I beg to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that largo quantities of German spirit are imported into Dublin, Cork, and Belfast annually, and sold as Irish whisky: whether he is aware that this spirit costs only 1s. 6d. per gallon, whilst the Irish whisky costs from 4s. 6d. to 7s. 6d. duty free; and whether any means are now in force, or will be adopted by the authorities, to protect both the manufacturers and consumers in Ireland from deceptive foreign competition?
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Sir W. HARCOURT,) Derby
I am informed that about 12,000 gallons of German spirit were imported into Ireland last year, at about 1s. 6d. per gallon. This is not a large amount, when compared with the 8,000,000 gallons made, or the 4,400,000 gallons consumed in that country. So long as the German spirit remains in bond, the Customs Regulations do not allow it to be mixed with British spirits for home consumption. I have no official information as to the disposal of the spirit after it is cleared for home consumption, 46 but I understand that a considerable portion is used for methylation. If it is offered for sale under a false trade description, the general provisions of the Merchandise Marks Act would apply.
Has a prosecution ever been initiated by the Government under the Merchandise Marks Act?
§ [No answer was returned.]