Private Deputies' Business. - Public Charitable Hospitals (Temporary Provisions) Bill, 1929—Second Stage.
Thursday, 20 February 1930
Dáil Éireann Debate
Sir James Craig: I move the Second Reading of this Bill. I have carried the Bill about in my pocket since its introduction and it has reached such a frayed state that I can scarcely read it at present. It is a short and simple Bill. Its subject is as it is set forth in the title:
In its inception I had no part. It originated with a Joint Committee of six or eight hospitals, the financial position of which was so precarious that they were threatened unless funds could be raised by some means in the near future. I understand that the combined indebtedness of these six hospitals as far as overdrafts to the bank are concerned is not less than £60,000. This Joint Committee finds that if it were desirable  funds could not be raised from the State. Even if the State were offering to support the hospitals, I do not think I personally would agree to it. There was no hope, at all events, when the Committee turned their attention to the charitable public, that the public could open their purse-strings more widely than they had done in the past, and I will refer later on to the extent to which the charitable public have been able to support the hospitals within the last few years. This Committee, however, had before them the encouraging fact that in recent times one hospital had benefited to the extent of £25,000 and a second hospital to the extent of £10,000 by means of sweepstake schemes promoted on their behalf. The obvious course, therefore, for that Committee was to endeavour to make money by these means, the only means which seemed possible for them to adopt. A scheme was drawn up. It might be laid before the Minister for Justice for his approval or amendment or his rejection, whichever he considered necessary, but in order that the Minister for Justice would have the power to adopt any scheme it was necessary that the Oireachtas should empower him to do so by passing a measure on the lines indicated in this Bill. Accordingly the Bill was drafted and placed in my hands with a view to introducing it and endeavouring to secure its passage through the Dáil. As far as I am personally concerned, I have had nothing to do with the drawing up of the scheme or of the Bill. The Bill was actually placed in my hands before I knew any proposal of such a sort had been adopted by these hospitals, and I may say at once if there had seemed to me any other method of securing financial aid for the poverty-stricken hospitals I should not have consented to bringing the measure before the Dáil. I have no great desire to see the hospitals supported by means of sweepstakes, but I am driven to this position, that these hospitals which are involved have practically no other means by which they are to subsist unless a measure such as I am proposing tonight passes the Oireachtas.
“Every such sweepstake or drawing of prizes shall be held carried on or conducted by a Committee to be appointed by the Board of such hospital or sanatorium and subject to a scheme drawn up by such Committee which shall be submitted to and subject to the approval of the Minister for Justice.”
That leaves the onus of drawing up a scheme upon the Joint Committee of the hospitals which have agreed to enter into the scheme. It will be necessary for the hospitals to show that they are in financial difficulties before they can expect to get into this scheme. The board of one hospital or a number of hospitals are prepared to go in in order to formulate this scheme. This scheme was drawn up by these hospitals that were in very great need of money. There is no reason why under the Bill any number of hospitals, situated in any part of the country, should not themselves join together, form a scheme and lay the scheme before the Minister. If he approves of the scheme it should be allowed to go on. In other words, Cork, Waterford, Limerick and the other cities are at liberty, after drafting a scheme, to lay it before the Minister, and may take advantage of this. This is only a temporary measure. This is not a permanent measure. I want to lay stress upon that fact. It is a temporary measure, and is entitled the Public Charitable Hospitals (Temporary Provisions) Bill. In that way the provisions of it are confined solely to sweepstakes relating to hospitals. The clause at the end says that the Bill is to remain in force until 1st July, 1933. I do not know but that it would be advisable, perhaps, to extend it for another year, in case the experiment has not been sufficiently tried before then.
The next thing I have to do is to show the necessity on the part of the hospitals that have joined in this  scheme. I have before me a statement from the National Maternity Hospital in Holles Street. Their present overdraft is £1,916, practically £2,000. The cost of running that hospital during 1929 was £6,413. I want to lay special stress upon the voluntary subscriptions, because people have said to me, “Why do you not get people to put their hands in their pockets and support the hospitals?” This is a hospital which is doing a tremendous amount of good work. I am told that it will probably have to close its doors, unless those in control are able to get money because a great deal of repairs have to be done. They have nearly £2,000 of an overdraft, still the voluntary subscriptions, including special donations and a charity sermon amounted in 1929 to £463. Those who talk about another method of raising money for hospitals may at once exclude the particular method of trying to get money from the charitable public. The next on the list is Jervis Street Hospital. The present overdraft amounts to £22,472, while the cost of running the hospital amounts to £9,264. Voluntary subscriptions, including special donations during 1927, came to £746; in 1928, £737; so that out of a total cost of roughly between £9,000 and £10,000 to run the hospital, they are only able to get between £700 and £800 in voluntary subscriptions from the charitable public.
The next on the list is St. Mary's Open Air Hospital, Cappagh, Finglas, Co. Dublin. They have a bank overdraft of £9,918 6s. 8d. Their total debt is £20,918, so that they are in a bad way. I have not as many details about this hospital as I have about the others. Coming to the National Children's Hospital in Harcourt Street we find that during 1928, 319 indoor patients were treated, and there was a great deal of outdoor work with ultra violet rays and radiographs. The overdraft amounts to £6,823, or nearly £7,000. Lord Powerscourt, who was Chairman of the Hospital announced a few months ago that unless funds  were available this year the hospital would be closed, as they were not going to run it any longer unless some further support came along. St. Ultan's Hospital is a comparatively small one, and so new that one would hardly expect them to have an overdraft. It amounts to £1,410. The number of patients was 286 during the month of June, 1929; 124 being treated free; 32 paid 2/6d. weekly; 113 paid sums varying from 3/- to 10/- weekly; and 17 paid £1 1s. 0d. weekly. During the same period 5,873 babies were treated in the extern department, no charge being made for the service. As far as this small hospital is concerned they want a good deal of money for things that are needed. At present the overdraft in the bank is over £1,400.
I come now to Sir Patrick Dun's Hospital, with which I am connected. The debit balance at the bank on 6th February was £9,384. No State grant was received by the hospital. The number of patients during the year was 1,577, the number of patients admitted who paid nothing, 420, and the total number of patients treated at the outdoor dispensary during the year came to 28,874. The subscriptions and donations here show a little better result than in the case of the others. The subscriptions received from the charitable public during 1929 came to £2,081, but the total cost of running the hospital was roughly £10,000, so that only one-fifth of the total cost is supplied by the charitable public. The amount received from bequests and legacies amounted to £1,132, and from patients able to pay, £3,297. As a matter of fact, the hospital is at present being run at £1,000 of a loss yearly, and such a state of affairs cannot go on. Help must be received or eventually the hospital must be closed.
The Richmond, Whitworth and Hardwick Hospitals have an overdraft of £2,000. I have a long statement about them which I need not go into now. These hospitals are in a different position from some of the  others, because they are in receipt of a pretty large grant from the Government. They formerly received something like £7,500, but last year the grant was cut down, as far as I remember, to £5,000, so that the overdraft now amounts to £2,000.
These are the chief points I have to deal with in regard to the necessity of raising money for these hospitals. I think I have shown without any question that money is needed. In 1923, when a previous Bill was introduced, a Select Committee was appointed with power to take evidence. One of the things upon which they took evidence was to find out whether the hospitals were really in a state of want. The Select Committee found without any question that the hospitals needed money very much. Nothing was done at the time. A second point was also inquired into, the expense of running sweepstakes. The Committee came to the conclusion that the expense of running sweeps amounted roughly to anything from 36 to 40 per cent. They had before them, and put on record the expenses of three sweeps that were run by the late Canon Nolan in County Antrim. Seeing that the figures were audited, the result is interesting. The prize money amounted to £5,000, postage to £13,000, printing and stationery to £600, wages to £3,650, and advertising £205.
The total cost of running the sweeps amounted to £31,171. The tickets sold in three sweeps amounted to £84,163, leaving a total balance of practically £53,000, so that the promoters would have the benefit of that sum, which represented 63 per cent. of the total, while the expenses represented 37 per cent. As I said, the previous Select Committee that had power to take evidence when appointed by the Dáil in 1923, reported that roughly the expenses of any sweepstake must be round about that figure. There is, I take it, no necessity at present to refer this Bill to a Committee for the purpose of making inquiries of that kind, because there is in existence the Report of the previous Committee. So far as the  first point is concerned, namely, the necessitous position of the hospitals, I think I have dealt with that at sufficient length to convince everyone. If the Bill passes Second Reading, as I hope it will, any scheme drawn up by the Committee of the various hospitals which join in it must go before the Minister for Justice for his approval. He will have power to say whether a proper percentage of the total sale of tickets is being allotted towards the expenses of maintaining hospitals. Furthermore, if the Bill passes Second Reading, it will automatically be referred to a Select Committee of eleven members appointed by the Selection Committee, who will have power to discuss the matter fully and to amend the Bill in any way that is considered necessary. An opportunity will be given to place further restrictions in regard to any matter about which there is any doubt or suspicion, and to put amendments into the Bill which will remedy that. Again I say that the measure is a mere temporary one, and is more or less in the nature of an experiment. It has been stated that it is a mistake to be sending tickets out of the country to be sold in other countries. I have here some tickets from such places as Copenhagen, Hamburg, Amsterdam, Canada, Northern Ireland and England. I see a receipt for £2 12s. 6d.
Sir James Craig: No, it does not say. I am much obliged to Deputy Flinn for calling my attention to the matter, because I see that in one of these sweeps there is sufficient in prize money to secure a prize to practically every second ticket, and everybody who buys two tickets is almost certain to get a prize. I have the greatest confidence that the Dáil will support me in this Bill, but before concluding I desire to say that I want to stand in a white sheet and mention that on the last occasion, when a similar Bill was  before the House I voted against its Second Reading because we were told by the then Minister for Home Affairs, the late Mr. Kevin O'Higgins, that he thought it would be impossible to close all the loopholes to corruption and fraud. I said that although I knew the hospitals were in a bad way I could not consent to voting for a Bill concerning which there was any suggestion of fraud. On this occasion I have spoken to the Minister for Justice, and I think that I am entitled to say that he does not take that view. He is quite opposed to the measure, but he says that he is perfectly satisfied that if it passes, and if the scheme is drawn tightly enough it could be carried out without any fraud. I understand that the matter of giving the Bill a Second Reading will be left to a free vote of the House, and though I am very averse to raising money in this particular way I see no other means by which it can be raised for our hospitals. Therefore I am doing a thing which I have no great desire to do. I admit that quite freely.
Mr. Shaw: I have much pleasure in seconding the motion that this Bill be given a Second Reading. I think it may mean the development later on of sweepstakes on a much more elaborate scale. I see no reason why we in the Free State cannot do what they have done in England. When they had a Stock Exchange sweep there last year about one million pound tickets were sold. I have a cutting here which refers to the hospitals that benefited by that sweep. It states that 500 hospitals and other charitable institutions figured in the amazing list of allocations to charity which the Stock Exchange Mutual Subscription Fund has published showing how they disbursed the sum of £100,000. Three hospitals received £5,000 each, and so on. Five hundred different hospitals in London and other parts of England benefited by that sweep. A very large proportion of that money came from Ireland, and fifty times more would have come from here if tickets could have been got. I was pressed very  strongly by a large number of Deputies here to get them tickets.
In other words, Irish money was used for subsidising these English hospitals. I do not grudge it to them. I am very glad they got it, but at the same time I consider that we should first subsidise Irish hospitals, which, Sir James Craig has pointed out, are in such a serious condition. I make no apology whatever for supporting the Bill. There is opposition to the Bill on the ground that it is encouraging gambling, but the fact remains that if we had a sweep on similar lines to the Stock Exchange sweep in England, every one of the people who talk in that way would be quite sure to have a ticket. Sweeps, if legalised, would bring a large amount of foreign capital into the Free State. The vast majority of purchasers of sweep tickets are resident in other countries. America, Canada and India have liberally subscribed to sweepstakes in this country, and I advocate legalising sweeps, as I said, on a much larger scale. The majority of the hospitals are in debt, and the money provided in this way will serve a really useful purpose in putting our hospitals in a sound financial position. A charitable lady in Westmeath made a donation of £1,600 to the Westmeath County Hospital. We devoted that to the purchase of the best x-ray apparatus in Great Britain. It is only a person who is conversant with the work done by that apparatus who can understand what an extraordinary benefit it is.
I repeat that it is not only the Dublin hospitals which will benefit by this. Every hospital in the Free State is going to benefit. If hospitals which would not be able to provide such apparatus out of money provided by the ratepayers were able to provide a similar x-ray apparatus, I think it would certainly be a very great benefit. I would like to see annual sweepstakes here similar to the Stock Exchange sweep. We had better get away from this humbug because we have established in this country betting shops in every town and village. I opposed that measure,  and I said at the time that it would lead to a decrease in big betting and to an increase in small betting. It will be seen now that I was perfectly right. I hope there will be no free vote on this Bill, because I believe there should be no vote. It should be passed unanimously. I hope that the members of the House will unanimously support the Bill and so come to the relief of those institutions which are doing such valuable work in the country in the interests of humanity.
Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: This is not a very easy matter upon which one can make up one's mind. There is a great deal to be said in favour of this Bill. It seems to be clear that the Dublin hospitals are not in a sound financial position for the most part and it seems clear that some method other than the present method of appealing to the charitable public must be discovered or an appeal must be made to the non-charitable public. If charity is not strong enough in this country to fill the exchequers of these hospitals, it does seem likely that nothing else than an appeal to cupidity will do so. I recognise that these hospitals are in a bad way. I recognise that the hospitals are doing extremely good work and I recognise fully what a loss it would be to this country if these hospitals or any of them closed down. I recognise that fully, but I have to look to another side of this question. If this Bill were to be the be-all and the end-all of legislation of this class in the country I would support it, but it appears to me that this Bill is the thin end of a wedge and that if it be inserted, the thick end of the wedge will be driven in also, that if we permit, legalise and authorise a sweep in favour of hospitals we will also have to legalise sweeps in favour of various other charitable institutions. We will have to, because, to my mind, there can be no distinction drawn between the two. If we legalise a sweep on the Grand National for a Dublin hospital, I do not see how we can refuse to legalise a sweep for the building of a church  if the promoters of the building of the church desire it. There can be no distinction drawn, and then you will go on very much further. Again, you would find somebody who wished to build a school and who would ask to get a private Bill, likewise, for the building of a school by money subscribed by lottery. You would discover that there are already small sweepstakes running in this country, giving small prizes as a means of collecting funds for coursing clubs, golf clubs and for race meetings. If you once permit sweepstakes to be held I, at any rate, cannot see where you can draw the line. I cannot see how you could prevent sweepstakes being held for all purposes once you admit that the holding of any one sweepstake is lawful and justifiable.
Deputy Shaw stated that a sweepstake would do more damage than a betting shop. That is perfectly correct, but if he admits that betting shops are bad, surely the way of getting over the evil is not by piling another evil on top of it. If allowing bookmakers to have establishments open is bad, because it encourages gambling, surely if you add another method of gambling to it you are placing two evils where you had only one before. I frankly confess I cannot follow that argument. As far as I am personally concerned, though I think it is a matter upon which persons' opinions may very reasonably differ—it is a matter upon which every member of the House should make up his own mind—while I fully recognise the strength of the case which can be made on behalf of the hospitals, if there is a division, for the grounds I have stated, I will go into the Lobby against this measure.
Mr. O'Kelly: We on this side of the House do not envisage the passing of this measure with any particular enthusiasm. I take it, and I believe it is so, that on these benches there is a considerable difference of opinion on the matter also. I do not know that there are many  amongst us who object very strongly to the principle of sweepstakes. I do not think that there are many such, but there are some. There is certainly a strong current of opinion against the opening of the door to the flood that is sure to follow in the way of sweepstakes. We all realise that the position with regard to certain hospitals in the City of Dublin is serious. Some of these hospitals have, for a great many years, done excellent work for all classes of citizens, and some of them, in particular, for the poor and the poorer of our citizens. Therefore, from that point of view we would be loth to do anything that would not alone stop but that would delay any relief coming to these hospitals.
We realise fully, I think, the principle that is at stake here with regard to this question of sweepstakes. It is letting down a barrier that does now exist. To a certain extent, it exists in law at any rate, though I am afraid not in practice, and what we are doing or what we are asked to do for some of the hospitals in the City of Dublin to-day we may be asked to do, if this Bill is passed, for other institutions later on—institutions that call themselves equally charitable institutions. Therefore, the whole country will be flooded with people seeking to raise funds, possibly in most cases for excellent objects, but, nevertheless, funds will be sought to be raised by a system which is, in the minds of a great number of citizens, open to grave question. That is our belief. However, I think our Party are prepared to say that they will not, at any rate, oppose the Bill on certain conditions. We have given the matter a good deal of attention.
A committee of our Party has gone into it to consider this Bill in all its various aspects. On that committee, there were people very strongly against the opening of the doors and some others pressing the point that the hospitals were in such a financial condition that they would have to close their doors, and the people who would suffer most would  be the poor. That weighed considerably with our members. In considering the position of these hospitals it was brought to our attention that there was in the running of them and in the conduct and management of them things, which in our opinion, ought to have been wiped out half a century ago. It was mentioned, and to a certain extent I think it cannot be contradicted, that in some of those hospitals that are likely to avail of the privileges if this Bill becomes law, conditions are laid down with regard to the religion of the patients. There are conditions that only certain patients and certain religious persuasions would be permitted. In other hospitals there are conditions laid down with regard to their staffs. Now, if the Bill becomes law these hospitals will get the help of all classes of citizens for their support. We are of opinion that if those hospitals I have mentioned wish to avail of this privilege if it is given by this House, if they are going to be allowed to appeal in this way to the public at large for the necessary support to keep them in existence, where barriers of that kind against any class of citizens exist they should not be allowed to exist. These barriers are a relic of bygone days and they should be a relic of bygone days. We accordingly think that if such hospitals ask to be allowed to use this privilege that they ought to march with the times.
We made out a number of headings, a number of conditions and these are that if this Bill gets a Second Reading here that it would be sent to a Committee of the House for examination, and we would make it a condition precedent to our support of the Bill that when it came back from the Committee that such conditions as exist that I have already referred to relating to sectarianism with regard to hospitals, should go. Also, we would like that sweepstakes if permitted at all should be conducted under close Government supervision. Another condition that was suggested to us and to which we are agreeable was  that over and above the actual outlay involved in carrying the sweepstake through, no fee or commission should be allowed to private individuals as promoters or organisers.
We are not anxious that the privilege which is asked here should be used by individuals or organisations that have been in existence for years for the running of sweeps of this kind. That would very likely open the road to their reaping the greater part of the profit. It has been brought to our notice that in a number of sweeps that have been run in recent years by such organisers on a commission basis, that in the end, practically only 10 per cent. of the total receipts reached the charitable institutions concerned. We do not think that that is good enough if such a privilege is going to be allowed to exist by law.
Another condition that we suggest —and I do not think there can be any objection to it—is that an audited statement of the accounts of the sweepstakes should be submitted to the Minister for Justice and published in the daily Press, and that such hospitals as avail of the provisions of this Bill should publish annual statements of accounts and present such statements to the Government for inspection and audit. The tickets issued in connection with the sweep should print the following particulars for the information of the public: The names of the hospitals participating in the sweepstake, the proportion of the net receipts to be allocated to the hospitals, the number of beds in each hospital allocated to paying and to non-paying patients respectively, and the number of beds subsidised by public authorities or associations. We know that particularly in regard to the hospitals that Deputy Sir James Craig mentioned that there would not be much difficulty in that matter. There might not, in fact, be much difficulty with regard to the publication we ask for.
I know that in these hospitals— Deputy Sir James Craig has given us figures in regard to some of them —a very big percentage of the beds are occupied by the very poor people who cannot afford to pay. The probability is that if these hospitals were able to get a greater measure of support arising out of sweeps, they would give a larger proportion of their beds to the poorest classes, so that I do not think there would be very great difficulty in agreeing to that on the Committee Stage. There might be a difficulty about some of the other conditions that we will ask for, but we have decided that we must submit them. We must make our support, whatever it be worth, conditional on the acceptance of the conditions I have mentioned. I do not know if it would be possible, but the thing is worth some consideration before the Bill is finally accepted, to have the measure confined strictly to public charitable objects, and that there ought to be somewhere in the Bill a clause inserted giving the Minister for Justice power to define what public charities, in his opinion, are, and leaving it to him to say whether any particular object put before him could be described as a public charitable object to which this Bill would apply.
Mr. O'Kelly: I know this Bill applies only to hospitals and sanatoria for the present, but the President ought to know as well as I do that if you open the door now, God knows where you are going to stop, and the tighter we make it at the beginning the better.
Mr. O'Kelly: That is all right for this Bill, and I hope it does not go beyond it; but efforts will be made when we open the door to have it applying to other matters. These  things should be borne in mind when we are dealing with this Bill in Committee. Hospitals are not opened every day, and sanatoria are not opened every day, but what might be described as public hospitals possibly could be opened by interested parties and it is just as well that we should safeguard ourselves with all the regulations we can put up, and do it in advance.
We are not at all in love with the principle. It is an unfortunate thing that hospitals doing such good work as most and perhaps all of them, but certainly some that I personally know of, are doing, should have to raise funds in this manner. It is unfortunate and regrettable but these are the facts and we have to face them. We are told by responsible people that if we do not allow this Bill to pass, and if they are not given this privilege, they will have to close their doors. It is a regrettable thing that a pistol can be put to your head in that way. It has been suggested to some of those in control of the hospitals that they should try other methods, and they tell us that they have tried every possible method to raise the necessary funds. Some of the hospitals, as Deputy Sir James Craig has said, are very heavily in debt and they do not know where to look for the money. They have appealed to the charitable public over and over again and while some of them are satisfied that they got a generous response, the response is nothing approaching the necessity. It would appear if we are to accept their word that this is the only way out for them. Personally I dislike the idea of running sweepstakes on English races for anything in Ireland. I do not object to races or to sweeps in principle, but I do object to the running of sweepstakes on English races. If sweepstakes were run on Irish races my objection would not be so strong.
Mr. O'Kelly: I would not have any love for that either because you are  turning the people's minds away from their affairs at home and you are turning their minds to English newspapers and encouraging here a type of paper that is no help to the country.
Mr. O'Kelly: I have no objection to an Irish horse winning an English race. It is creditable that we can produce Irish horses that are able to beat horses in England. That is all to our credit, but I do not like the idea of encouraging our people to be constantly reading papers that set their minds on foreign races, whether it is the Grand National or the Waterloo Cup or anything else of that sort. I dislike it. If they run their sweeps on Irish races part of my personal objection will disappear. I think it is not helpful to the country, and it is not helpful to the people from any point of view, intellectually, spiritually, economically, to be developing in that direction. It is a personal viewpoint, but I think it is a viewpoint that many people hold.
One reason why I hesitate to vote is because I am told by some of those who have a good deal to do with sweeps and who know a good deal about them, that the majority of these sweeps will be run on the big English races. That does not make the passage of this Bill appeal to me any more. I do not know whether it is the intention to have a vote on this Bill to-night, but at any rate we intend to put forward the conditions I have mentioned, and we expect the greater part of them, in fact all of them, will find ready acceptance. I am informed that they will be accepted generally. If they are, then I think the majority, if not all, of our people will vote for the passage of the Bill. If they are not accepted, then I am not sure that any of our members will vote for the Bill.
Mr. T.J. O'Connell: I do not voice anybody's opinions but my own on this matter, because it is a matter on  which possibly we may all have different views. I am going to support the Bill, especially because of the object for which it is promoted. I want to say quite candidly and honestly that I am not opposed in principle to sweepstakes or to this particular method of raising money. I do not want to give any kind of half-hearted support to the measure or to pretend that I see something terribly wrong in this method of raising money and then go on to point out that because of the good purpose for which the Bill is promoted I am going to give it my support. I do not see that there is anything particularly wrong in raising money in this way when I consider that most of our revenue is raised on what I might call our human frailty. Medical men tell us of the ill-effects that follow from indulgence in intoxicating liquor or even in the smoking of tobacco. I am afraid that if all of us were suddenly to become non-drinkers and non-smokers the Minister for Finance would be faced with a problem that we could not help him to solve.
Mr. O'Connell: The present Minister for Finance, I am afraid, would never be equal to that task. It is perhaps unfortunate that we have to raise money in this particular way. But, supposing we all suddenly ceased to go to picture houses and other places of amusement, the National Exchequer would lose the substantial amount of money it is getting from amusement tax at present. I cannot see the difference in exploiting, if you like, the fairly universal desire of indulging in a little gamble—that human weakness or frailty—and other human frailties. Deputy O'Kelly stated that while at the moment sweepstakes were contrary to the law they were not contrary to the practice. He admitted that the practice was there. The view that I have on the matter is this: that if the practice is there and in itself is not morally wrong, it is better that we should have the  law in consonance with the practice than have the law against the practice, winking, as it were, at the continuance of the practice. Take the question of the Prohibition law in the United States, for instance. Those who know anything about the way it is carried out, especially in the great Eastern States, are aware that it has reduced not only that law, but others as well, to a farce.
There is undoubtedly the danger of fraud in connection with the running of sweepstakes. But, of course, there is the danger of fraud in connection with every form of business. I do not know that there is any particular form of business free from it. All our business people in the country are not such Simon Pures that they can afford to hold up their hands and say that if this barrier is let down and this door opened we will have all kinds of fraud. We must take measures to protect people against fraud in this as well as in other matters. I was taken with the suggestion of Deputy O'Kelly that there should be some form of Government control in regard to these sweepstakes. That is a suggestion worthy of careful examination. We might even consider the question of raising money for other social purposes in this particular way. It is done by the Governments of other States and has been referred to in this House before. I am referring now to the method of raising money by the issue of premium bonds, with the Government regulating prizes, drawings, and so on. I do not know that there is anything specially wrong in that.
There is no doubt that the case made out by Deputy Sir James Craig for this is a strong one on its merits. Everyone knows that these hospitals are doing very good work. If anyone objects to the method which the Deputy has proposed for the raising of money for these hospitals, then I think it is up to that person to indicate some more practical method, some more moral method if one likes, of doing what is desired. We have been told that voluntary subscriptions  are drying up. I think that is a growing experience in the case of concerns or institutions dependent on voluntary subscriptions. It is becoming harder and harder to keep these concerns going. There was a good deal, I think, in what Deputy O'Kelly said on the matter of running sweepstakes in connection with big English races. I am thoroughly with the Deputy in that. The difficulty, I take it, of meeting that situation is that we have not so many interesting events in our own country that we could run sweepstakes on. I suggest to Deputy Sir James Craig that we should not confine ourselves in the matter of these sweepstakes to races entirely. For instance, we could have an interesting sweepstake on who is going to win the next general election.
Mr. O'Connell: If we sent Deputy O'Kelly on an advertising mission we might get many tickets sold and in that way raise a great amount of money. I think this is a measure that ought to commend itself to the House. I can see nothing wrong in this particular method of raising money. It may open the door to certain evils. It may be that evils such as fraud would get connected with it. As I have said, you find fraud connected with other kinds of business as well as with sweepstakes. I agree with the point made by Deputy O'Kelly with regard to preventing people from running these sweepstakes on a commission basis. I do not think that should be allowed—farming these sweepstakes out to professional sweepstake runners who generally pocket most of the proceeds themselves. Measures are being taken in the Bill to provide that the Committee in charge of the sweepstake run under it will turn over the proceeds for the charitable purposes mentioned, with the exception of meeting the necessary expenses. That is as it ought to be. I intend to  support the second reading of the Bill.
Dr. O'Dowd: There is no doubt whatever but that the hospitals in this country are deserving of every support they can get. The method of raising money for them by means of voluntary subscriptions has, as has been admitted on all sides, been pushed to the utmost limits. This Bill proposes to raise money for them in what seems to me to be a perfectly legitimate way. There is not in this Bill, as some people imagine, a great temptation to gamble. A ticket for a sweepstake is offered to a person. There is no compulsion to buy. It is much casier for people to buy a ticket on a sweepstake run on a race than, say, to back the fancy of that particular race. The chances of winning are perhaps quite as good. The law has made it very easy for people to gamble money on races all over the country and particularly in the city of Dublin. The fact that sweepstakes are being run in aid of hospitals will, I suggest, offer no great inducement to people to gamble who would not otherwise do so. For that reason, I think the Bill is deserving of every support it can get. We would certainly like to see some conditions put into the Bill.
I would like to see the elimination of any third party in the getting up of a sweepstake. I agree with Deputy O'Connell and other speakers that we should not allow professional sweepstake runners to join together in getting up a sweep on a percentage basis. The whole proceeds should be devoted to the specific object for which the sweep has been got up, and the work should be done by a voluntary committee. I am sure that in a case like this plenty of volunteer workers would come forward, and I believe that opinion is shared by every Deputy in this House.
There is no need to emphasise the work done by the hospitals in the city of Dublin and all over the country. Speaking particularly about the Dublin hospitals, with which I  have been associated for a good many years, I can say it is a well-known fact that no Dublin hospital has ever turned from its doors any poor person in need of treatment, no matter what that person's creed might be. I would say that in particular of the maternity hospitals in this city. No patient who ever entered the doors of the maternity hospital and needed treatment was ever turned away. There is no doubt whatever that every hospital in Dublin has faithfully adhered to that tradition. I do not like the introduction into this debate of the question of religious tests. I do not believe that such a thing as religious tests exists in any of the Dublin hospitals as far as patients are concerned, and no patient needing treatment will be turned away from any hospital in this city no matter what the religion of that patient is, but when vacancies arise on the staffs of the various hospitals we ought to consider the means for giving the positions in any side of the work to the best qualified applicant irrespective of the question of creed. That rule should obtain in all hospitals in the city. The suggestion has been made from these benches that that rule should obtain in the case of any hospital benefiting by a sweepstake legalised by this House. A rule to that effect should be inserted in the charter of the hospitals. The hospitals will not suffer and the country will benefit by the removal of any test that does exist, because the services of only the best men will be availed of when vacancies arise.
Mr. Little: This Bill, if passed, will only run until 1933, so that it will be only a temporary palliative, and permanent legislation will be required later on. I suggest that in the meantime the Government should institute an inquiry into the matter, I do not know how far the inquiry already held went into the matter, but there are many anomalies in connection with the whole hospital system in this country. There are anomalies as to charters and as to the methods by which appointments are made which are very humiliating  to the profession. A professional man seeking a post in a hospital, no matter how distinguished his career, has to see a number of persons who by an antiquated charter have become patrons of the hospital, or are its governors—persons who do not live in Ireland sometimes, who are ignorant of the positions, and not competent to judge of the merits of the doctors. That is a degrading system. Appointments should be made on merit. I suggest that before 1933 the Government should institute an inquiry into the present system, so that certain recommendations could be made and a national scheme could be adopted for all the hospitals that wish to partake in the privileges which the State would extend to them. No hospital that preferred to remain outside the scheme would be forced in, but those who would come into the national scheme should conform to certain principles, one being that appointments would be made on the grounds of merit and no other.
We cannot shut our eyes to the fact that one hospital in Dublin, doing splendid work for the people and with a world-wide reputation, is in the position that the governor of it must not be a Catholic. That is the Rotunda Hospital. That it should be so is laughable, but it is true. I am perfectly certain that to-day the governors of the hospital laugh at that provision. With a little pressure from the public generally an anomaly like that would be removed, and nobody would be the worse for that. I hope the President will give some idea as to whether he is willing to institute such an inquiry as I have suggested. Two or three advantages would, I believe, result from such an inquiry. First, these sweepstakes, instead of being permitted for the benefit of local hospitals, would become a national sweep run by the Government. That would bring in a tremendous amount of money, and the money brought to the benefit of the hospitals in that way would be greatly in excess of what it would be under this Bill. It  would be a sweep run by the Government, and it would prevent individuals trying to get up sweeps for other purposes. It would not be a precedent for individual action. Then, a sweep of that kind might lead to some sort of organisation or co-operation between the hospitals, so that we could get the benefit of the very large amount of money that might be put at our disposal from the Carnegic Fund. As this is only a temporary measure, I urge on the Government to institute a searching inquiry so that by the end of 1933 we can have legislation on larger lines.
Mr. Byrne: I think that every Deputy is thoroughly sympathetic with this Bill. Anybody listening to the very reasoned speech of Deputy Sir James Craig, in which he pointed out the expenses incurred in running each hospital and the insignificant income which each hospital enjoys, can only come to one conclusion: that something has got to be done if the hospitals are to be kept open. Anybody familiar with the work of any of the hospitals to which he referred must feel sympathetic with the Bill. Take Jervis Street Hospital, which has an overdraft of £22,000. Has that hospital ever turned a patient away from its doors? It is only when one gets away from this little island of ours, about which we hold sometimes a very poor opinion, that one realises how good are some of the services which are extended to the public here. I remember many years ago in the city of Liverpool an accident occurring in my house and I ran out to get immediate surgical treatment for a child. I was refused treatment at two different hospitals because the child was only of a certain age. Could anybody imagine such a thing as that happening in Dublin? After all there are some advantages in our social systems here. I believe that Dublin is miles ahead of Liverpool in that respect.
Deputy O'Kelly pointed out that he was against professional promoters going into these things, and said  that sometimes only 10 per cent. of the proceeds found its way into the coffers of the charity for which the sweepstake was instituted. If the Deputy had considered the statement that Deputy Sir James Craig made he would see that this money certainly does not go entirely into the pockets of the promoters. Deputy Sir James Craig pointed out in connection with one sweepstake that £13,000 was spent upon stamps. Every penny of that went into the coffers of the State. He also pointed out that £6,000 was spent upon printing. The printing business in this city could do very well with an expenditure of £6,000. Then he said that some £200 was spent on advertising. The Press of this city will not object to a nice little advertisement value for £200. If we look at these things, we shall see that a great deal of this money will go into the pockets of the people themselves. The Deputy was careful to point out that any scheme carried out under the Bill must be submitted to the Minister for Justice and he informed us that the Minister was of opinion that he could devise ways and means by which the scheme could be carried out without any corruption. If, as we have been told, tickets are pouring into the Free State from such places as Amsterdam, Copenhagen, England, etc., it is up to us to get some of our own back from these countries which are taking this money from us.
The Minister for Justice thinks the method suggested by Deputy Sir James Craig would not meet the case of the hospitals. After all, half a loaf is better than no bread. If the scheme were enlarged in the way that Deputy Little thought it might possibly be enlarged, it might become really huge thing that would possibly meet all the debts under which the hospitals labour at present. As to church promoters and others coming here and asking us to enlarge the scheme, after all it rests in the hands of the Dáil to say whether they will give permission or not. If the Minister for Justice is of opinion that corruption can be  guarded against as far as the carrying out of a sweepstake is concerned, surely the great objection to the Bill is removed. Nobody could fail to see that the position of the hospitals in Dublin is exceedingly serious, and I believe that if the money that would possibly come in under this scheme were available many meritorious cases which hospitals are obliged to turn away could receive treatment. The scope of the Bill, as I have said, need not be enlarged; that rests with ourselves.
As regards the point made by Deputy O'Kelly about running the sweepstakes upon Irish horses, a very great authority in the House informed me that some difficulty might occur in that respect. He pointed out that the number of starters in Irish races, as a rule, was exceedingly small and he referred to the last Grand National where there were 66 starters. I believe that where there is a large number of starters the people who succeed in obtaining a horse which starts win a fairly substantial prize. If Deputy O'Kelly takes that into consideration it might make a change in his view as far as that particular aspect is concerned. After all, what does it amount to? This is for the help of the sick and needy. It is often a question of choice as to the lesser of two evils. If we allow the running of sweepstakes to relieve the sick and needy, that is a thing which the House need not be ashamed of.
Mr. Gorey: A few years ago this question of sweepstakes occupied the attention of the House and an Act was passed preventing them. As a result of that there has been a feeling of thankfulness throughout the country. People have in consequence been spared a lot of annoyance and of pestering. I have no sympathy whatever with this particular Bill, although I have as much sympathy with the object it is proposed to serve as any person in this House or outside.
Mr. Gorey: That is what I was going to suggest. I shall put my hand in my pocket and in the pocket of every other citizen in the State. It is preferable, to my mind, that the State should be responsible for these hospitals and that all these charters should be removed—that their upkeep should be a State charge to which every citizen would contribute. If it were made a State charge, every citizen would contribute indirectly and not only a small percentage of the citizens. As it is a national benefit to have hospitals, all the people should support them. Why should not every citizen support an object which is for the benefit of the citizens? In that way, they would be contributing to one object only, and that is the upkeep of the hospitals. They would not be carrying the promoters and the hangers-on on their back. Many hospitals in the country are partly supported by local and State aid. Why should not the Dublin hospitals be placed on the same basis? It would be much more edifying to have the hospitals supported by the State than by the system of having armies of people going round the country selling tickets and annoying people. When the Bill prohibiting sweepstakes was before the Dáil we had a large number of people lobbying here, chasing the members here and there, and asking them to do this and that. They had no sympathy with the hospitals, but only with the promoters and the people making a living out of it. I for one am prepared to pay my share and other people should be prepared to pay their share. It would be preferable to have the hospitals made a State charge rather than to get the money in this way. What virtue has this system? One would think that this was the only way of getting money for the hospitals. I think it is the most objectionable way, and I am absolutely against it.
Mr. Anthony: I am giving this Bill my unqualified support. If I had any doubts about the matter before I would have been strengthened in my resolve to support the Bill by  the remarks that have been made by Deputy Gorey. I think if Deputy Gorey understood the position thoroughly he would not have fallen into the error that he has. The very evils that Deputy Gorey wishes to avoid are already provided against in this Bill.
Mr. Anthony: Promoters of sweepstakes to whom Deputy Gorey referred as lobbying Deputies some years ago will not if this Bill is passed, be able in the future to exploit the Irish public as they did before on behalf of such projects. It is a regrettable feature of our social and national life to find that such charitable institutions as you have in Cork and Dublin have to resort to flag days and other methods of raising money for the upkeep of these institutions. Another error into which some Deputies have fallen, and into which Deputy Gorey walked, is with regard to the funds subscribed to these institutions by the State. It may be that there are certain hospitals in country districts that get grants from the Local Government Department.
Mr. Anthony: I have sufficient knowledge of the big hospitals in Cork—the North City Infirmary and the South City Infirmary—to know that these two institutions get a grant from the County Council amounting to something like £1,400 a year. It is a small sum, comparatively, in comparison with their very huge expenditure on hospital treatment. There is, of course, the County Home, formerly known as the Cork Workhouse, to which patients are admitted free of charge. There is a small charge in connection with the North and South Infirmaries in Cork. Many patients are self-supporting and pay anything from two to five guineas per week, but a number of patients are treated for nothing. It might be possible, at a later stage, to have the principle underlying this Bill developed in another way as was suggested by Deputy O'Connell. For  instance, there are other very deserving institutions in the country. Take the case of Child Welfare Leagues. I know there is one very good Child Welfare League in Dublin doing very useful work. There is one, also, in Cork doing very useful work and these Child Welfare Leagues have, from time to time, to have recourse to flag days and other means of obtaining revenue. I think that is a very regrettable thing. With Deputy Gorey I believe, ultimately, the State will have to handle this question. I subscribe to the principle that every citizen in the State should be made to contribute directly or indirectly to these institutions. But we cannot afford to wait for the millennium. This is one way of meeting the deficit on these institutions which are doing such wonderful and humane work.
The point raised by Deputy O'Kelly about the tendency to hold these sweepstakes in connection with English races is one we cannot avoid for some time yet, until our people are able to institute an Irish Grand National or Lincoln or an event such as the Waterloo Cup. We have, of course, an Irish Cup, but until we are able to make horse racing more attractive by way of big stakes and big entries we have to look to the other side. By reason of the number of horses that are entered and the big stakes offered we will have to depend for the success of our sweeps on English racing. There is one phase of the Bill about which I am not quite so certain and it is this: I wonder will it have any effect upon the already dwindling number of voluntary subscribers? Will it have an effect that many who support the Bill would not like it should have? If it becomes known that you have the State giving its blessing to what may be termed lotteries, run in the interest of some of the hospitals which require this support—and there are only too many of them that require this support—will it have the effect of tightening up the purses of some of those hitherto generous people who were voluntary  subscribers to the hospitals? It is my experience that once it is mooted that the State has, in any way directly or indirectly, associated in a project of this kind that is the result. It makes wealthy and generous people say they will find some other outlet for their charity as the hospitals to which they were subscribing are already covered by the State. I would regret very much if that happened. I hope it will not happen and I certainly do not want to prophesy evil. So far as this Bill is concerned I shall give it my support. I believe these institutions require money and this is one of the readiest methods of getting money, and if it only does away with the frequent occurrence of flag days it will have done something. Deputy Gorey spoke of people who pestered one with tickets for lotteries and all sorts of drawings. I think there is no greater pest than the lady or the pushful young gentleman who comes along selling flags on flag days. Although one might have two or three of those flags already he is pressed to buy another. I hope Deputy Gorey will derive some comfort from that, and I hope that the next time the Irish Cup comes on we will have a lottery or a sweep in connection with that Cup and I hope that Deputy Gorey may win it.
Mr. Corry: I agree with some of the things that Deputy Gorey has said. I do not agree, of course, with what he said about putting his hand into other people's pockets. I do not know how he defends that policy, considering the charges he made against Deputies sitting on those benches some time ago. Of course, people change. I agree, however, with Deputy Gorey that these charitable institutions should be a charge upon the State. I noticed, from the Estimates, that some of the Dublin hospitals are receiving grants from the State, and I should like to know why these grants are not extended to similar institutions. All the charity seems to be given in Dublin, and I hope Cork Deputies will come together and see that this is rectified as soon as possible. I think this  system of obtaining money by sweepstakes is a mistake. The proposals in the Bill, in my opinion, infringe very much upon the rights of the Minister for Finance. I look a little bit before me and I can see, in a few years, that when the Minister for Finance will have floated his last loan abroad he will have to rely upon sweepstakes for raising the next one. I think this Bill, if passed, will partly knock his system out of tune. In a few years, of course, when he will have made the last loan abroad, he will have to find some other means of carrying on here. He will not reduce salaries until the very last. I think it is not right for Deputy Craig to step in here and infringe on the function of the Minister for Finance to raise revenue in the future.
The President: We were very much impressed with the statement Deputy Sir James Craig made about the condition of the Dublin hospitals. As far as I could take down the figures it would appear that they are in debt to the extent of well over £50,000, and viewed as a means of relief of the real trouble, and only in that respect, this Bill might be much more acceptable but that the passing of a measure such as this leaves it open to have other applications in the year 1933, when quite a number of the Deputies opposite will not be here to shoulder the burden. There is very little doubt about this Bill being of itself watertight, but even before 1933 other very laudable objects may be the subject of a further application on the part of certain persons interested to introduce another amendment of the Lottery Act in order to enable them to get along with the work. I would not say that quite a number of the speeches here to-night will make this particular means of raising money a great success. It is fairly obvious to anyone who has made a study of this subject that a great deal of the money goes in expenses, and that those who purchase tickets in the hope of winning prizes, if they read  the speeches, will know that their chances are much less rosy than ever before. If I were to look for a body of persons to run a sweep, I think the Boards of the Dublin hospitals would be amongst the last of the persons I would seek to employ if I intended to make it a success. Like other business, sweep-running is highly specialised. While you may adopt a high and lofty tone and say you will have no professional persons engaged in it, my examination of the subject, as far as the last few years are concerned, shows me that if you want to make it a success you will have to get a person who knows all about it. You might possibly gain by spending a little money in that particular direction, so that, as far as that section asking the boards to run them is concerned, I think they will keep as far away from it as possible if they are to make any money out of it. I was surprised that among suggestions offered we could not have had a condition that, associated with the prizes, there might be articles of Irish manufacture, say, furniture, Irish carpets, silver, or something of that sort in very considerable amounts. We could have them shown on exhibition here in Dublin to let the people see the value of them, and could give an alternative of money in lieu of the furniture, silver, and so on if the winner so desired. The provision of Art Union drawings was instituted originally with a view to enabling such prizes of considerable amounts to be offered and to be legal.
Deputy O'Kelly mentioned other conditions which he thought would be necessary to insert in this Bill before it could be finally accepted. I never heard, I must say, in connection with any of the Dublin hospitals that there was a refusal on the part of any of them to take in persons by reason of their particular religion. I never heard it and I think the case made by Deputy Little would have come with very much more force from some other side of the House than from that side in connection with the appointment to a professional position by  the boards of the hospitals. We have an Act here in operation for some years in which the one distinguishing characteristic is merit, and Deputies opposite brought in a Bill within the last couple of years asking that three persons of merit be nominated for a position. I am quite sure that the Dublin hospitals have the same kind of principle. I think the best person should be appointed. I think the case would come better from a person who is wedded to the appointment of the best qualified person in respect of any appointment throughout the country.
Mr. MacEntee: Do I understand that the President is unaware of the fact that in the charter of the Rotunda Hospital there is a condition limiting the appointment to a person of one religious persuasion and that only very recently a very distinguished surgeon had to conform to that before his appointment?
The President: I never read the charter but I have heard the point being made. The point I am dealing with is the point put up by Deputy Little which the Government have enshrined in their statutes, to which we are wedded, by which we are standing, and which the Deputy and his party have not stood by.
The President: I would like to let the Deputies know that this Bill is not a Government Bill. A Bill  is being brought in by a private member. It is a Private Member's Bill and there is an open vote to be taken on it. Deputies opposite have put their own questions to us in connection with conditions and so on and I really thought that they regarded it as a Government measure It is not. As far as I know members of the Government are opposed to this measure, not as I said against this particular Bill but rather because it makes it more difficult to withstand in future any amendment of the Lottery Act and because one of the principal objections we had to those sweeps being run here was the fact that we were not satisfied with the standing and so on of the persons who were rather anxious to run sweeps in this country. There is no earthly reason why a dozen different laudable objects might not be put forward here during the next couple of years in order to get in on the sweepstake of 1932 or 1933 as the case may be. I do not think there is anything in the objection that was made to sweepstakes being on English races. It has so happened that English races are particularly attractive for more reasons than one. There is a general ambition on the part of persons to own the winner of the Grand National. More horses enter here in respect of this than of any other race. It is a great feat of endurance. There is splendid horsemanship and excellent horseflesh, and anything there is in it as far as advertisement is concerned this country has got it, for the period during which I have lived anyway and for a considerable time before it. The same might be said with regard to other big races over there.
The expenses in connection with these sweepstakes are very heavy. While the percentage the hospitals will get will be very small it will be a fairly big sum. It is rather a pity some other means could not be found for raising money for the hospitals, but I do not at all agree with the suggestion that has been put forward that we should have State hospitals. I think much better service can be done for the country  voluntarily than by the State. I think there can be no possible cause of complaint as to the services rendered by these hospitals over a long period. The fact that they have been in existence so long without any great claim being made on the public for support is a remarkable tribute to the manner in which they have been conducted, as well as to the capable management that has distinguished them.
I cannot promise the inquiry into hospital work which Deputy Little wanted. The last Commission of Inquiry took place about 1851, 1852, 1853 or 1854. Unfortunately, some of the friends of the Deputies opposite burned two books I had in connection with that matter during the trouble, but one of the things I learned in the course of the evidence I read was, that the first hospital formed in Dublin was somewhere in St. Thomas Street about the 12th century. Although the city was very small then the hospital had accommodation for something like seventy beds. The most notable and the grandest characteristic of the hospitals of this country is that they have been mainly supported by voluntary and charitable subscriptions. I would be sorry to see them lose that character. It is a remarkable tribute to this country and to the professional men and women engaged in them. No one can complain of the services they render. As I said the objection is not quite so much to this Bill as to the danger that is likely to flow from its passage. I propose to vote against the Bill.
Dr. Hennessy: It is generally admitted that the Dublin hospitals do excellent work, and it must be borne in mind that the work they do is of a national character. They are not exactly Dublin hospitals, seeing that they do the nation's work and receive poor patients from all over the country. The President has paid a tribute to these hospitals, but he hesitated to endorse the Bill now before the House, the object of which is simply to enable these hospitals to  carry on their good work. The fact is, if they do not get the relief that this Bill purports to give them, they will have to close. They are very much in debt and have reached the limit of their resources. It is all very well to speak of the charitable public and what they would do. While the charitable public had the money to give they gave it, but they no longer have it. Let us face the plain issue that voting against this Bill now means voting to close up the hospitals. If Deputies vote against the Bill, and if the Government supporters vote against it, they ought to be ready to come in and put down money so that the hospitals may carry on their good work.
It is all very well to speak about the Bill, if passed, creating an awkward precedent. I cannot conceive any subject that would provide such an excuse for the passing of a Bill similar to this as the case made to-night. I appeal to every member of the House to support the Bill, and I ask Deputies to remember that by voting against it they are denying the poor people the treatment that has been given in these hospitals, because the hospitals cannot continue to find money in any other way. It has been said that there are objections to betting on the Derby and the Grand National. I do not share that objection. I am not a betting man, but there is no year that I would not like to have a bet on the Grand National, as the President said, if only for the reputation it has made for Irish horses. I also put on a little on the Derby. I generally lose, but it would be a great consolation to me to lose my bet in these sweepstakes knowing that I was serving the hospitals, and knowing that my contribution meant that it would help to keep up these hospitals for the benefit of the poor.
Mr. MacEntee: I should not have intervened in this debate if it were not for the speech which has been made by the President, who has shown that not even the plight of the Dublin hospitals would prevent  him from trying to score a mere Party point in a debate of this sort. This was not, as he admitted himself, a Party measure, yet the greater part of his speech dealt, not with the Dublin hospitals, but with an attempt to defend the Local Appointments Commission, which some recent appointments made by that body, at any rate, have brought into disrepute in this country.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Deputy Little in the course of his speech made certain statements and asked the President what he was prepared to do. Deputy Little was allowed to make that statement and the President was allowed to reply. I do not propose to allow that line to continue.
Mr. MacEntee: I do not propose to continue on that line. As Deputy O'Kelly has pointed out there is admittedly a great doubt as to the wisdom of this measure on the part of those who sit on these Benches, but we are faced with this dilemma —a dilemma which Deputy Hennessy has put—that unless something is done the hospitals must close down. We are not aware that the Government has any intention of dealing with these hospitals; we are not aware that they have resources with which to deal with them, and therefore, so far as I am concerned I am prepared to vote for the Second Reading of the measure, in the hope that in the interval certain safeguards will be produced which will enable us to help to carry the Bill through. There is nothing morally wrong in promoting sweepstakes, just as there is nothing morally wrong in betting or drinking, but it is an undoubted fact that there are dangers that the gambling spirit can be carried to excess, even in the promoting of sweepstakes like these, and that in opening the door to further promotions you will be, from the point of view of the people of this country, running very grave risks. I take it that is the reason why sweepstakes have been hitherto prohibited in this country, or, at  least, have been regulated more or less by connivance, so that they cannot assume undue proportions or make undue demands on the savings of the people by offering prizes which would stimulate more than a mere desire to contribute to the sweepstakes for charitable or other sentimental purposes. This Bill, I take it, proposes to do away with that regulation straight away. There will be no limit, I presume, to the prizes which might be offered by the promoters of sweepstakes which, if the Bill goes through, will be legalised.
I take it that the great appeal then will be more to the cupidity of those who buy the tickets rather than to their sentiment or charity. Since these very special facilities are proposed under the Bill to be given to certain organisations it is, from our point of view, essential that as far as possible we should secure at the outset, by the actual provisions of the Bill itself, that they will not be abused. It is for that reason that we suggest that some sort of State supervision should be exercised over the conduct of sweepstakes. It is for that reason that we suggest that, over and above the actual outlay involved by the organisation, no fee should be paid to the promoters or organisers of such sweepstakes. It may be that in order to secure certain specialised assistance something might be paid, but there should be a very definite limit as to the amount to be paid in that way, either for special information or for special skill necessary to make such sweepstakes successful. We must be met on that point before there can be any possibility of our supporting the Bill after it leaves the Committee. As well as that, we think that the people who subscribe to sweepstakes should know where their money is going, and for that reason we want to see an audited statement of accounts submitted to the Minister for Justice, or some other responsible Minister, and published in the Press. Furthermore, we are giving the hospitals a very special privilege, though the House refused to concede this privilege some years ago, and we say that, since this privilege  is going to be given, those who are going to participate in it must at least exhibit a policy more in keeping with the year 1930 than with the days of the penal laws. There must be neither religious nor political discrimination exercised by those hospitals in their work, either in regard to the staff or to their patients.
Again, since the public are going to be appealed to in this way, we think that the public ought to have in their possession such information as will enable them to determine for themselves whether the hospitals concerned require their funds to be supplemented in this way, as I do not think that every hospital in Dublin is in the parlous position mentioned by Deputy Sir James Craig. Some of them may be quite able to carry on, but, even under this Bill, those which are in a sound financial position could organise sweepstakes in order to swell their already sufficient funds. Therefore, no hospital should participate under this Bill unless it was prepared to publish an audited statement of accounts and to submit it to the Government, though the Government need not necessarily exercise that privilege. Furthermore, we think that on the back of the tickets the names of the hospitals participating and the amount of money to be allocated to each should be printed for the information of the public. Again, we ought to know to what extent the hospitals provide for the really necessitous and destitute poor, and, therefore, we suggest that among other items of information to be furnished by the promoters there should be a statement as to the number of beds in each hospital allocated respectively to paying and non-paying patients, and the number of beds subsidised by public associations and public authorities. These are conditions which we hope that the promoters of this measure will see their way to accept and, if they do, I think they will get a volume of support from members of this Party. If, however, they do not agree to do so, I for one will be compelled to vote against the Bill on Report State. I  think that the conditions which we suggest are reasonable, and are conditions which should be afforded in the public interest in view of the very special facilities asked for under the Bill.
Sir James Craig: I am very anxious to get this matter finished to-night, as I shall be engaged tomorrow and would find it difficult to be here. So far as I can gather from the speeches during this discussion, the Bill is going to be largely supported, and I hope that it will pass. Second Reading without a division. I do not intend at this stage to go into many of the criticisms made about the Bill, but I want to say, in regard to the criticisms made by Deputy O'Kelly and Deputy MacEntee, that they concern matters which should quite fairly and justly be brought before the Committee. I cannot for the moment say that I am prepared to accept all of them, because I have not considered them, but I think that most of them are quite fair. I do not know, however, whether some of them are not too trivial to be put into an Act of Parliament, but they are, no doubt, worthy of the consideration of the Committee.
An Ceann Comhairle: As more than five Deputies have risen, a division must now be taken under the provisions of Standing Order 56, but if the House is agreeable the names of these Deputies can be recorded in the Journal of the Proceedings of the Dáil.
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