M.P. COLLIVET (Limerick City) to the MINISTER FOR HOME AFFAIRS:
(a) “How can a person best fight the British Income Tax?
(b) “Is it recommended to absolutely refuse to pay it?”
(c) “Is an employer bound by British law to furnish returns of salaries and wages of employees, and if so under what penalty?”
ART O'CONNOR (Kildare S.) to the PRIME MINISTER: "Have the Ministry of the Dáil considered what steps should be recommended to the people on the matter of Income Tax; whether they should refuse to fill in forms asking for returns of Income, and in the event of writs being served what public action should be taken to nullify the execution of distress warrants?"
SEAN MACENTEE (Monaghan S.) to the MINISTER FOR HOME AFFAIRS:
"Has he any proposals to set before the Dáil regarding a National Taxation Campaign?"
The MINISTER FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT (for the MINISTER FOR FINANCE):
"The Finance Minister is considering the question of Income Tax. At the last meeting of the Ministry he reported that he had not yet completed his investigations. The bulk of Income Tax in Ireland is paid at the source by public companies, etc. A great number of persons are entitled to secure a rebate under the terms of Income Tax Laws.
"Public companies have made returns of their employees and the salaries paid them to the Income Tax Authorities and private individuals may be bound, if balance sheets, etc., be demanded, to make such a return in their own interests. The principal difficulty in the case is to secure sufficient support for an agitation against the imposition. Income Tax is illegal, and an evasion of the 7th Article of the ‘Act of Union,' but it has not been objected to in time. If there were a general strike against it we would have some hope of defeating it, but the bulk of the income tax is payable by those who are against us."
M.P. COLLIVET (Limerick City) observed that the answer did not meet the question. If an employer refuses to hand up the wages sheet what penalty is he liable to?
The MINISTER FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT: "The Ministry are considering the question generally."
M.P. COLLIVET (Limerick City) asked if the Ministry would consider the advisability of circulating the information to Members before the next meeting of the Dáil.
J. MACDONAGH (Tipperary N.) denied that it was a fact that the bulk of income tax was paid direct. He raised this question in February last, and sent on a memo to the Ministry on the subject, but nothing was ever done in connection with it. He pointed out that there were 30,000 assessments due since last July by the manual workers, and suggested that the Ministry get in touch with these people so that combined action might be taken. He said that the question as to penalties had not been replied to. He asked the Minister for Home Affairs if there was anything to put before the Dáil in regard to the anti-taxation campaign generally?
The ACTING-PRESIDENT, replying, said that they had no proposals at the moment. The revenue from Ireland last year was:—
Other Revenue, £15,526,000
making a total of £25,191,000, representing the taxable articles of revenue. In addition there was a sum of £1,545,000 from the Post Office and £129,000 from miscellaneous sources, making altogether a total revenue of £26,865,000. The National anti-taxation campaign could only be directed against the consumption of excisable articles. The only important direct tax in Ireland was the Income Tax, and this tax amounted to £6,000,000 of the total 26 millions. Of that amount more than four millions was paid by people out of sympathy with them. Of the other two millions not more than half a million was paid directly. If a real effort was to be made, they must deal with Customs and Excise revenue, and the only way to do that was to stop the consumption of excisable articles such as whiskey, beer, wines, liquors, and tobacco. A campaign to do that would be faced with the fact that while they reduced England's revenue they would also hit Ireland's trade, as that trade was largely in tobacco, beer, and whiskey.
M.P. COLLIVET (Limerick City) to the DIRECTOR OF AGRICULTURE: "What steps have been taken towards supplying the deficiency of agricultural labour in the South from the Western labourers who usually migrate to England and Scotland for employment?"
The ACTING-PRESIDENT (for the DIRECTOR OF AGRICULTURE): "The problems connected with migratory labour have been receiving attention from two aspects. (1) The immediate edifisation of Irish migrant labourers in Ireland. (2) The amelioration of conditions in the West in order to remove the necessity for small farmers to migrate as labourers.
"The difficulties met with under (1) are numerous. The demand for migratory labour in the South of Ireland is not by any means so insistent as that from England. The migrants themselves prefer to go to England because they can get there long term engagements covering the whole summer and early autumn. Some of these men by starting with the hay harvests in central England can find continuous employment until October by moving northwards as the season advances, returning to Ireland after completing the potato harvest in South Scotland. Climatic conditions in Ireland preclude such possibilities. Information is being gathered regarding the possibility of making some migrant labour available for the Irish Harvest. Genuine efforts made by the Anglo-Irish Department of Agriculture during last year with the same object in view met with very little success, largely because employers in the South of Ireland could not provide the same continuous employment as that securable in England.
"Can the mover of the question put me in touch with some reliable person in Co. Limerick who can provide me with information I require regarding conditions of employment?"
M.P. COLLIVET (Limerick City) said there was a farmer named Laffan living close to Killonan Railway Station near Limerick who was interested in the question, and who would supply the information asked for.
J. MACDONAGH (Tipperary N.) asked if he could have an answer to his question of last evening as to the American Commission?
M.P. COLLIVET (Limerick City) asked if the Report of the American Commission would be published?
The SECRETARY FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS, replying, said that the conditions had changed since the question was put down. The Report had now been published in the Press.
Mr. MacDonagh's question would be dealt with in the Acting-President's statement on the President's absence.
M.P. COLLIVET (Limerick City) asked if the Members of the Dáil would be furnished with copies of the Report of the American Commission?
Dr. CUSACK (Galway N.) referred to a statement in the report as to "West-port Jail," and stated that the published report had the appearance of being garbled. He asked that the Ministry should correct the mis-statements and let the people know that mis-statements had been made.
The ACTING-PRESIDENT, replying, said that the Press reports were substantially correct. The reference to Westport was obviously a figurative reference—the whole town of West-port was for all practical purposes a jail.
A copy of the Report would be circulated to all Deputies.