Steeped in Sligo’s Past,      Actively Securing Sligo’s Future
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2018©PJ
Ranelagh, County Roscommon
2016 Sligo Field lub Events
Ranelagh, County Roscommon
2016 Sligo Field lub Events
When the first Sligo County Council was elected in 1899, it swept away the old Grand Jury regime   A   Grand   Jury   controlled   local   administration   in   Co.   Sligo from    the    early    17th    century    until    it    was    replaced    by    the    first elected    County    Council    in    1899.    It    had    powers    to    build    and maintain   roads,   bridges,   jails,   courthouses,   mental   hospitals   and other   public   establishments,   to   appoint   public   officials   and   to   raise the   funds   needed.   It   consisted,   in   the   main,   of   twenty-three   jurors from    a    list    of    propertied    gentlemen    and    selected    by    the    High- Sheriff of the county.   Its   constitution   and   its   running   of   affairs   were   the   source   of much     discontent.     While     Sligo     Grand     Jury     had     many     civil achievements   to   its   credit,   e.g.   Sligo   jail,   its   mental   hospital,   City hall   and   courthouse,   together   with   many   fine   bridges,   nationally, the   grand   jury   system   had   developed   a   reputation   for   abuse   of powers.    With    some    exceptions    repeated    efforts    for    its    reform especially   by   E.   S.   Cooper,   M.P.,   of   Markree,   were   defeated   by property-owner   supporters   in   Westminster.   Despite   the   removal   of catholic      exclusion      in      1793,      it      was      dominated      by      a protestant/unionist      ascendancy   with   rare   exception   into   the   late 19th   century.   More   than   any   other   issue   for   the   catholic/nationalist population,   the   funding   of   grand   jury   activities   was   levied   not   on the    owners    of    property    but    on    the    occupants        of    land,    mainly catholic.   In    an    era    of    national    growth,e.g.    the    Ballot   Act    of    1872, Parliamentary   (Ireland)   Act   of   1850,   the   Land   League   and   the growing   Home   Rule   movement,   Westminster   passed   the   The   Local Government   (Ireland) Act   of August   1898   that   would   transfer   local administration   to   an   elected   rather   than   a   selected   authority.   The change     was     “revolutionary”.          A     nationally     94%     unionist dominance   in   the   grand   jury   was   replaced   by   a   74%   nationalist local   government,   the   remaining   26%   being   mainly   Ulster-based. In Sligo the change was total.
 Pat O’Brien A   retired   industrial   engineer,   project   manager   and   former secretary   and   president   of   Sligo   Field   Club,   Pat   O’Brien   has   had an    interest    in    history    since    childhood.    Since    retirement    he    has completed   a   dissertation   on   the   Kilross   elements   of   the   1749   census of   Elphin   for   NUI   Maynooth,   contributed   several   local   townland history   articles   to   the   Corran   Herald,   articles   on   the   roads   and bridges   of   Riverstown   parish   for The   Riverstown   Story   and   articles on   the   site   of   the   deBurgo   Sligo   Castle   and   the   saltworks   in   Co. Sligo    for    Sligo    Field    Club    publications.    The    operation    of    Sligo Grand Jury has not been previously researched extensively.