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Thursday, 11 December 2014

Hell no, we won’t pay

Ceathrú Thaidhg is a Gaeltacht village and townland on the Dún Chaocháin peninsula in northwestern County Mayo, Ireland. It is within Kilcommon parish in the barony of Erris. Carrowteige is a relatively small townland with an acreage of just 403 acres.

In the 1950s, the roads through Dún Chaocháin were in terrible condition. Having failed to draw the County Council's attention to the matter, a Kilcommon man and national schoolteacher, Harry Corduff, refused to pay his road taxes. He was imprisoned in Mountjoy Jail for a week. Public support for his cause was great and promoted many protests of support, including the protest in these photos outside Mountjoy and in Dublin’s city centre on 25 April 1957.

Protest in support of Harry Corduff
25 April 1957
Whether or not Harry is any way related to Willie and Mary Corduff of the Rossport Shell-to-Sea protests, I cannot tell you. Perhaps if somebody from the area or who knows the family reads this, they might let us know. Either way, it’s obvious that it is unwise to get on the wrong side of a Corduff from County Mayo!

Protest outside Mountjoy in support of Harry Corduff
25 April 1957
It also shows that there is a history of people refusing to pay taxes when they feel the services they get in return are substandard. And when those people are imprisoned for standing up for their rights, there is also a history of widespread public condemnation of this action by the government, expressed through demonstrations and protests.

Perhaps the current government were reminded of that yesterday by the turn-out for the water charges protest

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