1908.

FERMANAGH HERALD AND MONAGHAN NEWS. October 3rd 1908.

DROWNED. YOUNG MAN’S SAD END AT BELLEEK. UNFOUNDED SUGGESTIONS OF FOUL PLAY. INQUEST AND VERDICT.

The sad and deplorable circumstances attending the death of a young man named James Keenaghan. Jun., Rathmore, Belleek, who was drowned in the River Erne on Friday night last, were disclosed at an inquest held in the Courthouse, Belleek, on Saturday evening. The coroner for the district, Mr. George Atkinson, solicitor, Enniskillen, was unavoidably absent and the inquest was held before Messrs. J. Timoney, J.P., and J. Duffy, J.P.

On Saturday morning rumours were freely circulated to the effect that there were suspicions of foul play, and in the evening during the proceedings at the inquest, the Courthouse was crowded. However, these unfounded suggestions were disposed of and the jury returned a verdict of accidental drowning. Deceased, who was about thirty years of age and unmarried, was very popular and highly respected in the district, and naturally his tragic end has caused widespread grief amongst all creeds and classes of the community. Sergeant Ballantine watched the proceedings on behalf of the authorities, and Dr. Lewis R. Lipsett, solicitor, Ballyshannon, represented the owners of the Fishery.

The following jury were sworn:—Messrs., Thomas Mortimer (foreman), William McCawley, Charles Duffy, Patrick Montgomery, Thomas McGovern George Thornhill, William Slevin, F. Dolan James Slevin, F. Dolan, J. Gallagher, H. Slevin, and P. McCawIey.

Sergeant Ballantine gave evidence of the recovery of the deceased’s body, which was found that morning at half-past six by Mr. F. D. Rogan and witness in the River Erne at Corlea, at which place the water was only two feet deep. There were a few marks on the head. The body was removed to the residence of the father of the deceased,

William Joseph Gallagher gave evidence to the effect that he was on the Weir fishing on Friday- night at nine o’clock. Deceased, Peter Donaghan, and a son of the owner of the weir were also there. They all proceeded together to the eel house, where they lighted a lamp and a fire. The fishing nets were lifted by them three times. As was usual there was some drink and each of them took a share of a half-pint of whiskey. Donaghan and the other young man left for Belleek shortly before ten. Deceased and witness’ remained behind in the eel house and lay down on the bed. Shortly afterwards deceased produced another half-pint and each of them took about half a glass each. Having partaken of the whiskey deceased went out in the direction of the back door for the purpose of hiding the bottle of whiskey, and as he did not return after some time witness shouted and searched for him, but was unable to find any trace of him.

Witness proceeded to Belleek and on the way he met Donaghan and the other young man, both of whom he apprised of what had occurred. They all returned to the place and made a further careful search, but still no trace of deceased could be found. The other two young men were scarcely ten minutes absent when the deceased disappeared. Asked if the deceased was drunk, witness replied that he was not. Gallagher’s story was corroborated by Donaghan and another witness.

Evidence of the cause of death was given by Dr. Kelly, who stated that there were a few  cuts and scratches on the head, which probably might have been caused by the body being knocked about the weir. Death was due to asphyxia, the result of drowning. Mr. J. Timoney, J.P., in addressing the jury, made pathetic references to the sad occurrence. The jury found a verdict of accidental drowning and added a rider conveying their sympathy to the relatives of the deceased. Dr. L. R. Lipsett, solicitor, on behalf of the owners of the Fishery, also extended his sympathy to the deceased’s relatives.

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 10, 1908. THE ABOLITION OF THE WORKHOUSE.

A campaign for the abolition, of the workhouses is vital to the interests of the country. All classes in Ireland are united on this question. The present system of Poor-Laws in vogue stands condemned as the most wasteful and extravagant in the world. The 159 workhouses now standing cost the country £1,300,000. Pauperism is increasing at the rate of 1,000 per year, and the number of admissions to work-houses is going up every day. The Viceregal Commission on Irish Poor-Laws has condemned the system as a whole, and in all its parts. The case for a, radical reform has been convincingly established, but we appear to be no nearer the application of the obvious remedy than when the Commission issued the report. Under the present system the vagrant is the only member of the community that is catered for. In the Irish workhouse the tramp finds a hotel where he is comfortably housed and fed. The Several Boards of Guardians throughout the country have been put to their wits end to escape from the burden imposed on the rates by the visits of laureates to the workhouses. The suggestion which was made at Lisnaskea on Saturday last was that the tramps should be prosecuted under the Vagrancy Act has been tried and found wanting in other unions. Imprisonment has certainly a deterrent effect in making nomads steer clear of the workhouse, where such means are adopted to get rid of them, but the evil has now become a natural one, and as tramps cannot he got rid of by this method of procedure, some more effectual remedies will have to be pursued. The Viceregal Commission made some very important recommendations on the subject, which should prove effective in coping with the evil. In Turkey tramps are confined in labour colonies where they are made to labour for the good of the nation. If the same were done in Ireland thousands of pounds would be saved to the country, and the nomadic tribe would soon become an unknown quantity. Holland years ago solved this problem by getting all those who were both willing and unwilling to work to labour at reclaiming her sandy coasts. To-day the professional loafer is unknown in Holland, and all her people are comparatively prosperous. The old aged poor are looked after by the State, just as in Ireland, before the Norman Invasion, the Chieftain was responsible for the care of the infirm members of the clan. The present system of Irish Poor Laws, whereby, the good and the bad, the young and old, the idle and the vicious, are all herded together with distinction, cannot but be regarded as evil-destroying and de-moralising. If the recommendations of the Viceregal Commission are put into force such a pitiable state of things would be at once remedied, for the changes suggested are drastic and far reaching.

October 10th 1908. KILLED ON THE RAILWAY. LABOURER’S TRAGIC DEATH NEAR PETTIGO. William Fitch, aged about 38 years, a labourer in the employment of Captain Barton, was instantly killed on the railway line about a mile from Pettigo       Station on Tuesday. From reports it appears that the unfortunate man was on his way to dig potatoes, and proceeded along the railway  line for a “near-cut,” and turning a curve he failed to see that the mid-day train from Derry to Bundoran was approaching, and before he was aware of his perilous position, his body was almost severed in two. The body was first discovered by a railway porter named Joseph Marshall and it was subsequently removed to Pettigo. Deceased was very popular and highly respected in the district and his untimely end has caused a great shock He leaves a wife and eight children, the youngest being six months old, to mourn his loss. Great sympathy is felt for the poor grief stricken family.

26-9-1908. IRVINESTOWN. A SPEECH FROM THE DOCK. MAGISTRATES DEAF TO ELOQUENCE.

Quite a scene took place on Friday when a mother appeared before the bench and made such an “eloquent” appeal on behalf of her son that the magistrates, not seeing their way to appreciate her oratory and unable to stay her flow of words, forcible if not over polished, had her removed from Court prior to committing her son to jail. The case was one in which Sergeant Dooley summoned James Diver, of Irvinestown, for being drunk and disorderly, for the fourth time in a year, on the 7th inst. The magistrates on the bench were Messers John Maguire (presiding), M. McGinn and Major Irvine.

District-Inspector Lewis was also present. Defendant’s mother appeared before the Court and had a lot to say regarding the goodness of her son and his tendency to be led astray. She got so loud and excited in her speech, and so eloquent in sounding the praises of her boy, that she had to be removed out of Court. When she had gone her son, who was also charged with threatening and abusive language towards a woman named Cassie McDonagh, was sent to jail for 14 days, with hard labour.

The Sergeant immediately after James was disposed of brought a case against Cassie McDonagh herself, for drunkenness on the 7th September. Constable Lapsley had a charge of drunkenness against her on the 10th inst,, and she was also called upon to answer to an adjourned summons for a similar offence. Defendant who appeared and, following the example set in the previous case, addressed their Worships in a lengthy harangue on her own defence. She swore that if she got a chance she would never appear before their Worships again. “I am the mother of small children” continued defendant, “and if you send me to jail they will have to go to the workhouses. It will break my heart. Be as lenient as you can with me and I will leave the town and never come back. . On the adjoined case defendant was fined 2s 6d and costs or 48 hours in jail; in the second 6s, or a week’s imprisonment, and in the third case a fine of £3 was imposed, or in default a month’s imprisonment. On hearing the decision the defendant made use of some very ”complimentary” language towards the magistrates.

Sergeant P. Dooley summoned Harry McPike, Drumharvey, for being drunk and disorderly on the 8th September. The defendant, who got a bad character from the police, who said he wouldn’t work if he was paid 10 shillings a day for it, was fined 5s or in default a week’s imprisonment.

Constable P. Igoe summoned Andrew Porter for being drunk and disorderly on the 8th September. The constable stated defendant was fighting and creating a disturbance. Defendant, who did not appear, was fined 5s or a week in jail. Same complainant summoned William Humphreys, Slievebane, for a similar offence on the same date. Defendant who appeared, was fined 3s and costs.

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