HC Deb 30 May 1881 vol 261 cc1656-7

asked Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, If he would consider the desirability of allowing the Irish farmers to grow tobacco on lands now uncultivated in Ireland, as an inducement to them to bring those lands into cultivation, and at the same time to supply themselves with an article which, in their climate and condition, is one of the necessaries of life; such tobacco to be retained for home use and not to be exported; it having been stated, on good authority, that the moisture of Ireland is peculiarly favourable to the growth of tobacco, and that it flourished formerly in that Country?


There has been no recent discussion on the subject of the growth of tobacco in Ireland, and if the question should be raised, it would undoubtedly have to be considered with reference to the Kingdom at large. The hon. Member is probably aware that for about 50 years the growth of tobacco has been permitted in Ireland, and that its growth was protected by high differential duties. We also know that the repeal of that permission was recommended by the Commission of 1830, inasmuch as the experiment was not successful. At the same time, I regret the prohibition of any agricultural product by law as very unsatisfactory. I am at all times open to the reception of any statement or suggestion tending to show that if that prohibition was removed we could satisfactorily levy the duty on the commodity if grown at home as we do when imported.