(b) In sub-section (1) (b) of the proposed new section to delete all words after the word "that" and substitute the words "he be not less than twenty-five years of age at the date of the passing of this Act and."
SUPPLEMENTARY ESTIMATE. - DENTISTS BILL, 1928—FROM THE SEANAD (RESUMED).
MINISTER for INDUSTRY and COMMERCE (Mr. McGilligan)
I promised on the last day to make available for Deputies certain information which was requested when we were on this amendment. I was to find out for them, as far as was in my power, how many of the aspirants to the dentists profession who had been passed by a Dáil Committee would be prevented from going for the examination enabling them hereafter to get on the Register if we insisted on the age limit which is included in the Seanad amendment. Of the people who were on the Dáil list I found it impossible to get in touch with two, and about them I know nothing. Of those with whom I was able to get in touch five would be precluded, even from attending the examination, if the age limit were twenty-one years on the 31st day of December, 1921.
Would the Minister have any objection to giving us the names, so that we might see whether they would coincide with what we might have to say on the matter?
If it is thought desirable, I will do so.
I understood that on the second last occasion when this Bill was under discussion here the Minister was at a disadvantage in not knowing how any of these names would be affected, and that in the meantime he agreed to find out if any would be affected. I suggested that there were two names that I knew of that would be affected, and the Minister now states that there are five. I do not know whether it is desirable or not to have the names mentioned, but the fact that remains is this, that the principle itself is sufficient. There are names on this Third Schedule which were passed by this House, which were approved of by the Seanad, and which are now deleted by this amendment, and I say that on that basis alone the Minister might agree to accept the amendment which I have put down, which would not debar anybody, particularly on this Schedule, from going for this examination.
I think we have brought out an extremely important thing, that of the twenty-two names that there were on the Third Schedule as it passed the Dáil five names would be excluded under this new amendment which comes to us. There does not seem to me to be a great deal between the Minister and Deputy Briscoe, and I would suggest that the difference between them could be bridged by a modification the same as that I proposed when the Bill was originally before the Dáil. These line-ball cases are bound to occur when you have a sharp line of demarcation, and you must always have some sharp line of demarcation, but it is a bad thing to have a sharper line than you can avoid. In the amendment that comes to us there are two lines. You will have hard cases, where some people nearly come up to one line, and you will have hard cases because some people nearly come up to another. When you have the age line and when, in addition, there must be a certain number of years of practice, there are two hard lines, and it seems to me that if you were to say that the Dental Board shall have power to admit to this examination any of those engaged in the practice of dentistry for a certain period, then I would say ten years, and let that include their training and their actual practice as dentists. If you are to say that the Dental Board should have power to admit to this examination those who in the practice of dentistry for ten years, they were satisfied with, I think it would go far to meet Deputy Briscoe's point and that it would very nearly satisfy the Minister.
I am prepared to withdraw my amendment if the Minister is prepared to accept Deputy Thrift's suggestion. As a matter of fact, in the original debate on this matter, I suggested that I would be better pleased if the Minister would extend the period of seven years to ten years, but that he would include in that ten years the period that a man would be engaged as an apprentice, or practising for a period of not less than ten years. Then you could leave the matter of the qualifications to the Dental Board. What we want to do in this Bill is to allow only such people to practise through this Dental Register as are qualified from a practical dental point of view, and a period of a couple of days' or a couple of months' difference will not get over the difficulty of what the Dental Board itself will provide, that is, only to put on a dental register such men as are absolutely qualified, which they can test by means of the examination.
This raises a point of procedure. I understand the Deputy's proposal is to drop paragraph (b) of the Seanad amendment and change (c) by inserting ten years instead of seven.
That ten years' practice does not necessarily mean making his complete livelihood—it would embody also years of apprenticeship.
"Who has been engaged for ten years in the practice of dentistry to the satisfaction of the Dental Board" would be something like the words I would suggest.
I am agreeable to that.
Engaged in the practice of dentistry in Saorstát Eireann?
The point of procedure is that I have a Seanad amendment coming down as to which there are further proposals for amendment to be sent back to the Seanad.
Is it necessary to put in that qualification when you have "to the satisfaction of the Dental Board"? What we want is to get men who are actually qualified to practise. If they have been doing it for a certain time, and satisfy the Dental Board that they can do it properly, I do not see why we should refuse to allow them to go on making their livelihood.
I think there is a definite argument against that, but the House does not seem to be favourable to it, and that is, that these people were engaged in illegal practice since 1921. You are now going to admit seven years of illegal practice in order to permit them to get a definite status as dentists. Retrospectively we are legalising a practice which these people knew from the day they started was illegal. They were people who simply were taking their chances here. They tried their hand when they found that legislation was not being enforced against them for particular reasons, and they simply said: "As long as the going is good, we are going to go on as dentists; we are going to get at least four or five or six years' practice, even if we are going to be wiped out then." If the House wants to have it, it may.
Does not the fact that the House is agreeable to an extension from seven to ten years exclude that possibility? Anybody who has been practising for ten years must have been practising prior to the Act of 1921.
For how many years?
Altogether ten years.
We are going back and getting the 1921 Act again, and saying that instead of being twenty-five years at the date of the 1921 Act, it does not matter what the age is, and instead of saying five years of practice you are saying three years. In that three years you will have the young man who started his apprenticeship at the early age of thirteen, of which we have one example. That man has done ten years, having started his apprenticeship at thirteen, and we are going possibly to allow that man to become a qualified dentist. I do not think that is right.
If he is competent.
I do not think he should be allowed to stand for examination.
Probably the Dental Board would not allow him.
I do not think it necessary to change this with regard to bringing in the matter of apprenticeship. I want to point out to the House before they embark upon this change that the date of birth regulation rules out five people—I am leaving out the two of whom I know nothing. The change of practice period from seven to ten years will rule out four, and they will be a different four from the other five.
The ones who have the longer period are more entitled to it.
I want to get back to our old schedule. The Dáil have decided upon this, and I think we ought to stick to it. I feel, when the Minister is speaking, that he has always a certain amount of reason on his side. When he speaks about irregular practice, I feel some sympathy with him. On the other hand, there were some of these candidates allowed to work in the Free State —people who had not been living here, but who have been living here for the last four or five years. They have spent a good deal of money in establishing a practice, and they have been doing good work. We on the Committee were satisfied that these people were entitled, after an examination, to be registered. We do not want them to be registered without examination. I am still of opinion that we should stick to what the Dáil decided upon. There are twenty-two names on the list at present, but one goes on the Fourth Schedule, and that leaves twenty-one. That is what I am prepared to support. If the Minister can see his way to go back to that, I think we will get out of all the difficulties. I want to stick to our Third Schedule.
I do not think the Minister ought to make a strong point about the illegal practice. He may be right in the interpretation, but it would not be fair to carry the implication as far as saying that many of the dentists who did not register believed they were doing something that was illegal. I do not think they did.
A new suggestion has been put up by Deputy Sir J. Craig, that we reject the Seanad amendment and abide by the schedule.
I have no objection to any of these names on the schedule, but what I want is that there should be a Dental Board set up for the purpose of a certain examination to consider those whom they think have had sufficient years of practice and who may be competent. If they are not competent from the point of view of a practical demonstration of dentistry they should be turned down, but I do not consider it fair that the House should turn down men who may be qualified. I do not see why we should put any on until we are sure they are qualified, but it is unfair to turn down even one who may be qualified without turning him down in a practical, proper way by letting him submit himself for examination. With regard to Deputy Sir James Craig's proposal, if the Minister is prepared to leave the schedule as it is, and allow my amendment, as it stands, to come in for people outside of these, so that if they are properly qualified they may be allowed on, I am satisfied. Otherwise I do not know how we are going to get round it. I believe that the best way to get away from doing any injustice would be to say that all men should sit for an examination. Certainly those whom the Dáil Committee have passed as suitable will have no trouble in passing if they are all that the Committee think they are. Nobody should be allowed on who is not qualified, and nobody who is qualified should be kept off. That is the reason I propose leaving out the age limit and years and leaving it to the Dental Board to have an examination. That is the best way out, and there will be no chance of doing an injustice to anybody.
I think Deputy Briscoe's proposal is rather akin to the proposal of the Seanad. Sub-section (2) of their amendment says: "for the purpose of the application of this section to a person who was a dental mechanic before the passing of the Dentists Act in 1921, the expression ‘practice of dentistry' in the foregoing sub-section shall be deemed to include the work usually performed by a dental mechanic." That is to say that a person may present himself for examination without any other experience than that of a dental mechanic, and a dental mechanic may have had no practical experience at all. Deputy Briscoe talks of an examination being of a practical nature. Who are the unfortunate victims who are to be the subjects, I will not say of thisviva voce examination, but of this ore rotunde examination—who are going to be brought forward that these men may show that they have some experience in pulling and stopping teeth? A great many mechanics carry on the practice of dentistry in their spare time.
They should be stopped.
They are what may be called half-timers. They give their time to the employer during the day and in the evening they draw teeth for their friends. They have no general practice. No plates and so on, but they are known to have a knowledge of dentistry, and people come to them. There are some mechanics who may never have pulled or stopped a tooth, but yet may be able to pass an examination which would be mainly a paper examination.
During the time this Dental Bill has been under discussion I have taken great trouble to find out what the type of examination would be. I am satisfied, and I believe that Deputy Thrift and Deputy Craig would agree with me, that no such men as Deputy Cooper speaks of would get through such an examination. When I speak of a practical examination I do not expect a man to be examined in the same manner as a man would who was finishing his course in a university. I simply mean it to be an examination to see that men know what they are about so that any such man as Deputy Cooper mentioned could be prosecuted and prevented from practising. What I am anxious about is that we do not pick up, from paper, men who are qualified to practice dentistry and disqualify other men who may be more capable. All should go before a proper authority to be examined.
It was a great misfortune for the Committee that Deputy Briscoe, who has evidently made a study of these matters, was not on it. I am sure that Deputy Briscoe has gone to a great deal of trouble, but how we can say what kind of an examination a dental board, which is not yet established, is going to set, I cannot understand. The Committee took a commonsense standpoint. They tried to find out whether a person had been definitely engaged in the practice of dentistry. The evidence they took was on two lines. In the first place they took testimonials from patients where patients had submitted testimonials, as in the case of a man who was engaged in practice in schools, convents and so on. Where it was evident a man had been dealing in dentistry with the inmates of such institutions he obviously was a man of some knowledge and skill. Secondly, we came to the dealings of a man with wholesalers, with persons who supplied the various materials which any dentist, engaged in the practice of dentistry, constantly requires. On those tests we recommend certain names to be placed on the register immediately without an examination and certain other names to be placed subject to an examination.
took the Chair.
With all Deputy Briscoe may say about the character of the examination, I do not see how we can have a definite assurance, because the Dental Board is not yet established, and if the Board is not yet established I believe the Minister is the person who sets the standard of the examination under a Seanad amendment. I do not know if Deputy Briscoe has been in conference with the Minister as to the standard.
Perhaps Deputy Cooper would stand over the same kind of examination which I presume he was a party to himself in the English House of Parliament.
Deputy Cooper was not a member of the English Parliament in 1921 and had nothing to do with the passing of any Dentistry Act in the English Parliament. I am dealing with these matters from an Irish standpoint, not from a British standpoint, and from the point of view of getting the best possible treatment for Irish men and women.
I maintain it would be better to have still the names set forth in the Third Schedule of certain people who should be permitted to appear for an examination. Furthermore, in Section 28 of the Act we arranged that
"the several persons named in the Third Schedule to this Act shall on passing an examination in dentistry prescribed and held under this section within two years after the passing of this Act and on making the prescribed application and paying the prescribed fees be entitled to be registered in the register."
We went on further and arranged that the Minister should hold this examination, that it should be under his control until the Board had been established, and after the Board had been established that the Board should hold the examination. The one thing we did not do was actually to specify, as was done in the 1921 Act, the nature of the examination. I still maintain we are going to make a mistake if we do not adhere to what the Dáil originally did in setting forth the names of the people who were originally asked to pass an examination and in another Schedule the names of the people we thought did not require to pass an examination and adhere to Section 28 where arrangements were made for these examinations to be held.
The ordinary layman hesitates before he says anything on a question like this which may be described as professional. I think the Dáil has the idea before it of providing services for people and insuring that they get qualified services. The Committee set up judged these applicants by a certain standard and over and above that they have to stand an examination. From what I know I think the Committee exercised a good deal of care. Now a proposal has come that they be judged by a different standard as to whether they can stand for an examination or not. Surely an examination is a thing which will prove whether a man is capable of carrying out the work which he professes or not, and it is by that examination in the end that we will determine whether a person will be registered or not. I personally would agree with the proposal of Deputy Sir James Craig that the Third Schedule as it stands in the Bill be adhered to.
I believe if the Minister could see his way to accept the amendment I propose it will get over that difficulty. It will not affect any of the men here from the age point of view. It is stated there are four others who will be affected by the seven years period. If the Minister sees his way to accept Deputy Thrift's suggestion to allow all men irrespective of age, with ten years experience, to stand an examination all those men on the Third Schedule will be allowed to stand that examination. There were certain names proposed and accepted in the Seanad.
Two were accepted, I thought.
They were not definitely excluded, because they would come in under those amendments from the Seanad.
No. Some of them do not.
One of them at least would be allowed to sit if he was qualified from the point of view of age and years in the Seanad's amendment. I do not know the great difficulty. After all, the important thing is to get men who are qualified.
I would like to disabuse the mind of Deputy Cooper. I meant nothing suggestive when I spoke of the British House of Parliament. I thought he was there. I meant nothing except to say that the English Parliament had specified an examination, and I thought that examination might be adopted here. I meant nothing personal. If the Minister accepts Deputy Thrift's suggestion, I withdraw my amendment. Let every man go before the Dental Board through the prescribed examination, or whatever way they have to go before the Dental Board. If the Dental Board consider that he is a suitable man to be let loose on the public for the purpose of practice in dentistry, all right. I do not see how we can keep a man off.
Will Deputy Briscoe explain what he means by "every man"? Does he suggest that he or I should go on?
No, every man who has ten years practice in dentistry.
Would it not be possible to accept the schedules as they are? There seems to have been an overwhelming opinion in the Dáil, at any rate, as to accepting those schedules as they are. Having done that, you then come to the question as to whether you will accept the amendments of Deputy Thrift and Deputy Briscoe. The first thing seems to be a clear way of accepting the schedule and then perhaps, in addition to that, you would accept the two proposals in the amendments.
A very good suggestion, but the Seanad said they were not prepared to accept the two. They would accept one or other, but not both.
If the Minister will take mine I will be quite satisfied.
I wish the Deputy would not refer to what the Minister might do; this is not a Party measure; it is a measure for the House.
I agree, but after all the Minister is in charge.
I should like to make myself clear about that. I take exception to what practically was a very carefully arrived at decision by a Committee of this House, being very seriously modified, by, what I think, was a Committee of Examination in the Seanad. I am quite prepared to accept the verdict of this specially-qualified Dental Board as to those who should be allowed to go up for this examination. As the Minister does not seem disposed to accept that, the best thing we can do, failing that alternative, is to go back and stick to our own schedule.
Perhaps I might as well go back a little in the history of this thing. When the Bill left this House there was a third schedule containing twenty-one names. One name has since gone to the other schedule. The Seanad Committee wanted to remove one name and to insert four others. On consideration they did adopt the point of view that if they insisted on getting any one of the four on they could not remove one name to which they objected and that was on the list as it came from the Dáil. There were four names, and around those names there was a certain controversy, and at the end a Senator brought forward a resolution of this type. The Seanad afterwards agreed to this modification of it. They wanted to get away from this question of names. They held strongly that there were certain people passed by the Dáil Committee who should not be on the schedule, and they held that there were certain people not on it who should have been put on. I would agree with regard to two of these names. I was present when the two committees and this departmental and professional Committee investigated these names. There are two names which could reasonably be admitted. If this goes back to the Seanad with a proposal to have both the schedule and the names and to allow other names, the Seanad are going to insist on putting on four names, not merely two. That means that the Bill will come to this House with four additional names. I might as well say now in advance that when an individual sends in one application and states in the first page that he did not apply to be put on the register in 1921 because he could not get on on account of being under age, and when the same individual comes in a second page and says he did not apply for political reasons and produced what seems to me to be almost entirely a forged certificate that it was on that account that he did not go on, what are you to think? That man does not deserve consideration. Those are important facts as they seem to me.
Is that a name that is to be put up by the Seanad?
I think that was turned down by the Dáil Committee.
It was not before the Dáil at all. The Seanad sent back a schedule of names, and they are going to insist on their four names. I think we should be very jealous about these names. It is for that reason that I am somewhat reluctant to agree to the amendment, which stated that certain people who came in under this should be allowed to present themselves for examination, the examination, being limited to a single examination, but there are two occasions on which it will be held.
There is possibly this suggestion to be made as a way out of the whole difficulty. I am prepared first of all on the amendment that came from the Seanad to recommend to the House here the omission of (b) altogether wiping out the age limit, if in consideration the period of seven years is increased to ten years. But there is an objection about that. This Bill has undergone many changes from the original principle on which it was founded. It has again been brought from the Seanad and though we are admitting a rather objectionable thing, it cannot be helped. That examination would wipe out undesirable people.
As against that Deputy Sir James Craig and others feel that we should stick to the people who in the absence of any member of this type, the Dáil Committee decided, should be admitted to the examination. It must be remembered that while five would be knocked out by the keeping of the age limit, two only would be knocked out of the original Dáil list by the ten years practice period; by increasing the period from seven years to ten years two of the original Dáil nominees for examination would fall. One of those would never be brought in. He had three years and nine months practice in the Free State. If we take Ireland with certain crossings to England he would have nine years. There would be two people in the original Dáil selection who would fall if we accept the amendment that I am suggesting in lieu of Deputy Briscoe's amendment. We are in any event going to do a hardship to a certain number of people who are named as having satisfied the Dáil Committee. Deputy Briscoe says that they considered that they had passed But they had no right to consider that they had passed until the Seanad had considered the Bill. That matter was not settled until the Seanad had finished with the Bill. I do not think they could claim any rights until the Seanad had accepted the Bill. I might propose this to the Seanad that we take this list of names, and say that they should be admitted to the type of examination that these other people are going to be put through, and that in addition to that we should have this modification, and I will not put it further—I want it brought back to the original thing that I brought into the Seanad, namely, that the age period would be, on 31st December, 1918, twenty-one years of age and the principal means of livelihood during the period of ten years since. Let the Deputy consider that everybody on the schedule can go for examination and have two tries at it, and in addition to that anybody who is a citizen of Saorstát Eireann and of good character and is twenty-eight years of age and has ten years' practice is to be eligible. That fits in with the principle that I put up in the Seanad that we are asking for ten years experience and that we are not counting any practice before a man attained his majority. Originally in the Dáil we had decided that we were going to give these people the right to sit for examination for two years after the passing of the Act. In the Seanad this was limited to one year. I suggest that that should hold for all of the third schedule people as well as this list. If there is agreement on that, I will arrange to have an amendment brought in to-morrow to meet that.
Where would that come in?
We would refuse to accept amendment number 4; we could not accept 3 or 4, and we would have to modify 2.
Leaving the Third Schedule in the Bill?
Yes, leave this in, but we would make conditions applicable to the Third Schedule people the conditions that are here. Again I would insist that the modifications should be: making the age 21 years on the 31st December, 1918, and ten years practice.
I thought the Minister's suggestion was to delete paragraph (b).
My reason was to meet Deputy Briscoe. If the House was to accept the amendment I have proposed I think it would be satisfactory.
I think it is a very excellent suggestion.
I think the Minister has met us very fairly, and I think we should be quite satisfied.
I do not think he met my point at all.
Oh, yes. I understand the Minister retains our third schedule, and they are to go for examination. That largely meets Deputy Briscoe. Then in case there are people who have not commended themselves to the Dáil Committee for lack of evidence, or proved their claim to ten years' practice, and that they are now twenty-eight years of age, they are to be allowed to sit for the same examination. If that is agreed to, there can be hardly any case of hardship left.
I do not understand either Deputy Thrift or Deputy Craig saying that this is an excellent suggestion, because it is only negative. On the one hand you allow a man of any age to be permitted to stand for examination and, on the other hand, you specify that they must be of a certain age. I am quite agreeable to the men who were passed by the Dental Committee. If you are permitting men from twenty-three to twenty-five years, you should certainly allow the men of twenty-five years who are not now there to present themselves for examination. They should be given consideration. If they are suitable or desirable men, put them on; if they are not suitable or desirable, then put them off. You should not legislate by giving the preference to one class and penalising another class. I do not see where the equity comes in, and I cannot see that there is anything fair in that suggestion. If Deputy Thrift says that on the one hand certain men are to be allowed for examination and then men of twenty-seven years of age are kept off, I do not see the fairness of it. I think Deputy Thrift should agree that there should be no interference with the Dental Committee's selection of men, provided they have ten years' experience, including apprenticeship. They should be allowed to sit for examination. I say it is most unfair and most unjust to exclude men from presenting themselves for examination when they may be fit and suitable, and the only thing against them is that they happen to be below a certain age.
The very material point is that all this is in a Bill which has certainly taken a year to go through two Houses. Men were given every chance to send forward their names. Certain people availed of that and they were scrutinised by a Committee of the Dáil, by a Committee of the Seanad, and by a professional Committee.
Both Houses of the Oireachtas appointed Committees, and there was a professional Committee also appointed to investigate the actual applications of the men. We set out with a view of having permitted to stand for examination only those who had ten years practice since they attained their majority. We relaxed that in favour of certain people whose cases we had before us and on whom we passed judgment. I do not think there is any injustice done to the people in the Deputy's mind if the amendment I have suggested is accepted.
I did not wish to mention this matter because I thought it would be rather indiscreet. I am quite prepared to substantiate what I have to say. The reason I am so anxious for certain men to be given a chance is that one member of the Minister's Departmental Committee, one member active on that, indicated to me that in two cases men's names were not properly sent forward to the Dental Committee because of some error or—he did not put it as strong as this—some prejudice. In one case it was distinctly an error of judgment on their part. They did not believe the man's story. Subsequently, they found they had erred, but that man has not been given any consideration, and is not being given any consideration, and I consider that that is very unfair. I do not want him to be put forward unless his case is scrutinised and unless he is found properly qualified. The only way you can get men qualified to practice is by examining them.
Again, if there is any person about whom the professional Committee made any mistake or in whose case they took a wrong judgment, there was plenty of time to rectify that. The whole thing has been before the Seanad for a long time, and it has been a long time before the professional Committee. A considerable time was spent in the consideration of applications, and there must have been at least five months in which any error on the part of the professional Committee could have been rectified. The individual himself must have been negligent.
And before that a long time elapsed in which anything that was wrong could have been rectified. An advertisement was issued asking interested persons to submit their claims to the Committee and quite a long time elapsed between the issue of the advertisement and the submission of these claims to the Committee. Deputy Briscoe forgets that all interested people had a chance of applying to the Committee and of having their claims submitted, and all claims submitted were very carefully examined.
No member of the profession who applied had any idea of whether he was approved or disapproved until the Third Schedule was published two months afterwards. Therefore, no opportunity was given to him to set about rectifying any error. He could not have made any effort to protect himself. He had no opportunity of doing anything until the names were published. In connection with the case I have in mind, I think the Minister will recollect that I sent him a note across the House asking if something could be done to have this matter looked into. I sent that note across immediately that the Schedule was published. It was only then that these men could set their grievances in motion. All the while there were amendments being put in indicating that they would be accepted and indicating that possibly they might have a chance of presenting themselves for examination. It was only at the last minute that the Schedule of names was put through. Then they realised they had no chance. I contend that the amendment that I have put in is the most reasonable and we as legislators, who are not here as a Dental Board, should consider that we should only select such men as are competent; those only should be allowed to practice and nobody else. Without such an amendment, I consider that I could not support a measure like this.
The Deputy has referred to one case particularly. The Deputy brought one case in person before the Seanad Committee and after hearing the facts put forward by him, the Seanad Committee refused to put the name on.
The member of the Dental Committee whom I have mentioned was not called before that Committee.
The Deputy pleaded a certain man's case before the Seanad Committee and they refused to put his name on.
I pleaded no case. I put up no case that a man was qualified or unqualified. The person who answered was another person altogether.
With regard to the point made by Deputy Briscoe that there was not sufficient time, the Committee reported on the 9th February and the report was ordered to be printed on the 15th February. The Seanad did not conclude its operations until the 15th June. Therefore fully four months elapsed and if that is not enough time for a man to make his case, I do not know what is. If a man takes four months in connection with a matter in which his livelihood is affected, and who waits to see what the Seanad will do, surely such a man is not likely to be very effective?
This has been a most complicated and most difficult Bill. There has been a good deal of changing about and we now seem to have reached a point at which there is one single matter standing in the way of practically unanimous agreement. The merits of both sides seem to be more or less balanced and I think that the question of having universal agreement might well weigh. The Minister has been good enough to say that he has not been proposing it from his point of view and that it is a question for the House. I think the House might well take into consideration that in doing what they are now asked to do they will be closing up the last point of disagreement. Having met one side on the Schedule they might very well meet Deputy Briscoe's point by accepting the amendment.
I suggest that it is quite wrong to meet Deputy Briscoe on a single case. Deputy Cooper pointed out the length of time in which he had to plead before the Seanad Committee. I assert it was pleaded before them. Although the Deputy argued that a particular member should have been called who was not called, it was the Seanad SubCommittee which had to pass judgment as to who was a proper person to come before them to give evidence. Having the case specially brought to their notice they decided the matter.
That was not the same case.
The Seanad has taken up a certain line and they wish us to amalgamate certain dates and a certain list of names which the Dáil and Seanad agreed on. Deputy Briscoe now asks us to allow a man, who was more or less refused by the Seanad Committee, to appear for examination. I do not think that that is right.
- Aiken, Frank.
- Allen, Denis.
- Anthony, Richard.
- Blaney, Neal.
- Boland, Gerald.
- Brady, Seán.
- Briscoe, Robert.
- Buckely, Daniel.
- Cassidy, Archie J.
- Colbert, James.
- Cooney, Eamon.
- Crowley, Fred. Hugh.
- Crowley, Tadhg.
- Derrig, Thomas.
- De Valera, Eamon.
- Maguire, Ben.
- MacEntee, Seán.
- Moore, Seamus.
- O'Connell, Thomas J.
- O'Dowd, Patrick Joseph.
- O'Reilly, Matthew.
- O'Reilly, Thomas.
- Everett, James.
- Fahy, Frank.
- Flinn, Hugo.
- Fogarty, Andrew.
- Gorry, Patrick J.
- Goulding, John.
- Hayes, Seán.
- Houlihan, Patrick.
- Kennedy, Michael Joseph.
- Kerlin, Frank.
- Killane, James Joseph.
- Killiea, Mark.
- Kilroy, Michael.
- Lemass, Seán F.
- Little, Patrick John.
- Powell, Thomas P.
- Ryan, James.
- Sexton, Martin.
- Sheehy, Timothy (Tipp.).
- Smith, Patrick.
- Walsh, Richard.
- Alton, Ernest Henry.
- Beckett, James Walter.
- Bennett, George Cecil.
- Blythe, Ernest.
- Bourke, Séamus A.
- Byrne, John Joseph.
- Collins-O'Driscoll, Mrs. Margt.
- Conlon, Martin.
- Connolly, Michael P.
- Cooper, Bryan Ricco.
- Craig, Sir James,
- Crowley, James.
- Davis, Michael.
- Doherty, Eugene.
- Dolan, James N.
- Doyle, Peadar Seán.
- Duggan, Edmund John.
- Dwyer, James.
- Esmonde, Osmond Thos. Grattan.
- Fitzgerald, Desmond.
- Fitzgerald, Desmond.
- Good, John.
- Haslett. Alexander.
- Hassett, John J.
- Hennessy, Michael Joseph.
- Hennessy, Thomas.
- Hennigan, John.
- Henry, Mark.
- Hogan, Patrick (Galway).
- Keogh, Mysles.
- Law, Hugh Alexander.
- Lynch, Finian.
- Mathews, Arthur Patrick.
- McDonogh, Martin.
- McFadden, Michael Og.
- McGilligan, Patrick.
- Mongan, Joseph W.
- Mulcahy, Richard.
- Murphy, James E.
- O'Connor, Bartholomew.
- O'Hanlon, John F.
- O'Mahony, Dermot Gun.
- O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
- Rice, Vincent.
- Roddy, Martin.
- Sheehy, Timothy (West Cork).
- Thrift, William Edward.
- Tierney, Michael.
- Vaughan, Daniel.
- Wolfe, George.
(c) In sub-section (5) of the proposed new section to insert after the word "section" the words "shall be in accordance with the Regulations laid down in Chapter V. of the Dental Board Regulations adopted by the Dental Board of the United Kingdom on December 9th, 1921, and approved by the General Medical Council on December 15th, 1921, and"
I am moving this amendment for the reason that when speaking on this matter in the Seanad, the Minister indicated that the examination which these candidates would have to sit for would be of a standard not less than that set for the ordinary candidates qualifying at the University. It is definitely clear that it would be impossible for these men to pass an examination which would require a University education. In suggesting this amendment I feel that an examination as prescribed by the Dental Board in England should be severe enough. I quote the examination that was prescribed by that Board. The Minister made it quite clear in the Seanad that it was his intention to have prescribed such an examination as it would be impossible for these men to go through. I submit an examination in accordance with the regulations laid down in Chapter 5 of the Dental Board Regulations, adopted by the Dental Board of the United Kingdom, should be the examination for these men who are qualified to sit for the examination.
I am astonished at Deputy Briscoe trying to tie us down to British regulations. According to Deputy Briscoe we are not good enough to make regulations or to say that we cannot prescribe our own standard of dentistry, but we must be tied down by British regulations.
I have given a reason.
And we are to be tied down incidentally to getting less qualified dentists than we could have normally. He admitted that if the Minister or the Dental Board is allowed to set the examination at their discretion the candidates cannot pass this examination. Therefore we must take the British precedent and adopt British rules. Even then the candidates may not be satisfied. Whoever heard of an examination in which somebody was not dissatisfied? The unsuccessful candidates could then say, "Oh, it is all Deputy Briscoe's fault. He insisted on tying us down to the British standard and succeeded, insisted on our copying British examination papers, and then we could not pass." I hold that it would be very much wiser if this House used its own discretion in this matter, to have an Irish Board or Irish standards. If the competition is such that we can get better dentists than they have in Britain let us have them, because the foundation of a nation's happiness and success is based on sound teeth. I want Deputies on every side of the House to have sound teeth, and I want the children of Deputies to have sound teeth. I think that the Dáil should not tie itself to the chariot wheels of British rules, but adopt our own strictly Sinn Fein examples.
I think that Deputy Cooper quite misunderstood the whole position. I do not think that Deputy Briscoe wishes to aim at emulating Great Britain so far as new dentists or practising dentists in this country are concerned. Deputy Cooper must remember that hither to we could divide the dental profession in this country into two classes.
There was one class which had qualified for the degree of L.D.S.I. which gave them a licence, if you like, to pull teeth and perform other similar acts of surgery. I hope that our friend, Deputy Cooper, did not come under the village blacksmith when he had a toothache and wanted the offending molar extracted. I think, were it not for that fact, the Deputy would not be so severe on the class which we are trying to help in this Bill. As I pointed out previously, you might divide the practice of dentistry into two classes, one the professional class which passed a qualifying examination entitling them to put the letters L.D.S.I. after their names, and the other the class known as mechanical dentists who frequently became expert in the practice of surgery as applied to the dental profession.
If the Deputy had been here half an hour ago he would have heard me saying that.
I was at my tea then, exercising my molars. The mechanical dentists were men who became rather proficient in surgical matters such as the extraction of teeth, the making of dentures, and so on. Deputy Briscoe's amendment is in my view an attempt to do partial justice to men who have been practising dentistry with registered qualified dentists for a considerable period, and who in the course of their practice acquired a good deal of proficiency in the art of dental surgery. When the Deputy asks that these men should pass an examination, which is on a par with the examination required by the Dental Board in England I feel sure that it is not because he feels that we have what is called the inferiority complex developed here, but because he believes that it is right and proper to provide an examination for them. As I said on a former occasion, it would be rather difficult to expect young men who have been practising dentistry for six or seven years to study for a purely theoretical or academic degree. By the fact that they have been in practice for a considerable period as qualified dentists, and that in the course of their practice they have extracted teeth and done most, if not all, the things that a qualified dentist would do, Deputy Briscoe wants to see that the examination will be made, not as easy as possible, but that it would be as strict, but not more strict, than the corresponding examination at the other side of the Channel. I support the amendment, because it seeks to do justice to a class who have given very good service to the community.
Sub-section 2 refers to dental mechanics, whom Deputy Anthony proposes to allow with others to proceed to an examination. The only question for discussion is the standard of examination. Deputy Briscoe read out a quotation from the Seanad debates in which I said that the standard of examination should be the same as that set for the final professional examination. I was there only repeating what the mover of the first proposition in the Seanad had said when moving his amendment. He had said repeatedly that he thought the standard of examination should be no less severe than that which the ordinary man going through the dental college would have to sit for. Deputy Briscoe, by reading that quotation. probably intended to convey to the Dáil the idea that if this amendment be not passed the examination will in fact be of the same degree of difficulty as that which the student in his final year at the dental college or in a university college would have to pass. That is not so. It will be of whatever standard the Dental Board, when set up, likes to establish, or, in the absence of the Dental Board, whatever the Minister for Public Health likes to set up, and that is the choice now that the Dáil have to face. Are the Dáil going to leave it to the discretion of the Board, or are they going to insist on this particular amendment which, if the Deputy did want to insist upon in this way, he might have avoided mentioning the particular things that he wanted to be the regulations in the schedule?
Previously when we discussed this, and arranged the schedule of names, a schedule representing the people who were to be permitted to go forward for an examination, the Dáil then thought it right to leave the standard of that examination to the Dental Board, and until it was established to leave it to the discretion of the Minister. I do not see why we should change from that point of view now when we have not got merely more people but have actually given leave for other people to come in. We have allowed the list to be enlarged. Why should it be necessary now, on second thoughts, to prescribe a standard of examination, and why do people in the Dáil think that on the consideration they have been able to give to the particular types likely to come forward that they are in a position at this moment to prescribe the standard of examination that these people ought to stand?
I am not anxious to press the amendment. But the Minister has indicated that an examination will be set up by the Dental Board.
That is the proposal in the amendment.
My reason for introducing this was to get an explanation from the Minister, because he stated definitely in the Seanad debates that.
If the Third Schedule people, whose cases have been examined into by the various Committees, are of the calibre that the three Committees thought they were, they will have no difficulty in passing the examination. If they are not, they are not the people who should operate as dentists. Senator Dowdall wants to give a standard for the examination. I did not advert to that in the amendment, because I took Senator Hooper's words, and I thought from the acclamation with which his words on that point were greeted that there was agreement that the examination was to be of the type ordinarily set for a final examination, and that would be the type of examination which the Board or the Minister would have set.
That is the Seanad view.
It was the Minister's expression. If the Minister now states that it is the Dental Board which will prescribe the examination I would withdraw the amendment.
If the Deputy looks through the debates in the Seanad he will see that Senator Guinness asked me if the amendment was defeated who would prescribe the examination. I said then that it would be left to the discretion of the Board.
Does it not seem to be indicated from what the Minister said that the examination is to be of a particular type set by the Board?
I have nothing to do with the examination, but the Minister for Public Health might.