Irish Blue Shirts Will Not Pay Taxes
Dublin, Irish Free State (AP) — General Eoin O’Duffy’s Blue Shirt Party are on record with a resolution pledging its refusal to pay annual land taxes so long as President De Valera continues the trade dispute with Great Britain.
The resolution was passed at the annual conference of the Blue Shirt Party, a conference which was attacked by a mob of 1,000 persons throwing rocks.
Numerous persons were injured in the fighting, adding to the casualties suffered throughout the week of scattered disorders following upon tax sale troubles at Cork last Monday.
The Blue Shirts — The United Ireland Party — pledged themselves to resist the seizure of lands and cattle by the government for non-payment of taxes.
Another version adds this detail:
The resolution was [passed] at the annual party conference after a weekend of bitter hand-to-hand fighting in which a number of Blue Shirts emerged with cracked heads.
The Blue Shirts also pledged resistance to seizure of lands and cattle and similar government acts which led to the riot at Cork last Monday. While the conference was sitting, County Cork farmers felled trees in the roads, cut telephone wires and made other efforts to prevent further seizure of cattle for unpaid annuities.
An earlier dispatch gives more details on what had been going on in Cork:
Cork, (AP-Havas) — Six Blue Shirts were standing guard today over the body of a farmer killed in ’s riot, when police fired upon a crowd attempting to prevent the forced sale of cattle seized for non-payment of taxes.
The fact that Blue Shirts were the death watch was interpreted here as indicating that General Owen O’Duffy’s Fascist United Ireland party were behind the riot. This belief was further strengthened by a report that E.J. Cussen, member of the executive committee of the Blue Shirts, was one of the many wounded.
Eleven farmers arrested during the riot appeared in police court and were remanded for further investigation.
Thousands of farmers and their women folks turned out in an orderly demonstration at the funeral of young Michael Patrick Lynch, who was killed by police during a fight at a tax sale . Lynch was a member of the opposition “Blue Shirt” party, and its leader, Eoin O’Duffy, came here from Dublin for the services.
After the funeral O’Duffy declared the condition of Irish farmers is now as bad as when the famine of 80 years ago caused many to emigrate to North America. Thousands of persons lined the streets and marched in the procession as Lynch was buried. Many wore bandages over wounds inflicted in the terrific battle in which he was killed as he drove a motor lorry through police lines to prevent the sale of two neighbors’ cattle for taxes.
O’Duffy demanded that police engaged in the affray be dismissed, accusing them of responsibility for the shooting.
“Farmers’ cattle and furniture have been seized,” he said, “and farmers have been imprisoned unlawfully. Several times I have called upon the Government to make a settlement of the land war, but they have reduced the farmer to the position he was in when the great famine came 80 years ago.”
Although the Free State Government has stopped paying land annuities to Great Britain, collection of the money from farmers has continued, the proceeds being held in a special treasury fund.
Farmers throughout Munster observed an hour’s cessation from work during the funeral, and shopkeepers were asked to close their places of business. There were no disorders , but O’Duffy’s car was attacked without serious results. A number of “Blue Shirts” were beaten later as they were returning to their homes after escorting Lynch’s coffin from an undertaking establishment to the church.