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Skibbereen and West Carbery Eagle

January 31 1880

Meeting at Enniskeane

After the 12 o'clock Mass on Sunday a meeting was held in the Roman Catholic chapel-yard of Enniskeane to take steps to endeavor to alleviate the deep and widely felt distress prevalent in the united parishes of Enniskeane, Kinneigh, and Desertserges. An immense number attended, though the day was very wet and I am sorry to say that want was visible in the faces of many of the poor labourers present, and yet, with that feeling innate to the Irishman -- rather starve than complain or beg -- they appeared to suffer their hard lot without a murmur.

The Rev. Michael Delay, the respected P.P., was moved to the chair  and Mr. O'Driscoll was requested to act as secretary to the meeting.

The Rev Chairman, in his usual lucid and impressive manner, explained the object of the meeting, and, in the course of his remarks, said that he felt heartfelt sorrow that such an amount of distress existed in his parish. He waited on J. R. Berwick, Esq., J. P., the feeling and popular agent to his Grace the Duke of Devonshire, a also on Mr. Doherty, J. P., agent to the Earl of Bandon, asking them to devise some means to keep the people from starving, and he was happy to tell them that both gentleman received him in the kindest manner, and promised to provide employment forthwith for the labourers on the respective estates which they represented.

The Earl of Bandon had some labourers employed in the northern part of the parish, and will employ others in some other parts of the parish immediately. So much alive to the present sad state of the locality is Mr. Berwick, that he authorised him to say that every farmer on the estate of his Grace of Devonshire, in the parish, may instantly employ labourers for draining, &c., and his Grace will allow them for it. Mr. Berwick will also employ a number of labourers to-morror clipping ivy off the trees in the plantations near Enniskean, in order to provide for present very pressing cases.

The Rev. Chairman further said that Mr. Conner, J.P., of Manch, a gentleman who had a long and varied experience as guardian, chairman of dispensary committee, &c., told him that he knew the people to be actually starving. He, Mr. Conner, had a considerable number of men employed at a distant portion of his property, and hoped, in a very short time, to be able to employ several others at Manch. But, said the Rev. Chairman, there is a class of labourers who have my fullest sympathy -- those who are engaged to work for farmers during the whole year, at 4d or 6d per day, the rent of their little cabins, and potato-ground.

I will not harrow your feelings by reminding you of what the latter was worth, especially last year. He impressed on them the necessity of patience and trust in God, and He, in his goodness, would not neglect them, and the landlords would do all they could to employ labour, as Lady Carbery is doing at Phale.

Voices--Long live your reverence.

Mr. Patrick Harrington, P.L.G., Kinneigh, proposed, and Mr. Patrick Foley, seconded the following Resolutions: -- "Resolved -- That it is our painful duty to record that very severe destitution prevails in this parish, and that unless immediate and effective steps be taken to remedy same, starvations will be the deplorable consequence."

Mr. Harrington said that to his own knowledge parties in that locality were obliged to subsist on one meal of stirabout in the day, and that he saw men before him who had not the price of a half-penny bun for themselves and family. He would beg to impress on those who could afford it to keep his countrymen from starving.

The resolution was passed unanimously.

Mr. Denis Mahony, Clonomara, proposed, and Mr. C. O'Sullivan, seconded: -- "That the following be, and are hereby appointed a Local Relief Committee: -- "The clergymen of all denominations, the dispensary doctors, the P.L.G.'s of the locality, the members of the Dispensary Committees, and the following gentlemen: -- Messrs. D. Connor, Jun., Manch; John Cary, and Thomas Kearney, Currycrowley; B. Scofield, Knockaneady; P. Lordan Liscroneen; Denis Crowley, Ahillnane; Wm. Daunt, Enniskeane; James Chambers, Teadies; P. Harrington, P. Foley Kenneigh; Joseph Fuller, Castletown, James Welply, Denis Mahony, Clonomara, Dan Crowley, Lissecorrane; Dan Crowley Ardkilleen; Dan Hurley, Clonereague; Lawrence Buckley, Moneygoff; P. Donovan Derryville; J. Flyn, Tullimurrihi; David Walsh, Ahiohill; E. White, Garavauler, with power to add to their number."

The want of fuel is also much felt, as several poor families have no fuel, except the hulls of flax, which the proprietor of the local scutching mill is kind enough to give them. The Rev. Chairman relieved some of the most urgent cases out of his own private purse.

After a vote of thanks to the Chairman the meeting separated.