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What an American Journalist saw – 1919

Excerpt from The Workhouse or Gaol in Galway. What an American Journalist saw by James M. Tuohy (Staff Correspondent of the ‘New York World’). Freemans Journal (Sydney) 9th October, 1919 p.14

It is not surprising to find that Galway is a strong Sinn Fein centre, and during the Easter rebellion of 1916 there was a futile rising there. A score of men were taken from Galway City and deported to English gaols and internment camps, including Dr. Walsh, bursar of the Galway branch of the National University, where he
also holds two important medical professorships. His experience may be taken as a fair sample of the treatment accorded to men against whom no charge was ever preferred, no evidence offered, and to whom no trialwas ever accorded.

In Galway I listened to the stories of a number of men of culture and refinement, professional men and others, who had been arrested not once but twice and even three times, had spent long periods in gaol or internment camps without ever being brought to trial. Space does not permit me to give the details of these statements, of which no one who heard them could fail to be convinced of the truthfulness. They have no desire to advertise the ill-treatment and injustice to which they have been subjected, but their indignation was roused by Mr. MacPherson’s impudent misrepresentations.

As I have said, D.O.R.A. (Defence of the Realm Act) is all powerful in Galway and throughout the west of Ireland. Hardly a night passes that a police raid is not made on some house either in the town or the surrounding country ; searches are made and men arrested without charge, some being taken off into confinement, no one knows whither. These raids are preferably made in the dead of night, the police being accompanied by lorries full of soldiers, fully armed. The victims are handcuffed, placed in the lorries and taken perhaps to the large military barracks at Renmore, across the river. The next that is heard of them usually is that they have been sentenced by court martial for being in possession of ‘seditious’ literature or some similar crime.

Then there is the ‘Customary display of force by the army of occupation — squads of soldiers marching hither and thither with their trench helmets on to overawe people. But the people seem to be unconscious of these provocative demonstrations which, strike the newcomer with amazement. Apparently familiarity breeds contempt.

Note; Mr Lloyd George sent Mr Ian MacPherson to Ireland with ‘the Coercion Act in one hand and the Defence of the Realm Act in the other.’



B.A., M.A.(Archaeology); Regional Tour Guide; Dip. Radio Media Tech; H.Dip. Computer Science.

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