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armed policemen at courthouse, castlebar

Posted by Royal on October 29, 2007 at 11:36:50:

In August 1920, there was an incident in which Mayo Co Co was prevented from holding a meeting in their council chamber, in the Courthouse , Castlebar.It had been proposed to present an address of welcome to visiting M.P. William O’Brien. However, on the day, 60 policemen carrying rifles, took possession of the chamber and prevented the Cllrs. conducting their meeting. They were outraged & the reason soon became clear. The High Sheriff of Mayo, Lord Bingham (son of the Earl of Lucan) quoted an old statute which stated that the custody of the courthouse is vested in him & that he believed a political demonstration was going to take place. He wouldn’t listen to reason & repeatedly issued threats, if they carried on.
At this stage, news had reached the Townspeople & they gathered in droves outside. The Cllrs. decided to leave & marched through the streets, amid huge cheers, to the Workhouse (Sacred Heart Hospital) where they proceeded to have their meeting. Speeches condemning Bingham were made & which made the national press, causing him severe embarrassment. A decision was also made for no rates to be paid in future for the maintenance of the Courthouse. Some time later, they received in writing a guarantee that they would never be prevented in carrying out official council business in the chamber.

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