The RIC resignations at Castleisland

O’Donohoe’s research includes material on the RIC resignations in Castleisland in 1887.  In April of that year, thirteen RIC constables, stationed in and near Castleisland resigned from the force.  The immediate cause was Conservative government’s introduction of the Criminal Law and Procedure Bill which allowed the police to deal summarily with conspiracies to withhold rent,  boycotting or intimidation and resistance to evictions.  When thirteen RIC men in Castleisland tendered their resignations rather than be used to enforce the Act,  an open-air demonstration was organised to protest against the so-called ‘Coercion Bill’ and to congratulate the ex-constables.

A torch-lit procession marched through the main street with bands playing and ‘the thirteen stalwart ex-constables donning green rosettes on their capes while in their hands they carried the cherished sprig of shilelagh’.  The crowd was addressed by Daniel Crilly, MP for North Mayo, at the Crown Hotel. Two of the former policemen also addressed the crowd.  Patrick O’Neill described the new law as ‘a disgrace to any civilised country’ and ex-constable Patrick McDonagh said that if he was ‘forced to go hewing timber in the wilds of Manitoba,  or coal picking in the mines of Pennsylvania’ his mind would at least be undisturbed by the thought he had done injury to ‘the poor widow and orphans who would be left homeless’

In addition to material on the RIC resignations, O’Donohoe compiled a nine page register (with index) of RIC children from 1871 which he extracted from the school registers of the Castleisland National Boys’ School, the Convent Boys School and the Convent Girls School.  To view the register, follow this link.