Reported in the News Letter on January 2, 1948: Stormont minister defends Health Bill


Defending the Health Services Bill against Nationalist criticism in the Ulster senate yesterday, Mr Grant, Minister of Health and Local Government, said: “This Bill has nothing to do with politics or religious bodies as such. It is a human Bill for every man, woman and child in Northern Ireland and all humanitarian and right-thinking people ought to support it on that ground.”

The Bill was read a second time without a division.

Replying to the debate, Mr Grant said that it was because he had a genuine appreciation of the work of the medical and nursing professions and of the voluntary hospitals that he wanted to extend those services to all the people in Northern Ireland.

He was not concerned about Socialism. It was the health of the people in which he was interested.

Referring to the Mater Hospital, Mr Grant said it would be treated just the same as every other hospital in Northern Ireland, no better and no worse.

Nationalists condemned Northern Ireland for discrimination against their religion and now they asked him to discriminate in favour of their religion.

But Mr Lennon countered that the Bill was Socialism, rank and rampant. It extended Socialism into the realms where Socialism ended and dictatorship began.

Without the slightest sense of shame the Bill set out to seize the property of individuals and boards of trustees.

Mr Lennon maintained that Roman Catholics had no reason to welcome the setting up of new boards by the Ulster Government. In the past, when such boards had been set up, there had been a deliberate, clear, cold and cynical effort to exclude Roman Catholics from representation on them.