A CONSTANT TRAVELLER CONCERNED ABOUT DISCONTINUED USE OF CURRAGH STONE BARRACKS IN 1867

by ehistoryadmin on November 6, 2019

Sir,

I have learned, with much surprise, that it is contemplated to reduce the Curragh Police force by twelve men, and the discontinue the use of the Stone Barrack, situate[sic] mid-way upon the Curragh, between Newbridge and Kildare as a police station. Upon what grounds such a decision should have been arrived at, I can hardly conceive. This barrack was built in 1846, especially for the protection of the public or wayfarers along a dreary and lonely road, nearly three miles in length, and upon which many robberies had been committed, not infrequently attended with acts of violence, and which rendered it extremely dangerous to travel at night. Nor was this the only object sought to be attained to be attained at its erection; there was another far more important, the preservation of life.

It has happened that lives have been lost in snow storms upon dark and dismal nights on these dreary wastes; inquests have been held, and the inquests invariably accompanied by recommendations for the erection of the present station; and not only was this felt to be important, but it was also felt expedient that an alarm bell should have been put up to give warning to travellers lost in fogs, and thus guide them to a place of shelter. A signal light was placed on the barracks for a similar purpose.

All this is well known to many persons residing in our neighbourhood, and particularly to Robert Browne, Esq., the late Ranger. I wonder has his opinion been asked, or has he been consulted upon the expedience of such a step? Surely if it is carried into effect, passengers will refrain from travelling across the road after twilight at any season, and the old fears of the timid and nervous will be revived afresh. I would ask you, Sir, why should this step be taken, so opposed to the safety and wishes of the public? The authorities, perhaps, who see no use for this station, are little aware of the confidence the position of this barrack gives the benighted travellers, and to the police patrols which traverse this road at various hours of the night. And, supposing, Sir, that the removal of the barrack and the withdrawal of the police was carried into effect, what means do you think are proposed to supply the deficiency? – why, merely an occasional patrol of the military provost or “special constables” as they are termed, in whom we repose so confidence. And this is to satisfy the public! But, I trust Sir, that you will not only give publicity to this letter in the columns of your popular journal, but that you will use your influence to counteract and prevent such an insane project. – I am, Sir, your obedient servant, A CONSTANT TRAVELLER.

This letter, expressing concern about the proposed closure of the police barracks on the Curragh, appeared in the Leinster Express in late December 1867.

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