Wednesday, 12 February 2003
Private Business. - The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (Charters Amendment) Bill 2002: Second Stage.
Camillus Glynn (Fianna Fail)
I am delighted to welcome the introduction of The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (Charters Amendment) Bill 2002. Founded in 1784, the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland is a recognised college of the National University of Ireland. As the charter for the Royal College of Surgeons has never been incorporated in law, this legislation will, for the first time, regulate its position.
This amendment is needed to clarify and simplify the position of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. The charters of 1844, 1883 the 1885 and the 1965 Act contained provisions, which amended and-or repealed the charters which preceded them. In certain instances, however, the provision being replaced was not repealed, despite it being rendered redundant, which undoubtedly led to confusion and a degree of ambiguity. In addition, as a result of the number and extent of charters, the governing documentation of the college has become extremely complex and arduous to digest. For these reasons, a considerable portion of this private Bill is aimed at having one referable document regarding the governance of the college.
The Bill also introduces new categories of member and new classes of officer to the institution. The category of "Member" will now be known as "Member of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland", a title consistent with those which obtain in the Royal Colleges of Surgeons in England and Scotland, with which the college has an excellent rapport. It must be noted that this new category of member necessitates the removal of the use of the word "member" contained within the charters and the 1965 Act, where it is used interchangeably with the category of member known as "a fellow". This must be changed to avoid confusion in the future. The Bill also creates a new status entitled "Fellow by Special Election of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland", whose status will be distinct from and in addition to the category of member currently known as fellow.
It is essential that the position of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland is finally regulated in Irish law. It is also important that such an essential Irish institution takes its place on the Statute Book.
The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland was founded in 1784 by royal charter granted by King George III of Great Britain and Ireland. The college was originally established to educate surgeons at a time when surgeons were trained separately from physicians. In 1886 the undergraduate training of surgeons and physicians was merged and the college formed a medical school for this purpose. The medical school is a recognised college of the National University of Ireland and its graduates receive the MB, BCH and BAO degrees from the university. Graduates also receive the historical qualifying letters testimonial of LRCP & SI, as licentiates of both the royal colleges of physicians and surgeons in Ireland.