Friday, February 26, 2021

A Deaf Blind Workhouse Inmate, sentenced to a month's imprisonment in Galway

A story about Michael Curley - a Deaf-Blind man - sentenced to 1 month in prison - for disorderly conduct in Galway workhouse.
"At Galway Petty Sessions, Michael Curley, a blind man, was charged by the Galway Board of Guardians with disorderly conduct in the Workhouse on the 4th October. Mr. O’Toole, Master of the Workhouse, stated that Curley had gone into the workhouse 25 times since last January. On the 4th ult., witness saw the windows broken, but did not see the defendant do it. Defendant was a great nuisance. Cross-examined, witness said he was aware that defendant was both blind and deaf. Mr. Hanley, porter of the workhouse, deposed that on the night in question, he heard knocking at the door and the noise of windows being broken. When he opened the door, he found the defendant there, having climbed the outer gate. Defendant was a very great nuisance; came in under the influence of drink often, and kicked up rows. The Chairman inquired how it was that the defendant’s people managed to communicate with him, or how he got on if he went into a shop. Mr. Daly (defending) contended that the case could not be maintained, as the defendant was deaf and blind, and, therefore, unable to plead. It was a case in which the defendant ought to be sent to a suitable institution for the deaf and dumb. Sergt. Cunningham said the man had a very significant manner of making known his wants when in a shop, by tapping on the counter a certain number of times with his stick (laughter). He had already done a month in jail for begging at Salthill. The Chairman said the only place to which they could send the defendant was the prison, as they had no power to send him elsewhere. He would be sentenced to a month’s imprisonment." Source: Connacht Tribune, 14 Nov 1914 - see also https://connachttribune.ie/galway-in-days-gone-by-566/

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