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Limerick – January 1900

LIMK 1900



  1. 1.      Compensation Water

At the dawn of the 19th century the fishermen of Limerick had a serious problem. Something big was about to happen in their native city and they were ready, willing and hopefully able to do all in their power to stop the march of progress. The Limerick Fishery Conservators, presided over by Lord Massy, held a meeting and all of the members unanimously resolved to oppose the scheme of the so-Called Shannon Water and Electric Power Company who were seeking Parliamentary authority in England to utilise the waters of the Shannon near Loch Derg to provide the city with electricity. The general feeling at the meeting was that the Shannon Water and Electric Power Bill was no more than a bill for the abolition of the navigation and fisheries of the River Shannon and the water supply of the city of Limerick for the benefit, if any, of a few company promoters. Furthermore, there was reliable world it was felt that the Parliament will never sanction such a bill, and the Bill would face firm opposition but the endeavour to secure “killing the bill” would be a costly exercise for those in opposition.

“The Limerick harbour commissioners have again engaged Mr Fottrell, solicitor, Dublin, to attend to the details of the opposition to the renewed Railway Amalgamation Scheme. The commissioners have also instructed Mr Fottrell to retain Mr Ackworth, QC and their behalf”[1]

At the meeting letters were read from local luminaries who had a lot to say on the subject and were determined to ensure that this project would be abandoned and terminated forthwith; “as one who uses Loch Derg both for business and pleasure, I should most strongly oppose any lowering of its level, nearly all the quays on the lake, and there are many, and their approaches have cost this county a great deal of money, and will be utterly useless if the level is lowered. This county has also guaranteed a large yearly sum, £250, for which we get very little return even now, and should, if the lake was lowered, get none. There is a project now on foot to make a railway to Dromineer from Nenagh to connect with the Grand Canal Company. This would also fall through if the canal were interfered with. These are a few of the objections which can be urged. Then, from the point of view of pleasure, as the lake is very shallow in many places the navigation would be seriously interfered with. The fishing rights, of course, are very valuable, and would be seriously affected.”

Another member wrote, “I have 30 years experience on Lough Derg, and can inform you should they lower the present summer level by inches instead of feet, I and every other trader will be deprived of our living, as there would not be even one harbour on Lough Derg that steamer could call at, and if they propose making all those harbours fit for steamers to call at I fear, like the “cook and the soup” the cost is bound to spoil the flavour.”

Lord Massy announced to the attending members,” it is undoubtedly a fact that if they carry out what is proposed it will ruin us as far as the fishing interests and milling and navigation interests are concerned. The original proposal was to take 200,000 ft.³ of water per minute out of the river. We got the river examined last year by a competent engineer. He took careful measurements at a time when the river was by no means what is known as summer level, and found that only 160,000 ft.³ per minute was running throughout the whole river. How the syndicate proposed to take 200,000 ft.³ per minute from that I don’t know. Even in average spring water there would be no water for the fish to get up, and that affects not only the ride interests, but also the netting interests below. Therefore, I think we should be united in opposing this measure. Of course, there will have to pay compensation to the different persons affected by it, but I noticed they propose to do so if possible by giving them shares in what I consider this rotten scheme of theirs. I hope it would not pass but we must oppose it.” [2]

Another speaker took the floor, Mr JA Place stated, “as everyone present may not have had an opportunity of reading this bill, allow me to explain shortly to the meeting what it proposes. They ask for powers to compulsorily take land to make their canals, first of all from above the steamboat pier at Killaloe to a point near Clarisford, the Bishop of Killaloe’s residence; and secondly, from above the “World’s End,” at Castleconnell, to below Plassey. The canals on both cases following the course taken by the existing navigation canals; close to the village of Clonlara their power station is to be erected. Through these canals they propose to divert the water of the Shannon; and, further, they propose to lower the summer level of Loch Derg, but to what extent it is not stated; it is left altogether indefinite. I understand they propose to lower it several feet. They also propose to stop up certain roads, and remove bridges; but that is a matter altogether for the County Clare County Council. The effect of lowering the water in Lough Derg by even 6 inches must necessarily reduce the traffic of the Grand Canal Company, and also that of the Shannon Lake Steamers, besides the traffic of numbers of independent traders who use the lake. The inhabitants of such important places as Dromineer and Scariff would be completely shut off from obtaining their supplies; also Garrykennedy and several others. The effect of diverting the water from its natural course above Castleconnell would be simply too close to the fisheries below Castleconnell, as it will leave the river practically dry between Castleconnell and Plassey; it will also close up the Limerick Waterworks, the erection of which has cost the citizens an immense sum. This latter, however, is a question for the Limerick Corporation. It is true they seek power to let down what they call “compensation water” from Loch Derg, but this is only to be exercised with the consent of the Board of Works, and should they for the purpose of maintaining navigation refuse to let down this compensation water, both the fisheries and Corporation Water Works will be left high and dry, as I have already stated. There will also be the important water rights for milling and other purposes enjoyed by Mr Lefroy, the Messrs. Russell, and others to be taken into account. It must also be remembered that several counties have guaranteed an annual subsidy to the Shannon Development Company, and the attention of the county councils, will now represent the grand juries, who guaranteed these subsidies, should be at once drawn to the matter. In addition to the direct effect upon the fisheries to which I have alluded, lowering Lough Derg will close up several of our most important spawning tributaries.”

It was proposed at the meeting that the principal fishery owners in the Limerick fishery district, Mill and factory owners using the waters of the Shannon below Loch Derg, riparian proprietors, and users of the water for navigation purposes, view with grave apprehension the works intended to be carried out by the proposed Shannon Water and Electric Power Company, and for which Parliamentary powers are sought, as we believe they will be ruinous to our respective interests, and we hereby call upon the Right Honourable the Chief Sec for Ireland and the Commissioners of Public Works in Ireland to refuse their sanction to such a scheme; and we direct our secretary to send a copy of this resolution to the Chief Sec, the Board of Public Works, the Corporation of Limerick, the members of Parliament for the city and County of Limerick and counties Clare, Galway, and Tipperary, and Kings County, to the District Councils concerned, and to the several County Councils who have guaranteed the Shannon Lake Steamers.”

Those who attended the meeting were also informed that it was common knowledge that the board of Works were actually against the scheme altogether. And one member, Mr R. Twiss, stated that, “I’m not allowed to give authority, but I understand that the Chief Sec for Ireland is going to do his best to carry the scheme through the House. Whether the Board of Works will oppose it strongly or not; I don’t know.” It was further felt that it would be desirable to send a copy of the resolution to the commission appointed by the Lord-Lieutenant, because there was no doubt it would help if interest by the Lord-Lieutenant was generated.

“A distressing accident occurred at Limerick railway terminus last evening. James Davoren, labourer, was seeing his brother, a solicitor, off by train for Fermoy, when he accidentally fell off the platform onto the permanent way. After the train passed he was discovered lying on the rails. He was removed to Barrington’s Hospital, where his right leg had to be amputated.” [3]

“Yesterday evening as a man was bidding goodbye to his brother, who was leaving Limerick for Fermoy, was pulled off the platform under the wheels of the train, and one of his legs was so badly mangled that amputation was rendered necessary. The patient is doing as well as can be expected. This is the third serious accident which has occurred at the terminus during the holidays. Not the slightest blame, however, attaches to any of the officials.”[4]

  1. 2.      Important Busybodies

At Limerick County Courts there were heated sessions as Judge Adams asked if there were any of the professional men present in favour of extending the jurisdiction of the court by having eight instead of four quarter sessions in each year. The answer was in the negative, and Judge Adams said the demand for eight quarter sessions in the year was not made by the professional men, by the public, or the people of this city. It was made by three or four busybodies who go about waiting on the Lord Chancellor with the object of seeing their names in the papers under the caption of “Important Deputation to the Lord Chancellor.” He heard the Lord Chancellor induced the Recorder of Galway; “that most commercial, prosperous, and mercantile town, of which we all know too well, to hold eight quarter sessions there in the year” [5] As far as he, Judge Adams, was concerned, he would never hold more than four quarter sessions in the year in Limerick until he was compelled to do so by act of Parliament. Even when that act of Parliament was introduced he should have some friends there, and they would have something to say to the bill in both houses of the legislator.

  1. 3.      Broken Glass

Two privates of the Cheshire Regiment named Ernest Hancock and Peter Ishwood found them-selves before Judge Adams indicted for the breaking of a plate glass window in Messrs. Kidd’s establishment, in George Street, on December 6. Both prisoners pleaded guilty. His honour asked if they would be willing to go to the front if they were discharged. The men said they would. Hancock stating that he wished to be with his brother; who had gone with the Cheshires to the front. Captain Marden having stated that, with the exception of some trivial offences, the men bore good characters. They were released on their own recognisances. It is likely they will be sent to South Africa with the next draft.[6]

  1. Catholics and Protestants

A public meeting promoted by the clergy of St Michael’s, was held in the Lecture Hall of the Catholic Institute this week, to promote a Fete and fancy fair in June next in aid of the funds for the erection of an additional Parochial church, dedicated to St Joseph, in St Michael’s Parish, the building of which is in progress. The Bishop presided, and there was an exceedingly large attendance of clergy, ladies and gentlemen, all of whom showed great interest in the initiation of the fete. Rev Fr O’Donnell, administrator, St Michael’s made a preliminary statement, in which he explained that it had been rumoured that the hospitals were about to hold a fete this year, but he had waited on the committees of the hospitals, and it was only when they stated that they were not prepared to hold a hospitals fete this year that it was decided to hold a fete for the church. It had been decided to hold a fete in June, so as not to clash with any other event, and another reason for holding it in June was that they had an offer from their distinguished fellow citizen, Mr Joseph O’Mara, to hold himself free from that time, so as to assist them. In conclusion, Fr O’Donnell said he was very happy to be able to say that they had promises of support from many of their Protestant friends and he had only to say that they would be very glad to avail themselves of it. The Bishop, in an address, referred to the excellent work of the St Michael’s clergy. Numerous letters of apology were received in support of the fete, including letters from Count Moore, who had offered a prize. Several organising committees were appointed to work up the details of the fete, which is to be called “Kincora Fete.”[7]

“The 3rd Battalion Oxfordshire Light Infantry Royal Bucks Militia, on embodiment at High Wycombe, after the New Year, will come to Limerick for garrison duty during the war. The details left behind by the 1st Battalion when it went out to the front from Aldershot arrived last week at Limerick.” [8]

“A shocking case of suicide occurred late last night in Newgate Street, Limerick, James Salmon, 35, an engine man, return to his residents about 9 o’clock, and, procuring a razor, went out into the yard of the house and cut his throat from ear to ear. When discovered shortly afterwards in the yard Salmon was lying in a pool of blood, life being extinct, Salmon was married, with a large family, but there were only two young children at home at the time” [9]

  1. 5.      Hooting and Groaning

Judge Adams in the Limerick County Crown Court took up the hearing of claims for malicious injuries. Mr TM English, a member of Tipperary District Council, applied for £116 compensation for a quantity of hay, his property, maliciously burned at Templebredin on the night of 6 December 1899. The plaintiff’s case was that he incurred hostility through his action with regard to the maintenance and repairs of the public roads. He attended a meeting of the district council, the quarterly meeting, where the matter was discussed, but was groaned and hooted down, the labourers, headed by a band and banners, being present and interrupting the proceedings. He was in favour of giving half the main roads to be worked by the labourers for 12 months, to see what the expenditure would be, the rest of the main roads and the small roads to be done, as heretofore, by contractors. One of the labourers burst into the meeting and made a speech and Mr English would not be heard. Subsequently, while returning from Old Pallas Fair, two labourers attempted to assault him, and finally his hay was burned.

After the evidence had been given Judge Adams said he would award £105 compensation, and put the area of taxation on the county at large. He would have made the locality the area of taxation if he thought the ratepayers in any way aided or supported this labourer’s agitation, but nothing of the kind was deposed to. Unfortunately, this crime arose out of the labourer’s agitation, which extended throughout the whole county, supported, not by the ratepayers, but by the labourers aided and counselled by a gentleman of whom he would say nothing. The District Council and County Council were composed mainly of farmers, but they had not in any way supported this agitation, though they might have acted with a certain degree of timidity. Nothing like this would be tolerated in any civilised country that District Councils, an assembly to a certain extent like a court of justice, and sitting to discharge its duties, should be invaded by a band of ruffians, with bands and banners, and the proceedings interrupted. One man had the audacity to force himself into the room and make a speech, although not a member of the Council. The bands and banners commenced this, the hooting and groaning followed. Then there was the attempted assault and finally this fire. Those councils should be protected, the same as if it were the Lord Chief Justice’s Court was being held, and there should be an armed force of Constabulary present to put down mop clamour or violence, and restore, what the mob was always the enemy of, peace.[10]

  1. Feeling the Pinch

A special meeting of Limerick Corporation was attended by several outsiders, and others opposed to the sale of the Waterford, Limerick, and Western Railway to the Great Southern and Western Company. Mr William L. Stokes, JP, moved a resolution authorising the solicitor to oppose the sale, and take the necessary steps to that effect. Cllr Obrien seconded the proposition. It was suggested that the resolution be enlarged so as to include the Midland Great Western Railway or any other intending purchasing company, but the suggestion was not entertained. Mr Shaw addressed the meeting by request, and said the great Southern Bill was very little changed from the one of 1899. The Great Southern and Western people were magnificently generous now in certain things, but why were they not so before? Some of those promises and guarantees looked very bright on paper and where glibly put into the bills, but they should be treated with indifference. There were 101 ways for the great Southern company to back out of their undertaking, and the people of Limerick should fight the bill in the interests of the city to which they all had the honour of saying they belonged. No matter what the cost of opposition was it would be but a drop in the ocean compared with what Limerick would suffer if the bill succeeded. He had discussed the matter with several, and came to the conclusion that if they permitted the bill to go through, their children would curse the day they were born. At Lahinch this year, the chairman of the Belfast and County Down Railway said to him, “whatever you do” persuade the citizens of Limerick in their own and their children’s interest not to allow the great Southern Bill to go through. “And I tell you,” said he, “that in your own time, before there is 10 years over, you will feel the pinch as you never felt it before.” Let the Corporation join with the Harbour Board, Chambers of Commerce, and other bodies and they would smash this amalgamation as they did before. Mr Stokes said 90% of the citizens opposed amalgamation. Mr John F Power, who subsequently attended, addressed the meeting in favour of amalgamation.[11] The resolution was unanimously adopted, and applause came from outside the barrier.[12]

“The Local Government Board have written sanctioning the decision taken by the Limerick County Council at a meeting last Saturday. The council decided that in these cases where contracts had not been received for the maintenance and repairs of public roads, the roads in question should be given in charge to the County Surveyor to have the work done directly by labourers. The decision to have the opinion of the Local Government Board was to avoid any possible surcharge by the auditor for the expenditure to be incurred.”[13]

  1. 7.      Limerick Fish

At the monthly meeting of the Limerick Fishery Conservators the question of the threatened danger to the Shannon Salmon Fisheries in connection with the Shannon Water and Electric Power Bill was under discussion. Mr Hosford, Secretary to the Conservators, stated that he had written to the Board of Public Works, who had charge of the navigation of the Shannon, in reference to the bill being promoted by the Shannon Water and Electric Power Syndicate, and he had received the following reply: “In reply to your letter of the 13th inst., relative to the Shannon Water and Electric Power Bill of 1900, I am directed by the Commissioners of public works to inform you that they would take such steps as may be necessary to guard their interests and responsibilities as Shannon Commissioners in maintaining the navigation and drainage of the River Shannon, and their revenue and property as such commissioners insofar as they may be affected by this bill. There may, however, be interests which will not be covered or protected by the action of the board, and it will rest with the parties concerned to consider and decide whether they should take independent action to protect such interest. I am, Sir, your obedient servant.

The chairman asked to know what they meant by that? Mr Smith said, “That they will not allow the matter to be dropped.” There was general consensus with all members of the committee that whatever the Board of Works say there is no doubt that the project would interfere with the fishing of the Shannon. If they reduce the water by seven feet it would bring the river below the summer level of 7’6”. The letter from the board of Works is simply a diplomatic letter. The board of Works do not say anything. They do not commit themselves to anything. It would be as well for the secretary to write to the Board of Works to know if there are going to allow the river to be lowered. If they allowed the river to be lowered they will leave all the spawning beds of the lake dry in summer. The lowering of the river by seven feet would bring the water of Loch Derg six inches below the sill of the Victoria Lock above Portumna. Some members commented that the Board of Works letter said they would guard their own interests. It would be better to write to the Board of Works and asked them what they propose to do, and are they going to allow the lake to be lowered seven feet, or if they will allow it to be lowered at all?

The chairman stated, “We are here to conserve very valuable interests, and we ought to be in a position to know what is to be done in the matter. The scheme would destroy the spawning beds of the river. In reference to the lowering of the river at Loch Derg, the fishery inspectors held an inquiry some years ago, about the year 1890, with reference to a bill promoted by the Shannon Commissioners, and the report of the inspectors to the Lord Lieutenant stated; “as to the proposed lowering of the lochs it would have an injurious effect on the fisheries, as it would render it difficult for fish to enter the tributaries, many of which are spawning rivers, and the principal feeders of the Shannon.” That was the report of the inspectors to the Lord Lieutenant, and it was an important extract in the report under question. The chairman also stated that it would be well to draw the attention of the Board of Works to it. The extract could be sent to them. After some conversation, it was decided the secretary should write to the board drawing their attention to the report of the inspectors, and the great injury the proposed scheme would be to the salmon and other fisheries of the Shannon” [14]

  1. Uprightness and Consistency

The Times in an article dealing with the outlook in Ireland at the beginning of the New Year appears to be favourably impressed with the material progress which agriculture, trade, and industry have shown during 1899. As to agriculture, the harvests of the past two years, especially that of 1899, have been very satisfactory. And a disposition appears to be spreading throughout the country to utilise modern methods, and to farm on a defined and recognised system. The new Department of Agriculture will develop this tendency, though there is a decided danger that agriculture is mainly indulge in exaggerated ideas as to what outside help can do for them. The Department, as Mr Horace Plunkett tells us “will not be the dispenser of charity, but merely a coadjutor of earnest individual effort.” The Times concludes, as all sensible and unprejudiced people here always knew that the real difficulties of Ireland are economic and agrarian, rather than political. It would have been well for this country if English men, and especially English politicians, had recognised this fact long ago. For nearly 20 years much of the energy which could have been profitably applied to the development of the country’s material interests has been expended in vain and unpractical pursuit of the ‘ignis fatuus’ of Home Rule. In this connection few Irishmen will be disposed to agree with Mr Redmond when he expresses the belief that the present slight and temporary embarrassment of England will dispose the British people towards lending a favourable ear to the demands of himself or his party. He knows but little of the past history or national characteristics of the British people who fondly thinks that they will yield to the threats what they deny to justice. Let Mr Redmond look to the history of the whole of the last century, and the beginning of the present. During that long period of fully 120 years England was engaged in a prolonged struggle, often with nearly all the powers of Europe. Her population at no time during that period was more than double that of Ireland. And yet this interval of 120 years comprises the time which Irish Nationalists now look back upon as the darkest in the history of this country. In 1800, when the union was affected, Napoleon had almost reached the Zenith of his power, and England was fighting for her very existence in every quarter of the globe. The experience of the past teaches a lesson the very contrary to that which Mr Redmond desires to inculcate, that the circumstances which call forth the intent strength of England are those which more strongly impel her to keep her hand on the throttle-valve of Irish disaffection. Whatever concessions England has made to Irish agitation have been made for the most part in a time of profound peace, when England’s greatness was undisputed and her prosperity undisturbed. But, further, England has lost many delusions in dealing with this country, and not least of these was the idea that the vapourings of windy orators had behind them any real body of public opinion. In Ireland, as elsewhere, the convictions of the public are indexed by the amount of pecuniary support which they are prepared to give for the furtherance of their opinions. If the vitality and reality of the recent effort of Irish agitators be tested by this criterion, they need not disturb the equanimity of those who desire for all is a period of peace and progress. The latest attempt at the pro-Boer agitation has been limited to the very “flotsam and jetsam” of the population. The inherent tendency which exists amongst a large section of urban communities in all countries to look after other people’s business, coupled with our national relish for whatever will amuse us, have disposed some of our people to attend pro-Boer meetings at street corners, and to give a laughing ascend to resolutions which mean nothing. Beyond this even the most extreme section in Ireland would not go, and if they did Great Britain would speedily and as effectually deal with them as she is now doing with those Germans who were alleged to be contravening international law.

The Times is evidently not in love with our new Local Government Bill. It notes the intolerance and want of practical good sense displayed by the new County Councils. The capture of the Western councils by the “United Irish League” and the outrageous pretensions of the Limerick labourers are a significant comment on our fitness for popular local government, and the exclusion of every element of stability and standing from the new councils has left the affairs of the taxpaying community at the mercy of ignorant and inexperienced persons. Although we are at one with the Times in many of its conclusions, we are not entirely without hope that time and experience will mitigate some of the evils which are now apparent, and imbue with a larger and more tolerant spirit those who have lately exercised their privileges for the first time. Of one thing we are certain, and that is that Unionists who desire to work in our County and District Councils will not increase their chances of doing so, nor render themselves more popular are respected by any weak attempts to water down their own principles in order to mitigate opposition. Uprightness and consistency are as necessary in public as in private affairs, and Irishmen of all classes respect those who display them.[15]

“Schools open on Thursday, January 11. Scholars who do not return on the opening day are liable to be refused admission.”[16]

At a meeting of Limerick Corporation the engineer reported against approving the Shannon Water and Electric Power Company scheme unless the town council had guarantees to prevent the city waterworks at Clareville being affected. The secretary of the company, Mr John Mackey, and Mr Fraser, engineer, wrote asking to have the decision on the scheme deferred until the latter had an opportunity of explaining the advantages of the undertaking and removing misconception. It was agreed to adjourn the consideration of the matter. The Council, by 24 votes to 4, adapted the scheme of Mr J Enright, of London, for lighting the city by electricity, and laying down the installation to meet the Board of Trade requirements. Sir Thomas Esmonde’s scheme for a national council was defeated.[17]

“It is not easy to surprise Judge Adams, yet during an interesting action involving the Charter rights of the Mayor of Limerick he expressed astonishment that valuable muniments belonging to the city had been lost. Lapsing into history, he declared that Limerick, like Frances at Pavia, seem to have lost everything save her honour; but has she not he’s on steel?”[18]

  1. 9.      Cess Collectors [19]

The Limerick County Council decided that in the case of the deputy cess collectors who were not appointed by the grand jury they could not legally grant these officers compensation under the provisions of the Local Government Act. The deputy cess collectors held that their cases should be specially brought under the notice of the Treasury, with a view to compensation being allowed. A telegram was received from the Treasury stating that the claims of two of the officers affected where allowed, and it is anticipated that a similar result will follow other applications of a like nature pending.[20]

At Limerick Quarter Sessions, in the hearing of an application to have a fair rent fixed, Mr John Ryan, solicitor, mentioned that when cases came into The Land Commission Court no attention, not the slightest, was given to the fines paid for their holdings by tenants. Judge Adams, “And I will not pay the slightest attention to anything the Land Commissioner say. This is a court, and not a tribunal of ex-bank clerks, and so on. I cannot be moved except by both Houses of Parliament, but the Lord Chancellor can sack any of the Land Commissioner if he pleases. I always pay attention to the fines, to the case of tenants paying twenty or thirty years purchase for their farms, and then turning around to try and make the landlord pay the amount by getting the court to cut down the rents.”[21]

At the meeting of the Limerick Board of Guardians on this week complaint was made that there was a police constable present taking notes of the proceedings. A resolution was proposed by Mr Fitzgerald, and seconded by Mr Kelly, both Nationalist guardians, calling on the chairman to have the constable removed. The resolution was carried unanimously, and the Constable, who was in civilian clothing, left in the boardroom.[22]

  1. Bishops Speech

The Bishop of Limerick, Dr O’Dwyer, presided last evening at the annual reunion of the Roman Catholics of the diocese of Birmingham in the Birmingham Town Hall, and delivered an address on the question of a Catholic University for Ireland. The platform was occupied by the Bishop of Southwark and a large number of clergy and leading laity of the diocese. The Most Rev President then delivered an address upon the subject of a Catholic University for Ireland he said they were met together as an association representing both England and Ireland, united by interests of the most transcendent character. He traced the history of the movement in favour of a Catholic University in Ireland, of the efforts made by the late Cardinal Newman, who laid the foundation of their existing university system, and proceeded to deal with the objections raised by Protestants and dissenters to the measure of justice which the Catholics of Ireland claimed. It was urged that religious tests had been abolished at Trinity College, Dublin, and that Catholics were as free to become students as Protestants; but he pointed out that the whole influence and traditions of the College were Protestant. Catholics asked that as they represented the great majority of the people of Ireland, they should have an institution similarly based on the Catholic lines. It was further urged by their opponents that as the national system of education was undenominational, higher education should also be undenominational; but he quoted instances both in England and Ireland in which this principle was departed from. In Ireland provision was made, and every convenience, for every form of religious belief and unbelief also, and the only body that was under the ban in this age of scientific and intellectual progress was the Catholic majority of Ireland. Could such a disability draw their hearts strongly in loyalty and devotion to the Empire to which they belonged? The champions of civil and religious liberty in England said that the objections to the present university system were simply the work of the priests; that the Catholic laity were so priest-ridden, or were too great cowards to express their feelings. It was a shame to cast such an insult in the face of any people. They were not slaves in Ireland. He drew attention to the fact that the petition in favour of the University was signed by all the Catholic nobility, and almost the whole of the landed proprietors, by practically the entire body of professional men, by every Catholic Member of Parliament, and was adopted by nine out of ten of the local representative bodies of Ireland. It was therefore hard that their petition should be contemptuously cast aside, and that they should be termed priest ridden serfs. They had been led to expect from the memorable speech of Mr Balfour that the present government would have conceded their claim, and particularly as Lord Cadogan, the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, had also spoken in similar terms of approval, but when the Catholic Bishops drew up their statement of the principle upon which they would accept a settlement, the Duke of Devonshire stated that the government had no intention of dealing with it, and that he had never regarded it as a practical question. It therefore seems that Catholics had been fooled by English politicians. He asked to compare this wretched wavering by the Unionist government in their dealing with Ireland with their concessions to their own political supporters in England. Was it a wonder, therefore, that unionism had not made much progress of late in Ireland. It was a fact that Irish men neither loved nor respected the government that was over them. Undisguised tyranny they could understand, but the pretence of constitutional government was simply contemptible in their eyes, and it seemed that Irish Catholics were condemned at the behest of the least enlightened and most fanatical section in this electorate to a deprivation of higher education as a disability of their religion in that great centre of Unionism. Its most distinguished leader, Mr Chamberlain had recently visited Ireland for the purpose of emphasising the determination of the government to maintain this educational inequality under which they laboured. Had Mr Chamberlain forgotten the principles of his pro-Unionist days? There was a time when he advocated the government of Ireland according to Irish ideas. Had his Unionism invalidated that principle now, and were they to be governed in the teeth of Irish ideas? He could easily understand Mr Chamberlain’s action in opposing Home Rule if he thought the interests of the country would be jeopardised by it; but that did not prevent him from governing Ireland in accordance with the ideas of the Irish people, and every instinct of truth and justice should have impelled him to deal with Irishmen in a most liberal manner. But instead of that the Unionist government seemed to aim no higher than their own party interest in the government of Ireland. The ablest statesman of the Unionist party and the best and most and enlightened of Irish Protestants has approved of the scheme; but all that went for nothing in the face of the dictation of a few dissenting circles in the cities of England. If that is the way English Unionism worked out they would not have long to wait for its political defeat. On the motion of the Bishop of Southwark, a resolution was enthusiastically carried asking the government to adopt prompt measures to redress Catholic religious disabilities in Ireland in the matter of university education.[23]

“The Inspectors of Irish Fisheries have notified to the Limerick County Council that they will hold an enquiry into the scheme of the Shannon Water and Electric Power Syndicate on the 30th inst. Limerick City Engineers have reported against the works being allowed to interfere with the city water supply from the source at Doonass, and which the scheme might possibly affect.”[24]

  1. 11.  Direct Labour

At an adjourned quarterly meeting yesterday of Limerick (No. 1) District Council, Mr William Noonan, chairman, presiding, the question of the direct employment of Labour in the maintenance and repairs of the public roadways was again before the members. At the last meeting the tenders from contractors were rejected and referred to the County Council, who did not, however, go into them, but decided that they should be considered by the District Council. In reply to a member the clerk, Mr Guinane, said he could not explain what prompted the action of the County Council, but the matter was again afresh before the district council that day. After some discussion, Mr John Ryan, moved that contracts for the maintenance and repairs of the roads be advertised for 12 months from 31 March next, instead of 4 1/2 years as heretofore, and the security should be by a guaranteed society, Mr Doyle, solicitor, on behalf of the intending contractors, stated the condition with regard to the security was an impossible one, the gentlemen who suggested it, Mr Shee, MP, having admitted that he had been in consultation with some guarantee societies, the managers of which had informed him that their societies would decline to become security for contractors. The chairman thought the resolution should be amended so as to provide for such an emergency, but there was no response to the suggestion, and the resolution was eventually unanimously adopted.[25]

“A County Limerick lady, Miss E Ryan, has had conferred on her by the Queen the highest distinction within the reach of a member of the Army Nursing Staff, namely, the decoration of the Royal Red Cross. Ms Ryan is engaged at the Military Hospital, Valetta, and the honour has been awarded in recognition of her services in connection with the nursing, at Malta, of the sick and wounded from Crete.”[26]

“Lord Dunraven is breaking up his stud farm at Adare and a number of the thoroughbreds are to be sold by public auction at Limerick in the ensuing month.”[27]

  1. 12.  Potato Disease

Fortunately in the past year the dreaded potato disease was greatly circumscribed in its force in Ireland, the crop on wetlands in Connaught suffering most, but in the aggregate the yield was one of the best and soundest we have had in this country for a good many years. On this subject the Farmer’s Gazette contains an exhaustive account of an interesting series of experiments carried out in County Limerick during the past season, with the object of testing the effects of sulphate of copper solution as a preventive of potato disease. The experiments were carried out over a considerable area of country, and they conclusively proved that even in seasons when the disease is not very prevalent, the spraying more than repays the expense incurred in its application. These experiments also demonstrated that giving two dressings of the solution at a comparatively early period of the season is much more effective as a preventive of the disease than a single heavy dressing given later on. Another experiment was conducted in the same district with the object of testing the relative merits of old versus new seed, and in almost every instance it was found that the freshly introduced seed gave substantially better results than that previously grown on the same farm. The Limerick experiments also included an investigation into the subject of white scour in calves, a disease that causes great loss to farmers from year to year in the great dairying districts of the South. It has been found that by careful feeding and a strict attention to cleanliness the ravages of this disease may be very considerably mitigated.[28]

  1. Hole and Corner

The quarterly meeting of Limerick Corporation was held for the election of Mayor and a selection of three burgesses qualified to serve as City High Sherriff for the year. The present Mayor was re-elected without opposition, and then the council proceeded to nominate three burgesses fit to serve as City High Sheriff. The candidates mentioned were the present Sheriff, Mr, Thomas H Cleeve, JP, and whom, it was announced, was to be opposed by Mr John F Power. Alderman O’ Mara said it would clear matters by his stating that owing to the action of the present City High Sheriff there was no necessity, rather than the necessity of a contest had been obviated. Owing to Mr Cleve being in favour of amalgamation last year, Mr Power was forced to oppose him for the office, and to enter into an active opposition against him with every prospect of success. However, an arrangement was come to and now the following agreement was made in this letter received from Mr Cleeve: “Dear Mr Power, with reference to our interview, I have no hesitation in coming to the conclusion that as I am seeking the honour of High Sherriff at the hands of the Corporation I shall be bound both in my private and public capacity to conform to the expressed view of the corporation, which I admit are, as you state, against amalgamation, and I pledge myself to be so bound not to give evidence in favour of amalgamation, yours faithfully, TH Cleeve.”

Mr Power had been working in the interest of the locomotive men and the citizens, and when he got this guarantee he wrote as follows to him in reference to the matter: “My Dear Alderman O’Mara, I wish to inform to you that Mr Cleeve has written a guarantee that he will not in his official capacity or as a private individual give evidence in favour of or against in any way to promote railway amalgamation, which would be so disastrous to our city and to the South and West of Ireland, if elected to the office of High Sherriff; and as all are aware that my opposition was solely on the grounds of railway amalgamation, having recovered the guarantee referred to, and Mr Cleves having atoned for his past action, I with the consent of my friends desire to withdraw my candidature, and to take this opportunity of sincerely thanking my supporters, the majority of the Limerick Corporation., Very sincerely yours, John F Power.”

Cllr Dalton denied that Mr Power was acting for the locomotive men, or that he was consulted by them. He was acting for three or four city merchants, who held a ‘hole- and-corner’ meeting on this subject. Mr Power withdrew now from the Shrievalty because he knew he would be beaten. Councillor Fitzgerald said Cllr Dalton was not in order. Counter Dalton replied, “It is not fair for Alderman O’Mara to say that the railwaymen consulted Mr Power. What right has the railway men to consult him? Cllr O’Brien said if the corporation were to confer an office on anyone it should be given unconditionally. Otherwise it was not worth at the having, and did not bring any honour with it to the recipient. The chairman told Cllr O’Brien if he wanted to make a speech and what is the speech about? Eventually Mr Cleeves name was placed first on the list, the vote being a unanimous one, Cllr John Hayes and Councillor Stokes, being nominated to the second and third places. Mr Cleeves selection for the office by the Lord-Lieutenant is therefore likely to follow. The council decided to hold a specially adjourned meeting later in the week to arrange for opposing the sale of the Waterford, Limerick, and Western Railway to the Great Southern and Western Company, and other matters in connection therewith.[29]

  1. Reservist Alacrity

A striking instance of the alacrity of the Reservists in responding to the summons to rejoin the colours was evidenced in a letter from an officer of the house at a meeting of the Limerick Board of Guardians; “Sir, Having today been served with a warrant from the War Office for active service in South Africa, I regret that in consequence I was obliged to leave my situation on the 20th. Now, as you are doubtless aware, since my appointment I have given you every satisfaction as attested by always having favourable reports from Board Inspector Burke and also the Lunacy Inspectors, and as I now leave for a short time only, through no fault of my own, I sincerely trust you will be considerate enough to keep the situation open for me until the war is over, when, if not amongst the slain, I shall return to your service with the least possible delay. Your Obedient Servant, James Ryan (Male Lunatic Keeper). Members of the Board agreed that he has been a very faithful officer, and a credit to the Department he has charge of. Members had personal knowledge he would not be sent to the front, as he only has four months to serve the balance of his reserve time. He would be kept in garrison duty during the period, and another man could be temporarily appointed for the four or six months he will be away. If you were going to South Africa would be another matter, Mr O’Regan stated “for we should leave it to the brave loyalists of England to keep positions open for those Reserve men. One member suggested, as a Nationalist Board, “We should not hold any of our offices open for anyone going to fight for her Majesty, but under the circumstances we can appoint a man temporarily for four months during his absence.”  The chairman said that whatever the merits of the case might be, they had only to consider the application as it affected them as a Board of Guardians. They should look at the application as one from a very deserving officer, filling a trying position in the house, and in justice to him, and as it would involve no cost to the ratepayers, the least the board could do was to grant six months leave. On the motion of Alderman O’Mara, seconded by Mr P McNamara, it was agreed to give the officer six months leave of absence, and advertise for a substitute to take his place while he was away with the colours. It was also noted that he does not ask for any salary while he is away.[30]

“The enquiry into the cause or causes of the very high death rate in cities in Ireland will be extended to Limerick. Once the Local Government Board sets the machinery in order it is a very simple matter extending the same kind of commission to the city. A through overhauling of the “health” responsibilities is to be keenly insisted upon, and sanitation, drainage, and cleansing will be gone into, as well as water supply, and the dairy and slaughter systems.”[31]

At a meeting of the Limerick County Council, the chairman, Mr Thomas Mitchell, presiding, an animated discussion took place relative to the contemplated sale of the Waterford, Limerick, and Western Railway to the Great Southern and Western Company. The Mayor, Alexander Shaw, William Stokes, William Halliday, Alderman S. O’Mara, John F Power, and James Roche attended as a joint deputation to ask support of the council in opposing the scheme for the sale of the Waterford and Limerick line, respecting which the Great Southern and Western Company and Midler and great Western company are promoting bills in Parliament. Eventually it was decided that a special meeting of the County Council should be held on Saturday to consider the whole question of amalgamation.[32]

At the meeting of the Limerick Harbour Commissioners a long discussion ensued relative to the Southern Railway Amalgamation Scheme. On the last day permission was given Mr James Goodbody, a member of the board and also a member of the firm of Bannatyne & Sons, to get what figures and statistics he might require from the books of the Harbour Board, and to which when it became known Mr John Power, likewise a member of the board, objected, if the figures were required for the purpose of supporting the sale of the Waterford, Limerick, and Western Railway. Bannatyne wrote to the board, and letter was read at the meeting asking to have the matter again brought before the members, and adding that the returns required were for their information in connection with the railway question. The chairman said he did not know who made the objection Mr Power stated to Mr Goodbody do you mean objection to this return? The Chairman replied yes. Mr Power said it was he made it, although, of course, he had no authority to do so on the part of the board. He was not present at the last meeting of the commissioners, but when he heard that Mr Goodbody got this permission he waited on him with another member of the board to know if the returns were required for the purpose of supporting the Railway amalgamation scheme. If the returns were not for that purpose he had no objection to Mr Goodbody getting them, but if they were he did not think it would be fair they should be so used until the board were made acquainted with the matter, as they had by a large majority decided to oppose amalgamation.

Mr Goodbody said the matter had not struck him in the way Mr Power had put it, but he said he would consult his directors, and that for the present he would not use the figures. If the figures were for trade purposes all right, but if to support a railway monopoly, which the majority of the board thought would injure the port and city, then the figures would not be supplied. Alderman O’Mara took a similar view. He voted for Mr Goodbody getting the figures on the last day, but certainly not with the idea that they should be applied as it now appeared there were to be applied. Mr William McDonnell, as one voting in favour of Mr Goodbody on the last day, he was tremendously taken by surprise when he heard of the purpose for which the figures were proposed to be used. Mr James Ellis Goodbody said he did not intend to say overmuch in regard to the application, and he did not wish to give any agreement as to how the figures were to be used. Mr Power had stated the conversation very accurately, but he also told him (Mr Goodbody) on the occasion that this question was very much on a par with a legal case. He (Mr Goodbody) thought his action as a member of the board, if he used the information he obtained, would be as proper as that of the majority of the board. A Parliamentary enquiry was quite a different thing to legal action, and he considered he had as perfect a right to put his side of the case on behalf of the minority, as the other members had on the part of the majority. It was a case that affected the whole South and West of Ireland more than it did the Port and docks of Limerick. Mr Boyd asked for an order in the matter. Mr McDonnell said he would propose that Mr Goodbody be refused figures. Mr Goodbody stated, “You must go further than that. I must be refused everything, for I may ask something else tomorrow.” Mr EJ Long said he opposed the information being issued as he thought it was unfair to traders that any member of the board should get exclusive information. Mr Goodbody said he wanted to get the names of the twelve largest ratepayers. Mr McDonnell held it should be known what Mr Goodbody wanted his information for before getting it. If it was for the great Southern and Western company he certainly should not get a stick to beat the back of those who were opposing the amalgamation scheme. After some further conversation it was decided that Mr McDonnell’s motion should be considered on notice at the next meeting of the board, Mr Goodbody stating he would not ask for the information required in the interim. A letter was read from the secretary of the Midland Great Western Company asking the Harbour Board to support a scheme of the board for the acquisition of the Waterford, Limerick, and Western Railway. Mr Power suggested it be referred to a committee who were willing to receive a deputation on the subject. Mr Goodbody mentioned that the Harbour board were spending thousands, while the Corporation, who were deeply interested, were spending but hundreds in opposing the scheme after some discussion, the chairman said if the sole task of the scheme were confined to this cooperation Mr Goodbody and others like him would have to pay all the same, as they were large ratepayers. On the motion of Alderman Joyce, seconded by Mr Power, a resolution was adopted condemning the action of the Waterford, Limerick and Western directors in dismissing three of their skilled workmen who had been opposed to amalgamation. Mr Goodbody said the men were dismissed for insubordination.[33]

“Mr JP Gunning, of the Inland Revenue Service, who had recently been promoted from Carrickmacross district to Glasgow, has now been further promoted to an important position in Limerick. Mr Gunning was most popular in all centres in which he has served; he has decided taste and aptitude for literary pursuits, as was evidenced in his excellent brochure on “Burns, Poet and Excise Officer,” an appreciative sketch of the Scottish National Bard.”[34]

February 1900

[1] Freemans Journal: The Railway Amalgamation Proposals: Action of Limerick Harbour Commissioners: January 2, 1900: page 6.

[2] The Irish Times: Shannon Water and Electric Power Company; January 2, 1900/page 7.

[3] Irish Times, Accident At Limerick, January 2, 1900; page 6

[4] Freemans Journal: Train Accident: January 3, 1900: page 7

[5] Irish Times, Jurisdiction of Courts: Judge Adams’s Opinion; January 3 1900: page 6.

[6] Freemans Journal: Window Breaking in Limerick: January 3, 1900: page 6.

[7] Freemans Journal: Proposed Fete in June: January 4, 1900: page 6.

[8] Irish Times, Third Battalion; January 2 1900; pg6

[9] Irish Times: Shocking Suicide at Limerick: January 4, 1900: page 6

[10] Irish Times: The Direct Labour Agitation; Strong Remarks by Judge Adams; January 5 1900; page 2.

[11] In fact, John F Power later took umbrage to the article and wrote to the Editor of the Irish Times in which he states; “In the report which you published in your issue of today of the proceedings of the Limerick Corporation on the subject of the contemplated railway monopoly in the South West of Ireland, you state that I ‘subsequently’ attended the meeting and addressed it in favour of amalgamation. This is not a fact, and I beg that you will kindly give as much prominence to this contradiction as you have given to the report. What actually occurred is that the Mayor was kind enough to ask me to lay my views before the meeting, which I did, and they were entirely against the amalgamation of Waterford and Limerick with the great Southern and Western Railway as creating a monopoly which has been proved would be most injurious to the progress and to the commercial and agricultural interests of the South and West of Ireland, and would benefit only the monopolists. Yours, John F Power. Limerick, January 5. (Irish Times; Railway Monopoly in the South and West of Ireland: To the Editor of the Irish Times: January 6, 1900: page 7)

[12] Irish Times; Waterford Railway Purchase, Action of Limerick Corporation; January 5, 1900; page 3.

[13] Irish Times: Limerick County Council and the Roads: January 5, 1900: page 3.

[14] Irish Times: Limerick Fishery Conservators: The Shannon Water and Electric Power Bill: January 5 1900: page 3.

[15] Irish Times: Editorial: January 6, 1900: page 4.

[16] Irish Times: Mungret College Limerick: January 9, 1900: page 1.

[17] Irish Times: Limerick Corporation: January 12, 1900: page 6.

[18] Irish Times: Passing Events: January 13, 1900: page 7.

[19] Cess Collectors were Tax Collectors.

[20] Irish Times: Deputy Cess Collectors and Compensation: January 13, 1900: page 9.

[21] Irish Times: Judge Adams and Tenants Fines: January 13, 1900: page 4.

[22] Irish Times: Constable Present: January 13, 1900: page 8.

[23] Irish Times: Speech by the Bishop of Limerick: January 16, 1900: page 5.

[24] Irish Times: News from the Provinces: Shannon Water and Electric Power Syndicate: January 18, 1900: page 6.

[25] Irish Times: The Direct Labour Question: January 18, 1900: page 6.

[26] Irish Times: Passing Events: January 20, 1900: page 4.

[27] Irish Times: Lord Dunraven: January 23, 1900: page 4.

[28] Irish Times: Sulphate of Copper Solution and Potato Disease: January 23, 1900: page 6.

[29] Irish Times: Limerick Corporation Railway Amalgamation Question: January 24, 1900: page 3.

[30] Irish Times: Limerick Guardians and the Reservists: January 25, 1900: page 6

[31] Weekly Irish Times: London Notes: January 27, 1900: page 18.

[32] Irish times That: Southern Railway Amalgamation Scheme: January 29, 1900: page 6.

[33] Irish Times: Southern Railway Amalgamation Scheme: January 30, 1900: page 7.

[34] Irish Times: Passing Events: January 31, 1900: page 5.

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