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A highly attended and influential meeting of the citizens of Limerick took place at the Town Hall yesterday afternoon, aimed at urging the Government to reconsider the prohibition of racing in Ireland. The attendees emphasized that while the cessation of racing might not directly impact wartime efforts, it would undoubtedly cause severe economic repercussions for Ireland as a whole.

Presided over by Mayor Stephen B. Quin, D.L., the meeting highlighted the potential detrimental effects of a racing ban, particularly on towns like Limerick, which heavily rely on horse breeding and racing for economic prosperity. Mayor Quin stressed that the cessation of racing would have disastrous consequences for Ireland, and towns such as Limerick would suffer significantly. He urged the government to consider alternative measures rather than a complete stoppage of racing.

Mr J. Turner, the High Sheriff, echoed Mayor Quin’s sentiments, emphasizing the historical significance of Ireland in supplying cavalry horses to the British army. He pointed out that there are approximately nine hundred racehorses in Ireland, and the prohibition of racing would deal a severe blow to the Irish horse breeding industry. Mr Turner argued that the amount of oats consumed by these horses alone justified the continuation of racing.

Captain J. W. Delmege, a Recruiting Officer, contributed to the discussion by presenting correspondence with the Chief Secretary. He assured attendees that while he would support any measures necessary for the successful prosecution of the war, he believed that racing did not interfere with wartime efforts. Captain Delmege emphasized the morale-boosting effect that racing had on soldiers in the trenches and cautioned against measures that might dampen their spirits.

Several other prominent citizens voiced similar opinions, underscoring the importance of racing to the local economy and its negligible impact on the war effort. Following deliberations, it was unanimously agreed to send a telegram to the Chief Secretary requesting the withdrawal of the prohibition on racing.

The meeting in Limerick reflects a growing sentiment among citizens and local officials across Ireland, who are concerned about the adverse effects of the racing ban on their communities. As the debate continues, proponents of the racing industry are hopeful that their appeals to the government will lead to a reconsideration of the prohibition, allowing for the continued operation of this vital sector of the Irish economy.

Freeman’s Journal – Tuesday 08 May 1917

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