THROUGH THE ARCHIVES: Mill workers fined for misconduct while disorderly militiaman goes free

From the News Letter, March 8, 1860

Monday, 8th March 2021, 6:00 am
An old Belfast paper mill from circa 1850s. Picture: News Letter archives
An old Belfast paper mill from circa 1850s. Picture: News Letter archives

On this day in 1860 the News Letter reported that John Rea, Hugh Blaney, Patrick Darkin and Thomas Reynolds had appeared before the Belfast Police Court the previous day.

The four were charged with “having misconducted themselves” while in the employment of Messrs Mitchell, the millowners, and having left without giving the usual notice and thereby occasioning their employer great loss.

The News Letter reported: “The charge was fully proven. The two elder prisoners were ordered to pay a fine of 20s each and costs, or in default to be imprisoned one month, and the others 10s each and costs, or fourteen days imprisonment in default of payment.”

Meanwhile, Thomas McConnell, a mill worker in the employment of the York Street Spinning Company, was also brought before the Belfast Police Court charged with similar to the earlier four.

In the case against McConnell, Thomas Corrigan, an overseer in the mill, “proved the charge”.

Mr Corrigan told the court that the prisoner had not only gone away himself without giving notice, but had brought away another lad with him. In another case before the Police Court it was heard how a militiaman had fallen about the streets in disorderly fashion.

The militiaman was named as Peter Gilligan and he was a member of the Antrim Rifles Regiment.

A police constable named Callan told the court how he had seen the prisoner kicking in several doors and had caused much disturbance in the street.

The prisoner claimed that he had been looking for lodging as he had been “disembodied” on Tuesday morning and had lost all his money.

Mr Tracy, the RM, said that as it was the first offence that had been charged against any member of the regiment and in consideration of that fact, he would discharge the prisoner.

Mr Tracy said: “The conductor the regiment had been most creditable to itself and the town and county to which it belonged.”