DENTISTS BILL, 1928—FOURTH STAGE.

Wednesday, 4 July 1928

Seanad Éireann Debate
Vol. 10 No. 21

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[852] New Section. Before Section 28 to insert a new section as follows:—

28.—(1) This section shall apply to any person who before the establishment of the Board satisfies the Minister or after the establishment of the Board satisfies the Board that he fulfils the following conditions, that is to say:—

(a) that he was a citizen of Saorstát Eireann on the 1st day of January, 1928, and

(b) that he was on the 31st day of December, 1918, not less than twenty-one years of age, and

(c) that his principal occupation during the whole period of ten years immediately preceding the passing of this Act was the practice of dentistry in Saorstát Eireann, and

(d) that he was not guilty at any time of any crime or conduct which, if he had at that time been a registered dentist, would have caused his removal from the register.

(2) For the purposes of the application of this section to a person who was a dental mechanic before the passing of the Dentists Act, 1921, the expression “practice of dentistry” in the foregoing sub-section shall be deemed to include the work usually performed by a dental mechanic.

(3) Every person to whom this section applies shall on passing the examination in dentistry to be prescribed and held under this section and on making the prescribed application and paying the prescribed fees be entitled to be registered in the register.

(4) The examination under this section shall be prescribed and held after the expiration of five months and before the expiration of six months from the passing of this Act.

[853] (5) The examination to be prescribed and held under this section shall if held before the establishment of the Board be prescribed and held by the Minister, and if held after the establishment of the Board shall be prescribed and held by the Board.

(6) Nothing in this Act shall operate to prohibit any person to whom this section applies from practising or representing himself or holding himself out as practising or prepared to practice dentistry or dental surgery during the period between the passing of this Act and the publication of the results of the examination held under this section.

(7) Every person to whom this section applies who is registered in the register under this section and is resident in Saorstát Eireann shall so long as he is so resident and registered be entitled to vote and be elected at an election of the elected members of the Board held after he is so registered as if he were registered in the register by virtue of a previous registration in the General Dentists Register under section 3 of the Dentists Act, 1921.

Section 28. To delete sub-sections (1) to (8) inclusive.

Section 28, sub-section (9). To delete the word “Fourth” in line 14 and to substitute therefor the word “Third.”

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  The first three amendments are amendments which I tabled, together with an amendment lower down, which is consequential— I think it is No. 12. I tabled these to meet the point of view that was expressed by the amendment brought forward by Senator Hooper some three weeks ago. I would like to have an expression of opinion from the House if these four amendments, which in fact, hang together, are to be considered as alternative to, say, the amendment which Senator Sir Edward Bigger has down, and to the amendments running from No. 7 to 15, with the exception of No. 12, also in the name of Senator Sir Edward Bigger. In other words, I would like to know [854] where I am before we begin to discuss this first amendment, and if an amendment either of the type that I have set down in Amendment No. 1—and I think that that even might be amended —or some of the amendments which Senator Dowdall and others have down, is to wipe out the Third Schedule, whether Amendments 7 to 15, with the exception of 12, would disappear. I think that that was the arrangement that was made. Senator Hooper brought forward an amendment, the net effect of which was this, that we were to do away with this nomination of people for inclusion in the schedule, putting on those people an examination before they were allowed to come on the register of dentists. Senator Hooper's amendment set out certain conditions—that they were to be so many years in the practice of dentistry, to be citizens of Soarstát Eireann, and a variety of other things. I went through the amendment when it was brought up in order to get some clarity on the matter, and I asked if it would be agreed that these provisions would be taken to include certain other matters that were brought in. There was no means of deciding it, but I thought I had a certain provisional agreement for an amendment of this sort. I hold that Amendment No. 1 will carry out all that the House seemed to agree to when I was speaking on Senator Hooper's amendment. Certain Senators queried me outside the House with regard to paragraph (b) of sub-section (1) of this proposed Section 28: “That he was on the 31st day of December, 1928, not less than twenty-one years of age.” The reason for that amendment is this: Senator Hooper's idea was that a person who had been earning his livelihood by the practice of dentistry for a period not less than ten years before the date of the passing of the Bill should be allowed to go on the register. I took that point, and I put a query to the House.

I asked it to consider the fact that those who passed to the Dentists Register by way of examination could not sit for the final examination until applicants for the final examination were twenty-one years of age, and consequently that they could not practice before twenty-one years of age. I [855] asked the House to agree that for those people coming on without examination a rule not less rigorous than that should be applied. I took it that the House had agreed to that. I may be wrong—it might not be the period that the House would insist on—but that it was the period which the House deemed it to be necessary for a man to be in the practice of dentistry before he went on the register and that that ten years' practice must have taken place after his twenty-first year, and then, if paragraph (b) operates, he must have been twenty-one years of age in 1918, seeing that the Bill is to pass in 1928, and we have to argue back from that. Certain Senators thought that a ten years' period is too much to impose on those practising dentists, although illegally practising, and they say that that period should be reduced to five years, and Senator Dowdall wants the age limit correspondingly reduced. If the period of practice was reduced from ten to five years paragraph (b) must either be changed, having a man 16 years of age in December, 1918, or 21 years of age in December, 1923.

I hold that the rest of the amendment carries out all that the Seanad seemed to me to be agreed on—that the person must be a citizen of Saorstát Eireann, must be of a certain age, must have been a certain number of years in practice, and must not have been guilty in the course of his practice of any crime or conduct which, if he had at that time been a registered dentist would have caused his removal from the register. I make paragraph (b) cover the practice of dentistry, including the work of dental mechanics, and I make a further recommendation that if a person applied for the examination and succeeded in passing it he should be entitled to go on to the register. There is no difficulty about allowing these people on the register, and consequently it will be done if the House agrees. The fourth paragraph limits the examination that shall be held to five months and before the expiration of six months. I think that that is entirely in line with Senator Hooper's amendment. But it [856] has been pointed out to me that we did give certain people the right to more than one examination, and Senator Dowdall has an amendment providing that there shall be two examinations, one at the end of six months and the other at the end of two years. That, I think, is far too long, but I do not think there will be much objection to allowing two examinations, one at the end of five months and before six months have elapsed, and the other at the end of the twelve months' period; but of course with this limitation that practice will be allowed to those who do not go in for the first examination only for the first period, and that those who have not entered for the first examination, or, having entered, fail to pass it, will not be allowed to practise beyond the five months' period unless they succeed in the second examination and are entitled to go on the register. This may have to be modified to meet that point of view, if the House wants to meet the point of view that there should be two examinations, one within six months and the other at the end of the twelve months' period.

Mr. GUINNESS: Information on Henry Seymour Guinness  Zoom on Henry Seymour Guinness  There is nothing about a second examination on the paper. Does the Minister propose to introduce that?

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  I will have to see what view Senator Hooper takes on that when he puts forward his amendment. There is a view that it would be too hard to ask these people to have one examination only at the end of such a short period as five months, and that they should be given a longer period. I would then be prepared to amend this amendment of mine so as to enable two examinations to be held, one not less than five months and not later than six months, and the other at the end of a year from the passing of the Bill. In saying so much I have, more or less put forward my arguments against the other amendments that are to be proposed. Senator Dowdall wants to reduce the period of the practice from ten years to five. On that I would ask the House again to consider that there has been no Bill which has been viewed in a more detached way from the departmental side than this. It has been viewed from [857] outside the Department that will have the administration of it. I only came into this by accident. Consequently, there has not been the same departmental anxiety about it as there would otherwise have been. There is no prejudice about it, departmentally or otherwise. The simple thing that Senators will have to consider is: Do they think it right to allow people with only five years' practice to get the professional status of fully-qualified dentists, because that is what is being given? I ask them to bear in mind the Report of the Committee which was set up in Great Britain which definitely did point out that after examination they believed that a considerable amount of the defects that were then observable in the public health were due to the fact that such a large number of unregistered dentists were practising freely through the country.

I want to stress the fact that there is the consideration that in return for a certain number of years' practice, we are giving people for the rest of their professional live the fullest professional status. They will be fully qualified dentists. They will meet dentists who are qualified by way of examination on an equal footing. They will have equal rights. I think we should demand, as a consideration in return for that, that there should be a fairly lengthy period of practice. In addition, I would like to point this out, that the British Act of 1921 was founded on the Report of a Committee set up in 1917, and which, I think, reported at the end of 1918 or at the beginning of 1919, and that the unlicensed and the unregistered type of dentist in that particular kind of practice were going to be done away with. There was no reason to believe that that legislation would not have been carried over to this country and, in fact, there is reason to believe that that legislation is law in this country. It has not been operated up to the present because of a defect of machinery which could very easily be got over, and people have been practising in this country under conditions that it must have been obvious to themselves were clearly and entirely illegal. In return, however, for a certain amount of illegal practice we are going to allow [858] these people to become certified dentists. I urge these considerations against a five years' period, and I say that a ten years' period is just barely sufficient.

Mr. BARRINGTON: Information on William Barrington  Zoom on William Barrington  Is it intended that they should pass an examination as well?

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  Decidedly. An examination was compulsory under the British Act of 1921. There were two classes of people. The British Act decided that people who had been engaged as dentists, that is, in full practice, operating as dentists in the fullest sense of the word, should be allowed on without an examination if for seven years immediately preceding the passing of the Act they had been engaged in dentistry. But there was a second class, the dental mechanic, and the dental mechanic, if he had an equivalent practice of seven years, had to pass an examination. We make no division here, but we say that all alike should pass an examination. If the Third Schedule people, whose cases have been examined into by the various Committees, are of the calibre that the three Committees thought they were, they will have no difficulty in passing the examination. If they are not, they are not people who should operate as dentists. Senator Dowdall wants to give a standard for the examination. I did not advert to that in the amendment, because I took Senator Hooper's words, and I thought from the acclamation with which his words on that point were greeted, that there was agreement that the examination was to be of the type ordinarily set for a final examination, and that would be the type of examination which the Board or the Minister would have set. Senator Dowdall wants to make it another standard, and to that I object. We are giving these people a status that they have no right to expect. In return we ought to demand from them, in the interests of the public, that there will be a certain period of practice and that they shall be able to pass an examination of a particularly difficult standard, such an examination as the ordinary man sitting for his final examination would be able to pass.

[859]Mr. HOOPER: Information on Patrick Joseph Hooper  Zoom on Patrick Joseph Hooper  On a point of order, would it be permissible to speak on this amendment of the Minister's before we take the other amendments? It seems to me that a general discussion on the Minister's amendment would help to clear the air considerably.

LEAS-CHATHAOIRLEACH:  If we discussed the whole thing together it would be much simpler.

Sir EDWARD BIGGER: Information on Edward Coey Bigger  Zoom on Edward Coey Bigger  I suggest that we should have a general discussion before we deal with any amendment.

Mr. O'FARRELL: Information on John Thomas OFarrell  Zoom on John Thomas OFarrell  I suggest that there are certain points on which it is clear that there are differences of opinion, one being the minimum age at which a man can sit for an examination. Could that not be discussed on Senator Hooper's amendment?

LEAS-CHATHAOIRLEACH:  Quite so.

Mr. O'FARRELL: Information on John Thomas OFarrell  Zoom on John Thomas OFarrell  And the length of practice that a man must have in order to qualify is another point that should be discussed. I think we are more likely to reach finality if we have a general discussion.

Mr. HOOPER: Information on Patrick Joseph Hooper  Zoom on Patrick Joseph Hooper  I feel considerable satisfaction with the action that has been taken, and I would like to express my appreciation of the way the Minister has met the points put forward. I would like to explain that my Amendment 4 is not intended in any way as a substitute for the Minister's amendment. I merely put it on the Paper in order to preserve the position that existed last day before the Minister expressed his willingness to reconsider the question. I visualised the possibility that in this discussion there might not be agreement on this matter, and that it might be decided to adhere to the Third Schedule. It was only in that case that I put down my amendment, in order to give the men excluded from Schedule 3 one final opportunity of proving, by examination, their competence, and consequently their right to be included on the register. It seems that now Schedule 3 should go, and consequently it will not be necessary for me to propose this amendment.

[860] Some of the Minister's remarks seemed to me to suggest that he does not quite appreciate some of the points I made the last day; at least he and I were not of the one mind on some of them. I suggested a ten years' period of practice to qualify a man to sit for this examination. The Minister suggested that that ten years should start after 21, and he has embodied that idea in his amendment. What really happened was that he suggested that whatever term were agreed to, it should begin after the man had reached 21. I then asked him if he would suggest a period of years. I certainly did not agree then to a period of ten years after 21, and I am opposed to it now. When I suggested a term of years he left the matter over for consideration. So far as I am concerned, he misunderstood me if he thought that I agreed to ten years after 21.

Another point is in regard to the examination. I agreed on that occasion that the examination should be the ordinary examination set for the dental degree. My idea was that it would be a stiffer examination than the examination set under the British Act, and I did say, in speaking to my amendment, that I would be prepared to have the Dental Board fix any standard it wished. I still adhere to that, but, of course, I take it that it will be a standard of practical competence. At that time I was arguing on behalf of men who were already excluded from Schedule 3. They were more or less the outcasts of the applicants, and it was in order to get them some chance of proving their competence that I was willing, as I still am in case of necessity, to agree to any standard that the Dental Board might set up. For the same reason I was in favour of a ten-years' period, to give these men some chance. I thought then that ten years was rather too long, but it was in the hope of getting a concession for them that I put that in. In my original draft of the amendment I stated that a man should be seven years in practice before sitting for this examination. If the schedule were to stand, I would still agree to both these propositions. But now that Schedule 3 is gone, and these men are thrown into the common pool, I think it probably [861] would be better if the period was reduced from ten years to seven years.

LEAS-CHATHAOIRLEACH:  Have you an amendment to that effect on the Paper?

Mr. HOOPER: Information on Patrick Joseph Hooper  Zoom on Patrick Joseph Hooper  No, I have not. On the question of age, under the Minister's proposal a man would be 31 at the end of this year before he becomes qualified, and when he sits for the examination. That does seem to be an excessively high age to fix. In a great number of these cases it would mean that a man would be fifteen years engaged in dentistry before he could sit for this examination. It is well known that a number of apprentices begin work at about sixteen, and this would mean that they would be fifteen or fifteen-and-a-half years before they could sit for the examination. Surely that is far too long. I have an amendment down that would make the age 26, and Senator Sir Edward Bigger also has an amendment to that effect. I hope the Minister will see his way to agree to that. I think these are the only points really that arise, and if the Minister could consider them, we could get agreement on the whole amendment now.

Sir EDWARD BIGGER: Information on Edward Coey Bigger  Zoom on Edward Coey Bigger  I would like to deal with this matter from a point of view on which the Minister has not touched, that is, from the public health point of view. In the Free State we cannot dispense with a single competent dentist, though I am entirely against putting a dentist on the register who is not competent. But if we provide a practical examination which will ensure that the dentists who have been engaged in dentistry for six years, as I propose, are allowed to go on the register, and make either the Dental Board or the Medical Council responsible for seeing that they are competent dentists, it would meet the case. We cannot do without a single one, because there is a vast amount of ill-health and disease caused through lack of dental treatment, such as enlarged glands, tuberculosis, rheumatism, blood-poisoning, and septic pneumonia, especially septic pneumonia, which, as you all know, is one of the [862] most fatal diseases. Every competent dentist in this country, or in any other country, is doing great work in preventing these diseases. I have examined statistics, and I find that in England they have one dentist for every 3,100 of the population. The proportion of dentists to the population in the Free State is something like half that. I have made out a rough calculation, and I believe that I am right in stating that there are 300,000 people in the Free State who require dental treatment, but who cannot get it. For that reason, now that we are going to close the door, we should be sure before we do so that we allow as many as we can in, so long as they are competent.

This was the reason that induced the Minister for Health in England to bring in the 1921 Act. I was in close touch at that time with the Minister for Health, and I was horrified when he mentioned that he was very anxious to get registered a very large number of unregistered dentists, but when he produced certain figures that I went into with him I found that he was perfectly right. In the ordinary course of dental education, with a four years' course, the process is very slow. After the passing of the 1921 Act there were 5,000 dentists registered in the United Kingdom, and in the next year over 7,200 unqualified men were put on the register— a 60 per cent. increase on the English register. Here we are doing everything we can to prevent the same class of people getting on. I think that that would be a dreadful mistake for the country. Furthermore, the British Dental Board allowed mechanics not only to go on in 1921 and 1922, but they have been allowing the examinations to be continued ever since, and these examinations are to continue for three years more—until July, 1931. Every year a certain number of mechanics are allowed to go in for that examination, and if they fail in any one year they can go forward again. They have been passing ever since, and in one year something like 400 passed. We fall short of our requirements, and for every dentist that we exclude, if he is competent, we are condemning a certain number of people to ill-health, and possibly to death.

[863]Mr. DOWDALL: Information on James Charles Dowdall  Zoom on James Charles Dowdall  I would like to say a few words on the Minister's amendment, and in support of what Senator Hooper and Senator Bigger said. When I was appointed on the Committee to deal with this matter, let me be perfectly candid and say that I had not read a line of the Bill. I had the idea, as I think the Minister has, that these men who were practising dentistry are quacks and what is usually summed up in the word “quack.” When I came into contact with my colleagues on the Committee, Senator Sir Edward Bigger and Senator O'Sullivan, I was amazed to find that they, as well as the members of the Dáil, regarded a great many of the unregistered dental practitioners as people who were fulfilling a very useful function to the community and doing very good service. After I had heard all that I came to regard the question in a totally different light. Within the recollection of most of us a medical register was provided here. A dental register has been compiled in England, and we are now compiling a dental register in this country. This Bill proposes to make provision “for the registration and control of persons practising dentistry and dental surgery and for other purposes relating to the practice of dentistry or dental surgery, etc.” The manner in which these men become engaged in the practice of dentistry is that they are indentured apprentices who afterwards practise as dentists. This procedure is followed by men who do not proceed by way of examination. While the Minister's amendment does seek to meet Senator Hooper, I consider it very unreasonable and absolutely restrictive on a great many men who are well qualified to do all that is necessary. By fixing the age and the date, the amendment prevents these men from practising and from becoming registered dentists until they are 31 or 32 years of age. A considerable number of these men are 24 or 27 years of age. They have served a long apprenticeship, and after doing that they practised for a number of years. The effect of the Minister's amendment would be that these men would be ruled out automatically. They would be knocked out of the practice that they have built up, [864] and at a time of their lives when they certainly are not young. They simply would be put on the scrap-heap and would probably have to seek another occupation in life. I have a number of amendments down, and I am anxious to know whether I will move them now.

Mr. BROWN: Information on Samuel Lombard Brown  Zoom on Samuel Lombard Brown  I gathered from the Minister that he was willing to reduce the period to five.

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  No.

Mr. BROWN: Information on Samuel Lombard Brown  Zoom on Samuel Lombard Brown  I thought you were willing to reduce the age from 30 to 25.

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  I think the two amendments must be considered together.

Mr. BROWN: Information on Samuel Lombard Brown  Zoom on Samuel Lombard Brown  If so, Senator Dowdall's first amendment might be passed.

Mr. DOWDALL: Information on James Charles Dowdall  Zoom on James Charles Dowdall  As a matter of fact I am not tied absolutely to the figures in my amendment. I consider that 31 is an unreasonably high age, and that the ten years is too long a period.

LEAS-CHATHAOIRLEACH:  I am afraid there is no way of coming to finality on this except by taking each amendment and discussing it on its merits.

Sir EDWARD BIGGER: Information on Edward Coey Bigger  Zoom on Edward Coey Bigger  Would the Minister accept six and twenty-eight? I would suggest six.

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

LEAS-CHATHAOIRLEACH:  I am now taking Senator Dowdall's amendment.

Mr. TOAL: Information on Thomas Toal  Zoom on Thomas Toal  I desire to support the arguments put forward by Senator Sir Edward Bigger and Senator Dowdall. I think that the proposal in the Minister's amendment would inflict great hardship on a certain section of the community, on men who have given the greater part of their lives to the practice of dentistry. The Minister insists on the period of ten years. I might mention the case of an applicant in whom I am interested. He has had nine and a half years experience. I think it would be very hard if he were ruled out. In the first place he served [865] five years to dentistry in Belfast. After that he came to a provincial town and established a first-class practice there. The people are so well satisfied as to how he does his business that they are flocking to him for relief. He has even done more than establish a successful business. He has got married and is rearing a family in the country. He is prepared to live in the country, and do the best he can in the interests of his profession and of his colleagues. He has been in successful practice for over four years, and I think it would be very hard lines indeed if such a man were obliged to leave the country. If he is ruled out, it will be simply adding to the army of the unemployed. I hope that the Minister will be able to see his way to extend the period so as to meet cases of that sort. I hold that if men of this kind are driven out of practice that we will not get expert dentists to come and settle down in small provincial towns. I think the public will be well protected when you require these people to pass the prescribed standard of examination before they are allowed to go on the register. You have the guarantee that they have been in practice for a number of years. I hope that in the interests of humanity and of the many deserving men who have been in practice for a long number of years, that the Minister will see his way to extend the period.

Mr. O'CONNOR: Information on Joseph OConnor  Zoom on Joseph OConnor  I propose that 26 years be the standard age.

LEAS-CHATHAOIRLEACH:  I could not take that amendment now.

Mr. FARREN: Information on Thomas Farren  Zoom on Thomas Farren  I would like to say a few words on the Minister's amendment. Perhaps we might be able to arrive at a satisfactory solution with regard to all the amendments if we had a little good-will all round. I must say that I have a good deal of sympathy with the stand taken by the Minister to see that the people who will be practising will have the necessary qualifications to perform the work properly. I think we are all in sympathy with that point of view, but then of course we have to remember the extraordinary conditions that prevail here, and the number of people whose living is bound up with their work as [866] dentists. They were sent to serve their apprenticeship as mechanics or dentists at a very early age, and they have now been practising for a number of years. The Minister has stated that as a compromise he would accept the figure eight. Perhaps we might be able to arrive at agreement by making it 21 years of age on the 31st December, 1921—that would be seven years preceding the passing of this Act. That is the compromise that I suggest.

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  Senator Dowdall's third amendment is, I think, the vital one. I think there will be agreement all over that if the ten-year period is reduced by two, three or five years that the period of age of a person on the 31st December must also vary accordingly.

Mr. DOWDALL: Information on James Charles Dowdall  Zoom on James Charles Dowdall  I am not wedded to the figure of five as against ten. These men do not commence to earn their livelihood when they are 21.

LEAS-CHATHAOIRLEACH:  If this amendment was decided satisfactorily, would you withdraw your other amendment about the figures 18 and 27?

Mr. DOWDALL: Information on James Charles Dowdall  Zoom on James Charles Dowdall  With regard to my amendment to paragraph (b) I am prepared to agree to an alteration of the figures. The first alteration to read, to be not less than 24 years, and the second alteration, to be not less than 26 years. With regard to my amendment to paragraph (c) I am agreeable to have that changed to the figure seven years instead of five years.

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  I am suggesting an amendment to that. To get the three-year period, the best way is the way I have suggested—to make it read that he was on the 31st December, 1921, not less than twenty-one years of age, so that the whole period must be seven years. I am prepared to agree to that if a further amendment be accepted.

Mr. DOWDALL: Information on James Charles Dowdall  Zoom on James Charles Dowdall  As the Minister is prepared to agree to that, and if he agrees that the number of men now practising may stand for an examination any time within the next two years——

[867]Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  No, one year.

LEAS-CHATHAOIRLEACH:  I think the best way to deal with this would be for Senator Dowdall to move the first amendment in his name on the Order Paper.

Mr. DOWDALL: Information on James Charles Dowdall  Zoom on James Charles Dowdall  I move accordingly:

Sub-section (1), paragraph (b). To delete the words and figures “1918, not less than twenty-one” and to substitute therefor the words and figures “1927, not less than twenty-four.”

As regards the first part of that amendment I am prepared to modify it to read “not less than 25 years.”

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  The proposition of the Senator is in fact to reduce the ten-year period of practice to seven. That as a consequence would entail that this 21-year period from 1928 must be substituted by something else. You can substitute it in either of two ways in accordance with that view. It must read either that he was 21 on the 31st December, 1918, or that he was 18 years of age on the 31st December, 1921. As I said before, if that alteration were accepted there is another small point that I would require to have attention given to later. I want to indicate now that hereafter I would like to have the phrase “principal occupation” changed into “principal means of livelihood.”

Mr. HOOPER: Information on Patrick Joseph Hooper  Zoom on Patrick Joseph Hooper  Might I say a word in regard to the suggested change in the amendment. The amendment now means, in effect, that the majority of the people who are concerned in this matter will have had to have been twelve years at practice before they are allowed to stand for this examination. I do not think it can be contradicted that it is the common practice, as I have said before, for these people to go and learn dentistry at the age of fifteen or sixteen years. The majority, I think, go about the age of sixteen. If the age limit is fixed at 28, it means that they must have been engaged at dentistry for twelve years. I say that is too long a period. I have an amendment down which fixes the age at 23 instead of 21, which is now proposed. That amendment gives the age at 26, and the period of practice at ten years.

[868]Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  Practice plus apprenticeship?

Mr. HOOPER: Information on Patrick Joseph Hooper  Zoom on Patrick Joseph Hooper  Yes.

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  That is what I object to.

Mr. HOOPER: Information on Patrick Joseph Hooper  Zoom on Patrick Joseph Hooper  If you fix the age at 26, surely it is not too much to ask that ten years is a fair figure?

Sir EDWARD BIGGER: Information on Edward Coey Bigger  Zoom on Edward Coey Bigger  I support Senator Hooper's suggestion. I think a man should have enough of experience at 26 years of age to go on the register.

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  It is not the question of the age of a man. It is a question of how long he must be in practice. If the House assents to a particular period I ask it to assent further to this: that practice is to be counted after the period of apprenticeship or from the period he actually begins to practise. I have had people who sent certificates that they were apprenticed at the age of thirteen, and does the Senator like to make the case that they must have been fifteen years in practice? If a certain class of man is not allowed to sit for his examination until he is 21, why should you allow those people who have been practising illegally up to this to include a period of so-called practice they have had before their twenty-first year? Senator Sir Edward Bigger spoke about public health, and mentioned that he had a close and intimate knowledge of the matter about which we are speaking. I took that as a responsible statement, and I had it queried. I am assured by the Department of Public Health that they have no fear about the future in the respect indicated by the Senator. Does he know many dentists who are rushed off their feet through work?

Sir EDWARD BIGGER: Information on Edward Coey Bigger  Zoom on Edward Coey Bigger  I do.

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  Does he know that the profession as a whole is overworked and that there is a demand for new dentists? I do not think the answer can be in the affirmative. In the interests of public health, I do not think we should act in the way which the Senator suggests, and allow people on the register who in the ordinary way we would not allow on it.

[869]Sir EDWARD BIGGER: Information on Edward Coey Bigger  Zoom on Edward Coey Bigger  As regards the number of dentists, there are parts of the country where you cannot get a dentist unless you travel 50 miles, while in practically no case are medical men further than five miles apart. There are large tracts where there are no dentists.

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  And there will be.

Sir EDWARD BIGGER: Information on Edward Coey Bigger  Zoom on Edward Coey Bigger  I am asked if any responsible person gave me the information I mentioned about public health. I would like to quote from the Dental Act. After specifying that seven years, it states: “This Board may on such conditions as they may consider proper dispense in the case of any person with any of the requirements prescribed in this section other than the requirements as to character and age if they are satisfied that a person is unable to satisfy those requirements by reason of having served in His Majesty's forces or because of being engaged in work of national importance.” They let everything go except character and age.

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  “If they are satisfied they have served in His Majesty's forces”—that is the overriding thing.

Mr. DOWDALL: Information on James Charles Dowdall  Zoom on James Charles Dowdall  I withdraw my amendment in favour of Senator Hooper's.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Mr. HOOPER: Information on Patrick Joseph Hooper  Zoom on Patrick Joseph Hooper  I move:

Sub-section (1), paragraph (b). To delete the figures “1918” and to substitute therefor the figures “1923.”

Mr. O'CONNOR: Information on Joseph OConnor  Zoom on Joseph OConnor  I second.

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  I protest against this. The whole Bill is founded on a statement made by the dental profession generally with regard to the 1921 legislation. We intended to see it operating in this country and that if any particular legislation is brought in here to regularise the position, we were going to have the 1921 and 1927 classes. I shall do all I can to ask the Dáil to refuse this amendment, if we are to weaken it and allow a period of seven years practice with a consequential arrangement as to age. I ask [870] any man who is responsible in his attitude to public health to read the Report of the Committee in which it stated:

“We have considered most carefully the different representations which have been made to us and we are of opinion that in the interests of the public, more especially that section of it which is usually described as the working classes, dental practice by unqualified persons should be prohibited under penalty, and that the most satisfactory way of distinguishing a qualified from an unqualified person is by the formation of a register of qualified persons. Unqualified persons should not be permitted to hold themselves out as willing to practise dentistry or perform dental operations.”

On the basis of these recommendations was framed the 1921 Act. From the Report of that Committee it was seen that practice by these people after the passage of that Act was going to be entirely prohibited. Are we going to allow the residue of all the quacks of the United Kingdom who have come here to practise, when they knew it was illegal, and validate all that, and put that type of man on the same standing as the professional man?

Mr. GUINNESS: Information on Henry Seymour Guinness  Zoom on Henry Seymour Guinness  Does the Minister adhere to his old amendment on that?

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  I offered to amend (b) so that it would be the 31st December, 1921, and not less than 21 years of age, and that his principal means of livelihood during the seven years immediately preceding the practice of this Act was the practice of dentistry in Saorstát Eireann.

Mr. FARREN: Information on Thomas Farren  Zoom on Thomas Farren  Am I entitled to move an amendment?

LEAS-CATHAOIRLEACH:  No, since no notice has been given of it.

Mr. HOOPER: Information on Patrick Joseph Hooper  Zoom on Patrick Joseph Hooper  Will the Minister accept 27 years?

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  I ask the House to accept the 31st December, 1921, instead of 1918, and in the next sub-section (c) to put in seven years instead [871] of ten, and consequential on that I want to move hereafter that “his principal occupation” be substituted by “his principal means of livelihood.”

Mr. HOOPER: Information on Patrick Joseph Hooper  Zoom on Patrick Joseph Hooper  Make it 1922 instead of 1921.

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  No.

Mr. FARREN: Information on Thomas Farren  Zoom on Thomas Farren  We had better not lose sight of the fact that though we may carry an amendment in spite of the Minister he may get the Dáil to refuse it. That is why I asked for a reasonable compromise.

Amendment put and declared lost.

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  I will have to hold over my altered amendment for further drafting, because there is still the further point the Seanad has asked me to meet, and that is the question of more examinations than one. I would propose that two examinations be held, one at the end of a five or six months' period, and the other at the end of two years, with the proviso that practice be allowed up to the announcement of the result of the first examination, and not after that. If the Seanad is agreeable to that I would undertake to let that be brought forward to-morrow.

Mr. DOWDALL: Information on James Charles Dowdall  Zoom on James Charles Dowdall  I move:

In sub-section (1), paragraph (d), to delete the words “or conduct.”

Could “conduct” in that sense mean that the man who is now an unregistered dentist and who sets up an announcement that Mr. A.B., Dentist, will the at the Royal Hotel, say, on Tuesday, be regarded as advertising?

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  I do not know. But I can get the point looked up. If a man has been practising in a rather irregular way that may be crossing the border-line as to professional conduct, that would be a matter for the Board. The Minister is only for the interim from the passing of this Bill to the formation of the Board.

Mr. DOWDALL: Information on James Charles Dowdall  Zoom on James Charles Dowdall  If an announcement is published stating that Mr. So-and-So, Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons, has left home for three weeks, would that be regarded as advertising, [872] and if so how does it differ from a man announcing that he would be at such-and-such a place on such-and-such date?

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Mr. DOWDALL: Information on James Charles Dowdall  Zoom on James Charles Dowdall  I move:

Sub-section (4). To delete the words “five months” and the words “six months” and to substitute therefor the words “one year” and the word “two years” respectively.

For the convenience of those who are preparing to pass the examination, I arranged with the University College, Cork, for a course of lectures for the unregistered practitioners, but the authorities found it very hard to fit that course in with their other University work, as five months was too short a period. I think it is not unreasonable to substitute twelve months for five months, and two years for one year.

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  I have stated my point of view. Surely it is good enough to give these people one year to be ready for the examinations.

Mr. DOWDALL: Information on James Charles Dowdall  Zoom on James Charles Dowdall  I thought the Minister might be in a melting mood and that he would accept the amendment. As he is not I will withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Mr. DOWDALL: Information on James Charles Dowdall  Zoom on James Charles Dowdall  I move:

Sub-section (5). To delete the words “shall if held before the establishment of the Board be prescribed and held by the Minister and if held after the establishment of the Board.”

I think the Minister will agree to that amendment. I think, as the Bill refers to periods of six months and twelve months, that the Board will be established and that it is more the function of the Board to conduct the examination than of a Government Department. Before I read the Bill I thought it was to be conducted by the Department of Industry and Commerce.

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  If the Board is established within six months it will hold the examinations so that this amendment is not required. If not [873] someone else must hold it. It is only to meet a situation that might easily arise.

Mr. DOWDALL: Information on James Charles Dowdall  Zoom on James Charles Dowdall  I think Senator Sir Edward Bigger should give his views on this matter as to who should hold the examination.

Sir EDWARD BIGGER: Information on Edward Coey Bigger  Zoom on Edward Coey Bigger  I think it is immaterial whether it is left to the Board or to the Medical Council. The Medical Council have to do with medical and dental examinations. I think it would be for them.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Mr. DOWDALL: Information on James Charles Dowdall  Zoom on James Charles Dowdall  I move:

Sub-section (5). To add at the end of the sub-section the words “and shall be of a similar standard to that set for candidates under Section 3 of the Dentists Act, 1921.”

I believe I am right in saying, as the Minister seems to follow closely on the lines of 1921 Act, that considerably over 95 per cent. of the candidates who sat in England were successful.

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  Eventually successful.

Mr. DOWDALL: Information on James Charles Dowdall  Zoom on James Charles Dowdall  I believe considerably over 95 per cent. were successful at the first trial. It is well for the House to remember that under that Act unregistered practitioners in England can still sit for the examination for three years to come. We are limiting our unregistered practitioners to twelve months from the passing of the Act. That is much more restricted and the examination in England was one simply of a practical character, in which a man had to prove that he could extract and fill teeth and do the other work usually done by dental practitioners. I had some fear that the standard of examination should be up to the standard set students who passed through the University. That really is not what the Bill means. It is certainly not what I meant.

[874]Mr. GUINNESS: Information on Henry Seymour Guinness  Zoom on Henry Seymour Guinness  Does the Minister agree to that?

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  I prefer to leave it to the Board. If the amendment is not accepted the standard of the examination will be left to the Board.

Amendment put and declared lost.

CATHAOIRLEACH:  I will put the original section now.

Mr. McGILLIGAN: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  If my amendment, as slightly amended, is put, it will stand for ever as it is passed. I ask the Seanad to stop at this point and to let me bring in a better amendment incorporating what has been agreed to by the Seanad.

Further consideration of the Bill postponed.

Mr. BAGWELL: Information on John Philip Bagwell  Zoom on John Philip Bagwell  I would ask leave of the House to have the Standing Orders suspended to-morrow to permit the Committee Stage of the Forestry Bill to be taken after the Second Reading Stage.

CATHAOIRLEACH:  You are giving notice of motion to that effect to-night?

Mr. MacLOUGHLIN: Information on John MacLoughlin  Zoom on John MacLoughlin  There is a rather heavy programme for to-morrow, as I understand the Committee Stage of the Constitution (Amendment No. 10) Bill will be taken.

CATHAOIRLEACH:  We will do as much as we can.

Mr. MacLOUGHLIN: Information on John MacLoughlin  Zoom on John MacLoughlin  And there is also the Finance Bill. I do not think it will serve any purpose to put down the Committee Stage of the Forestry Bill for to-morrow or to suspend the Standing Orders, as you will not reach it.

Dr. GOGARTY: Information on Oliver St John Gogarty  Zoom on Oliver St John Gogarty  Put it down temporarily.

The Seanad adjourned at 7.20 p.m. until July the 5th


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