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Ireland and the Home Rule Movement
written by "Redmond, John Edward, 1856-1918"
...Irish Reform Association have for the last three years been before the country. The object of their first proposal is the creation of a Financial Council to which the control of Irish expenditure should be handed by the Treasury with the object of making it interested in economising in finance for Irish purposes. Their proposal with regard to Private Bill Legislation is merely that the principle adopted in 1899 in the case of Scottish Private Bills should apply to Ireland, and this has not met with much objection. Under it local inquiries, which are at present conducted at Westminster, would be carried out in the localities affected, with much saving of expense; and it is only necessary to add that as long ago as 1881 a Bill was introduced to transfer from Westminster to Ireland the semi-judicial and semi-legislative business entailed in the passage of Private Bills through Parliament. The statutory administrative council proposed by the Irish Reform Association was to consist of thirteen members, of whom six were to be elected by the County Councils, six were to be the nominees of the Crown, while the Lord Lieutenant, who was to preside as chairman, was to have the right to exercise the privilege of a casting vote. From a democratic point of view such a body would be an assembly pour rire, and would only serve to entrench the present bureaucracy more securely by the semblance of representation which it would offer, while retaining the power of the purse in the hands of a body carefully constituted in such a way that the small minority who comprise the ascendancy faction in the country would [213]be permanently maintained in a majority on the council. A great deal more could be said in defence of another proposal which has been mooted—namely, that the principle of proportional representation should be adopted. In a country like Ireland, where the dividing line between the two great parties is unusually wide, with an ordinary...

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