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Limerick Faces Challenges Amidst Political Unrest |

Limerick Faces Challenges Amidst Political Unrest

In recent weeks, as observers reflect on the unfolding events in Ireland, a sense of unease permeates discussions about the anticipated fairness Unionists may encounter under the Home Rule Government. The aftermath of the Belfast Presbytery’s inquiry into the Castledawson riot serves as a glaring example of the unconventional methods employed by the Irish Executive during the trial at Londonderry Assizes.

Several women who had appeared before the Presbytery provided testimony that could have significantly impacted the case, detailing the assaults on them and their children by Hibernians during a Sunday school excursion. Curiously, this evidence had been rejected by the Crown, leaving the defence with a formidable argument to dispute the characterization of the incident as a mean and cowardly attack by Unionists.

The question that looms large is why such crucial evidence was excluded from the trial, and many eyes turn to Mr Devlin, the President of the Hibernian Order, often deemed the virtual Chief Secretary for Ireland, for potential insights.

If this is indicative of the treatment that Irish Unionists may expect under the current form of British governance, what lies ahead when, as some speculate, a “Molly Maguire shebeen house” takes root in Dublin, according to Mr Win. O’Brien’s unkind phrase?

Another telling incident occurred recently when Lord Killanan, the sole Unionist in any of the County Councils in Connaught, faced repercussions for voting against the Home Rule Bill in the House of Lords. Despite delivering a powerful speech on fair play and toleration, he was censured by the Galway County Council, revealing potential challenges Unionists may face in a native Parliament.

In Limerick, Unionists raised their voices behind closed doors last October to express their opposition to the Home Rule Bill. However, they found themselves met with opposition beyond the confines of their meeting place. A gathering against Home Rule attracted a mob of two thousand individuals outside the theatre where the meeting took place, resulting in a violent attack. The building was besieged, with several individuals, including ladies and clergymen, subjected to brutal assaults. Despite nine arrests, all the accused were acquitted, leading to cheers both inside and outside the courtroom.

These incidents, coupled with numerous others, underscore the challenges Unionists in Limerick and beyond face, challenging the assurances of fair treatment under an Irish Parliament. The denial of the basic right to hold indoor meetings, a freedom historically granted to Nationalists even in times of heightened political tension, casts doubts on the claimed tolerance awaiting Unionists in an independent Ireland.

As the political landscape continues to evolve, it remains to be seen whether these incidents are isolated or indicative of broader trends, shaping the perceptions of Unionists regarding their future under a changing governance structure.

Dublin Daily Express – Tuesday 04 March 1913

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