§ MR. HALPIN (Clare, W.)
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether, owing to the increase of defective vision in Ireland, opticians must have a diploma of proficiency before they are permitted to engage in the trade of selling glasses, or fitting the same, according to prescriptions given by medical men who order certain grades of glasses for different cases of impaired vision; whether, in view of the forthcoming Dublin Exhibition, he will take measures to prevent those foreign pedlars who make a living by following exhibitions and representing themselves as American optical companies from deceiving persons by such representations, they being without any status or qualifications as opticians; that those who obtain concessions for soiling glasses at the forthcoming Dublin Exhibition must be compelled to give the name of the country in which they are domiciled, also the city and place of business in the same; and that to entitle them to trade as opticians at exhibitions in Great Britain and Ireland they must satisfy the British consul in the country of their domicile as to their qualifications and proficiency.
I am not aware that it is necessary that persons who trade as opticians in Ireland should hold any diploma of proficiency, and I am advised that the Irish Government have no power to impose restrictions, such as the hon. Member suggests, upon the sale of spectacles at exhibitions or elsewhere. But if pedlars obtain money by falsely pretending that they represent companies which it can be proved they do not represent, the police will, in the ordinary course, prosecute them upon an information being 354 sworn by any person who has been defrauded. The Question which the hon. Member raises is one of very wide import, and it does not fall within my province to deal with it.
§ MR. HALPIN
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in the cities and towns and villages of Ireland spectacles are being sold at a shilling a pair which are injurious to the eyesight of the people?
If the hon. Member can bring to my notice any facts as to the prevalence of such a serious practice, or show that the people are being defrauded by the sale of absolutely worthless spectacles I will, of course, have inquiry made.
§ MR. JOHN REDMOND
May I ask if the right hon. Gentleman has boon able to fulfil the promise he recently gave to call the attention of the Commissioners of National Education to the question of the defective eyesight of children in schools?
§ MR. LUPTON (Lincolnshire, Sleaford)
May I ask if the defective eyesight of the children is due to ill-health caused by vaccination in infancy?
§ [No Answer was returned.]