HC Deb 05 March 1886 vol 303 cc10-1

asked the President of the Board of Trade, Whether, with the aid of the Excise and Customs officials, and with the co-operation of private firms and companies, he can obtain an approximate Return of the values and quantities of the principal articles sent annually from England to Ireland, and from Ireland to England, and also exported and imported annually between Ireland and Foreign Countries and British Possessions?


The trade of Ireland has been hitherto treated as part of the internal trade of the Kingdom; and consequently no distinct figures, showing the aggregate of that trade as distinguished from the rest of it, have been given. The total value of the exports and imports in the direct trade between Ireland and foreign countries will be found in the trade accounts, with particulars of principal articles at one or two ports. I will see whether the figures cannot be brought together, so as to be shown as a whole. As regards the trade between Great Britain and Ireland I have consulted the Customs authorities; and they tell me that the information asked for could not be procured officially and accurately without considerable increase of expense as well as much delay and inconvenience to trade, and that an alteration of the law would be necessary for the purpose. The Returns would be very interesting and valuable, and I should be very glad to give them if, on inquiry, I find it could be done without interfering too seriously with trade; but I fear that an approximate Return obtained in the way the hon. Member suggests would not be sufficiently accurate or trustworthy to be made the basis of official statistics.