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THE CURRAGH, 14/05/1989 - Newspaper article about incidents involving Apprentice boys on the Curragh

Leinster Leader
‘Prentice Boys
Dancing at the Curragh
And the result
          At the Newbridge Petty Sessions on Thursday, before Colonel the Hon W. Forbes, R. M. (in the chair); Mr. W. Pallin, and Mr. T. B. Beeves, a case was heard in which a good deal of local interest was felt. It was brought by Charles Igoe, Brownstown, against Henry Beasley, trainer, Eyrefield House, for having while in his employment as apprentice, assaulted him on the morning of the 25th April. Mr. Beasley had Igoe summoned for leaving his employment on the same date, he being indentured to serve a certain number of years to him, and sought an order to compel Igoe to return and fulfil his term of apprenticeship.
Mr. S. J. Brown, Solicitor, Naas appeared for Mr. Beasley, and Mr. Frank Burke, Solicitor, Newbridge, for Mr. Igoe.
The case of Igoe against Beasley having been called first, Mr. Brown said there was an error in the order of the summons, as the case against Igoe was entered first, and should be first heard.
Mr. Burke suggested that the two cases be heard together.
Mr. Brown asked liberty to examine his client first. He said the facts were that Igoe was duly indentured to serve his apprenticeship to Mr. Beasley on the 19th July 1897. On the 24th April the defendant stayed out and did not return until the following morning at 2 a.m., without having asked permission from Mr. Beasley. Next morning Mr. Beasley found him in bed instead of being at his work, and naturally enough gave him a few strokes of a cane. Igoe left and went home to his father’s place, and had not since returned to his work.
Henry Beasley, in reply to Mr. Brown, said Igoe was in his service as an apprentice up to the 25th April. On the night of Sunday, the 24th April, at 12.30 p.m., he found the door and window of Igoe’s room open. He had not given him permission to absent himself. He went back again at 1.30 p.m. and found he had returned. Igoe in coming in had to pass through the saddle room, where there were 10 or 12 saddles and a quantity of horse clothing, which might as well have been set on fire if there were any matches lit and thrown about in entering. He went out at 6 a.m. and found defendant in bed with his clothes on. He then gave him three of four strokes of a cane (produced) down the shoulders. Igoe afterwards did his work that morning, but when the bell rung for breakfast he was nowhere to be found. He then went to his father’s, and asked him to send his son back. Igoe then told his father that he was in at 10 o’clock on the night mentioned. He had taken out a licence for Igoe to ride last April, and was going to give him a mount at the next meeting. He had several times absented himself before, and he had let him off. He was supposed to be in at 9.30 p.m. every night.
Cross-examined by Mr. Burke-Was he able to ride when he came to you? He was, a little. -Were there not other boys out along with him? There were. -Was not your head man, Timmons, out with him? I believe he was. -Did you punish him? I did not. -Did you know that they were at a dance? I heard so. -Was there a boy named Smith out on the same occasion? There was. -When Smith’s father brought him back did you not return his indentures? I did. -How many times did you strike Igoe? I gave him one stroke in the bedroom and two or three in the stable.
Mr. Brown said that was his case. The terms of the indenture bound the master to correct his apprentice when necessary at his own discretion. If apprentices were allowed to run away when they willed the principle governing the relations of master and servant would be entirely upset.
Mr. Burke said he was proceeding under the 25th of George II, chap 8, sec. 3, which detailed that a complaint of ill-treatment by the master could be brought before one or more justices, who if necessary could entreat the indentures in such a case.
Charles Igoe, a boy of about 14 years, was examined by Mr. Burke, and stated that on Sunday 24th, he went home to his father’s place, which he left about 9 o’clock that night. He and a boy named Whelan then went down to Knox’s corner, where they met Smith, another apprentice of Mr. Beasley’s. They all then came to Whelan’s house at Eyrefield, about a quarter of a mile from Mr. Beasley’s, where there was a dance going on, and there met Timmons, Mr. Beasley’s head lad. He (Igoe) stopped at the dance until 12.30 o’clock, and then returned home, Timmons and Smith accompanying him. Timmons called him the next morning at 6 o’clock. He did not take off his trousers or socks going to bed. Mr. Beasley came up to his room at six o’clock and beat him with a bamboo cane on the back. He dressed himself, and Mr. Beasley then beat him again, and followed him over to the stable and put him in a corner, and made him leave down a basket which he was using, and beat him again with a big cane-bigger than the one produced in court. He (witness) had to bed his mare. He then heard the boy Smith roaring, and saw Smith and Timmons, whom he showed the marks of the beating he had got to. Timmons told him to go home. Smith also lived on the Curragh; and he then went home across the fields, and his father then examined him. Mr. Beasley came shortly afterwards to my father’s house and said that he was sorry for beating me, and that he did not think he would hurt me. His father then brought him to Dr. Rowan, Newbridge, and he had to stay in bed from the effects of the beating.
Cross-examined by Mr. Brown-Where were you before you went to Mr. Beasley’s? At Mr. Parkinson’s. -Why did you leave Mr. Parkinson-did you not run away from him? I told him I would not stop with him. -Did not your father and mother beg of Mr. Beasley to take you after that? I don’t know about that. - Did you not do up your horse that morning before you left Mr. Beasley? I did. -Had you not your shirt on as well as your trousers and socks, because that would make a difference? I had. Had you your coat on in the stable? I had not. My father brought me to the doctor.
Sergeant Patk O’Brien, Brownstown police station, in reply to Mr. Burke, said that he heard on the 25th April that an assault had been committed on Igoe, in consequence of which he sent for the lad and examined him, and found eleven marks in all on him-four on the left side of the body from the shoulders to the hips, and three on the right side, three on the left arm and shoulder, and one on the left hip.
By Mr. Brown-The boy would not let me touch them as they were so sore.
To Mr. Reeves-They seemed to have been inflicted by a cane or stick.
Mr. Brown-Was the skin broken? No.
Dr. L.F. Rowan, in reply to Mr. Burke, said that about two o’clock on the 25th April Igoe and his father came to him. He examined the boy and found in all nineteen linear marks on the shoulders and down to the loins. They were purple coloured. Three or four were on the back part of the arm, the rest at different angles on the back.
By Mr. Brown-I could not say that the boy’s health was injured in consequence. They seemed to have been inflicted by a cane or stick.
To Mr. Reeves-I saw him 14 hours after the occurrence. I would say that the mark of a cane, moderately used, would not last more than one or two hours.
Mr. Brown –Do you give it as your professional opinion that the mark of a stroke of a cane would not last more than one or two hours? Sometimes it would leave none. -Did you apply any application? I did not because, although necessary, I did not think it advisable. -Did you consider treatment necessary and you did not apply it? -I ordered treatment; I ordered him rest. Do you call rest treatment? Certainly. How long did you order it for? I saw him on Thursday, when the marks had all disappeared. The skin was not broken. The reason I did not give the application was because it would have done harm at the time.
You do not allege that the boy’s health was in any way injured? I do not.
Michael Igoe, the boy’s father, was examined by Mr. Burke, and said he remembered his son coming home on the 25th April. Mr. Beasley came afterwards and asked was Charlie there. He replied that he was, and asked him to come in and look at the boy’s back. He said he was sorry.
To Mr. Reeves-The boy left home at nine o’clock the previous evening, Whelan’s house where the dance was is opposite Captain Loders’ gate.
By Mr. Brown-I understand he was going home to Mr. Beasley’s. He said nothing about going to the dance.
Do you consider that chastisement was necessary under the circumstances? Yes, if properly administered.
Mr. Reeves-Were you over boys yourself in a training establishment? I was.
Used you chastise them? I often chastised them in a proper manner.
By Mr. Brown-There was a son of mine in Mr. Beasley’s employment before for 5 years. I signed the indentures. I never asked Mr. Beasley to take the boy.
Mr. Brown-Did not your wife go several times to Mr. Beasley to ask him to take the boy? She went once.
Mr. Brown said he did not think, under the circumstances, it was necessary for him to make any observation to the bench at all. If a master was not entitled-in fact it was his duty to do so when necessary-to chastise his apprentice, and that apprentices could at any time run away, as in this case there would be an end to the principle governing the duties of master to servant. Imagine this little boy away from his master’s house at 1.30 a.m., in the morning without his knowledge or consent. It was certainly quite time enough for the lad to enter into that kind of amusement. And again he had to pass through the saddle room where saddles, clothing and other valuable goods were deposited, possibly, he would say, having drink taken. It was a very serious offence. He was not in any way injured by the couple of strokes of the cane administered by Mr. Beasley, as he was able as stableman to afterwards do his duty that morning. It was impossible to measure precisely what could be called punishment moderately administered as in this case. Every punishment implied pain to the person who received it. This boy’s brother had lived five years with Mr. Beasley, and there was evidently no complaint. Then again there was the fact of the boy leaving Mr. Parkinson without that gentleman’s consent. Mrs. Igoe, the boy’s mother, went and begged Mr. Beasley to take him. (Igoe’s father from the body of the court-“She did not”). He would ask their worships to make an order that the boy return to his service.
Mr. Burke was here about to address the bench, but Mr. Brown interposed and said he had asked Mr. Burke before if he had wished to add anything, and that he had replied in the negative. He, therefore, now, at the close of the case, could not expect to be heard.
Mr. Burke did not persevere in his address.
Mr. Reeves here asked Igoe how many times Mr. Beasley had beaten him in the morning mentioned, and he replied three-twice in the bedroom and once in the stable.
Dr. Rowan was also further questioned by Mr. Reeves, and stated that he considered that if the full strength of a man were exercised in giving the strokes of the cane the skin would have been knocked off.
Mr. Beasley, in reply to Mr. Reeves, said the boy did not cry on the occasion, if he did he would have ceased to cane him at once. He was able to do his duty as usual. He had often to threaten him for staying out, but never chastised him before, any more than to give him a slap in the ear.
Mr. Reeves-He does not seem to be a satisfactory apprentice.
Mr. Brown said it was a matter of principle. If a boy was allowed to run away for a mere caneing it would do away with the whole system.
After a long deliberation Colonel Forbes said the bench were of opinion that unnecessary violence had been used on the occasion. They did not, however, wish to break the indentures, and an order would accordingly be made that the boy should return to Mr. Beasley’s service. The other case would be dismissed.
Igoe, sen-Make an order that he is not to beat him.
Colonel Forbes-We have expressed our opinion on that.

An article from the Leinster Leader telling the story of a court-case case between Mr. Beasley and Mr. Igoe following a series of events.

[Compiled by Mario Corrigan; typed and edited by Niamh Mc Cabe]

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