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Limerick Prosecution Under Defence of the Realm Act |

Limerick Prosecution Under Defence of the Realm Act

Three young men, Frances MacNamara, Thomas Ryan, and Joseph Donoghue, found themselves summoned before Mr P. J. Kelly, R.M., and Mr E. J. Daly at the Limerick City Petty Sessions under the provisions of the Defence of the Realm Act. The charge stemmed from an incident on Sunday night, the 1st of the month, where the defendants allegedly shouted “Koch, the Kaiser” and used offensive language when confronted by Constables Walsh.

Evidence supporting the prosecution was presented, detailing the alleged actions of the defendants. However, the defence argued that the language used was actually “Stuff the Kaiser,” offered in response to individuals wearing Sinn Féin emblems who had themselves shouted provocative slogans such as “Whip England” and “Up the Kaiser.”

Upon consideration, Mr Kelly expressed the view that the offence had been proven and deemed it a serious matter. He lamented the use of such language and conveyed his disappointment. Consequently, the court decided to convict the accused, imposing a fine of 10 shillings each and requiring them to provide bail for good behaviour. They were to secure themselves in the amount of £100 and two sureties in the sum of £5 each.

Mr Kelly personally expressed a desire for harsher punishment, indicating his inclination towards more severe measures for offences of this nature.

The prosecution under the Defence of the Realm Act highlights the strict enforcement of regulations aimed at maintaining public order and preventing acts deemed detrimental to national security. The incident underscores the sensitivities surrounding expressions of allegiance or opposition during a time of heightened political tensions and conflict.

As the authorities continue to uphold the provisions of the Defence of the Realm Act, individuals are reminded of the consequences of engaging in behaviour deemed disruptive or inflammatory. Such cases serve as reminders of the importance of maintaining civility and respect for the law in the midst of challenging circumstances.

Dublin Daily Express – Saturday 21 October 1916

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