DENTISTS BILL, 1927—COMMITTEE (Resumed).

Wednesday, 9 November 1927

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 21 No. 11

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The Dáil went into Committee and resumed consideration of the Dentists' Bill. 1927.

(1) The Board shall keep in such form as shall be approved by the Minister after consultation with the Minister for Finance all proper and usual accounts of all moneys received or expended by the Board.

Mr. AIKEN: Information on Frank Aiken  Zoom on Frank Aiken  On behalf of Deputy Ryan, I move amendment 13:

In sub-section (1) to delete all words after the word “keep,” line 43, to and including the word “Finance,” line 45.

Dr. RYAN: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  If Deputies will read the next sub-section they will see that the accounts of the Board are to be audited by an auditor appointed by the Minister. I thought it was unnecessary that the Board should first of all keep their accounts in a form approved by the [1066] Minister, after consultation with the Minister for Finance, if they were afterwards to submit those accounts to an auditor appointed by the Minister. I thought that naturally the auditor appointed would advise the Board how to keep their accounts, and that, therefore, it would not be necessary for the Board to keep their accounts in such form as is approved by the Minister. I do not want to press the amendment, but only to see if the Minister will accept it.

MINISTER for INDUSTRY and COMMERCE (Mr. McGilligan): Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  The amendment is unacceptable from my point of view. It is a matter of common form. The Board shall be constituted as a public authority, and it is right that there should be the authority of this House over it. The Board is being given control of dental practitioners registered in this country. They are for the first year to be financed out of moneys voted by the House. Therefore, for the first year this House has a vital interest not merely in seeing the audited accounts, but in seeing that the accounts are kept and presented in such a form as will clarify them for members of the House. Even after the first year, the Board will continue as a public authority, and it is right and proper, and a matter of common form, that the form of accounts should be prescribed, not by the auditor, even though that auditor be appointed by a certain Minister, but that the exact form of the accounts should be laid down, so that it will be in accord with the form that public accounts are generally kept in, so that the members of the House if there is any discussion on them will have the matter properly before them. That is quite usual and necessary, and there is no hardship on anybody. The only thing that the Deputy could possibly see was that the Board—these nine or ten dental practitioners, or persons appointed by them— may have some conflict with the Minister as to the form of the accounts. If that is to be the case, then as they are a public authority, the accounts should be kept in the form prescribed by the Minister and not by the auditor.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Section 16 agreed to.

[1067]Dr. HENNESSY: Information on Dr. Thomas Hennessy  Zoom on Dr. Thomas Hennessy  I move amendment 14:—

Before Section 17 to insert a new section as follows:—

“There shall be paid by the Board to the members thereof such fees for their attendance at its meetings and such travelling expenses in connection with such attendances as shall be determined by the Board with the approval of the Minister and the consent of the Minister for Finance.”

The object of the amendment is to secure that the members of the Board will be paid for their attendance and given their travelling expenses. It would not be reasonable to expect that they should attend without payment. There was a similar provision made in the Medical Practitioners' Act.

Professor THRIFT: Information on Prof. William E. Thrift  Zoom on Prof. William E. Thrift  I should like to ask the Minister whether, if this section were not inserted, the Board would not still have power under the Bill to make any arrangement they might think desirable for payment, and whether if explicit provision for a particular payment is inserted, it would not really lessen the power of the Board with reference to dealing with various questions which might arise afterwards in administration.

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  I think if the following section is to be amended and made wider, as seems to be the intention, it gives power to the Board to pay. There is one good thing in the amendment, that it says such fees as shall be determined by the Board, with the approval of the Minister for Local Government and the consent of the Minister for Finance. To that extent, I have great sympathy with the amendment. It is taken from the Medical Practitioners Bill. There is always the fear that when you allude to certain things specifically, instead of putting them in a general way, there may be a rigid determination afterwards that only that particular thing is meant and that everything else is excluded. I would be in favour of accepting the amendment suggested subject to redrafting.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  But to insert the present amendment now?

[1068]Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  Yes, but I can put down an amendment if necessary to change the form.

Amendment agreed to.

Question—“That the new section stand part of the Bill”—put and agreed to.

(1) All expenses incurred by the Board in the execution of this Act up to the expiration of one year after the establishment of the register shall, to such extent as shall be sanctioned by the Minister for Finance, be defrayed out of moneys to be provided by the Oireachtas.

(2) All expenses incurred by the Board after the expiration of one year after the establishment of the register shall be defrayed by the Board out of its own moneys.

(3) All expenses incurred by the Minister in the execution of this Act shall, to such extent as shall be sanctioned by the Minister for Finance be paid out of moneys provided by the Oireachtas.

Mr. CASSIDY: Information on Archie J. Cassidy  Zoom on Archie J. Cassidy  I move amendment 15:—

To add at the end of sub-section (1) the words: “and shall be repaid by the Board out of its own moneys to the Minister for Finance not later than three years after the establishment of the register.”

I move this amendment as one who is neither an expert in regard to the technicalities of dentistry nor in what some of those on the Government benches referred to as the trickery of quackery. I notice that on the second reading several medical practitioners referred to the fact that this Bill was necessary to protect the interests of dentists in the Saorstát—in other words, to prevent dental mechanics or other unqualified people acting as dentists. This measure might be likened somewhat to a trade union among dentists, and that being so, I do not think that the Oireachtas should be asked to provide the money for the safeguarding of that particular trade union. If I were to get up on these [1069] benches and say that we were attempting to form a trade union to safeguard the interests of the working class people and had the audacity to call upon the House to provide money, I am sure the Minister would make a hop-step-and-jump across the floor to attack me for doing so. Section 17 says that all expenses incurred by the Board in the execution of this Act up to the expiration of one year after the establishment of the Register shall, to such extent as shall be sanctioned by the Minister for Finance, be defrayed out of moneys to be provided by the Oireachtas. Section 14 states that the Board shall appoint a Registrar and may appoint such other officers and servants as it thinks proper. It does not lay down how much is to be paid to the Registrar or to the other officers. The Minister for Industry and Commerce has now agreed to accept an amendment moved by Deputy Hennessy in which it is provided that there shall be paid by the Board to the members thereof such fees for their attendance at its meetings and such travelling expenses as shall be determined by the Board and these are to be borne by the Oireachtas. I think the taxpayers of the country should not be called upon to pay these expenses seeing that this Bill has been introduced to safeguard the interests of dentists. I think it is funny that the suggestion should come from the Minister for Industry and Commerce that the Oireachtas should be called upon to meet these expenses, whereas in Tirconaill the Ministry refused to sanction a small grant of £30 for a nurse in Tory Island. For that reason and for no other I move this amendment.

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  I am not sure from Deputy Cassidy's remarks whether he understands exactly what is going to happen. The Oireachtas is going to be asked to defray the expenses in connection with the first year, with the further limitation that the first year's expenditure has to be approved by the Minister for Local Government and sanctioned by the Minister for Finance. There are two checks on the extent of the expenditure which the Dental Board may incur in the first year, and, after that first year, the [1070] Dental Board is to meet all the expenses out of its own money. We did think it was a quite fair thing, in the case of the medical and dental professions, that inasmuch as they are incurring extra expenses by reason of the establishment of this State, expenses which are involved on them by reason of that status should be borne by the State. In addition, there is the point, which is specially appropriate to the dental practitioners in contrast with the medical practitioners, that the Dental Board will have very little money at any time, and they could not possibly pay the expenses even of the first year after three years unless they proceeded to charge a very high fee.

Mr. CASSIDY: Information on Archie J. Cassidy  Zoom on Archie J. Cassidy  My amendment suggested the money should go to the Dental Board and be repaid after three years.

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  Yes, and I am saying that unless the Dental Board were to charge a very high fee they could not possibly repay in the three years even on the best estimate. The amount of money that will be involved by the establishment of the register in the first year will be relatively small. There is another point in connection with the dental profession as opposed to the medical profession, that the medical practitioner pays one registration fee and is registered for all time unless his name is erased for some cause and he has to obtain re-admission later. The dental practitioner has to pay a fee here every year, and, in respect of doing that, he is penalised in comparison with his brother dental practitioner in England who pays the same fee and has the same rights as a medical practitioner. He has the right to be on the register for all time. We impose the burden of the yearly fee on the dental practitioner here in order to give the Dental Board a certain amount of money with which to carry out its duties. It is a relatively small sum of money that is in question in comparison with the amount of money that the Dental Board will be able to collect—a pretty big sum. I think it is a gesture that the State might make towards the Dental Board: to pay the expenses of establishing the first register and the first year's [1071] expenses outside the establishment of that register, recognising that, in fact, all the expenses of the Board are going to be subject to the approval of the Minister for Local Government and subject to the sanction of the Minister for Finance.

Professor THRIFT: Information on Prof. William E. Thrift  Zoom on Prof. William E. Thrift  It ought, I think, to be added that the interpretation of the Bill shown by Deputy Cassidy is an extremely limited and insufficient one. One of the principal causes for this Bill is the necessity for protecting the public. It is to protect the public from the operation of unqualified or improperly qualified dentists that the Bill has been brought forward.

Amendment put and declared lost.

Section 17 agreed to.

The Board shall out of the moneys received by it, whether by way of fees or otherwise, pay the expenses incurred by the Medical Council in the execution of their duties under this Act and the expenses of the Board which are required by this Act to be defrayed by the Board out of its own moneys and shall allocate the surplus (if any) of such moneys to purposes connected with dental education and research, or any public purposes connected with the profession of dentistry in such manner as the Board with the approval of the Medical Council may determine.

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  I move amendment 16:—

In line 11, after the word “Act” to insert in brackets the words “(the amount of such expenses to be settled in default of agreement by the Minister).”

Amendment agreed to.

Dr. HENNESSY: Information on Dr. Thomas Hennessy  Zoom on Dr. Thomas Hennessy  I move amendment 18:—

In line 13 to delete the word “shall” and substitute therefor the word “may.”

Dr. RYAN: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  My object in putting down this amendment with Deputy Hennessy was this, that I believed the [1072] word “shall” compels the Dental Board to allocate money in a certain way, and that it does not permit them to keep a certain amount on hands. I propose, therefore, to substitute the word “may” for “shall,” so that if they desire to do so they “may” keep a certain amount on hands.

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  I ask the Deputy to consider this amendment in relation to amendment 19, which proposes to delete the words “with the approval of the Medical Council.” Presuming for the moment that the amendment will be accepted, the section would then read: “The Board ... shall allocate the surplus (if any) of such moneys to purposes connected with dental education and research or any public purposes connected with the profession of dentistry in such manner as the Board may determine.” They shall allocate the surplus in such manner as the Board shall determine. Does not that give full rights to the Board? In addition to that, there is the question: when does the surplus arise? The Board themselves may decide on various purposes. One might very well argue that the Board would see that in certain legal cases it would have to intervene. that it would have to fight certain cases with regard to people practising dentistry. They might want to set aside a certain amount of money to meet a contingency of that kind in a particular period. If they see that ahead they need not proceed to close their accounts until such time as they like. The question only arises when there is a surplus over and beyond the certain purpose they have in mind. I put it to the Deputy that if they have determined on a surplus in any year they can allocate it for any public purpose connected with the profession of dentistry or in such manner as the Board may determine. I think that gives exactly the freedom to the Dental Board that the Deputy seems to desire.

Dr. RYAN: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  I do not want to press the matter, but if you read the whole section you will find that it provides that the Board is to pay the expenses incurred by the Medical Council as well as the expenses of the Board, which are required to be defrayed by the Board [1073] out of its own money. It appears to me that at a certain point they are to pay everything up to date, and then they are to allocate the surplus. It seems to me that every single halfpenny left after that is surplus, and that they could not keep anything on hands.

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  There is another consideration on that. Under the first two lines of the section the Board must pay all the expenses incurred by the Medical Council. Secondly, they must pay all the expenses which are required by this Act to be defrayed by the Board out of its own money. If the Deputy will look at sub-section (2) of the previous section, he will see that “all expenses incurred by the Board after the expiration of one year after the establishment of the register shall be defrayed by the Board out of its own money.” Therefore, if you relate the two things, the Board must first of all pay all the expenses of the Medical Council and thereafter pay all their own expenses. If there is a surplus after doing that, what is it going to be applied to? I think it is better leave the section as it is. The Deputy may ask me: why put in the word “shall” at all? Because, unless the mandatory phrase with regard to the allocation of the surplus is there, the Board might proceed to allocate surplus money to purposes not connected with dentistry at all.

Dr. RYAN: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  I agree with that, but for a month or a week after the audit of the accounts they may not be permitted to keep enough money to pay a typist if they have one or for some other object of that sort.

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  I do not think so. I think the Deputy would be right if we stated at certain times of the year the books may be closed but at what point of time is within the Board's own control.

Professor THRIFT: Information on Prof. William E. Thrift  Zoom on Prof. William E. Thrift  Is there any legal definition of the word “surplus?” Will it be impossible for the Board to carry forward from one year to another any balance over?

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  I do not think so.

[1074] Amendment 18, by leave, withdrawn.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  When Section 18, as amended, is seen, any amendment may be proposed if necessary.

Amendment 19.—In line 16 to delete the words “with the approval of the Medical Council” (Aire Tionnscail agus Tráchtála, Thomas Hennessy, Séamus O Riain) agreed to.

Section 18, as amended, agreed to.

Amendment 20.—In paragraph (a) line 22 to delete the words “with the approval of the Minister” (Séamus O Riain).

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  Would the Deputy argue the whole question of “with the approval of the Minister” on amendment 20 and take the decision on it for amendments 24, 34, and 35?

Dr. RYAN: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  I think it follows that I should withdraw this amendment and the next one.

Amendments 20 and 21 not moved.

Question—“That Section 19 stand part of the Bill”—put and agreed to.

(1) If at any time the Minister is satisfied, either after such inquiry as the Minister thinks fit to make or without such inquiry, that the Board has on any occasion failed to do any matter or thing which the Board is authorised or required by this Act to do and the doing of which by the Board on that occasion was in the opinion of the Minister necessary or appropriate for the proper exercise of the functions or the proper discharge of the duties conferred or imposed on the Board by this Act, the Minister may by order direct the Board to do such matter or thing and for that purpose to do such other matters or things ancillary or incidental thereto as may be specified in such order.

(2) If the Board fails to comply [1075] with the directions contained in an order made by the Minister under this section, the Minister may himself take such steps as he thinks fit to carry out the directions contained in such order and for that purpose the Minister shall have and may exercise such of the rights and powers conferred on the Board by this Act as are necessary for the due compliance with such directions.

Dr. HENNESSY: Information on Dr. Thomas Hennessy  Zoom on Dr. Thomas Hennessy  I move amendment 22:—

In sub-section (1), lines 45, 46, 50, 53, to delete the word “Minister” and substitute the words “Executive Council.”

The idea is to bring it into conformity with the Medical Practitioners Act.

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  The only difficulty in this is, as the Executive Council will always act through a Minister and the Executive Council in this case would act through a Minister, in whose Department the matter of the legislation would lie. Even if the Executive Council were put in, it would be, in the first instance, for the Minister for Local Government to be satisfied and would certainly be for the Minister to make inquiries. This is only a change of machinery, and the change will involve this: that the Executive Council would have thrown on it the responsibility to be satisfied about certain things and to make certain inquiries. Eventually the Executive Council, instead of the Minister, would advise the Board by Order to do certain things, but unless one is to speak of the Minister in charge of this as an extern Minister the Minister doing these things would always have to have the approval of the Executive Council At least, the Executive Council will have collective responsibility for any act of his in this matter. If one is to think of the Minister as an extern Minister, that Minister, being extern, is subject to the control of the House, and if the theory of the extern Minister is to be considered as important, and the control of the House as better than the collective responsibility of the Executive Council, then it is wrong to take [1076] that function away from the extern Minister and give it to the Executive Council. In either case, it would seem to be the better thing to leave out the Minister. If the Executive Council acts through a Minister, it is the same; if not, the Minister will be subject to the control of the Dáil.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Question “That Sections 20, 21, 22 and 23 stand part of the Bill”—put and agreed to.

(1) Subject to payment of the prescribed fee, there shall be registered in the register at the establishment thereof—

(a) every person who was registered in the General Dentists Register immediately before the establishment of the register and was then resident in Saorstát Eireann, and

(b) every person who was registered in the General Dentists Register immediately before the establishment of the register and was then resident outside Saorstát Eireann and applies to the Board within one month before such establishment to be registered in the register.

Amendment 25.—In sub-section (1) to delete paragraph (a) and substitute therefor a new paragraph as follows:—

(a) every person who was resident in Saorstát Eireann immediately before the establishment of the register, and has at any time been registered on the General Dentists Register; provided that his name has not been erased from that register for a reason which would lead to the erasure of his name from the register under sections 29 and 30 of this Act.— James Craig, William Thrift.

Professor THRIFT: Information on Prof. William E. Thrift  Zoom on Prof. William E. Thrift  I think we are satisfied that this amendment is unnecessary in view of the altered definition given by the Minister.

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  Provided amendment 26 be passed, this is consequential on the definition.

[1077]Dr. WARD: Information on Dr. Francis Constantine Ward  Zoom on Dr. Francis Constantine Ward  Before agreeing to the withdrawal of Deputy Craig's amendment to Section 24, I would like to know from the Minister if his amendment (3) to Section 1 covers the case of a man who was admitted to the General Register of the United Kingdom after the passing of the Act of 1921 and who subsequently was removed from the register by reason of the fact that it had been discovered he had not completely reached the age of 23 years at the time of the passing of the Act in England. I have before my mind two such cases, and if we now legislate to rule these people off the Dental Register it appears to me we will be inflicting serious hardship on them. One of them, of whom I have details here, submitted himself to be registered on the Dental Register of the United Kingdom in January, 1923. He got a Certificate of Registration and practised on that certificate for some months until the Dental Board of the United Kingdom discovered he had been three months under the age of 23 years at the time of the passing of the Act. Subsequently, an amending Act was passed in the British House of Commons reducing the age from 23 years to 21. He did not get the benefit of that Act. There is no provision in this Bill giving him the benefit of it now. Perhaps I may not continue to give details of the case or of the hardship inflicted if the Minister has it in his mind that his amendment meets a case such as the one I mentioned.

Sir JAMES CRAIG: Information on Prof. James Craig  Zoom on Prof. James Craig  I would like to have another point settled which depends, to some extent, on the statement made by the last Deputy. The Minister has told us that he is referring to a Committee, the Second Schedule, and this reads: “Persons entitled to be registered upon passing special examination.” What I want to ask him is: is he referring any cases that will not be subject to a special examination to this Committee? For instance, many of us think these cases the Deputy referred to should be upon the register without any examination. One of the cases is a man being put on the register and remaining on for some months. It was discovered he was three days under the age and he was struck off.

[1078] This man, we think, should be put on the register without any examination. There are cases in which the man was not allowed to be placed on the register because he was three months—others were six months—under age. What I want to know from the Minister is if he is referring these cases that will not require any special examination to the Committee, either to the Committee that he has working or to the Select Committee that has been appointed.

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  My feeling with regard to the Bill, as I stated, is to go right through and refer the Second Schedule to a committee. Whether that is to be a Select Committee of the House, or whether the House is prepared to allow a Departmental Committee to make recommendations, I do not know. I would prefer that a Departmental Committee should make recommendations to a Select Committee of the House, and that the Select Committee should decide and come back with recommendations on the Report Stage. I am simply referring you to the Second Schedule and to the consequential section—Section 26.

Sir JAMES CRAIG: Information on Prof. James Craig  Zoom on Prof. James Craig  May I intervene for a moment? There were certain men who did not apply for registration, who for various reasons, into which I need not go now, did not apply to get upon the British Register and those people should be entitled to be registered now without examination. That makes two classes of cases, that is, cases that were refused registration, because they were six months or nine months or a year under age, and those cases where the men did not apply for registration for various reasons which I need not go into now.

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  It would be my proposal to refer the Second Schedule, and Section 26, not 25, to a Select Committee. On that there would be raised the whole question of people who are not now entitled to be registered as dentists and who would never come in under this Bill as it stands. A case could be made for allowing people in after examination. Strictly, that is all that should be considered. If the Committee, having got [1079] certain other cases of hardship before it, recommended that certain people, not merely after examination, but here and now, should be admitted, the suggestion is that the House should reconsider that. That would mean another amendment on the Report Stage. It would mean putting in a new section.

Sir JAMES CRAIG: Information on Prof. James Craig  Zoom on Prof. James Craig  I would be perfectly satisfied if that is understood.

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  That is the proposal with regard to the Select Committee. With regard to what Deputy Ward said, without knowing the details of the case, I cannot say whether that case that he has referred to would come under the Bill, but I assume the individual would not. The definition of “registered dentist,” referred to under Section 3, states clearly that a registered dentist means a person who is registered in the General Dentists Register. I am assuming that the person to whom Deputy Ward refers is not and cannot be registered in England at the moment because he was too young to be brought in under the 1923 extension. Consequently that individual would not be brought in under this definition and certainly would not be brought in under the second part, “having been so registered at any time after the 1st January, 1922.” I think the individual to whom the Deputy refers would not be brought in under this definition or section. But it is clearly one of the cases which is to be considered. The Select Committee could make a recommendation that the term be enlarged so as to include the individuals named.

Dr. WARD: Information on Dr. Francis Constantine Ward  Zoom on Dr. Francis Constantine Ward  I am quite satisfied on the understanding that the Minister will guarantee a Select Committee of the House.

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  I am guaranteeing to recommend a Select Committee.

Professor THRIFT: Information on Prof. William E. Thrift  Zoom on Prof. William E. Thrift  Is the Minister prepared to state that the person who was on the register, even if he was erroneously there, should not be on the register at all? Take the case of an individual who practised for a certain [1080] number of months. I am not prepared myself to say that that case would be covered.

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  I think that individual would be covered, but it would depend entirely on the interpretation of the words, “registered in the General Dentists Register.” It means there “legally and correctly registered.”

Professor THRIFT: Information on Prof. William E. Thrift  Zoom on Prof. William E. Thrift  And practising for a couple of months?

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  Practising would not matter. He would have to get an interpretation of those words.

Professor THRIFT: Information on Prof. William E. Thrift  Zoom on Prof. William E. Thrift  I would like the Minister to consider also possibly a further amendment to that definition, in view of the representations that have been made and the statement that has been made to us by Deputy Craig. There seems to be a strong case for making the definition include those who were registered and even those who were entitled to be registered even though they did not make their claim. I am sure the Minister will consider that.

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  Yes.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  I beg to move amendment 26:

In sub-section (1), page 9, paragraph (a), lines 56 and 57 and paragraph (b), lines 60 and 61, to delete the words “registered in the General Dentists Register” and substitute in each case the words “a registered dentist.”

This amendment is consequential on the acceptance of the definition in amendment 3.

Amendment agreed to.

Section 24 as amended put and agreed to.

AN LEAS-CHEANN COMHAIRLE: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  took the Chair.

(1) After the establishment of the register the following persons shall, on making the prescribed application and paying the prescribed fees, be entitled (save as is otherwise provided [1081] by this section) to be registered in the register, that is to say:

(a) every person who is at the time of such application registered in the General Dentists Register, and

(b) every person who is at the time of such application possessed of a degree or licence in dental surgery granted by a university or college in Saorstát Eireann having, at the time of such degree or licence, power to grant the same.

(2) No person whose name shall have been erased from the register by the Board on account of his having been convicted of treason or a felony, misdemeanour, crime, or offence or by direction of the Medical Council on account of his having been judged guilty of infamous or disgraceful conduct in a professional respect shall be entitled to have his name restored to the register under this section solely by reason of his being registered in the General Dentists Register.

(3) A person not previously registered in the register shall not be entitled to be registered therein under this section if at any time before his application for such registration his name has been erased from the General Dentists Register on account of his having been convicted of a felony, misdemeanour, crime, or offence or his having been judged guilty of infamous or disgraceful conduct in a professional respect.

Professor THRIFT: Information on Prof. William E. Thrift  Zoom on Prof. William E. Thrift  I move amendment 27:

To add at the end of the sub-section a new paragraph as follows:

(e) every person who has been engaged in a manner satisfactory to the Board in the practice of dentistry for a period of ten years.

This amendment is put down for the purpose of leaving a small loop-hole for cases which may not occur in time to be considered by the Committee dealing with the second Schedule, and in order not to have the hands of the Board tied too tightly. This amendment does not interfere with the power of the [1082] Board, because any concession granted under it is to be given by the Board itself. That Board could be made up, to a very large extent, of persons representing those who are short of qualifying under the Dentists Acts of 1921. The necessity for the amendment, I admit, depends largely on the interpretation of Section 27 and what there is to be taken as covered by the word “qualifications.” In interpreting that section, it will be clear that the Board will only have power to admit those who will obtain qualifications similar to those recognised in the Bill, as qualifications for registration, including training and passing examinations and such like. It could not be taken in a general sense, but would mean special qualifications for practising dentists as contemplated by the Bill. On certain qualifications as a general dentist, the individual shall be admitted. It is open to argument if that is a correct interpretation of Section 27. I would urge that some such loop-hole as that suggested in this amendment is necessary. The amendment would simply give the Board power to add to the register those who had been practising for ten years without the special qualifications contemplated by the Bill. That would give the Board power, if they recognised that it was worth while, to admit in a case where a person had been satisfactorily engaged in carrying out the work of dentistry.

Dr. HENNESSY: Information on Dr. Thomas Hennessy  Zoom on Dr. Thomas Hennessy  I do not see the great necessity for Deputy Thrift's amendment. I think there should be some finality with regard to those who would be entitled to go on the Register. I know the Irish Dental Association is opposed to Deputy Thrift's amendment, and I think with very good reason, as at present a Committee is sitting to investigate the claims of men who are to go on the Register and those who may be recommended, on further examination, to go on.

Sir JAMES CRAIG: Information on Prof. James Craig  Zoom on Prof. James Craig  The Minister has practically met the reason which induced me to associate myself with this amendment. He has practically met us in this by the suggestion that he was going to allow the names of certain people to go before the Committee. [1083] I would be perfectly satisfied with that. This schedule included persons who had to pass a certain examination. He did not suggest that any others would be included. But since he suggests that he would leave the Committee to deal with the other cases, I am satisfied. I do not know whether Deputy Thrift is satisfied or not.

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  I cannot understand the scope of the amendment. On the other hand, I cannot understand the limitations that Deputy Thrift would like to have put on it. Is it intended that the ten-year period is only to run prior to the passing of the Act?

Professor THRIFT: Information on Prof. William E. Thrift  Zoom on Prof. William E. Thrift  Yes.

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  What people are there who have been ten years in practice and who are not covered by the 1921 Act? It may be possible to find the special type of case of a man who did not come in under the extension of time allowed by the 1923 Act by reason of being a few days too young for the purposes of the extension. But outside that, and outside the special cases that Deputy Ward has in mind, I do not know of any other cases that could arise.

Professor THRIFT: Information on Prof. William E. Thrift  Zoom on Prof. William E. Thrift  Where are you going to draw the line? There are men six months, twelve months, eighteen months and two years short, and they will all have grievances. This is not to say that a man who has been practising for ten years up to the present date should necessarily go on the register; it is merely to give the Board, if the members of it are satisfied with the justice of his claim, the power to put him on the register. They would have to be perfectly satisfied that the justice of his claim permitted that course being adopted.

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  The line would have to be drawn by the Committee on its examination of the different cases. Perhaps the members of the Committee would simply say: “You are an individual so many months short. We are prepared to waive aside that period and allow you to go on the register.” If this amendment were put in it would leave it open to people to make application [1084] to the Board whether the application would be granted or not. It could be said that the man who was applying had practised for ten years in some other country—simply practised for ten years, although he had not the qualifications that would entitle him to go on the register here. Similarly it seems to open the door to certain suggestions, one suggestion being that if a man succeeds in evading the law for ten years in this country by practising dentistry, then the Board might consider his case and allow him on the register. It would be a sort of example to certain people.

Professor THRIFT: Information on Prof. William E. Thrift  Zoom on Prof. William E. Thrift  Prior to 1921.

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  I presume that was implicit in the amendment. It opens the door for a great number of cases to be put before the Board for a good many years hereafter. This Dentists Bill has been under discussion for four or five months. It was spoken of for one and a half years before that and nearly everyone affected by it has had time to make representations, and numerous representations have been made to my Department. It seems to me that the best course to adopt is that this Committee should consider all cases of hardship and close the list once and for all, thereafter allowing the Board to be approached only by people with decent dental qualifications. There must be finality and that is the great necessity with regard to practitioners.

Mr. J.J. BYRNE: Information on John Joseph Byrne  Zoom on John Joseph Byrne  It came under my notice a short time ago in connection with registration for nurses that certain nurses who had practised for twenty years had failed to come up to the standard required in the ordinary way. Application in connection with those nurses was made to the Board but the Board had no power of discretion and neither had the Minister. The same point would apply here and I suggest Deputy Thrift's amendment is giving some discretionary power that should not be and would not be abused.

Professor THRIFT: Information on Prof. William E. Thrift  Zoom on Prof. William E. Thrift  I cannot imagine it being abused. I cannot imagine the amendment doing anybody any harm. If anything, it will tend to do good [1085] inasmuch as it does not tie up the Board completely. Deputy Craig asks me if I am satisfied. I am not dissatisfied but I am not accepting his position completely. I am not satisfied that if the Second Schedule is referred to the Committee it would not be ruled by the Chairman that nothing could be considered by the Committee except registration after the passing of an examination. The Second Schedule as it stands would be a binding thing on the Committee and they would be open to consider only the names of those who had passed an examination. That would be the position unless other terms of reference were given by this House. I think Deputy Craig would find himself in the position on the Committee that he could not consider the cases that he wanted to consider.

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  I think that is quite wrong. I think Deputy Craig could get all the cases he wants considered by the Committee by bringing them in the guise of people who wanted to get on after examination. Their cases having been discussed, he could make a special plea that there was a hardship in asking these people to pass an examination. On the accepted interpretation of Section 26, there could be a definite recommendation that even the examination could be waived. I know of three cases in which it seems to me that there would be hardship in having an examination imposed on the persons concerned. Even if that matter could not be raised at the Select Committee, it is open to the Deputy to put an amendment down on the Report Stage. The report of the Committee will be known to the members of the Committee before we come to the Report Stage.

Sir JAMES CRAIG: Information on Prof. James Craig  Zoom on Prof. James Craig  I would not be satisfied if these cases had to be brought in the manner suggested by the Minister—under the guise of people who wanted to get on the register after examination. I think we should be fair and square and above board. If we admit these cases we should recognise that we do admit them because they have some claim upon us. I believe there were some people who did not apply because of political reasons [1086] and there were others who did not apply for various reasons which I need not mention. If the Minister cannot meet me in this matter I will still support the amendment that stands in Deputy Thrift's name and my own. I am not going to bring cases forward that are under any suspicion; I am not going to bring them forward if they have not passed an examination. I certainly would not bring them forward in such a manner as has been suggested.

Dr. HENNESSY: Information on Dr. Thomas Hennessy  Zoom on Dr. Thomas Hennessy  I appeal to the Minister not to allow men to be taken on the register who are unqualified or only partially qualified. The dentists have no representative to protect their interests here, and we should be as jealous of these men who went to the trouble of getting properly qualified as if they were here to fight their own case.

Mr. ANTHONY: Information on Richard Sidney Anthony  Zoom on Richard Sidney Anthony  Would the Deputy explain what he means by “properly qualified”?

Professor THRIFT: Information on Prof. William E. Thrift  Zoom on Prof. William E. Thrift  Neither Deputy Craig nor myself is anxious to pack the register with people not qualified. We are anxious that every worthy practising dentist should get an opportunity of earning his livelihood. I would be quite prepared to withdraw the amendment if the Minister wishes, provided he secures a resolution requesting the Committee to take into consideration the type of persons covered in the amendment.

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  Yes, if that comes within the scope of the Standing Orders of the House. I know there are certain people who should be admitted without examination, and I want to get these cases referred to the Select Committee.

Professor THRIFT: Information on Prof. William E. Thrift  Zoom on Prof. William E. Thrift  It is really a matter of words.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Dr. RYAN: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  I desire to move amendment 28:—

In sub-section (2), line 17, to delete the words “treason or.”

This and amendment 30 more or less cover the same ground. Section 25 deals with persons entitled to be registered after the establishment of the Register and Section 29 deals with the [1087] erasure from the register of persons convicted of crimes. In the British register we find that the reasons for erasure or for non-admission to the register are misdemeanour and crime. These are the only things to prevent admission to the register in Britain. On the Irish register we have added the crime of treason. There is a small point of difference there. For instance, we are talking here of reciprocal treatment, and it is possible that if a person was not admitted to the Irish register because he had been guilty of treason he would have his name admitted to the General Register in England as they do not consider that sufficient to keep his name off the register there. A person whose name was on the General Register in England would necessarily have to be admitted to the Free State register. It only means going through the British register to get on the Irish register, if he is guilty of treason. There is another consideration. Whatever this crime of treason is it is not a felony, it is not a misdemeanour, it is not a crime; it is, therefore, considered either to be worse than any crime or any felony, or it is considered something that is not a crime or felony at all but something on a plane of its own and sufficient to keep a man from getting on the Dental Register. At the present time, I am quite aware, with the Public Safety Act in force, that there would be no necessity for this provision at all, because, as far as I remember the Public Safety Act, it is mandatory on the Military Court to condemn the person to death, and the person being dead would not have to apply to get on the Dental Register. But a time may come when the Public Safety Act will have gone, and there is no doubt about it that that time will come.

Mr. J.J. BYRNE: Information on John Joseph Byrne  Zoom on John Joseph Byrne  That section of the Act is not operative.

Dr. RYAN: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  The people who framed the Act——

AN LEAS-CHEANN COMHAIRLE: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  We are not discussing the Public Safety Act now.

Dr. RYAN: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  It is quite possible that the people who framed that Act would [1088] also have the audacity to make it operative, and, as I have said, in that case this question of treason would not arise, but the time may come when we will go back half-way to normal again, and when this Public Safety Act is removed, but the crime of treason would still remain, and you might have a very respectable man, as you had respectable men in the past, found guilty of treason. He might, perhaps, be put into jail or somewhere else for six months or twelve months by some Government that would not stand longer than six months or twelve months, and then this man might be released, but the Dental Board would have no option but to keep that man's name off the register unless a special Act of Parliament were introduced to deal with his case. Everybody here is fairly familiar with the history of treason in this country. Everybody can see the danger of leaving this section in. The danger has been there for all time, and, as we do not see much improvement amongst the powers that be with regard to this offence, we see a certain danger there that perhaps a very upright and honest man in every way, or a woman, as the case may be, might be found guilty of this crime of treason, and, the Public Safety Act being gone, it would not be necessary to have the person executed. The person might be put into jail for a long sentence, and it might be possible that that Government that did that, for some reason or another, might go out after six or twelve months and the person be released. The Dental Board would find it impossible to allow that man back to his practice of dentistry. I, therefore, ask that the Minister will consider the question of having these words removed from the Bill and of bringing it into line with the British Act, because, as I said in the beginning, it is ridiculous as it stands at present. As it stands at present, a person can get on the General Register in England and thereby compel the Free State Board to put his name on.

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  Taking the main foundation of the Deputy's argument as his last statement, if the Deputy reads the Schedule (paragraph 4, subsections (b) and (c) he will find there [1089] is no way round. If a man has his name erased in this country he cannot go on to the British register and come back here. He is definitely and clearly blocked.

Dr. RYAN: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  A person might not apply for registration here. He might have the sense to first apply to go on the British register.

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  That does not make any difference. I cannot argue with the Deputy until he reads the section of the agreement I am referring to.

Dr. RYAN: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  I have read it.

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  Then it is a matter of getting it understood. There is no way round an erasure from the Irish register. If an Irish court convicts a man of certain things and if the Irish Medical or Dental Board strikes his name off the register no assertion of right to go to England and register there either before or after conviction will get that dental practitioner or medical practitioner back into registration in this country. It is quite impossible.

Dr. RYAN: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  I was not speaking of erasure. In this case I was speaking of getting his name, in the first instance, on the English register.

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  If there is a conviction in the country for anything which leads to erasure no man who has a right to get on the British register whether prior to his name being erased from the Irish register or trying to insert it after the erasure can come back to practise in this country. It does not matter whether he was on the British register or not. He cannot practise here.

Dr. RYAN: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  Supposing he was never on here?

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  Then he will never go on here.

Dr. RYAN: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  Why not?

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  Because he cannot assert a right derived from the English register for the purpose of being put on here. That is the [1090] beginning and the end of it. That agreement has not been understood. I am open to correction on Report Stage, but I make that statement. It is obviously clear cut that that right cannot be asserted to over-ride a decision of the Medical or Dental Council here—no right of prior registration or of post-registration. If a man does not want to go on the register here he can go to England. A man convicted of treason, felony or misdemeanour can practise under their register; that is their lookout. He can practise on their nationals and we do not care. As a matter of fact, the other argument is equally fallacious. Treason is not mentioned in the British Act. Does the Deputy really consider these circumstances that a man can be convicted of treason against England and be allowed after his sentence of death was commuted, to practise as a dentist? Has he ever considered that the word “felony” in fact includes treason?

Dr. RYAN: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  That is what I asked. If it does, why include it here?

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  We are establishing an Act of this particular kind which will be more in accord with the present division of offences. The British Act in regard to the old division of crimes was felony and misdemeanour. Then there came along a Medical Act after the word “treason” had been more or less elevated to a category by itself, though it is still stated in the law books to be strictly a form of felony. The British did not think it wise, simply because of the Medical Act coming along, to make a change in the Medical Act in the classification of crimes which they had established under the system of jurisprudence. We have a more modern classification of treason, felony, and misdemeanour. We think that treason is sufficiently big to have it elevated. even though it is included in the term “felony.” What is treason? The levying of war against the State. Is it asserted here that anybody can playact at levying war against the State and thereafter be allowed to pull the teeth of Irish nationals? That is what it comes to. The Deputy has talked [1091] about the Government convicting men of treason. No Government ever convicts a man of anything. The courts convict a man of treason, and if the courts have convicted a man of treason I say it is proper and right after that man was sentenced to death and his sentence was commuted to a certain period, that when he comes out he should not be allowed to practise dentistry unless some special circumstances can be pleaded as to warrant the bringing in of a special Act to enable him to go on the register again. There is no way for him to come round from the English register and practise here. If the Deputy gets somebody to examine books of law he will find that that term “treason” is strictly included in the term “felony.” You find by all sorts of implications and statements that treason is included in the word “felony.” To say that a man can be a traitor in England and still practise dentistry is an absurd proposition.

Dr. RYAN: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  I asked the question why treason is put in if it is included in the category of felony. There is no necessity to put it in. The Minister misunderstood me on one point. I asked: is it not possible if a man has never been on the Free State register. and if he applies to the British register and gets on it, to get on the Free State register?

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  Until he does something which entitles the Dental Board to put him off.

Dr. RYAN: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  What is the good of that?

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  Will the Deputy take it from me that the Free State Dental Board is supreme in the matter of erasing names and that no one can assert an English right in order to get on against the definite erasure or against conduct which would lead to erasure if the man had been previously practising in this country.

Dr. RYAN: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  I am not speaking of erasure.

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  I am putting the other side of it also.

[1092]Mr. BRISCOE: Information on Robert Briscoe  Zoom on Robert Briscoe  The Minister referred to the word treason in connection with its meaning in England, and said that the word “felony” includes treason. I do not know if the Minister realises that there are several interpretations in the dictionary of the word “treason.” Treason is considered on different grounds in different countries using the English language. At the same time, we have a Treasonable Offences Act, under which it may not mean that a man would have to wage war to be guilty of treason. A man may be pulling a tooth and he may be found guilty of a treasonable act because he was harbouring an individual——

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  He should be put off. We are not going on the dictionary definitions of the word “treason.” We are going on case law.

Mr. BRISCOE: Information on Robert Briscoe  Zoom on Robert Briscoe  On the Minister's interpretation.

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  The State has to go on it.

Mr. DE VALERA: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  I want to say that our position in this is that we regard “treason” here as evidence of the continuation of party spirit. In any country wherever there has been, between two parties, a conflict such as there has been in this country, you always find one party trying to use treason as a means of overcoming their opponents. The introduction of that here is obviously a party matter, just as the definitions of treason here in the past have been party matters. We are against that. We think that an attempt to deal with matters of that kind in that spirit is trying to stop the tide with a pitchfork. There are people on the other benches who were found guilty of treason. We know what happened after 1916, when men were put off public boards because they were found guilty of treason. Resolutions were erased off the minute books of public boards. Is all that sort of thing going to continue? We are against it on principle. We think it is a wrong thing to introduce it at this particular stage, and quite irrespective of the arguments of Deputy Dr. Ryan, we are against it.

[1093]Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  The Deputy has alluded to pre-1916 treason and the pr-1916 definitions of treason. I am not alluding to anything of that sort, but to treason as defined and established by an Act of this State. That is the interpretation which it will have under this Bill. I do not know if Deputies realise the full force of what has just been said, that apparently the full and free flow of party politics in this country implies treasonable activity. That is, apparently, what Deputy de Valera means.

Mr. DE VALERA: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  What I said was that the definitions of treason have represented only one party in the country.

The PRESIDENT: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  There is an amendment to take a certain term out of the Bill before us, and the question arises as to what is intended to be effected by the omission of that term. What is intended to be the effect, we are entitled to know. Talk about party spirit and the differences there are between the various political parties here does not get us anywhere. Is there any person affected by the inclusion of this term in the Bill? Is there any person whose name is going to be struck off the register of dentists? If so, it is open to Deputy Dr. Ryan to explain what person there is who is at present subject to disability by reason of this term being included in the Bill. If there is not, we must take a line from this on. Does Deputy Dr. Ryan, Deputy de Valera, or any other Deputy wish to preserve the right of a person to wage war against the State? We ought to know.

Mr. DE VALERA: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  Many persons under the Public Safety Act, the Treasonable Offences Act and other [1094] Acts would be adjudged as guilty of treason. We do not hold that these people have been guilty of treason, and we hope that there will be a majority in this House who will see that those classes of crime which are regarded as treason will be wiped out.

The PRESIDENT: Information on William T. Cosgrave  Zoom on William T. Cosgrave  I do not want any woolly expressions about this matter. We are entitled to get a clear and explicit statement of the case for the people of this country. Any person who wages war against the State, any person who shoots at and wounds or kills a Minister of the State or an officer of the State in order to bring about the overthrow of the Government of the State is guilty of treason and is a traitor. We want no nonsense about this thing, having people great patriots who besmirched themselves, their names and their country's name by crimes that are disgraceful. I want to know, and we are entitled to know, whether the excision of this term “treason” really means to entitle persons whose names are on the register of dentists for the future to commit treasonable acts and to wage war against the State.

Mr. T.J. O'CONNELL: Information on Tomas O'Connell  Zoom on Tomas O'Connell  I would like to say a word on this matter, to explain what my position would be if this amendment were put to a division.

I deprecate the feeling that is growing up that this question should be discussed as a matter between parties. I hold that it is not a matter as between parties. I cannot agree with the assumption if this Government was out of office to-day or to-morrow or the next day, that thereby the crime of treason would disappear. I must assume that if the Labour Party or if the Fianna Fáil Party got into power the crime of treason would still remain, and if, as Deputy de Valera says—and assuming for the moment that I agree with him— the definition of treason is contained in the Treasonable Offences Act; or any of the other Acts he mentioned, if things are not as they should be, then it is open to the majority of the Deputies of this House to change them. But until they are changed they are the law of the land. It is the duty of whatever party is returned to power, [1095] whatever party has control of the State for the time being, to make the law, or to amend the law if they think it should be amended. But while the law remains we cannot take up the position that although the law defining treason is there, there is, in fact, no such crime as treason.

I take it that when a person is convicted of treason it means that that person has been taken to the ordinary civil court and convicted of the offence by a jury. If that is the position I can see no justification for allowing a man who is convicted of that crime to practise dentistry, while a man who would be convicted of a much smaller crime is prevented from doing so. I take it that the crime of treason is one of the greatest crimes that could be committed, because it is a crime against the State, not against a party. An offence against a party should certainly not be regarded as treason. But treason, as I understand it, is a crime against the State, that is, against the whole people, and it is a crime which would justify the removal of a person from the dentists' register, so that if this amendment goes to a Division I must vote for the retention of the words in the Bill.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  took the Chair.

Mr. S.T. O'KELLY: Information on Seán T. O'Kelly  Zoom on Seán T. O'Kelly  Deputy O'Connell is entitled, and he is right in doing so, to interpret this according to the way he thinks this question of treason is likely to be interpreted by any Government that may be in power. We have, especially those of us on these Benches, to view this matter in the light of the way we believe it will be interpreted under present conditions, and in order to arrive at some idea as to how the Bill, if it be passed with the word “treason” in it, would be viewed and would be acted upon by the present administration, to bear in mind what has happened in the past. We are satisfied that under present conditions, if this were made the law of the land with the word “treason” included, it would be used most certainly for the furtherance of party spirit, and not for the betterment of peace and order in [1096] this Free State. That is our belief, and we have a great deal to go upon; we have the administration of the present Safety Act, as it is called, in the Free State area and by the Free State authorities. We have other acts done by that Government in our minds too. They are more remote, but they are fresh in our minds. We have in our minds the fact that without any law, or at least without any process of law, if these same authorities have not struck men off a register, they have gone so far, without bringing men to trial and getting them convicted, as to shoot them, and they have done that on more than one occasion. Mr. Cosgrave is well aware of it——

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  President Cosgrave.

Mr. S.T. O'KELLY: Information on Seán T. O'Kelly  Zoom on Seán T. O'Kelly  President Cosgrave, if you like, or if he likes— the President, is it not, of the Executive Ministry of the Irish Free State? I think that is the title. They have done that before, and we are satisfied——

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  Is not this a question of a conviction by a court?

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  Yes.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  “No person whose name shall have been erased from the register by the Board on account of his having been convicted of treason.”

Mr. DE VALERA: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  Would one of the special courts under the Public Safety Act be recognised as a court?

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  I do not know anything about that; that is a question of law, but I was wondering whether this was not a question of conviction by a court.

Mr. O'KELLY: Information on Seán T. O'Kelly  Zoom on Seán T. O'Kelly  It is. I am just saying how easily these people, by their own laws, laws that they brought into this House and got passed in time of panic, can do this. They have been able to secure the passage of laws in times of panic, and we know how these laws have been administered. We can envisage how a law of this kind, with these words in it, may be administered.

[1097] We can well imagine that from their doings in the past. Though they are past, and though some years have gone by, nevertheless they are fresh in our minds. We know what they are capable of and what they are capable of advising their Administration to do, and, therefore, we are not going, by any act of ours, to give them further powers in that direction. There are still people in this country who are not content to accept the Twenty-six Counties as representing Ireland, or to accept the Twenty-six Counties as being the ultimate goal of Irish nationality—an Irish Free State for twenty-six counties—and there are probably dentists amongst the number of those men who are not prepared to accept President Cosgrave's arrangements with Mr. Lloyd-George, or Mr. Baldwin, who rules over England at present, or the Government of England, if you like, and agree that the arrangement about Irish affairs and the partitioning of our country are to last for all time. I do not hope that a time will come when they will have to take arms again or have to go out and shoot anybody, English or Irish, to get that arrangement upset, but upset it will be, whether Mr. President Cosgrave or his Ministers like it or not. Upset it will be. It is not going to last, and there will be plenty of dentists, amongst others, as there were in the past, who will help in that work. We are not going to stand for these young men to be taken out and shot, nor will we stand for them being struck off the register because they hold national ideals, the old ideals that Mr. President Cosgrave used to preach himself so often and which got him into jail and condemned to death in his time—all credit to him for it and all credit to those others who did similar things— nor are we going to stand for these ideals to be put under foot in our time. We are not going to allow anybody to be struck off the register and to be punished because he is true to the faith that our fathers handed down to us. That is our position. If we were satisfied that this law, if it be passed, would be administered in the sense that the majority of Irish Nationalists would have in mind—treason against Irish [1098] nationality, treason against an Irish Government, governing in Ireland under the full authority and with the free will of the people of Ireland—we certainly would not move this amendment. But under conditions such as we know them, with Ireland divided and partitioned and made a colony of England, as long as these conditions last we will not stand here and permit any law or any amendment, as far as we can prevent it, being put through without doing our best to see that the road is left open and clear for everybody—for the future John Mitchels, treason-felonists as they were in the past and will be again, to be free to do whatever little they can to bring about the final realisation of these ideals, to which we on these benches, at any rate, hope to remain faithful.

Captain REDMOND: Information on William Archer Redmond  Zoom on William Archer Redmond  It is because I believe the Public Safety Act, as it is in existence at the moment, is not the ordinary law of the land, and will certainly not remain so for a very considerable time, and also because I believe that the administration of the law will not be carried out by this present Government of the Free State for all time, that I am in favour of the retention of this word “treason” in this clause. As Deputy O'Connell stated, treason should not be taken to mean disloyalty to a party. Treason means treachery to the whole community as a State, and it is because I subscribe to this State, as now constituted, not run by this party or by that party, but run by the people of this country, that I am in favour of the retention of this word.

Mr. ANTHONY: Information on Richard Sidney Anthony  Zoom on Richard Sidney Anthony  I desire to support this clause, and I do not want to give a silent vote, if it is put to a division. I think it is time that we were done beating about the bush as to what we mean or do not mean by treason. The plain common people that I represent cannot follow, all the time, the subtle reasoning of people who make treason and patriotism synonymous terms. Deputy O'Kelly spoke about a one and undivided Ireland, and expressed the hope that one day this country would be a united Ireland. I want to say to the Deputy, and to others who think [1099] like him, that if he desires to bring in the North, and make this an undivided Ireland, the contribution which he has made to this debate will not help in that direction. If there is anything that will tend to make this country a united Ireland it is by making conditions, economic and political, in the Twenty-Six Counties so attractive as to bring our brothers in the North in. It is time we were done with this tomfoolery with regard to the definition of the word treason. I hold that the word treason has been defined to my satisfaction by Deputy O'Connell. I find myself again on this occasion, at least, in agreement with the President, when he asks here and now to have the attitude of the Fianna Fáil Deputies defined in relation to the word treason. I hold with the President this time, that any act directed against a Minister of this Government, whether it be assassination by the bullet, the bomb or the knife, is a treasonable offence, not against a party but against the whole State, and I will vote for the retention of the word in the clause for that reason.

Mr. LITTLE: Information on Patrick J. Little  Zoom on Patrick J. Little  While this country is overshadowed by Treason Acts, Coercion Acts and Public Safety Acts, we cannot discuss the word treason at all. If we were working under a proper Constitution, a Constitution which, at present, is in such an extraordinary condition that one does not know under the Public Safety Act whether it is in existence or not, if the Public Safety Act had disappeared, and if it was not that one had to argue from history and [1100] to look back and see that there has not been a year for the last 127 years in which there was not some sort of Coercion Act passed, then one might argue that the Public Safety Act may end next year, or the year after. But in view of what has happened in the past, we must argue as to what is going to happen in the future. The word treason has been always interpreted from the British point of view, and while the Public Safety Act is there it is capable of being interpreted under that Act in a most dictatorial manner by small groups belonging to one party. We ought at least to try to exclude the region of dentistry from that kind of politics, which is simply a riot of fear and anger, because those have been always the methods behind treason in Ireland. It has not been a question of treason against a real Constitution of the real Irish people.

Mr. S. BRADY: Information on Seán Brady  Zoom on Seán Brady  I would not venture into this discussion at all only that I think some of the Ministers, and some Deputies, do not seem to realise what they are letting themselves in for. I can foresee the time when the President and some of the Ministers are out of office, and when they may be quite anxious to become wandering dentists in Ireland. If this word is allowed to remain in the Bill I fail to see how they will be able to undertake that profession, because I believe in 1914, in an outburst of patriotism, the Minister for Finance wrote an article in “Irish Freedom” in which he stated that any man who agreed to partition is a traitor and should be treated as such.

Question put.

Frank Aiken.
Denis Allen.
Neal Blaney.
Gerald Boland.
Patrick Boland.
Seán Brady.
Robert Briscoe.
Daniel Buckley.
Frank Carney.
Archie J. Cassidy.
Michael Clery.
James Colbert.
Eamon Cooney.
Dan. Corkery.
Martin John Corry. [1101]William R. Kent.
Frank Kerlin.
James Joseph Killane.
Mark Killelea.
Michael Kilroy.
Seán F. Lemass.
Patrick John Little.
Ben. Maguire.
Thomas McEllistrim.
Seán MacEntee.
Séamus Moore.
Thomas Mullins.
Fred. Hugh Crowley.
Tadhg Crowley.
Thomas Derrig.
Eamon De Valera.
James Everett.
Frank Fahy.
Seán French.
Patrick J. Gorry.
John Goulding.
Seán Hayes.
Patrick Hogan (Clare).
Samuel Holt.
Patrick Houlihan.
Stephen Jordan.
Michael Joseph Kennedy. [1102]Seán T. O'Kelly.
William O'Leary.
Matthew O'Reilly.
Thomas O'Reilly.
Patrick J. Ruttledge.
James Ryan.
Martin Sexton.
Timothy Sheehy (Tipperary).
Patrick Smith.
Richard Walsh.
Francis C. Ward.

William P. Aird.
Ernest Henry Alton.
Richard Anthony.
James Walter Beckett.
Ernest Blythe.
Séamus A. Bourke.
Henry Broderick.
Seán Brodrick.
Alfred Byrne.
John Joseph Byrne.
Edmund Carey.
Patrick Clancy.
James Coburn.
John James Cole.
Mrs. Margaret Collins-O'Driscoll.
Hugh Colohan.
Martin Conlan.
Michael P. Connolly.
Bryan Ricco Cooper.
Richard Corish.
William T. Cosgrave.
Sir James Craig
James Crowley.
John Daly.
William Davin.
Michael Davis.
Peter De Loughrey.
Eugene Doherty.
James N. Dolan.
Peadar Seán Doyle.
Edmund John Duggan.
Osmond Thomas Grattan Esmonde.
Desmond Fitzgerald.
James Fitzgerald-Kenney.
D.J. Gorey.
Alexander Haslett.
Michael R. Heffernan.
Michael Joseph Hennessy.
John Hennigan.
Mark Henry.
Patrick Hogan (Galway).
Richard Holohan.
Michael Jordan.
Patrick Michael Kelly.
Myles Keogh.
Hugh Alexander Law.
Finian Lynch.
Arthur Patrick Mathews.
Martin McDonogh.
Michael Og McFadden.
Patrick McGilligan.
Joseph W. Mongan.
Daniel Morrissey.
Richard Mulcahy.
James E. Murphy.
Joseph Xavier Murphy.
Timothy Joseph Murphy.
James Sproule Myles.
Martin Michael Nally.
John Thomas Nolan.
Richard O'Connell.
Thomas J. O'Connell.
Bartholomew O'Conner.
Timothy Joseph O'Donovan.
John F. O'Hanlon.
William O'Leary.
Dermot Gun O'Mahony.
John J. O'Reilly.
Gearoid O'Sullivan.
John Marcus O'Sullivan.
William Archer Redmond.
Patrick Reynolds.
Martin Roddy.
Patrick W. Shaw.
Timothy Sheehy (West Cork).
William Edward Thrift.
Michael Tierney.
Daniel Vaughan.
Vincent Joseph White.
George Wolfe.
Jasper Travers Wolfe.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  That also disposes of amendment 30.

Professor THRIFT: Information on Prof. William E. Thrift  Zoom on Prof. William E. Thrift  I move amendment 29:—

To add at the end of the section a new sub-section as follows:—

“(4) The prescribed fees shall not exceed three guineas per annum.”

It seems to me that there should be a major limit for the fee to be charged, more particularly because it is an annual fee, and in that way differs from the medical fee, which is a single one.

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  I would hesitate to accept this, because I think it is unwise to have a sum fixed which is to last over an undefined period in future.

[1103] Money values change, and the Board will have to regulate the amount of the fee by the amount of its expenditure in any year. I think the dentists can be trusted to see that a board will not be appointed which will charge a higher fee than is necessary, and I think it would be unwise to put in any limit.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Sections 25 and 26 agreed to.

Sir JAMES CRAIG: Information on Prof. James Craig  Zoom on Prof. James Craig  I should like to ask the Minister what is the meaning of this section and what class of person it covers. I think it is quite unnecessary.

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  The section was put in to meet one special case—the case of a dentist from another country who might be brought over here for demonstration purposes, and might have to give a demonstration of the drawing of teeth or other dental work. Unless there was some such section as this, it was considered that such a man might not be able to practise even for demonstration purposes. I am not sure that actually that case is not met in another way, but that is the only case I have in mind which the section was meant to cover. I would guarantee to have the matter looked into before Report Stage to see if the section could not be withdrawn, because outside that case it seems to give very wide powers to the Board to admit people without insisting upon examination or special type of qualification—simply trusting again to the Board, and I would rather see certain limitations put upon them.

Sir JAMES CRAIG: Information on Prof. James Craig  Zoom on Prof. James Craig  Certain Deputies thought it would be possible under the section to admit people who would have difficulty in getting on the register, even where their cases go before the Special Committee.

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  It was not meant to cover that—only the case I spoke of.

Sections 27, 28 and 29 agreed to.

(1) The Board may at any time and shall on the application of any [1104] university or college in Saorstát Eireann having for the time being power to grant certificates of fitness to practise dentistry or dental surgery hold or appoint one or more members of the Board to hold an inquiry into the conduct of any person registered in the register who is alleged to have been guilty of infamous or disgraceful conduct in a professional respect.

(2) If, as the result of an inquiry held under the foregoing sub-section or as the result of a report received by the Board from the General Dental Board of an inquiry held by such Board, the Board finds that the person in respect of whose conduct such inquiry was held was guilty of infamous or disgraceful conduct in a professional respect the Board shall send to the Medical Council a report of the facts proved at such inquiry and of the finding of the Board.

(3) If the Medical Council, on consideration of a report sent to it under this section and after giving the person to whom such report relates and the university or college (if any) at whose instance the said inquiry was held a reasonable opportunity of being heard, is of opinion that the name of such person should be erased from the register, the Medical Council shall direct the Board to erase the name of such person from the register and the Board shall forthwith erase such name accordingly.

(4) A person whose name has been erased from the register under this section may be restored to the register by order of the High Court under this Act or at any time by special direction of the Board given with the consent of the Medical Council but not otherwise, and when a person is so restored to the register by the Board the Board may with the consent of the Medical Council attach such conditions (including the payment of a fee not exceeding the fee which would be payable by such person for registration if he was then being registered for the first time) as the Board with the approval of the Medical Council thinks fit.

[1105]Dr. RYAN: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  I move amendment 31:

In sub-section (2) to delete all words after the word “Board,” line 39, to the end of the sub-section and substitute therefor the words “may if it seems fit erase the name of such person from the register.”

The effect of it will be to give full disciplinary power to the Dental Board, instead of asking them to report cases to the Medical Council. In my view, the persons on the Dental Board will be persons of standing, and they should be allowed to do their own work. It is not fair to ask them to report cases to the Medical Council. In addition to that, there will be representatives of the Medical Council on this Board. If they want to have any say in the matter, it is sufficient for them to have representatives on the Board. However, I do not want to press the amendment, but would ask the Minister to consider it.

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  The amendment can be considered, but it changes the whole scheme of the measure. It was very definitely stated on Second Reading that it was not proposed to give the Dental Board these penal or disciplinary powers, because it was thought that the larger body, which has been constituted with a view to inquiring into cases of infamous conduct in a professional sense and so on, could better decide even a technical dental matter, as long as they had competent witnesses from the Dental Board before them. It was, therefore, thought better to allow the larger Board to have the control of penal cases. It can be argued that it would be better to let the Dental Board have control of penal cases relating to its own profession, but that point has not been raised by the profession. The medical and dental practitioners seem to be in agreement, and as long as that agreement existed I thought it was better to have the larger Board have control of penal cases. If we are going to accept the amendment, I think consequentially we will have to look a little further into the constitution of the Board, and try to insist that it will have people appointed to it who will have certain qualifications, not necessarily [1106] naming the qualifications, but seeing to it in the choice of personnel. Unless the Deputy sees any great value in removing these cases from the larger to the smaller Board, I would ask him to hesitate before pressing it.

Dr. RYAN: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  Did I understand the Minister to say that the dentists themselves did not ask for this amendment?

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  I have heard of no objection whatever to the Medical Board being given control in this matter.

Dr. RYAN: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  It was from a source of that sort that the amendment was suggested to me.

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  There are two Dental Boards in the country and I have been in touch with them, and in addition I have been in considerable touch with professional men in Dublin and elsewhere, and I must say that I have not heard any objection put forward. If it were put forward and pressed with any vehemence, of course it would have to be considered. I suggest to the Deputy that he should leave this over until the Report Stage, and in the meantime see for himself what is the strength behind the argument that he refers to.

Dr. RYAN: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  I am satisfied with that.

Dr. HENNESSY: Information on Dr. Thomas Hennessy  Zoom on Dr. Thomas Hennessy  I should like to say just a word to supplement what the Minister has stated on this matter. All the amendments that I have put down were at the request of the Irish Dental Association, and I did not hear from any of them that they objected to the provision with regard to this.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Section 30 agreed to.

Sections 31, 32 and 33 agreed to.

(3) Every person who after the establishment of the register wilfully and falsely represents himself to be or holds himself out as being a person who is registered in the register [1107] or uses any name, title, addition or description (whether expressed in words or by letters or partly in words and partly by letters) implying that he is so registered shall be guilty of an offence under this section and shall be liable on summary conviction thereof to a fine not exceeding twenty-five pounds.

Dr. HENNESSY: Information on Dr. Thomas Hennessy  Zoom on Dr. Thomas Hennessy  I move amendment No. 36:—

In sub-section (3), line 54, to delete the words “twenty-five pounds” and substitute therefor the words “one hundred pounds and not less than fifty pounds.”

In moving this amendment I wish to point out that under Section 3 very serious offences are dealt with. While my object is to make the punishment fit the crime I think that the punishment provided under this section is altogether inadequate. I do not want to suggest that a man should be imprisoned or get bovine doses of castor oil, but I feel that the punishment provided under this section of the Bill should be increased. I think that the fine, instead of being £25, should be £100 and not less than £50.

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  This is simply a matter of making the punishment fit a particular offence. There are three sections dealing with certain offences and penalties, Sections 34, 35 and 43. Section 43 refers to people who practise “or represent or hold themselves out whether directly or by implication as practising or being prepared to practise dentistry or dental surgery.” The punishment under that section on summary conviction is a fine not exceeding £100 and not less than £50. That is for the actual practising or holding oneself out to practise dentistry without having qualifications. Under Section 35 it will be an offence for any person who is registered to describe himself “by any name other than the name in which he is registered in the register,” or to use any additional title except the one that he is entitled to have on the register. The penalty there is very severe. His name may, at the discretion of the Board, be erased [1108] from the register, thus taking away his professional livelihood. Section 34 deals with a very small matter. Every person who, after the establishment of the register, “wilfully and falsely represents himself to be or holds himself out as being a person who is registered in the register or who uses any name, title or description,” etc., implying that he is so registered, shall be guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding £25. This section is only intended to meet a minor type of offence, such for instance as might happen in the case of a person travelling on board ship. To acquire a certain social standing on the ship he might put himself down on the register as “Mr. So and So, licensed dental surgeon,” when in fact he had no right to use the title. I think it would be a very difficult matter to get a court to accept a minimum penalty of £50 under this section. I am afraid what would happen is that the court would not convict at all, and therefore the effect aimed at under the section would be lost. I think that if the Deputy considers the variety of the offences and penalties set out under these three sections he will see that it would not be wise to press this amendment.

Sir JAMES CRAIG: Information on Prof. James Craig  Zoom on Prof. James Craig  I agree with the views expressed by the Minister. I think a maximum penalty of £25 is quite sufficient.

Dr. HENNESSY: Information on Dr. Thomas Hennessy  Zoom on Dr. Thomas Hennessy  I do not want to press the amendment unduly, but I would like to remind the House that offences under this section will be entirely against the public. The public will be the sufferers because the culprit will have misrepresented himself as possessing qualifications to which he was not entitled.

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  The public cannot suffer until an unregistered and unqualified person begins to practise on the public. When that point is reached there is an offence under Section 43 for which a very heavy penalty is provided.

Dr. HENNESSY: Information on Dr. Thomas Hennessy  Zoom on Dr. Thomas Hennessy  If the Minister says that Section 43 meets my point I am satisfied.

[1109] Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Section 34 agreed to.

Sections 35, 36, 37, 38 and 39 agreed to.

For the purpose of satisfying itself upon any matter or thing relating to which any such university or college as aforesaid is required under the foregoing sub-section to furnish information to the Medical Council, the Medical Council may appoint any person whether such person is or is not a member of the Medical Council to attend any qualifying examination held by such university or college and every person so appointed may attend such qualifying examination.

Dr. HENNESSY: Information on Dr. Thomas Hennessy  Zoom on Dr. Thomas Hennessy  I move amendment 37:—

“In sub-section (2) line 3 to delete the word `any' and substitute therefor the words `A fit and suitable.”'

Amendment agreed to.

Section 40, as amended, agreed to.

Sir JAMES CRAIG: Information on Prof. James Craig  Zoom on Prof. James Craig  I move amendment 39:—“To delete sub-section (6).”

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  This was an error that crept into the previous draft.

Amendment agreed to.

Section 41, as amended, agreed to.

Section 42 agreed to.

The provisions of the foregoing sub-section shall not operate to prohibit—

(a) the practice of dentistry or dental surgery by a registered medical practitioner who is at the date of the passing of this Act a registered medical practitioner, or——

[1110]Sir JAMES CRAIG: Information on Prof. James Craig  Zoom on Prof. James Craig  I move amendment 40:

In sub-section (2) (a), to delete all words after the words “medical practitioner,” line 18, down to and including the word “practitioner,” line 19.

I do not know that there is any necessity for me to repeat the arguments I used on the Second Reading of this Bill. I must, I suppose, mention some of the great objections to this. The medical profession in its entirety is opposed to giving dentists protection against the general profession. The Medical Associations are all in support of this amendment. The fact of the matter is that the dentists are a branch of medicine and surgery, and they are seeking for protection against the practice of dentistry by any medical man. That is a principle that the medical profession object to entirely. They say that they cannot allow a side line of the profession, if they can possibly help it under this Bill, from getting protection against the rest. If we once assented to this principle there is no reason why we should not have to assent to the same principle with regard to ophthalmists, throat people, gynaecologists, and the rest. That is one of the reasons why I am opposed to this, because we cannot assent to the principle that any one particular side-line of the profession should be protected against the rest.

I come now to the second part which I mentioned, that is, the selfishness of the dentists who are proposing this. If the Government had made provision for the poor people throughout the country, one would have very little to say. No such provision is made. Therefore it follows, with regard to large areas in the country, that the only treatment poor people can receive is from the dispensary doctor and at practically no cost to them. If, on the other hand, they require this dental treatment, and if this amendment is not carried, then the doctor will be certainly within his right to do dental work. If he refuses to do dental work, as was pointed out, the poor man may have to travel 25 miles, pay for the journey, and then pay the dentist. This is a selfish move on the part of the dentist to prevent doctors making a [1111] few shillings and doing work for the poor. They want to keep all the work they can to themselves. This is a selfish move and I need not enlarge further. I hope the Minister will accept the amendment, because it is absolutely essential that the medical profession should be able to do some dentistry, and the amendment hits at a wrong principle.

Dr. MYLES KEOGH: Information on Myles Keogh  Zoom on Myles Keogh  Is the Minister aware that a man in Dundalk who is prohibited under the Bill, if he brings his patients to Newry, can operate as a medical man? I am not speaking of Inverness or some outlandish place, but a man at present on the British register can do something in Newry which he cannot do in Dundalk. The man who practises in Dundalk may go across the border.

Mr. CASSIDY: Information on Archie J. Cassidy  Zoom on Archie J. Cassidy  As one in favour of medical inspection of school children, I support the amendment, because I realise that if medical inspection were put into operation and this clause remained in the Bill, it would mean that you should have a dental and a medical inspection. I also agree with the Deputy's remark as to the rural districts. It would be a hardship to everyone except the dentists themselves if the amendment is not inserted. Therefore, I support the amendment.

Dr. WARD: Information on Dr. Francis Constantine Ward  Zoom on Dr. Francis Constantine Ward  I beg to support the amendment. Deputy Craig has dealt with most of the arguments in favour of it. The part of it that appeals to me most is the fact that there is no alternative treatment for the poor and the destitute poor. I have been a dispensary doctor for the past twelve years, and during that time I have often had destitute people come to me for extraction of teeth or for treatment and advice that would ordinarily be given by a dental surgeon if available. I do not know how the Minister proposes that that section of the community should be looked after. I am not aware of any doctor who wants to practise dentistry. We would all be relieved if we had not to treat this class of case. There is no other provision, and unless people are left without treatment at all, or there is some fund [1112] to enable them to pay for treatment, I cannot see what is to become of them. The Minister, on the Second Reading, indicated that he was prepared to look on the extraction of teeth as a surgical operation, and that, under that heading, doctors in future could extract teeth. We have never looked upon it as a surgical operation, and, to my mind, it is no more a surgical operation than the paring of the Minister's corns, if he has any. I have seen teeth become so loose in the socket that you could extract them with the naked hand, but I do not think that could be described as a surgical operation. If it is a surgical operation, then under paragraph (c) of this section we find quite a number of classes of people are to be licensed to perform surgical operations. Pharmaceutical chemists, chemists and druggists or a licentiate apothecary can practice in urgent cases. The only class of the community who now extract teeth and are not included in the category of people who can perform surgical operations are blacksmiths. They are not included under paragraph (c). The practice of dentistry and dental surgery is defined in the first Section of this Act:

The expression “practice of dentistry or dental surgery” means the performance of any operation and the giving of any treatment, advice, opinion or attendance usually performed or given by a dental surgeon. That is a rather sweeping definition.

For all practical purposes, that means that a medical practitioner would require to have a notice put up in his surgery: “Do not mention your mouth, because we cannot discuss that part of a person's anatomy without running the risk of offending against the law,” if this Bill is passed. Apart from the fact that there is no provision for the destitute poor, the dental profession has not spread its ramifications into the country sufficiently to place dental treatment within a reasonable distance of the destitute. I hope the Minister will consider this point carefully and agree to accept the amendment.

Mr. J.J. BYRNE: Information on John Joseph Byrne  Zoom on John Joseph Byrne  I rise to support the amendment, because, as Deputy Sir James Craig has rightly said, there is no provision in this Bill for the desti- [1113] tute poor. I had a very striking case that brought the facts prominently to my notice last week. A poor man told me that his wife went to the Dental Hospital to have her teeth extracted and that, in order to have the job done she would have to pay a fee of 5/-. There was no one else in the city to do the extraction, and if this amendment is not carried it will mean in future that the very poor people must go without dental treatment at all.

Dr. V. WHITE: Information on Dr. Vincent Joseph White  Zoom on Dr. Vincent Joseph White  It must have been overlooked by Deputy Craig and Deputy Ward that under our present Local Government laws any dispensary doctor can send eight patients, requiring dental treatment, to the district hospital. We are doing it in Waterford, and I suppose the same holds good through the Saorstát, so the only treatment doctors do, as far as dentistry is concerned, is the extraction of a tooth. We know that if a large number of teeth are to be extracted—we are not called on often—the patients are sent to the General Hospital. I fail to see where the poor will be hit in this Bill.

Professor THRIFT: Information on Prof. William E. Thrift  Zoom on Prof. William E. Thrift  I also would like to support the amendment, and in doing so I want just to draw attention to the fact that these two amendments, 40 and 41, must really be considered together. It will not do to put up sub-section (b) as a reason for not granting amendment 40. With reference to what Deputy White has said, I do not think that that really meets the case at all, because, in very many cases, it would mean that a patient would have to be sent a very long way in order to receive dental treatment in a dental hospital. Further, saying that a doctor would have power in an urgent case to extract teeth would only open the door to a definition of what is or is not an urgent case, and it would be impossible to decide what was an urgent case. I hope the Minister is prepared to accept the amendment.

Mr. FAHY: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  It is with some temerity I intervene in a debate which has been participated in largely by experts, but there are a few points which occur to me. I quite see that there are good grounds for the objection raised by [1114] Deputy Ward, that is, that dental services for the poor would be interfered with. I would like to know from those putting forward this amendment whether, if it were adopted, there is anything to prevent a medical practitioner who would not be under the control of the Dental Board from specialising in dentistry, making dentures and devoting himself almost entirely to the practice of dentistry. That is a point I would like to have cleared up.

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  There is nothing to prevent it.

Dr. HENNESSY: Information on Dr. Thomas Hennessy  Zoom on Dr. Thomas Hennessy  I am against this section inasmuch and in so far as it prevents a doctor, a medical practitioner, from the full practice of his profession. We do not ask the right to draw teeth merely as a privilege. We are entitled to draw teeth as part of our training. Every doctor, or at least every qualified doctor, has put in a study of anatomy, physiology and pathology of the mouth. A dentist is allowed to specialise in the treatment of the mouth without having studied the anatomy of the rest of the body. That is a great privilege for a dentist. But the doctor has to make a study of the whole body, from the crown of the head to the toe nails. That should be no reason why the mouth should be reserved as a special subject for dentists. It is a very serious thing in so far as it is an encroachment on the rights of the medical practitioner, and for that reason we must resist it. Now, a dentist is a very privileged person in being allowed to practise a section of medicine without doing the whole lot. It would be just as reasonable for a midwife, because she gets a smattering of training in midwifery, to come along and claim that a doctor should not be allowed to do any midwifery cases. I think this is only putting in the thin end of the wedge and making a precedent for that and such things.

Again, would it not be very awkward in a dispensary in the country if a doctor were to be debarred from practising any dentistry? Potential patients may say: “If this doctor cannot draw teeth, what can he do?” Moreover, it will be a great hardship on the patient, because there are several rural districts [1115] where the nearest dental hospital would be six to ten miles away. I do accept that the doctor who is well trained in surgery of the mouth and in extraction of teeth in which he has become efficient by practice—sometimes, I admit, at the expense of the patient; in that he is no exception—is not qualified to practise dentistry. I do not see why a doctor should be debarred from dentistry. I do not want the doctor to be in the position when a patient comes in, that he is to be a piece of statuary in the surgery, a piece of surgical incompetence. In fact, impotence is the proper word in which to describe it. We do not ask for this as a privilege, but as a right, simply because we are trained in the anatomy and treatment of the mouth as well as in the treatment of the rest of the body. There is a great deal in a doctor having full knowledge of the entire body. Very often the fact of a man's knowledge being limited to the mouth will be a serious matter for the patient. The dental practitioner will only know about the mouth, and he will find that sometimes what is wrong with the mouth and the teeth is only a secondary manifestation of the disease that has its primary origin in some other part of the body. It would be a serious thing for the patient if the practice of dentistry is limited entirely to dentists.

Dr. KEOGH: Information on Myles Keogh  Zoom on Myles Keogh  The Minister said there was nothing to prevent a medical man from practising dentistry. Any objection to that could very easily be got other by putting in, in the Report Stage, that nobody except he is on the dental list, will be entitled to sue for his fees. The medical man will be allowed to sue for his fees if he is on the dental list. The medical man could be allowed to practise dentistry, but in order to get paid for his work he should be on the register. To my mind, the difficulty could be got over in that way. The medical man then could practise dentistry for his own amusement if he likes.

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  These arguments in connection with the amendment turn on two points—First, that if the amendment be not accepted, the [1116] poor have to suffer, and, secondly, medical men are going to be deprived of certain of their present rights and privileges. Now, the time may have arrived when this field of medical work may have to be carved out, and when we should insist on specialised qualifications before you allow that work to be done. On the other matter, which is more important, I stated, not as Deputy Ward said—that I was prepared to look upon teeth drawing as a surgical operation—but I stated that I was so advised that that was the interpretation likely to be put upon it. It comes to this, that after consultation with dentists and doctors, this point has been put to the Department that medical men should be allowed to extract teeth, and, secondly, that medical men should be allowed to give treatment by drugs in certain cases. It was as distinctly stated then as anything could well be that the majority of medical men do not want to go in for dental surgery. They do not want to deal in dentistry or anything like that.

We looked for an amendment which would meet those two points, and we believe that we have got it in (b), which reads: “The performance by a registered medical practitioner of any surgical operation in connection with the tissues of the mouth or jaws.” I was informed that that particular phrase covered the extraction of teeth. Then it went on further to state the giving of any dental treatment in urgent dental cases. To me, and certainly to the drafter of this amendment, it seemed that if a poor man came into a medical dispensary and was suffering, and that the alleviation of the suffering was not in the extraction of the teeth but in some other type of dental treatment, it would be regarded as an urgent case if there were either no dentist there to do it, or if there was no dentist to do it there free. The word “urgent” covers that case. It was explained to me that the word “urgent” was capable of such wide interpretation that it did not matter if we went the whole length, and I accepted that. Deputy Fahy has raised the point as to a medical man being allowed to practise dental surgery. Why should anyone become a dentist [1117] when it is going to cost less to become a surgeon? In addition to that, there is an annual fee in the case of a dentist, whereas the medical man only pays one fee. Are we to turn back and say that for the future we do not want any dentists, that we only want medical men, and that some of them will specialise in dentistry? As far as making payments are concerned, it costs more at the moment to become a qualified dentist than to become a qualified medical man.

Dr. HENNESSY: Information on Dr. Thomas Hennessy  Zoom on Dr. Thomas Hennessy  Question.

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  It is a fact. Then, counter to that, the medical course lasts a year longer. There is more or less a balance in the calculation of those who are desirous of sending their sons to dental work as to whether they should let them become medical practitioners or whether they will be content to allow them to specialise in dentistry at a greater cost to themselves. There is a further small point. A fee would have to be paid annually in the case of dental practitioners, whereas the medical man only pays a single fee. He is done with his registration after paying one fee, but the dentist has to pay a fee each year. Of course, that matter could be met by an amendment. Any registered medical practitioner who wished to hold himself out for the full practice of dentistry must register himself on the dental register and pay a fee annually. It could be done in that way if that were considered a good thing.

I think Deputy White has met the point as to the poor man. Generally an urgent case will be sent to the District Hospital, and there the patient could be attended by a dentist, and, if not by a dentist, by a registered medical practitioner, the case on the face of it being an urgent dental case. It is a matter for the House to decide. It is simply a matter of argument to find out what is the best thing to do in the circumstances. The second section was designed to meet the point put to me by the medical representatives and agreed to by the dental representatives. Medical men wanted to be allowed to extract teeth and give dental treatment by drugs in certain cases. The dentists had no objection [1118] to medical practitioners having that power. On the other hand, the medical men said they had no desire to enter into full dental practice and the dentists said they would object to medical men entering into such practice. The amendment was designed to meet the case put up. It has not yet been proved that it fails to meet the case.

The simpler thing is to accept the amendment, but I think there will have to be other reactions touching on such points as insisting on the medical men desiring to practise dentistry, registering and paying dental fees.

Dr. HENNESSY: Information on Dr. Thomas Hennessy  Zoom on Dr. Thomas Hennessy  There are a few matters which I would like to mention to the Minister. As regards the specialisation of a dentist, I would like to say that a man may specialise in matters affecting the eye, but that in no way debars any medical practitioners from practising on and treating the eye. Then we must consider cases where there are no local dentists. There may be great inconvenience there. Our attitude is that we ask to be left in our present position. This Bill is circumscribing the practice of the medical practitioner in a way that no existing Dentists Bill has done. If the Minister thinks it is not advisable to send a patient to the dispensary doctor, then the patient can only have recourse to the local blacksmith with his sparking irons and tongs.

Professor THRIFT: Information on Prof. William E. Thrift  Zoom on Prof. William E. Thrift  Can the Minister say how many hospitals there are in the 26 counties such as were referred to by Deputy White? What would be the radius covered by each hospital? I think the Minister indicated the right line when he suggested accepting the amendment and introducing a further amendment on Report requiring any doctor who wished to follow dentistry as a means of livelihood to put himself on the dental register and pay the fees. The great majority of doctors, I am convinced from what I have heard, do not want to practise dentistry at all.

Dr. WHITE: Information on Dr. Vincent Joseph White  Zoom on Dr. Vincent Joseph White  In any county hospital, even if there is not a dentist attached, the medical officer can requisition a dentist to do any necessary operation as regards the teeth, and the ambulance [1119] can be sent out for the patient if necessary.

Professor THRIFT: Information on Prof. William E. Thrift  Zoom on Prof. William E. Thrift  A distance of perhaps twenty or forty miles?

Dr. KEOGH: Information on Myles Keogh  Zoom on Myles Keogh  I would like to remind the Minister that a fully registered medical practitioner could, on applying to the Royal College of Surgeons, get a modified examination if he desired to enter on the dental register and take up dental practice. His knowledge of anatomy and his general hospital work would be accepted if he were desirous of seeking a dental licence. The Minister mentioned that some alteration would have to be made in that connection if, later on, medical men were desirous of taking up dental practice. A medical man already possesses three-fourths of the qualifications required in connection with dentistry.

Sir J. CRAIG: Information on Prof. James Craig  Zoom on Prof. James Craig  Is the Minister prepared to accept the amendment? One amendment will include the other, because one practically depends upon the other.

Mr. DE VALERA: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  Would the two points of view be met if the words “urgent dental cases” were omitted? Then there would be the position indicated by the Minister, debarring medical practitioners from the full practice of dentistry until they had registered.

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  I do not know that I get the point. If the phrase “in urgent dental cases” is to be dropped, then the position is that the sub-section will read: “The provisions of the foregoing sub-section shall not operate to prohibit... (b) the performance by a registered medical practitioner of any surgical operation in connection with the tissues of the mouth or jaws, or the giving by a registered medical practitioner of any dental treatment, advice or attendance.” I think that is the same as to say that a registered medical practitioner shall be enabled to practise dentistry. It is the same as saying the registered medical man can do all dentistry.

Sir J. CRAIG: Information on Prof. James Craig  Zoom on Prof. James Craig  I would urge the Minister to accept the amendment. [1120] I do not think what has been suggested by Deputy de Valera makes any improvement.

Professor THRIFT: Information on Prof. William E. Thrift  Zoom on Prof. William E. Thrift  I think it is the same thing but more complicated.

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  Is Deputy Craig suggesting that we drop the last line of sub-section (2) (a)?

Sir J. CRAIG: Information on Prof. James Craig  Zoom on Prof. James Craig  I appeal to the Minister to accept the amendment.

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  Let the amendment be accepted for the time being and I can then see if it is necessary to put down for discussion on the Report Stage amendments to the amended section with a view to making some difference as between a specialised dental practitioner and the medical man who wishes to do dentistry. There are very few Deputies, particularly medical Deputies, who will go the full length suggested by Deputy Hennessy. He says this Bill is circumscribing the area of our medical practitioners. I have had it from medical men that 99 out of 100 never did any dental cases except the extraction of teeth and the giving of treatment by drugs in urgent cases. If Deputy Dr. Hennessy's point is to be taken in, that statement made to me is entirely wrong. It is, that all medical men want to assert a right over all dental practice. I did not understand from anybody but Deputy Dr. Hennessy that that was so.

Dr. HENNESSY: Information on Dr. Thomas Hennessy  Zoom on Dr. Thomas Hennessy  I would suggest to the Minister that if he wants to get authoritative opinion on medical matters, he should always consult the body representing the profession. He has failed to do that—I am sure through no fault of his own—and hence the trouble.

Mr. GOREY: Information on Denis John Gorey  Zoom on Denis John Gorey  I feel rather shy in intervening amongst experts, but my concern is to preserve the facilities hitherto provided for the poor. A considerable number of persons are not able to pay fees and cannot go ten or twenty miles without considerable inconvenience. I ask, no matter what the views of the medical men are, that the facilities for the poor shall not be curtailed.

[1121]Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  I propose to accept amendment No. 40 and also No. 41, which is consequential, and to have inserted in sub-section (a) a proviso to the effect that a registered medical practitioner who holds himself out for full practice in dentistry shall register himself on the ordinary dental register.

Amendments 40 and 41 put and agreed to.

Question—“That Section 43, as amended, stand part of the Bill”—put and agreed to.

Question—“That Sections 44, 45 and 46 and the First Schedule stand part of the Bill”—put and agreed to.

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  I would ask the Dáil to pass the Second Schedule on the basis that, having passed it without discussion, I will ask to have the Bill put down for Report to-morrow—it will not be taken to-morrow—and, prior to the Report Stage, I will have a motion put down recommitting the Bill to a Special Committee, with particular reference to the Second Schedule.

Professor THRIFT: Information on Prof. William E. Thrift  Zoom on Prof. William E. Thrift  Will the recommittal of the Second Schedule with the proviso, with reference to persons who will be allowed to have their names on the register after passing an examination, permit the discussion of cases where it is not suggested to have a second examination? I think the reference should be wider.

AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  There is no doubt that the recommittal of the Second Schedule simpliciter does confine you to persons passing a special examination. If it is desired to go outside that, the Minister can, before tomorrow, find a suitable form of words to do so.

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  I agree that it is desirable to have it widened.

Question—“That the Second Schedule and Title stand part of the Bill”—put and agreed to.

Progress ordered to be reported.

The Dáil went out of Committee.

Bill reported with amendments.

[1122] Report Stage ordered for Thursday, November 10th.


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