!! The Times; June 7, 1912 "Conspiracy in Mayo"
- The Times
London, Middlesex, England
June 7, 1912
ALLEGED CONSPIRACY IN MAYO
Dublin, June 6
In the Nisi Prius Court to-day before Mr. Justice Boyd and a City jury,
Joseph Conroy and John Conroy were charged with having between February and
April, 1911, conspired by unlawful means to compel James Gallagher to give up
possession of certain lands at Templemore, County Mayo, and with conspiring to
compel Gallagher and his son John to refrain from certain ejectment proceedings
which they had instituted.
Joseph Conroy at the time of the alleged occurrences was an organizer of
the United Irish League, and John Cornoy is a returned American who has a farm
in the district. The trial has been removed from the County Mayo to Dublin on
the application of the Crown. The defendant Joseph Conroy challenged every juror
"on cause," and two of the criers had been sworn in each instance to find
whether the juror stood indifferent as between the Crown and the prisoner. The
defendant John Conroy said that he wished to dissociate himself from the other
defendant, whom he did not know intimately.
The Solicitor-General stated that the offence brought great disgrace on the
country, no matter what views they took of the facts. James Gallagher, who lived
all his live near Straide, in the County Mayo, had since February 19 last year
been subjected to a continuous system of annoyance by which his life was made
miserable because of the mischievous whim of one of the prisoners. Since the
year 1880 the elder Gallagher had held 400 acres on land on the Joynt estate,
and his son now occupied a farm on the adjoining Palmer estate, which had been
sold to the Congested Districts Board. A family named Killean, who had worked
for the Gallaghers, refused to do so any longer. On February 19, 1911, a meeting
was called in Straide, which was addressed by Joseph Conroy. In the course of a
speech he said in reference to James Gallagher:- "There is no law to compel
Gallagher to sell to the people or to buy from them, or the people to by or sell
to Gallagher. The jury could read between the lines. Gallagher was to be
compelled to live the life of a hermit, and no one was to by from or sell to
him. A campaign of boycotting was started to make Gallagher's life a misery, and
to force him out of the lands that he held. On March 6 Joseph Conroy and 30
people entered Killean's house, and a speech was made, and three days later a
band and 100 people went from the direction of Gallagher's house to the village
of Straide. They had an effigy on a hayfork with a piece of cardboard on which
were the words "Down with the Grazier and Evictor." The effigy was afterwards
burned in one of Gallahger's fields at a meeting. On Sunday, April 2, Joseph
Conroy told the people to keep up hornplaying and drumming, that there was
nothing else that the grazier hated so much. The people took the hint, and the
hornblowing was continued at another meeting held in the same month. Joseph
Conroy said that if a profession man did anything dishonourable he would be
boycotted by his professional brethren, and if a policeman in a barrack did the
same thing he would also be boycotted. He added:- "If boycotting is enjoyed by
the upper classes it should not be denied to the common people."
James Gallagher was then examined and told of the annoyance that he
received. When he or any member of the family went to the church or to the
market they were hooted.
Conroy asked one of the witnesses if he had heard him tell the people not
to do anything illegal and the witness replied:- "I heard you tell them not to
cattle-drive as it was against the interests of Home Rule."
When the Crown case had closed, the prisoner, John Conroy, said, in
reference to the meeting which he was stated to have attended that he had no
knowledge of the meeting except that he got an invitation from the United Irish
League to go there. Joseph Conroy addressed the jury and said that whatever had
happened was Mr. Gallagher's own fault.
The jury disagreed and the accused were allowed out on bail.
Cathy Joynt Labath
Ireland Old News