HC Deb 04 March 1830 vol 22 c1259
Mr. O'Connell

said, he had to present to the House three Petitions from inhabitants of five parishes, composing the union of Foxford, in the county of Mayo. One of the petitions was from the Protestant inhabitants of those parishes, and he considered it a great honour to have it intrusted to his care. The hon. and learned Gentleman then detailed the substance of the petitions, which was to this effect;—that the rev. John O'Roorke was appointed vicar of the parishes in 1817, since which time he had never resided or possessed any place of residence, or performed any duty, in the union, except on a few Christmas and Easter festivals, but had resided at a town fifty miles distant, in another county and diocese, where he carried on business as a tithe-farmer and grazier; that he never contributed any thing beyond 40s. a-year to the parish; had no school there; and that the consequence was, that the children were dependent for instruction on a school established by Roman Catholics, and that many of them had lapsed from the Church of England, and embraced what they called, the errors of the Church of Rome; that the petitioners had been grievously harassed by the conduct of the said rev. John O'Roorke, whose demands for tithes had been every year increasing, while the manner of collecting those demands became every day more oppressive; that the vicar refused to take a composition of 5001. a-year of the present currency for his half share of two out of five of the parishes, though none of his predecessors had received more than 300l. a-year for the tithes of the whole union; that the vicar had demanded tithe on hay and wool, never before demanded in these parishes; that the parishioners suffered great hardships by the prosecution of those claims by the vicar, many of them being obliged to attend, pursuant to summonses issued, at the Episcopal Court, at Skreen, a village thirty-five miles distant from the centre of the union: and that in the last three years, 2,521 suits for tithes had been instituted by the said vicar. The petitioners prayed the House to take these matters into consideration, and. to afford them relief.