LOCAL TAXATION OF IRELAND.
Statistics Office, Four Courts, Dublin,
Lord,-â€”I have the honour to transmit, for the information of His Excellency the Lord Lieutenant, summaries of the returns with respect to the Local Taxation of Ireland winch have been collected with a view of obtaining, under the authority of the Lord Lieutenant, information corresponding as closely as possible with that which has been for some years collected as to the local taxation of England and Wales under the Local Taxation Returns Act (23 and 24 Vic, c.
51), and which is annually presented to .Parliament.
The powers of local taxation in Ireland rest in almost every case upon legislation peculiar to Ireland, but the principles of this legislation have to a very large extent been founded upon the corresponding powers for local taxation in England and Wales.
There are however some very material differences.
The English volume of abstracts of local taxation is chiefly occupied with returns as church to church and chapel rates, which occupy 270 out of the 357 pages in the volume.
Ireland church rates were abolished* so far back as 1833, by the Irish Church TemporÂ¬ alities Act (Stat.
3 & 4 Wm.
In the local taxation of England and Wales the turnpike tolls form a very large item, Turnpike amounting, according to the latest return prior to 1865, to Â£1,065,500.
In Ireland Tolls, turnpikes have been entirely abolished since 1857 (Stat.
20 & 21 Vic, c.
16), and the cost of maintaining the roads has been provided by the tax on the occupiers of landed property or other tenements called Grand Jury Cess.
Th-e^ Grand Jury Cess is a tax peculiar to Ireland.
The purposes for which it is raised Grand Jury are chiefly those provided in England and Wales by the highway rate, turnpike tolls, Cess, county rate, rates for bridges and police rate.
As to its incidence, it may be divided into two partsâ€”one for general objects, levied off the entire of each county or county of a city or town, and the other for objects of a more local character, levied off each barony or half-barony of a county ; a division of the country which corresponds to a hundred in England.
The cess is levied by an equal poundage rate on the occupiers of landed property in each barony or half-barony.
The kind of property liable to assessÂ¬ ment corresponds very closely to that rateable to the poor rate in England and Wales.
The origin of the jurisdiction of Grand Juries in Ireland over roads and bridges, dates so far back as the reign of King Charles I.,
when by statute 10 Car.
2 (Irish), (corresponding>to22Hen.
the justices of assize and of the peace were directed to inquire what bridges in the county were broken down or out of repair, and to award process on presentment against such persons as were chargeable with the repair.
If the persons liable were unknown the expense was to be borne by the inhabiÂ¬ tants of the county or barony where the bridge was situate, and the justices were directed to tax the inhabitants "reasonably" for that purpose, with the assent of the Grand Jury.
This appears to have been intended as a statutable substitute for the common law remedy and procedure by indictment, which of course would be of no avail where the parties liable could not be ascertained.
The sanction of the Grand Jury to the taxation of the justices is quite peculiar to Ireland: the corresponding Act of Hen.
VI1L, required the assent of the constables or the inhabitants of the city, town, or parish.
From this commencement a whole code of local legislation peculiar^ Ireland has arisen.
In 1836 the power of the Grand Juries was limited by the creation of a tribunal called Presentment Sessions for each barony and for the county at large, consisting of the magistrates of the county, and a certain number of the highest cess payers chosen by ballot out of a list fixed by the Grand Jury.
Nearly all the presentments as to which the Grand Jury have any "discretion are required to be first passed at-these Presentment Sessions.
* The power of levying vestry cess for some purposes unconnected with the Church continued until 1864, hut >was finally, abolished .by