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Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Wednesday, 27 Nov 1963

Vol. 206 No. 2

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Dental Benefits.


asked the Minister for Health when he intends to extend dental benefits to the dependants of insured workers, other than those covered by section 14 of the Health Act.


There are two factors which militate against an extension of the existing dental services.

The dental personnel available is limited and an extension of services would necessarily reduce substantially the quality of the service available to national school children and the lower income group.

The other factor is finance. It is estimated that the extra cost to be met from taxation of dental service for the lower and middle income groups, including the dependants of insured workers, would come to about £2 millions yearly. If recent events correctly reflect the attitude of the Deputy and his friends, it would be extremely difficult for the Minister for Finance to provide funds at the present time to cover expenditure of this magnitude.

I am hoping, however, that I shall be able to give effect to the Health (Fluoridation of Water Supplies) Act, 1960. This, in time, will reduce substantially the high incidence of dental disease among children and set free dental personnel for the treatment of adults. It is to be expected that this release of personnel, in association with the increased revenues which the revision of out-dated fiscal measures is calculated to produce in our expanding economy, will make it possible to improve existing dental services and extend them to much greater numbers of the population.