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Hunger for Justice

Tony Rochford - Hunger Striker
Tony Rochford – Hunger Striker

Not for lines upon a map does he fight,
With due respects for those who did,
Not for military status does he starve,
Not for talks does he bid…
No… this man starves for justice,
Common cause of all he does fight,
In the tradition of thousands before him,
Silent media ignore his plight.
We all hunger for justice,
We dont fight, we plod along…
Our fight is taken up by one man,
Who knows not will he last long.

Will he be a Thomas Tiquin* of our time,
Martyr forgotten for the common good,
Who are too keen to reap the benefits he died for,
Yet did not fight for him when they could?
If he dies in his brave struggle
On our behalf’s, against the banks…
And the cause is won… it will be from his heroism…
Due to us who will benefit will be little thanks…

Reference
* in 1837 the owner of a local mill, Mr. Thomas Tiquin, was prosecuted for refusing to pay tithes totalling, one pound, twelve shillings and eight pence. Although defended by the eminent Q.C Mr. Rolleston of Glasshouse, Tiquin lost his case, was arrested and confined in the barracks in Shinrone,
before being transferred to Dublin’s Newgate prison (now known as Kilmainham) where despite being ” one of the finest young men in the Kilg’s County, upward of six foot, two inches in height, and the idol of his neighbourhood” he died, suddenly after his imprisonment.
Daniel O Connell and the Catholic Association, realising the indignation which the trial and death of Tiquin had aroused could be used to bring more pressure on the Government to abolish the Tithes, were determined to milk the funeral for all it was worth.
The coffin, borne in a plain hearse drawn by four black-plumed horses bearng placards that read ” Funeral of Mr. Thomas Tiquin of Shinrone, in King’s County, who died Thursday 30th May 1837, while under imprisonment in the Four Courts, Marshalsea, Dublin, for the Tithes”. It took 3 days to cross the country, stopping in Kildare, Mountrath and Roscrea. Thousands of people followed the cortege on foot, on horseback and in cars, carriages and gigs. it was 3 o clock on Sunday when the funeral reached it’s family burial ground in Banagher, where Tiquin was laid in his grave.
It’s estimated the 200,000 people took part in the funeral.
Tithes were abolished the following year and Tiquin was known as “The Last Tithe Martyr”.

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