November 1908. Hurling in Fermanagh.

7-11-1908. Enniskillen Guardians – Mr. O’Hara said they should not be giving relief to anyone who had not a doctor’s certificate. This rule was in force in other unions. The farmer was being handicapped in every way and he had to find money for everything, and the load was getting too heavy for him. The number of the inmates in the workhouse was decreasing and they had still the same number of officials and the expenditure on outdoor relief was jumping up. In other unions they adopted the system of giving no relief except a medical certificate was produced.

The Chairman. Where do they do that?

Mr O’Hara. In Clones.

The Chairman said that a great amount of money was expended yearly on outdoor relief in Monaghan and Dundalk unions. Previous to the passing of the Local Government Act it was almost impossible to get a shilling a week out door relief for any poor person from the Board of Guardians. As soon as the Act was passed the new board became more liberal and when each case came on the books came up for consideration they would find that the recipient was worthy of their charity. Mr P. Murphy said it was cheaper to give people out door relief that to have to maintain them in in the workhouse. If they brought them into the house they would cost 3 shillings a head whereas some people in receipt of out door relief only 2 shillings out of which they had to maintain a whole family.

Mr. Hands: Was there a larger number of paupers in the house nine years ago than there are at present.

The Clerk: There are not so many in the house now.

The Chairman: I know a case in which we are paying 3 shillings a week to a family of six. Is it not better to give out door relief in this case than to bring the family into the house where they would cost the ratepayers 18s a week?

After further discussion, the Chairman said there was one point upon which he was agreed with Mr. Elliott. He disapproved of out door relief money being expended in public-houses. He belonged to a society that distributed a great deal of relief, the St. Vincent de Paul Society, and they did not allow any of the recipients to get their provisions in public houses.

Mr. Dundas said that some three years ago he went over the same ground as Mr. Elliott had just gone over. He went into more details, and gave not onto the total amount but details of the amounts paid to public-houses and into large provision establishments in Enniskillen. He was not going to say one word disrespectful to any publican, but he was of opinion that a public-house was not the place for out door relief recipients to go for their goods. If these people persisted in getting their provisions in public-houses he for one would vote against their application.

The Clerk remarked that the relieving officer had no control over the recipients as to where they get their goods. The relieving officer handed the ticket to the recipient and the recipient could go where he liked for the goods.

Mr. E. Corrigan thought the members of the board were quite as good judges as the relieving officers as to who were entitled to out door relief. It must be remembered that nine years ago there were more poor people going about from door to door than there were at present, so that if the people were paying a little more in rates they were relieved in other directions. He thought if they gave more out door, relief and closed that workhouse altogether they would be acting more in the interest of humanity.

Mr. Dundas moved and Mr. W. J. Brown seconded that a committee be appointed to consider the question and report to the board. After considerable further discussion the motion was passed.

7-11-1908. Madam Albani, after 30 years’ experience on the stage, is preparing to appear at  the leading variety theatres in England and Scotland, at the highest salary – so it is stated–ever paid in Vaudeville. Her first engagement at Glasgow is at the rate of £500 a week. She says she intends to confine her selection to her usual operatic repertoire, interwoven with English and Sottish songs.

(Dame Emma Albani, DBE was a leading soprano of the 19th century and early 20th century, and the first Canadian singer to become an international star. Her repertoire focused on the operas of Mozart, Rossini, Donizetti, Bellini and Wagner. Born: November 1, 1847, Chambly, Can. Died: April 3, 1930, Kensington, London.)


To the Editor.

Dear Sir,—Knowing that you are interested in the success of the old Irish games in County Fermanagh, I beg through the medium of your valuable paper to express my regret that our fine old hurling game is fast dying out in that county. Two hurling clubs have ceased to exist within the past twelve months, and I am sorry to learn that still another will cease to be after this year’s competitions have been played out. I refer to the O’Dwyer (Coa) Hurling Club. This small but plucky club has won every contest played in the County Fermanagh during the past year, and still through a small breach of the hurling rules they are not given what I may call fair-play. Here are the facts. In the first contest with the O’Neill club for the County Cup the O’Dwyers were successful, and in the final contest with the Maguires, the scoring was —Maguires, 3 points; O’Dwyers, 15 points. But in this match the latter club allowed (not knowing at the time it was a breach of the rules) two of their men to play who had been temporarily disqualified. Now, I understand that the County Committee, notwithstanding the great odds in the scoring and the condition of the game in the county at present, would not allow a replay, But awarded the cup to the Maguires, though the O’Dwyers volunteered to play them again without their two best men who had been objected to. Of course, as they said, they were guided by the rules, but was there ever a rule without an exception? And having regard to the great odds in the scoring, to the fact that the O’Dwyers offered to play them without their two best men, and to the fact that there are now only three hurling clubs in County Fermanagh—and very soon there will be only two—would it not be more in the interest of the game to allow a replay under the circumstances? Rules, are, no doubt, necessary for order and discipline, but justice cannot always be done if rules are slavishly adhered to in every case. I write this as an outsider interested in the game, and it is with regret that I learned a few days ago from some members of the O’Dwyer Hurling Club that after this year’s competitions have been played out they the O’Dwyer club intend to sever their connection with the County Committee, as they see from the latest exhibition of narrow dealing that they need not expect fair-play in the future. Is it not a pity that those Gaelic clubs do not exercise a little more generosity in their dealing with each other—:if it were only for the sake of keeping up our fine old games? Was it generous or manly for the Maguires to stick to the cup for which they got such a beating? They have taken the cup which they certainly have not won. With this sort of dealing is it any wonder our Gaelic games are dying out? I am not interested in one club more than another, but I do not wish to see our Gaelic pastimes being killed by want of generosity and fair-play. Thanking you in anticipation for the insertion of.

21-11-1908.  OUR READERS’ VIEWS . THE GAELIC GAMES IN FERMANAGH. REPLY TO A TYRONE GAEL. A Cara – We are all anxious for the progress of Iriah Games in Fer-Monach as our correspondent, ‘A Tyrone Spectator’ only our methods differ. He apparently thinks that rules are made but to be broken. ‘Justice’ he says cannot always be done if rules are slavishly adhered to in every case.” The inference, then, is that the rules may be ignored when and where it is found expedient by a local committee. If the Gaels were to follow this dictum, one can easily foresee the death of all Irish games, not in Fear-Monach alone, but all over Ireland.

The real reason (if “Tyrone ‘Spectator” will pardon my enlightening him in the matter) for the backward condition of the Gaelic pastimes and games is admitted to be the elasticity with which the rules have been interpreted. It has given the rowdy player of the rowdy club a chance of existence in an. organisation where neither ought to have been ever permitted. I speak of clubs generally in this matter.

Better that all clubs should cease to exist tomorrow, than that we should bring disgrace upon the Gaelic Athletic Association. If some of the Coa 0‘Dwyers, by their rough play, had to be put off the field by the referee, they are manifestly no credit or source of strength to us, and their withdrawal from the G.A.A. cannot harm it much. Unless there is some penalty attached to rowdiness, decent, well-behaved clubs have no protection. The County Board was obliged by the rules to award the match to the Maguires, and there lay no option in the matter at all. Neither could the County Board order a replay.

It was a matter of following the rules or breaking them, and very wisely, I think, the members decided.

The real reason why so many Gaelic clubs have dropped off during the year is that rough play was permitted to too great an extent. Players have been merely censured who ought to have been expelled for years.     –

As to the sacrifices made by the Coa team, let me tell “Tyrone Spectator” that they have failed to play when selected by the Count Board, in inter-county matches on not less than three occasions. If the rules had been adhered to in any way, when O’Dwyers failed to turn up in the recent inter-county with Donegal, their club would have been suspended for six months. The Maguires travelled 12 men on that occasion and paid their own expanses. Moreover, the latter have gone to Belturbet, Irvinestown, Tempo, and other places with a desire of reviving an interest in the old game of hurling. They have stuck to the Irish games for years past, when there were no prospect of winning the cup, indeed, when there was no cup. They had no desire to deprive the O’Dwyers of the cup; they were in the-hands of the County Board, which felt itself in turn bound by the rules of the G.A.A.

The reason for Maguires being defeated by such a big score was the refusal of the club captain and another member, two of their best players, to take part in the game after the disgraceful scene which took place on the field on the Sunday previous, and in which O’Dwyers figured.

The interest of Irish-Irelanders in the Irish games ought to be deeper than the .winning of any cup. A club which sulks because it has lost has little to recommend it. If O’Dwyers can only be retained in the G.A.A. by cups and wins, it does not say much for the patriotism of the Coa men.


Vice-Chairman, Fermanagh Board, G. A. A. Carrigan. Enniskillen.

28-11-1908. OLD-AGE PENSIONS IN FERMANAGH. The County Fermanagh Local Pension Committee held a prolonged sitting on Friday for the consideration of claims, during the course of which they allowed 5 shillings per week in 360 cases, 4 shillings in one case, 3 shillings in one case and 1 shilling in one case and postponed 35 cases for further evidence and investigation. One application was withdrawn. The total number of cases dealt with was 399, which constitutes a record for Ireland.


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