It is proposed to take amendments Nos. 174, 174a which is related and 175 which is cognate together.
I move amendment No. 174:
In page 19, subsection (1), line 10, to delete "may" and substitute "shall".
The previous section says that the health board "shall cause to be visited". I seek to amend section 40 by the deletion of the word "may" and the substitution of "shall" to make it mandatory that the health board shall appoint such and as so many officers as it thinks fit to be authorised persons for the purpose of the Part. I think it is very important that officers are designated and assigned to a certain job and it should be mandatory. For that reason I propose that the word "may" should be deleted and "shall" substituted.
I would be anxious that these inspectors would have specialised training as appropriate to their duties. It would be important that you would have people doing this inspection who areau fait with the requirements and have a specialised knowledge of what is expected in such a service.
I have no difficulty in accepting amendment No. 174, since it will be a matter for each health board to decide how many officers shall be appointed as authorised persons for the purpose of this part. I cannot agree to accept amendment No. 175, however, since, in this case, a health board may only appoint officers of the Minister for Education to be authorised persons if that Minister gives her consent. Since that consent could not be assumed in every case, it would not make sense to change the word "may" to "shall" in subsection (2).
As regards amendment 174a in the name of Deputy Fennell, the question of training for staff is a day to day operational matter and is not normally specified in legislation. The Deputy may have noticed that we have not indicated what particular grade or class of person should carry out these inspections. This was done deliberately to give the health boards the widest possible measure of flexibility to employ a range of professional staff, social workers, nurses, doctors, dentists, health inspectors, engineers and other professionals. Any of them could contribute to the inspection process. In view of this I do not believe this amendment is necessary.
I thank the Minister for accepting amendment No. 174 and I can accept his point of view with regard to amendment No. 175. However, on amendment No. 174a I would like his assurance, about the kind of training that would be necessary to carry out this kind of inspection. I want an assurance that the Minister is going to send people who are not necessarily only going to look at it from an engineering point of view or from a single dimensional point of view because I think it will require specialist training to look at the total needs and standards of these services. That is my concern.
I think it was Deputy Fennell or Deputy Barnes who talked about the fact that we must legislate for the future. Basically this situation gives us that broad flexibility in preventive health care, in several areas that, we would be able to send in the relevant professional in any given situation. Consequently, we need this type of flexibility.
In that event I withdraw those two amendments.