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The Bodyke Evictions: Orators and Agitators


T
he Clare Journal, 6 June, 1887

The Bodyke Evictions
The Emergency Men Scalded

The evicting party made an early start on Friday morning, and reached Bodyke at half past nine o’clock. They at once proceeded to the house of James Lyddy, father of one of the tenants evicted on Thursday, and, immediately they approached, the soldiers fixed bayonets and a hollow square was formed round the house. As on Thursday the barricading was not minded, and, by the orders of Captain Croker, the gable end of the house was attacked. A breach was soon made, but the Emergency men were immediately assailed with boiling water, and several of their bodies were scalded. After deliberation, a concentrated rush was made on the breach. This time the craft managed to enter, but Captain Croker was saturated with more boiling water. Immediately the screams of women and the noise of a struggle were heard inside. Mr Norman, of the “Pall Mall Gazette,” on the part of the remaining representatives of the Press, asked for permission to enter, but was refused. Mr Norman at once wired a protest to Mr Stead. The representatives of the press had each to obtain a permit from Col Turner to enable them to pass inside the cordon. Mr Michael Davitt was offered a permit, but refused it, stating that he would accept no permission whatever from the representative of England’s Government who were carrying out these evictions.

The eviction having been carried out, a move was made towards the house of Martin McNamara; he holds six acres; old rent, £14 7s; judicial rent, £10; the tenant has eight children. This house being also barricaded, the emergencymen proceeded to break a hole in the end of the domicile; when a small opening had been effected McNamara struck a bailiff with some filth. For this he was subsequently arrested. Mr Davitt at once interposed, and, addressing Colonel Turner, said—“If one is arrested I will insist on the arrest of the other for attempt to murder.” The accusation referred to the fact that when an emergencyman had worked a hole in the wall he shot the crowbar violently through. Colonel Turner said attention would be given to the matter, and Mr Davitt thanked him. Father Murphy said that McNamara went to bed supperless last night, but this morning a good Englishman gave him two guineas for them. This eviction having been carried out Michael Hussey’s house was reached. The holding consists of 20 acres; valuation, £18; old rent, £40; judicial, £24. This man has four sons and two daughters. Relatives and friends of the tenant had clambered on the roofs of the dwelling and outhouses, and from their lofty position defied the sheriff and his men. The house being fortified the crowbars were brought to bear on one end of the gable, and in a short time a large opening was made, but just as the bailiffs were about entering they were deluged with hot or dirty water, and had to beat a retreat. At this there was great cheering, mingled with groans for the Sheriff.

The bailiffs again approached the breach, but were again repulsed with dirty water. But quite unexpectedly bottles and other missiles were flung out of the house, a daughter of the tenant being very demonstrative in this respect. One of the bottles struck a policeman on the hand wounding him rather seriously. Water was again thrown, and coming on Captain Croker he responding by taking up a crowbar and working at the wall himself. Blocks of timber were also thrown out, and for a moment the sub-sheriff and his bailiffs had to desist. Colonel Turner now turned his attention to the matter, and directed four constables to cover with their rifles the window from which the missiles were being thrown. The order was at once carried out, and something like consternation was produced. Mr Davitt protested strongly against the action of the police and the authorities. The men on the houses floated handkerchiefs on sticks by way of triumph. As the sub-sheriffs and the bailiffs were going round to the other end of the gable, another bottle was flung out by Margaret Hussey. At this point it seemed as if the police were going to fire. Mr Davitt again interfered, and a clergyman going up to Colonel Turner said—“There is no justification in firing at the people for throwing bottles.” Colonel Turner did not reply to the observation, but ordered the gentleman outside the lines. The young woman having again appeared at the window arch with a bottle in her hand, Father Murphy warned her in. A man, however, soon assumed the same position, and being about to throw a bottle at a bailiff, the police presented their rifles, a painful suspense ensuing. Then four constables and two soldiers kept their rifles at the present during the remainder of the exciting proceedings. By this time Captain Croker and the bailiffs had wrought havoc with the other end of the gable, and the whole gable eventually gave way, and then Captain Croker, two bailiffs, and two policemen made a rush over the debris to the door of a room in the upper part of the house which was exposed to view. They were repulsed twice with dirty water, but in the third attempt got into the house, and the occupants were ejected. The three sons and one daughter, and the mother were placed under arrest. The women were discharged on bail, but the men were retained in custody. Mrs MacNamara complained that a policeman, without any provocation, struck her on the hand with the butt end of his rifle, and again on the shoulder, knocking her down, and that she would have suffered very seriously but for the interference of another constable. One of her sons is in custody with a mark on his cheek. It is stated that a policeman named McDonough assaulted him also without any provocation. What was calculated upon as one of the most formidable items in the programme of defence and defiance was the letting loose of a hive of bees, but these took flight by the chimney. One of McNamara’s sons, who endeavoured to keep them down, was very severely stung. This young man was also arrested, but was subsequently released. This eviction having been also completed, it was announced that no others would be proceeded with and the military and police moved off, the soldiers being cheered, and the police and bailiffs and agents groaned.



Contemporary Account 2: The Clare Journal, 6 June, 1887 (1)

Contemporary Account 2: The Clare Journal, 6 June, 1887 (2)

Contemporary Account 2: The Clare Journal, 6 June, 1887 (3)

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Bodyke Evictions: The Evictions