[Footnote 89: In writing the above I should like to acknowledge my indebtedness to the address published by Dr. Starkie in 1911 for many useful facts and figures.]
[Footnote 90: See the 76th and 77th Reports of the Commissioners of National Education in Ireland—Cd. 5340, 1910, and Cd. 5903, 1911.]
[Footnote 91: The residential buildings of the Commissioners’ Training College in Marlborough Street, Dublin, still require to be completed by the addition of a new residence for women students, at a cost of about L50,000 spread over three or four years.]
THE PROBLEM OF TRANSIT AND TRANSPORT IN IRELAND
Any scheme giving self-government to Ireland must seriously affect the problem of local transit and transport, by rail and water, which all parties in Ireland agree to be pressing and important. Nor is it merely a local question. As recent returns show, the trade between Ireland and Great Britain has of late years enormously increased, to the great advantage of both; for if Irish farmers profit by the export of beef, mutton, milk, eggs, butter, bacon and other articles, Great Britain has the benefit of a near food supply within the United Kingdom. Nor does any one doubt that this trade is capable of enormous increase. The improvement of Irish agricultural methods, the growth in England of a town population, the increased price of the necessaries of life, are some of the factors pointing in this direction.
If this trade is to expand, Irish traffic routes and facilities with Great Britain must be improved and increased, especially as the articles carried are largely of a perishable kind. Moreover, the internal traffic of Ireland, by rail, waterways, and canals is capable of and needs great development, as witness the recent Reports of the Viceregal Commission on Irish Railways, and of the Royal Commission on Canals and Waterways. The problem of inland navigation is again intimately bound up with that of arterial drainage, as the Commissioners have reported. It is then strange to find, that on these pressing questions of first importance, there is an almost absolute silence on the part of those who advocate Home Rule in and out of Parliament.
It is true that the nationalisation of the Irish railways has in past years found the keenest advocates amongst individual members of the Home Rule Party; that the Majority Report of the late Viceregal Commission favouring State purchase of the Irish railways was formally approved of by the Parliamentary Party, and that Mr. Redmond has named “transit” as one of the special matters that should be left to be dealt with by an Irish Legislature. But there the matter ends. We are not given the slightest inkling what is proposed to be done on this matter, or how it will be done, or the slightest proof that under any system of Home Rule, the financial difficulties of the problem can be solved at all.