Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Work Permit Refusal.

24.

asked the Minister for Labour why a doctor (name supplied) was refused a work permit in this country.

The action taken in this matter followed normal procedure for dealing with applications for work permits.

The hospital applied for a permit three weeks after the doctor had been appointed. Following consultation with the Department of Health and appropriate professional bodies about availability of Irish doctors my Department informed the hospital of the procedures which would have to be complied with to establish nonavailability of a suitable Irish doctor for the post and a temporary permit for six weeks was issued. I understand that the doctor left the employment before these procedures were completed.

Is it not true that the Department have now altered or modified regulations in relation to applications of this nature?

I am not aware that that is so.

It was so reported. Could I ask the Minister if, in view of the liberal attitude taken by the Government on world and EEC bodies, he would consider the action taken in this case by the Department detrimental to that liberal image?

I understand one of the medical bodies indicated they considered there was a suitable Irish national who would be able to fill the appointment and, since the whole point in having this sort of query hinges on whether or not there are suitable Irish nationals—incidentally, Deputy Lemass may not be aware but this applies to farm workers as well as doctors—and, if we were to throw open whatever employment is available to everybody to the detriment of Irish nationals, we will, I think, get no thanks from Irish nationals who are without jobs as a result of that.

Surely the Minister will agree there are special cases which should be put in a special category. For instance, an Italian who wants to fry fish has no difficulty in getting a work permit. I am considering the international reputation of the country, which is one of liberal dealing and lack of discrimination. Does the Minister not feel that the Department's attitude on this particular occasion was damaging to that international image?

Deputy Lemass is obviously not aware that the gentleman concerned did not come from an EEC country. The Italian fish fryer would.