It looks as if this is a county council day out. I should like to say that I hope the Minister and his officials who have given a lot of thought to this Bill will find that it fulfils their expectations. I am at one with Senator Tunney in his plea on behalf of the county and I must be conscious also that the Minister has done a tremendous job. We believe that this scheme will justify itself economically.
With regard to Senator Tunney's remarks, one important factor is that we in the county could always get treatment for our patients in the various voluntary hospitals we had attached to our panel much more cheaply than we could get it in the hospitals indicated to us by Dublin Corporation. The facts and figures were available which showed a difference of nearly 6/- a day in certain cases, and we had the situation being created in a discussion in the council where the health manager seemed to be nearly touting for patients for the Dublin hospitals, particularly the one at Blanchardstown. We had one councillor who has made a great study of health and has been associated with hospitals, who gave a picture that was somewhat frightening, but that was in the interim period.
I am satisfied that the Minister will be closer from now on to this complete operation than he was when there were 20 or 30 little committees running the health services of the city and county. Therefore, I have not the same fears as Senator Tunney about this Bill. I feel that under the Bill the Minister will get full efficiency into the running of the hospital system and that it will prevent overlapping. The council will have to suffer; there is no doubt about that. It would be out of keeping with the whole business to ask the Minister to alter the position at this stage.
Perhaps, as Senator Tunney has said and, as I believe, we shall get in the month and years ahead a situation in which the county will have suffered somewhat financially. The figures can be obtained for the Minister, if he wishes to see them. I believe the savings in the all-over picture will in the coming year reach many thousands of pounds and I think Senator Tunney will agree with that. I believe this Bill will do a lot to level the cost and the Minister and his officials will be closer to the situation, and will be able to watch it. I welcome the Bill, despite the fact that Dún Laoghaire Borough Corporation representatives are coming in, because they are very intelligent people.