will not wait for the disease for that.

No, but we might not realise the danger we are up against until the disease comes. We had very many wise men in this country who made any amount of laws with regard to foot-and-mouth disease, and then, when it came upon us, we had to make a lot more because we did not know what we were up against until it came. The same applies more or less to infestation.

I am arguing, if you like, vigorously against this amendment, but I do not want it to be taken that there is any idea on my side that Senators are trying in any way to prevent me from doing the job effectively. Their intention is that public health should be dealt with in an effective way, but I am trying to point out considerations which may be overlooked and trying to convince the Seanad that it is better to leave things as they are so far as these regulations with regard to mother and child welfare, infectious diseases and infestation are concerned. The existing law is that regulations are made and laid on the Table. If any Senator wishes to have them discussed, they will be discussed, and, if the Seanad rejects them, they are rejected.

I intend, as I pointed out before, to bring all these regulations of a general nature, where there is time—certainly the first round regulations—before the health council. It may be impossible to bring the small amended regulations before it as time goes on because it would be unfair to call such a council together to deal with a small matter, but the big regulations which are first made will be brought before the health council and Senators will agree with me that that body will be a very competent body to discuss regulations of that kind because it will be composed of the various professions. There will be on it not only medical men but dentists, veterinary surgeons, pharmacists and nurses and there will be on it, as well, administrators, that is, members of local authorities, who know the difficulties of administration in the various counties. I think it will be a very good body to discuss these regulations. We will be able to give them time to circulate these regulations and to read through them before the meeting so as to enable them to discuss them intelligently when they come together. The regulations will be very fully considered and discussed before being put into operation and I ask the Seanad not to press the amendment.

The Minister has treated us to very ingenious arguments, but I do not know whether he expects us to take him seriously in some of the things he said. He says he will submit certain things to the health council on the first round, but the Bill contains provision to ensure that the Minister can deliver the knock-out to the health council on the second round. Is that not correct? The health council is merely advisory.

That is right.

The Minister is master of the health council. This Bill is not a Public Health Bill at all—it is a Health Bill which deals with people's intimate private affairs, and, in fact, there is nothing in any part of the Bill which indicates what the Minister is going to do. The Minister has talked about his intentions and we have the greatest trust in the Minister's good faith and good intentions, but the Bill is so framed that it does not show anywhere what the Minister intends to do, except that it gives power to the Minister to make regulations which, in effect, means giving power to the Minister to make law. The Minister says it is a common form in all Bills and there has been no objection to it. There has, of course, been objection to it, and I could show the Minister quite a number of sections in Bills in the same form as Senator Duffy's amendment. I wonder whether, if I could show the Minister some of these, he would agree to the amendment. He would not. He would tell me that the circumstances are different. Therefore, it is not a general proposition at all that all regulations must not be subject to approval but may be laid on the Table and may then be annulled. The truth is that this Bill is an entirely vague measure, an enabling measure, and the Minister wants to have elaborate powers of administration about not only public health and infectious diseases but about the education of the mother and child and about many other things which are regarded, and rightly regarded, by people as their intimate personal affairs.

Another line the Minister took was that under Section 28 he does not in fact intend to make a regulation at all, but what the Minister says and what has been written into Section 28 are two entirely different things. The Minister pictures himself as a very benevolent person who will issue to local authorities an ideal health scheme of education and care of mother and child and will advise them to do their best to reach the ideal scheme. Since he uses the word "ideal," presumably he realises that the scheme will not be one which can in fact be carried out in its entirely and he does not expect them to go the whole distance. But what is contained in Section 28 is that the Minister.

"may make regulations applicable to every health authority, every health authority of a particular class or a particular health authority as to the manner in which and the extent to which they are to exercise their powers under this part of this Act."

I take it that means that the Minister has power to compel a local authority to exercise its powers under regulations made by him. Surely I am right in that? There is nothing very difficult about that.

I said that.

If that is what the Minister intends, it is quite incompatible with the other idea. If he is going to issue an ideal scheme about which he will advise local authorities, it does not come into the amendment at all. It is only when he makes regulations under Section 28 which are mandatory on an authority that Senator Duffy asks that they should be submitted to both Houses and approved. It may very well be that certain amending will be necessary; it may very well be that the actual wording of the amendment is not perfect, but what the Minister is claiming is Departmental administrative power for public health services, and for the education of mother and child in particular, without any necessity to have the approval of any House for the regulations which he makes.

With regard to infectious diseases, under Section 31 the Minister may perhaps be on sounder ground, but surely it is not beyond the wit of the draftsman of this Bill to frame a section dealing with epidemics? It is rather childish to say to us that we are endeavouring to keep the Minister from exercising drastic powers immediately with regard to an epidemic. I would be surprised if the Minister has not these powers already, before this Bill is passed. I think he has.

Yes, but I need not get the approval of the Seanad for them.

I know the Minister need not. He wants something extra in Section 31 that he has not got at present; otherwise he would not have that section here. All the argument as to what might happen if Senator Duffy's amendment were passed and if the Minister has to get the approval of both Houses of the Oireachtas, is merely childish.

Just as childish as Senator Duffy's amendment is a symbol of democracy.

I did not say that; I did not use the word "democracy". I do not use the word "democracy" at all, because I do not know what it means. It may very well be that the Minister requires more power with regard to infectious diseases than he requires with regard to Section 28 and the education of the mother and the child. I concede that. But when you come to Section 49, there he is dealing with the people's work and I think a general outline of what he proposes to do, if he proposes to do something which is not now the law, might very well be submitted and might be approved by both Houses.

With regard to the regulations under this section, someone suggested they will be made by doctors. I wonder if that is so? I doubt it. They will be submitted to the health council. This is a very important scheme, because one of the fundamental principles with which we have to deal is respect for the human personality. While I agree that the Minister would be perhaps a very easy person to deal with, we need not go very far back or forward to picture to ourselves a person by no means as easy to deal with, a person who might have very dictatorial ideas about this matter. The amendment refers only to regulations and, therefore, the Minister's advice to local authorities will not need the approval of the Dáil, but the Minister's mandatory regulations which the local authorities must carry out surely bring in a new principle which ought to be approved by both Houses before they become operative.

I want to make it perfectly clear that I accept thebona fides of the Minister. I am not doubting for one moment that he will act exactly as he has stated, but this is permanent legislation in so far as anything of the sort can be permanent and one can foresee circumstances in which the intention expressed by the Minister might not be given effect to. I admit at once that Section 31 falls into two compartments. To have met the situation would have meant redrafting Section 31 and I am afraid I am not sufficiently competent as a draftsman to undertake that task.

There is a need, I think, to separate the conditions relating to an epidemic from the general principles covered by Section 31 because in most cases the Minister will deal with an epidemic by Order, not by regulation. What will happen is that, having made a regulation under Section 31, the Minister will then have power to make Orders for specified cases under Section 32. I think that will be the situation in certain cases.

Might I draw attention to what is likely to be done and to what can be done under Section 31? That section requires that the Minister may make regulations providing for the prevention of the spread of infectious diseases and the regulations may in particular provide for any of the matters mentioned in the Second Schedule to the Act. Might I draw attention to some of the things mentioned in the Second Schedule? These are the things in regard to which the regulations may refer. One requires adult persons to submit themselves for inspection, or the parents of children to submit such children to specified measures in relation to the protection or immunisation of such adult persons or children against a particular infectious disease. The regulations may also require adult persons to remain away from specified places, or the parents of children to keep those children away from specified places. The Minister, or his advisers, may specify any place, such as a school, church, a neighbour's house, a market place—anywhere. It may be very proper that that should be done, but before it is done the Minister might usefully ask both Houses of the Oireachtas to give their imprimatur to the regulation under which he will act.

This regulation may provide also for the compulsory cleansing, disinfection or disinfestation of persons, buildings, structures, vehicles, vessels, aircraft or articles and the compulsory destruction of rabbits. With regard to some of these powers, there is not much difficulty, but there is with respect to others. I think there may be some difficulty with regard to the compulsory disinfestation of persons. I take this view of that provision. Here we are enacting a Health Bill by its title, but this is not a Health Bill in the strict sense at all. You authorise the Minister to make regulations under which a person can be convicted and fined £100. A person who neglects to observe the regulation regarding disinfestation will be liable to a penalty of £100. We are doing that in respect of people who have not running water in their houses, who probably have not sufficient windows or even bed clothes in their houses. We are starting at the wrong end; we are starting by imposing penalties on people for being dirty before we provide them with the facilities to be clean.

I seriously suggest to the Minister that it is going very far to ask the House to confer powers on him to make these regulations without submitting them for approval. It is quite true, as the Minister has said, that this practice of making regulations which are tabled, has continued for 25 years. But let us not forget this fact, that many people in consenting to the provision in the Act requiring the regulations to be tabled believed that the Rules (Publication) Act, 1893, applied to these regulations. In Great Britain it was always held that unless there was a specific provision to the contrary, the Rules (Publication) Act of 1893 did apply. As I have already said, that Act provided that at least 40 days before making any statutory rules to which Section 1 of the Act applies, notice of the proposal to make the rule would be published in theGazette. In this position, the Minister has misinformed himself. What is being proposed here is something quite distinct from the making of regulations to which the Rules (Publication) Act applies, because these regulations may not be published. It depends on the newspapers whether or not they will be published or even referred to. If the newspapers think that a certain set of regulations may have a news value they will publish the regulations or they will refer to them, but if they do consider that the regulations have no news value they will not refer to them. These regulations may then be made and tabled in this House and the public may know nothing about them or about their implications, but every person who contravenes one of them will be liable to a penalty not exceeding £100.

There is one thing I should like to say in relation to this amendment which I think is of importance. Newspapers and certain public representatives continue to tell us that this House is worthless, that it has no powers. That is due to the fact that most newspaper writers and very many people who hold themselves out as critics on public affairs never take the trouble to inform themselves as to the facts. This is one instance in which this House is on an equal footing with the Dáil; it has the same power to annul regulations. If a regulation is tabled before this House, that regulation may be annulled by this House, whether the Dáil likes it or not. It is well to bear in mind in relation to this one aspect of legislation at any rate, an aspect that is becoming daily more important in our social life, that the Dáil and Seanad are on an equal footing. I therefore ask the House to pay particular attention to what is proposed here.

If the Minister asserts that part of the duties which will devolve on him under Section 31 has to be handled expeditiously, then I agree that part of the section should be passed. I say the Minister should have power to make these regulations or Orders to cope with an epidemic without having to wait for approval but when it comes to regulations dealing with those things in the Second Schedule I have mentioned they should not be operative until they have received the sanction of both Houses.

I do not want to minimise the importance of regulations under any Act, because I am quite well aware that the regulations made under several Acts are actually more comprehensive than the material in the Acts themselves, but I think so far as the discussion of this amendment is concerned, we are debating the matter too seriously. I cannot agree for a moment that the amendment provides a better method of dealing with this matter than the provision already in the Bill allowing either House of the Oireachtas 21 days subsequent to the making of regulations to pass a resolution annulling the regulations. I want to confirm what the Minister has said, having regard to my experience during the last outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in 1941. We had to break the law at that time. We broke it after consultation, I do not say with the Minister but with his Department, and things which we did at that time had to be sanctioned subsequently. An Estimate was brought before the Dáil and the Seanad and was passed by both Houses to cover these matters. It really dealt with matters of compensation for which no provision was made in any of the Diseases of Animals Acts. One frequently meets emergencies of that kind which call for measures which subsequently form the subject of legislation before this House. I may as well say the Seanad on that occasion amended the Bill, which was subsequently brought before it, considerably but the legislation was necessary.

Executive officers will find themselves sometimes up against a position which the existing Acts or regulations do not cover. Then the procedure is to try to contact the executive authority— whether it be the Department of Health, or the Department of Agriculture as was the case on the occasion of the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease. The Department takes the responsibility and certain measures, such as the destruction of carcasses, are authorised, that are not covered by previous legislation. I can picture the same thing occurring again and I think it would be wrong to try to tie the hands of the Minister for Health as this amendment suggests and say that he cannot issue a regulation to meet an emergency position without previously having the sanction of both Houses. I think democracy has already sufficient power if it exercises it. I shall hand this bouquet to Senator Duffy, that he did at least try to get a committee of the Seanad, whose duty it would be to supervise these regulations when they are placed before the House. We have that power to supervise them. Some of us do that in so far as they affect matters in which we are concerned. I think many members of both Houses look up these regulations in so far as they apply to matters in which they are personally concerned. We have that power and I think it is sufficient. I certainly do not approve of the suggested amendment. The amendment suggests that no regulation shall be made under certain sections unless it is approved of by both Houses. I presume that by "regulation", the Senator means something dealing with one specific item but as the Minister pointed out the regulations may be very voluminous. There will be hundreds of paragraphs in the document referring to regulations under various sections of the Act. The amendment suggests that not a single regulation should be made without the previous sanction of both Houses.

Only under these named sections.

They are very comprehensive. They cover the main sections of the Bill. They deal with directions to the local authorities, with infection and with infestation. These three sections govern virtually everything in the Bill, save finance. It would not be democracy to spancel any authority, whether the Minister, the central authority or a local authority. It would be wrong to adopt this system. We have sufficient opportunity at 21 meetings of either House afterwards to insist that regulations made by the Minister be annulled. They can be annulled only from the day the Seanad or Dáil passes the necessary resolution. From practical experience, I think that this course would be very wrong. The Minister is bound to meet with emergencies in which a regulation would have to be quickly amended. If it had to await the sanction of both Houses, it would hamper the Minister in safeguarding the health of the community.

Senator O'Donovan seems to have only one matter in view in connection with this amendment— the danger of the spread of infectious disease. Senator Duffy has indicated that, on that aspect, he is willing that the Minister redraft the amendment so as to cover what he wants done. In that way, the case made by Senator O'Donovan could be met. Senator O'Donovan said that we were taking this matter too seriously. This part of the Bill must be taken seriously if we are to be serious about our health services at all. I appreciate that Senator O'Donovan gave some study to the matter but he did not study the matter sufficiently or he would have seen the number of important sections to which Senator Duffy's amendment refers.

I referred to them.

The Senator referred to Section 28 but that section, as Senator Douglas has pointed out, refers to Sections 21 and 22.

I am aware of that.

I am rather disappointed with the Minister's approach to the principle involved in this amendment. If the Minister were prepared to accept the principle of the amendment and redraft it to meet the situation contemplated by Senator O'Donovan, he would make an immense contribution to the confidence of the people in this measure and to the enthusiasm with which it would be received. In the minds of a great many people who have studied the rights of the human personality there is a note of interrogation regarding the implications of the sections to which the amendment refers. We might go back to Section 22, for instance. Section 22 deals with "attendance to the health of children not pupils of schools".

On a point of order, Section 22 is not mentioned in this amendment at all.

The regulations under Section 28 will cover all sections in Part III.

When a sensible and educated Senator, such as Senator O'Dea, tells me that the case I am about to make is not in order——

Section 22 is not referred to in the amendment.

The case cannot be met.

Shall I go back on this for the benefit of Senator O'Dea?

This section deals with "attendance to the health of children not pupils of schools". Sub-heads (a) to (e) are designed to safeguard their health and physical condition. What is health? Presumably we are all in health here.

I wonder what a medical examination would reveal. Take mental deficiency. If we had an examination in that respect, there might be revelations in the House. You are to make regulations with regard to all these matters in the case of children who are not attending schools. What is the definition of "mental deficiency"? What is the definition of "health"? I am disappointed with one or two statements made by the Minister. They were merely special pleading. He did not attempt to meet the case. He could not have been serious when he argued that, because this was the Order provided for in certain other measures, it must be observed. A more serious Bill was never introduced than this Bill. There was never a Bill in which such power over individuals was taken. Whether I like it or not, I must submit to a blood test. If I am not prepared to submit, I shall be penalised. Have I any rights in this matter at all? Who am I? Who is my master? The Minister, in outlining his attitude to this problem, indicated that he was going to present what he called an ideal scheme. It is not to be a hard and fast scheme. It is to be sent down to the local authorities. The Minister may give an Order to the local authorities to adopt it. Then he went on to say that no section would be imposed on a local authority unless he and his advisers came to the conclusion that the local authority was not coming up to the necessary level.

In this House the other day I referred to the remoteness of local authorities from the administration of the health services. What is a local authority? The local authority of which I am a member, consisting of men of ordinary intelligence, has no contact whatever with the health services. If regulations are made by the Minister and sent down to the local authority, I do not know how those regulations are to be revealed to the elected members of the local authorities. Their function in the administration of the health services is practically nil. The Minister will make his Orders with the assistance of those behind him. Some of them may be technicians, in the sense that they have studied medicine, and some may not. Some of them may be technicians so far as the drafting of Orders is concerned. When an Order is made, it is the law of the land until it is changed. Flaws may later be discovered in a decision taken by the Minister and his Department. If peculiar conditions or circumstances, such as are to be found even in remote places, had been brought to the notice of the Minister, the Order might not have been made. We all know the attitude of every Minister once a regulation is made. The attitude is not common to this Government any more than it is to any other Government. Once a regulation is made the Government wants to stand over it. What does the regulation become once it is challenged? It becomes, not a security for public health, but a political test in the Oireachtas. I consider that that would be a most unhappy development. I put this to the Minister: I am convinced that any sensible regulation which he or his Department may draft would have no more enthusiastic or earnest or constant supporters than the people who do not belong to his Party if he would bring it to their notice in time and get their backing for it. I urge the Minister that it is in that spirit this measure ought to be passed.

I hope we will not spend as much time over all the amendments proposed to this Bill as we are doing in this case, because if we do we will not get through them for a month. Senator Duffy has referred to three sections of this Bill. He suggested that if an Order is made under any one of the three sections—Sections 10, 14 and 32—that it should be laid before the House.

We are not discussing that amendment. We are discussing amendment No. 4.

Sections 28, 31 and 49.

We will take two months at this rate.

In any event he admits that he does not wish his amendment to apply to Section 31 because it may be necessary for the Minister to make an Order if there is a spread of infectious disease and that it would be impossible for him to make such an Order if this amendment were carried.

I did not make that point at all because it would be untrue.

If that is the case I do not know where we are. I distinctly understood from Senator Duffy that the Bill would have to be altered in some exceptional way so that this amendment would not apply to Section 31. I understand that he wants to give the Minister power to make a regulation without submitting it to either House—in other words, to comply with sub-section (5) of this section. Sub-section (5) provides that when a regulation is made it will be laid before each House—that at any time within 21 days of either House sitting they can propose a motion that the Order be annulled and that if it is annulled it has no further power. Surely that is sufficient protection.

If as Senator Duffy mentioned, the regulations are so important, the health authorities, the county managers and the county medical officers of health will all be consulted about regulations and about Orders and they will be in a position to inform us and their Deputies of any suggested Orders that they think are to be made and particularly the ones which they think ought to be watched. They will notify the members of the Dáil and Seanad to look out for these Orders, to watch them, to see that they are in proper order and that they confer no extraordinary powers upon the Minister. I think that any Oireachtas should be satisfied with that position. As the Minister has said, it is in the usual form. It is quite clear that he must get the power with regard to infectious disease. A great many steps have to be taken before an Order can be made at all, so everybody will be aware of what is in the Minister's mind and what he will have to do. Perhaps it would have been a good thing if Senator Duffy's motion was at one time carried out—if a special committee were appointed to examine Orders, because that would get rid of the responsibility. If people do not examine the Orders when made they will not examine them before they are made, and the same difficulty will arise. There is no great difference between sub-section (5) and the amendment, and the matter ought, therefore, to be dropped.

I wish to make one point with regard to what has been said by the previous speaker. Senator O'Dea says that if we acquire a set of regulations we can annul them if we dislike them. There is, however, a snag and I am sure it is one with which the Minister is quite familiar. When we make a set of regulations under, let us say, Section 28, they may cover 28 pages of printed paper, but in order to annul one we would have to annul the whole lot of them. For instance, suppose we dislike regulation 24, which may only be two sentences. Although everything else may be acceptable to the House, we cannot get rid of paragraph 24 of the regulations unless we annul the whole lot.

Why not?

Judging by what we hear in this House, it would take more energy and more eloquence than I possess to induce the House to annul a whole set of regulations because the members dislike a paragraph.

I want to refer to a point made by Senator Duffy previous to his last statement to the effect that we are starting at the wrong end by making these regulations — that there are houses without running water and so forth. I dislike that argument. We cannot wait until every house in this country has running water, and so forth, before we attempt to do anything about health. I do not think it is a golden rule that everybody in a house who has no running water in his home is verminous and that everybody who has running water in his home is not verminous. They do not correspond at all. Senator Baxter, and I think Senator Hayes, too, talked about special pleading. There has been a lot of special pleading here. My principal argument is that we have these powers. I, and the Ministers before me since 1878, have had these powers with regard to disinfestation and infectious diseases. No Senator here has got into any sort of a state about what was done by Ministers during these 69 years. We have the powers under mother and child welfare since 1915; that is 32 years. No Minister will ever surrender a power in this connection once he has got it because we do not know what difficulty we may be in at some stage if we do surrender it. Senators ought to realise that they are speaking here as if something extraordinary may happen if Senator Duffy's amendment is not passed. If they would only consider that the powers have been there for 69 years in one case and 32 years in another case they would realise that nothing terrible is going to happen if we continue as we are. That is all we are asking.

There is the further point that it is sometimes inconvenient to come here or to the Dáil about a small regulation. The House may not be sitting for three or four weeks from the time when we might like to make a regulation or from when it would be necessary to make it. Sometimes these regulations are delayed in drafting and by the time they are ready the Seanad and Dáil may be in recess and then we would have to do this by Order, as we could not do it by regulation. That is not a good thing to do, if we can avoid it. The regulation is better, if it can be made, as it is a sort of by-law for the local authority to follow. In speaking about the mother and child welfare, I said we would make a model scheme, which we would ask the local authorities to live up to as far as possible. Parts of that will be mandatory, where we think it would not cause trouble and would be possible and desirable. In that case, it will be mandatory on the local authorities. We will go as far as we reasonably can with the mandatory provisions and encourage the authorities to go beyond them as far as they can. I do not want to be misunderstood, when I talk about a model scheme.

When I was going ahead with this legislation, I looked up the legislation from many countries, including Great Britain. A friend of Senator Duffy, I am sure, brought in the Health Bill there and I would be ashamed to ask for the powers he sought. What is more, he need never go near Parliament again, as he has power to do anything he likes—yet I am sure that the future of democracy in Great Britain is not troubling the Senator very much.

He does not have to live under it, anyway.

I was astonished and depressed by the general attitude taken by the Minister, that because a thing has gone on for years—and increased in what I suggest is its misuse—we must accept it for granted and submit to it. The Minister is not quite correct in saying there has been no objection in high quarters to this legislation through Order or regulation. I know that a former Lord Chief Justice of England has written a book deploring the tendency, and that other judges from the Bench have commented in a similar way. Surely, as legislators, we cannot submit to the view that what has become for years the practice is quite all right? This tendency to centralise in authority and to take the public less and less into the confidence of the Government is leading to a dangerous position and to public apathy, not only in the country but even in the Houses of our legislature. It accounts for what you see when you go into the Houses, the sparse attendance there.

The Government should recognise that, if this popular Parliamentary system is to survive, the public must be encouraged to take an interest in those matters which intimately concern them. There are some technical matters which are not of great individual importance, but questions of health and education should be brought down to the knowledge of every individual home. It is only by that means that we can expect a healthy public opinion and hope for a survival of this democratic system. We have reached a very strange position in this country where we have undoubtedly all the constitutional features of freedom—we have habeas corpus, trial courts, the right to speak, opposition, and the right to nominate candidates—and yet in many ways we have the features of totalitarianism, in that few people know or care what goes on. You find it in this House, where only a very limited interest is taken in many matters. You find it in the other House, where you see matters of the greatest importance being debated sometimes even without a House. The Government cannot evade responsibility for this. It is this tendency to keep everything in headquarters which is largely responsible for the lack of a healthy, alert and vigorous public opinion.

I would like to ask the Minister one thing as a test of his sincerity in this matter. He has referred to this model scheme for mother and child welfare. May I say, in passing, that I welcome this as a slight contribution to the White Paper policy? If he is going to have a model scheme for mother and child, why should we not long ago have had a model scheme for the whole of our health services given to Parliament so as to get their opinion on it and followed by legislation in accordance with that opinion? There is more virtue in the general approach, even if he is beginning at the wrong end. Let me ask the Minister if this model scheme is going to be published or merely sent to the local authorities. Although I am not a member of a local authority, I am told that, owing to the managerial system, there is a great lack of interest in local affairs. Is this document to be published? Will it be available for criticism in the Press and by medical people who are interested, by mothers who are interested and by citizens who are interested? Would he object to having this model scheme laid before both Houses of the Oireachtas and debated there? That would be a certain test of his sincerity and a contribution to this very necessary education of public opinion. There is no difficulty about doing this. The Minister may not like to say this on his own responsibility but that would be the test. If this is so it will, to a certain extent, meet the purpose of this amendment.

This is a Bill that we should have had long ago. We are working to an arranged timetable and will have to finish the Committee Stage this week whereas there should be time for the Minister to consider amendments and to consult his officials about them before the Report Stage. As I have said, I am exceedingly doubtful as to whether or not we will be allowed to carry amendments, on account of objection to recalling the Dáil, however wise our contributions may be. That is a matter in respect of which I will have something to say at a later stage. Senator Duffy is so well informed in matters of procedure that anything one has to say cannot be regarded as adding to his contribution. If you are going to annul regulations, you must annul them all. There may be pages of regulations and you may only object to one and the whole thing becomes almost a farce. In order to test if there is any real desire on the part of the Minister to meet the House in this matter, I propose, on Report Stage, to put down an amendment to what the Minister says is this time-honoured formula and to suggest that these regulations may be annulled or amended. I do not see why we have continued so long to accept the principle of 100 per cent. annulment. I suppose that matter has been raised before although I cannot remember it. What objection is there to amendment within the powers of annulment? I want to meet the Minister. I fully appreciate the difficulties and the administrative objection to having every regulation made the subject of resolution. All the regulations cannot be made at once. Is the Minister prepared to accept the doctrine of consultation? If he is prepared to accept it, there are lots of ways in which he, and he alone, can make it a practical policy.

I want to say that the Minister's last speech disappointed me very much. It appeared to me that he is perfectly convinced in his own mind that the arguments behind the amendment are sound and incontrovertible but that he is not going to be a pioneer. He has this precedent before him and he is going to stand by it. That is a great disappointment. I have never heard a Minister make a speech in this House which carried so little conviction as the speech to which we have just listened. The Minister, of course, has medical qualifications. He knows quite well that when he makes a comparison between the procedure here and the British procedure he is not fair to himself or to his opposite number in Britain. What the British Government have done is, they have brought in a measure which presents the entire community, rich and poor, with a complete medical service free of charge and then they take steps to ensure that people will avail of it. We are not doing that here. We do not even know how far the Minister or his Department will go in shaping regulations imposing considerable cost on the local community and on the individuals who will be required to avail of these services or to comply with regulations in respect of which no service is offered. It is, I think, unfortunate that the Minister should confuse the two things.

The Minister tells us about the powers he has had since 1878. I have referred to Section 149 of the Public Health (Ireland) Act, 1878, which I assume is the lawful authority for these powers, and I find there:—

"Whenever any part of Ireland appears to be threatened with or is affected by any formidable epidemic, endemic, or infectious disease, the Local Government Board may make, and from time to time alter and revoke, regulations for all or any of the following purposes."

There are only four purposes for which these regulations may be made:—

"(1) For the speedy interment of the dead; and

(2) For house to house visitation;

(3) For the provision of medical aid and hospital accommodation; and

(4) For the promotion of cleansing, ventilation, and disinfection, and for guarding against the spread of disease."

These are the powers, I take it, that the Minister has referred to. They are very limited powers and these are the only purposes for which he could make regulations. I would suggest that it is not quite correct to say that the powers he is taking in the present Bill are powers similar to those which he or his predecessors have been exercising since-1878.

Amendment put.
The Committee divided:—Tá, 13; Níl, 14.

  • Baxter, Patrick F.
  • Counihan, John J.
  • Crosbie, James.
  • Douglas, James G.
  • Duffy, Luke J.
  • Fearon, William R.
  • Hayes, Michael.
  • Johnston, Joseph.
  • Keane, Sir John.
  • Kyle, Sam.
  • O'Reilly, Patrick John.
  • Sweetman, Gerard.
  • Tunney, James.


  • Clarkin, Andrew S.
  • Concannon, Helena.
  • Crowley, Tadhg.
  • Hawkins, Frederick.
  • Hearne, Michael.
  • Honan, Thomas V.
  • Kennedy, Margaret L.
  • Longford, Earl of.
  • McEllin, John E.
  • O Buachalla, Liam.
  • O'Dea, Louis E.
  • O'Donovan, Seán.
  • Nic Phiarais, Maighréad M.
  • Quirke, William.
Tellers:—Tá: Senators Tunney and Kyle; Níl: Senators Hearne and Hawkins.
Amendment declared negatived.
Question proposed: "That Section 5 stand part of the Bill."

On that question, I want to draw attention to the provisions of sub-section (3). They relate to the keeping of records as to the health of individuals. Where the Minister thinks that such records should be kept, it is provided that the part of such records containing the names of individuals shall be treated in a confidential manner and shall not be published save-with their consent. I understand that, in all institutions such as are provided for in this Bill, records are kept of the names and addresses of patients and of the diseases from which they suffer. The doctors are compelled to keep the records which are eventually sent on to the Department. It appears to me that there is very grave danger, if names are given and if the records show that people are suffering from certain diseases, that those records will pass through the hands of nonprofessional people. The keeping of the records is clerical work and is done by the superintendents of hospitals and others who would be non-medical men. That is the position in our county, and I suppose the same would be true of other counties. There is grave danger, I think, of the names of patients being made known. People are very sensitive if it is suggested that they are suffering from certain diseases. There are some diseases which nobody would like to be accused of suffering from. Even in the case of tuberculosis, people are tremendously sensitive if it is suggested that they are suffering from it. They think it is a reflection on their family history. I would suggest that the regulations should provide that the name and address of the patient should not be mentioned where the patient, or his doctor, so requests, that they should be indicated merely by a number and that should be added to sub-section (3). I do not think it is sufficient to say that they shall be treated in a confidential manner. I know that doctors keep their secrets. I often wonder if doctors should be obliged to give the names of patients suffering from certain diseases. I think any doctor would be perfectly entitled to refuse to give the name and address of a patient and that he ought to refuse; that it is more or less a breach of confidence between the doctor and the patient that the doctor should in a report say that a certain man is suffering from a certain disease and that that should go up to the Department. I know it is sent for a particular purpose, because the doctor must show what the treatment is and, if it goes before a local government medical inspector, he will say whether the treatment is correct or not. But it would be just as effective if the name and address of the patient were not given. I suggest that the regulations ought to provide that the name and address should be kept secret whenever the patient or the doctor so requests.

As a matter of fact, it is stronger as it stands, because it says they must be kept secret except with the consent of the individual concerned.

"Shall be treated in a confidential manner."

"And shall not be published." I do not know if regulations made will be concerned with a general hospital. If they are, of course the sub-section will apply. What we had in mind was this. Take, for instance, a clinic for venereal disease. We are getting a certain type of book prepared in which half of each page is detachable. On the left-hand side, the doctor will have the name and address of the patient and, on the right-hand side, only the number and the particulars required. In that way, in certain cases nobody except the doctor will know who the person is to whom he is referring. That is the intention. I might say that we cannot make it absolute. Take Section 41, for instance, under which a person can apply for a grant for rehabilitation. Such a person will not want his name kept secret. Therefore, we must leave it as it is—with the consent of the person concerned. If the person wants to conceal his identity, then of course he cannot apply for a grant for rehabilitation.

That would be all right as regards venereal disease cases, but there are other cases. For example, I know a man suffering from tuberculosis who is most anxious that nobody should know about it.

It would certainly apply in that case. It would apply to mother and child welfare cases and everything else. That is the system generally, but where a person is seeking benefits the name will have to be known.

The Minister has not answered my original question as to the legal difference between a regulation and an Order. You can give an example of a thing being obviously an Order and another thing being obviously a regulation, but that does not meet my difficulty. I should like to have some indication of the legal difference between a regulation and an Order. Perhaps I am a little suspicious about all these things, having been behind the scenes in Government offices in my day. I can see where a regulation may be inconvenient and the same purpose can be achieved by an Order. It will be impossible then to go to the court and say that this is an abuse or an infringement of the Act, that it should have been done by regulation and that it is being done by Order. I should like to know how that misuse of a regulation could be tested in a court of law.

I am afraid I cannot tell the Senator exactly what the difference is. I find, in practice, if I want a thing done that the draftsman will say: "That is a regulation", or "That is an Order". Generally speaking, however, the difference so far as I can see and I have made inquiries is this: that where it is sought to do something referring to a number of cases or to all cases, that would be a regulation and that an Order is anad hoc procedure. I think that is the difference. For instance, you will see in this Bill that if I want to transfer an institution from one authority to another that is done by an Order. That could not be a regulation, because it is not a general matter. If I were, say, transferring all fever hospitals from the sanitary authority to the health authority, it would be a regulation I take it. But, where it is a specific matter, it is an Order. I think that is the difference. There are, of course, border-line cases which I could not deal with by giving any specific case. I sometimes have to wait for the draftsman to say whether it is a regulation or an Order.

I should like to refer to sub-section (5), dealing with the revocation or the annulment of regulations. We have definitely decided not to adopt the procedure which Senator Duffy suggested. I should like, however, to point out to the Minister the possibility of the legal authorities accepting the interpretation that one particular regulation could be annulled without the whole series being annulled. The word is used in the singular in the sub-section. When the Minister circulates his regulations, they will be classified as regulations, using the word in the plural. With my non-legal mind, I would say that every section of these regulations will be an individual regulation. Therefore, this would give Senator Duffy or any member of the Opposition who spoke to-day an opportunity of referring to one definite regulation and proposing its annulment. I think that would be desirable. Certainly nobody will desire the annulment of all the regulations which, I have no doubt, will be promulgated. In many cases they are as voluminous as the Bills themselves. But it would be very desirable that the Houses of the Oireachtas should get an opportunity of objecting and proposing the annulment of one specific paragraph, which would comprise one regulation. I am pointing this out on the section, because it seems to me that what we were discussing a while ago is possible under the terms of sub-section (5).

I noticed in the debate that Orders and regulations were confused. Section 15 deals with Orders and I think it is in accordance with what the Minister said, that an Order is anad hoc direction, whereas a regulation governs every local authority and will apply generally. An Order will apply only to one specific local authority and possibly the adjoining local authority for a specific purpose. This does not deal with Orders but with regulations. The word “regulation” is in the singular and from the wording of the section, it would be possible for any Senator or member of the Dáil who wishes to object to a paragraph of the regulations to do so. I think it should satisfy those who have spent two hours discussing the amendment put forward by Senator Duffy.

I am afraid that Senator O'Donovan will not be able to recover his lost prestige by that speech. He had an opportunity a few minutes ago of voting for a proposal—

I made my position quite clear and I therefore lost no prestige.

I am trying to find out if his clarity has been sufficient to enable me to understand what he is at. He had an opportunity, as I say, of voting for an amendment which would have secured everything he desired.

Mr. O'Donovan

Not at all.

He is very anxious that something which he dislikes in a regulation should come out and he says, in that very good-humoured way of his: "It is all right; the use of the singular in this section enables me to put down a motion to annul paragraph 24 of the regulation." I am afraid that is not what will happen. What will happen is that the Minister will make Regulation H—standing for health— No. 270 and that regulation may cover the measures he proposes to take for the prevention of the spread of infection. It may run to 270 pages.

Mr. O'Donovan

May I say——

Am I to be allowed to make my speech? I am endeavouring to show what has been my experience.

Mr. O'Donovan

I am endeavouring to correct you, but you will not allow me to do so.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

Senator Duffy must be allowed to make his speech.

That regulation is tabled and Senator O'Donovan and I agree that there is one section—

Mr. O'Donovan

Do not speak for me now.

I am trying to be generous to the Senator, having sincere sympathy with him in the mistake he made earlier. Let us assume that the Senator and I agree that paragraph 50 of the regulation is most objectionable and should be taken out. We come to the Cathaoirleach with a motion proposing the deletion of this paragraph and the Cathaoirleach will tell us that our motion is out of order because the only power we have under Section 5 is to annul the whole of the regulation. That has been tried before, and I think the Cathaoirleach will agree that my interpretation is correct.

Mr. O'Donovan

I can tell the Senator that the word "regulations" is in the plural. I have specific knowledge of that. There is the case of the Milk and Dairies Regulations and therefore all the Senator's speech seems to be just tosh.

I am still puzzled about this distinction between a regulation and an Order. Would the Minister accept as an explanation that every Order must be covered by a regulation?

The Minister has not satisfied me. There are safeguards for the public in regulations, but I am afraid that regulations can be evaded in the form of Orders. That is my difficulty and I am afraid that the Minister has not helped me very much on the point.

The Senator will find that under certain sections the Minister must make regulations, and, under other sections, must make Orders. All I can say is that the Bill points the way to what a regulation is and what an Order is.

Question put and agreed to.

I move amendment No. 5:—

Before Section 6 to insert the following new section:—

6.—Every Order made by the Minister under Sections 10, 14 and 32 of this Act shall be laid before each House of the Oireachtas as soon as may be after it is made and, if a resolution annulling the Order or any provision thereof is passed by either such House within the next subsequent 21 days on which that House has sat after the Order is laid before it, the Order or provision thereof (as the case may be) shall be annulled accordingly but without prejudice to the validity of anything previously done thereunder.

We are on this point about which Senator Sir John Keane is so keen— the distinction between an Order and the regulation. My submission is that any instrument made by the Minister under Section 28 will be a regulation, irrespective of the language in which it is couched, and every instrument made by him under Section 10 will be an Order. There is no such distinction, as I understand the matter, as Senator Sir John Keane tries to make, between a regulation and an Order. The Act under which the instrument is made determines whether that instrument is an Order or a regulation, and Section 10 provides for the making by the Minister of Orders in relation to certain matters. He gives directions by Order. He may direct a health authority to provide and maintain an institution at some specified place, or may order a health authority to provide new or improved drainage or ventilation for an institution. The administrative acts of the Minister under that section will take the form of Orders, and, as such, these instruments will not be tabled in either House and therefore may not be annulled or challenged so far as Parliament is concerned. What a local authority may do in relation to them is another matter, and in fact a local authority, in certain circumstances, might argue that the Minister actedultra vires and might proceed to secure whatever remedies were open to them in law.

We are concerned here with the making of an instrument which has a certain reaction, and, if the Minister makes an order under Section 10, it becomes operative as a mandatory instruction to the local authority regarding the provision of institutions. Under that section, there is conferred on the Minister power to make an Order directing local authorities to provide institutions at a particular place. He may direct a county council to provide a sanatorium, fever hospital or any other kind of institution for the treatment of disease at a specified place. I am very concerned with that, because I think this is an instance in which the local people have a right to be consulted, to have their voices heard, before the Minister makes the Order directing a local authority to do something which he or his advisers consider should be done. One example of the evils which flow from this practice of ignoring a local authority is the unfortunate mishap there was with regard to Santry Court. Here was an instance in which the Minister's predecessor took certain action, depriving the local authority of property on which they intended to erect a certain institution. A very large sum of money was spent on the undertaking and it was then discovered that the whole thing was wrong and the project was abandoned. That, I think, is a clear indication that the local people are likely to know more of local circumstances than the Minister and should at least be consulted. I am anxious, therefore, that any Order made under this section should be tabled and that there should be an opportunity of getting that Order annulled.

I refer to another instance regarding the provision of institutions locally by authority of the Minister, and I call attention to a report which appeared in a Dublin evening paper on the 18th July concerning a building called the Marine Hotel at Wicklow. Apparently the Marine Hotel was disused and the Department of Local Government, or the Department of Health, ordered the county manager to acquire the building for the purpose of converting it into a fever hospital. The county manager told the county council on the 18th of this month that he had intended consulting them at that day's meeting on the matter of the proposed fever hospital, as he had received an estimate from the architect for the work of reconstruction and he was surprised at the amount involved. He said that when the county council took over the Marine Hotel they had thought of expending £1,500. The council knew nothing at all about it; it was the manager who was speaking for himself. He had thought that the cost of reconstruction would be £1,500, but the Department, said the manager, insisted on much greater reconstruction work, including special heating plant, which alone accounted for £5,000, the total estimate being over £11,000. In the opinion of the county engineer, who had reported to the county manager on the plans, he believed the cost would be nearer £15,000 to cover all the work.

Now, here is an arrangement under the existing law by which the Department, over which the Minister presides, instructs the county manager, who is not responsible to any local authority, to acquire a disused hotel for the purpose of converting it into a fever hospital. The manager proceeds with the work on the assumption that it will cost £1,500, but, when he gets an estimate in accordance with the instructions conveyed to him by the Department, the engineer tells him that the cost will be £15,000, ten times more than the manager anticipated the reconstruction would cost.

Here is the snag. The chairman of the county council said he was glad that this had happened because, if they were within their powers, they would give the whole Murrough, where the hotel stands, to a Belgian firm to start an industry there. He said he had been totally opposed to this act of insanity in placing a fever hospital on the sea front of the town. The Minister is claiming power under Section 10 to direct the Wicklow County Council to place a fever hospital on the sea front of the town. I think that is a matter about which this House should have serious concern and, if this is the purpose for which the Minister is seeking the powers mentioned in this Bill, I suggest it is the responsibility of every member of the House to see that before he gets these powers he will be required to place his Orders on the Table of the House so that Senators will have an opportunity of saying: "We dislike what is being done under this Order and we will ask the House to annul it."

The second section to which this amendment is related is Section 14, which provides for the transfer of institutions. Section 10, as we saw, provides for the erection of new institutions of a specified type at a specified place. Section 14 deals with the transfer of existing institutions. These will be transferred by Order. I think the question is not as important as that dealt with under Section 10, but I would draw attention to the fact that there is no inquiry by the Minister before making this transfer Order. I do not think there is any provision in the Bill to ensure that the persons employed in a transferred institution are being protected; to ensure, for instance, that they are entitled to compensation if deprived of their livelihood. It seems to me that this is an instance in which the Order should be tabled, with power of annulment.

I refer in the amendment to Section 32, which seems to be a very important section. It provides exemption from the requirement to submit to measures in relation to protection and immunisation against infectious disease. The provisions of this section are not very clear, but it seems their intention is to get over the safeguards against the compulsory immunisation provided elsewhere in the Bill. In certain circumstances the Minister will have power to direct by Order that adult persons of a particular class—I do not know what he means, whether it is people who have red hair or black skins or some other distinctive marks of that kind—or children of a particular class shall submit themselves to the requirements of Section 32.

I am not objecting to any reasonable measure the Minister considers taking for the protection of the people against the spread of infectious disease. I merely ask him that the Orders made under these sections should be tabled and should be capable of annulment. I think the House will realise that there are reasonable grounds for taking that precaution.

There is a point of difference between the proposal contained in this amendment and the proposals in the traditional section provided for the making of regulations. Senator O'Donovan and myself had some exchange of opinion a few moments ago regarding powers of annulment where regulations are concerned. I contended that if you want to annul any part or set of regulations the whole set must be annulled. Senator O'Donovan thought otherwise. I am providing in this amendment not for the annulment of the Order, except in certain circumstances; I am providing that part of the Order may be annulled and I direct the attention of Senator Sir John Keane particularly to that condition, which is a departure from the traditional form, so that the House might be free to annul one particular section or paragraph of an Order without interfering with the scope or the operation of the remainder of the Order.

I am afraid that Senator Duffy confuses this question of an Order with the sections mentioned in his amendment, namely, Sections 10, 14 and 32. Section 10 provides that the Minister may direct a health authority to provide and maintain in a specified place an institution of a specified character and size. Section 14 provides that the Minister may by Order transfer a district institution to a health authority and Section 32 provides that the Minister may, by Order, declare that it is necessary, for the purpose of preventing the spread of a particular infectious disease, that all adult persons should submit themselves to a specified measure in relation to their protection or immunisation against such infectious disease. Each section therefore confers certain powers upon the Minister and if the words "by Order" were deleted from each section, the Minister would have the same powers. If we look at Section 10, omitting the words "by Order", the section provides that the Minister after having caused a local inquiry to be held into the desirability of so doing, may direct a health authority to do a certain thing. In the same way under Section 14, the Minister may transfer a district institution and under Section 32 the Minister may declare certain things to be necessary. The Order is merely the machinery for, in the first case, effecting the direction, in the second case, for effecting the transfer and, in the third case, for expressing the declaration.

In other words, under the section the Minister is given certain powers. Were it not for the fact that the Minister is a corporation sole and can act only by Order under his seal, it would not be necessary to put in the words "by Order". If he were an individual it might provide that he could declare by letter or by deed, in some other way. So Senator Duffy's amendment, even if it were adopted, would be futile because the House, while it might in the first case frustrate the Minister's direction to the local authority to provide an institution and, in the second case, frustrate the transfer, it would be anomalous if it were to frustrate a declaration by the Minister. The words: "by Order" in these sections, have nothing at all to do with the exercise of any power by the Minister. It is merely a mode of expression or the mode in which the Minister indicates that he is using the power in the section. Therefore, when the Legislature gives a power to the Minister to transfer or to do a certain thing in his own way—the words-here are that he "may" do it; in other words, he has a discretion to do it—the Legislature cannot, so to speak, place itself in the place of the Minister. In this case, in my opinion, the Legislature is not the proper authority to decide whether or not under Section 32 it is necessary for persons to submit themselves to a specified measure in relation to their protection or immunisation against such infectious disease. The Minister for Health is the person to decide all that matter. He is the person to decide whether there should be exemption from requirements to submit to measures in relation to protection or immunisation against infectious disease. The Legislature is not the body to decide whether any particular person should be exempt from immunisation. Therefore it would be quite futile to pass this amendment.

Furthermore the Legislature is not the body to decide whether any particular health authority should provide at a specified place an institution of a specified character. Neither is the Legislature the proper authority to decide whether a district institution should be transferred to the health authority. That is not the function of the Legislature. These are details with which the Minister only can deal and therefore these powers which are conferred by the sections mentioned in Senator Duffy's amendment are merely administrative details. There is no question involved here concerning the rights of the public generally. These are purely administrative details with which the Minister in his executive capacity will deal.

Would that apply, say to the provision of a fever hospital on the sea front in Wicklow? Are the public not interested in that?

Whether a fever hospital should be placed on the sea front in Wicklow, or any other place, is a matter with which this Oireachtas is not competent to deal nor would any Parliament deal with the question of that nature which involved what I might call technical considerations. We are here to make general laws, not to deal with individual cases. This Bill provides power for the annulment of regulations which affect the public generally but the Seanad is not here to frustrate the Minister in his executive functions of carrying out the purposes of the Bill. That would be the effect of Senator Duffy's amendment, if passed.

I think Senator Ryan has given us a very full and clear definition of the difference between what might be referred to as administrative Acts and legislative Acts. That is the point I wanted to make against Senator Duffy's amendment and I feel that Senator Ryan has made the point better than I could. I do not see how the Seanad could enter into these administrative details. For instance, if the Minister for Health and his Department were to make a drive against diphtheria, I think Senators would realise that, although medical opinion might be on their side, there might nevertheless be a certain amount of uninformed opinion against immunisation. That particular section might feel that they could influence the Dáil or the Seanad to annul such a regulation. Until the question was settled there would be great unrest and disquietude in the area where that was taking place. It would make it almost impossible to operate a section like Section 32. As regards Section 10, that appears to me to refer entirely to an administrative act. In practice, the Department would have negotiations with the local authority about the provision of an institution. If it failed to get agreement, then there would have to be a local inquiry and after the local inquiry, the Minister would have power to call on the local authority to provide the institution. That has been the practice for a long time. I do not think that we can improve it, although it may involve certain difficulties. It would be worse still if we had to come to the Dáil or Seanad to defend the action taken. I do not remember all the details of the case referred to by Senator Duffy. I know that this house was purchased in 1945 from the transport union for a fever hospital. At that time diphtheria was rampant in County Wicklow. This house was purchased only as a temporary measure until we should get rid of the diphtheria position in the county. If that position has now appreciably improved, the institution can be disposed of. There is no reason why it should be kept.

With regard to the transfer under Section 14, it is intended that all institutions will, eventually, go over to the health authority. The public assistance authority and the sanitary authorities will not, after some time, exist so far as these things are concerned and this is the machinery section for the purpose of transferring these institutions. Senator Duffy referred to the position of employees. They are safeguarded under the Local Government Act, 1941. If an institution is transferred to the health authority, the employees go with it. If there is any question of closing it down, the employees have the protection of the Act of 1941. On the whole, I think that administration should be in the hands of the Minister, the regulations implementing the legal authority of the Bill to be laid upon the Tables of both Houses.

May I suggest that there is a certain duplication of debate in what we are doing now. I should not like to accept in its entirety what Senator Ryan has said but I do accept the Minister's point that administration is a matter in reference to which a Minister should be able to make an Order without having to bring it to the Seanad. I think that the amendment is quite properly put down but it involves us in a discussion of the particular sections. It would be better if we could go to those sections and see what the Minister's powers are under them—whether they are concerned with administration or something else—and leave this matter over, because it is involving us in a discussion of the sections themselves. Since we are bound to come to the sections, it would be better to discover what the sections mean, what precise kind of Order or regulation it is proposed to make, and then come to our decision.

I am willing to adopt that suggestion.

Mr. Hawkins

If we adopt that suggestion, will it involve our going backward and forward to each section?

The very opposite.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Sections 6, 7 and 8 agreed to.

I move amendment No. 6:—

Before Section 9 to insert the following new section:—

9.—Stamp duty shall not be chargeable on any draft order or receipt given by or to a health authority in respect of moneys payable in pursuance of this Act.

It seems to me that this matter ought to be covered in the Bill. When we make a provision of this kind in relation to the transfer of property under the Transport Act and similar Acts, it should be done in this case.

When an amendment was proposed in the Dáil to the Finance Bill in respect of stamp duties, generally, the Minister for Finance undertook to have the matter considered before next year's Budget.

There was an amendment down in relation to the Stamp Act, 1891, as affecting receipts for wages. That was not moved in the Dáil. I moved an amendment here and the Minister undertook that, during next year, he would look into the whole question of the application of the Stamps Act to receipts. I assume that that refers to receipts for shop goods and everything else. I was concerned only with receipts which must be given by civil servants and employees of local authorities for wages. I withdrew the amendment to the Finance Bill on the understanding that the Minister would deal with the question generally. The undertaking given by the Minister could not be interpreted by me as an assurance which would cover instruments of the type referred to in this amendment.

I shall undertake to look into the question when it is being dealt with by the Minister for Finance. That would be the best place to deal with the matter.

I accept that and I ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 9 agreed to.

I move amendment No. 7:—

In sub-section (2), line 17, after the word "may" to insert the words "after consultation with the health authority".

If my amendment were adopted, sub-section (2) would read: "The Minister, after having caused a local inquiry to be held into the desirability of so doing, may, after consultation with the health authority, by order direct a health authority to (a) provide and maintain at a specified place an institution of a specified character and size...". I think that the Minister said earlier that there would be consultation in respect of the erection of institutions, but there is no evidence of that in the Bill There is evidence of a situation which is, apparently, to be expected, that the local authority may get permission from the Minister to do a certain thing if the authority so desires. The Minister may consent in that case. The Minister may be faced with a situation in which a local inquiry has to be held and, arising out of that local inquiry, a decision taken as to the erection of a building. The Minister may make an Order that this be done. It is absolutely unreasonable to put the Minister, in relation to the local authority, in the position in which he is to order the local authority to do a certain thing without consultation. What does that mean? It simply means that the Minister has power to impose a levy of 2/6 or 5/- in the £ on the rates of a particular county.

Senator Duffy has referred to the position in County Wicklow. Differences frequently arise between local authorities and the central authority as to sites for hospitals. If the local health authority has responsibilities, it should have some rights. If, following a local inquiry, an expensive building has to be erected and maintained by a local authority, it is unreasonable that there should be no consultation with that local authority. I think that nobody who has any respect for local authorities would want to put them in such an invidious position. What happens? I know of no local authority who, out of cussedness or disregard for its obligations and responsibilities, will refuse to have consultation and discussion with the central authority on a matter like this. I know of no local authority who would not be prepared to be absolutely reasonable. However, the reasonableness of a local authority must be conditioned by the kind of obligation which it is expected to impose upon its people. If there are grandiose ideas on the part of the central authority with regard to the kind of institutions we are to have down the country, without regard to the capacity of the people who have to find the money for the institutions and to maintain them, there is bound to be a clash. Surely in a matter like that a local authority has some rights.

The Minister may say that nobody contemplates the making of an Order like this without guaranteeing to the local authority a very considerable proportion of the initial cost. But the initial cost is not everything. Anybody who has had any experience knows that the maintenance of these institutions later on imposes a very considerable burden on the ratepayers. I do not want to delay the House. What I am seeking is that where there is a feeling on the part of the central authority that there is a necessity for a new institution or for an alteration in an existing institution, and so on, there ought to be an obligation on the Minister that no Order will be made directing the local authority to provide such an institution without prior consultation with them. What will happen? A Departmental inspector will come to a district; he will visit the institution and he will go back and make his report to the central body. I do not see any of these reports. I do not know what happens under other local authorities and I do not know the manner of informing the local authorities generally in this matter. Assuming that the ordinary thing happens— that the inspector makes a report that a new institution is necessary—the probabilities are that the individual who is going to hold the local inquiry is the inspector who made the investigation and made the report. He becomes, therefore, judge and jury on the problem which has to be examined on which a decision must be taken. In view of the necessity for harmonious relations between the local people, who have to be concerned about the health in their local districts and the central authority who definitely have major responsibilities in this matter and the Minister, it is terribly important to have consultations. This sort of consultation has, apart altogether from getting the goodwill of the local people, beneficial effects. It is important to have discussion with the local authorities in these matters. They themselves will be aware of the situation and they will be able to inform the ratepaying community accordingly. If an inspector comes to a local authority and opens up a discussion and examination — which situation should exist—in the light of the knowledge available to both, such discussion would be for the common good and would be the best educational process that could be submitted to the minds of the people. There is grave necessity, to my mind, for that. I hope the Minister will consider the attitude of mind of local people with regard to this question and that he will accept this amendment which, I think, in all the circumstances, is perfectly reasonable.

A local authority may itself erect an institution provided it shall first have obtained the consent of the Minister. It is clear that there must be consultation when that is being done. The Minister may give his permission or he may direct an inquiry to be held. Generally the local authority makes application first. In my experience, the Department is very slow in giving its consent and in giving effect to what the local authority does in the nature of the preparation of plans, specifications and the submission of work. That, at any rate, has been the case up to the present; perhaps there will be a change now. There must be consultation. It is clear that the Minister will not give an Order for the erection of a new hospital or institution without first writing to the local authority and it is only in the event of refusal by a local authority that an inquiry will be held. The local authority will get full notice of that inquiry. They will be represented professionally, they will have their witnesses there, they will give evidence as to the necessity or otherwise for the institution, the probable cost, and other matters of that kind. That, in itself, is a consultation. I think the words of the sub-section as suggested by Senator Baxter are unnecessary because he put in that after the inquiry is held there ought to be consultation. There is sure to be consultation. There will be an inquiry. There will be deputations to and fro and there will be a great deal of discussion before any Order shall be made. It will only be in a case of absolute necessity, I think, that the Minister will make the Order. I do not think the Senator need be uneasy about the matter.

I would like to support the amendment. I fully endorse the reasons set out by Senator Baxter in proposing it and also certain points in the argument advanced by Senator O'Dea. It could happen after a local inquiry is held that, because of local knowledge, a local authority would be able to implement the answers given at the inquiry if they had an opportunity afforded by a consultation, before the central authority would give the direction which they are authorised to give under this Bill. That direction might mean the erection of a building the cost of which the funds or the resources of the county, administered by the local body, could not bear. It might also give a direction for the erection of a building when, in fact, a local authority might be able to advance an alternative suggestion as to the reconstruction of some available building which could be utilised. Unfortunately several such buildings are going derelict throughout the country. A local authority has local knowledge which a central authority has not. Before the direction emanating from the inquiry would be given out by the central authority, there should be consultation with the local authority as to what is proposed to be done and, before doing that they should have the benefit of the knowledge the local authority has and which the central authority has not. I support the amendment for that reason.

May I point out to Senator Baxter that it is sometimes very difficult to bind oneself to do a thing like this, although one inevitably does it. There is any amount of consultation with the local authority before pressing them to do something we would like them to do, and, if we find them unreasonable, there is a local inquiry. After that, if they have any further observations to make, there is too much time. As a matter of fact, I find, in the Department of Health, that consultations have been going on for years with local authorities and I do not know when they will come to an end. There has been too much consultation with them, in my opinion. Apart from that, there will be a different position now, as Senator Baxter will admit. Under the new financing system, a local authority will continue to pay what they are paying now and the central authority will pay the extra amount. Any local authority will see the position they are in—that they can provide a new institution at no cost to themselves. I think they will be pressing for it and will not be arguing against it any more. Probably the Department will be trying to keep them from being extravagant because it is the Department will have to pay.

Including maintenance?


It sounds almost too good to be true. There must be some snag.

There is a snag.

Take the authorities as a whole. They are paying roughly £4,000,000 and we are paying £1,000,000. We will go on paying until we are paying £4,000,000 so that there is a good deal of leeway to make up. We will have to pay the extra amount for seven or eight years to come. It will be partly capital. They will get part of that capital and will pay some themselves. What they pay themselves they will raise by loan. The interest will be paid by the local authority, but we will pay it to them, so that in fact a new institution will cost them nothing. In these circumstances, all the pressure will be from the local authority, and, on the whole, I think it better to leave things as they are.

With regard to the point made by Senator Baxter, that the inspector may be both judge and jury, I am told that that is avoided, so far as possible. Where an inspector has advocated the building of an institution and if a local inquiry is necessary, the practice of the Department has been to appoint a man who is not familiar with the subject from that point of view.

Sitting suspended at 6 p.m. and resumed at 7 p.m.

I was hoping the Minister would accept the amendment. He has made no case for its rejection. I know the argument is that the Exchequer for a period will be responsible for very considerable expenditure and that it is the local authorities who will be pushing the central authority to proceed. In so far as the local authorities want to do something, they get the sanction of the Ministry. But, I am concerned about the other situation, when the local authorities may have very good reason for not going on with a particular work and when the Minister may want to go on and, apparently, may want to go on at the expense of the Exchequer and when even in these circumstances, the local authority is so rebellious and unreasonable that they are not prepared to acquiesce. In a situation like that, I want consultation with the local authority. Can anyone conceive a local authority acting in such a way? What possible reason would there be? My view about it is that there must be very good reason for that attitude on the part of any county health authority. Where there is such an attitude the way to surmount the difficulty is, not by Order of the Minister to proceed in opposition to the local authority, but by consultation.

I am not very well informed as to the procedure in other counties. I can speak with knowledge only of my own. As I said on Second Reading, as far as the county health authority at the moment is concerned, it seems to be the county manager. He, presumably in conjunction with the health officers, is the county health authority. As far as the elective representatives are concerned, there is very little consultation with them and there is not very much information vouchsafed. I do not say that we cannot get information if we seek it—there is no doubt about that— but, without reading correspondence and without knowing the communications which pass between the responsible officers and the central authority, it is very difficult for any health authority to keep track of what is going on. As far as the county health authority is concerned to-day, in most counties, I think we may accept it that it is really the county manager.

There are reasonable, agreeable, satisfactory persons as county managers. I must say that we have such a person in our county. There is also another type. We are legislating, not for to-day or to-morrow, but for the future. That must be taken into account. I do not want to see a situation develop where everything in connection with the public health services would be done between the county manager and the county health officer and the central authority. That would be a disastrous development. My view is that the more contact there is between the elected representatives and the central authority the higher would be the level of public health services.

When the Minister presents me with the situation that he does not want to accept my amendment or does not want to accept my submission, that an Order for the provision and maintenance of an institution will only be decided upon after consultation with the local authority, because, as he says, the central authority will spend the major portion of this money for a very long time, it seems to me that to a great extent he is wiping out the local representatives. That is very undesirable. May I make this point, in addition to what Senator Ruane has said? Let us assume that there is a conscientious group of persons in a local authority, that a proposition is put forward by the Ministry of Health for the erection of an institution, that the judgment of the local people is against the proposition, that there is a public inquiry held and that you get a report —it does not matter whether the inquiry is held by the official who originally made the report in favour of the erection of the institution, or a colleague of his—my view is, definitely, that before that report is acted upon and before an Order is made based on that report, there ought to be consultation. What sort of consultation? If we are all serious about this, consultation should take place by the senior health inspector attending a meeting of the local authority where the matter would be thrashed out. If the attitude of the local authority is unreasonable, if right reason has not dictated their view, that will be obvious to everybody. It will be obvious to the people who elected them. As these services develop and as we spend more money on them the maintenance cost will grow and the local authorities will again have to come in with their contributions. That situation has to be envisaged by a wise and far-seeing local authority. In taking vital decisions that are going to involve us in a great deal of expenditure in the future, I am convinced that these decisions should only be arrived at after there has been the most intimate contact between the representative of the central authority and the county health authority. It is because I believe that if you want to build up your health services on a basis on which they will be of real value to the people, and if the people are to understand them and their worth, that I strongly urge this amendment on the House. I hope the Minister will see his way to accept it.

I do not pretend to be an expert in local administration. I have never been an elected member of a local authority. Accordingly, I approach this amendment from a different point of view from that of the last speaker. I approach it from the point of view of what I may call legal drafting and of the ordinary procedure which is adopted by the Minister in relation to local authorities. Now, this amendment, if carried, would make sub-section (2) of Section 10 read as follows:—

"The Minister, after having caused a local inquiry to be held into the desirability of so doing, may, after consultation with the health authority, by Order direct a health authority ..."

to provide and maintain a certain type of institution. Now, I take it that the purpose of a local inquiry is to ascertain the views of the health authority —of the local representatives—and of the persons affected, or who might be affected, by any Order which the Minister may make. I think that, in this case, Senator Baxter has put the car before the horse, because I am satisfied that before the Minister would direct a local inquiry at all he would have had several consultations with the health authority, and would only cause a local inquiry to be held if he found a difference of opinion as to the desirability of requiring a local authority to provide the institution mentioned in the section.

Therefore, I think it is clear that a local inquiry is in the nature of a consultation with the local authority. The local authority is entitled to be represented at that local inquiry. The inquiry is held to facilitate any person in the locality who may wish to put forward any views on the subject matter of the inquiry, and so the Minister is providing machinery not only for consultation with the health authority, who would be represented there by its solicitor or counsel as the case might be, but also for consultation with every inhabitant in the area who wishes to put forward his views on the project. I think it would be extraordinary, after having held the local inquiry, which may be a protracted one, that the Minister should then have a consultation with the local authority. Now, in England some time ago a question arose as to the consultation of a local authority with the Minister after a local inquiry had been held. It was held by the court that such consultation was a denial of natural justice. It happened that in the town of Jarrow a local authority proposed to demolish certain houses for the purpose of a clearance area. In other words, the local authority proposed to acquire compulsorily certain houses the property of private individuals. A local inquiry was held at which the owners of the houses gave evidence and, apparently, convinced the inspector that their property should not be acquired compulsorily by the local authority. It subsequently transpired that, after the local inquiry had been held, the Mayor of Jarrow, or at least some members of the Jarrow local authority, went to London and had a consultation with the Minister, and that, as a result of that consultation in the Minister's Department in London, it was decided by the Minister to confirm the compulsory purchase order. The persons affected went to the court. The fact of this hole-and-corner consultation on the part of the local authority was brought into the daylight, and the judge, in giving his judgment, said that it was a denial of natural justice. I say that the local inquiry should be the last word in this case, and that everybody should be entitled to put forward his views in public, and that after the local inquiry the Minister should then come to his decision. I think there should not be, what Senator Baxter proposes, heel-tapping by the local authority after the local inquiry has been held.

There is one point that I want to make in reply to Senator Ryan. It strikes me that he has considerable contempt for a local authority.

No. I never said that.

He illustrates his case by making reference to an inquiry which was held in Jarrow and speaks about a court. I do not know what kind of a court it was.

It was the High Court in England.

I want to point out to the Senator that what I contemplate is an inquiry by an official in the Department of Local Government—possibly the official who, in the first instance, makes the recommendation to do something. He may afterwards be sent to hold the inquiry.

The inquiry was held in the first instance, and there was afterwards an appeal to the High Court against the decision arrived at.

Senator Ryan made reference to a decision of the court, and he spoke of consultation after the inquiry. That is a very different thing. Senator Ryan may say that he has not very much experience of local authorities. That may be; but he has experience of them in one way and I have experience of them in another way. What I am concerned about is that the relations between the central authority and the local authorities should be put on such a plane as to ensure that there will be harmony. I dislike this sort of situation where you have a local authority refusing to take action, which, I presume, would be based on some very good reason; an inquiry held afterwards and then a decision based on that inquiry without any further effort to discover whether there was not a way between the decision of the individual who represents the Minister and the people of the country. In my opinion, that is a situation that some attempt should be made by the Minister to meet. While the legal situation remains like that, it is very unsatisfactory; it is definitely putting the local authorities in the position of menials and incompetents.

I think if Senator Baxter wanted to have a proper discussion he should have proposed an amendment to insert the words, "with the consent of the local authority". When Ministers bring in Bills and the question of finance arises, a clause is put in, "with the consent of the Minister for Finance". Apparently, he is the big stick over all Ministers. So far as I can see, this amendment is only tautology and serves no useful purpose. We had discussions on other Bills demanding a local inquiry. You have the local inquiry here; you have discussions; you have everybody putting up his case; and still this amendment is proposed about having consultation with the local authority. Actually, if you put in, "with the consent of the local authority", it would be preposterous of course, but we might have just as good a discussion. There is no sense in the suggested amendment.

Senator Baxter pretty often attacks local administration through the county managers. He is always careful to point out, however, that they have a good county manager in his county and that there is co-operation. At the same time, a repetition of that phrase will cause people reading his speech to think that things are wrong in local government administration. Every other local authority might say the same thing as Senator Baxter says, that there is co-operation. I have repeatedly heard local representatives saying that they have a good county manager, that they can discuss any project in the subcommittees of the local authority, and that the county manager is quite accommodating in regard to all these matters. That applies generally. Although Senator Baxter says it does apply in his county, he wants to insinuate that it does not in other counties.

I say that there is no discussion on any health matters and that we do not see any document.

Mr. O'Donovan

There would be if the local authority desired to inquire. There are health committees and several other committees of the Dublin Corporation which the representatives can attend.

Surely the Senator realises that Dublin is run under a different Act from the counties.

So far as Longford is concerned, Senator Baxter's statement is quite erroneous.

What health committee is there in Longford?

The city manager in Dublin is comparable with a county manager. His duties are practically similar. I know well that he was appointed under a separate Act.

I think that Act deals with the health situation in a different way.

If any member of a county council is interested in the administration of health matters, I am sure he can discuss these things with the county manager or the executive officer under the county manager.

I am not contradicting the Senator on that, but I am-contradicting him when he says that there are health committees. That is not a fact.

It is difficult for members of the municipal council to attend all these committees. They cannot very well do it, but they can always get any information they require from the city manager or his representative with regard to anything in which they are interested. I think the same thing applies to any member of a county council. There is no doubt that they would get that information.

We should not have to go in search of it.

There is no need for that.

So far as the amendment is concerned, I think the further discussion suggested is preposterous. If you want to have it at all, you might as well put down, "with the consent of the local authority", and then you would put them practically in the same position as the Minister for Finance.

On a point of explanation, I think Senator O'Donovan is right. A member of a county council at a meeting of the council can demand to see every order made by the county manager since the last meeting.

We all know that.

That is not the point.

I expressed my view on this amendment before we adjourned and I do not want to go over it again. There are just one or two points I should like to refer to. The first is that the section was amended in the Dáil to provide for the holding of a local inquiry. Deputies who at first thought this section was a bit drastic, if you like, thought it was quite satisfactory when the amendment was brought in providing for the holding of a local inquiry. In view of what Senator Ryan said, it is not only unnecessary to amend it but it might be even dangerous to amend it, as a court might hold that it was a denial of natural justice once a local inquiry had been held if somebody else could come along and try to upset the recommendations made by the person holding the inquiry. I do not think the question of the county manager is altogether relevant, but I would say that any county council can appoint a health committee or a public assistance committee if they like. I do not think any Senator can point to anything in the Dublin City Management Act which is more favourable to the local authority than the County Management Act dealing with the county councils. If anything, it is the other way round.

Will the local inquiry be a public inquiry?


Amendment put and declared negatived.

Amendments Nos. 8 and 9 not moved.

I move amendment No. 10:—

After sub-section (2), to insert a new sub section as follows:—

(3) The report of any local inquiry held under this section shall be communicated to the health authority concerned before any Order is made by the Minister.

The effect of this amendment would be to make the report of the inspector available to the authority before the Minister makes up his mind and makes an Order. This matter has been discussed in other forms on more than one occasion here, where personalities were involved. The Minister dealing with this principle—not this Minister —said it would not do, as the inspector might have to report on the conduct of individuals and if he thought that would be published he could not make a frank report. I do not think the repercussions in any case where individual conduct was involved or there were differences between groups of public representatives are at all the same as in a case like this where there would be no difficulties or embarrassments of that kind. It would be an objective matter and I do not see that it is right to stand rigidly on the doctrine that no report shall ever be published.

Here we are limiting it to publication of a report on an occasion where the subject matter is that of an imposition on a health institution of a local authority. It is only right that the local authority and the public affected should know the grounds on which the Minister has made his decision. It is the true essence of popular government that local authorities, who would have to bear in the long run a substantial portion of the cost, should see the report of the inspector acting in a quasi-judicial capacity.

I cannot add very much to the arguments used here before, for and against this question of having the inspector's report published. The fundamental reason why an inquiry is held is that, otherwise, it might be said that the Minister was being advised by interested or biased people. He sends an inspector down to make an inquiry. Every person there has an opportunity of stating his view in regard to the proposal and every section of the population has an opportunity of putting its views before the inspector. That is all published. The inspector must give a fair and honest report to the Minister of what takes place. Then the Minister is informed of any objections there may be and he knows from what source they come and the weight behind them. If he makes an Order, he does it knowing that there are strong objections against it—if there are such objections. As far as I can see, that is the object of an inquiry. The proceedings and evidence are published as the inquiry goes on. Then there is the inspector's report, which is private.

It would do a great deal of harm to the Administration if it were possible for any of these reports to be published. The inspector regards it as confidential and so is able to comment fairly freely. I have seen some of these reports and some Senators may have seen them, too, in some capacity or other. The inspector says what he believes about the various points of view expressed, whether there was a good deal in a point or a good volume of opinion behind it and whether that opinion was honest, and so on. You will not get that if the report is to be published, as the inspector will have to make a very much more careful report for publication and it will not be as useful to the Minister in making up his mind. That is the objection I see to this amendment. The Minister must take the responsibility in the end and he is not likely to come to any decision that is against the weight of the evidence.

Amendment put and declared negatived.

Question proposed: "That Section 10 stand part of the Bill."

Without going back on what Senator Baxter said on the amendment to sub-section (2), I suggest there is a very strong case for a similar amendment to sub-section (3). Under sub-section (2) there is to be a local inquiry and I am taking it that it was that fact which influenced the Minister in his decision on sub-section (2). Under sub-section (3) it is desirable that the Minister would be bound by statute to communicate with the local authority and say he proposed to make an order covering certain things and would like to have the observations of the health authority before making it. I understand the Minister makes the point that what he is dealing with even in an Order is anad hoc direction, but where he is dealing with a regulation it is a general direction. This is to be an ad hoc direction that certain things are to be done and to be done presumably, not in regard to all institutions of a certain sort but in regard to, say, a particular county home or fever hospital mentioned in the Order where they would have a new drainage system installed. It is not a general regulation that the standard of fever hospitals shall be such and such. Before an Order of that sort is made, there should be a statutory obligation on the Minister to inform the authority that he proposes to make an Order and would like to know the views of the local health authorities so that he can give consideration to them before he commits himself.

With regard to Section 10 in general, I hope the Minister is sympathetic with the recommendation of the Negotiating Committee of the British medical profession. That committee was formed in connection with the British Health Bill and it laid down seven general principles which were regarded as very important. One of those principles applies to this Section 10. It is that the hospitals service should be planned over natural hospital areas, centres and universities, so that these centres of education and research may influence the whole ser vice. I want to stress the words "natural hospital areas". Instead of being tempted to use derelict hotels or other buildings that can be obtained cheaply, the hospital service should be planned along exact and precise lines, following the natural areas which would provide good health surroundings, a good transport supply and the various other amenities of a modern hospital. That is all there is in the principle and I hope the Minister will support it sympathetically when he is considering this section, when it involves the provision of a new hospital. There should be a general hospital plan and buildings should not be taken over, as in the case of the Wicklow hotel we heard about some time ago. The planning should be made according to the natural hospital areas and the hospitals should be built accordingly instead of giving consideration to some more romantic but less well-drained spot.

I quite agree with the principle laid down by Senator Fearon. As a matter of fact, that principle was in mind in drafting this section. It is intended to have a regional and a local service. The regional service will have regard to the teaching universities in our planning; the local service will have regard more to the needs of the local population. Hospitals will have to be provided all over the country and they will be within reach of people who want attention.

And within reach of their relatives who wish to visit them?

Yes—they will be local, of course. We shall have to get the two things apart, the local needs and the regional needs. The regional service will deal with more specialised work. As regards the point made by Senator Sweetman, as I said before the House adjourned at 6 o'clock, there is always a great deal of consultation between the Department and the local authority before anything is done. Indeed, the consultations go on far too long, in my opinion, and we shall have to cut them short. Sometimes they go on for years. I do not think any Senator need fear that anything will be done without a good deal of negotiation first and the local authorities will get a good chance to do things of their own volition.

I am not altogether satisfied with the Minister's suggestion. It is very desirable that there should be certain statutory limitations in that regard. We cannot discuss the matter in a vague way now and I propose to put down an amendment for the Report Stage; we can discuss this matter in a more net way then.

Sections 10 to 15, inclusive, put and agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 16 stand part of the Bill."

On Section 16, I suggest that sub-section (4) should be transposed and made sub-section (1). That would not entail any amendment of the section as a whole. Any person reading Section 16 will see that it starts off in this way:—

"The Minister with the consent of the Minister for Finance may by Order transfer the control and management of the hospital to the corporation."

One may feel inclined to ask what is the meaning of "hospital" and what is the meaning of "corporation". Then he will go to sub-section (4) and there the expressions "hospital" and "corporation" are defined. If we could have sub-section (4) made sub-section (1) I think it would be much better. In sub-section (4) it is stated:—

"the expression ‘the corporation' means The Right Honourable the Lord Mayor, Aldermen and Burgesses of Dublin;

the expression ‘the hospital' means the Hospital of Saint Margaret of Cortona formerly known as the Westmoreland Lock Hospital."

In that way we would know to what the remainder of the section applied. There are definitions in different portions of the Bill and if these were put together the Bill could be far more easily read and understood. I think that could be done without putting down any amendment. For instance "vermin" appears on page 5, line 41, and it is again defined on page 7, line 1. "Temporary dwelling" is referred to in page 6, line 1, and it is also defined at the bottom of page 6. I think that without any trouble these definitions could be put together and when a word is used the explanation is given immediately and not on a different page. If that suggestion were adopted the Bill would be far more intelligible.

The difference between Senator O'Donovan and Senators on this side of the House is a very easy one to understand. Senators on this side are accustomed to read the Bill through to the bitter end, so as to appreciate its provisions. Apparently Senator O'Donovan wants to make a short-cut and to avoid having to read the whole of Section 16. So far as the latter point he raised is concerned, I suggest it is much easier to be able to get the definition of a particular word you want by alphabetical reference, as it is in Section 2, rather than have to go through the whole of Section 2 when you are reading Section 95 to see whether, in fact, the word is defined. It is in Section 2 because it is alphabetical and V comes rather low down in the alphabet.

Whoever was responsible originally.

I am not suggesting that Fianna Fáil were responsible for that. It would be the normal thing to read the whole section before one tried to decide what a sub-section meant.

Surely the Senator does not suggest that I did not read the whole section?

He does not know.

I have nothing to say on this point; I do not interfere with the draftsman in his lay-out.

Question put and agreed to.

I have been asked by Senator Duffy to move amendment No. 11:—

In sub-section (4), page 11, to delete paragraph (b), lines 38 to 41 inclusive.

The amendment seeks to delete these words:—

"... any other person liable to maintain such person for the purposes of the Public Assistance Act, 1939 (No. 27 of 1939), by virtue of Section 27 of that Act or, in case such other person has died, his legal personal representative."

The idea is that poor people will probably be dunned for debts which they did not incur and probably could not pay without depriving their children of food or clothes. Section 27 of the Public Assistance Act of 1939 sets out that:—

"every legitimate person shall be liable to maintain his or her father or mother;

every illegitimate person shall be liable to maintain his or her mother; every man shall be liable to maintain such of his legitimate children as are for the time being under the age of 16 years;

every woman shall be liable to maintain such of her children, whether legitimate or illegitimate, as are for the time being under the age of 16 years;

every married man shall be liable to maintain his wife and shall also be liable to maintain every child, whether legitimate or illegitimate, of his wife who was born before her marriage to him and is for the time being under the age of 16 years;

every married woman shall be liable to maintain her husband."

We think that this Bill, which is a Health Bill, should be divorced as far as possible from public assistance and, therefore, we ask the Minister to consider the advisability of deleting these words. It does not seem likely that we are going to get a health service such as was contemplated and made the subject of agitation for years, where there will be a service for each individual, properly organised and run. It seems to me that the Minister assumes certain powers here which are not in consonance with the expressed desire to promote the good health of the community. I therefore move the amendment standing in Senator Duffy's name.

I do not like to express my opinion as strongly as I would in other circumstances, because Senator Duffy is not present, but if the sub-section is deleted it would simply mean that if the wife of a rich man is in hospital, her husband would not be liable for her maintenance. Similarly, if his child is in hospital he will not be liable for its maintenance. The whole suggestion is idiotic. We all know that a child up to 15 years of age cannot pay for its maintenance and Section 27 of the Public Assistance Act provides that the parent shall pay for that child whether legitimate or otherwise. If you delete that sub-section, there would be no obligation to pay.

I think I should signify that I am in entire and absolute agreement with Senator O'Dea—a rare occurrence. I think it would be ludicrous if the sub-section were deleted. One of the reasons why I think it would be ludicrous is because sub-section (3) is retained in the Bill. If there was a case for Senator Duffy's amendment it would arise under that sub-section but under sub-section (4) he would have no case whatever.

Can the Minister say if voluntary hospitals have a right to recover charges in the manner contemplated in this section?

That question does not arise under this section. This section deals with cases where the local authority provides treatment in one of its own institutions or otherwise. The question of payment to a voluntary hospital might arise if the health authority sent a patient to a voluntary hospital. With regard to the amendment, it is not fair to give the impression that we are holding on to the public assistance code because we say that a certain section will apply. We could easily have repeated that section here without mentioning where it came from but this is an easier way of doing it than by inserting the long section read out by the Senator. First of all, we must have regard to the financial circumstances of the patient or of his relatives. In many cases, they will not have to pay at all.

I think very few Senators have heard of hardship inflicted by public assistance authorities on poor people for maintenance of their relatives in public institutions. That will be referred to in another Bill as soon as the White Paper comes along, when we shall deal more specifically with these charges. For the moment the section should remain as it is. Under this Bill there is quite a lot of free treatment provided for mothers and children and in cases of infectious disease and it is only when we go outside these that charges can be made.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Question proposed: "That Section 17 stand part of the Bill."

I should like to bring a few matters to the notice of the Minister in connection with this section. Sub-section (3) provides that in determining what sum is a reasonable sum to be charged for services received by any person, regard shall he had to the financial circumstances of such person and then sub-section (4) provides that the amount may be recovered in any court of competent jurisdiction. If the section is left as it is, it would appear to me that the court would have to decide whether the health authority in fixing the charge took into account the financial circumstances of the person concerned.

If the public authority did not take that into account the whole charge would be illegal. I would suggest that in sub-section (1), after the words "charge a reasonable sum for such services" there might be inserted some such words as "which sum the health authority shall have power to reduce when the financial circumstances of the person so warrant", and then delete sub-section (3) altogether. We should take into account the way these charges are fixed. First of all, you have non-paying patients in a hospital and then you have paying patients. The charge for a paying patient is determined on the average cost to the institution of each patient in the institution. It is fixed, therefore, at a regular sum and that charge is generally displayed on the walls of the hospital so that a patient will know what he has to pay. The health authority very often gives a reduction of the amount. I am not so sure that they have power to give that reduction but they do.

I should like to given them power to grant a reduction but that power should be exercised solely on their discretion, if the circumstances warrant it. Then if the matter should come to court, I do not think that the court should have any power to go into the question as to whether the charge is right or wrong. We all know how sums like that are reduced. There are councillors or people from the area who make recommendations to the county manager and who say: "This man is not able to pay so much" and the county manager reduces the amount. That is a very fair system and I should much prefer it because the local representatives know the circumstances better than the court would know them. I think it would be better to adhere to that system than to have the court holding an inquiry as to whether the local authority did consider the circumstances of the person concerned before making the charge.

I think the Senator is now anticipating the Report Stage. I understood him to be giving notice of an amendment on this matter on Report.

That is the reason I am raising it now. I shall put in an amendment.

There does not seem to be any use in duplicating discussion.

Surely it is in order for Senators to discuss what would be a desirable amendment to a section so that the Minister can indicate whether he is prepared to insert an amendment on the lines suggested or not? If that were not in order, the whole point of discussing a section would be missed.

I agree generally, but why enter into a general discussion now when the matter is to come up again on the Report Stage? It is only duplicating discussion.

I do not know whether the Minister will deal with the matter raised by Senator O'Dea but it is a matter pertinent to the section and it is a matter upon which it would be a good thing to have clarification. I should like to know from the Minister on what basis charges are made in the various county institutions. Is there any sort of agreed scale or is each county health authority free to decide on the charges in its own institutions? I do not know how it is determined. I do not know whether the charges in the Galway Hospital are the same as in the Cavan Hospital, or whether in Meath they are the same as in Cavan and Monaghan. I should like some information on that point. I have some experience of this matter and I think it works in a rather peculiar way.

From my experience, if a patient is poor and regarded as not very well able to pay, he receives every consideration. A number of people look after the interests of such persons. Some members of the local authority are particularly busy in that way and are awfully good fellows at the ratepayers' expense. Another type of person in our health areas receives very little consideration. I refer to persons of medium incomes who are regarded as able to pay. The charges fixed are rather high for such persons. Sometimes, they could go to a Dublin hospital and receive treatment at less than the charge fixed by the local hospital. That is a matter which requires examination. I speak with some experience on the point. I do not know on what basis these charges are fixed or whether we have different charges for maintenance in different institutions of the same class. The whole situation requires examination. Am I to understand that, after the passing of this Bill, the scales of charges, fixed by Order, will remain as they are? There is a problem to be dealt with regarding charges for treatment of persons of medium incomes in the local hospitals.

The institutions to which reference has been made are not in question at all under this provision. The county institutions are public assistance institutions and, so far, have not been dealt with. We are dealing here with the transfer of district institutions and sanitary authority institutions, which include fever hospitals. The county authority has a great deal of discretion regarding the charges in the county hospitals. They do keep more or less in line by advice—but only by advice. They usually charge in or about the average cost.

About £2 2s. 0d.

They have also discretion to charge less if they wish.

They do that—whether they have power or not.

The point with which we are concerned now will have to be dealt with more specifically in a Bill which will come along after the issue of our White Paper. Our White Paper will deal with matters of this kind. That will be followed by a Bill. In this case, we are dealing only with a small number of institutions, such as fever hospitals.

Section agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 18 stand part of the Bill."

The wording of this section is somewhat ambiguous. It states: "A health authority may, with the approval of the Minister, make rules for the conduct and management of a health institution." Is that approval of the Minister confined to the power to make rules? The way I read it is: with the approval of the Minister, a health authority may make rules. It does not seem to me to be provided that the Minister shall approve of the rules, though I think that that is intended. Obviously, the health authority must have power to make rules and the intention is, I think, to provide that the Minister must approve of the rules. I should like to examine what that may involve. In every institution, there must be a number of rules which, even in the present condition of centralisation, it would be absurd to suggest should be referred to the Minister. There may be rules providing that only certain doors be used after dark, that certain portions of the building be shut off after dark or that certain portions of the grounds should not be open at certain hours. Is it intended that all these rules should be referred to Dublin for approval? Again, a rule may be suddenly needed as a disciplinary measure and may have to be put in force the same day. Is that rule to await the Minister's approval? The section either provides that the power to make rules is subject to the Minister's approval or that the rules themselves are subject to the Minister's approval. In either case, the proposal seems absurd.

So far as I recollect, the matter is dealt with in the Public Assistance Act, 1939. That Act provides that the local authority shall make rules for the government of an institution and, if they do not make those rules within a specified time, the Minister has power to make rules. That Act also provided that rules were to be made regarding charges to be fixed by the local authority. If the local authority did not fix the charges, the Minister could do so by Order. In some cases, the Orders were not made from 1935 down to last year or the year before and it is very doubtful if any charges made prior to that were correct. I was wondering if some provision would be put into this Bill to rectify that position.

Senator O'Dea is right as regard the Public Assistance Act of 1939. The power is contained in Section 34 (1) of that Act and also in the Mental Treatment Act and the Tuberculosis Act, 1908. The section is of the same type all through. I did not get precisely the point which Senator Sir John Keane put. What he wants to know, I think, is whether or not, in fact, local authorities send us up their rules for approval. The practice is that they send up the rules for approval. In the case of tuberculosis and mental hospitals, the Department has tried to have uniformity as regards the rules. Included in the rules would be power to the medical officer to inflict punishment by refusing to allow a patient to go out if he had been guilty of an infraction of some rule. It would not be necessary to have the sentence sanctioned by the Minister before punishment could be inflicted. That would be part of the rule. I think the answer to Senator Sir John Keane is that the Minister approves of the rules.

That the Minister does not approve of the rules?

That the Minister does approve of the rules.

I am afraid the Minister is a little bit vague about the whole matter. Under this section, as far as I read it, no rule can be made by the manager of an institution without the consent of the Minister. Rules can be made with the consent of the Minister. The point I wish to make is that there must be a number of minor rules, not necessarily disciplinary, that certain people shall not use certain parts of the house. How do obvious details cease to be rules and if they are rules why do such trivialities require the Minister's consent?

With regard to the Tuberculosis Prevention (Ireland) Act, 1908, it says at the end of Section 5:

"A rule made under this sub-section shall not come into operation unless and until it is approved by the Local Government Board."

That is correct.

The Local Government Board or the Minister for Local Government and Public Health did not concern themselves with rules other than, say, the disposal of sputum or with regard to the heating of the institution; in other words merely with what concerned the health of the patients. They left the running of the institution to the authorities. The Minister, I suppose, did not regard these as rules. They are internal arrangements but they are not rules. That applies now.

I am not satisfied yet. The Minister seems to relate my point to tuberculosis.

I merely gave tuberculosis as an instance.

A number of these institutions are not tuberculosis institutions. No rules under the Tuberculosis Prevention (Ireland) Act, 1908— the instance the Minister gave—could come into operation without the consent of the Board. The Minister says we do not bother about these rules but if it is a statutory authority he has to give his consent, or is it that he admits that he does not comply with the statute?

It appears to be so. On the face of that, I gather that every rule, every detail and every step would require the consent of the Minister without which it could not come into operation. That would be an absurd position. I want to know on what statutory authority the Minister can dispose of his consent.

The Minister did not mention that the rules also provide for payment for accommodation. It is doubtful if any rule as to payment or charges would be correct until sanctioned by the Minister. I would ask him not to delay his rules and regulations because, if he does, the question of charging in the institution would be delayed also.

Let the rules be made and let the Minister have power, if he wishes, to annul them or to have them corrected. I do not see that that is the power in the Act. I despair of getting anything done under this Act, however reasonable it may seem, simply because of this machine.

Do not say that.

The reason for this section is that we hope to get more uniformity amongst the various institutions in their rules—in the tuberculosis hospitals, in the mental hospitals and perhaps in the county hospitals, too, with which we have not dealt yet.

I think Senator Sir John Keane is unduly worried because between regulations and Orders and rules he does not know where he is.

I am quite clear.

A notice "keep off the grass" does not require the consent of the Minister for Health as a rule. Neither does the notice "please close the door".

That is not a rule. That is a request.

Very well, delete the "please" and the notice reads "keep off the grass". Surely rules, worded as rules have some interpretation between local authority and central authority. What Senator Sir John Keane discussed in connection with going in by such a gate and a person going out at such an hour would not, I am sure, be rules.

What are they—not regulations, are they?

Directions—like the "keep off the grass". He is just misinterpreting what is meant by rules. He misinterpreted what is meant by Orders and regulations when we were discussing that point.

I should like to go on record in this matter. I should like to say that I do not know why the Minister wants every institution in the country to have uniform rules. I am against it.

Hear, hear!

Hear, hear!

Some of the rules.

It would be most undesirable if, for instance, the Cavan Hospital were to charge different fees from the hospital in Longford.

Most undesirable.

What if Longford is superior to Cavan?

It would be very undesirable if the tuberculosis hospitals disposed of the sputum in different ways.

I do not want to pursue the matter, but I do not think I have been answered. There is no definition of a rule. Senator S. O'Donovan thinks certain rules should be called directions. That does not help. I read that as a piece of legislation every rule made for the management of an institution has to come to Dublin and be approved. That is absurd. There ought to be some means by which the whole thing can operate in a common-sense manner.

I do not know if the Minister gave me any idea as to the carrying out of my suggestion about the amendment of that section.

That is a different section.

Section 17?

We are on Section 18.

Question put and agreed to.
Sections 19 and 20 agreed to.

I move amendment No. 12:

In page 12, lines 29 and 30, to delete the words "and for their education in that respect".

Section 21 says:—

"A health authority shall, in accordance with regulations made under Section 28 of this Act, make arrangements for safeguarding the health of women in respect of motherhood and for their education in that respect."

The amendment I move is to delete the words "and for their education in that respect." That is not because I am in any way adverse to education but it seems to me the quickest way of finding out what exactly is meant by education in this entire Part III. We now meet the word "education" for the first time in Sections 21, 22 and 23. It appears to me that education can mean one of three things—firstly, clinical instruction, the sort of instruction given to the student when taking out the course in a maternity hospital; secondly, ante-natal instruction, such as knowing what things to avoid, and, thirdly, post-natal instruction. If their education in that respect merely means their instruction I do not think it should come into the instruction. That is already covered by the words "make arrangements in respect of motherhood." On the other hand, education may have the much wider meaning in which I think it is used in Sections 22 and 23 in regard to health. I think that is an extremely important aspect of the entire subject. After all, good housing and good social and economic environments are the mainstay of health and are the principal ways in which we can protect ourselves from disease.

That can only be properly appreciated by proper education in health matters. I would be easier in my mind if I felt that the Minister was making arrangements for some system of health education to be applied to the country. He undertakes to see that arrangements are made to provide for the health education of children— those attending school and those not attending school—and he undertakes to provide for the education of women in respect of motherhood. The people who need most education are the school proprietors and the people responsible for cooking school meals and I should like them brought into the education scheme also.

There is at present an American Dietetic Society, fully 2,000 members strong, hard at work endeavouring to instruct that country in the proper composition and preparation of meals, and there is a British Dietetic Assocaton now beginning to work which hopes to provide employment for something like 700 workers in going about the country instructing people in the correct preparation of foodstuffs and so on. This is not the dreadful academic information which measures food in terms of things which make you think it is not food, proteins and calories—like the American restaurant chain of the Child Corporation which printed on one side of the bill of fare the price in cents, and, on the other, the value in calories, and sometimes one could not tell which was which. This is plain, honest information as to what amount of food a person requires and how it can be properly cooked and made palatable. That is part of the health education I should like to see the Minister considering in regard to this Part III. It is part of the health education I should like to see applied to the woman in respect of motherhood and I hope that, at some stage, the Minister will develop that question of providing for the education of the population with regard to general health matters, such as nutrition, where to buy food, how to know it is good, how to cook it, how to know when it should not be cooked but should be thrown out and things like that.

There is another way in which "education" in Section 21 could be interpreted and that is on the basis of the academic definition of the term— cultivation and discipline of the mind. I take it that that is not the sense in which the Minister uses it. That is really training for parenthood and I do not think that should be part of the duties of the health authority, and it is for that reason that, in this rather roundabout way, I put forward this proposal to delete the term "education", so that, if we do not delete it, we will at least know exactly what it means. The Minister spoke of providing a model scheme to be submitted to the local authorities in connection with this extremely important mother and child service, a service which is really one of the high spots of the Bill. I do not know whether the Minister replied to Senator Sir John Keane's suggestion that this scheme should be made public first.

He did not.

But I presume that, in connection with this scheme, something might be said about what exactly is meant by this proposal to provide for the education of people who have in their hands the making of democracy.

This is as good an opportunity as any other to ask the Minister if he will reply to the question I put. Will this model scheme which will precede the regulations be made public and will it be open for general public discussion?

So far as I am concerned, I will give it every publicity possible. It will be fairly long and I am afraid the newspapers will give only parts of it. We often blame the newspapers for not giving the parts we think they should give, but we cannot help that. There will be no concealment and all my inclination will be to make it public. With regard to Senator Fearon's point, we give the draftsman certain instructions and he puts them into words. What my Department told the draftsman was to provide for the safeguarding of the health of women in respect of motherhood and to provide for the giving by the health authority of medical advice and instruction, as well as the services of a nurse with domiciliary visits and so on. The draftsman covered that by the use of the word "education". That is his way of covering medical instruction and advice and domiciliary visits by nurses and advice.

Education seems to be a wholly improper word there.

There is no accounting for the legal man's mind.

Would the Minister accept "instruction" instead of "education", as being less controversial?

Is it not reasonable to use the word "education" in regard to any particular matter? I think we are taking altogether too narrow a view of the term.

"Education" is a very much wider term and I should not like to change it without getting legal advice, because "instruction" was one of the words we used to the draftsman. It came back as "education".

Education would cover more than the Minister says.

It would, but that is no harm.

It all depends. Education about health and certain health matters is of very great importance and very great privacy. The word "education" does imply what Senator Fearon suggested in the last of his three alternatives—a certain attitude of mind, the cultivation of a certain point of view. That may be sound. One could have a certain point of view with regard to personal hygiene——

That is included.

——and also domestic hygiene, but the word "education" has raised misgivings in the minds of certain people, not so much with regard to the present Minister or any of his predecessors or the present Department, but with regard to the way in which that provision could be used by a Minister or Department not having exactly the same point of view about these things and not being so concerned, as I presume the Minister is, with the personality, individuality and individual rights of the mother or child. The word "education" is a very wide word and opens up a very wide vista of things which might be told to the mother or child under Section 21, Section 22 and, indeed, Section 23.

It has a different meaning in another country.

In another country, it has a different meaning. It involves the examination of a considerable number of points of view about motherhood and one wonders whether it is a suitable word here. The draftsman was doing his best, but if a person wanted to thwart the intentions, to take certain lines with which none of us would agree, the word "education" would give him the power to do so.

I want to mention two other points, one of which I was unaware of when speaking earlier. One of the objections to the word "instruction", which was put forward, was that it gives the impression of an Order. If you instruct a person to do something you order him to do it. "Education" is more advice. That is one point against the word "instruction", but with regard to providing against some future government going in for things of which we do not approve, I am afraid that changing the words in this section will not stop them.

I do not agree that the word "instruction" in the particular context would mean to order, because you can instruct people in, for example, geography.

Without their being educated.

Without their being educated at all. One of the greatest criticisms of a certain type of teacher is that he is an instructor, not an educator. If you had "instruction and advice", for example, would that do you?

These are the words we used but the draftsman put in "education".

You should have stuck to them.

I do not accept the infallibility of the draftsman. I think "instruction and advice" are better in the context. The word "education" has been used for very, very wrong ends in certain places and the easy answer that it all rests with the people is not so true either. I think if Senator Hawkins were to examine carefully the recent history of some European States he would find that everything was done with the consent of the people who did not quite know what they were at.

I must say that in my speech on the Second Stage I misunderstood the meaning of the word "education" and I think the Minister between this and Report might again consider it. It seems to me, in view of what he said, that he does not even want the word "instruction". It seems to me that what he really wants is "advice" and that you cannot go any further in this case than to provide wise advice to mothers. That is the most you can do. It seems to me that this Section 21, with which we are dealing, is giving power to a health authority. They have to exercise it in accordance with regulations but that does not mean that if there are no regulations about a particular matter of education they cannot proceed to provide what they regard as education. It is giving considerable power. If the regulation said, "you must not give a particular type of education" they would certainly be debarred from giving it but if there is nothing about it in the regulation it seems to be that they will have the power. All I am concerned with is that at this stage, having regard to the very strong view in this country as to the importance of family life, the most we can provide from the State, and wisely provide, is technical advice which might be very valuable to the mother. There should be nothing more than that. I would not like even the word "instruction" or, as a matter of fact, the word "education", which is misleading. If the section was re-arranged a little so as to make clear that what you are really empowering them to do is to provide health advice, it would improve the case. I would suggest that the Minister between this and Report should consider the matter further.

I will do that.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Question proposed: "That Section 21 stand part of the Bill."

How does the Minister think that Section 21 will work? Does he think that a code will be prepared, for example, in the Department and sent down to doctors who will transmit that information to patients in a particular way prescribed or will the doctor who is giving the instruction or advice or education be himself entirely free to use his own discretion as to what he says and does?

Of course, the doctor will certainly be free as far as his medical advice goes. I mentioned here I think, in the beginning of this Committee Stage, that the idea was to prepare model regulations which would be sent down to the country. Of course, medical officers of health and all the district medical officers, as they will be under this Bill, will also have a copy of that. The local authority will have time to study that and to see how far they could go at the moment to meet what would be regarded as the optimum scheme, for the moment anyway, and then the Minister would make regulations, as it says here, "as to the manner in which and the extent to which they are to exercise their powers under this Part of this Act", and within the model regulations. One of the difficulties we have is that many of our local authorities will be in a position to do more than the others and we do not want to hold the forward ones back. Let them go ahead and go as far as they can with the present personnel, and so on, that they have.

What I was thinking of is the position of the actual person who will be doing the education. He will presumably be a doctor, will he?

A doctor or a nurse.

Will the doctor or the nurse be bound by regulation from headquarters? Will the doctor or the nurse have specific instructions from headquarters because, if they had, it would be most undesirable considering the nature of the relations between a doctor or a nurse and a patient. You are dealing here with individuals who are all different, of different environment, different background, different degree of general education, different outlook, perhaps, and what I would like to know is whether it is intended to make this uniform also. Obviously it ought not to be uniform. It ought not to be by way of instruction to the doctor or the nurse——

——as to what the doctor or the nurse is to say to every mother, for example.

Is it quite clear that it would not be so?

The doctor will have complete discretion as to how he will instruct the women under his care. There will be no interference with that.

And that is quite clear?

May I ask the Minister whether this section envisages the provision of, say, lectures, film exhibitions or even the provision of instruction in schools where such instruction might be sought?

In Section 21 we are dealing with women only. I think there might be lectures but it will take some time before we reach that, I am afraid. I cannot see how a film would be helpful but maybe it would be. With regard to hygiene, it would, and cooking, if you like.

I have been thinking mainly of the use of the word "education" that we had under consideration a moment ago.

I think Senator Ó Buachalla is thinking of a correspondence I saw recently in an English Catholic paper in regard to a certain film. The film critic of the paper, which is a very strong Catholic paper, under Church auspices, praised it, but doctors, also Catholics, wrote to the paper to say they thought it very objectionable for general showing but quite suitable for showing to particular types of people. So that there is considerable difference of opinion about certain things. Certainly this film was very much praised by some people but, of course, Section 21, as the Minister says, deals only with mothers.

The Minister made no reply to Senator Fearon's question with regard to the principles of nutrition and as to whether he has any policy in that respect or not. He pointed to what the Americans and the British are doing and I would like to know how far the Minister intends moving in that direction because it is an important aspect.

I pointed out that we are doing a nutrition survey and that will form the basis of consideration of our future policy with regard to nutrition. We do not know exactly how we stand here with regard to nutrition until we do the survey. The survey is very well advanced now and we are in a position to make deductions now from the survey that has been made, but I do not know whether you can express a policy on nutrition or not. The policy would be to see, as far as we can, that the most desirable diet, and so on, is provided for our people, but we may be able to make some progress soon.

Question put and agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 22 stand part of the Bill."

With regard to Section 22, again I do not know how that is going to work. It seems to put the health authority, acting under regulations made by the Minister or with the consent of the Minister, in direct contact with the child and entirely, so to speak, sidesteps the family. I do not know if that is so. I do not quite understand precisely how this is going to work for children. This education in matters relating to health is not to be provided in school. By what process are they going to get the education?

I would regard these two sections as very general sections, giving a direction to the local authority that it will be their business in future to look after the health of children, improve the health and physical condition of children, arrange for their medical inspection, etc., but we go on to more detail when we pass through those sections.

When passing a section like this one would like to know how it is going to be made operative. Are we to understand that a health authority, a local authority, is going to order the medical inspection of all the children who are not at school, and if so how is that going to be done? Section 25 deals with certain children who are school-going. Is this going to apply to the children of parents who, say, are looking after the medical welfare where necessary?

Suppose God has blessed one with healthy children who have no need for the children who have no need for the attendance of a doctor, what happens in a case like that? Has one to submit them for a medical examination? How is that to operate? Is there to be one fine day when all the children of a district, no matter to whom they belong, are to be turned out and paraded for inspection, or how is the thing going to work? Paragraph (a) speaks of "safeguarding and improving their health and physical condition." I would be glad if the Minister would define what is meant by the words "safeguarding and improving their health and physical condition." In fact, we require a definition of all these paragraphs, because as far as I am concerned I am unable to understand them.

Will the Minister say why the word "shall" is used in the section instead of the word "may"? There is a great difference in law between the word "shall" and the word "may."

I think the explanation is that the word "shall" is used with respect to authorities other than the Minister, and that the word "may" is used when the intention is that the Minister may do certain things. The word "shall" of course, is more mandatory. If the word "may" were used, it might be held that the local authority had a discretion as to whether or not it would do certain things.

I should like to have some further enlightenment on what is contemplated under this section. It provides that "a health authority shall, in accordance with regulations made under Section 28 of this Act, do, in respect of children in their functional area who are not pupils of any school" the things set out. Do the words "any school" mean any school within the health authority area or "any school" anywhere? A child in the health authority area of a county may be at school in Dublin, and unfortunately some people who have not seen the true light yet may send their children to school in England. What is to happen in the case of those children? If the Minister wants to be explicit, then I think he should say any school, presumably within the State or within Ireland as under the Constitution, or within the area of the health authority. I think the section is ambiguous as it stands. I do not see how, in practice, it is going to work unless the Minister takes compulsory powers. Is it intended that those children who are not within the grasp of the local authority through the schools in its area are going to be got together and given an inspection, physical training and education?

I think that when Ministers take such wide and specific powers under a section such as this that they should give a clear idea of what is in their minds. It does not do to say that this is a general power and that "we are going to think this out later on". This is a matter that should be thought out before the legislation is passed. What is intended should, I think, be set out in the White Paper, if that had been made available for us, and that afterwards we should have set out for us in legislative form what the White Paper adumbrated.

I think that if Senator Sir John Keane would read Section 23 in conjunction with Section 22 it would solve his difficulty. Section 22 deals with children in the functional area of the health authority, while Section 23 deals with the pupils of every school in the functional area of the health authority. It is clear, therefore, in the first case, that children must be within the functional area of the health authority, and, secondly, they must not be pupils of any school. Section 23 applies to the pupils of every school in the functional area, no matter where they come from.

The question raised on Section 22 might make one's flesh creep if one allowed oneself to get into that condition, because one could imagine that the Minister would make a regulation under Section 28 directing the health authority as to the manner in which and the extent to which it is to exercise its powers under this part of the Act—that he would make a regulation directing the health authority to acquire a fleet of lorries to swoop down on every house in its area to take all those children off in the lorries, bring them to some school in its functional area and have a number of doctors and nurses there to inspect them medically whether the children desired it or not, or whether their parents desired it or not. That would be an extreme reading of this section. The section clearly shows, however, that the health authority can only exercise the powers given to it under Section 22 in accordance with the regulations made under Section 28. The regulations are made by the Minister under Section 28, and under Section 5 these regulations must be laid before the House and may be annulled.

Every regulation made by the Minister under this Act, including the regulations made under Section 28, must be laid before both Houses.

And may be annulled?

Yes. The Minister will make regulations under Section 28 as to the manner in which and the extent to which the health authority will exercise its powers under the Act. One of the powers of the health authority is to arrange for the medical inspection, at schools or other places, of children in its functional area who are not pupils of any school. Therefore, the Legislature can effectively control the local authority, because the Minister will make regulations directing the local authority as to the manner in which it is to exercise its powers. If the Legislature should think that these regulations are too drastic, too widespread or unnecessary, then either House of the Oireachtas may annual them. Therefore, there is no necessity at all for any fear that the local authority will, so to speak, invade the personal liberty of the citizen, the personal liberty of the child or the liberty of the parent.

While we feel grateful to Senator Ryan for the manner in which he has explained the functions of the Minister in relation to the making of regulations and the functions of the local authority in carrying out these regulations, I have a feeling that he has not met the point made by Senator Sir John Keane. The Senator's anxiety is to ascertain what class of child is contemplated under Section 22 —a child not attending any school. It seems to me quite obvious that in the functional area of every local authority there must be a large number of children not attending any school. For instance, children below the age of five are unlikely to be attending any school. Again, we must have regard to the definition of child in this Bill, which means any person under 16 years. But the school-leaving age is 14, and there is therefore a gap between the school-leaving age and the age at which a person becomes an adult for the purposes of this Bill.

There is another wide section in these dark areas to which the Senator referred whose children probably are not attending a school in the functional area of the local authority. They may be attending a school in Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Belfast or outside Ireland. I am wondering if the Senator thinks children attending one of these schools require no supervision. I think they probably do. Very often they are not better cared for, better superintended, better fed than the children of ordinary parents who attend the local national school. Indeed it is doubtful if their education is anything better, because I remember some time ago somebody telling me that a child from a very well reputed school attended a question time competition in a certain part of the country and on being asked what the letters M.D. stood for replied "Mairzie Doats". The point is that in every area there are a large number of children who would not be covered by Section 23. That must be obvious to everyone. The school-going children are covered by Section 23. There is nothing new, I think, in Section 23. I do not think there is very much in it that does not prevail at present under the existing law. I assume that the contentious portion of this part of the Bill is section 22, which brings in for the purpose of examination the child who has not yet gone to school, the child who has left school, or the child who is attending a school outside the functional area of a local authority and is at home on holidays.

Would it be clear if the words: "at schools" in sub-section (b) were left out? It seems a contradiction to say that children who are not pupils of any school shall be examined "at schools or other places".

I do not think it makes any difference if you say "at schools" or at "other places". If there are four or five children going to a school and they have a brother four years old, it might be convenient to bring him along the day the inspection is taking place at the school. With regard to Sections 22 and 23, Senator Duffy is right, as Section 23 is practically a re-enactment of the Public Health (Medical Treatment of Children) Act, 1919. There are certain additions however. We are taking power, for instance, not only to deal with primary schools, but also with secondary schools, reformatories and a few other places like that. Therefore, I think we have taken every child under 16 years into our net under Section 23. Section 22 is a new section which deals with children who have not commenced to go to school.

Or who have left school.

Yes, that is right. I think it is perfectly plain, as Senator Ryan pointed out, that Section 22 deals with every child who is not going to school in the functional area of a local authority. Section 23 refers to every child going to school in the functional area.

Section 22 does not mention functional area.

It does.

"In respect of children in their functional area..."

It does not say "school in their functional area".

No. The health authority is responsible for the children in their functional area whether they are going to school or not. They are all covered in that way. The next point is, how are we to deal with children who are not going to school? In Dublin it has been decided that the maternity hospitals will take over the care of mothers and children up to one year old. They will deal with these children by domiciliary visiting. If they are ailing, they will take them in and treat them. After one year, they are handed over to the local authority. After one year, the children in Dublin and in other parts of the country will have to be dealt with by the health authority.

We do not contemplate bringing children in arms for inspection—not yet, anyway, because we would require to be very much better educated before we could do it. There will, however, be domiciliary visiting by nurses who, so to say, will cull out the bad cases. They will probably report to the doctor that they would like him to see a certain number of children. The doctor would do that part of it and tell the parents that the child wants to have his teeth or his throat or some skin disease or something else attended to. He will not, however, enforce any treatment. He will tell the parents what they ought to do and the parents can do that or not do it as they wish. Children of school-going age will be usually examined at school. There may be some reason, although I cannot foresee it, why the school would not be suitable for inspection, but usually they will be inspected at the school. The section states that the medical inspection will take place at a school or other place. It might, for instance, be more convenient for the children of two or three schools to come together in a more central place or, where you have a very good clinic, it would be naturally more convenient to examine them there because the doctors would have all their equipment there to carry out the examination.

A point was raised with regard to the word "shall". I do not know whether the drafting is ideal or not but the intention is that when the Minister, through the Department, and the local authority have agreed that the local authority could carry out a certain portion of the programme which we have in mind, then an Order will be made that they shall do it. It may happen that the Department on certain occasions may insist that they shall do more than they were willing to do. It will be regrettable if that happens, but it will only happen where a health authority is not doing as much as we think they should do under the mother and child welfare scheme.

We have laid down general principles. We say that the health authority shall "safeguard and improve the health and physical condition of the children." No one can object to that. As far as they can, they safeguard their health by the prevention of infectious disease, by immunisation, hygiene, and so on. Then they "improve their health and physical condition" by medical inspection and by advice. They "arrange for medical inspection" and "provide for their education in matters relating to health." Education there would be more in the sense of lectures in hygiene, dietetics and personal hygiene that would be helpful. We say they shall "provide for treatment of their illnesses and defects" and "ascertain cases of mental deficiency." These are the general headings under which the health authority will look after the children, and when we have finished with Sections 22 and 23 we go on to some more details regarding how these things are done.

I am not satisfied yet. I am trying to look at this logically. I do not want to raise dubious points, but I want to get the purpose of this section clear. This would bring every child in the functional area within the grasp of the health authority. They divide them into two categories—those who go to school and those who do not. Those who do are clearly captured by Section 23. Section 22 does not capture the remainder, as the child who goes to school outside the functional area does not come under it.

Those children will be examined in the functional area where they go to school.

They may be going to England.

We are not responsible then.

I want to know what happens in the case of children who go to England.

There is no examination at all.

That is good. I did not know that.

Question put and agreed to.
Sections 23 and 24 agreed to.

I move amendment No. 13:—

In page 14 before sub-section (4), to insert the following new sub-section:—

(5) Whenever a medical inspection under this Act is enforced on a child, a parent may claim the right to be present at the inspection.

The principal target of this Bill is the mother and child welfare section and I think the barb on the arrow directed to that target is the compulsion clause. I regard this amendment as very important. It only affects a very small class, but that class may suffer very much if its rights are ignored. When a parent withholds a child from medical inspection, he may do so for several reasons—he may be careless, too busy, obstinate or cranky or may have some other reason.

They may be Christian Scientists.

I do not think the Christian Scientist would refuse medical inspection. I know they refuse medical treatment, but some of them are very glad to exhibit their health and prowess and might avail of that opportunity for doing so. I have in mind the parent who does not like the doctor or the child who is afraid of the doctor and, though they are very small fry generally, they do deserve our consideration from a humane point of view. We are fortunate in the general run of our medical practitioners and medical authorities, but here and there there are some not so kindly or considerate and there are children who, for some reason, dislike a particular doctor and can be terrified by him. He may have hurt them at some time or other and that may be one of the reasons why the child is not submitted. This can best be remedied by giving the parent the statutory right of being present when the child is being examined.

The Minister may say that the doctor can, if he wishes, allow the parent to be present and, of course, in many instances the parents are present. There is, however, the rare case of the cranky doctor or the circumstances that may not make it easy for the parent to have access and I would like to feel that in this Bill we are giving the parent the power. It will not involve very many people and will not upset things very much, but it is the general direction of the humanity which inspires and underlies this Bill. It is not beng advocated with any special eloquence or argument here, but is being advocated on behalf of the child who is frightened.

The present practice is that the parent is encouraged to accompany the child. I would like to look up the regulations to see how that is done and I would meet the Senator as far as the regulations go. If I could satisfy him that it is already in the regulations and is not likely to be changed, that might be sufficient. I will be able to tell him that on the next stage.

Do I understand that if it is in the regulations it is objectionable to have it in the Bill? If it is in the regulations and is the practice, there is no reason why it should not be in the Bill. We want to make this run as smoothly as possible and it will work more smoothly if there is that right. I cannot see it occurring more than once in 100 times that a doctor would object, but I can see the case of some one doctor objecting and keeping the parents out. Everybody in the State will agree that when a parent wants to be present at the medical examination of the child it is right and proper that he should be allowed to do so and I cannot see the Minister's objection to putting that in the Bill.

I think this ought to be in the Bill. I wonder if the Minister has consulted a child psychologist on the medical effect on a child of its being seen by a doctor without the parent present? In certain cases, it may lay the foundation of very serious disorders that may run right through a child's life. Certainly, by right, a parent should be allowed to be present and I am not satisfied that it should be left to regulation.

What officer will carry out this inspection? Could it not be the local dispensary doctor?


If it is the local dispensary doctor, I do not want to go very much further with this, but it seems to me to be absolutely essential that it should be in the Bill. I believe 99.9 per cent. of the dispensary doctors will take the right view, but the Minister knows as well as I do—he does not live in the clouds—that we do get an odd dispensary doctor who is, putting it mildly, cranky at certain times, and there are others who would be, more truthfully, cussed. The only real protection, the only thing that will ensure that he will not be cussed in a case like this, is to have it laid down in black and white in the Bill. I strongly press the Minister to see that this is put into the Bill. Whether he accepts the exact form of Senator Fearon's words or not is another matter.

I knew a dispensary doctor, who has now gone to his reward, and his line would quite definitely be the reverse of what the Minister would like. I do not think even a regulation would protect a parent in a case of that kind. A statutory requirement would, because the parent could say: "If I am not to be there, I will not bring the child in." As I read the section, the Minister will provide by regulation that the parent must be there. I accept it that it is the Minister's intention to ensure that the parent will be there.

We do not say "must"; we encourage them to be there.

The parent must be permitted to be there?

If the Minister merely expresses that intention by regulation, what is the situation? The doctor can insist under this section in examining the child without the parent being present, where the parent wants to be present. The doctor may get into trouble afterwards for having broken a regulation but, nevertheless, under the section he can insist. He may offend against the code of the Department and get into trouble afterwards, but the legal position will be that if the doctor insists that the parent be excluded, the parent must permit himself to be excluded or commit an offence under the section. I think the Minister will agree that that is an unfair legal provision.

I wonder why Senator Fearon uses the words "enforced on a child"? Had he any particular reason for putting in the word "enforced"? All legislation requires enforcement, but most inspections will be voluntary from the point of view of the child as well as the parent. I must express my own reaction to the wording of the amendment. I do not like the inclusion of the word "enforced". It puts a different interpretation on the measure from what we have discussed so far. I do not think it is the idea to use the words "compulsion" or "enforcement" in the Act generally, though the regulation may be, to some extent, mandatory. I suppose the words "shall submit" could mean that there is a certain amount of compulsion. I do not think the amendment is happily worded. If there is any enforcement it is on the parent of the child. There is another point under this section. During an inspection there is certain provision made as to privacy. I have some knowledge of how the inspections are carried out in Dublin.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

That matter is outside the amendment, but the Senator can deal with it on the section.

I used the word "enforced" because some compulsion is required in the application of this section. If a child is not submitted for inspection the parent is threatened by what may be a very considerable fine and that can be repeated, and I can quite imagine a harassed parent. That is why I used the term "enforced". It is already compulsory, but the compulsion is enforced by the law. I do not see what other word I could have used.

Mr. Hawkins

From my experience of school inspections in Galway and elsewhere, these have been most satisfactory and parents are allowed to be present when an inspection is carried out. I fear, if we adopt this amendment and make it part of the Bill, that a parent may claim the right to be present——

He should.

And why not?

Mr. Hawkins

——and that would entail the sending out of a notification to each parent as to the day and hour when the inspection would be carried out. If each parent was to avail of that right it would mean, where there are 100 children on the rolls, that there would be 100 or 200 parents present at an examination. Those people would be there all day and probably the doctor might not get as far as a particular child until the evening. The present scheme is working very successfully and I have not heard of one case where a doctor refused to allow a parent to be present where, in the interest of the child or from the point of view of the doctor doing his job effectively, the parent was entitled to be present. If we adopt this amendment, will a parent who is not notified of the time of the examination have a case against a doctor for carrying out that examination? If a parent is deprived of the right to be present at an examination by not being notified, will he have a case against the doctor?

Is it not a fact that the parent will, in any event, be notified, so that the point Senator Hawkins raises is not relevant at all? All the amendment proposes is that a parent can claim the right to be present if he or she so desires.

Mr. Hawkins

I hold the parent cannot be present unless he is notified as to the day and hour of the examination. A parent may inform the doctor or the inspector: "I cannot be present on such a day, but I maintain my right to be present and, therefore, I demand that you postpone the examination until I am prepared to attend."

Senator Hawkins' suggestion is an ingenious method of trying to get the Minister out of the difficulty of accepting amendments because of a circumstance into which we need not now go. While Senator Hawkins' argument might be an argument against the wording, it is not an argument against the principle of the amendment. The principle of this amendment is absolutely fundamental. The more I think of it, the more I come to the conclusion that it is the only method by which the parent can insist on having protection. The regulation is entirely a different matter. It does not give the parent any right; it merely means that as between the Minister or between the health authority and the dispensary medical officer there are certain duties to be fulfilled.

I think that there is a genuine difficulty to be feared in this case. Every time you insert a provision that such-and-such a person has a right to be present, you are more likely to make it difficult for the system to work because you must make sure that you notify the parent. Otherwise there may be an action against the doctor if the parents do not know that he is going to carry on in their absence. Let us see how it will work. I think it would work in this way: The nurse is the person who initiates the whole thing when she goes into the national school and says to the teacher: "Will you announce to the pupils that medical inspection will be carried out to-morrow or in two or three days' time"? The teacher then tells the pupils that the medical inspection will take place on the day fixed. That is the notification that will satisfy the provisions of the section as it stands.

Sub-section (3) says that the Minister shall publish notification in one or more newspapers circulating in the county.

Of what section?

Of this section.

I am not talking about compulsory inspection at the moment. I am talking only about ordinary inspection. The nurse comes into the school and says to the teacher: "Tell the pupils that the ordinary inspection will take place to-morrow or next Wednesday." Some of them may not tell their parents at all but some of them will and, anyway, the inspection takes place. At that inspection the nurse herself will carry out the first inspection. She goes round the pupils and she has no doubt that a certain number of them are all right. She is doubtful about some others and she finds that there are perhaps 12 or 14 whom she would like the doctor to see. She reads out the list and she tries to get those pupils present when the doctor comes along. That is the case of ordinary voluntary attendance for inspection.

Does the Minister suggest that that is how it is done now?

No, because we have not got the nursing organisation which we hope to have under this Bill. That is how medical inspection in general will go on. If it should happen that we are not getting a satisfactory attendance for inspection in a particular area, an Order is made and as the Senator has pointed out, notice of the effect of that Order must be published in one or more newspapers circulating in the county or county borough. Then we proceed, if you like, to compel pupils to be present at the examination and the same procedure will go on. The nurse will go over the pupils. She will pass a number as being quite satisfactory who want no further attention and the doctor takes the remainder in hands. There are so many steps there and so many things may happen with regard to inspection that if the Seanad were to insist on an amendment like this, Senators must admit at least that it would require very careful drafting.

We are prepared to accept that.

When you insert a condition of this kind, it makes the carrying out of the Order very much more difficult because unless the nurse, the doctor or whoever is collaborating with them are very careful and make sure that every parent of every pupil is notified, they may get into serious trouble. That is the point you want to watch. It is, of course, very much easier from my point of view to deal with this by regulation. We draft the regulations as carefully as possible and if we find, after trial, that an alteration is necessary, it is much easier to make it right. That is why I said to Senator Fearon that the present regulation seemed to meet his point and that I should like to look up the regulation and read out the relevant points to see if it would be sufficient to meet his point.

Shall I have an opportunity of raising this again on the Report Stage?

Before Senator Fearon withdraws the amendment, might I suggest that the matter could be dealt with quite easily without raising any of the difficulties to which the Minister adverts—I can see his difficulties—if the amendment were on the basis, not that the parent could claim the right to be present, but that the parent shall not be excluded? I think the point could be met by a new sub-section providing, not that the parent should submit the child to such inspection, but that the parent of each child shall not be prevented from being present at such inspection. I think that would meet the Minister's difficulties. It would ensure that the parent had a statutory right to be present. It would protect the position that all of us have in mind and it would certainly get the Minister out of his difficulties.

It would remove one big difficulty, anyway.

May I point out that the term "shall submit" is rather strong? A parent may send a child for inspection but the child may not go.

In what line does that occur?

Line 9, page 14.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 14:—

In sub-section (4), at the end of the sub-section, in line 11, to add the words:—

"or unless in the case of illness of the child, in the event of which the medical officer carrying out the inspection must receive notification from the parent".

I put down this amendment for the purpose of getting some clarification. In looking at the section, I confess to finding a certain difficulty in regard to sub-section (4). As I read it, when notification is given of this inspection a parent must submit the child for inspection and if the child is not submitted an offence is committed. Suppose the morning of the inspection comes and the child is suddenly unable, as many children are, to turn out to school. You are not in a position to call in your own medical officer and the net result is that the parent has failed to submit the child for inspection. The parent finds himself or herself in the position of having contravened sub-section (4) and liable to a fine not exceeding £5. There should be some safeguard. I have submitted a suggestion in the form of an amendment. I do not think that it is very well drafted but the situation should be met. A child of mine, while preparing for school, became suddenly ill a few weeks ago. There is no provision for such a case occurring on the day of medical inspection.

The Senator should look at the other side of the picture. We are dealing here with people who are either deliberately evading the regulations or who are too careless to pay attention to any regulations. We must have some law which will compel them to submit their children to examination. These are the type of people who would say to the doctor that the child was sick. If we were to adopt Senator Baxter's amendment, we might as well not have the section at all. All the parents would be required to say would be that the child was sick. If the child was sick, I do not think that anything would happen the parents. The case would have to go to court and a doctor or nurse would have to appear as witness. In a case of genuine illness, I do not think that any doctor or nurse would give evidence. Even if they did, the parents could give rebutting evidence and get off but I do not think that such a case would be brought. The Senator should look at the administrative side of the situation. When it is necessary to make an Order for compulsory school medical inspection, we shall have to eliminate methods of evasion of that inspection.

What is the experience with regard to evasion?

It varies very much. The highest attendance is 80 per cent. That is regarded as good. It is much lower in some cases. Unfortunately, the parents who keep their children from inspection are those whose children would be likely to be sources of disease.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 15:—

In page 14, line 22, to delete the words "five pounds" and substitute the words "one pound".

Perhaps we could take, in conjunction with this amendment, amendment No. 16, as follows:—

In page 14, line 23, to delete the word "ten" and substitute the word "two".

In the section, the fines prescribed are, in the case of a first offence, not exceeding £5 and, in the case of a second or subsequent offence, not exceeding £10. I do not like the look of the £5 and £10 in the section. They look too severe in what is a very humane measure. Though one imagines that what will happen will be that a fine of 5/- or 10/- will be imposed, there is always a danger that somebody will come along and say: "You can be fined up to £10 for not allowing your child to be inspected." In the case of the obstinate parent who, the Minister says, exists, and who, we all know, exists, if she—I use the word "she" deliberately—continues to withhold her child continuously the maximum fine of £2 under my amendment will be ticking up like a taxi in respect of the four or six inspections in the year. The effect of the stepping down of the figure in this penal clause from £10 to £2 will be very little altered. Of course, this provision is not inserted as a source of revenue. It is intended to persuade people to learn a little common sense.

The penalty is "not exceeding" £5 or £10. If Senator Fearon had the experience of courts of law which I have, he would be aware that very moderate fines are imposed as a rule.

What Senator O'Dea says is right. In the ordinary case, where we could prove nothing but carelessness, the fine would, probably, be only 5/- or 10/-. But where there was a certain amount of obstruction or, perhaps, conspiracy—trying to get other parents to behave similarly—we might like to have a bigger penalty than £2. I should rather see the fines remain as they are.

Amendments Nos. 15 and 16, by leave, withdrawn.

On the section, sub-section (1) provides: "This section shall apply and have effect only in any county or county borough as respects which an Order made under sub-section (2) of this section is for the time being in force." Then, it provides for the making of the Order and all the rest. It appears to me that there is a danger that it may be held that, if no Order is made apply to a particular county, there can be no inspection of a school at all in that county until the Order is made. I suggest to the Minister that he should add to the section: "Nothing contained in this section shall be deemed to prevent a chief medical officer or assistant medical officer of a county or such other medical man as shall be authorised from carrying out the usual medical inspection of schools before such Order shall come into force or in areas to which it shall not apply." Otherwise, it might be held that a county medical officer of health would have no right to go into a school for the purpose of inspection from the date this Act is passed until the Order is made and, perhaps, no right at all in counties to which it did not apply.

Will not Sections 22, 23 and 24 apply? If Section 25 were taken out, we could work all right.

The other sections do make certain provisions.

It is not compulsory.

If the Minister thinks there is sufficient safeguard, I am satisfied.

Section 25 agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 26 stand part of the Bill."

This section provides that notice shall be sent to the school manager. Then sub-section (3) says:

"A copy of every notice under sub-section (1) of this section in respect of a medical inspection to be held in a national school shall be either delivered to the principal teacher of such school or sent by post to such teacher at the school."

In the case of a national school the parish priest or some other person is the manager of the school. He will have several schools under him. I would suggest that there should be no necessity to send a notice to the manager. It should be quite sufficient to send a notice to the teacher. I suggest, therefore, that the section be amended by striking out sub-section (3) and inserting another sub-section instead, to state that where the school is a national school the notice shall be sent to the principal teacher only and that it need not be sent to the manager. After all, why should the manager get a notice and be worried and be subject to penalty?

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

Perhaps the Senator might deal with that amendment on the Report Stage.

I am referring to it before the Report Stage because I feel that the notice should only be sent to the principal teacher and that he and not the manager should be liable to the penalties.

Sub-section (4) of Section 26 provides that the school manager, if he does not afford reasonable facilities, will be liable to a fine not exceeding £10. I would like to know if there is any other provision in an Act of Parliament for fining school managers?

I do not know.

I never heard of it before.

Well we have this precedent. With regard to Senator O'Dea's point, this first sub-section is drafted in such a way as to provide for an amicable arrangement.

The health authority through the nurse and the manager will say to the teachers: "We will be round here about three times a year. Give us all the facilities." They will reply: "Yes, come along" and in that way the scheme works. It is not too rigid—purposely not too rigid. In the great majority of cases we will not want all this procedure of going to the manager, and so on. The medical officer is a local man. The parish priest is a local man. The teacher is a local man. They will say: "We will do it next Wednesday" and that will be all about it. If we meet trouble with a manager then we can adopt the rigid line. That is how we come down to the fine. If a manager refuses we must deal with him and that is the reason for the fine.

It is an interesting example of centralisation and of penalties. In this sub-section the position is that if the parish priest or the rector does not agree he will be brought to the District Court. It is a unique provision. Is it necessary? I do not think it is.

I was going to suggest another amendment that the words "principal teacher" be substituted for "manager".

I do not want to substitute the fine on the principal teacher and thus save the manager from what is the manager's responsibility.

The Minister for Education, whom I consulted on this section, wishes to have the manager and teacher both consulted.

There are plenty of schools which have joint managers. Take, for instance, the case of Christian Brothers' schools. The parish priest and superior of the school are the joint managers. Does this sub-section provide for that peculiar position?

I would like to have clarification from the Minister on this phrase: "requiring the school manager to afford all reasonable facilities for the inspection or inspections". I would like if the inspections could be carried out in a separate room where all the children would not be together. Children will be shy of undressing in the presence of one another and I think the inspections should be carried out in a separate room where the children will go in for examination by the nurse or by the doctor, one after the other, instead of their being paraded as a class and told as a class to undress. That type of thing is all right in the case of adults.

I have done it myself for medical inspection, for radiography and so on, but I think there is a certain shyness where children are paraded as a class and are told to undress. I would like just to mention that point. It does not require any amendment. The wording is that notice in writing will be given requiring the school manager to afford all reasonable facilities. I would like that the words "reasonable facilities" would include a separate room—it does not matter whether the room be big or small—in which the children could be examined separately. Perhaps that is so in practice. I do not know. I would like to suggest that it should be so in future if this measure is being implemented.

Where that can be managed naturally it will be provided for, that is, that children will be examined in a special room. That point will be covered in regulations. We do not want to put that actually in the Bill because there are schools in the country where there is not a separate room. Sometimes there is only one room in the school.

What about a screen?

Yes, a screen. I think the House may take it that the doctor and the nurse will do their best under the circumstances in all these cases. I have got a precedent to satisfy Senator Hayes. Section 58 of the Public Health (Amendment) Act, 1907, did threaten school managers.

That only applied to certain parts of the country.

It is really too bad if the Minister has to go back to 1907 to justify what he proposes to do here.

I would do it without any precedent at all.

Senator O'Dea has been making suggestions. To my mind it would be a much better and a much wiser approach to bring the matter somehow to the notice of the respective bishops.

We may do that too.

The Church has a way, within itself, of insisting on discipline. I suggest some other way should be attempted rather than what the Minister suggests.

Question put and agreed to.
Section 27 agreed to.

I move amendment No. 17:—

In line 12, page 15, after the word "Minister" to insert the words "after consultation with the National Health Council".

It will be generally agreed that the regulation under this part of the Act will be the most important under the whole measure and will require the most careful study and examination. I would then be disposed to ask for what purpose is the National Health Consultative Council set up except to be associated with these regulations. The object of my amendment is to ensure that this council is associated and consulted. There is nobody will deny that it is essential that this should be done. I think I know what the Minister will say. He will agree that they should be consulted with regard to the main regulations but will say that he cannot agree to call them together for every regulation—amending or minor regulation—but I feel sure, that accepting the principle, the Minister could, if he wished, draft a section to ensure the object we must all have in view.

I want to give all possible support to this amendment, chiefly on the ground that the National Health Council as proposed in Section 98 seems to be rather in the air. So far as the Bill is concerned, there seem to be no specific functions which the council has, no statutory obligation or right to discharge, and I would like to see the council having at least one statutory function and preferably in connection with this section.

It is quite true that the council have no statutory function, except one could say that they have the function of advising the Minister when he asks for their advice.

Which the Minister need not take.

I need not take it. Senator Sir John Keane has stated the objections to this. He said that I would say that I intended to consult them on the main regulations, but could not call them together for every regulation issued. That is quite true. There will be on that council men from all over the country, men trying to make their living in other avocations and, if we can get them to attend in Dublin every two months, we will be doing very well. We will be issuing regulations, starting off, at any rate, possibly every week, because, when we issue our main regulations, we will begin to hear from the local authorities suggesting that they be changed slightly so far as particular areas are concerned. We will have to make these slight changes perhaps weekly and perhaps fortnightly and we could not call these men together more than twice in two months or perhaps three months. They will not be paid for their services. I intend to ask them to give their time free and to give their advice free, and I think it would be very wrong if I were to be compelled to ask these men to come perhaps twice a month, as I believe would be the position if the amendment were passed.

Can the Minister say how he intends to use them because it is only under these regulations that they will serve any purpose? I am disposed to ask if they are not mere window-dressing.

No. I said already that the first big sheaf of regulations applying all round, which will be a very long document, I intend to circulate to every member of this council. We will give them, perhaps, as long as a couple of weeks to study them and then call them together to discuss the regulations. Whenever we are doing something big, I hope we shall be able to call them together, but if we have to make a change in a regulation so as to make a slight difference for say, Cork City, as compared with the rest of the country, it would be very unfair if I had to call them together for that purpose.

I appreciate the Minister's difficulty and I suppose I must be satisfied with the general assurance he has given, but the Minister's record in this matter is not very good. He had a consultative body in connection with agriculture and Senator Baxter knows better than I do that he made mighty little use of it.

No, they met very often.

I withdraw my suggestion that the Minister's record is bad. His record is good.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Question proposed: "That Section 28 stand part of the Bill."

I want to raise one point to which there is probably a very simple answer. This is a case in which the Minister makes regulations applicable to every health authority. There is no reference, as there is in most other sections, to the matter of enforcement or contravention. If the Minister looks at sub-section (8) of Section 31, he will observe the provision regarding the enforcement of the regulations and so on throughout the Bill, but in this particular case, where there is authority to make regulations, there is no provision with regard to enforcement. I realise that there are probably methods of enforcement already in existence in relation to local authorities, but I should like to have the point cleared up.

As the Senator knows, these regulations apply only to Part III, that is, to Sections 21 to 28 dealing with mother and child welfare. He will notice that, at the end of Sections 25 and 26, penalties are provided, so it appears that penalties are provided in the sections where they are needed.

But is it not true that the penalties are provided against individuals, against persons who contravene the regulations? I am not arguing that the Minister is wrong, but it is not very clear to me that there is any provision for enforcing the regulations against a local authority.

I think we have sufficient powers to deal with local authorities, if they do not carry out the regulations.

Question put and agreed to.
Section 29 agreed to.
Progress reported.
The Seanad adjourned at 10 p.m. until 3 p.m. on Thursday, 24th July, 1947.