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Thread: Charlie 'The Hare' Maguire is Dead

  1. #1
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    Default Charlie 'The Hare' Maguire is Dead

    Charlie 'The Hare' Maguire was one of the dwindling number of survivors from Ireland’s gulag of the 1940s – the industrial school system. A powerless man seemingly perceived as a rural outsider, he spent nearly two-thirds of his life in the custody of the State, and died after nearly half a century as a patient in St Davnet’s hospital in Monaghan.

    Charlie Maguire was born in 1933 on a small farm at Knockroe, near the Co Cavan village of Swanlinbar. His father, Peter Maguire, was 72 when Charlie was born. It was Peter Maguire’s second marriage. At the time of Charlie’s birth, his half-brother Owen was 37, and had long left the area. His mother Brigid Maguire (née Kelly) was a native of Killesher, Co Fermanagh. She was nearly 40 years younger than her husband. Her mother had come to the farm as a “serving woman”, and made a match for her daughter with Peter Maguire. When Charlie was six, Peter Maguire died. The Knockroe farm was left to Owen, and Charlie and his mother moved to Peter’s other farm in the neighbouring townland of Gobnafarna.

    In 1944, a local priest and the gardaí decided Charlie’s mother was unable to control him. The 11-year-old was sent to St Joseph’s Industrial School at Letterfrack, Co Galway. He never recovered psychologically from the physical abuse he suffered. At 16 he was released and spent the next eight years working on a farm in Galway. Then he made his way back to Swanlinbar. The family was traditional, even by 1950s standards. Their house was thatched and Bridget Maguire is remembered as still wearing a black shawl in the 1960s. Charlie was blamed for petty crime in the area. In 1960 he was jailed for two years, with hard labour, after being found guilty of the larceny of five hens. He was found not guilty of stealing sheaves of oats to the value of £2 (approximately €90 in today’s money), and a turf spade.

    In April 1962, soon after his release, he was charged with setting fire to a haypeck. The alleged offences were part of a dispute with a neighbour. Some older locals still claim the haypeck was rotten, and couldn’t burn. The court found Charlie unfit to plead and ordered he be detained at the Central Mental Hospital. Medical staff there assessed him as schizophrenic, but not a threat. In 1963 he was transferred to St Davnet’s Hospital, Monaghan, where he would spend the rest of his life.

    In 1971 the Forest and Wildlife Service bought his farm at Gubnafarna. He was paid £350 (approximately €7,500 in today’s terms) for the 15 acres. He was satisfied with the price. However, after the money was paid to him he had difficulties in ascertaining its whereabouts. Despite his limited education, he challenged several solicitors and banks till he tracked down the money. One bank manager was so impressed by his persistence that he attended Charlie’s funeral. He regularly challenged the Health Board in writing with facts and figures querying deductions made from his benefit. Incarceration made Charlie institutionalised. In 1983, a psychiatrist at St Davnet’s wrote: “If it were possible in some way to have the original charges processed so that he can remain on here as a voluntary patient, he would much appreciate it.”

    Unfortunately this did not happen. The fact that there is no photograph to accompany this obituary of Charlie Maguire tells its own story.

    Charlie “The Hare” Maguire: born January 14th, 1933; died October 10th, 2010 Link
    Give me a misty day, pearly gray, silver, silky faced, wide-awake crescent-shaped smile

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Charlie 'The Hare' Maguire is Dead

    RIP Charlie Maguire. A person of some initiative, by the sound of it.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Charlie 'The Hare' Maguire is Dead

    £7,500 in today's terms for a 15 acre farm eh? I wonder whether the Forestry Service had the land for long or was it quickly re-sold to someone local?

    Is it possible to see Irish Land Registry records online does anyone know? How would this chap be able to tell whether he was getting a good price or not if he was in an institution?
    Think National. Act Local. Oh- and superstition is just the dark matter of human history.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Charlie 'The Hare' Maguire is Dead

    During the time Charlie was in Letterfrack a series of letters passed between the Christian Brothers at Letterfrack and at their HQ in Dublin:

    A senior Brother in the Provincial team carried out the annual Visitation of the School. He, the Visitor, found that there was a cleavage between the Brothers in the Community, in which most of them lined up on one side or the other and two sought to remain neutral. The source of the disharmony was the punishment of a number of boys who were guilty of improper conduct. It's not stated in the letter what this 'improper conduct' might have been. The 'incident' leading to the 'cleavage' in the Christian Brothers at Letterfrack:
    The Superior of Letterfrack commissioned two Christian Brothers to punish the boys, and they did this as the boys were going to bed
    using a horsewhip rather freely’.
    Two Christian Brothers and a lay teacher witnessed the punishment from a distance, and one of the Christian Brothers later characterised it as brutal and others agreed. The report went on:
    The severe punishment was a subject of gossip in the workshops and village. The Superior of Letterfrack realises that he acted imprudently in the matter and that the consequences might have been serious. The estrangement that followed these incidents made life in the Community unpleasant. Reconciliations have been effected and let us hope they will be lasting.
    Notwithstanding the reference in the letter to the Provincial to the frequency of this punishment, later in the report the Visitor said:
    Boys appear to be happy and contented and I was assured that outside the case of severe punishment alluded to above there has been no excessive punishment.
    Following the Visitation the Provincial, wrote to the Superior of Letterfrack outlining some of the salient features of the report. He informed them that the Superior General had written to the Provincial on the subject, stating:
    One item of the Report is so serious that I confine my remarks to it. The Superior of Letterfrack who permitted the punishment which the Law of the Congregation (Act 65 of Acts of General Chapter) forbids and humanity abhors should get more than a mere reprimand ... The reputation of the Congregation is at stake. A less offence in Prior Park was punished by fines, imprisonment, dismissal of the Head of the School, and an order from the Government to close the School or to put it under new management.
    Prior Park was a residential school run by the Christian Brothers near Bath, England.

    The part of the Superior General’s letter that the Provincial omitted was:
    ...a secular body who would continue an official in office after allowing a law to be set aside to permit an offence which the common law punishes does not merit public confidence. I wish you to discuss in Council what is to be done in this case with the Superior of Letterfrack. I think the offence should not be passed over.
    There was no record of any action being taken against the Superior of Letterfrack on the strength of this suggestion, and he remained as Manager until the following year when his six-year tenure expired.

    The Congregation was aware that excessive punishment of children could be unlawful: The Visitor accepted an assurance that this case was the only case of excessive punishment, although the Sub-Superior’s letter, written less than a month before the Visitation, stressed that his reason for writing was the frequency of the acts. The Visitor did not look into the other matters of concern in the Sub-Superior’s letter, namely the duration, public knowledge, instruments used and nature of punishments. The recommendation that the Brother Superior should receive ‘more than a mere reprimand’ was ignored. The condition of the children who had been brutally horse-whipped was not given consideration in the correspondence.
    Give me a misty day, pearly gray, silver, silky faced, wide-awake crescent-shaped smile

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Charlie 'The Hare' Maguire is Dead

    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Con O'Sullivan View Post
    £7,500 in today's terms for a 15 acre farm eh? I wonder whether the Forestry Service had the land for long or was it quickly re-sold to someone local?

    Is it possible to see Irish Land Registry records online does anyone know? How would this chap be able to tell whether he was getting a good price or not if he was in an institution?
    Good questions.

    From the Land Registry FAQs Link

    Land Registry Searches:

    Who is entitled to inspect documents? Names Index, folio and map can be inspected by anyone on payment of the prescribed fee. The instrument can only be inspected by the registered owner of the property, his personal representative and any person authorised by such persons or by an order of the court or by the Land Registration Rules 1972.

    Please note: Instruments are stored off-site and will not be available on the day of request.

    Any person entitled to inspect a document filed in the Registry may obtain a copy of it.
    - - - - - - - -
    Moves are afoot though to get legal help in tracking these transactions down.
    Give me a misty day, pearly gray, silver, silky faced, wide-awake crescent-shaped smile

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