Silent clerics — 4 Comments

  1. Hmm some things never change really. The Catholic Church here particularly has some of the most beautiful land while their parishioners struggle to pay the rent.

  2. As you know, the Catholic religious orders did a deal with a Fianna Fail minister capping their liability for compensation to victims of abuse at €127 million – the balance of more than a billion has to be found by the taxpayer. The clerics, on both sides, were strangely silent.

  3. “What did struggling small farmers, and the mass of people who were even poorer, make of such gross inequities?”

    Lord Castletown owned 5% of Queens County (Laois) and supported land reform as a MP until his own untenanted lands were slated for sale. In one instance, he thwarted the Land Commission’s plan of division for Lisduff by leasing the land for 25 years to a man named Barton, a deft maneuver that also led him to evict his gamekeeper of 25 years, Michael Loughman. Castletown defended his large holdings by arguing he employed local men at three desmesne lands (Lisduff, Granston and Doneraile). His paternalistic justification did not calculate how many people would be employed if untenanted lands became farms and other benefits of self-sufficiency. Local people responded to Castletown’s arguable greed with agitation, illegal ploughing of fields, joining the United Irish League and, ultimately, the events of 1916. Police intelligence notes document Castletown needed constant protection from local people because of his refusal to sell Lisduff under laws he had supported. Such gross inequities and utter hypocrisy ushered in a new era in Irish history.

  4. In the two years I have worked in Laois, where Castletown is within the parish, Lord Castletown’s name has not once been mentioned – a ‘damnatio memoriae’ perhaps.

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