The enactment of the Health Act, 1953, affords a convenient
opportunity to review the substantial and at times even spectacular
progress which has been made in the sphere of public health since the
establishment in January, 1947, of a separate Department of Health.
The foundations of the progress may be said to have been laid by
the passing by the Oireachtas of a series of important enactments.
The first was the Public Assistance Act, 1939, which co-ordinated
and put on a proper basis the services given to the poor, including
the sick poor;
Second-the County Management Act, 1940, with the Local
Government Acts, 1941 and 1946, placed the executive and administrative
machinery of local government on a sound and workmanlike
Third--the Mental Treatment Act, 1945, co-ordinated and
modernised the legal code under which mental treatment was afforded;
Fourth-the Tuberculosis (Establishment of Sanatoria) Act, 1945,
gave power direct to the Minister for Health t...