Clause 4. — (Application of Custom Acts to Land Frontier.)

Part of Irish Free State (Consequential Provisions) Bill. – in the House of Commons on 28th November 1922.

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Photo of Sir Douglas Hogg Sir Douglas Hogg , St Marylebone

We have an arrangement with the Provisional Government under which the taxation for the current year remains as it was before the Provisional Government was set up. We have taken power in the Bill to make arrangements with them for continuing that in whole or in part, but we have no guarantee that they will see fit to do that, and it would be impossible to leave this country in the position that there was no power to erect any Customs frontier along the whole of the land division between Southern and Northern Ireland. At the same time Southern Ireland would become a Customs entity, and it might prove to be a fruitful field for enterprising persons who want to smuggle in prohibited goods without the disadvantage of a Customs examination. There are certain things, drugs for instance, which by law we have power to exclude from the Customs, and I think it would be very undesirable if through lack of machinery we left an open door by which such goods could pass over the frontier. The object of the Clause is merely to enable us to set up the necessary machinery, and I think it will; the Committee will see that that is what it does.