Thursday, 19 February 1931
Dáil Éireann Debate
Mr. Fahy: Perhaps at the outset the Minister would explain exactly what is meant by Section 45 of the Bill. “It shall not be lawful for any person to practise or represent or hold himself out, whether directly or by implication, as practising or being prepared to practise veterinary surgery or veterinary medicine unless he is for the time being a registered veterinary surgeon.” The Minister is possibly aware that many operations of a veterinary nature are performed by cow-doctors, handymen, farmers, and so on. Are they precluded from continuing to practise such veterinary operations by that section, or does it mean for reward?
Mr. McGilligan: One would have to get a more precise definition of the operation to which the Deputy refers. If it is anything which can be included in the terms “veterinary surgery” or “veterinary medicine” then certainly, as the clause stands, such would be prohibited unless by a registered practitioner.
Mr. McGilligan: Exactly the same point was raised on the Dentists Bill about minor dental operations being performed by a doctor. As the Bill was first introduced such things were absolutely prohibited, even to doctors, but it was subsequently amended. The same thing can happen here.
Mr. McGilligan: The Deputy has not listened to what I said: an operation ordinarily carried out by a doctor, although of a dental type, was prohibited by the Dentists Bill originally, except carried out by a dentist. It is an analogy.
Mr. Fahy: With all respect to the Minister, I should like to have the opinion of the Minister for Agriculture on that, because he is closely associated with these matters. Of course, I know this Bill is introduced by the Minister for External Affairs because it is to implement an agreement come to with Mr. J.H. Thomas, but this is a very serious matter for all Deputies interested in farming, and I am quite certain that Deputies on the Minister's own benches would like to hear an answer to the question.
Mr. Brennan: I should like to support Deputy Fahy. However, I think this is a matter which really should be dealt with in Committee. I do not think the Minister would have a leg to stand upon in connection with a clause like that.
Mr. Fahy: Then we shall leave it for Committee and get on to matters connected with the principle of the Bill. The purpose of the Bill was referred to by the Minister on a previous occasion, and we had some further light thrown on it by the Minister for Agriculture yesterday, when he said it was partly to put veterinary surgeons on a proper footing through the country, in the Department and elsewhere. A further purpose, of course, would be to secure that a veterinary surgeon trained in the Irish Free State could practise in Great Britain and Northern Ireland. They can do so at present. I do not know that there is any great advantage to be gained from this Bill, except that it will set up a Register. Moreover, when the Albert College was taken over and dairy science was brought under the University, I think it would have been well to complete the job and establish a veterinary faculty in connection with the University. Perhaps we shall be told why that was not done. It would be really completing the job.
Then I think that many degrading clauses were allowed into this agreement and that this agreement would put the Free State in a position of subordination. It might be better even to leave things as they are than to proceed with the Bill. We also think it would be more advisable for the Government to devote its attention to developing industries, so that the professional young men of the country could secure employment here, rather than professional careers abroad. If the Minister got into consultation with the Minister for Education, perhaps they could come to some agreement as to the establishment of a veterinary faculty in connection with the university. The Veterinary College at Ballsbridge is, I understand, really a branch of the  Veterinary College in London. They might establish a faculty here.
There are many objectionable features in the Bill, so objectionable that we think the Bill should not be proceeded with. A few years ago, I understand, and my information is reliable, that the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, London, asked the veterinary surgeons here for an annual subscription of one guinea. It was only a request and there were many veterinary surgeons here who did not subscribe. Under this Bill, every veterinary surgeon in the Irish Free State will have to pay an annual subscription of two guineas to the Council here, and the Council will have to pay one guinea of that for every man who registers on the General Register in Great Britain, so that the Royal College in London has gained its point in the agreement made by the Minister.
Another point: there is outside interference in educational matters. At examinations held in the Free State, in future, the British Council, according to this Bill, would have a right to nominate members (page 24, Section 9) to see that the examinations were maintained on a proper standard. The Irish Council is not given reciprocal right with regard to examinations in colleges in Great Britain.
In the case of professional misconduct, if the offence is committed in the Free State the offender will be tried by representatives of both British and Irish Councils. If outside the Free State our Council will have no right to interfere, even though the offender may be on the Register of the Irish Free State. I think these are degrading terms. In the agreement between the British and the Irish Governments, Section 3 of the Medical Register and Dental Register, there is no mention of treason. It is mentioned in this agreement. That is a rather strange clause to include. Either Mr. Thomas, on behalf of the British Government, insisted on it being introduced in order to ensure that veterinary surgeons would be very loyal British subjects, or else it was introduced by the Minister responsible for this Bill to show what a good boy he is. Two other agreements  of a similar nature were brought into this House and there was no reference made to treason.
Mr. Fahy: I shall keep to the Bill if I get an explanation from the Minister as to why it was introduced. I think the introduction of it will lead only to further trouble in this country, and that that might be the Minister's purpose in it. Another point the Minister for Agriculture is allowed under this Bill (Section 4 (1)) to nominate a limited number of members to the Free State Council—that is, the members who represent those who register in the Free State only. The nominated members hold office for various periods, the longest being three years. On the other hand, those who represent the veterinary surgeons in the Free State are also on the general British register and nominated by the Minister, but only until the first election, when his nominees all retire, so that apparently the Free State Minister  could not be trusted to select those who are to sit occasionally in London on the General Council.
Section 19 (2) says: “The Free State may pay the expenses of the Irish members attending the General Council in London.” That is perhaps a minor matter. Section 23 (2) says: “The Minister for Agriculture may suspend the Free State Council and take over its functions.” It is strange there is no appeal to the courts against such action, and we think there should be such an appeal. Section 34 (1) says: “For treason it will be sufficient to have a bare majority of a quorum of five of the Council to find a member guilty.” On the other hand, for professional misconduct Section 36 (3) provides that there must be at least five members of the Council in favour of the verdict before the accused can be pronounced guilty. Again, against the verdict of professional misconduct there is an appeal to the court. There is no appeal on the treason charge. The Irish Council, of course, may try a member for treason. As the Minister admits, that was introduced by him, but for professional misconduct we must have members of the British Council present. Now, we think these are degrading clauses. We think that there is not much achieved by this Bill that could not otherwise be achieved, and we propose voting against its Second Reading.
Dr. Hennessy: With the general principle of this Bill I must say I am in full agreement. It is evidently framed on the basis of the Medical Practitioners Act, and it has many valuable provisions, especially as the majority of veterinary surgeons qualified in Ireland must seek a living outside the Free State. I see running through the whole Bill provision made for the right to practise in other countries—Great Britain and the Colonies. That is a very important thing for veterinary surgeons. The great thing in the Medical Practitioners Act was that it provided for similar advantages. There is one thing, however, that I think is rather unfair to the veterinary surgeons. The State is evidently anxious to rid itself of the responsibility of paying for the cost of the  Veterinary Council, and it is provided here that an annual fee of two guineas is to be paid by veterinary surgeons. I think that will be extremely unpopular, and will be resented by the average veterinary surgeon who at the moment is paying nothing. The State makes a grant for initial expenses of £150, and I believe the Veterinary Council is entirely doing the work of the State, and as such its expenses should be borne out of the central funds, and it is very unfair to ask veterinary surgeons, who up to this had to pay nothing, now to pay this annual fee. Of course it may be said that solicitors have to pay £1 per annum to the Incorporated Law Society, but the advantage which that society can confer upon the members of the solicitors' profession are far and away in excess of anything the Veterinary Council can do. I hope the Minister will give this matter his careful consideration.
The Bill provides for an Irish Veterinary Council, and that Council has some connection, of course, with the British Council, but the fact that it confers rights of reciprocity of practice in the different countries is a very great advantage. I believe I am in a position to speak for the veterinary profession when I say that they consider it of very great importance that they should have the right to practise in Great Britain and the Colonies. Unfortunately at the moment, owing to our parsimonious way of dealing with the professions, Great Britain is proving a great counter-attraction to veterinary surgeons. Some of our best men are going there simply because they are getting better remuneration.
I hope that the Opposition will join with the rest of us in trying to get better terms for the Irish veterinary surgeons. The training to-day of Irish veterinary surgeons is very different from what it used to be. The veterinary surgeon in this country is now well abreast with all scientific knowledge. He has to undergo a very extensive training. I think the State sets a very bad example when for their own inspectors they commence with an initial salary of £200 per annum.
 I think that such a salary does not, in the first place, attract the best men and even if it does attract them their services will be of a very temporary character. As is happening now, they will go where their services will be more appreciated. They will go to Northern Ireland, as some of them have done, and to Britain. I ask the Minister to keep an open mind on this Bill and be prepared to receive amendments that will remedy some of the defects I have mentioned, particularly the annual fee.
Mr. de Valera: I want to emphasise what Deputy Fahy has just mentioned, namely, that we on these benches do not see at the present moment the necessity for this Bill. The Minister has not indicated any reason why this agreement was made or why it is necessary at present to bring in a Bill like this to implement that agreement. We all understood very clearly why an agreement for medical practitioners was made, and we understood why the Dentists Act was passed here, but we find it very difficult to understand why this agreement was made or why this Bill was introduced. It is not for the purpose that Deputy Hennessy has in dicated — to give greater facilities, even if that were our main purpose here, to provide education to enable our citizens to earn a livelihood abroad. Apart from that attitude, this Bill does not give any further facility to veterinary surgeons who are going abroad. Everything they can get after this Bill is passed they can get at the present time.
Mr. de Valera: But are not diplomas given by the training college in Ballsbridge recognised? Are not these diplomas recognised at present in London, and are they not used as the basis for registration in London?
Mr. de Valera: I was listening, but I do not think I was here for all the Minister's speech. As a matter of fact, I read the speech afterwards and I came to the conclusion that the Minister was going to continue. But the Minister is not aware of the difficulties he is going to face when he tries to interpret Section 45. If he were to bring the Minister for Agriculture into consultation with him he would begin to realise what difficulties he is up  against the moment he tries to give a monopoly to the veterinary protession in this country.
Mr. de Valera: Section 45, the section the Minister was asked to interpret. The establishment of a register, I take it, is intended to give a monopoly to the veterinary profession and to impose penalties on those who perform operations or who practise veterinary science without having these legal diplomas. We have no objection whatever to give those who have diplomas all the special privileges they are entitled to, and to give them the standing that their special knowledge will give them, but everybody who knows the conditions of the country at the present time and understands agriculture as it is practised —anybody who goes to any part of the country, whether dairying or cattle raising — knows perfectly well that you cannot deal with this veterinary question as with the medical or the dental question. The moment that the Minister tries to put that section in a form to make it effective he will find that he will not get the members of his own Party to support him. The Party bonds in cases of that kind will not be strong enough to get him support, because the arguments put up on the other side will be so compelling that the Minister's own colleagues in the Cumann na nGaedheal Party will not be able to oppose them. We are going to vote against this and one reason is that when the Albert College was transferred and when there was a question of the establishment of faculties of general agriculture and of dairy science in the University this matter of veterinary science should have been considered. If a Bill is to be brought in at the present time it should be a Bill that would supplement that transfer and not such a Bill as is being brought in now. There is no provision at present for veterinary education except under a foreign authority, and it is time that should stop. We are going to vote against this Bill because we think it is impracticable at the present time  to establish a monopoly for the veterinary profession. Understanding the country as we do, we will have to vote against the Bill.
Mr. Corry: This Bill shows that the Minister knows absolutely nothing about this special branch that he is supposed to look after. The Minister's reply to Deputy Fahy made that perfectly clear. It shows what is behind practically three-fourths of the Bills brought in here by Ministers who know nothing whatever about agricultural matters. We heard Deputy Brennan's statement here a while ago, a practical Deputy who understands agriculture in the country, and there was opposition to this Bill from other Deputies also who understand farming.
The Minister states that under this Bill he will not allow a man to drench a cow unless that man is a vet. Fancy an unfortunate farmer living five or six miles away from a railway station who has his mare laid up with a gripe and he wants to come in for a vet. He gets that vet. and brings him back and probably by the time he gets home he finds the mare is dead. I suppose in such a case the farmer would be compensated by the Minister.
It is only another attempt by the Minister to find employment for all the young quacks so that they can be dumped down upon the unfortunate farmers. We had an appeal from Deputy Hennessy to increase the salaries of the veterinary surgeons serving under the Department. Apparently £4 a week is not enough for a start. In spite of all the extra veterinary surgeons who, according to Deputy Hennessy, have to leave the country to seek employment, when the Department want a vet., first preference is given to a Scotchman. When we want a vet. to look after Irish horses and cattle we must get a Scotchman; Ireland is not able to turn out vets. with sufficient knowledge to look after the Department's livestock. It is absolute foolishness on the part of the Minister to try to force a Bill like this through the House, the majority of the Deputies in which represent  agricultural communities. It really shows how very little the Minister knows about his business here. I would advise him to keep to foreign affairs. It is ridiculous to think of a Minister going over to England and laying down an agreement with Britain under which every vet. registered must pay £1 or £1 1s. for the pleasure of being registered in England so as to carry out work in this country. The whole thing is too ridiculous. We will soon be making an agreement by which for every birth in this country we will have to pay 10/- to Britain. That is the sort of agreement we will have after one of these famous lunches or dinners in Buckingham Palace. I do not know where we are going to stop. I think this is the most ridiculous Bill the Minister has brought in since we came here, and he has been guilty of introducing his share of ridiculous Bills. Even the Portuguese Treaty is not a patch on this measure. Under this Bill, if it is passed, a veterinary surgeon will have to go to England and pay a guinea in order to be allowed to practise here.
Mr. Corry: I bet you it is there. Apparently the Minister has not even read the Bill. He tried to brazen it out on one point with Deputy Fahy when it was mentioned that under the terms of this Bill a man would not be allowed to administer even a drench to a cow, or to knock the horns off his calves with caustic, and that to do such things he must, under the terms of this Bill, have a veterinary surgeon. He tried to meet Deputy Fahy on that point, but when he found that he was going to get opposition from Deputy Brennan and others of his own Party, he climbed down and declared that this matter could be amended in Committee. We  did not hear much about amendments in Committee when the 1929 Land Bill was introduced. The principle of that measure was all right but it was quashed until the lawyers and the Ministerial Party got to work on a similar measure. Nothing more ridiculous than this particular Bill has been brought in by a Minister supposed to have at least some brains left. The next Bill he will introduce will possibly be one to have midwives registering in London.
Mr. T.J. O'Connell: There are undoubtedly some flaws in this measure that will have to be radically altered or deleted altogether. I feel that the Minister must not be serious in regard to his interpretation of Section 45. That is a section that can be dealt with when we come to examine the Bill in detail. There are many other sections that require examination. They will have to be amended or possibly deleted. The Bill, apparently, intends to set up a register of veterinary surgeons and to regulate who are the people who should be permitted to practise veterinary surgery. As I see the Bill, its object is to protect the public and the farming community, and to prevent people who are unqualified calling themselves veterinary surgeons, and charging fees to the farming community for work done. In so far as it does that I think in the interests of the public and the farming community it ought to be supported.
Mr. O'Connell: That is quite a different matter, and I would be prepared to support Deputy de Valera in that respect; but that is not the question that is involved in this measure, to my way of thinking. We have had quite recently cases appearing in the papers of people who set themselves  up to be professional persons and they charged fees, and it was found after some time that they were impostors. By that time, however, they had got away with a good deal of money in fees from farmers. The principle of this Bill is one that we ought to support, not for the benefit of the veterinary surgeons, but for the benefit of the public and the farming community. I am prepared to support the Second Reading.
Mr. Smith: Deputy O'Connell has referred to Section 45, which is the most important section in the Bill as far as those of us who represent agricultural constituencies are concerned. The Deputy said that that section will have to be drastically altered. The Deputy refers to the setting up of a register which will debar certain people from letting the public know that they practise veterinary work. Everyone of us is aware that in the country there are what are called quack doctors in so far as animals are concerned. Anybody who understands the conditions in the country would not attempt to suggest the insertion in a Bill of this kind of Section 45, unless it is the intention of the Minister to make some sort of a law that is sure to be disobeyed. I have not examined the other sections of the Bill because this is the only section that is of interest to me. If the Bill contained nothing else but Section 45 that would be sufficient reason for prompting me to vote against it, and I am sure the same would apply to any other member in this House, whether of the Government Party or not.
Mr. Smith: We should recognise that when we are passing legislation of this kind. As one representing an agricultural community, and as one who understands the difficulties under which farming is carried on, I certainly object to a section of this kind in the Bill, and I would oppose any Bill that embraces such a section.
Mr. J. Wolfe: I am very much in sympathy with the observations of the Deputy who has just spoken. Like him, I represent a rural constituency, and the farming class in many parts of that constituency will be very seriously affected by the passage of Section 45. As the Bill stands it will interfere with two classes of people, so drastically has the section been drafted. There are remote parts of the country which could not possibly support a properly qualified veterinary surgeon. Qualified veterinary surgeons are not to be found there, but there are people there who have been practising veterinary science for a considerable period, who are well versed in it, and who, of necessity, have received fees offered in cash or in kind, voluntarily or involuntarily. By this Bill you propose to get rid of men of that kind, who to all intents and purposes practise as veterinary surgeons a science in which they have acquired a considerable knowledge, sometimes in college and sometimes outside. Yet that type of man is to be sent definitely to the workhouse. That is the first effect. In many remote parts of the country where there are no veterinary surgeons you find farmers or labourers who are able to attend to a sick cow or a horse, but if they do so under this Bill they will be deemed to be practising veterinary science and will be liable to prosecution. I think it is a very serious thing to tell a farmer who lives twenty or twenty-five miles from a veterinary surgeon, and  who has a sick cow valued at £5, that he must either let the cow die or call in a veterinary surgeon at a cost of £5.
I think that that is a very serious position to adopt, and in my view Section 45 means cruelty to the farmers and to the men who, though not qualified, have been practising veterinary science in a legitimate way. It also means cruelty to animals, because it will mean that in outlying districts either the animals must be allowed to die or the law must be broken. In these circumstances I think that Section 45 should not be passed, and, in my view, should be deleted. There is one thing further which I would like to say, namely, that I am glad to notice, though it has not been definitely announced by the Minister, that the Government have abandoned the regulation that Irish be made compulsory for those entering the profession. Such a decision will be received with pleasure throughout the Saorstát; but it is difficult to understand why they have selected the veterinary profession to commence that policy, because, after all, that profession is the one profession, if any, that requires a knowledge of Irish. Every donkey in the Gaeltacht knows Irish, and some of them can speak it. Baalam's ass would probably not be in it. If you say to donkey in the Gaeltacht, “Stad! stad!” he will inevitably stop, never to go again. If, on the other hand, you say “Whoa! whoa!” to the same donkey, the effect is just the same as if you put an ounce of red pepper under his tail. I congratulate the Government for having once and for all said good-bye to an idea that should never have been adopted in reference to our professions. I will be pleased to hear a definite announcement that the stock of jack-boots kept by the Minister for Finance has now been cleared out never to be renewed.
Mr. J. Crowley: I trust that the Dáil will not reject Section 45. At present a lot of serious operations are performed by quacks, and I do not agree with the suggestion that the Minister should recognise these persons. Why should quacks be allowed to perform  such serious operations as castrations, inoculation, and so forth? They have no right to perform them, as they know nothing about the business. Deputy Wolfe says that there will be a good deal of cruelty if the section is allowed to pass, but I would point out that cruelty will result only if quacks are allowed to perform serious operations. Personally, I am of opinion that the section should stand.
Mr. M. O'Reilly: It rather surprised me to find that the Minister allowed this Clause 45 to appear at all in the Bill. I wonder if he acquainted the Minister for Agriculture of it. If this clause were allowed to go through and become law, Deputies have pointed out already what would occur. Livestock throughout this country are subject to certain diseases which are easily cured provided the remedy is given immediately. Take, for instance, the case of what is known as “red water.” It is generally found in all parts of the Free State. If that disease is discovered in time it can be cured, but if a farmer is compelled to await the arrival of a veterinary surgeon very often at least twelve hours will have elapsed, and it will probably be too late then to treat the animal, as a prescription would have to be got from the nearest chemist, and that would probably take another couple of hours. Every farmer has to give the prescribed remedy.
Mr. O'Reilly: There are several remedies. In regard to this particular form of disease the farmers, in order to get a remedy, have a set remedy of their own and chemists generally have it made up. Such remedies are generally applied by labourers or farmers, and very good results have been brought about when they are applied in time. Fatal results are, in fact, the exception. I have known cases where veterinary surgeons have been sent for but did not arrive in time to save the animals. As I have said, the farmers have a set service of their own and cannot afford, under present conditions, to pay for the attendance of vets. Some farmers who are well-off no doubt employ vets. of their  own, but the ordinary small farmer still adheres to the old practice and is well versed in the science. I believe that if this section were passed the Bill would be most unpopular and would inflict severe hardship on farmers.
Mr. Hassett: As a practical farmer, and as a Deputy representing a large agricultural district, I may say that I look upon this section as very dangerous. I would appeal to the Minister, if this section cannot be interpreted in the sense in which he says it ought to be, to withdraw it altogether. Otherwise I am afraid that some of us will be bound to vote against it. The Department of Agriculture some years ago went to great expense in bringing over a famous French professor in order to deal with “white scour.” It was a terrible disease in Limerick and parts of my county. It swept away something like 50 per cent. of the young cattle in the course of a few days after birth. Professor Nocard was sent over by the French Government for two seasons to help us to eradicate that disease. The remedy for the disease is that immediately after the calf is born the navel string is tied up with a disinfected cord. We have carried out that remedy with such great success that we have practically eradicated that scourge altogether. Is it to be suggested that I, in dealing with my twenty cows, or any other practical farmer dealing with his cattle, must have the services of a veterinary surgeon to do that? If I only tie up the navel string I am guilty of an offence under this section. This section appears to be dangerous and ridiculous, and, in my opinion, will prove impracticable if put into operation. For instance, many of us have been attending lectures given by the different veterinary surgeons sent out by the Department of Agriculture. They have taught us to diagnose different diseases from time to time. We know how to deal with a cow which is suffering from milk fever. It is one of the most dangerous diseases, but it can be quite simply cured if you treat it promptly, whereas if you wait to send for a veterinary surgeon your cow may be dead before he arrives. It is much the same way with regard to murrain. As  regards fluke in sheep, in my interpretation of this section we are not allowed to give the plain remedies recommended by the Department's leaflets to cure our sheep. Why, we would want a thousand veterinary surgeons for the one we have now in order to save our live stock if that section is put into operation. If the Minister will consult some of the veterinary inspectors in the Department, or some of the officials in that Department who know something about diseases of animals, they will be the very first to suggest to him to withdraw that particular section.
I can easily understand a man like Deputy Crowley supporting a measure like this. He does that on the grounds that it will bring more grist to his mill and to the mill of the members of the profession which he represents. I can diagnose a disease in live stock just as well as Deputy Crowley, but according to that Section 45 I am liable to a fine of £100 if I attempt to treat that disease. I can assure the House that whatever fine be imposed, we will not be running to the vets. for the cure of this, that and the other thing while we have the remedy in our own hands.
Mr. Allen: Like other Deputies who have spoken in opposition to this section, I rise to voice my protest against it. I think it is the most foolish measure ever introduced by any Minister. I am surprised that the Minister for Agriculture is not here to listen to the opposition put up to this section. It is only nonsense and a waste of time to be talking to the Minister for Industry and Commerce in regard to this measure. He looks upon this Bill in his capacity as Minister for Foreign Affairs. We cannot see how the matter of foreign affairs can come into the question of the treatment of cattle or why any practical farmer cannot be allowed to treat his own cattle. Every farmer is his own vet. or cow doctor. The average farmer has to give some treatment every day in the year to his live stock, and he would be prevented from doing that if this Bill were passed. Why he cannot be allowed to give that treatment certainly passes  my understanding. I would like to know if the Bill hinges on this particular section. I believe that, having regard to the opposition from all parts of the House, the Minister would be well advised to withdraw the Bill.
Mr. Corry: When I was speaking tonight the Minister challenged the statement I made that every veterinary surgeon registered in this country would have to pay £1 to Britain. I have here the Schedule which the Minister states this Bill was brought in to implement. The Schedule is entitled: “Agreement between his Majesty's Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and his Majesty's Government in the Irish Free State as to the registration and control of veterinary surgeous.” If he will turn to page 22 of the Bill he will find the following in Section 6:—
The Irish Free State Veterinary Council shall in every year pay to the Council of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons the sum of one guinea in respect of every person (subject to the exception hereinafter made) who during that year or any part thereof is registered in the Irish Free State Veterinary Register and is also registered in the General Veterinary Register and pays to the Irish Free State Veterinary Council in respect of his registration in the Irish Free State Veterinary Register the annual fee payable for such registration.
Mr. Moore: I think the Minister ought to explain whether this Bill has anything to do with the new position to which he was appointed recently— that is, Reporter of Rural Hygiene to the League of Nations. I understand that honour has been conferred on him. If this is one of the results, well, the  country cannot take much pride in it. I think he will have a good deal to report in the way of rural hygiene if he allows that clause to go through and if he passes the Bill without amendment. Rural hygiene would become a very serious matter in the country then. Does the Minister realise that what he is proposing means that the great bulk of the beasts of the country which become ill will be allowed to die without any treatment?
Mr. Moore: The Minister knows perfectly well that as farmers stand at present the great bulk of them cannot afford to get a doctor for their children. They cannot afford to get anything more than their daily bread for their own children. He is going to compel them to pay veterinary surgeons' fees which are not fixed by any statute but which the veterinary surgeons themselves have power to fix.
Mr. Moore: Further, he is compelling the farmer to incur perhaps an expense of £3 for a motor-car to fetch a veterinary surgeon. Where has the Minister been living? It looks as if he has spent too much of his time in Geneva, and must have forgotten the circumstances of Ireland altogether. There are many parts of the country where a veterinary surgeon is not to be had at a less distance than 30 miles. The Minister is going to insist in this Bill no matter what the conditions are with regard to a beast, how valuable it may be, that a farmer must not attempt to treat it in any way; he must not take a neighbour's advice even though that neighbour, on previous occasions, has treated cattle in a skilful and successful way. All that is to be wiped out as past history under this Bill. We are now opening a new chapter. The Minister says to the farmer: your duty now is to get on horseback; if you have not a horse hire a motor car, and if you cannot do that get a train, no matter  what the distance may be, even though you may waste 24 hours on the journey, and get a vet. It may happen that in such a case the man would not be able to get a vet. after all that travelling. We are taking such an interest now in rural hygiene, and in other things, that we are to reorganise this nation on a footing different to that which prevailed in the past. The thing is so fantastic that I am very much surprised that farmer Deputies in the Cumann na nGaedheal Party allow such a Bill as this to be introduced. In my opinion it should be laughed out of the Dáil and not be seriously treated.
Mr. McGilligan: Deputy Moore's winter sleep has been longer than usual. It has kept him from reading the Bill. Deputy Corry suffers from the old, hard, unyielding difficulty that we always find with him. He finds it impossible to understand printed words.
Mr. McGilligan: Deputies seem to have softened since they went away, and have not been doing any work. They have not bothered to read the Bill before them. There has hardly been a statement of fact made with regard to this Bill by anyone who spoke in opposition to it. Any statements approaching within reasonable distance of accuracy are founded on a misconception of the course of the law. With regard to the establishment of an educational institution in this country giving power to grant degrees entitling to do certain things, Deputy de Valera did not know what was the position with regard to a veterinary practitioner in this country, although he knows apparently that the only veterinary degree, called the M.R.C.V.S., which is given here, is an outside degree. The Deputy considers that is being given legally in this country as if nothing had ever happened—as if the old situation simply went on. When I spoke on this Bill previously I referred to the analogy between it and the Dentists and the Medical Bill. They are all founded on exactly the same thing, that the existing  situation was broken in upon by the Treaty and that there had to be an amendment of the situation as we found it. In the other two cases, as in this, degrees or diplomas were being illegally given, and only continued to be given because it was known that we were negotiating to get the matter settled. If this Bill is not passed there will be no power to give any degree in this country entitling a man to practise, so that the stock of veterinary surgeons will be a decaying one. We want to re-establish and validate the Royal College of Veterinary Science. We also want to do one other thing: we want to establish in this country a council which will have control of the register, which register in the end controls veterinary education in the country. We have another control of that. We have to exercise, in a formal way, by establishing either by an Act or by some addition obtained through additions to the Charter, one extra faculty and add it to a university institution in this country. That is proposed as part of the whole scheme. I do not know how anyone could have read Section 31 of the Bill without seeing that was there.
Mr. McGilligan: Because it is not appropriate to do the other thing first. The College is there and is running. What at the moment it is doing illegally it will hereafter be doing legally—that is, what it did prior to 1921 in the matter of granting certain degrees. This is a matter of extreme difficulty owing to the operation of Article XI of the Constitution and certain other matters, and the transfer of certain property to a certain university college here to see that it gets an addition to its faculties in order to enable it to give certain diplomas. Section 31 says that after the establishment of the register the following shall be entitled to be registered:
 (b) every person who at the time of such application is possessed of a diploma in veterinary science, veterinary surgery, or veterinary medicine granted by a university or college in Saorstát Eireann and for the time being recognised by law as a diploma conferring on the possessor thereof the right to be registered in the register.
It is clear that it is intended to establish some institution in this country to grant degrees in addition to allowing people to continue to sit for the old degree entitling them to the diploma of M.R.C.V.S.
Mr. de Valera: The Minister knows full well that the university and university colleges can establish faculties for veterinary science if they like to do so at the expense of other faculties out of their existing resources. What is indicated in this Bill and the only thing indicated in it so far is that if the university colleges were thus to establish these faculties their degrees would be recognised as entitling to registration. That is the interpretation that any one not knowing the Minister's mind would put on the clause to which the Minister referred.
Mr. McGilligan: Even if that were the interpretation it should have prevented the Deputy being so foolish as he was in his speech, confining himself to the College of Veterinary Science. Had he that in his mind?
Mr. McGilligan: The Deputy did not reveal himself as having that in his mind. The Deputy made a speech which was founded on a particular agreement made for the purpose of carrying on one college, and only one, in the country, and yet this is staring him in the face.
Mr. McGilligan: I do not know whether the definition of Irishman would rule the Deputy out, but I did not consult him. We had it enunciated to-night for the first time that, on a Second Reading, which deals with the principle of a Bill, if Deputies object to a particular clause in a Bill, then the Bill is to be voted against.
Mr. McGilligan: I discussed amendments to the clause with so many people that I could not make up my mind where to stop short. One was going to allow the handling and treatment of certain operations to people who are not veterinary surgeons as defined here.
Mr. McGilligan: The Deputy has not had much practice in dealing with minds. One could go to such extraordinary lengths in weakening this that the measure could be destroyed, and you would be simply re-establishing quackery in the country with regard to veterinary science. Amendments to this clause have been discussed with the Department of Agriculture and with others. For example, we have a record here of a suggested amendment to the effect that this section should not apply to the castration of lambs or calves, the castration or sharping of pigs or the docking of lambs. It was also suggested that this amendment should be enlarged to include parturition, de-horning and inoculation. Alternatively, it was represented that a preferable method might be to proceed by an amendment giving the Minister for Agriculture power to exempt such minor operations as he should specify after consultation with the various interests concerned.
We are doing in this Bill what was done in the case of the Dentists Bill and the Medical Bill, establishing a register with stringent conditions as to those who are to go on the register. The Bill is left open to amendment, provided the amendments do not run to the point of destroying the profession. A lot of things that were spoken of are not prohibited in the Bill within my interpretation of the clause. We had it from the opposite side that a man could not treat his own cattle under the Bill. Where does that emerge? We had Deputy Moore yawning and stretching himself and blathering with regard to what he thought was in the Bill. I suggest to the Deputy that he should try and find out what is in the Bill. If he does not know whether a thing is in it or not, then he had better ask.
Mr. McGilligan: If people want to set out to destroy the profession, let them vote against the Bill, because the principle of the Bill is to re-establish the veterinary surgeons profession in this country. The conditions under which that is to be done can be discussed in Committee. Deputy de Valera is going to vote against the Bill because he said it would establish a monopoly. The Deputy apparently despairs of breaking down the monopoly by way of amendment.
Mr. McGilligan: The second reason the Deputy gave was that this whole thing should have been done at the time the faculty of dairy science was being established in regard to a certain university. He said it was the only way in which university addition could be made to it. It was a pity he had not thought of that before he made his speech in which he said he was going to vote against the Bill on particular grounds. With regard to Deputy Corry and some others it is hardly worth while trying to convince them. There is no payment to be made by any veterinary surgeon who wants to practise in this country and does not want to get on the general veterinary register. Deputies can take that from me as gospel. No money is to be paid. Deputy Fahy read a clause from which he said he understood that it implied payment. Apparently the Deputy is a little bit doubtful about it now.
Mr. McGilligan: Unless the Deputy is illiterate—the clause is there to be read—he can use his powers of interpretation. I challenge contradiction on this that if a veterinary surgeon does not want to get his name on the general veterinary register at the other side he can practise in this country without any payment being made  by him or on his behalf on the other side. The Deputy's speech is founded on a misconception. Deputy Fahy talked about fees. That is a factor for the people on the other side. If people want to get on a particular register which is controlled and managed entirely in Britain they must pay for it. If they do not want to get on the register they need not pay.
Mr. McGilligan: A guinea is all that is to be paid on the other side. That can be saved by any veterinary surgeon who does not want to practise outside this country. I do not know where the Deputy got his point as to the different conditions that operate in the matter of professional misconduct, treason and misdemeanour. I would point to one thing that has to happen before the treason or misdemeanour sections apply: that a person has to be convicted here of treason felony or a misdemeanour.
Mr. McGilligan: The only way in which this terrible fate can happen to him is after a court has found him guilty of treason felony. So that the politician that is waiting to get his knife into all these treasonable people has to wait until the court operates and then it is a case of “may.” The reason why there is an appeal to the High Court in the matter of professional misconduct is because professional  misconduct is not tried by any kind of court, but by a body of the profession. It is regarded that members of the profession should not, no matter how close a trade union they are, be given power to deprive of their livelihood other members of the profession without there being an appeal to a court. In the case of treason or misdemeanour the matter is decided by the court.
Mr. McGilligan: Whatever court tries for treason. I do not know what point the Deputy is making. Deputy de Valera did mention one of the reasons why he would vote against the Bill: everyone must be allowed to play-act at treason and be good little vets. after. If people are going to fool about with treason and are convicted of that, then the penalty should fall upon them in regard to medicine, dentistry and veterinary science. That clause will stand, and I hope the  House is not going to be foolish enough to vote against the Bill by reason of it. It is one of the best clauses in it. Section 45 caused considerable difficulty in drafting. In its present form we leave it open to certain amendment. With regard to amendments, although I have read a list of the things proposed and have examined certain Canadian and Australian Acts, it may be that certain operations of a particular type may have to be allowed. Other points will arise which can be dealt with in Committee. No statement has been made I submit to prejudice anyone against this Bill so far as its principles are concerned.
|Aird, William P.
Alton, Ernest Henry.
Beckett, James Walter.
Bennett, George Cecil.
Bourke, Séamus A.
Byrne, John Joseph.
Cole, John James.
Collins-O'Driscoll, Mrs. Margt.
Connolly, Michael P.
Cosgrave, William T.
De Loughrey, Peter.
Dolan, James N.
Doyle, Peadar Seán.
Duggan, Edmund John.
Egan, Barry M.
Esmonde, Osmond Thos. Grattan.
Finlay, Thomas A.
Good, John. Rice, Vincent.
Sheehy, Timothy (West Cork).
Thrift, William Edward.
|Gorey, Denis J.
Hassett, John J.
Heffernan, Michael R.
Hennessy, Michael Joseph.
Hogan, Patrick (Galway).
Kelly, Patrick Michael.
Law, Hugh Alexander.
Mathews, Arthur Patrick.
McFadden, Michael Og.
Mongan, Joseph W.
Myles, James Sproule.
Nolan, John Thomas.
O'Connell, Thomas J.
O'Donovan, Timothy Joseph.
O'Hanlon, John F.
O'Reilly, John J.
O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
Reynolds, Patrick. Tierney, Michael.
White, Vincent Joseph.
Wolfe, Jasper Travers.
Cassidy, Archie J.
Corry, Martin John.
Crowley, Fred. Hugh.
De Valera, Eamon.
|Gorry, Patrick J.
Hogan, Patrick (Clare).
Kennedy, Michael Joseph.
Kent, William, R.
Lemass, Sáan F.
Little, Patrick John.
O'Dowd, Patrick Joseph.
Sheehy, Timothy (Tipp.)
Ward, Francis C.
Committee Stage ordered for Thursday, 26th February.
The Dáil adjourned at 10.30 p.m. until Friday, 29th February.
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