Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Seanad Éireann díospóireacht -
Tuesday, 24 Jul 1928

Vol. 10 No. 27



The following Message has been received from the Dáil:—

"Tá Dáil Eireann tar éis aontú le Leasú 1 a dhin Seanad Eireann ar Bhille na bhFiachlóirí, 1927, mar a leasuíodh ó tré sna focail "to the several persons named in the Third Schedule to this Act and also" do chur isteach i ndiaidh an fhocail "apply" i bhfo-alt (1), tré mhír (b) d'fho-alt (1) do scriosa amach, agus tríd an bhfocal "seven" do scriosa amach i bhfo-alt (1) (c) agus an focal "ten" do chur ina ionad; tá Dáil Eireann tar éis aontú leis, le Leasuithe 2, 6, 7 agus 8; níor aontuigh sí le Leasuithe 3, 4 agus 5."

"Dáil Eireann has agreed to Amendment 1 made by Seanad Eireann to the Dentists Bill, 1927, as amended by the insertion after the word "apply" in sub-section (1) of the words "to the several persons named in the Third Schedule to this Act and also" by the deletion of paragraph (b) of sub-section (1), and by the deletion in sub-section (1) (c) of the word "seven" and the substitution therefor of the word "ten"; Dáil Eireann has also agreed to Amendments 2, 6, 7 and 8; it has disagreed to Amendments 3, 4 and 5."

It might save the time of the House if the Minister would say whether it is likely he would accept the amendments which stand in my name, as otherwise I will have to go into the question.

I spoke about the possibilities of these names being removed in the Dáil and I think I indicated that I objected to two of them and gave reasons. It seems to me that the Dáil agreed with me in these reasons. I would personally urge the Dáil against accepting these amendments.

In that case I propose:—

"That the Seanad agree to the amendments made by the Dáil to Amendment No. 1 made by the Seanad to the Dentists Bill, 1927:

That the Seanad do not insist on Amendments Nos. 3 and 5; and

That the Seanad do not insist on Amendment (No. 4) (deletion of the Third Schedule) but make the following amendments to the Third Schedule:—

1. The words "Hill, Robin, 42 MacCurtain Street, Cork," inserted in the appropriate place.

2. The words "Keegan, Bernard, Danesfort, Killarney," inserted in the appropriate place.

3. The words "O'Leary, William J., 2 Chapel Hill, Cork," inserted in the appropriate place.

4. The words "Shortt, Roland, 59 Waterloo Road, Dublin," inserted in the appropriate place.

5. The words "Reid, John, 144 North Strand Road, Dublin," deleted.

When this Bill was before the House in the month of March a Committee was appointed by the Seanad to go into Schedules 3 and 4. That Committee met, and at the first meeting we asked the Minister to follow the lines suggested to the Dáil Committee. We followed those lines very closely, and the result was that we made several suggestions regarding Schedules numbers 3 and 4 to the Bill. When the Bill came before the House the Minister accepted our recommendations regarding the Fourth Schedule, but he objected to the Third. The House then asked the Committee to reconsider the matter and invited the Minister to attend.

The Minister attended and, without going into the reasons why the Committee had made these recommendations, we were led to believe he would accept one. Subsequently when it came before the House he was ready to accept two, but regarding another one he was not satisfied with certain affidavits produced. I think it would be very invidious to accept the recommendations of the Dáil on similar lines, and object practically to only one name, after having that name before the House for the last two or three months. I think it is a very cruel thing to exclude him from the right of going for examination. I have never proposed that any person should go on the Register unless he was competent, and the responsibility for saying whether a person was competent should be thrown on the Dental Board. It is their right and privilege to examine candidates to see if they are competent. I think it would be a mistake to exclude him, and I hope the Minister will see his way to accept the proposals I make in my amendment.

Why put them on? Two seem to be bona fide candidates, but while I do not want to discriminate as between names I think I will have to speak plainly about one of them. There is an individual who sent in an application and it was considered favourably by the Seanad Committee. He produced an affidavit. I got that affidavit examined by a considerable number of people, and the majority of them viewed the affidavit with great suspicion. It looks to be forged in certain respects. He sent another statement in this form A., that "I did not apply to go on the Register under the 1921 British Act." On the first page he gives his reason, because he was too young and he knew he could not get on. On the second page—when, perhaps, he expected that you had forgotten what was on the first page—he said that he did not apply for political reasons. When a man accompanies that by a forged certificate, I prefer not to include his name on the list. If the affidavit is sent in, it comes in under the general conditions, but it will be for the Dental Council to decide how far that application is a good one. It is better that they should make up their minds as to whether this man should be permitted to go for examination, knowing that they can be challenged in a court of law. Two of the others seemed to be all right, and it was more or less quite unnecessary to put them in.

One does not come in at all.

One does not, and he should not be allowed on any register. One is a gentleman who started in 1920 in the teeth of the report of a Committee that sat in 1917 and reported in 1919, when he saw this type of practice he was going for was about to be prohibited. Nevertheless, he started the practice, and he has completed eight years of illegal practice in the country. That man should not be allowed in.

I think when the Minister was dealing with this matter after it was sent from the Seanad to the Dáil he was not altogether fair to the members of this House who gave their time and attention when sitting on the Special Committee. Certain members of the Seanad sat on a Committee for the purpose of examining the cases of candidates who claimed that they were entitled to get on the Third Schedule. I read the report of the proceedings in the Dáil, and I think the Minister dealt with the matter most unfairly from the point of view of members of this House who sat on the Committee. To-day he almost repeated what he said in the Dáil, but he did not put it in the same way. He stated in the Dáil that one person, and he mentioned the man to-day, was a person who, he believed, put in a forged certificate.

The Minister did not tell the whole story as, in justice to the members of the Special Committee of this House, he ought to have. An application was received from a certain young man, and he put forward in support of his claim an indenture about which the members of the Committee of this House had grave suspicions. They sent for the young man and he came before them. They went into the whole question of the indenture, and the Committee were apparently satisfied that a mistake had been made in this indenture, but not through the fault of the apprentice. It was rather through the neglect of the man to whom he was apprenticed. When the matter was being reconsidered in the presence of the Minister I think I suggested that this man should be made submit affidavits in support of the indenture. I said that the young man should stand or fall by the genuineness of the indenture that he submitted. We asked for certificates and this young man produced an affidavit signed by the man he was indentured to and the man who took over the business of the man he was indentured to. The affidavits, as far as I could see, were perfectly in order. These men swore that the young man apprenticed himself in 1915. The body of the indenture was not filled in until 1918, and that was purely through the neglect of the man himself. If the Minister had stated the facts fully to the Dáil, the members of the Dáil would have a fair idea of the position.

I think it is not correct for the Minister to say that the young man submitted what appeared to him to be an absolutely forged document. I think the Minister should have told the whole story. As one of the members of the Committee, I object to conduct of that kind on the part of the Minister or anybody else. We on the Committee endeavoured to do our best. What the Minister has stated more or less implies corruption against the members of the Committee, because he says that this young man submitted what appeared to him to be a forged document. I object strongly to the Minister implying anything in the nature of corruption. If the whole facts were stated the public would know the position; but to state half of the truth is worse than to tell a whole lie. Anybody who reads the reports will see the members of our Committee were placed under the gravest suspicion.

I have no personal interest in any of the four people concerned. The Minister has admitted that two of these people have claims. That proves that the Committee endeavoured to do their duties fearlessly. We suggested that four people should be allowed to go on, and the Minister has admitted that two of them have claims to go on. The third case is that connected with the indenture, and I am fairly convinced and satisfied, without having any legal knowledge, that the fault in connection with the indenture not being properly filled in was not the fault of the apprentice, but rather the neglect of the man he was apprenticed to. The two affidavits can be produced for the inspection of the House. The other case is one that does not come in according to age.

There is no age limit.

Then there is something with regard to the period of service, and I accept that. One person had barely nine years and the Dáil approved of that person. Did not the Minister suggest publicly in the Dáil that if our amendments were carried it would cut off in the Schedule a man who had been put on by the Dáil, and who between his practice here and his crossings to England he had over nine years' service. I want fair play given to all concerned, and I think the matter should be considered fairly and squarely without any suggestions being made against the persons who gave their time and attention to the work of the Committee.

I made no suggestion of any kind, and I did not make any implication against the Senators who were members of the Committee. As regards this one individual, surely the case is clear. If the affidavit is a good one, he will be entitled to present himself for examination. If the indenture is a forged one, the man cannot present himself for examination. He must prove this to the satisfaction of the Dental Board before he can sit for examination. I ask the Seanad to refrain from saying that this man is a proper man to present himself for examination. All the Seanad has to do is simply to leave the matter to the Dental Board to examine into the certificates. If it will allow the man to stand for examination, well and good; but if the Board will not allow him, he cannot go forward. That is all that I ask.

With regard to the other man, there was one little thing that I mentioned. That man had been in the Six-County area and had been partly in the Free State area. He could not say that he had quite the ten years' practice in the Free State area, but he had roughly three and three-quarter years in the Free State and six years outside.


Do I understand from you that if the affidavits and declarations that were relied upon by the particular applicant are all right and bona fide, he will be entitled to present himself for examination?

Yes. They will show that he was apprenticed in 1915, and that gives him thirteen years.


If they are not all right, then he will not be allowed to present himself for examination?

That is so.


On the other hand, if there is anything wrong with the documents, if they have been improperly prepared or if they have been tampered with, he would not be allowed to present himself?

No; that is the position.

I am not arguing about that at all. I am only dealing with the manner in which it was put up by the Minister.


I do not think there was anything said in this House that made the slightest imputation of impropriety against the Committee. May I say that we very seldom had a Committee that applied itself so earnestly and honestly to its task as that Committee did? I have heard no observation made against that Committee from the Minister. He made no suggestion of impropriety.

The suggestion was made in the other House.

That I believed it was a forged affidavit.

We had before us papers proving the genuineness of the affidavit and of the indenture.


No, the most that can be said is that the Senators who sat on the Sub-Committee were misled.

We do not admit that at all.

As one who sat on the Dental Committee, I want to say that I did not know a single candidate or applicant who came before us, but I did happen to see this man during the sitting of the Committee, and I am so convinced of the genuineness of the documents that were put in that I was satisfied he ought to be admitted. I think Senator Sir Edward Bigger might be willing to withdraw the amendment with regard to this man, that is, to let the Bill go through and not have this man's name included in the schedule, but to leave it to the decision of the Dental Board. I am perfectly satisfied that would be the best course to take. I am satisfied that his case is a bona fide one, and that when he comes before the Dental Board he will be admitted. That is all I have to say with regard to that case. I take that line because that case interested me by reason of the apparent discrepancy of the indenture and the affidavit. That is why we were prepared to admit this case.


I understand further that it is compulsory to admit him to the examination if he applies, and that if the Dental Board refuse to admit he has legal redress.

With regard to the other names which Senator Sir Edward Bigger has proposed and which were recommended by the Seanad Committee, I do not object to their being put on.

I am ready to accept Senator Dowdall's suggestion and leave the matter to the Dental Board.


The Minister says that they do not require to be put on the Schedule, that they will be entitled to present themselves for examination without being put on the Schedule.

That is if in that particular case the affidavit is correct.


They seem to be all right, and they do not require to be put on the schedule. Then there is the fourth case, that is the youth who began apparently to practise in 1920. He is the only other case. I do not know what the Minister suggests should be done with regard to that case?

That he should not be allowed to present himself for examination.

This is the case from the part of the country from which one of the Senators who served on that Committee comes. That Senator is not here to-day, but that Senator is satisfied as to the bona fides of the applicant. He is satisfied of this applicant's competency. I refer to Senator Dr. O'Sullivan. I think the Seanad would be taking a very great responsibility if they refused to sanction the recommendation of Senator Dr. O'Sullivan.

We must have the facts about this case, too. I would like if Senator O'Sullivan had been here, because I want to say that the Senator on the Seanad Committee gave an indication of his view as to what the qualifications for dental practice were. He more or less said that any good layman would be qualified to act as a dentist.

I can charge my memory with no such statement, and I think it is quite as well that the Minister should not now repeat what was said then, because some of the things which the Minister said then were such that I am sure he would not like to have repeated.


I hope the language was not as bad as all that. This is manifestly a matter that should be adjusted by good sense on the part of the House. I would suggest to Senator Sir Edward Bigger that if he is satisfied with the Minister's statements and from what he has seen of the qualifications of two of these gentlemen, that they will have no difficulty whatever in presenting themselves for examination, that he should now leave it at that. That eliminates these two. Then number three is the candidate whom Senator Dowdall suggests should be withdrawn in view of the fact that if the statements in the affidavit are correct he will be entitled to present himself for examination, and he does not require to be put on the schedule; and if the statements are incorrect, then manifestly he should not be put on any schedule. Now, with regard to the fourth on the list—he is the only remaining difficulty—how do you suggest we should dispose of him?

Senator O'Sullivan, who is absent, made a very strong case for this man. The Senator stated that he was doing very useful work and that he had the confidence of the medical men in his neighbourhood. He said that if this man were not allowed to go for examination, the district would be more or less deprived of his services. This man is doing very useful work. Seeing that his name has been before the Committee for some time, I think it is a great pity, for the sake of one person out of five hundred, that he should now be put off. I strongly appeal to the House to allow him to go forward for examination.

There was no case made by Senator O'Sullivan in favour of No. 2 in the amendment. This man started dentistry in 1920 in the teeth of the 1921 legislation that was then coming forward. He went into an irregular line of practice. We are asked now to ratify the eight years' illegal practice of that man since 1920. The only argument put forward is that he is doing very well in the district and that the district will be hard up without him. There will be plenty of qualified dentists to take his place.

In England there were some 7,000 put up in one year. They did not say there that these men had been practising illegally.


They have not as good teeth there as we have.

There is one other name, and we ought to pass that particular portion of Senator Sir Edward Bigger's amendment. That is No. 5. Now No. 5, under the amendment of Senator Sir Edward Bigger, is to be deleted from Schedule 3. That name was put in Schedule 4 under, I think, amendment 8 passed by this House, and that amendment has been accepted by the Dáil. Therefore, unless we pass Senator Sir Edward Bigger's amendment as to number 5, this man will be on both schedules.


What harm will that do?

It would do no harm, but it has no meaning.

He ought to be on only one.

I do not think we ought to pass that.

His name has not been deleted.


There is no blame whatever to this House in the matter. The mistake did not originate here. Well, I take it the Seanad is satisfied that the amendment should now be put in this form:—That the Seanad agrees to the amendments made by the Dáil to amendment No. 1; that the Seanad do not insist on amendments 3 and 5, and that the Seanad do not insist on amendment 4, and that the words "John Reid, 144 North Strand Road, Dublin," should be deleted. I take it the House is satisfied to put it in that way?

No. 3 is the affidavit gentleman. That has been disposed of.

That has not been disposed of. There has been no vote taken.


What do you propose to do about No. 2?

To take a vote of the House.


Your motion is an omnibus one. I think I had better put it in compartments. I will put first of all the question: "That the Seanad agree to the amendments made by the Dáil to amendment No. 1 made in this House."

Question put and agreed to.


No. 2—"That the Seanad do not insist on amendments Nos. 3 and 5."

Question put and agreed to.


Amendment No. 3: "That the Seanad do not insist on amendment No. 4"—the deletion of the Third Schedule.

Question put and agreed to.


"That the Seanad make the following amendment to the Third Schedule:—The insertion of name No. 2 in the appropriate place."

Is No. 1 all right?


No. 1 is entitled to go on.

I think he is entitled to go on.


I think it is as well that this first one should go on. Although the Minister is satisfied that he is qualified, the person to be satisfied hereafter is not the Minister, and, therefore, I think it would be safer for you to leave the amendment as it is with regard to him. The question is that: "No. 1 be inserted in the appropriate place."

Question put and agreed to.


No. 2 is one of the names to which objection has been taken.

Question: "That the name No. 2 be inserted in the appropriate place," put and declared lost.

I would ask Senator Sir Edward Bigger to withdraw his amendment as regards No. 3.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Question: "That name No. 4 be inserted in the appropriate place," put and agreed to.
Question: "That name No. 5 be deleted from the Third Schedule," put and agreed to.


I think I ought to say, with regard to this Bill, that I noticed in an important medical journal about a fortnight ago criticism, apparently by someone very badly informed, in which he accused this House deliberately of delaying and obstructing the passage of this Bill in the interests of unqualified persons. I think it is only fair and right to say that I do not recollect any Bill that received more careful consideration in its passage through the House than this Bill, and I think that the House itself and the public at large were greatly indebted to the energy and the services of the committee which took on the invidious task of making these selections and investigating these names.