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North Tipperary Co Council Lay Off 30 Temp Staff

According to Tipp FM Radio & North Tipperary Co Councillor Mr John Carroll, some 30 temporary staff, presently employed by North County Council, have all been issued with Notices of Employment Termination, to come into effect from September next.

The staff affected are employed in the Roads section of the Council & their “lay off,” will have a direct impact on the future of the North Tipperary Roads programme.  Speculation is that these cuts are the result of failure by Minister Phil Hogan to collect his unjustifiable & inequitable €100 Household Charge. Nationally 600,000 properties nationwide have yet to be registered by owners, a job that may go to Revenue, when it takes over collection of the levy next year.

Looks like yet another Fine Gael/Labour vote loosing exercise, here in the forgotten county, latter whose population appear happy to accept weekly, action-less political spin, while some of their Tipperary Senators & TD’s fail to turn up for work, and thus earn their exorbitant salaries.

Staff at the Local Government Management Agency, (LGMA), the group charged with collecting the household charge, have recently received unacceptable death threats & abuse, including a shotgun cartridge sent in the post, & that’s according to LGMA’s CEO Paul McSweeney.

While normal civilised people these days will totally frown on this type of behaviour, declaring is totally unacceptable, Phil Hogan is obviously no historian and is not aware of the happenings, when forced collection of a similar form of unjust taxation was attempted, in his own county of Kilkenny, in 1831.

The Tithe War

The Tithe War (Irish: Cogadh na nDeachúna) was a campaign which began with nonviolent civil disobedience, but later became punctuated by sporadic violent episodes here in Ireland between 1830 & 1836, in angry reaction to the enforcement of Tithes on subsistence farmers and others, for the upkeep of the established state church, the Church of Ireland. The idea of Tithe Taxes goes back a long way to the Reformation of 1517 & its idea sprang from the Christian Bible, possibly from Leviticus 27:30: “And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord’s; it is holy unto the Lord.

This tax was opposed by both Protestants & Roman Catholic land holders in many areas. Tithes were payable in cash or kind and payment was compulsory, irrespective of an individual’s religious adherence. Indeed the original Tithe Books for the 26 counties of the Republic of Ireland are held in the National Archives in Dublin, if the good Minister Hogan should decide ever to take a peep. Some 53 of these books relate to Kilkenny; 30 to Co.Tipperary; there is also some coverage of Laois, Carlow, Offaly, Meath, Cork, Kerry, Limerick, Louth Waterford and Wexford.

Tithes were a form of income tax on the farming community, usually charged at about one tenth of farmer’s annual income. These taxes were used for the upkeep of the Church of Ireland and were paid from the time of the Reformation. Before the Composition Act of 1823 it was possible to pay them in kind, instead of money. From the time of the 1823 Composition Act they were supposed to be paid strictly in cash, and Tithe surveys were carried out in each Parish to assess what the income for that parish would be. Even this act allowed for those who paid a large tithe to be able to negotiate the composition of the tithes for their parish; that is to decide on what monetary basis the tithes would be based, so that the tithes would be reasonable in comparison to income for the tithe-payers and sufficient for the subsistence of the parishes, something Phil Hogan’s Household charge fails to consider.  Two people were appointed by each parish to carry out this assessment based on “ability to pay,” something again Phil Hogan appears to have forgotten in his bully-boy enthusiasm.

Battle of  Carrickshock

On December 14th 1831, resistance to this Tithe Tax would see a violent episode take place in Minister Phil Hogan’s County of Kilkenny.  History records this violent episode as the Battle of Carrickshock, latter name properly translated from the Irish “Carriag Seabhac” meaning in English, “The Hawk’s Rock.

Slievenamon, in Co Tipperary is a mountain, roughly 15 kilometres from the townsland of Carrickshock, and dominates the landscape overlooking south-west Kilkenny and south-east Tipperary, holding to this day, rich associations in Irish mythology and nationalist history. So it is not suprising that those resisting Tithe Taxes, from the villages of Ballyhale and Hugginstown, having been warned that seizures and possible imprisonment were on the cards, ambushed a detachment of some 40 Constabulary, sent from Urlingford and elsewhere, who had been instructed to escort the Tithe Collector. The ambush resulted in twelve constables, including the Chief Constable, being killed, while others of their party were seriously wounded.

After the dispersal of the police and the pursuit of same, by the angry mob armed with rocks, mallets, pitchforks, scythes and hurley’s, one crazed 1798 rebel, named Broden, took vengeance on any of the wounded police, by cracking each of theirs skull at the base. History records that the surgeon, who undertook the autopsies, one Dr. Richard Peel, testified at an inquest in Kilkenny city later, stating that all the bodies had wounds and bruises and the Tithe Collector had a jaw broken in two places, while almost all of the deceased had their skulls crushed at the base. It was reported that the ’98 rebel ‘Broden,’ was taking revenge against those supporting British law, because he had been “Pitch-Capped,” after taking part in the 1798 insurrection and was considered by those who knew him as somewhat deranged.

Pitch Capping, for those who are not familiar with the term, was a method of torture usually preceded by rendering the victim to be tied motionless, before his head was crudely shearing of all hair. This operation sometimes resulted in ears partly or fully severed, during this roughly performed “short back and sides,” haircut. The process then involved pouring hot pitch, or tar mixed with turpentine or gunpowder, depending on availability, into a cloth or paper conical shaped hat, which was then set on fire. To ensure that lessons were learned by relatives and others who might revolt against their government, the legs of the victim were often untied so that he would run around screaming for a time. The victim would then be again recaptured & restrained, his “Pitch Cap,” torn off, removing lumps of skin and flesh with it and most often killing the tortured offender.

Thurles was no better when it came to attempted intimidation. (Click on image just above for better resolution.) If you visit St.Mary’s Famine Museum, here in Thurles, you can read there, threats made against Archdeacon Henry Cotton, the local Church of Ireland minister, when he attempted to collect the same Tithe Tax. Archdeacon Cotton writes “In 1831 the opposition (in Thurles) had reached a fearful height, my collectors were assaulted and one had his skull fractured, others though guarded by policemen were attacked by a large angry mob, one lost his life, all  others were intimidated from acting for me.  I felt compelled to leave my residence, and have not yet returned to it, so great the spirit of violence…..”

I wonder is this is why Phil uses the servants entrance when attending current known public events?

Archdeacon Henry Cotton did eventually return to his home and working closely together with Roman Catholic priest Fr. Barron of St Patrick’s College, here in Thurles, led us all safely through the Great Famine period, further proof from history that forgiveness is always a strong possibility, when unjust tax laws are removed from our society, thus decriminalising the honest hardworking agreeable taxpaying citizen.

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