§ MR. MARUM (Kilkenny, N.)
I beg to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether his attention has been directed to the proceedings before Colonel Dunne's Select Committee upon Irish Taxation (1864), wherein complaint was made in regard to the narrowness of the scope of the Inquiry, resulting in an incomplete Report, and furthermore, that serious questions of law arose as to the true construction of the Union Statute, 1800; and whether Her Majesty's Government are prepared to frame the terms of the Order of Reference to the 708 proposed Select Committee upon the above subject wide enough to embrace the question of the competancy of the high contracting parties, or at least one of them, to enter into Articles of Union outside its legislative function and involving its own annihilation, without a plébiscite or other cognate authorisation from its electorate; the question of the; original justness of the proportions of financial contributions therein; and inquiry into the causes that before and since the Union period have occasioned a want of uniformity in the incrementation of the value of the realty and taxable basis of Ireland as an integral portion of the Empire relatively to the rest of the United Kingdom; with power, if deemed expedient, to examine legal experts, and to suggest ways and means whereby relief may be afforded to the Irish taxpayer without trenching' upon the British ratepayer?
§ MR. GOSCHEN
Yes, Sir; my attention has been called to Colonel Dunne's Committee. Whatever complaints were made with regard to the narrowness of the scope of that Inquiry, it was sufficiently comprehensive, at any rate, to employ the Committee for two years, and to result in an incomplete Report, as the hon. Member points out. I do not propose to include questions of history in the terms of the Reference, as I consider that this would not lead to any practical result, and would probably postpone the Report to an indefinite period. The intention of the Government is to secure a practical investigation into the present incidence of taxation in Ireland, and its relation to the taxation of the rest of the United Kingdom.
§ MR. GOSCHEN
I have been engaged upon the Reference, and I hope to be able to place it on the Table of the House in the course of a few days. We are anxious to obtain the assent of right hon. Gentlemen opposite to it.