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Volume 155: debated on Thursday 29 June 1922

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Trust Funds


asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland if he is aware that there are persons domiciled in Great Britain who are beneficiaries of trust funds in charge of the Supreme Court of Judicature in Ireland; will such persons be liable to taxation both in Great Britain and Ireland in respect of such funds; will opportunity be given them of having these funds transferred to Great Britain; and will he say when and to whom should application for transfer be made?

The reply to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. In reply to the second part, discussions are taking place between the Imperial and Provisional Governments with a view to dealing with cases of double Income Tax arising out of the grant of Dominion status to Ireland. As regards the third and fourth parts, the question whether such funds can be transferred from the courts in which they are vested depends upon the circumstances of the litigation out of which the trust arose, and in some cases such a transfer would no doubt be possible with the con- sent of all parties concerned, but His Majesty's Government see no grounds for any special steps in the matter, nor indeed would legislation on such a subject be practicable.

Would it not be possible, seeing that these funds were paid in in Ireland at a time when Ireland was under the control of this country, for persons interested to transfer their funds to England for safety under existing circumstances, and will the right hon. Baronet consider the propriety of legislation in order to give effect to the wishes of beneficiaries?

If the hon. Baronet will read the answer, I have answered both those points.

Has the right hon. Baronet considered the propriety of legislation with a view to protecting the interests of persons who have paid funds into court on a certain faith and footing and who desire to transfer them to England now?

Will any opportunity be afforded to Members of the House to discuss the terms the right hon. Baronet says are being arranged between the Imperial Government and the Provisional Government?

Not necessarily in all cases. There may be other taxes of a like kind. Double taxation is contemplated in my question.

Sinn Fein Outrages (Sentences)

23 and 24.

asked the Home Secretary (1) whether, with reference to the case which occurred at Bromley, Kent, on 16th June, 1921, in which the police were shot at by Sinn Fein criminals, and two of the police concerned were awarded the police medal for bravery, and for which crime four men were arrested, one of whom got 12 years' penal servitude, and the other three got 10 years' penal servitude, he can state whether these men are now serving their sentence or whether they have been released; and, if so, on what date;

(2) whether, in the cases of incendiarism and attempted murder which occurred at Wandsworth, when six or seven arrests were made and convictions obtained against Sinn Fein miscreants, and at Mitcham, where one arrest was made and conviction obtained, and at Clerkenwell, where two arrests were made and convictions obtained, he can state whether these persons are still serving their sentence or whether they have been released; and, if released, upon what date, and after having served what period of their sentence?

I am not sure what is the Clerk-enwell case to which the hon. and gallant Member refers, but as regards the others the eight men convicted were released from prison in February last in pursuance of the amnesty for offences committed prior to the truce from Irish political motives. They had served from eight to twelve months.

Attack On Insurgents, Dublin

( by Private Notice)

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he can give the House any further information with reference to the happenings in Dublin during the last 24 hours?

I am afraid I have very little to add to the full and continuous reports which are reaching this country through the medium of the Press. The Provisional Government, as I said yesterday, are conducting these operations and they are not reporting their progress to me officially in any way. They appear to be persisting in their operations with resolution. There are considerable difficulties from the point of view of the great structural strength of the building in the lower portion of which the insurgents are ensconced, and the artillery have not yet made sufficient impression upon them to induce a surrender. There has been a certain amount of disorder in different parts of the City of Dublin by sympathisers with the insurgents, who have commandeered houses at different points from which they have fired on the passers-by and of course upon Free State troops. This again is a subject of some consequence. The situation is not wholly free from anxiety, but we are confining our assistance entirely to supplying the Government of the Free State with any material they may require, and they have continued to decline any assistance of any sort or kind from the British troops, in which they are no doubt well advised, as it is undoubtedly an Irish quarrel, in which the Irish Provisional Government are acting in the sense of the mandate they have received from the Irish people.

Has the right hon. Gentleman any information to give beyond what appears in the public Press? Surely he must be in communication with the Commander-in-Chief there and also with Mr. Cope, at Dublin Castle, who would inform him fully of what is going on?

I have a good deal of information of one kind and another, but I have no information beyond what has appeared in the Press which it would be useful for me to give to the House or which the House in its discretion would wish me to give. Naturally, I make continual inquiries and get a good deal of information, but, on the whole, I think the case is pretty fairly put by the reports which are appearing in the newspapers.

Are we to understand from the answer that the British Government are giving arms and ammunition to the Free State troops, and, if so, what guarantees have we that those Free State troops will not mutiny and turn round against us?

We are certainly giving arms and ammunition to the Free State troops, and I am sure that in so doing we are acting in full accordance with the wishes and intentions of the House when it passed the Irish Free State (Agreement) Bill.

If we are giving arms and ammunition to the Free State troops, what steps are we taking to ascertain whether this is really a serious affair or only a sham fight?

In a sham fight people do not usually get killed, and I deprecate very much suggestions which seem to show that the Irish Provisional Government and the troops under their orders are not doing the very best they can loyally and effectively to carry out the Treaty and to maintain order in their country. They are making an effort and they are suffering, and it, is quite true of both sides that there is little organisation. Both sides are weak, but it is certainly not a time to mock at a serious attempt made by men who are striking a blow for the freedom, order and ultimate unity of their country.

If this be purely an Irish quarrel, can the right hon. Gentleman give us an assurance that there will be no interference on the part of British troops in Dublin?

Before the right hon. Gentleman answers that question, I would like to know what action British troops would take, providing the Free State troops were finally defeated?

We have enough real trouble on our hands without my attempting to forecast our actions in such hypothetical conditions.