Public Business. - Tuberculosis (Establishment of Sanatoria) Bill, 1945—Committee Stage.

Sections 1 to 3, inclusive, put and agreed to.

I move amendment No. 1:—

In sub-section (2), page 3, line 20, to delete the figures "1948" and substitute the figures "1950".

The second sub-section of this section provides that the Minister shall not make an Order under this section after the 31st March, 1948. That gives the Minister three years in which to make an Order, assuming that this Bill becomes law, not later than 31st March, 1945. I rather think that is restricting him too much. He will have to make a survey or an examination of various kinds before making an Order to declare his intention to establish a sanatorium, and I understand that it is not merely one sanatorium that is being considered, but three sanatoria. In that case it seems to me that he should not restrict himself to a period of three years. I am suggesting, as an alternative, that the period in which he may make an Order be five years instead of three.

I have not any great objection to the Senator's amendment in principle, but I should just like to point out that the purpose of the Bill is to enable us to approach the problem of the provision of institutional accommodation for tuberculosis patients in a rather unusual manner and in the hope that we may be able to proceed more expeditiously than if we operated through the normal channels. Were it not for the emergency position, I would not be asking the House now for the special powers that are enshrined in this Bill; and if the emergency had passed, and if we had solved the acute problem of bed shortage for the treatment of tuberculosis patients, we would, of course, revert to the ordinary method of providing institutional accommodation, namely, through the local authorities.

Now, policy has already been fairly well determined. As I outlined in some detail to the House, we have a clear mind as to the institutional accommodation that is urgently required. With the passage of time, we may find that considerably more bed accommodation than it is possible to provide within the next four or five years may ultimately be necessary, but we all hope that when we reach that time, we can operate through the ordinary machinery. Personally, I think I would, on balance, prefer, if I have not this job done at the end of three years, to come back to the Oireachtas and say I have not done it. Then I could ask the House to extend the operation of the Bill. It is not a contentious matter in the Bill at all and I would feel just as content if the limitation were left as it is.

Perhaps I should explain that I do not want to see delay—the Parliamentary Secretary understands that thoroughly—but if there is a difficulty, and if he finds himself unable to make this Order within a period of three years, there should be no rushing at the end of that period and no likelihood of irregularity. This is a Bill about which we would tell the Parliamentary Secretary that if five years would do this job better than three years, we should have the five years. There would be no necessity for any device to get over a difficulty imposed by ourselves.

I am glad that the Parliamentary Secretary has drawn attention to another matter and I think the Bill follows the right procedure. It is far better that the State should act as the central authority in dealing with this problem of erecting sanatoria than that they should be the subject of squabbles between a particular Department of State and the local authorities. I approve entirely of the method followed in this Bill and, therefore, I am anxious to see that there will be ample time for the Parliamentary Secretary to have his proposals carried out. If the Parliamentary Secretary says now that he does not want more than three years, then I do not wish to impose a longer period on him, but I would urge on him that it is better to take that period now than to have to come back again to ask for it.

I would suggest that sub-section (2) be deleted altogether. Senator Duffy has moved an amendment to the proposal that no Order shall be made under the section after the 31st March, 1948. His amendment is that 1950 should be substituted for 1948. I do not see that there is any great necessity for putting any limit to the time unless there is some special reason for it. The ordinary course would be to give the Minister power to make an Order at any time he shall think fit during the currency of the Act. I am only making a suggestion, Sir. The Minister may have some special reason for limiting his own powers under this section. Of course, the section itself merely empowers him to make an Order declaring his intention of establishing a sanatorium in any particular area. The Order does not, of course, require him to carry out the establishment of the sanatorium before the date mentioned in sub-section (2), so that I think the section would be quite suitable for the requirements of the Minister if the limitation to sub-section (2) were deleted altogether.

I only want to say that it is a new experience for any Parliamentary Secretary to have more powers thrust upon him than he is looking for.

There is not much more to say about it. Senator Ryan, who spoke last, has put his finger on the really important point in the section, and that is that the Minister has only to declare his intention. He has not to provide, establish and equip the sanatoria within a time limit. He has to determine his policy. He has to decide upon the geographical areas in which the sanatoria are to be established, and declare his intention to establish them, but I think he ought to have his mind made up in three years as to the number of sanatoria required. Senators ought not to overlook the fact that this procedure is entirely abnormal. Ordinarily, the local authorities would provide these institutions, and would get grants out of the Sweepstake Funds for the purpose. It is in the hope that, on account of the urgency of the problem, we may be able to proceed more rapidly to provide a couple of thousand beds that I am asking for the powers here. Too much time could be spent on the provision of these institutions——

And a great many people would be dead in the meantime.

Undoubtedly. It is not a matter we need have any feelings about one way or the other. I presume that if I find at the end of three years that I require an extension of time I would be just as well received in the House then, if the House is constituted as it is at present.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Question proposed: "That Section 4 stand part of the Bill."

I have a crow to pluck with the Parliamentary Secretary and I think I can do it under this section. As the House knows, my county adjoins his. I do not know whether the House understands how close is the affiliation. Under this section, the Minister has power to establish sanatoria. I come to the point at once. Recently, a communication has come from the Parliamentary Secretary's Department to the committee of management of the mental hospital in Monaghan dealing with a new building erected there by the joint Cavan-Monaghan committee. This communication suggests that this building, which is at present in the hands of the joint committee, should be handed over to Monaghan County Council for use as a sanatorium. I should like some enlightenment from the Parliamentary Secretary with regard to his policy in this matter, which affects not only his own county but the neighbouring county of Cavan. The committee decided, on the letter from the Department, to lease this building for five years to Monaghan County Council and that decision is causing considerable perturbation to the ratepayers of Cavan. Perhaps, the Parliamentary Secretary would tell us what exactly the position is. Is it his intention that this building should be utilised as a sanatorium for County Monaghan? Under this section, he has, I think, power to make an Order to that effect.

I do not think so but, if I have that power, it is not intended to use it in this case.

There is a good deal of confusion at present as regards the position and I should like the Parliamentary Secretary to give us some enlightenment. I do not suggest that the Monaghan people want to "put something across" their neighbours in Cavan, though I know that they are well able to do that in certain directions when they try. The communication to which I have referred indicates that certain structural and other alterations to this building will be necessary. If that be so, are we to take it that the building will be restored to its original condition at the end of the period? If Monaghan wants this building, let Monaghan have it and let them take Cavan's liability on their shoulders in respect of it and relieve the ratepayers of Cavan. That is the feeling of the people I have heard speak about it. Perhaps the Parliamentary Secretary would clarify the position and let us know whether he is expecting more from us than he is entitled to receive.

I did not expect to have to deal with this matter but I shall tell the Senator what I can recollect of it without having an opportunity of looking it up. It is not intended that the powers given in this Bill should be availed of in this case. I do not think that they are applicable to the position in Monaghan at all but, if they are applicable, it is not intended that they should be availed of. The position in the Monaghan institution, as represented to me by the inspector of mental hospitals and the medical advisers in the public health section, is that the new hospital, which was built with the intention of providing special accommodation for mental cases, is not urgently required for that purpose. It was explained that there has been a substantial reduction in the number of patients in the Cavan-Monaghan Mental Hospital as compared with four, six or ten years ago and that, as a result of that reduction, the overcrowding which was a matter of some urgency a few years ago is no longer a problem. While I say that, I am not prepared at this stage to state that good use could not be made of the hospital for the treatment of certain classes of mental patients. The point I want to make is that the problem of overcrowding, which was acute some years ago, no longer exists and that, in fact, certain sections of the parent institution are at the present time vacant. It was represented to me that bed accommodation for the treatment of tuberculosis patients was urgent—I think that we are almost all agreed upon that—and that, until such time as we could provide ample institutional accommodation for those patients, we should avail of any institution not so urgently required for any other purpose. Having considered the matter very carefully from all angles and having taken into consultation the inspector of mental hospitals, who is immediately concerned with the welfare of mental patients, it seemed to me to be sound policy to acquire, by lease or otherwise, this institution, which will accommodate upwards of 80 patients and apply it to the treatment of tuberculosis.

I do not suggest that Senator Baxter attempted to mislead the House when he used the phrase "handed over," but that phrase does not accurately describe the position. If, and when, this building is handed over, that will be done on a business basis for a due consideration. That is a matter for negotiation between the local authorities concerned, but it would be wrong to assume that those who are part-owners of the institution—the people of County Cavan—will not be adequately compensated for the temporary use County Monaghan may make of it. As to whether the institution will be available for patients from outside County Monaghan, if beds are available there and if beds are required in any neighbouring county—even Senator McGee's county—we shall not allow those beds to continue vacant. That is the position as far as I can deal with it at the moment. I look upon the arrangement as a temporary one. If the local authorities had not agreed in the matter, it was not intended to use undue pressure upon them, but they have been very sensible and very helpful, and I believe that there will be friendly agreement regarding the payment of appropriate compensation to the party affected by the transaction.

Section agreed to.

I move amendment No. 2:—

In page 3, line 24, before the word "sanatorium" to delete the word "a" and substitute the words "any specified".

This is a drafting amendment for the purpose of making clear what the money is needed for. Under the section the Minister may direct the Hospitals Trust Board to make payments out of their funds for the purpose of defraying the expense of the establishment of a sanatorium; and under Section 6 he may make an Order requiring the local authority to repay to the Hospitals Trust Board a proportion of the sum so advanced. It will be observed that sub-section (2) of Section 7 says that in his direction to the local authority the Minister may direct the repayment of a specified proportion of the sum advanced. It seems to me that in the first instance under the section the Minister may instruct the board to advance £1,000,000 or £2,000,000 just as he thinks fit, or as is required, without indicating in his Order the particular institution in respect of which the money is advanced. That is going to create difficulty for the particular local authority to which the direction is issued, under Section 7, because in that case the local authority or the combined authorities will be instructed to pay back a specified proportion for the total sum advanced, provided that it does not exceed one-third of the total. I think that the only way that the local authorities can be assured that they are only paying back moneys advanced in respect of the institution taken over by them, is to have clearly indicated in the instruction issued to the Hospitals Trust Board the particular institution in respect of which it is being advanced. Apart from that the amendment raises no particular difficulty. It clarifies the position and I should imagine that, in principle, the Parliamentary Secretary will have no objection to adding the words: "Any specified".

Senator Duffy's amendment has drawn my attention to the proposal to delete the word "a". I take it that the Parliamentary Secretary is going to establish three sanatoria and I imagine he is going to issue three separate directions to the Hospitals Trust Board. When he has made one, I wonder is his power spent under that section. I am not at all sure, under the section as it is framed, that once he has made one direction to the Hospitals Board to give an advance the board has any power to give another one. I think that the word "a" should be changed to "any".

It is entirely a matter of drafting and on that I am at the mercy of the lawyers. I do not mean that I am particularly at the mercy of the lawyers.

Not in any other way at any rate.

The draftsmen think that the draft as in the Bill is better than the suggestion in the amendment. Whatever the statutory obligations appear to be to different lawyers who have examined it, separate accounts will have to be kept in regard to each institution. For the purposes of defraying the expenses of establishing a sanatorium under this Act Section 4 gives the Minister power to make an Order declaring his intention of establishing a sanatorium and he has power to establish more than one.

The intention might be to give power to establish more, but that only one should be paid for. Will the Parliamentary Secretary indicate whether the board could if they wanted to do so without compulsion pay the money without that section?

Without that section they would not be under any obligation.

I know, but would they have power to do so if they wanted to? Because if they had power I am perfectly satisfied that they will, but what I am worried about is that they might have no power legally.

They would have under this Act. I do not think they would have the power to pay the Minister under the 1933 Act. They have power to pay to the local authority. I think we may with reasonable safety assume that the draftsmen are right.

If the point was put to them and that they are fully satisfied.

The point was put to them and fully discussed.

Then it is all right.

I wish to call attention to this fact that on other occasions points of this kind have been raised, points as to interpretation on which everyone agreed as to the purpose, and advice was given that the section was all right but when it came to the courts it was found that that was not the case. That has happened over and over again. We are not quarrelling with the Parliamentary Secretary's intentions, but I am urging that he should go to the draftsmen and take up this point, as to whether, in fact, what we say concerning the construction is good or bad. If the draftsman is still satisfied and if he can still stand over the section as it is, I am satisfied.

He is satisfied.

Would it be necessary to say to whom payment of the money should be made?

No, it is for the purpose of defraying the expenses.

That covers it.

It is all very well to say "O.K." but draftsmen like everybody else are only human beings, and if a draftsman has done anything naturally he thinks it would be better done by him than by anybody else. We have found that where there is a doubt amongst many minds it is often better that it should be given further consideration. I cannot see the reason for the word "specified" but to me it seems that the word "any" would be advisable. The word "any" is not exclusive, but the word "a" it seems could be. I cannot see why the Parliamentary Secretary has any objection to the word "any".

I quite appreciate the helpful attitude of Senators. I can only say that this matter has been discussed with the draftsman to-day and he says that his draft is the better construction.

I think the Parliamentary Secretary missed my point. The Parliamentary Secretary says that every possible argument was brought forward before we considered this at all but my case is that what was said here and put forward without any desire to make points should be again considered before this is finally settled.

I do not want to keep pressing this point at all because, strictly speaking, it is not my job——

It is your job.

It is not, with all respect. It is not my job to see that the Bill is copper-fastened, but it is part of my job to suggest improvements if I can. I have discharged that duty. If the Parliamentary Secretary is satisfied, then the responsibility lies on him. I ask him, as I intend to withdraw the amendment, to call the attention of the draftsman to the points made here. There are two main points. One is whether in fact under Section 5 the Minister may make more than one demand on the Hospitals Trust Fund. The second is, what is the position of local authorities to whom a direction is given under sub-section (2) of Section 7? These local authorities will have to protect their own interests and may, in fact, refuse to act on an Order made under Section 7. In that case there will be power to proceed against them for recovery. That means going into the courts and having these two sections interpreted by judges. All I am anxious about at this stage is that the Parliamentary Secretary should satisfy his own mind that there will be no difficulty of that kind with local authorities.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Question proposed: "That Section 5 stand part of the Bill."

On this question of the diversion of Hospitals Trust Funds, the Parliamentary Secretary was very helpful the last day in dealing with the point I raised as to the effect on the voluntary hospitals. I have since discussed the matter, however, with a very eminent member of a hospital staff and the statement of the Parliamentary Secretary, as far as I could convey it, did not appear to be satisfactory to him. The Parliamentary Secretary stated that the hospitals could take steps to get the corporation to pay for poor patients who come to the voluntary hospitals, that, in fact, they should adopt, by analogy, the method that prevails in the country districts. So far so good, but let us put the matter in a specific form. A patient presents himself to the out-patients' department of a hospital. He is certified by the doctor as being a fit case for hospital and he has to be taken into a bed straight away.

Under these circumstances, it is suggested that the voluntary hospital should go to the corporation and say: "Look here, we have A.B. from the city as a poor patient and we want you to pay for him." Now the demand cannot go in that way. The patient must pass through the official channels on his way to the hospital, that is to say, the patient must first be seen by the dispensary doctor. The dispensary doctor must say: "This is a case for hospital treatment." Then the matter must go to the appropriate official in the corporation and in due course the hospital is informed that So-and-so is to be taken in as a poor patient. That means that the dispensary district system must be put in order. Until there is an adequate dispensary system which will act as a conduit for the sick poor the matter will not work as easily as the Parliamentary Secretary thinks. It is not enough for the Parliamentary Secretary to say: "You have the good will of the Minister." The Parliamentary Secretary must go to the corporation and see that the dispensary system is adopted to deal with all these patients. The dispensary doctor must, in the first instance, examine these patients before they are passed for treatment by the corporation. I do not want to pursue this argument unduly but I should like the Parliamentary Secretary to reply to the point I have made.

I am afraid, seeing that I have no amendment down to Section 5, I would not be allowed to dilate on the section as Senator Sir John Keane has done. But as he has been permitted to speak at some length, I should like to recall to the mind of the Seanad what happened at the last meeting here. The Parliamentary Secretary spoke, rather lightly, in my opinion, of the fact that Dublin Corporation, by imposing 1/- on the rates, could raise £100,000, and that a like rate would raise a further £20,000 from the County Dublin. If that suggestion were put into operation, Dublin City and County would be mulcted for a matter of £120,000 for services which they were getting, up to now, almost free, services to supply which the Sweep Funds were originally created. We must throw our minds back to the time when the appeal of the Sweeps was international and the funds were devoted solely to the voluntary hospitals. On that account a very large sum had been accumulated. Through the Act of 1933 the Minister got power, more power and authority than ever he was entitled to, to deal with these funds. Apparently, if he has his way, he is going to exploit that power to the very utmost, so much so that he is going to create a tremendous amount of hardship and suffering on the people in this city.

Take one section of the community alone, the Dublin Corporation tenants. Their rents are regulated by their rates. Put up their rates by 1/- and up go their rents also. These people are not in a position to meet any increase in their rents. They find it difficult enough to live as things are. Again, take the case of industries. An increase of 1/- in the £ means in one case, with which I am familiar, where the administrative expenses are up to the limit and cannot bear any further strain, another £100 a year. Mark you, all this for some notion the Minister has of spending the funds in a certain way and making the citizens of Dublin City and County pay another £120,000 for services, very excellent services, which they are getting from the voluntary hospitals at present almost free. The international sweepstakes were organised to augment and maintain the funds of these hospitals. Naturally there is a deficiency all round but nothing very abnormal. If things were looked after in the right way, these deficiencies could be properly met. I do not know what the Parliamentary Secretary has in his mind against the citizens of Dublin City or County but why should he, at this period when people are put to the pin of their collar to try to live, disturb fairly settled conditions? We have rent restrictions, but these will not remain if the rates are going to be substantially increased.

I submit that in Dublin, where the rates are at present fairly substantial, the addition of 1/- is going to make a very big difference all round. It will upset many things that are fairly settled as matters stand now. It is not going to give a better medical service to the people of Dublin City and County but it is certainly going to put a very big financial burden on them. I want to put it to the Parliamentary Secretary that the citizens of Dublin are getting very excellent services from the voluntary hospitals at present.

Does this arise on the section?

I hope I am not irritating the Parliamentary Secretary.

I was wondering whether the Senator is suggesting that we should not proceed with this Bill or that this section should be deleted. I was wondering what is the point of his argument. I have not seen it yet.

I am afraid this is the only place I can bring it in, unless I bring it in on the last Stage.

Oh, no; this is the place. Stay where you are now or you are ruined.

I had a kind of shrewd idea that this is the place to bring it in, but apparently the Parliamentary Secretary does not agree. Am I in order, Sir?

The Senator might make it clear to the Parliamentary Secretary that he is dealing with the question of the allocation of the Hospitals Trust Fund—the taking of the money out of that fund for this particular purpose.

I am. Can I relate to that the Parliamentary Secretary's own statement in the House at the last meeting?

Yes; that would be relevant.

That is what I am doing, I hope—perhaps not too clearly, but to my own satisfaction anyway.

That is the main thing.

I do not know that there is very much more to be said on that. I do submit, Sir, that the encroachment on the Hospitals Trust Fund in this case is serious enough, but, if the Parliamentary Secretary persists in his declared intention of asking the citizens of Dublin City and County to contribute for every patient in the hospitals, it is going to put a very heavy burden on the people in the city and county. Earlier on, there was a reference to the fact that the Minister could not make an Order after 1948, and somebody wanted that extended to 1950. I would suggest that, if the Parliamentary Secretary persists in his present attitude towards the voluntary hospitals in the City of Dublin, some other Government will be dealing with the administration of the sanatoria in 1950, because the citizens of Dublin are not going quietly to look on at the imposition of this enormous amount of money, when there is really no need for it. Appeals have been made to the world in order to accumulate those funds, and now they are going to be spent at the whim of the Parliamentary Secretary. I do not think that is good enough, and I do not think it should go unchallenged. Certainly, it will be duly noted through the length and breadth of the land. Further, I will say in conclusion that, if this attitude is persisted in, the appeal of the sweepstakes will lose its effect and value. In the last analysis, I do not think it is very suitable or becoming that the Government should make such inroads on the funds of a voluntary organisation in the country.

With your permission, Sir, I should like to make a short correction. Senator Foran mentioned an increase of rents in the City of Dublin. The rents do not go up. The equivalent of the increase in rates is added to the rent—which is a different thing. The rents are not increased.

It has the same result.

I stated that the increase in the rates would be followed by an increase in the rent. It is the same thing in effect.

It is the same thing in effect, but the Senator conveyed the impression that the Dublin Corporation increased the rents to their tenants. That is certainly not the case. Only the equivalent of the increase in rates is added on. If the rates go down, they get the equivalent relief.

There is no question of a decrease here. They go up.

I said "if."

Question put and agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 6 stand part of the Bill."

Under Section 6, sub-section (1), I understood that the land, the sanatorium, and the equipment of the sanatorium, would be transferred to the local authority. The wording here indicates to me that only the land and the equipment would be handed over; there is no mention of the sanatorium building itself. I referred to the definitions in sub-section (2), but did not receive much enlightenment. I should like to be assured that the draftsman is satisfied with the wording of this sub-section. It seems to me that it does not definitely state what it is intended to state—if it is intended that the whole institution, the land and the equipment of the institution, would be handed over to the local authority. Naturally, I think that is what should happen.

That is what will happen. The Senator need not worry about that. You cannot hand over land without handing over the buildings on it.

That is quite right, but, when we come to a question of law, a lawyer might argue that, in handing over the land and the equipment of the sanatorium, you have not included the sanatorium itself.

I think the lawyers would say you have.

If so, I am satisfied.

Very definitely, I am with the Parliamentary Secretary on this occasion.

There is no doubt in the world about it.

On the section, I should like to raise a point which is not clear to me, although perhaps it might be if I were more familiar with the general laws relating to those matters. This section provides for the transfer of the sanatorium to a county authority or to a group of authorities. In the section, so far as I can see, no provision is made for the establishment of a board or committee or organisation to control the institution when it is transferred to a group of local authorities. Let us assume for a moment that the sanatorium erected in the west is to be vested in two or three county councils. It seems to me that there must be provision somewhere for the establishment of a board of control, or a joint committee of management, or some similar body. It is not provided in the section. Perhaps there is provision elsewhere which has escaped my notice.

An individual local authority or two or more local authorities acting together can maintain and manage a local institution. It is not necessary to provide for that here. They have that statutory power already.

Question put and agreed to.
Sections 7 and 8 put and agreed to.

I move amendment No. 3:—

In sub-section (4), line 12, to insert after the word "Dublin" the words "and in the offices of the county authority within the boundaries of which such land is situate".

This is a very small point, and I will be quite satisfied if the Parliamentary Secretary will deal with it either in the section or by an undertaking. I do think that, if a person wanted to know whether or not his land is included, he should not have to come to Dublin for the purpose, and I suggest putting one copy of the map in the county council office of the county concerned.

I have no objection to that, if the House thinks it is necessary. Under Section 9 the Minister may make a preliminary Order "declaring his intention and shall, as soon as conveniently may be, after making the Order, post a copy of the Order on or near the land, and give a copy of the Order to every person who appears to the Minister to have any estate or interest in the land and whose name can be ascertained by reasonable inquiries." It seems to me that the provision in paragraph (b) of sub-section (1) of Section 9 covers almost every contingency.

The person concerned might wonder whether an interest that he had, or thought he had, would be affected.

Of course, anybody applying for a copy of the Order will get it.

If the Parliamentary Secretary tells me that anybody who applies for a copy of the Order, and a copy of the map, if he requires it, will get it, then I am satisfied.

I think he is bound to get a copy. If you read further on, you will see that provision is made for that.

If you look at paragraph (3) it says that a preliminary Order shall contain a map or plan showing the land to which the Order relates.

If, as a matter of Parliamentary practice, you are going to provide a copy of the Order and a map, then it is all right.

In the case of frivolous requests, it might be entirely fruitless to provide a copy of the Order or a map or plan. That could be so in some circumstances.

I am afraid I cannot agree altogether with that, because what might appear to be a frivolous request in the view of the Parliamentary Secretary or the Minister might not be regarded as frivolous by the individual concerned.

If the Senator wants me to give an undertaking, I am quite prepared to give it.

I think it is not necessary to give it.

It says here "every person who appears to the Minister to have any estate or interest", and the Senator wants to know whether an individual would get a copy, whether he is interested or not: that, although the Minister might be satisfied that the individual had no interest, the individual himself might not be satisfied. As I have said, I am prepared to give an undertaking in that regard.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

In view of what the Parliamentary Secretary has said, I am not moving amendment No. 4.

Amendment No. 4 not moved.
Section 9 agreed to.
Government amendment:-
4(a) In sub-section (5), paragraph (b), lines 12-13, to delete the words "vesting date" and substitute therefor the words "making of the Order".

This is merely a drafting amendment. The mistake was due to an oversight, but the reason for the introduction of this amendment is the establishing as the effective day of the date of the making of the Order.

Amendment put and agreed to.
Amendments Nos. 5 and 6 not moved.
Sections 10, 11 and 12, inclusive, put and agreed to.

I move amendment No. 7:—

To add immediately after sub-section (2) a new sub-section as follows:—

( ) Where in pursuance of any vesting order, a sanatorium is established on land vested in the Minister, the Minister shall pay to every person who suffers or who is likely to suffer any damage by reason of such establishment, compensation in respect of such damage.

I am sure that the Parliamentary Secretary appreciates what I am trying to get at in this amendment, although I admit that it is rather difficult to phrase the amendment in exact wording. I should say, in the first place, that I want it to be absolutely clear that it must be left to the unfettered discretion of his medical advisers, in any way they want, to take any particular piece of land. I do not want that particular discretion to be fettered in any way, since I realise that the particular piece of land concerned, or the site concerned, must be taken over in certain circumstances, but I do say —and I have said it on another occasion in connection with another matter —that when the interests of a private individual are being interfered with, the State should make up to that individual for whatever loss he may incur. What I have in mind, for instance, is that when the State takes up a site next to, say, a private school, in order to put up a sanatorium there, the result may be that that school may be completely blotted out. Parents might feel, whether reasonably or not, that they could not send their children to a school in the vicinity of which such a sanatorium had been erected. Now, since no land belonging to the school had been taken over, there is no provision for compensation in the Bill, and I want to be quite clear that, in some shape or form, it should be laid down that such a right should not be continued for ever, or that at any determined time a sanatorium site could be taken over without regard to the rights of the people concerned. That is the reason why I put in the words "likely to suffer". The phraseology of the amendment may not be right, but it is the principle with which I am concerned, and I think that the Parliamentary Secretary should consider the fact that the establishment of a sanatorium in a particular district may very injuriously affect the livelihood of some individuals in that district, and that, if that livelihood is to be affected, the State should bear the loss of the individual concerned.

I wish to support Senator Sweetman in his amendment in regard to this matter. I should like to point out to the Parliamentary Secretary that there is a lot of what one might call muddled thinking in this country as regards certain institutions and localities which would be dealing with tuberculosis patients. Accordingly, I suggest to the Parliamentary Secretary that he should give careful consideration to Senator Sweetman's amendment. I think that the Parliamentary Secretary ought to view this matter on the lines of the broad principle that Senator Sweetman has already explained.

These things cannot, by any means, be reduced to a rule of thumb, and I think the Parliamentary Secretary should realise that there are certain localities where there are already sanatoria or hydros, and that if he suddenly decides to institute an anti-tuberculosis institution in another district, there is definitely going to be a rather reactionary feeling, commercially, towards that locality. I think that the Parliamentary Secretary understands, and can explain much better than I can, exactly the kind of feeling I am trying to express, and I have no doubt that the Parliamentary Secretary, in his wisdom, will find some means of explaining to this House, during the Committee Stage, exactly how he intends to deal with this aspect of the problem. Then, possibly, on the Report Stage, we will be able to get together and deal with that aspect of the problem more coherently.

I think the principle of this amendment is very objectionable. If the State establishes a sanatorium in a particular district, we could not allow every difficult person with house property in the vicinity to claim that its value had depreciated. It would be an impossible principle for us to bring into an enactment and besides I think the Parliamentary Secretary will be able to explain that there should be no depreciation. It would be a pity that any member of this House should create the impression that because a sanatorium is established in a district, it is going to be deleterious in any way to the health of the people in the vicinity, or that it could in any way depreciate their property. It would be a wrong principle to introduce in legislation, because we would still be contributing to this silly dread of anything connected with tuberculosis. We have pretty well come to the conclusion that tuberculosis is not such a desperate disease when so many people get cured of it, and we cannot insert a proviso, that, because the sanatorium is established, the district is to step down in the social scale, so far as property value is concerned. It would be a bad principle to insert in our legislation.

I hope that Senator Sweetman will not press this amendment. It is an entirely new principle. We have over a long number of years established sanatoria in different areas, and the question of consequential damages to the neighbouring community has never been raised before. I think it would be a mistake to raise it now, and I feel that the line of thought pursued by Senator O'Donovan is sound. I rather take the view that the establishment of sanatoria of the dimensions we have in mind will, in fact, be assets to the particular districts. There will be water, sewerage, and electricity available where these amenities have not been available before.

Let us picture a sanatorium of 1,000 beds, with upwards of 400 of a staff. It seems to me that the adjoining land will become valuable, because shops will grow up, and perhaps places of entertainment will be provided. And, indeed, the question would cross one's mind: Should the people in the immediate neighbourhood not be asked to contribute something because of the amenities we are bringing to their very doors? That is the other side of it. The very suggestion that we should deliberately, by Act of the Oireachtas, encourage the type of prejudice we are trying to break down could not be entertained. I do not think it is exactly what Senator Sweetman has in mind, but it would have that effect. It would convey the idea that if there was a sanatorium in the neighbourhood, the local people should be compensated, because they suffered consequential damages.

It is damage to property that Senator Sweetman has in mind, but, if you admit the principle of consequential damages, you are on dangerous ground. I think that if such an amendment were incorporated in the Bill, that the Minister shall pay compensation to every person who is likely to be inconvenienced, it must lead to endless litigation, and at what distance from the sanatorium will it be determined that consequential damages are no longer suffered? The courts might determine it, and the lawyers might have a gay time, but I am sure it is not for that purpose that Senator Sweetman has put down the amendment, although it would have that inevitable result.

So far as existing sanatoria are concerned, I am sure that the Parliamentary Secretary would agree that it could be used as an objection to an acquisition of land by a county authority that it was going to injuriously affect surrounding property, and it is because I do not want any chance of that to occur that I put down the amendment. I do not like the wording of my amendment any more than the Minister, but I do not like the omission of some sort of provision in the Bill.

The Parliamentary Secretary will agree with me that until such time as the social prejudice which we all feel should be broken down has disappeared, that provision is desirable. If you had a school in one field and a sanatorium in the next, it would not, in fact, be possible, in existing circumstances, for the school to carry on. The sewerage, drainage and light would be very nice in the building nearby, but if there are not going to be any pupils, it would not be any great addition. I can see great difficulties in the way and the only thing I can possibly suggest is that if there are two sites suggested to the Minister, both satisfactory medically, he will take the one that is going to injure private individuals the least. That is as far as I can go.

I would like to know from the Parliamentary Secretary if it is a fact that the germs of tuberculosis are not borne on the air from one property to another. I am told that that is so. If it is so, the amendment would be founded on a misunderstanding.

It is founded on the people's misunderstanding.

Though it might be tempting for the sake of scoring in a debate, I could not give Senator O'Dea a firm assurance on the heading, that tuberculosis cannot be spread by the sputum becoming dry and pulverised and the germs being conveyed by air. While I say that it is a scientific possibility that has to be borne in mind, it is not in the ordinary sense an air-borne disease. The heaviest source of infection is by what is called droplet infection, that is, by contamination by close proximity, sneezing and coughing, rather than by the wafting through the air of dust clouds laden with tubercle bacilli. I would not try to mislead the House in any way—tubercle bacilli can be borne by means of dust.

I think the point cannot be decided on scientific knowledge. You have to deal with known prejudices, and the point in Senator Sweetman's amendment is the question he raises about a school. I have knowledge of an Irish college at the present moment, in an extraordinarily healthy position, and I think it is true to say that if the Parliamentary Secretary, in his wisdom, were to be advised that a site exactly beside it was a good site for a sanatorium, that mothers would refuse to send their children to the college. If you brought to bear all the combined scientific wisdom of our Universities——

Plus the Custom House.

——plus the Custom House, it would not have any effect on the mothers. The point is a practical one, but I assume, in the working out of schemes, that the Department of Local Government would keep it in mind. Certainly, if it did do it, and it seems to have power to do it under this particular section, the people concerned would be left without the opportunity of making a legal objection. If they could do that under this provision, and if they did it, it would, certainly, inflict great damage on existing institutions and the damage would result not from the scientific facts but from the prejudice of the people, which prejudice, I entirely agree with the Parliamentary Secretary, we should eradicate, if possible.

We must try to eradicate it.

I should not like to see people sacrificed in the effort. I should not like to be the person in charge of the school which disappeared in the course of the Parliamentary Secretary's campaign to eradicate the prejudice.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendments Nos. 8 and 9 not moved.

I move amendment No. 10:—

To delete sub-section (4).

The Minister is taking a double-barrel gun in this sub-section and I think he ought to take only a single-barrel gun. If he offers Mr. A £1,000 for a site and if Mr. A says: "That is not enough," then the matter goes to arbitration under the Lands Clauses Acts. If the arbitrator holds that £1,000 was enough, Mr. A will have the pleasure of paying all the costs incurred by the Parliamentary Secretary. The Parliamentary Secretary is not content with the very big stick afforded by the substantial costs of the arbitration.

The arbitration may take a very long period. Corporation arbitrations take about 12 months—I am almost afraid to mention the corporation lest Senator Healy take me up—and the person concerned is to be denied interest on his money if his appeal to the arbitrator fails. With the exception of one Act, brought in by the Minister's Department—the Unemployment Relief Act— the ordinary system in acquisition legislation is to pay interest. When a man does not accept an offer, he must pay the piper if he fails before the arbitrator, but why he should be asked to contribute in two ways I cannot understand.

The sub-section, as drafted, is intended to induce the owner of property to accept reasonable compensation, when offered. If he does not accept a reasonable offer, goes to arbitration and is awarded a lesser sum, he will not get interest on the award in the intervening period. The intention was to induce him to accept a reasonable offer and, in that way, expedite the settlement of outstanding claims. Senator Sweetman might properly argue that such an inducement should not be held out.

A double inducement.

In practice, this works out to the claimant's advantage. The arbitrator, having carefully considered the claim, having carefully assessed its merits and having arrived at a figure close to the amount which was offered, says he will give him a little bit more in order to ensure that he will be paid his interest. Senator Sweetman might not like to admit here that that is what happens but he would admit it outside. The claimant, probably, gets a slightly higher award than was offered before he went to arbitration so as to qualify him for the interest on the money. I may say, though it is not of any value in so far as we are enacting a code of law, that we have only three areas in mind and that it is probable we shall not go outside these areas. I do not expect any difficulty of this kind regarding the three sites we have in mind. I do not press that argument, because a statute should be drawn as carefully as it is possible to draw it, but I would point out that the principle embodied in this sub-section has already been accepted by the Oireachtas without question not only in the Employment Relief Works Act, 1940, but in the Water Supplies Act, 1942. Senator Sweetman will find in Section 16 (2) of the Water Supplies Act the counterpart of the provision here. The Senator is entitled to say that, if we made mistakes in 1940 and 1942, there is no reason why we should continue to make them.

More especially as Senator Sweetman was not here then.

The Senator would be fully justified in trying to rectify the mistakes made when he was not here. While I concede that, I suggest that he should pursue this principle on some other measure, because this principle will be embodied in all corresponding measures.

There are only three sanatoria concerned and it is hardly worth while pursuing a general principle in relation to them. However, if I had not put down an amendment to this section, when a Bill came up covering 3,000 cases, the Parliamentary Secretary would be quick to remind me that I had allowed the principle to go through on this occasion. I ask leave to withdraw the amendment without prejudice.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 13 agreed to.
Sections 14 and 15 agreed to.

I move amendment No. 11:—

Before Section 16 to insert a new section as follows:—

16. (1) Any officer or agent of the Minister, being authorised in writing by the Minister to exercise the powers conferred by this section, may enter on any land between the hours of 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. on any day for the purpose of ascertaining whether the land is suitable for use in the establishment of a sanatorium and may do on the land all such things as are reasonably necessary for the said purpose.

(2) Any person who by act or omission obstructs an officer or agent of the Minister in the lawful exercise of a power conferred by this section shall be guilty of an offence under this section and shall be liable on summary conviction thereof to a fine not exceeding ten pounds.

This is a machinery amendment to provide for entry upon land before acquisition or before the making of an order. Generally, we get all the facilities we require from the owners of sites but, in case any difficulty should arise, it is proposed to give the Minister power to enter upon the land concerned and survey it prior to the making of an order.

Question put and agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments.

When will the Report Stage be taken?

I object to the next Stage being taken now. I want to put down an amendment in an attempt to get the Parliamentary Secretary to deal with a very proper point that I made in the remarks that I made on the Second Reading. It arose out of remarks then made by the Parliamentary Secretary. I asked for clarification, and met with no reply whatever. I think the Parliamentary Secretary has treated the House with a lack of courtesy, and I want to put down an amendment on the Report Stage that will at least attempt to get clarification. I know that one may bring a horse to the water, but that one cannot make him drink. We will see what effect an amendment will have on this occasion.

I wish to support the remarks of Senator Sir John Keane. I think we are travelling a little too fast with this Bill.

What is the House now discussing?

The question is: That the Report Stage be taken now. Has the Senator concluded?

I thought I was out of order. I just want to support Senator Sir John Keane's remarks. I have not spoken on this Bill, although as a medical man I was supposed to do so. I am not quite clear about my argument, and neither is the medical profession, but I should like to warn the House that I think we are going a little too fast with this Bill. We want sanatoria, and we want to have them properly staffed and equipped. I am afraid from some of the remarks that have been made, we are merely putting money into bricks and mortar, when we already have difficulty with our housekeeping.

The question is: That the Report Stage be taken now. Senators in favour, please say "Tá."

Are we going to divide on that? We have never done it before, and I should hate to do it now. If we could, why not take the next Stage to-morrow?

That is all right.

It is a bad precedent to divide on that question. We have never disagreed on the question whether we should take any Stage now.

Fourth Stage ordered for Thursday, 22nd February.