Wednesday, 12 February 2003
Private Business. - The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (Charters Amendment) Bill 2002: Second Stage.
Mary O'Rourke (Fianna Fail)
Exactly. If there have been five changes to the charter, there is a clear need to consolidate. The second key aspect of the Bill relates to the distinction between members and fellows. That terminology must be strengthened in order that it is quite clear what people can do.
I thank the promoters of the Bill and I am glad they are present in the Distinguished Visitors Gallery, both the solicitors, Vincent and Beatty, and representatives of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, as befits their position in the matter.
I am interested in the work being done by the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, its IT expertise in particular. The college is believed to have the greatest IT expertise of all the medical schools and colleges and every student is presented with a laptop on the day he or she enters the college. It also owns quite a lot of property, particularly Mercers Hospital, which it operates as a community health centre for the people of the area – a feature of its philanthropic approach.
As Senator Feeney said, students from all over Ireland and 50 other countries attend the college. The fees make it independent. Apart from individual trusts and grants for various projects, in general terms it is not dependent on State funding. Senator Feeney is also correct in saying the families of overseas students come to see how their darlings are getting on in Dublin, even if it is the darling of the fifth wife. This forges social and commercial links between our capital city and the many countries where the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland has an outreach facility linked to Dublin.