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War and Peace - Ballinasloe from 1919 to 1923

Land dispute in Pollboy
 Damian Mac Con Uladh

[Summary: This week's edition reported on a large land agitation case in Pollboy (or, incorrectly, Poolboy). The existence of land disputes and the extreme measures taken by some to take possession of land and puts the threat, issued the previous week, to local Protestants to leave the town into perspective as, importantly, the land owner involved in this case, John Jennings, was a Catholic.]

War and Peace

Ballinasloe during the War of Independence (1919–1921) and the Civil War (1922–1923)

Local Newspaper Extracts

East Galway Democrat, Saturday, June 24, 1922

Trouble over land - Several Arrests in Ballinasloe

GHQ forces, under Captain McNamara, made the following arrests in Poolboy, early on last Monday morning: Pat Caulfield, John Farnan, Peter Hannon, Thos. McDonnell (sen.), Thomas Fallon, Thomas McDonnell (jun.) Patrick Lally and John Hannon.

These men were conveyed under and armed escort to the barracks in Dunlo Street, where a Special Court was held before Mr A. Stauanton and Mr T. P. Bourke, Parish Justices. They were charged in connection with the driving of stock, the property of Mr John Jennings, Derrymullen.

Mr L.A. Conroy, solr., prosecuted.

Mr John Jennings was called and deposed – I live at Derrymullen and have a farm of land at Poolboy. On 24th April last my stock were driven off the lands, namely, 58 sheep and eleven cattle. On Monday, I was bringing the sheep and cattle, and when I came to the bridge convenient to the land, I would not be let proceed any further. I protested and asked why, and I was told that I would not be let back anymore. The men who said this were: Thomas McDonnell, jun., John Farnon, Peter Hannon, John Lally, John Caulfield, Thomas Fallon, and John Hannon.

They drove me back toward the town, and before I reached the town I met a company of the IRA and we put back the stock. Defendants let the stock in on the undertaking that I would not put out their stock nor would they put out mine. The stock were out again next morning. The military were engaged otherwise and were unable to assist me the second time. I was met about half a mile form the land by the defendants. They rushed in between the stock, drove some one way and some the other way, and ill-treated the stock. I protested against making two divides of the stock and asked the defendants to put them together and I would drive them away. I was rushed at and shoved, told to bring them any way I liked, and that I would never go that road again. I was still protesting, and when I would not go quickly I was assaulted by Thomas McDonnell, jun., and Pat Caulfield. Shortly after that I went away and left the sheep on the road. On Wednesday I brought back the stock to the gate in the company of the IRA.  I expected to get them back, but after some conversations, I found that if I put them back they would be let out again, and under these circumstances I did not put them back.

Cross-examined by T. McDonnell, sen. – The stock were ill-treated, I protested several times about ill-treating the sheep I offered no assault to any of the defendants, I had only a light plant with me, I signed an agreement two years ago that I would give up the land. I got no assistance from the Black and Tans.
I remembered Captain Coy being present on one occasion when we met at the bridge, and I agreed to let the matter go to arbitration. I lost no stock owing to the cattle drive.

Defendants were remanded on custody for seven days, and conveyed to Galway jail by the evening train. Bail would not be allowed.


For more articles in this series, see


  • Jack Keogh (leader of anti-Treaty IRA in Ballinasloe)

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