Barbarous Murder at Ennistymon Fair by a Police Officer

30th May 1825
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Police brutality was a harsh reality for Irish people in the 19th Century

Barbarous Murder by a Police Officer —

 "We have to record one of the most wanton aggressions on human life that ever came within our cognizance as Journalists. Monday last was the fair day of Ennistimon, the County Clare, and more peaceable fair was not recollected for many years.

In the evening, about six o'clock, a countryman was pointed out the police as a person who had annoyed one of their body several months since. The man this time was going quietly home; they dragged him back, beat him, and many persons still in the fair very naturally collected to know what was the matter. 

Though the police were striking the man, there was not even apparent disposition to interfere with them. Still they primed and loaded, and whilst in the act of doing this, as respectable an inhabitant as resides in Ennistimon, called to them from his window and desired them not to fire, as there was danger of breach of the peace. 

To this one of our life-preservers answered, "take him idown," and immediately a sub-consiable, named E. Tarlton, levelled his gun, not in the direction of the window, but humanely firing into an inoffensive crowd of 300 people, drove a ball through the breast of woman in a state of pregnancy! She expired next morning.

Tarlton, not wit dismayed by the melancholy effect of his murderous aim, exclaimed that was sorry did not shoot more ; and turned round to his comrades to bring them account for not firing also.

Two highly respectable Magistrates, Andrew Finucane, Esq., and Major McNamara, arrested him, and so little requisite was the interference of the police that the entire party, with the exception, believe, of the Serjeant, were placed custody the military.

Next day an inquest was held on the body of the unfortunate deceased, when, after the fullest investigation, Tarlton was ordered be committed to stand his trial at the next Assizes for the murder. Our correspondent calls our notice the conduct of the chief, whose name is suppressed, and of Serjeant Wood, on this Occasion. 

The Serjeant, short time after the murder, rode through the fair most violently, and because a cobler named Guttery was unable to get out his way, he made a blow with his sword, that were it not ! for some leather which Gultery had in his hat, would have sacrificed another life.

The Chief, who, from an early part of the day, was all the spirit of authority, amused himself, and endeavoured to irritate the people, depriving even those who were driving cattle, of their sticks, and breaking every pipe met in the fair. If such is the employment of our police force, a portion the country unmarked by violence or disorder, humbly think it imperatively calls for investigation from the higher authorities. — Limerick Evening Post 2 June 1825