It is hardly necessary to add that another result of such an operation would be to prevent the Irish Government raising the very large sum necessary for improving and standardising the light railways and for extensions, except at an unremunerative rate of interest. Even if shareholders be put off with State paper, contractors will have to be paid with cash. Moreover the creation of such a large amount of debt at the beginning of the new regime would render it difficult, if not impossible, for the Irish Government to raise sums necessary for other public works and services of a pressing character, arterial drainage, canals, education, and other objects, not to speak of migration, congestion, and land purchase. The conclusion, in fact, is inevitable, that without the security of the United Kingdom, and the market of British investors willing to lend, it is idle to think that either State purchase of railways, or any other of the boons mentioned, are reasonably possible. Mr. Erskine Childers, though a Home Ruler, does not fail to perceive, to use his own words, “that financial independence will now mean a financial sacrifice to Ireland."
There are other important considerations which confirm the view that, if the control of Irish railways were taken away from the Imperial Parliament, and placed under a Parliament sitting in Dublin, and if the general code of railway legislation now binding on both countries could be altered by a Home Rule legislature, results disastrous to the trade between the two countries would probably follow, whether “Nationalisation” were carried out or not.
The Majority Report recommends, as one of the chief objects of “Nationalisation” under an Irish authority, the reduction of export rates, both local and through rates, on the Irish railways, as “essential to the development of Irish industry,” and this seems the pet project of a large number of witnesses, and of Irish local authorities. Import and export railway rates are now the same for the same classes of produce, and no Irish railway company could now differentiate between them, without being pulled up by the Railway Commission at the suit of British traders, or British railway companies. The policy suggested is practically to use railway rates as a