Seanad Éireann - Volume 24 - 23 October, 1940
Closing of Peamount Industries—Motion.
Mr. Douglas Mr. Douglas
 Mr. Douglas: I beg to move the motion which stands in my name on the Order Paper:—
That the Seanad requests the Minister for Local Government and Public Health to appoint a Departmental Committee to inquire into the proposal to close down Peamount Industries at Newcastle, County Dublin, and to report on the value of these industries as an adjunct to the treatment of tuberculosis patients at Peamount Sanatorium, and the steps, if any, which should be taken to enable the work of the industries to be continued.
The decision—I understand it is a decision—to close down the Peamount Industries on the 31st December next came as a surprise to members of the public who, like myself, were interested in the work done, but had little or no knowledge of the financial position of the industries. Judging by the large number of persons who have spoken to me since the announcement of this motion appeared in the Press, I am certain that there is very general regret at the decision and a general desire that an effort should be made to find some satisfactory way by which the work might be carried on. At the outset I should like to say two things: First of all, that I have been in no way connected with the Peamount Industries or with the management of the sanatorium. The only connection I had, if it be a connection at all, was that I was present at a meeting of the Women's National Health Association when it was decided to set up the Peamount Industries and I have a sort of idea that I spoke in favour of it. But since then I have been in no way in touch with them. I am speaking now entirely as a member of the public who is interested. The second thing I should like to make clear very definitely is that neither this motion nor anything that I may say should be regarded as in any way a criticism of the Committee of the Women's National Health Association on whom the  responsibility for the decision rested. It was due to the initiative of that association that the industries were founded, and I am perfectly satisfied that the committee greatly regret the decision and that no one would be better pleased than the members of the committee if a way could be found by which the Peamount Industries could be carried on without involving the sanatorium in further financial loss.
Since I came into the House I had messages sent to me from medical men, who have been connected with the sanatorium, saying that they wanted to make it quite clear that the only reasons they knew of why it should be closed were financial ones. That, of course, was exactly the position as I had understood it, apart from these messages. The President of the Women's National Health Association very kindly and very courteously, has given me detailed information as to the financial position of the industries, and I think that I ought to say that, while I feel strongly that an effort should be made in the public interest to find a way of continuing the industries, I do recognise that the present financial arrangements are unsatisfactory and that, unless these are changed, and placed on a better basis, the committee, sooner or later, would have been forced to close down the industries.
From information given to me, and from inquiries which I have made, I have formed the opinion that, before the industries are allowed to close down, a departmental committee of investigation, appointed by the Minister for Local Government and Public Health, should sit and examine the whole position. If there are technical reasons, or other reasons, why that is not the best method of investigation, I, of course, am perfectly satisfied that as long as some competent committee, whether appointed by the Minister, appointed by this House, or appointed by some other bodies, had authority to obtain the necessary information, it would look into the matter and see whether there is not a possible way of getting over the difficulty. I have  suggested a departmental committee because that seemed to me to be the best way, but my whole argument is in favour of investigation rather than claiming that I am competent to say what is the best method by which that investigation should take place.
Peamount Industries were opened on January 1st, 1930, following a report made by the honorary secretary of the Peamount Sanatorium on a visit to the Papworth Village Settlement in Cambridgeshire. It was proposed that the industries be run on lines similar to those at Papworth and that Peamount Industries should be a non-profit making concern forming part of the general activities of the Women's National Health Association. Sir Pendrill—then Doctor—Varrier Jones, of the Papworth Settlement, was appointed on 31st July, 1929, to be honorary director of the Peamount Industries, but for reasons of health, I understand, he resigned in August, 1934.
The main object of the industries was to provide employment at the outset for patients who might be expected to occupy positions of trust—clerical, administrative, and managerial—and also for patients who could be trained as workers although they would never be able to produce to full capacity. This aim is emphasised in Sir Pendrill Varrier Jones's note on “The Inauguration of Peamount Industries” which is printed in the Annual Report of the Women's National Health Association for 1929. His words are as follows:—
“Peamount Industries have been established to provide employment for those who cannot find it in the open labour market. Peamount Village Settlement will provide that sheltered environment, without which the work of the sanatorium is in vain. A living wage for those who cannot compete in ordinary industry —a security which it is impossible to obtain in the outside world. These are the things which we have set out to attain.”
There can be no doubt that the main purpose of the scheme was the provision of employment for tuberculosis  patients at Peamount and this may be divided, roughly, into two: (1) the provision of occupational therapy for patients during their treatment, and (2) the provision of permanent employment, under medical supervision, for patients whose treatment in the sanatorium has been completed and concerning whom medical opinion is that they may become useful citizens, able to provide for themselves, if they can live within the shelter of a tuberculosis village settlement, but who are very liable to suffer a relapse if they have to return to normal civilian life.
According to figures supplied by Mr. Hall, Manager of the Peamount Industries since they came into being, over ten years ago, at least 900 patients from the sanatorium have been sent to the industries for occupational therapy for various periods of time. It will, of course, be understood that some—perhaps many—of these would never have become well enough to become permanent employees of the industries, but medical opinion holds that the provision of interesting and purposeful occupation helps to arrest the disease in many cases by removing from the mind the worry which often results from the economic difficulties in which tuberculosis sufferers are liable to find themselves.
During the same period, 51 patients in all, when well enough to leave the sanatorium—42 men and nine women— became regular workers at Peamount, and if the industries close down, unfortunate people in a similar position will be left unemployed in the future unless they can find employment in ordinary industry with the risk of relapse which this must involve. Mr. Hall, the manager at Peamount, informs me that, in his opinion, at least 30 more men, who had completed their treatment and who were married with families, could have become regular workers in the industries, during the ten-year period if funds had been available for the building of the necessary cottages. The relatively small number of girls who became permanent, or more or less permanent, workers at Peamount is also, I am told, largely due to the want of living  accommodation. In the early days of the industries a special hostel was erected for single men settlers, but no such accommodation was provided, I am informed, for girls. Mr Hall tells me that approximately 170 girls were trained in the glove factory at Peamount since 1933 and that, in his opinion—I am quoting his opinion, because, of course, my opinion is not worth anything—approximately half of these might possibly have become regular workers if suitable living accommodation had been available.
From its inception the resources of the industries have been limited, and what surprises me is not that it has had financial difficulties, but that it has been able to accomplish so much. The buildings were erected from funds supplied by the sanatorium, together with money collected from the public and over £4,000 received, I understand, from the Sweepstake money. The working capital seems to have been provided mainly by a bank overdraft and a substantial loan from the sanatorium committee, on which no interest was charged.
The industries include a woodworking factory and a glove factory. From figures which have been supplied to me it would appear that during the last six years there has been an average trading loss of £550 per annum. In one of these years there was a very heavy loss—otherwise, the average trading loss per annum would have been considerably less. For the last half year for which I have seen audited accounts the trading loss was under £250, so I think we may take it that, if Peamount Industries are to be continued on the present basis, a loss of in or about £500 per annum will have to be faced somewhere. I think I ought to mention that the industries receive a capitation grant of 5/- per week for each patient sent for occupational therapy. This is paid by the sanatorium, but only paid during the period of training.
But for this grant the annual loss shown would be higher. On the other hand, in estimating the loss provision has been made for annual depreciation not only on fixtures, tools and machinery, but also on buildings,  which were paid for to a large extent out of sweepstake funds. It has been suggested to me from various sources that if the Peamount Industries were to advertise more widely it would increase the turnover and reduce the loss. It has also been suggested that if more capital was available so that the industries could be extended in scope it might be possible to run them at a profit.
I am not in a position to express any opinion on these or other suggestions. There may or may not be something in them. I am, however, convinced that no industry which employs workers suffering from a serious disease like tuberculosis can possibly compete on equal terms with industries manned by healthy workers.
I am, therefore, of opinion that the issue to be decided is not whether Peamount Industries can be turned into a profit-making institution, but whether the social value of the industries to the country is worth the probable annual cost of continuing them. The problem of finding work for the consumptive is no easy one, but its solution would be of great value to the country as a whole. It is desirable, on the one hand, to make it easy for a person threatened with tuberculosis to leave his present employment, where he may be a danger, and, on the other hand, to prevent him from returning to unsuitable work when he is well enough to leave a sanatorium.
I would like to read the following quotations from one of the Papworth reports, which sum up the problem with remarkable clarity:—
“A working man, feeling tired, somewhat slack, and perhaps slightly dyspeptic, goes to a doctor, who may say that he suspects tuberculosis, and thus brings his patient face to face with a difficult problem. If found to be tuberculosis he may be sent to a sanatorium and his family have to live as best it may without his earnings, for these will probably cease; his employer may not keep his job open for him, and if he does the other workmen may even object to his presence when he returns. No other employer is likely to employ a ‘consumptive’  fresh from a sanatorium, when plenty of fit men are available. Eyentually he decides that whatever happens, he must not be found out: after all, he does not really feel ill, only a little below par—quite able to do his job, but tired in the evenings. So he continues to work, and avoids that suspicious busybody of a doctor —because he literally cannot afford to be tuberculous.
“Let there be no mistake about this: once a man is a certified consumptive he loses his job and does not regain it, and often all his savings are exhausted and irretrievably lost. But after he has been temporarily patched up he is sent back to his demoralised and unhappy family, who then have an unemployable and infectious invalid in their midst to add to their other worries.”
I do not claim that Peamount Industries have solved that problem, except for comparatively few persons, but I honestly believe that what should really be considered is not the closing down of the industries but whether there is not some way in which they should be enlarged and extended and be of more value to a greater number of citizens, rather than be closed down because of the small amount they are able to do at present. I understand there are 50 employees in the industries. Some of them, I am told, will only be there a short time, as the period for which the county boards of health will pay is probably exhausted, and if they are not going to be employed partially in the industries they may refuse to continue paying. Some 30 are at present patients in the sanatorium, and the principal loss, as far as they are concerned, will be the loss of occupational therapy, and whatever benefit they would obtain from such work in the treatment of their disease. For the other 20 workers the closing down of the industries will be much more serious. They are ex-patients, and as they cannot return to the sanatorium they will be forced to seek employment in the open labour market.
If, as is very possible—in fact almost certain—they fail they will have to fall  back on unemployment benefit. The cost of the dole or unemployment benefit which will be paid to these unfortunate men and women if the industries close down on December 31st next will be a much larger sum per annum than the average £550 which, undoubtedly, has been lost. Remember that was the average over the last six years, but if ten years was taken the figure would be smaller. Speaking from memory, the 20 persons comprised 12 men and eight women. The men would receive payments of 15/- and the women 12/6 weekly. While I am not in a position to prove it I do not think there is any reason to believe that the loss in doles would be less than the loss in providing work for tuberculosis patients. At any rate there should be an inquiry to see whether there is not some way out of the difficulty. It is my opinion that Peamount Industries reorganised and placed on a sound financial basis could provide regular employment for a larger number of ex-patients, and that it could be so arranged that the cost to the State, if it contributed, would not be greater than the cost of the dole. I do not ask the House or the Minister to accept my opinion, but from an examination of the accounts, which were kindly supplied and from information given me by the manager, I ask the House to support me in demanding that before these industries are closed down there should be an inquiry, and that a bona fide effort by persons who know the value of Peamount to this country should be made to see if there is not a reasonable way out.
I am informed that providing work for these people is of medical value. Assuming that it is, it is much better that these people should be working in industries rather than being sent back to ordinary industries. Of course they would not be sent out if they were liable to be a danger to others. Between the whole lot of us it should be possible somewhere to find not only the £550 but double and treble that sum if there was no other way of finding it. If the £550 was divided between the county boards of health, who are the main contributors to the funds at Peamount it would not be noticed,  apart altogether from what I have said.
My case is that there should be an inquiry which should, first of all, establish the value to the country as a whole of maintaining these industries, either as they are or enlarged. If it is decided that they are of value, it would be necessary to find out if that value is great enough to warrant either State contributions or private collections or payments through the public health boards, and to find the sum which it would cost. I think there is a prima facie case that it is of value to the country as a whole and that that value is quite as large as the annual loss, as shown by the figures.
My case is that before the industries are allowed to close down there should be an inquiry by a competent committee and that, if such committee is convinced that the industries are a valuable adjunct to the treatment of tuberculosis patients, it should then recommend steps which should be taken to enable the industries to continue.
I recognise, of course, that it is not sufficient for the Minister to agree to appoint a committee of inquiry. It will also be necessary for the committee of the sanatorium to agree to allow the Peamount Industries to continue in existence for a further period of, say, six months, to enable the committee to meet and issue a report. It is, I believe, proposed to close the industries on 31st December next.
If this closing were postponed until 30th June, 1941, and if the Minister were to act promptly, it should be possible for a departmental committee to issue a report in time for action to be taken if so recommended before the industries close down. If once allowed to close down it would be a much more expensive and difficult matter to have them reopened.
This extension of six months which I suggest would almost certainly mean a further trading loss—say, £250; no one can prophesy the exact figure—and it may be that the sanatorium committee may not feel that it can accept liability for a further loss even for half a year's trading. At the last meeting  of the Council of the Federation of Irish Manufacturers the position of Peamount Industries was considered, and the council was unanimous in its view that the closing down of the industries should be postponed until an inquiry had been made. In order to give practical support to its view, and in the hope that it might make it easier to have an inquiry held, the council decided that, if the sanatorium committee would agree to postpone the closing down date by six months in order to allow an inquiry to be held, the Council of the Federation would issue an appeal to manufacturers and others to subscribe the sum of £250, which is equal to the trading loss for the last half year for which accounts are available.
The members of the council present pledged themselves to see that the £250 was raised, and I can, therefore, assure the Minister, if he agrees to appoint a committee of inquiry, and the sanatorium committee, if it agrees to a postponement of the closing date, that the loss made during the last trading half year will be found by a public subscription. The sanatorium committee, therefore, need not fear that their funds will suffer unduly by any postponement.
Speaking to Senators in the Lobby, I have heard a reference made to the reports of the Hospitals Committee in connection with the Sweepstake, and it has been suggested to me that the committee reported unfavourably in regard to the position of Peamount Industries. I think that is a misapprehension. I have read the quotations and I do find that whereas some of the earlier committees reported very favourably on Peamount and recommended the allocation of sums of money of a fairly substantial nature—one report actually went so far as to say that with additional money it might be as successful as Papworth— a later report did say there were difficulties with regard to a successful tuberculosis colony, because of the agricultural position; in other words, that a very large number of patients were agricultural. The committee did not recommend in any way that Peamount  should be closed down: it did say that a further extension of Peamount should be postponed until the matter had been more fully investigated. That seems to me to be a not unreasonable recommendation, which does not seem to have been carried out, as far as the investigation is concerned.
I am quite sure that, apart altogether from the position of tuberculosis patients from the country—of whom, I think, the majority probably come to Peamount—there are quite enough, in fact, too many, tuberculosis patients from the towns, and far more than could possibly be looked after effectively in an industry the size of Peamount. There is probably a case for investigation, to see whether something more useful could not be done for agricultural patients, but there is no case at all for stopping what is being done for patients who would be suitable to industrial work. I make no comment on the fact that there seems to be an extraordinary desire on the part of many people from the country to come to the towns to learn industrial work. That does not enter into the present question.
There is one more aspect of this question to which I would draw the attention of the Seanad, as I think it provides a further important reason why Peamount Industries should not be allowed to close down without careful inquiry. The fight against tuberculosis is not purely an Irish question—it is international, and Peamount Industries is only one of a number of similar establishments in Europe and in America. To those who wish for further information on the whole subject I would suggest that they should read a report on “After-Care and Rehabilitation”, by Doctor E. Brieger, which was presented to the Conference of the International Union Against Tuberculosis held in Lisbon in 1937. In this report will be found some very interesting and very favourable references to Peamount Industries. They are too long to quote in full, but I would like to read the following extracts:—
“Peamount Village Settlement is  perhaps the best example extant of an ordinary tuberculosis sanatorium which has successfully adopted the Papworth scheme.
“Peamount Industries have become an efficient industrial concern under the direction of an experienced manager, himself an ex-patient of Papworth, with which he remains constantly in touch, and he has shown that commercial insight which is so necessary in building up new industries. Peamount Industries work with substandard workers, passed on from Peamount Sanatorium and housed in hostels and shelters.
“In the original plan of the Peamount scheme, provision was made for developing the industry, so that it should become the foundation of a workers' settlement. Thus, the Peamount scheme, according to its planning, was intended to fulfil the sociological task of after-care for tuberculous people. So far the construction of the third part of the threefold Papworth scheme has been only partially effected. The village housing scheme has been begun, but has not developed rapidly on account of lack of funds.
“Peamount, in the present phase of its development, is still in the making. All the will power is there: and the logical development of the scheme is assured as soon as the necessary cash is available.”
It is only three years since that report was presented and it seems almost unthinkable that we in Ireland should now be thinking of closing down a village settlement which is so favourably referred to in a report to an international conference. Is there any adequate reason why we in Ireland should fail where others have succeeded?
Owing to the war I have no information, and it is impossible to say what may be happening to similar institutions in Germany, Holland, Switzerland, Belgium and other European countries. Certainly, I have not heard of any proposal to close down the Papworth or other settlements in England, nor to close down the similar institutions in U.S.A.
 It may be that circumstances here are peculiar and that the closing of Peamount is inevitable, but we should not accept this without full and careful enquiry.
The Government has already demonstrated its determination not to let the crisis caused by the war interfere with the development of institutions of value to the nation.
It was, though there may have been differences of opinion as to the merits of it, to my mind a demonstration of faith in the future to set up an institute for advanced studies at a time of international crisis like the present. I find it hard to believe that the same Government which has set up the institute will allow an institution like the Peamount Industries to close in this time of crisis because it is losing £500 or £550 a year. Just at the present we are spending, and I consider rightly spending, substantial sums of money on A.R.P. to prepare for a possible danger to human life through air attack. This may or may not happen. If it does happen it may affect large numbers, or only a few. It is all problematical. The danger is unknown, but we are wisely spending money to prevent this possible loss of life.
In tuberculosis, we have a certain danger and there is nothing problematical about it. We know that there are, and will be, unfortunate people who will require treatment, and we know that these people, if cured, will be safer in a settlement like Peamount than in going into ordinary industrial employment with the danger of relapse, and of possible infection to others. Having examined the accounts, my view is that a few thousands more capital, with provision for making up a loss of a few hundred pounds a year, would not only enable the Peamount Industries to continue, but would enable a very considerable amount of reconstruction and improvement to take place. Surely, before we say that this money cannot be found, before we allow this industry to close down in two months' time, the Minister or the House or some people should get together and see if we cannot find a practical way of preventing that.
Mr. M. Hayes Mr. M. Hayes
 Mr. M. Hayes: I formally second the motion.
Liam O Buachalla Liam O Buachalla
Liam O Buachalla: Is mian liom cuidiú leis an Rún seo atá molta ag an Seanadóir Séamus Ó Dubhglais. Aontuim leis an gcuid is mó dá argóintí agus tá súil agam go dtiúbhraidh an tAire áird ar na hargóintí sin. Tá beagán eoluis agam ar an obair atá ar bun i Peamount agus creidim gur sár-obair í agus gur mór a théigheann sí chun leasa do sna h-othair a bhíos páirteach inti.
B'fhéidir go bhfuil fiosrú iomlán déanta cheana ag an Aire ar an sgéal seo, má baineann an sgéal leis chor ar bith. Má tá, b'fhiú tuairisc a chur ar fáil dúinn ina thaobh. Mura bhfuil an fiosrú iomlán déanta cheana, tá súil agam go ngéillfidh an tAire don iarratas atá déanta agus go gcuirfe sé Coisde beag ar bun. Ar chaoi ar bith, iarraim ar an Aire féachaint chuige nach ndúnfar Tionnsgail Peamount go mbí sé cinnte gur b'é an rud is fearr is féidir a dhéanamh. Má déantar sgrúdú grinn ar an sgéal, creidim nach molfar an áit a dhúnadh. Tá súil agam go mbéidh na Seanadóirí ar fad sásta aontú leis an iarratas seo.
Dr. Rowlette Dr. Rowlette
Dr. Rowlette: Senator Douglas has made his case very carefully and fairly in favour of an inquiry into this proposal. I think there is very little for anybody to add to what he has said. I agree with his point of view. Having listened carefully to the case made by Senator Douglas, I want to say that I am in agreement with his demand that there should be a full investigation into what I may call this Peamount experiment so that the authorities of Peamount, the Government and the public may be informed as to whether the experiment is worth carrying on. I refer to the extremely fair way in which Senator Douglas has made his case. His approach to the matter was very different from the hysterical and ill-informed statements which various enthusiastic people have addressed to the newspapers on this subject during the last few weeks, making charges, attacks and prophecies which would not bear one moment's investigation by anybody who knows anything about the work that is being done by such an  institution as the Peamount Industries. It is not necessary to go further into that. I welcome the very different and completely fair way in which Senator Douglas put forward his arguments.
I have referred to the Peamount Industries as an experiment. I think they are a very important experiment. They have been in existence now for some few years, and it is a question for the authorities at Peamount, for the members of the Women's National Health Association and the Committee of Peamount, to consider whether the experiment is worth while. I join with Senator Douglas in saying that whether the work is worth while or not should not be considered from the financial aspect only. There are other considerations as well as the purely financial considerations which must be weighed. We cannot put a price value on experiments undertaken to improve the health of the country. One cannot value work of that kind in pounds, shillings and pence. When it comes to the question of deciding whether this experiment is worth carrying on or not, the financial considerations, though they have, for practical purposes, to be considered, are not the only ones. The really important question is whether the experiment is worth while for the health of those who go to Peamount, and is doing adequate work for the health of the community. I am not suggesting that the financial aspect of the question should not be considered, much less that money should be spent on what may not be producing any results, so far as the health of the community is concerned.
It is that point, in particular, that I would like to see referred to a committee which would have the knowledge and the industry to study the question in a quiet detached way. I have before me the reports of the Hospitals Commission for the years 1933-34 which Senator Douglas quoted a few moments ago pointing out the very important differences in the habits of life and outlook of the patients who frequent Peamount—mainly country people— from the patients who seek help at Papworth where there is a much  larger industrial community, and where the minds and capacities of the people run more easily to industry than those of our country boys and girls. That is a point that must receive consideration. There is the other point which Senator Douglas referred to briefly. He mentioned that it is essential to have the opinion of experienced medical people, who have knowledge of such institutions and of such industries, on the therapeutic effect of work of that sort Of course, the nature of the employment that can be given in such places will depend very largely on the physical capacity of the patients, or of those who have been patients, and on the judgment of those who manage such industries as regards suitable employment for them. That side of the question will also have to be considered. It would, I think, be unjust to do, as certain hasty people have done, to blame the Women's National Health Association, or others who have been responsible for the management of Peamount, for deciding to close down these industries. They have had to bear a heavy loss for several years. These industries have been a very heavy burden on their resources, and if the industries are to be carried on it is probable that help from some other source will have to be given to them. Before that is done, there should be a very careful investigation.
Senator Douglas has suggested what the Peamount Industries have done in the years of their existence and what they could hope to do if they got adequate resources, and whether that is worth while in the general sense and not merely in the financial sense. One of the considerations which one has to bear in mind in connection with this question has reference to what the Peamount industries have done for those employed. It is not just a question of turnover and deficit. I confess to some disappointment on hearing the figures which the industries are able to report regarding those who are established as colonists, if I may use the term, and who continue to live in Peamount or the immediate vicinity and to carry on work at these industries. The numbers are small. Senator Douglas mentioned, I think, 20,  and taking 20, which must be a maximum——
Mr. Douglas Mr. Douglas
Mr. Douglas: Fifty-one over the period.
Dr. Rowlette Dr. Rowlette
Dr. Rowlette: Some have been living there for many years and others for short periods. That seems rather a small number to settle down to such work from an institution which, as a sanatorium, accommodates some hundreds of patients and must have passed through its doors in recent years some thousands of patients. One reason for that, I think, is that many of the patients who seek help at Peamount, as at most of the other tuberculosis sanatoriums in this country, are rather far advanced in the disease and are not of a class which, from the medical point of view, would be competent to undertake even a small amount of industrial work on their discharge from therapeutic treatment in a sanatorium. That is a difficulty which all those working in the field of tuberculosis— county medical officers and tuberculosis officers—are fighting against. Patients seek treatment at too late a stage.
That raises a point which many of the county medical officers stress in their annual reports—that there is not nearly enough accommodation for advanced cases of tuberculosis. Until that position is faced by the Government, I am afraid that such an experiment as this at Peamount would, if adopted in other such institutions, find a lack of human material to carry on the work. I am not putting that forward as established; I am merely suggesting it as a possible explanation of the small number of persons who undertake this training and work at Peamount and as a possible reason why there may not be enough persons to undertake it if the system be extended. The remedy is, on its face, plain enough, but the difficulty has endured during the present generation, at least, and, so far, very little has been done. Until the Government recognise that this is an essential need for the health of the country, we cannot hope to establish the degree of safety from tuberculosis that other countries similar to ours have been able to establish. I hope that this is not irrelevant  to the question we are discussing. I gave my reason for mentioning it on this occasion and I hope it will receive attention from the Government. I hope the Minister will consent to adopt the substance of Senator Douglas's motion —that an investigation should be made. I do not tie myself to entire approval of the machinery of investigation that Senator Douglas has devised, but I do not think that Senator Douglas does so either. Neither do I associate myself with everything the Senator said, but with his argument that an inquiry is required and that such an investigation would be helpful to the country I am in entire agreement.
Mrs. Concannon Mrs. Concannon
Mrs. Concannon: I hope the Minister will be able to see his way to hold such an investigation as is suggested in the motion and that, as a result, it will be possible to continue the Peamount industries, with such extensions or improvements as may be suggested by experts. This is really not a question of a balance sheet. The worth of these industries cannot be expressed in ordinary monetary figures. The health of the patients and the results, psychological and physiological, must also be taken into consideration. It is just possible that if these industries were allowed to lapse, there would be much heavier loss in other directions. At all events, I hope the Minister will give careful consideration to the arguments so splendidly advanced by Senator Douglas and Senator Rowlette, and that the industries will not be allowed to die before a thorough investigation will have been made on the part of the nation. That is the important thing. This is not a question for one society. It is a national, social question. The treatment of tuberculosis and the use of occupational therapy must enter into its consideration. I support the motion which Senator Douglas has introduced
Mr. Campbell Mr. Campbell
Mr. Campbell: Senator Douglas gave so comprehensive a picture of the working of Peamount Industries that little remains for other Senators to do save to support the motion. I do not know if other members of the House have visited Peamount Industries, but I had the pleasure of going there about one-and-a-half  years ago. In going through the workshops, I was profoundly impressed by the splendid conditions of work enjoyed by the patients receiving after - tuberculosis treatment. The workshops were well lighted and well heated, and there was an absence of that atmosphere which one associates with workshops in industrial life. All the patients appeared happy. I visited the rest rooms and saw the workers resting for various periods during the course of the day's operations. I think that it would be an absolute disaster if Peamount Industries were to close down. I do not agree with all that Senator Douglas said in regard to the remuneration of the workers employed at Peamount.
Mr. Douglas Mr. Douglas
Mr. Douglas: There must be some misunderstanding. I did not refer to their remuneration.
Mr. Campbell Mr. Campbell
Mr. Campbell: You said that you would prefer to see workers engaged in these industries at the same rate as they would be receiving by way of dole——
Mr. Douglas Mr. Douglas
Mr. Douglas: I did not say that. What I said was that if you can run an industry and pay trade union wages and the total loss is no greater than would be involved by paying the dole, it is a good thing. It would be contrary to the whole spirit of Peamount to say what the Senator has imputed to me.
Mr. Campbell Mr. Campbell
Mr. Campbell: I misunderstood the Senator. I think there should be an investigation into the working of the Peamount Industries. The workers operate under ideal conditions and they receive the necessary medical treatment while working there. Senator Rowlette referred to ill-advised letters in the Press. I deplore these references—statements that these people are disseminating tuberculosis by manufacturing goods which are sold in our shops. The position would be infinitely worse if these workers were to return to the ordinary workshops and handle these goods. I know a case where paper bags are made in tenement slums. The food of the people  goes into these bags and nobody knows the medical condition of the people engaged in that class of out-work. It is infinitely better that these people should be employed under excellent conditions in Peamount, and that they should receive medical attention while so working than that they should be engaged outside.
Senator Douglas referred to the financial reasons which have forced the Peamount sub-committee on industries to recommend the closing down to the Women's National Health Association. I think the amount involved, spread over the 11 years during which these industries have been in existence, is very small. So far as my information goes, I think the amount, spread over the 11 years, has been something like only £200 per annum, and I very respectfully submit that, while Senator Rowlette said it was not necessary to get down to the mere financial aspect of the question, the health of 50 patients is certainly worth £4 a year each.
Mr. Douglas Mr. Douglas
Mr. Douglas: And if there were only 10, it is worth it.
Mr. Campbell Mr. Campbell
Mr. Campbell: It is. I think that something could be done, ought to be done, and will be done to permit these industries to be carried on for the benefit of these unfortunate people who are working there and trying to live a normal life under ideal conditions. As I said, it is much better to have them there. Senator Douglas would like to see an enlargement of the scheme and development on the same lines in other institutions. I entirely agree with him. If this question is anything, it is a national question. In a country like this, where the incidence of tuberculosis is higher, I think, than it is in England, Scotland or Wales, no effort should be spared to do everything possible not only to arrest the spread of tuberculosis but to restore to industry those people who may, for the time being, be stricken down.
I referred to the question of remuneration for these people. I think it only right to say that, in Papworth, from which Peamount derived its inspiration and its origin, they, years ago, recognised the fact that these  people ought to be paid trade union rates of wages. I am not suggesting that that is not so in Peamount, but the allegation is sometimes made by people in our walk of life that these things should not be encouraged. I very definitely say that they ought to be encouraged, even at some sacrifice. In a broadcast on “Where Consumptives Find Health and Work” a short time ago, John Hilton stated:
“Then there was a certain watchfulness, very proper, on the part of the trade unions. Organised labour has to be looking out all the time lest people should be got to work for low wages on some pretext or other, and in so doing should take work from and injure the work people who follow that craft. That was met: the convalescent workers of Papworth were paid the recognised rates for their time or their output. There is no ‘sweating’ at Papworth.”
I am not suggesting that there is any in Peamount, but if the Parliamentary Secretary agrees to an investigation into the whole question of Peamount Industries, and I sincerely hope he will, I hope that cognisance will be taken of that aspect of the question, and that due consideration will be given to it. I do not think the motion needs very much to recommend it to the unanimous approval of the House. Senator Douglas, I think, has rendered valuable service to the community as a whole in raising the matter, and I have great pleasure in heartily supporting the motion.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Local Government and Public Health (Dr. Ward) Francis Constantine (Dr.) Ward
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Local Government and Public Health (Dr. Ward): I am not opposed to the spirit of the motion but the particular form which it takes on the Order Paper renders it more or less futile, or—perhaps a better word—unnecessary. I think the motion has served one useful purpose in that it has brought forth a very interesting debate and is bound to have the effect of concentrating public opinion on a question which is an important question. It asks for a Departmental committee to examine this whole problem. I am quite sure that Senator Douglas and other Senators will be surprised  to hear it, but I may say that we in the Department have, so far, had no representations whatever from the Women's National Health Association on this question.
Mr. Douglas Mr. Douglas
Mr. Douglas: I am not disputing it, but do I understand that there was no appeal for financial help?
Dr. Ward Dr. Ward
Dr. Ward: On this question of the closing down of the industries, we have had no official representation from the organisation. The point I want to make is that in the Department we have all the machinery that a Departmental committee can command. The entire personnel of the Department is at the Minister's disposal, to be called into action at any time the Women's National Health Association, or any other interested body, make a case. If Senator Douglas would suggest to the Association the presentation of their case in detail to the Department, it certainly will be examined in all its aspects.
I cannot anticipate what the outcome of that examination will be, but, in fact, the need for such an official presentation of the case has been made very apparent in this debate. The information I have and the figures at my disposal do not agree with the information which has been placed at the disposal of Senators who have taken part in the discussion. According to my information, there are only ten persons in the colony as a result of long years of effort. We need not debate the question of whether the continuation of even these ten persons in the colony is worth so much in pounds, shillings and pence. What I do want to emphasise is that, for some reason, whether psychological or not, our people have not taken kindly to the idea of the colony. The fundamental principle behind this scheme was to train persons who were suitable for training in industrial occupations with a view not so much to suiting them to taking their place in life in the outside world, but to suiting them to continue in industrial occupations in the settlement associated with Peamount Sanatorium.
Whether it is due to a desire to get back to their own relatives, or the love  for the home and the old surroundings, the tendency is for a patient, when he gets well enough, and sometimes before he gets well enough, to try to get home. Whether any scheme can be evolved to counter that tendency I do not know, but I, personally, have very grave doubts on that issue. I do not believe that our people as a body will ever take kindly to the colony system. This matter has been considered in Scotland, and after very full consideration it was abandoned. They did not go on with the colony scheme there. It is true that it met with a degree of success in Papworth. It is also true that the Papworth institution was fairly substantially subsidised by the British Government. Whether a decision should be taken to subsidise the scheme in this country is another matter on which I do not desire to express an opinion at the moment, beyond again to emphasise that my own personal opinion is that when our people are well enough to go home— many of them before they are well enough to go home—they will head for home no matter what institutions are provided for them.
I do not think it is necessary to discuss in any detail at this stage the merits of the scheme. That is really not the issue. The issue before the House, as Senators, I am sure, fully appreciate, is the question of whether we should inquire into the matter. That is an eminently reasonable proposition, and I think it is a matter that should be inquired into; it comes to a question as to what is the best method of setting about inquiring into it. Senators' minds may, perhaps, be somewhat confused by some of the discussion here to-day. There are two elements entering largely into the scheme. There is, first, the fundamental idea of establishing a colony. Patients who have responded well to treatment, and who were considered suitable, would be trained in industrial occupations, with the limited idea of settling there for the rest of their lives. There is then the other and the larger question of the value of occupational therapy.
 I do not think there is any difference of opinion as to the value of occupational therapy. The occupation of the body and the mind within reasonable limits is bound to constitute a very big contributing factor towards the possibility of recovering in those cases, but that is a different matter. It seems to me—again speaking with the limited knowledge which, so far, has been placed at my disposal—that a scheme of occupational therapy might be developed in association with Peamount at perhaps a substantially lesser cost than a scheme having for its fundamental idea the establishment of a settlement. At any rate, those are matters with which we need not burden our minds to-day. They are matters on which the Minister's advisers, having heard all the evidence which is available, will be able to put forward some views for consideration.
I would suggest to Senator Douglas that he should not press the motion in its particular form. We in the Department would be happy to consider the matter very fully, and, if Senator Douglas would suggest to the Women's National Health Association to present their case fully to the Minister with a view to having it examined, well at any rate we will have taken an important and a practical step towards finding a solution, if a solution is available. Again, there will probably be a difference of opinion—I have no doubt that there will be a difference of opinion no matter what scheme may be ultimately suggested—as to how far, if at all, such an industrial development should be subsidised. Some of you will be outraged, I am sure, at the suggestion that any one should disapprove of that. There are people who disapprove of it. There are people who say: “To such extent as your colony is successful in industrial production, to a corresponding extent will people in a normal condition of life be thrown out of employment outside.” Consequently, if there is substance in that, it seems to me that we must get back to the therapeutic value, the occupational therapy idea, and rather move away from the idea of entering into competition with  people who are engaged in occupation outside. However, those possibly contentious aspects of the question can well be left aside until we get all the information that is available on the subject. I do not think I can give any further assistance to the House on the question, but again I would suggest to Senator Douglas not to press the motion in its particular form.
Mr. M. Hayes Mr. M. Hayes
Mr. M. Hayes: The Parliamentary Secretary can give us some assistance by explaining what he means by the extraordinary theory that, if I employ a certain number of people, I put a corresponding number of people out of employment.
An Leas-Chathaoirleach An Leas-Chathaoirleach
An Leas-Chathaoirleach: Is it necessary?
Mr. M. Hayes Mr. M. Hayes
Mr. M. Hayes: We are not in a political discussion, and we are all very much in earnest on this question of doing what can be done to help persons suffering from tuberculosis, but I cannot understand a good deal of the Parliamentary Secretary's argument. Surely it is not seriously suggested that if a colony of this particular kind —apart from its merits otherwise, for the moment—succeeds in curing a number of persons suffering from tuberculosis, and in putting them into permanent employment at trade union wages, that has the bad effect of putting other people out of employment? The Government has given an immense amount of money in trade loans to enable people to set up industries. In some cases the industries have failed, and the loans have not been repaid. It is surely not possible to use against the scheme at Peamount or its maintenance the argument that if you cure consumptives and put them into occupation you are doing harm to other workers. Surely the position is that when you cure consumptives and put them into occupation—whether in a colony at Peamount or whether you enable them to take their place in the ordinary way outside—you are adding to the sum total of the nation's wealth, you are preventing those people from being a burden on State or local funds, and not only from being a burden but  also from being a danger. If the kind of consideration which the Department of Local Government will give to this problem is going to be based on such an extraordinary theory as that, it really looks very hopeless.
Dr. Ward Dr. Ward
Dr. Ward: Perhaps I might interrupt. I do not know if Senator Hayes has misunderstood me——
Mr. M. Hayes Mr. M. Hayes
Mr. M. Hayes: I hope I have.
Dr. Ward Dr. Ward
Dr. Ward: I certainly did not express the opinion, as being either the opinion of the Parliamentary Secretary or of the Department, that the industry should not enter into competition with similar industries outside, but I said that there would be people, and there are, who would hold the view and argue along these lines; they would say: “There is a certain limited market for the goods that we produce. We cannot produce them economically. We want a subsidy either from the Government or from the Hospitals' Trust Fund or from some other source in order that we can market our goods.” If such a subsidy comes forward from any source, again there are people who will argue that that is subsidising the people in the industries in Peamount as against the manufacture of corresponding goods in the outside world. Once again Senator Hayes is perhaps anxious to try to make a debating point.
Mr. M. Hayes Mr. M. Hayes
Mr. M. Hayes: Oh, no.
Dr. Ward Dr. Ward
Dr. Ward: I am not. I am as anxious about this particular problem as any member of the House. The question is how we can best approach it. But Senator Hayes knows as well as I do that I have not expressed that opinion as being either my own opinion or the opinion of the Ministry I am representing here.
Mr. M. Hayes Mr. M. Hayes
Mr. M. Hayes: I am glad it is not the opinion of the Parliamentary Secretary. I understood him to put it forward as something which was said, and rather cogently said, but I am glad he has dissociated himself from any such point of view because, considering what we have heard here from Senator  Campbell and what we all know about the situation, it would seem to me that the idea that you should not put consumptives into the position to earn money at trade union wages and under trade union conditions and under conditions which, as Senator Campbell has said, at present are better from the physical point of view than the conditions under which many trade unionists are forced to work would be a lamentable thing. However, the discussion has served the good purpose of bringing out that we have in this particular place an experiment which has been tried, which is the only example of it, I think, in Ireland.
The whole question is one which concerns the cure of this particular disease. If people knew that there was a place where they could undergo a medical cure and, if the cure was successful, that they would get employment at trade union wages and in good conditions they might be induced to go at an earlier point than before. I understand from medical people that one of the greatest difficulties in this matter of consumption is that the doctors do not get the patient in time. I am sure the Parliamentary Secretary is more alive to that than I am, but I have heard it always and, if a scheme, even under a Government subsidy, were in existence which would induce people to disclose the disease and go for treatment earlier in the hope of not only getting a cure but also of getting employment a great deal would be accomplished. It would be worth Government money and, I think, it would be able to meet the argument which, as the Parliamentary Secretary said, some people put up. That argument would not bear any very careful examination in the circumstances as we know them, and in the circumstances as they could be made if it was determined to give a subsidy.
Mr. Counihan Mr. Counihan
Mr. Counihan: After the statements made by Senator Douglas and other Senators and the statement of the Parliamentary Secretary I am convinced, and I am sure the House will agree, that there is a great need for an inquiry of some sort, but I do not agree that the inquiry which Senator  Douglas is looking for is the right one. I would suggest to Senator Douglas that he should alter his motion, if he could get the permission of the House, so that it would read that the Seanad should set up a committee to inquire. I think it would be very much more effective and would do better work than a departmental committee. If Senator Douglas were to act on that suggestion I think the House would agree to the alteration of the motion and, in a very short time—I think it would not take more than two or three sittings—the Seanad Committee would furnish a report to the Parliamentary Secretary or the Minister for Local Government on the whole question. I think, without expressing any opinion on the question of sanatoria, that there is great necessity for such an inquiry being made. I request Senator Douglas, if he can possibly manage it, to carry it out in that form.
Mr. Cummins Mr. Cummins
Mr. Cummins: When I first heard of the closing of Peamount I was amazed that somebody in authority had not taken an interest in the matter. I was left under the impression that representations had been made to the Government on this question, and I could only conclude that those representations were given the deaf ear. Now it transpires that no such representations were made by the competent authority, the organisation that was responsible for working the industries. If that had been done, I think this matter would not have come before the Seanad. I feel confident that the Government in such an important national matter of this kind would have made the necessary inquiries. These inquiries do not appear to have been made at the invitation of the institution. I gathered that from the statement of the Parliamentary Secretary.
Dr. Ward Dr. Ward
Dr. Ward: Quite right.
Mr. Cummins Mr. Cummins
Mr. Cummins: This is a very great surprise to me because the public were under the impression that certain steps had been taken to keep this place alive and that in such steps, naturally, the Government would have a share. I think there would have been no necessity for this resolution if the  proper steps had been taken by the responsible party in this matter. This is an extremely important matter, and instead of there being one Peamount in the country I think there should be two or three to meet the requirements of the case.
I quite agree that the idea of training patients for a vocation in after life is not one that is best associated with such an institution. The colonist idea is not one that is ever likely to be followed by agricultural people. They want to get back to their rural lives, and do not want to spend their lives in an institution of this kind, but I think some form of occupational cure could be well devised, better perhaps in the agricultural line than anything else. To set up a factory to compete with outside factories and to subsidise such a factory is not to be wholly recommended, while from the health point of view it is worthy of consideration.
The idea of giving employment of a curative character, as every employment mental and physical is, has been well illustrated in the case of mental hospitals. In the case of the Carlow Mental Home a tremendous amount of work has been done in an agricultural way. A farm of land is managed, but is not competing with the outside public. The curative and restorative properties have been remarkable. More remarkable than, I think, any other type of treatment that is being administered in that institution is the employment of those men on useful occupations. I would entirely support the very good case which Senator Douglas has put up here, but I believe that case should have been put up earlier. It was with amazement I heard that this institution was about to fade out of existence. It would certainly be a reflection on our Government if our Government had any say in the matter. I think it is time they did have a say in the matter and set up such an inquiry.
Professor Alton Professor Alton
Professor Alton: I would like to ask the Parliamentary Secretary whether he can give the House some assurance that these industries will not be closed down before a committee—I do not care what form that committee or commission takes—has gone into the whole  question and put the facts clearly before the Minister and before the House because this is a very important thing. This may be an experiment. It may be not successful financially, but it is not to be judged in terms of finance. It is a very important social experiment, and once you stamp a thing as a failure it is very difficult to get people to make similar experiments. I think these industries should not be closed down irrevocably until the question has been investigated properly. I do not care what form the investigation takes or what form of committee investigates.
Mr. Foran Mr. Foran
Mr. Foran: Is there any chance of the Parliamentary Secretary giving the assurance that Senator Alton requests?
Dr. Ward Dr. Ward
Dr. Ward: Clearly, I cannot undertake that the industries will not close down. The determination of the closing down of the industries or of keeping them open is a matter outside my control. The industries and the institution are administered by the Women's National Health Association. They can close them to-morrow. I cannot stop them. They can keep them open, at a loss, apparently, according to the statements we have heard to-day as to their financial position. Senator Douglas, I think, has already indicated that other organisations will take steps to ensure that, pending an inquiry, they will not close down, but I, on behalf of the Government, can give no such assurance.
Mr. Foran Mr. Foran
Mr. Foran: Am I to understand from the Parliamentary Secretary that the closing down is a matter apart from him altogether?
Dr. Ward Dr. Ward
Dr. Ward: Quite.
Mr. Foran Mr. Foran
Mr. Foran: Then why are we discussing this motion?
Dr. Ward Dr. Ward
Dr. Ward: The Government was not consulted before it was decided to close the industries down.
Mr. Foran Mr. Foran
Mr. Foran: It seems to me we are in a rather peculiar position and that we are merely wasting our time. If the Department of Local Government is not responsible, then this is not the place in which to bring the matter up  at all. I must confess that when I heard the Parliamentary Secretary I was surprised that the motion was put down.
Mr. Douglas Mr. Douglas
Mr. Douglas: I will deal with that when I am replying.
Mr. Foran Mr. Foran
Mr. Foran: I would be glad if the Senator would deal with it. If the power lay with the Department of Local Government to carry on or not, we could impress upon the Parliamentary Secretary here the importance of the inquiry; but apparently he is powerless in the matter—at least, judging by his own statement.
Mr. Douglas Mr. Douglas
Mr. Douglas: I shall first deal with Senator Foran's point. I would like to point out, first of all, that, although constitutionally we do not control Ministers here, at the same time public health or anything concerned with the well-being of the nation is the business of this House, and we are quite entitled, constitutionally, to discuss it. Of course, even if the Minister had the power, we would not be in a position to force him. I quite agree that, technically, the Minister did not make the decision—there is no doubt about that. But his Department is concerned, at least to a very large extent, because the funds that go to Peamount Sanatorium come from public health committees, with which the Department has a very considerable amount to do.
In deciding to bring this matter before the Seanad, I did so far several reasons. I was convinced that this was a matter for which publicity would be proper and useful, particularly if it was shown up in a moderate way, so that the fact that there is a problem could be recognised. It did not take me long to see that there was a real problem. It seemed to me that the assistance of the Government in setting up an inquiry of some kind or other was highly desirable. The Parliamentary Secretary has indicated that I might be content with the inquiry that he and the Minister for Local Government are making at the present time. He intimated that they are looking into the matter, and he  suggested that I might, perhaps, be satisfied with that inquiry. That means that they do recognise that there is a problem, one in which the State was satisfied it should intervene.
I am particularly pleased that Senator Rowlette recognised that, though I may have made some mistakes—and quite possibly I did—I attempted to deal with this matter in a moderate way and with the recognition that there is a real problem to be faced. I have a great deal of sympathy with the sanatorium committee, who found themselves in the position that they could not see any way in which further funds could be made available. The industries form only one part of the sanatorium and the committee are concerned with a larger problem. I came to the conclusion that this was a problem with which the people were concerned, and the body to inquire into it, or to put a case in connection with it, as the Parliamentary Secretary said, was not alone the Peamount Committee, who were the people, as I pointed out, responsible for the experiment, the people through whose initiative it was started, the people who have carried it on and who were probably extremely disappointed there was no more money available and that the results were not better.
Peamount has provided—and this is unquestionable—occupations for a considerable number of patients. The number was given as 900, but that is immaterial; nobody disputes that there was a very large number. It also provided for what Senator Rowlette pointed out was a small number; it provided more or less permanent or regular employment for what he described as a disappointing number— and I entirely agree with him—but yet a number of sufficient importance to make you hesitate before you would let the thing go, at any rate until you would have seen whether it was the fault of the Peamount Sanatorium committee, of the manager, the committee of management, or the State, for not seeing that they had a proper explanation as to why there were only 51.
I would like to emphasise the point made by Senator Hayes. I am not  now dealing with Peamount as it is, but with Peamount as it might be. If it were possible to say, particularly to married men, but at any rate to men and women: “If you are threatened with tuberculosis, you need not be afraid to go to a sanatorium, because if you go quickly you will probably be cured, and if you are cured and not able to go back into ordinary employment, there will be other employment for you,” then I suggest that, in spite of the wish to stay at home, a far larger number would be ready to go. In dealing with the principle of the thing, that is one of the most important aspects with which we are concerned. I would like to see a much larger sum of money spent. I believe that, in the long run, by getting patients earlier—and that would come by reason of a proper knowledge of the position—you would probably have most satisfactory results. That is a conviction I have got from reading a good deal on this subject.
Of course, people may want to go home, but if you read some of the documents, particularly those issued in connection with Papworth, you will find an interesting emphasis on the position of the family and the need of looking at this problem from a family point of view. There is not the slightest doubt about it that the ideal position would be that if a married man has been at a sanatorium and is well enough to take up work in an industry, there should be a cottage for him where he can bring his family. The statistics show that in no case have the families become tubercular by coming in contact with the father or mother and going into a settlement of this kind. May I, in passing, say that this fear that if you buy gloves from Peamount you are running a risk, is without foundation? Apart from the proper arguments put by Senator Campbell, may I point out that people who spend their lives trying to prevent the spread of tuberculosis are not going to send out gloves if they felt that that would spread the disease all over the place, and the doctors who are responsible for the patients at Peamount would not permit anything to go out if they thought it would, even in the slightest  way, tend to spread the disease. Anyone who reads the international report will see that the greatest possible care is taken. It is because there is no such danger that medical opinion is in favour of settlements of this kind, where they are practicable.
My difficulty with regard to this motion is that I must accept the view of the Parliamentary Secretary with regard to the form of the committee which I have suggested. I would like to point out to the Parliamentary Secretary what I have in mind. I thought originally that officials of the Department of Public Health would meet the case. I would like to have a few persons who could sit together, hear medical opinion, take the experience at Peamount, examine each year's employment, find out why people left, find out by review would it have been possible for them to become more permanent settlers if the conditions had been other than they were, find out what the future position, as far as one can see, is likely to be, whether there is a likelihood that there will be a sufficient number of persons to work there, examine the manager and, if necessary, see some of the people who have been patients to find out what the value of the work was.
That sounds a lot, but actually it will not take a great deal of time for competent persons. I should also like to see in addition a committee that could either go over to Papworth or some other place to find out the conditions obtaining there, or ask somebody to come over from Papworth to tell them what their troubles were and how they were overcome.
Finally, may I say I did not know about this matter until about a month ago. I then started making inquiries. People were very kind to me in supplying me with information, but I saw very plainly that although I intended to make a speech on the matter here, I might make a number of mistakes. The one thing that seemed to get clearer every day was that if a few people could get together and look into this whole matter a solution might be found. There is a case for closing this experiment. There are certainly  very great difficulties in carrying it on, but there is also, very definitely, a case for continuing it even as it is. There is also a case for considerably extending it and, with very great respect to the Minister and his Department, I do not think that is a matter that should be decided, as it were, behind closed doors inside the Department. We only know, not what was recommended by the officials, but what the Minister decided after hearing the recommendations. I should like to have the matter decided in such a way that the people of the country would have a report on the whole issue. I now make the suggestion to the Parliamentary Secretary—and if he is agreeable I am sure the Minister would concur—that he should have a discussion with me, say, on some day next week—just give me half-an-hour of his time—to see if there is any way of setting up such a committee as I have suggested, and that he should join with me, as he virtually has done, in appealing to the Sanatorium Committee to extend this date for six months.
With regard to Senator Counihan's suggestion, I cannot believe that a Seanad Committee would be the best way of dealing with this matter, but if that suggestion were to meet with approval from the Minister or the Parliamentary Secretary, it would be very easy for me or for him to bring forward the necessary resolution. In principle, the Parliamentary Secretary has agreed that there should be an inquiry. In principle, I agree with him that there are difficulties. To that extent we are in complete agreement.
The whole problem is to find a modus vivendi by which we can reasonably ask the Sanatorium Committee to postpone  the date. If the Minister can join with me in making that request, I shall do my best to get the Federation of Irish Manufacturers to find this money. I suggest also that the Minister should set up a committee of inquiry. It may be that the Minister will be satisfied that it is better not to have an inquiry, but it would make matters easier for me if such a committee were set up inasmuch as I am acting on behalf of a number of other people. If he would agree to that course, I would ask the House to allow me to withdraw the motion.
Dr. Ward Dr. Ward
Dr. Ward: I shall be glad to arrange with the Senator the earliest convenient date on which we can discuss the whole position and consider the best approach to the inquiry he has in mind. It is only fair, however, before the Senator withdraws his motion, that I should say that the setting up of a Departmental committee within the Department would be unprecedented and is unlikely in any circumstances to be agreed to.
Mr. Douglas Mr. Douglas
Mr. Douglas: I have accepted that point of view.
Dr. Ward Dr. Ward
Dr. Ward: It is merely a question of getting the best evidence available submitted to the Minister.
Mr. Douglas Mr. Douglas
Mr. Douglas: I shall get in touch with the Parliamentary Secretary. Perhaps he would see me some day next week.
Dr. Ward Dr. Ward
Dr. Ward: I shall see the Senator as soon as possible.
Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
The Seanad adjourned sine die at 6.40 p.m.
Seanad Éireann 24 Closing of Peamount Industries—Motion.