Written Answers. - Section 38 of 1947 Health Act.

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

199 Ms Shortall asked the Minister for Health the number of persons detained under section 38 of the Health Act, 1947, in each year since the Act was introduced; the number of appeals that were made to the Minister under section 38 (2) (h) of the Act during this period; and the decision made in each case. [16350/96]

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

200 Ms Shortall asked the Minister for Health whether the constitutionality of section 38 of the Health Act, 1947, has ever been challenged in the courts; if so, the names of the parties in each case together with a reference to where the judgment or judgments have been published. [16351/96]

Limerick East): I propose to take Questions Nos. 199 and 200 together.

This information is not routinely collected by my Department. Inquiries have been made of the health boards and they are not aware of any such detention since the establishment of the health boards in 1971. From earlier papers the boards have been able to identify a total of seven cases detained under section 38 between 1947 and 1971, none of which appears to have been appealed. However, due to the passage of time, the health boards cannot be certain that this represents all of the cases detained before their establishment.

As regards the constitutionality of section 38 of the Health Act, 1947, the Department of Health has been unable to find any record of any legal challenge.