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Judge criticises the men of Tullamore for failure to help the war effort
Irish recruitment poster from 1915 Photo: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA

Judge criticises the men of Tullamore for failure to help the war effort

5 March 1915 - The men of Tullamore, and of King’s County in general, have been condemned for their poor response to the call to join the British Army.

At the opening of the Assizes for King’s County this week, Lord Justice Moriarty used his address to say that the vital question at the moment was army recruitment. He stated that, with respect to King’s County, the numbers heading to war were not what they should be: ‘I think it might be much better. There have joined 367 reservists and 321 new recruits. That is a small number of new recruits, having regard to the population of the county.’

Left: a letter casting doubt on the accuracy of Lord Justice Moriarty's figures. Right: official figures for recruiting in King's County between the outbreak of the war and March 1915. These figures contradict those quoted by Lord Justice Moriarty at the opening of the Assizes for King's County this week. Click to enlarge, or view as a PDF below. (Images: National Archives of Ireland, CSO RP 1915,  4573)

Only by men joining the Colours would the war end in a timely manner, but that was not happening in King’s County: ‘Recruits have chiefly come from towns, and those that are keeping back are labourers and farmers’ sons, who are not coming at all.’

Dublin Chamber of Commerce

Meanwhile a major recruitment meeting was held in Dublin under the auspices of the Dublin Chamber of Commerce.

The drummers of the Royal Irish Regiment at the Limerick Races and their recruiting banner: 'Boys come and join to fight for Ireland.' (Image: Irish Life, 5 March 1915. Full collection of Irish Life available from the National Library of Ireland)

The meeting was held on Dame Street and among those present was Major-General Friend, Commander-in-Chief of the British Forces in Ireland. He told the crowd that the nine new battalions of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers that had been created 'constituted a splendid record for the Dublin district', and drew particular attention to the great work that was being done by the men and women who voluntarily ran the recruiting office on Gratfton Street.

Commenting on the meeting, The Irish Times hailed its success and said ‘it was a fine demonstration of the loyal and helpful spirit of the business men of Dublin.

[Editor's note: This is an article from Century Ireland, a fortnightly online newspaper, written from the perspective of a journalist 100 years ago, based on news reports of the time.]

RTÉ

Century Ireland

The Century Ireland project is an online historical newspaper that tells the story of the events of Irish life a century ago.