Croghan Landlord accused of using Public Works funding to exact Rack-Rents from Tenants

27th March 1850
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During the Great Irish Famine 1846-51, Rev. Fr. Timothy O'Beirne was a curate at Croghan. His letters to the Roscommon Messenger attack landlord Guy Lloyd's response in Croghan.

To Editor of the 'Roscommon Messenger.' 

Hermitage, Croghan, Boyle

March 27th, 1850. 

DEAR SIR -“ In vain have I been looking over the columns of the Tablet for the last fortnight, to see if our Croghan landlord, Mr. Guy Lloyd, took up the gauntlet in his own defence, and came forward to vindicate his character before the public. It appears from his profound silence he is fully aware that "facts are stubborn things" which it is not lawful to contravene.

In my last letter I showed that Mr. Lloyd, instead of appropriating the government money to the use for which it was originally intended, made use of it an engine to exact enormous rack-rents from his tenants where he gives employment to none, who have not payed their rent up  to certain time. 

I now proceed to prove, by few facts more, that everything Mr. Lloyd does in the way of charity is to aggrandize himself, and put money in his own coffers. When men has not paid up his rent to a certain time, how is he able qualify for labour? He is politely invited by Mr. Lloyd (Paddy or Jack or whoever his name may be) to apply to his loan office, with good bail, and he gets the amount of his rent, which he is obliged to pay back again, in weekly stalments  of labour, at perhaps 5 1/2d or 6d per day. -  Recollect, Paddy must pay a high amount of interest also;  it should be more properly called ursury!

As I have touched on the loan office, it will not be amiss to go back to its origin. At the time this charitable loan fund was first established, no person could get the loan money, except he was recommended by Bartly Dowd and his apostates, who sold their birth-right (like another Esaw)  for mess of pottage. These worthies were employed by Mr. Lloyd to carry on the pious work of Proselytism of which he was said to an active agent. These were his confidants and trustees. These apostates stood higher in his estimation than the original Protestants of the neighbourhood. If man wished to get the loan, he should get into the graces of these pious missionaries. Thus an inducement was held out to persons to  abandon the faith of their fathers, but thanks to Heaven, he failed in that speculation, though if I am  rightly informed, he received money to a large amount for the aforesaid purpose ; he cannot be idle for when fails in one traffic, he begins another. 

Before I conclude this letter, allow me to say a  word or two on another abuse connected with the public works at Mr. Lloyd s property. It is this -  Mr. Anderson the Steward keeps a provision store, out of which, it is said, the men are paid in meal, and not in money, at a halfpenny or penny higher than they would get it in the market; £50 perhaps go to pay £lOO in this way. The first gang of men that are paid by Mr. Anderson or the pay Clerk, at one of the houses, goes down to Mr. Anderson the other end, and pays the £5 for meal, this money goes back again, and so on, until all is paid. I thought it was contrary to law for any officer of public works to keep an eating or provision store of  any kind. The Commissioners Public Works, to whom the proper allocation of this government loan committed should, and ought, to look to these abuses.

I fear I have trespassed too much on your precious paper, but I trust the cause in which I am engaged will plead the apology of your obedient servant, 

T. O'Beirne, C.C.