Ballina, Mayo, Ireland
Wednesday, March 20, 1850
MEETING OF GUARDIANS
BALLINA UNION - The usual weekly meeting of the Guardians of this Union was held in the Boardroom on Saturday, Colonel Knox Gore in the chair. The other Guardians present were Capt. Atkinson, Mr. Pratt, Mr. Crofton, Mr. Gore, Mr. Howley, Mr. A. Knox, Mr. G. Orme, Mr. E. Orme, Mr. Jones, Mr. Gardiner, Mr. Walsh, Mr. Malley, and Mr. Strogen, Richard Burke, Esq., Assistant Commissioner, and Captain Hamilton, Inspector, were also present.
The Clark having read the minutes of the proceedings of the last day of meeting and several communications from the Poor Law Commissioners of no public importance, Mr. Burke laid before the Guardians the substance of the investigation founded upon the charges brought against the master by the Rev. Richard St. George in the case of Anne Nealee, of Crossmolina. Mr. Burke only noticed that particularly that portion of the investigation in which it appeared that the Master had gone beyond his duty. Anne Nealee (he said) was in charge of a ward on the 5th of January last, when she appropriated a blanket, the property of the Union. For this offence the Master got her placed in the black hole, where he caused her to remain five hours with insufficiency of clothes and in extremely severe weather. The duty of the Master was to take down her name and report the circumstance to the Board and that he could confine only in cases of repeated refractory conduct. The conduct of the Master in this case he (Mr. Burke) attributed to ignorance of the order, as also the approval of the punishment by the Chairman. He found nothing in the evidence to prove that any partiality or sectarian motives influenced the Master, especially as it appeared that this woman, who was a Protestant, was so far confided in as to be appointed a Wardswoman. He (Mr. Burke) was confident the Board was most anxious for religious harmony, and it was his opinion they should deal with the matter as lightly as possible, and merely reprimand the master for having exceeded his duty.
In reply to a question from the Rev. Mr. St. George, Mr. Burke said that it did not at all appear that he (Mr. St. George) brought forward the mater in a sectarian spirit.
The Master was afterwards called before the Board and the Chairman explained to him how he had exceeded his duty; but at the same time he had the pleasure to state to him that Mr. Burke and all the Guardians, from what they heard, were satisfied that he had acted through ignorance and not from any religious or sectarian motives. He (the Chairman) had sanctioned the punishment through ignorance of the Commissioners' order on that subject, and, moreover, as there appeared at that time to be much insubordination in the house.
Tenders from Valuators were then opened. The following are the names and the sums proposed:-
Messrs. O'Donaghoe and Cunningham, 90l. The same with maps, £180. Mr. John Cunningham £120. Mr. Mark M'Garry £85, same with maps, £110. Mr. Henry Joynt £100. Mr. John Henderson, £100, and Mr. J.G. Barrett, 100 guineas.
Mr. Pratt moved that Mr. Joynt's tender be accepted, which was seconded by Mr. Annesley Knox. Mr. Crofton proposed, and Captain Atkinson seconded, the appointment of Mr. Henderson, and Mr. Cunningham was proposed by Mr. Walsh, and seconded by Mr. Quigley.
The votes for each were as following:-
For Mr. Joynt - Mr. Gardiner, Mr. E. Orme, Mr. Cawley, Mr. Gallagher, of Keeleen, Mr. Carolin, Mr. Joynt, Mr. John Knox, Mr. G. Orme, Mr. Strogen, Mr. A. Knox, Mr. J. Gore, Mr. Paget, Mr. Pratt.
For Mr. Cunningham - Mr. Quinn, Mr. Kelly, Mr. Gallagher of Crossmolina, Mr. Foster, Mr. Quigley, Mr. Farrel, Mr. Howley, Mr. Walsh.
For Mr. Henderson - Mr. Jackson, Mr. Jones, Mr. Crofton, Captain Atkinson.
Mr. Henderson having the fewest votes, Mr. Jackson and Captain Atkinson voted for Mr. Joynt, and Mr. Crofton for Mr. Cunningham. Mr. Joynt's tender was then accepted.
Mr. Gallagher's notice of motion to have the registry of children named Goodwin changed being brought forward, Mr. Burke said that the chief point at issue was what religion the mother wished them to be.
The Rev. Mr. Moore and Mr. St. George were present, as were also the Revs. Messrs. Madden, Eagan and Malone.
Col. Gore stated that the evidence upon which, on that day fortnight, the Board decided the the children should be registered as Protestants, when,
Widow O'Donnell was examined by Mr. Burke - She lives in Ardnaree; knows Mrs. Ormsby the mother of the children, since she came to lodge with her; Mrs. Ormsby lodged with her for the last six months; left her for a few weeks ago; she used to go to chapel every Sunday.
To Mr. Moore - Mr. Madden sent for me to come here.
To Mr. Burke - Witness has no trade except doing a little needle work; lives near the police barrack in her own house; used to let lodgings, but has no lodgers now.
To Mr. Burke - Witness saw the children go to mass generally; can't say if they went on holidays and Christmas day.
To Mr. Paget - The mother used to go to mass by herself, but the children generally accompanied witness there.
Mr. Moore then read the following letter: -
14 March 1850
To Captain Strogen,
SIR - I have to return you my sincere thanks for the trouble you and the Rev. Mr. Moore has taken about my unfortunate children.
I understand that the Roman Catholic Priest is exerting his influence to have them registered Roman Catholics, contrary to their late father's wish and mine, which was to have them reared as Protestants, and I hope the Guardians will do so.
If I find that I can support them and myself by my service in England I will not leave them a burden on the Union.
I am, sir, your grateful and obedient servant.
Mr. Samuel Strogen then stated that he saw Sarah Ormsby write and believed the signature to the letter to be in her writing. He also stated that before she went away she came to his house to tell him she was going to try and do something for herself, but that she was not able to support her children, and that they must go into the Poorhouse, and expressly said that she wished them to be registered as Protestants.
Mr. Moore said that he looked over the registry of baptisms in the parish church and found in it the name of Rebecca Ann Goodwin, daughter of Sarah Ormsby. The entry was made by the late Rev. Mr. Kinkead, and being a remarkable name it must evidently be that of one of the children.
Mr. Madden then got in the children, and one of their aunts, about 14 years of age, whom he wished to be examined.
Mr. Moore said that was not the aunt who was examined the last day, whom he would have there had he thought it necessary.
The aunt being then questioned said that she lived some time with Sarah Ormsby in Ardnaree, and that she saw her at Chapel on Sundays and Christmas and other holidays.
Mr. Madden asked leave to examine the children, whom he had all the time by his side, but Mr. Burke objected to his as they were too young.
Mr. Madden then said he could prove them to be Catholics, and made one of them bless herself after the form of the Catholic church.
Mr. Burke and several of the guardians expressed their disapprobation of such conduct, as the circumstance of going through the form of any church could not be admissable evidence.
Mr. Strogen said he would go to Sligo where the mother lived and take her signature, and then be able to swear to it.
Mr. Madden asked Mr. Strogen how it was that the former day he said the mother was in England and now to say she was in Sligo.
Mr. Strogen denied having said she was in England.
Mr. Madden. - I have only the authority of the public papers that you stated she was in England.
Mr. Paget Strogen told Mr. Madden that it was not so stated in the papers. [ In this Mr. Strogen was perfectly correct.]
It was then agreed, upon the suggestion of Mr. Burke, to have a warrant issued for the apprehension of Sarah Ormsby, and the following resolution was adopted: -
"Resolved - That with reference to the cases of two illegitimate children named Goodwin, relative to whose registry as to religious denomination a difficulty has been experienced by the Board, it is ordered that a warrant be issued against the mother of the children, it having been stated that she is now in the county of Sligo. The Board has spent much time in hearing secondary evidence on the subject, but as it now appears that this mother's evidence can be obtained, the Board considers it most important that she should be examined to enable them to arrive at a correct judgment of the case."
Cathy Joynt Labath
Ireland Old News
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