Arthurstown Courthouse Sabotaged

On Saturday night the 12th of March 1921 members of the Davidstown Company IRA sabotaged the courthouse in Aurthurstown. Up to 20 armed and masked men with sledge-hammers wrecked the premises. All the windows and doors were smashed and thrown on the street together with the desks and benches inside while slates were torn from the roof also. After the destruction the noise of gunshots was reportedly heard. The telegraph wire near the village had been cut to slow the arrival of any police or others who might have attempted to put a halt to their activities.

1905 OS Map of Arhturstown with location of courthouse shown fronting onto the quayside

Despite the damage the petty sessions court was held inside the following Monday with the rain and wind coming in through the broken roof and window. Lord Templemore, the owner of the building in which the courts were held, was later awarded £190 compensation for its destruction.

The building was still being used as a courthouse, despite the damages, in September 1921 as the New Ross Standard reported how during a petty sessions that month ‘… the petty sessions have been held in the wrecked premises, a temporary bench having been got under the portion of the roof that was not damaged.’ The destruction of the courthouse was an attempt by the IRA to cause disruption to the British administration. Sinn Fein courts were in operation at the time and such an incident like this would have been in their favour.

Site of the former courthouse at Arthurstown as it looks today (Google Street View)

Sources

New Ross Standard, 18th march 1921, p4

New Ross Standard, 29th April 1921, p5

New Ross Standard, 16th September 1921, p5

South Wexford Brigade Activity Reports.

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