Crime Won't Crack Itself Mar 6, 2020 12:14:11 GMT
Post by Gerry C. on Mar 6, 2020 12:14:11 GMT
Confession time: For a few months after having the Catechism rammed down my throat at Primary School I was convinced that Protestants did not commit sin. My thinking then was entirely logical (if only that were still the case). Protestants did not have to go to Confessions, therefore they had nothing to confess. I am not entirely naïve however and came to see the error of this assumption long before meeting Ivor and other Withquiz sin bags of that persuasion.
I was reminded of those simple days when I had a daunder through the streets of Enniskillen last week. Enniskillen is a beguiling island town in half-decent weather but a bit grim in the wind and sleet of late February. Especially between hospital visiting hours awaiting another visit to a stricken brother. I found myself taking shelter within the archives of that hallowed organ “The Impartial Reporter” which has been covering events in Fermanagh and South Tyrone since 1825 (Ireland’s third oldest newspaper in case you ever get asked).
And what wonderful archives they are. Despite its titular “Impartiality” not always being immediately obvious to its Catholic readership, it has always been and remains a campaigning newspaper. It became an early champion of poor farmers during the Land Wars of the 19th century, spoke out bravely against British ineptitude during the Famine years and was only last year praised by the BBC for its exposure of the part played by local dignitaries in a long running child abuse scandal.
But, as always with local papers, it is the small news items that gives greatest pleasure. Local news for local people. I had a friend once who kept a scrapbook of glaring banner headlines lifted from the "Stoke Sentinel" about local chip pan fires. The Impartial Reporter does not disappoint in this field.
A quick search of the week in which I was born (let’s just call it a slow news week in the early 1950s) yielded this gem. I used to wonder what went on behind the forbidden doors of Orange Halls. Now I know. An everyday story of rural Fermanagh wracked by crime and a detection worthy of Sherlock Holmes.
For our younger listeners 2s – 3d = 2 shillings and 3 pence = 27p.
" Woman caught pilfering in Lisnarick Orange Hall. Mary Henry, of Shaloney, Lisnarick, was charged with stealing 2s-3d from a coat in the hall. Sergeant Hadden of Irvinestown had placed some coins coated with an invisible powder in a lady’s coat pocket in the the cloakroom following complaints of money being stolen. At 1.15 in the morning the Sergeant ordered all the doors of the hall closed and asked the men to stand by the wall. All the ladies were gathered in a circle in the middle and a basin of water was then brought around and they were asked to dip their hands into it. The defendant’s hands turned the water blue from the effects of the powder."