Reported in the News Letter during this week in 1916

Here are some of the stories reported in the News Letter 100 years ago:


Benefit Football Match at Cliftonville

[October 16]

The only senior match listed in Belfast on Saturday [October 14] was that played at Solitude between a team selected from the Linfield and Belfast Celtic Clubs and an eleven taken from the Rest of the League.

The fixture was arranged to liquidate an old standing debt of the Irish League.

Unfortunately the climatic conditions were of the most unfavourable character, rain falling in copious showers, and this had such an effect on the attendance that only a sum of £38 was taken at the gates.

A few minutes after the advertised time the storm had somewhat abated and a start was made, and although the turf was exceedingly slippery on the surface a capital game resulted in a 1-1 draw.

Dublin Rising ‘Was Sad And Humiliating’

[October 17]

Presiding at the annual Synod of the Diocese of Dublin yesterday the Most Rev Dr Bernard, in the course of his address, referred to the Dublin rising.

The year 1916, he said, had been marked by one very sad and humiliating experience. The rebellion of Easter week laid their city in ruins; it cost hundreds of lives; it brought shame on the good name of Ireland; and it was disloyal to the gallant Irishmen who were fighting in the cause of freedom on the Continent of Europe.

That it could never have achieved its object, even had the Germans succeeded in landing the rifles and ammunition which were sunk outside Cork Harbour, was plain to every thinking person, and must always have been plain.

But that it did not achieve even a temporary success, which would have meant bloodshed and disorder over a large part of Ireland, was due to the promptitude with which the Army acted, and to the vigilance of the naval authorities at Queenstown (Applause).

To the Army and the Navy the thanks of all quiet citizens of every political and religious creed were due, and he thought their services had not received sufficient recognition. (Hear, hear.)

Those who lived through the horrors of Easter week knew well with what gallantry and moderation the soldiers bore themselves in circumstances of great difficulty and under conditions calculated to arouse the worst passions. That attempts should be made for the sake of political by-ends to vilify those brave men was melancholy indeed. (Applause.) It had been surprising even to those who were familiar with political cowardice in high places that no names, either of officers or of men, had been permitted to be given to the public as deserving of special recognition. Yet there were individual instances of bravery and of humanity in that bitter street fighting which would have been creditable to veteran troops, while many of the young recruits who quelled the rebellion had never heard a shot fired in anger before.

Sir John Maxwell and his men should be assured that, whatever politicians might say or leave unsaid, large numbers of Dublin citizens were deeply grateful for their protection and for their forbearance.

Ireland And The War

[October 17]

The “Daily Mail’s” political correspondent says – The governing fact of the case is that there are at the moment three parties struggling to rule the people of Nationalist Ireland.

The first is the Government, the second the official Nationalist parliamentary party, of which Mr Redmond is the titular head and Mr Devlin the organiser; and the third is Sinn Fein. The last named hates both the others impartially.

The Nationalist party does not altogether like being in opposition to the Government during wartime, for it realises that in the long run this will not be a wise policy for Ireland; but its leaders know that the Irish people are always by nature attracted by a violent anti-Government propaganda, which Sinn Fein offers them in full measure, and that in order to win them back to the official party fold it is necessary for the Nationalists to fight the Government themselves. The demand for compulsory service in Ireland has provided them with a battleground, and apart altogether from the merits of the cause itself they are brandishing oratorical shillelaghs and advancing to an attack on the Government with the object of capturing the Irish people.

The truth – and it is the truth – therefore becomes apparent that this fight is no indication whatever of the loyalty or disloyalty of Ireland. But one need not despair. All but the most insignificant body of Irishmen hate Germany and German methods with the most bitter hatred, and know that we are fighting a just war. The Irish regiments fight with unsurpassable valour, and are the pride of Ireland. As soon as the Nationalist party in the House of Commons has shown sufficient violence to satisfy the Irish character the Government, if they achieve wisdom at last, may come forward with an acceptable recruiting scheme.

Redmond’s Motion Defeated in Commons

[October 19]

The debate in the House of Commons on Mr Redmond’s motion attacking the system of Government in Ireland as mainly responsible for the recent unhappy events and for the present state of feeling in that country ended last night in the defeat of the resolution by a majority of 197, the figures being:

For the motion – 106;

Against – 303;

Government majority – 197.

The Nationalist leader opened the debate in a speech which manifested considerable bitterness towards the Coalition Government, whose formation was, he said, the final blow to enthusiasm for recruiting in Nationalist Ireland. The spectacle of Sir Edward Carson being given a seat in the Cabinet as chief law officer meant to the mass of people that in the end they would be betrayed. As to the rebellion, if it had been dealt with in the spirit with which General Botha dealt with the rising in South Africa, probably the whole situation could have been saved. Conscription could not solve the recruiting question, but would only be an aggravation of the situation. Concluding, he called for the abolition of martial law, the release of the untried prisoners, and the treatment of penal servitude prisoners as political offenders.

The Chief Secretary’s speech warmly denied the charge that the administration in Ireland was the cause of the rebellion, while the description of the Irish Government as Unionist was a travesty. Martial law could not be withdrawn in the present circumstances, neither could the men still detained be indiscriminately thrown loose in the countryside.

The Prime Minister, in the course of a short speech, ruled out any coercion of Ulster in the matter of Home Rule; and the Home Secretary, who wound up the debate, remarked that “Ulster still blocked the way.” A question as to whether the Nationalists were prepared to leave the six Ulster counties outside the scheme was replied to by a shout of “No” from the benches below the gangway.

Fatal Accident At Larne

[October 20]

An inquest was held at the Courthouse, Larne, yesterday afternoon, relative to the death of a ship’s engineer named Peter Hughes, aged 50 years, who at midnight on Tuesday [October 17] succumbed in the Cottage Hospital to injuries sustained some three hours earlier in an accident at Larne pier. Evidence showed that the deceased was embarking in a small boat at the end of the pier to return to his ship, when he slipped from the iron ladder and fell between the boat and the pier, sustaining a fractured skull.

The jury returned a verdict of “accidental death”.

The deceased man’s home was in Glasgow, and he leaves a widow and four children.