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Limerick City Petitions

31/07/1822

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Petitions Relating to the Local Taxation of the City of Limerick page 1
 
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Limerick City Petitions

Date of Article: 31/07/1822
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4 iO REPORT FROM THE SELECT COMMITTEE ON f App* ( B.) Table of Applotment and Deed of Admea- surement, 1609. Petition. Votes, 1822, N° 361. 47 Geo. 3. c. 75. 51 Geo. 3. c. 104. lttSO. 75 Com. Jour- nals, p. 384. Mr. Wodehouse re- ported, that during the investigation before the aid Committee, va- rious acts of the Cor- poration, as stated in the l'etition, had come to light, which ren- dered it necessary for the said Committee to request the House would order the Mi- nutes of evidence to be printed. J. Mark, A pp. ( A.) Min. Ev. J. N. Russell, ibid. the city of Limerick. 1st, The Old City; 2d, The Liberties ; and 3d, The New Town or parish of St. Michaels. § 1. The old city connected with the county of Clare, by Thomond Bridge, one of the most ancient architectural monuments in the south of Ireland, was formerly considered as a principal fortress, and as an im- portant military position ; it was called the key of Munster, was surrounded by walls and defended by a castle now in ruins. The local taxation of the old town is administered by the city grand juries, who impose a rate on the real or supposed value of houses, for making and repairing roads and bridges within the city and liberties, as well as for the maintenance of the public establishments.— § 2. The liberties comprehend, as has been already stated, about 16,000 Irish acres, extending from 3 to 4 miles south, east and west, of the old city walls. The liberties are subject to the powers of taxation, vested in the city grand juries, the levies being made at the Spring and Summer assizes, and being applotted by the acre.— § 3. The parish of St. Michael's, or the New Town of Limerick, is divided from the old city by a branch of the Shannon; it is described in one of the petitions referred to Your Committee, as containing 2,000 houses and 16,000 inhabitants, and as comprising " all the wealth and trade of the " city." This New Town is placed by two private Acts under the control of commissioners, who levy and appropriate the rates raised from the in- habitants of the parish. The New Town being exempted by law from the jurisdiction of the city grand juries, only contributes 500/. per annum, to the levies raised by such authority; but it maintains exclusively its parochial establishment, amounting to between 3,0001, and 4,0001. annually. By the order of reference made to Your Committee, their inquiries have necessarily been divided into two parts : The first object of their examination has been the Petitions from the old city and liberties; the second, has been the Reports of the Select Committee of 1820, and the Petitions of the inhabitants of the city and liberties complaining of the misapplication of the public revenues and the gross abuses of the corporation of Limerick. I. By the general law of Ireland it is enacted, for the encourage- ment of buildings in cities and towns, that any parts of cities and towns which were, at the passing of that Act, liable to be taxed by the acre only, and not by a rate on the value, should, if built upon, continue to be charged in the same manner, and that no alteration in the mode of assessment should take place in such cases, by reason of any buildings which might be erected under such circumstances. The Act of the 33 Geo. II is analogous to the barren land exemption in the tithe cases, for it in fact enacts, that the expenditure of capital on lands adjoining to cities and towns shall not become the cause of an augmented local taxation ; but that an acre of land which, before the passing of this Act, contributed to the local taxes in proportion to its area only, should not, if built upon sub- sequent to the Act, become liable to taxes rated according to the value of the buildings erected upon it. Your Committee consider, that capital invested under the faith of an Act of Parliament ought not, without the most serious consideration, to be subjected to those increased burthens, an exemption from which was distinctly promised by the legislature. But this general argument becomes much more forcible when applied to the peculiar case of the city of Limerick. The grand juries of the city of Limerick are appointed by the sheriffs of the corporation ; the pannel is formed, not as Your Committee conceive
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