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The West’s Awake: Peaceful Agitation Against Evictions Escalating


The words of the famous ballad “The West’s Awake” describe how the people of the West of Ireland rose up in the past against oppression and dispossession. The spirit of the song and its application to current circumstances, particularly in the West, cannot be lost to any keen observer of current affairs in Ireland.

Formed in the last number of months, Land League West (the regional grouping of National Land League branches including Mayo, Galway, Roscommon etc) has been very pro-active. Not only have they shown an evangelical zeal in terms of organising and providing advice and assistance to those in fear of eviction, but also in the form of protest. Gerry O’Boyle, recently elected chair of the Mayo and Land League West branches, and Eddie Brennan, amongst many others, have been carrying out flash protests throughout their region. LLW Protest at Banks

Gerry O’Boyle, in an interview, said of recent League developments in Mayo, “ We have to address the eviction emergency on all fronts. We can’t decide to just give advice, not when 100,000s face the road over the coming year. We have to protest too, to highlight the plight of so many people, men, women and children.”

Amongst the many actions carried out by Land League West, often with the assistance of The Hub, Galway, are :-

working with the Hub Galway to prevent the eviction of 8 families in one housing estate in Co Clare. The family received notice on the 17thof December to be out of their homes by the 19th of December. They remain in their home as I write.

■ A picket at the Offices of Seamus Carty, Auctioneers and Estate Agents that profit from selling repossessed properties.

■ Protests at Mayo, Galway and Roscommon Court Houses. Land League members have attended numerous court sittings to protest the mass eviction of thousands of families in the West of Ireland. Members of the League also enter the court rooms peacefully to assist and support homeowners inside.

■ Land League West halted a recent eviction attempt at Ballyvary, Castlebar.

■ Land League west and its supporters, within the last few weeks, stopped the sale of a home that did not even have a possession order on it. This happened at the Plaza Hotel in Westport, being sold by Tuohy auctioneers.

■ The men and women of the Western branches also regularly protest at banks and set up pickets at Enda Kenny’s constituency office.

LLW Protest at CourtsThe actions listed above are only a fraction of the activities of  members in the West of Ireland but serve to be an inspiration to branches throughout the country.

It is no mean achievement to, on the one hand, roll out an escalating plan of peaceful agitation whilst at the same time arranging the organisational structures necessary to make the League build and work, but it is happening in the West of Ireland. We will continue to report what Land League West are up to, but for now it is a safe bet to say that the west is well and truly awake.

N.B   Since the publication of this article the National Land League of Ireland has adopted a Constitution that sets out the branch types and formations acceptable within the organisation of the League, namely: The National Executive; County Branches and small area/Parish branches. Any continuance of Land League West in its historic manifestation is no longer affiliated to the National Land League of Ireland as the majority of counties in the West of Ireland now have active and functioning County branches with numerous small area/parish branches also (updated May 2015).

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