The Arrest of Father Matt Ryan
Mr. Edmond Mitchel said that he had a resolution to propose in reference to a military display recently in Hospital for the purpose of dragging away from them their beloved Pastor, or to baton, bludgeon or stab him.
Mr. McGrath : They did not take him away from you.
Mr. Mitchel : No, thank God, we were able to carry him ourselves. The resolution I beg to propose is : “That we the Guardians of the Kilmallock Union, in meeting assembled, tender to the Rev. Father Matt Ryan, the patriotic curate of Hospital, our deepest sympathy in his prison cell, and we at the same time condemn in the strongest possible language the action of the Government in arresting him. We also express our condemnation of the unnecessary display of force on Monday last in Hospital by the police authorities evidently for the purpose of exasperating the people ; we congratulate the latter for the forbearance they exhibited under such provoking circumstances.
Mr. Condon : I think he belonged to Herbertstown more than to Hospital (laughter). Any honours he has gained it was in Herbertstown he gained them.
Mr. Clery: I think Mr. Slattery’s name should be put in that resolution.
Mr. Mitchell : We are in the habit of having such men as Mr. Slattery, but it is a very new thing to have priests taken from us. It is reviving the penal days again.
Mr. Condon: I think , Mr. Chairman, you could amend that a little by putting Herbertstown to the front or Campaign Hill (laughter)
The Chairman: I suppose with Mr. Condon’s suggestion the resolution is passed unanimously. There is very little good in these things, but at the same time we are only doing our duty as a National Board.
Mr. Gubbins: I was saying we should ask the farmers of Kilmallock Union to pay no rent while those Priests are in gaol.
Mr. Mitchell: I think that would be a matter for themselves a great deal. I’d be a great extent in sympathy with that.
Mr. Condon: I believe they are never very fond of paying rent (laughter)
The Chairman: If you like to add it to the resolution I will receive it at any rate, whether it is legal or not.
Mr. M’Grath : Of course it is legal.
Mt. Mitchell: It might do more harm than good under the present circumstances. It might only be made a handle in the House of Commons.
Mr. O’Gorman : It will come to that at any rate. I think there ought to be added to the resolution something about the noble minded man who has thrown up his position rather than do the dirty work of the Government. I am satisfied to give £1 subscription, provided a testimonial is raised to him.
The Chariman: I never saw people more willing to subscribe to a testimonial than they are to one for this policeman.
Mr. Mitchell: What I’d wish to add to the resolution is that on account of the oppression to which the o’Grady tenantry are subjected, a subscription be made throughout Ireland to maintain them during their struggle.
The Chairman: The National League have promised that. I heard Mr. O’Brien is promising.
Mt. Mitchell: It is not right for us to be too hard on Wm. O’Brien and John Dillon.
The resolution as it stood was then adopted.
Taken from “The Munster News and Limerick and Clare Advocate”,
April 2, 1887
Kilmallock Union Board, April 1887 – Kilmallock Union Financial Management, April 1887 – Arrest of Father Matt Ryan – Miscellaneous Munster, Limerick & Clare News, April 1887