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Boycott In Limerick: Disgraceful Behaviour Of City's Hackney Cab Drivers | Limerick Gazette Archives

Boycott In Limerick: Disgraceful Behaviour Of City’s Hackney Cab Drivers

A troubling series of events have beset Dr Long, the city’s esteemed medical missionary and members of his family, who have found common transportation services repeatedly denied to them in an apparent organization of an unofficial boycott. The glaring failure of the upholders of civic order further complicates the predicament.

The saga unveiled when Dr Long penned a missive to Mr Forrest, the Corporation official charged with overseeing the licensed car-drivers of the city. He eloquently articulated an unfortunate situation, stating that neither he nor any member of his family had been able to hire a public car on more than two occasions.

One such event involved Dr Long’s wife, her mother, and their three small children, who were denied transportation at the station after a long outing. The group was forced to tread through the city, seeking an alternative. On another occasion, Dr Long and his family were again forced to walk when no driver would take them on holiday.

As any true Irishman possesses more gallantry than to refuse service to a lady and her children, Dr Long was determined to test the possibility of an organized boycott forcing drivers into this unnatural and inhospitable attitude.

On August 10th, Dr Long found himself in need of transportation to visit a patient on Military Road. He approached a car on William Street and requested to be driven, but the car-driver refused, expressing fear for his life. Dr Long then requested transportation to Town Hall to report the issue, but again, he was denied.

As Dr Long waited for Mr Forrest to appear, the defiant driver attempted to push him off the car. A constable was called to prevent an assault, only for the driver, Thomas Hartigan, to resort to removing the horse and hoisting the shafts of the car into the air.

When Mr Forrest finally arrived, he reportedly reprimanded Dr Long for creating a disturbance but refused to hear him. In response, Dr Long embarked upon George Street, where he encountered another car and requested transportation from R. Cornelius Maher, who was also unwilling.

Dr Long persisted, attempting to wait for Mr Forrest once more, but ultimately received a message to see his patient as soon as possible. Thus, he was forced to leave the car and journey by foot. He filed a report to the authorities detailing these troubling events.

In his letter to Mr Forrest, Dr Long formally requests intervention and expresses his belief that the car drivers should only answer to the Corporation official’s authority – barring any other interference with their duties. Dr Long implores Mr Forrest to inform him of the measures being taken to secure his family’s rights as citizens.

Alas, rather than offer restitution, the subsequent meeting of the Hackney Car Committee of the Limerick Corporation held on August 31st devolved into open hostility toward Dr Long. The letter he penned was marked as ‘read’ and thus dismissed, leaving the Long family to bear the brunt of this unjust boycott practically endorsed by those responsible for regulating the drivers.

In their refusal to address or seek resolution to Dr Long’s plight, the Limerick Corporation’s inaction is a damning indictment of the unraveling of social niceties and upholding of basic civic responsibilities within our beloved city. The question remains, who will take a stand for the rights and well-being of all citizens, and who will put an end to this despicable boycott?

The struggle of Dr Long and his family represents a worrying departure from our ingrained sense of camaraderie and solidarity. And while the refusal of the city’s hackney car-drivers to provide transportation for the Long family may seem but a mild inconvenience, it is a harbinger of systemic dysfunction that cannot be ignored.

A dark cloud hangs heavy over the fair city of Limerick, and we must find answers to the questions that plague us. Let us take this moment to reflect on the urgent need for compassion, empathy, and humanity in these times, and commit to forging a brighter, unified future for all.

Belfast News-Letter – Monday 26 August 1901