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Boycott of Protestant Missionary Sparks Controversy in Limerick |

Boycott of Protestant Missionary Sparks Controversy in Limerick

LIMERICK – A curious and somewhat contentious scene unfolded on the bustling streets of Limerick this past Saturday, as Dr Long, a prominent Protestant medical missionary associated with the Irish Church Mission, found himself at the center of a boycott by local cabmen. This incident has raised questions about religious tensions and the right to access public services in the city, echoing a history of religious strife in Ireland.

Dr Long, who had previously garnered attention for his proselytizing efforts, had raised the ire of the city’s predominantly Catholic population due to his proselytizing tactics. His actions had been so contentious that a local magistrate had previously advised citizens to refrain from engaging with him professionally. The situation further escalated when a public meeting of Protestants in Dublin denounced what they saw as Catholic intolerance.

The recent incident occurred upon Dr Long’s return from a holiday, as he attempted to secure the services of a public jaunting-car on George’s Street. However, his efforts were met with vehement resistance by the cabmen. The first driver steadfastly refused to provide service to Dr Long, who remained seated in the car. In an unusual turn of events, the driver unyoked the horse and placed the shafts on the ground, effectively rendering the vehicle immobile. Undeterred, Dr Long finally disembarked from the carriage and began to walk up the street, accompanied by a contingent of eight or nine policemen who were called in to ensure the peace.

Undoubtedly an unsettling experience, Dr Long’s ordeal did not end there. A second cabman he approached also refused to transport him, even after the missionary remained seated in the carriage for an extended period of ten to fifteen minutes. This incident, too, unfolded in a manner that raised eyebrows and left onlookers puzzled. As Dr Long approached a third driver in search of transportation, the cabman reacted swiftly. Without hesitation, he whipped his horse and drove away from the scene, leaving Dr Long without a means of transport.

In light of these events, Dr Long ultimately abandoned his quest to secure a jaunting-car and chose to continue his journey on foot, accompanied by his escort of policemen. This occurrence has reignited discussions about religious tolerance and public service access in a city with a rich history of religious diversity and sometimes, conflict.

As the echoes of this incident reverberate through the streets of Limerick, it serves as a poignant reminder of the enduring influence of historical religious tensions in modern Ireland. The question of where the line is drawn between personal beliefs and public service provision remains a topic of ongoing debate in this vibrant and diverse city.

Sunderland Daily Echo and Shipping Gazette – Tuesday 13 August 1901

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