No. 119 NAI DFA Unregistered Papers

Memorandum by John J. Hearne on the outstanding questions in British-Irish relations

Dublin, 6 September 1932

Questions outstanding between the British Government and the Government of the Irish Free State.

  1. Land Annuities and other Financial Questions.
  2. The Privy Council. A Bill has been prepared to abolish the appeal. It will be introduced in the autumn session of the Oireachtas. The British Government may not now have any objection to an express abolition of the appeal having regard to the provisions of the Statute of Westminster.
  3. The Question of Coastal Defence arising out of Article 6 of the Treaty. Article 6 contemplates a conference between British and Irish Representatives with a view to 'the undertaking by Ireland of a share in her own coastal defence'. A conference was begun in the month of December, 1926, by the then High Commissioner in order to formally comply with the provision of Article 6 which states that the conference would take place 'at the expiration of five years' from the date of the Treaty.1
  4. Boundary Questions relating to Lough Foyle and Carlingford Lough. Also the fishery dispute in Lough Foyle and a question of revenue in respect of Carlingford.
  5. Reciprocal enforcement of judgments and court orders.
  6. Sealing of Probates.
  7. Lunatics' Estates in Northern Ireland.
  8. Mutual return of fugitive criminals.
  9. Royal Hospital, Kilmainham, (rates etc.).
  10. Irish Lights.

The Questions referred to at 5, 6, 7 and 8 are purely administrative questions which, it is thought, can be arranged without difficulty. As regards the reciprocal enforcement of judgments and court orders this Department considers that an arrangement should be arrived at in that connection whereby summons issued by the proper authorities in the Irish Free State against the owners or masters of British sea-fishing boats involved in any infringement of the Fishery Laws of the Irish Free State could be served on the defendants resident in the United Kingdom and fines imposed by the Courts of the Irish Free States be levied in the United Kingdom. The Question referred to at 8 (the Royal Hospital, Kilmainham) is well advanced. The proposal is to wind up the Royal Hospital Trust and transfer the buildings to the Irish Free State. The British Government have been informed (following a decision of the late Executive Council taken in July, 1930) that agreed legislation will be introduced. A draft of the proposed Bill to deal with the disposal of the Trust property will be sent to the Dominions Office before the Bill is introduced. Some legal considerations have arisen with regard to which the Department of Finance are requesting the opinion of the Attorney General. The points referred to the Attorney General for his opinion are as follows:-

  1. Whether certain funds and income are properly applicable to the purposes of the charity.
  2. Whether under the terms of the Charters the funds of the charity are properly applicable to pensioners of the Defence Forces of Saorstát Éireann.
  3. Liability for rates in respect of the Hospital.
  4. Whether the furniture and other contents of the Hospital should be retained or transferred to Chelsea.

The Question referred to at 10 (Irish Lights) has recently been postponed sine die by direction of the Executive Council.

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