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extra force was necessary in any county or barony, owing to the existence of crime or lawlessness, his Excellency had power, under an Act of William IV., to proclaim such locality as "disturbed," and to quarter extra police therein. The county paid half the cost of this extra establishment, and the Imperial Government the other moiety. The grand jury collected the extra rate in the same manner as other local taxation. A barony was the smallest area proclaimable under the Act, and it therefore followed that, the area taxed being large, and the sum to be levied representing but half the actual increased cost of constabulary, the rate was hardly felt by those living in the locality, and responsible more or less for its lawless condition.
An inspector commanded the police in a county, which was divided into districts, the men in which were under the control of sub-, now called district, inspectors. As is well known, the constabulary is armed with rifles and sword-bayonets, the uniform being in all
respects military. All crime was reported to the Inspector-General by his own officers, who, however, in the case of "an outrage" occurring, brought it to the notice of the resident magistrate having jurisdiction, by means of a report summarised from that sent to the Inspector-General. For all purposes of criminal administration, the sub-inspector was the unit. For every act of daily official life that this young officer had to perform, there existed a particular section of the constabulary code applicable, and to its provisions he was rigorously bound by a system of "red-tape," the ties of which were manufactured apace during times of peace, only to be rent asunder of necessity during the great struggle upon which we were about to enter. Every possibility of an officer acting upon his own responsibility seemed to have been carefully guarded against. His reports were "submitted" to the county inspector, who in turn "submitted" them to the Inspector-General in Dublin, who passed such orders upon them as his complete igno
ranee of local requirements might suggest. It was a system centralised to the last degree. Little or no action of any kind could be taken without orders from "headquarters"—i.e., the Inspector-General in Dublin. When disorder became general and reports voluminous; when a readiness to assume responsibility, decision of purpose, resource in difficulty, and energetic local action became necessary on the part of individuals, if the country was to be saved,—the system strangled itself.
Whatever in theory may have been the duties of a county inspector, in practice they were confined, for the most part, to inspections of men, arms, and records, together with the immediate control of all matters connected with the interior economy and discipline of the force under his command. All instructions regarding criminal administration came from the Inspector-General's office in Dublin, and he would have been a rash sub-inspector who would have taken important action without such orders. In matters of moment, the
Inspector-General himself often applied to the Under Secretary for instructions. The reader must clearly bear in mind that the resident magistrate bore no responsibility for maintaining order. His duty was to attend the petty sessions courts. The sub-inspector and county inspector of constabulary were also irresponsible, for the duty of the latter practically was only to forward instructions from the authorities in Dublin to the sub-inspector in the district. Dublin Castle assumed to itself the duty of maintaining order and protecting life and property throughout Ireland. History will record the manner in which it acquitted itself.
KILMALLOCK—SERIOUS CONDITION OF DISTRICT—POLICE BARRACKS LOOPHOLED FOR RIFLE-FIRE—LAND LEAGUE COMMITTEE AT KILMALLOCK, KILFINANE, AND CHARLEVILLE— COMPOSITION OF COMMITTEE—FENIAN ARMED ATTACKS ON KILMALLOCK BARRACKS IN 1867—CONSTITUTIONAL AGITATION —SEDITIOUS PROCEEDINGS OF LAND LEAGUE—POST-CARS REFUSED BY LICENSED PUBLICANS FOR GOVERNMENT USE— PURCHASE CARS, HORSES, ETC., IN LIMERICK FOR POLICE— MOB ATTACK BARRACK — DISPERSED BY CONSTABULARY— THREATEN TO FIRE — ARREST OF LEADING RIOTERS—THEIR COMMITTAL TO PRISON AND FINAL DISCHARGE—REASONS FOR LENIENCY—"BOYCOTTING"—LAND LEAGUE COURTS—CASE OF PATRICK BERKERY—HE DISAPPEARS.
I Had not been at Droitwich more than a week when I received a telegram from Mr Burke, the Under Secretary, requesting me to go to Kilmallock, in the county of Limerick, as soon as I could conveniently do so, and take charge of that district. I at once returned to Dublin, as I was aware of the very serious condition of public affairs in the south of Ireland. Trom