Cappamore witnessed a significant gathering yesterday, as a dispute over the Board Steward O’Brien estate in Co. Limerick prompted a large-scale demonstration. The dispute revolves around the refusal of the present landlord to sell to the tenants, numbering 88, who have declined to pay rent, resulting in some receiving rent reductions. The tension has escalated to the point where legal action has been initiated against several tenants.
The demonstration drew a diverse crowd, with fervent contingents armed with banners and placards converging at Cappamore. The atmosphere was charged with enthusiasm as locals expressed their solidarity with the tenants facing eviction. The event garnered support from political figures, including Mr P., P.P. for Cappamore, who spoke at the gathering. Additionally, clergy members from neighbouring parishes joined the demonstration, emphasizing the widespread concern about the unfolding situation.
Mr P., in his address, conveyed the unwavering spirit of the people, stating that they gathered to protest against Mr O’Brien’s actions toward his tenants. The protesters clarified that their intent was not to cheat the landlord or deprive him of his rights, but to secure fair and just terms for their holdings. Historical context was provided, recalling negotiations during the era of Father Shelly, where tenants faced legal action for not adhering to the landlord’s terms but eventually acquiesced.
The current dispute emerged in April, with tenants seeking to purchase their holdings. Despite attempts to negotiate, the landlord, Mr O’Brien, refused to sell, citing unfavourable conditions under the Wyndham Act of 1909. Correspondence between the tenants and Mr O’Brien’s agent highlighted the challenges, including the offer of Three per cent Land Stock instead of cash and uncertainties about the sale.
The tenants, having learned from experiences, rejected the terms, and the situation has now escalated into a full-blown stand-off. The agent, reportedly in favour of selling to the tenants, emphasized the potential benefits of a system of peasant proprietorship. However, the tenants argue that recent legislative changes, particularly the Act of 1919, have made the terms increasingly unfavourable for both landlords and tenants.
The demonstration served as a platform for the tenants and their supporters to voice their concerns and demand fair treatment. A resolution was proposed, expressing unified support from Cappamore and surrounding parishes for the Irish Parliamentary Party, advocating for Home Rule, the abolition of landlordism, and supporting the tenants’ reasonable demands. The resolution received widespread support, reflecting the community’s determination to address the broader issues of landownership and tenant rights.
As the dispute unfolds, the tenants remain resolute in their quest for fair terms, while the landlord’s refusal to sell adds a layer of complexity to an already contentious situation. The stand-off underscores the broader challenges faced by rural communities in Ireland and raises questions about the efficacy of existing landownership laws. The coming days will likely witness further developments as both parties navigate the complexities of the Co. Limerick dispute.
Irish Independent – Monday 04 July 1910