Our examination of the question brings us to the clear conclusion that it is only under the existing system of a single Parliament and Executive for the United Kingdom that the problems of transit and transport in Ireland, or between Great Britain and Ireland, can be satisfactorily solved, whether from the point of view of finance, justice to shareholders, or advantage to the trade and convenience of both countries.
NOTE.—It has been suggested, since the above was written, that the balance in the Irish Post Office Savings Banks (now about L12,500,000) might be available to the new Irish Government, for advances to farmers and other public purposes. The suggestion involves the applicability of such advances for the purchase or amalgamation of the Irish railways under an Irish public authority. Such a proposal will not bear close examination.
It is an essential condition of the existence of Savings Bank deposits that the deposits should be always available on the call of depositors; and this condition would no longer be fulfilled if the balances were locked up in Irish railways. In fact, if there was any suggestion that these balances should be used for the purpose of enabling the Irish Government to run the railways on uncommercial principles, the deposits would very soon diminish or disappear—and this apart from the question whether under Home Rule, the deposits would in any event remain at anything like their present high figure.
[Footnote 92: Viceregal Commission on Irish Railways, Final Report, 1910 (Cd. 5247). Final Report on the Canals and Inland Navigations of Ireland, 1911 (Cd. 5626).]
[Footnote 93: “The Framework of Home Rule,” p. 174.]
[Footnote 94: Figures are taken from Viceregal Commission Reports, p. 78, Report.]
[Footnote 95: Page 78, Report.]
[Footnote 96: Page 58, Report.]
[Footnote 97: Final Report, pp. 76-83.]
[Footnote 98: We have taken the Act of 1844 as the basis referred to by the Commissioners, though it is very doubtful (having regard to the great variety of railway share and loan capital), if the terms of sect. 2 are now suitable; moreover sect. 4 requires a special Act of Parliament to be passed to raise the money, and settle the special conditions of the purchase option.]
[Footnote 99: Majority Report, p. 76.]
[Footnote 100: “Framework of Home Rule,” p. 281.]
[Footnote 101: Final Report on the Canals and Navigations of Ireland. 1911. (Cd. 5626.)]