The Cork Examiner, 28 June 1878
|YOUGHAL PETTY SESSIONS—YESTERDAY. |
(Before Messrs. Charles Ronayne, M.D., in the chair ; T. Dennehy, R.M., and M. R. O'Farrell.)
The principal business before the court was a hearing of charges brought against five men named respectively, Ahern, SMIDDY, M'Carthy, and Michael and Maurice Lynch, for riotous conduct in the public streets of Youghal on the 20th instant.
Before the cases were called, Head-constable Barry stated that they were of a most serious character. On the occasion of the riot the police were assaulted by a formidable mob, and had to take refuge in a house where they barricaded themselves until relieved by an armed party of constabulary and military.
The prisoners were undefended.
Constable Michael Cronin deposed that on that day week, between six and seven o'clock in the evening, he proceeded with Constable O'Keeffe and Sub-constable Kenny, to a lane off the South Main Street, where he saw the defendant, Patrick Ahern, with his coat off, and a crowd around him, and having a big stone in his hand. The defendant flung the stone in his direction, but he did not believe it was at him it was thrown. It was with great difficulty that they were able to arrest the defendant, who kicked witness, and made some blows of a stick at him. There was a large crowd in the lane, many of whom wanted to rescue the prisoner. Witness and the other constables had to take refuge in Mr. Curran's house and send to the barrack for assistance. The door of the house had to be barricaded from the violence of the mob outside ; there were over a thousand persons there. Ahern called on the mob to rescue him from the police, and said they were no Irishmen for having allowed him to be arrested.
Ahern, in answer to the charge, said that he was “mad drunk” at the time and did not know what he was doing. He had no questions to ask.
The same constable charged Jeremiah M'Carthy, Maurice Lynch and Michael Lynch with obstructing him on the occasion, and with attempting to rescue Ahern from his custody. There were a good many others there also that he could not identify.
Acting-constable Dunne deposed that he was on duty in the South Main-street on the 20th inst. He saw the defendant, Ahern, drunk there and attempting to force his way into Mr. Guinan's house. A man named Clancy tried to keep him out of the house, and then Ahern assaulted him. Ahern at the time offered to fight thirteen “bobbies.” He was flinging stones about him and was the most violent man witness ever saw. He also identified SMIDDY as having obstructed him on the occasion. He tried to rescue the prisoner Ahern from him.
SMIDDY said that he saw four policemen dragging Ahern and treating him in a most brutal manner, and he (SMIDDY) told them to give the poor fellow fair play.
The Chairman said that there was a very serious charge against the whole of the men, and it was very foolish on their part not to employ a solicitor.
The defendant M'Carthy, an old man over 60 years, who spoke in Irish, denied that he had taken part in the row.
Sub-constable Kenny swore that Ahern kicked him in the leg when bringing him to the police barrack. The defendant, M'Carthy, assaulted him also.
Constable Cronin said that M'Carthy was the first to try and rescue the prisoner.
Patrick Clancy, the man the assault on whom was the cause of the row, deposed to having been assaulted, but could not say by whom ; could not identify any of the prisoners.
Head-constable Barry deposed that he saw the defendant, Michael Lynch, waving his hat and calling on the crowd to rescue Ahern. He (witness) tried to persuade the mob to go away, but it was no use. It was through urgent, absolute necessity he had to send for an armed force. But that he adopted a firm attitude towards the mob the police would have been very badly injured.
The defendants called no witnesses on their behalf and had no defence.
The Chairman, in announcing the decision of the bench, said that it had been a very serious consideration for the magistrates whether they not send the defendants on for trial to the assizes. The defendants had acted foolishly and wickedly, and had been guilty of a very serious offence. For assaults on various constables and others Ahern was fined altogether £3 10s. with the alternative of three months' imprisonment. M'Carthy was fined £1 with the alternative of a month in gaol. William SMIDDY was fined similarly, and Maurice and Michael Lynch were each fined 10s. and costs. M'Carthy, SMIDDY, and Ahern were also bound over to keep the peace for twelve months.
After disposing of some business of no public interest the court adjourned.
An interesting fact in Youghal's history is that it was the first town in Ireland or Britain to have a Jewish Mayor when a Mr. William Annyas was elected to that position in 1555.