The Republican Courts were set up and these were another blow at British Administration. They functioned throughout West Waterford and litigants flocked to them because they got cheap justice and most of the solicitors and barristers appeared in them.
Volunteers had taken over many of the ordinary duties from the R.I.C. In the General Election 1918, they took over the guarding of the Ballot Boxes and protecting voters. In this 1918 Election, in almost every constituency, except Ulster, Sinn Fein deputies were elected. These elected Deputies, chose Cathal Brugha……who was a member for County Waterford, and at the time Chief-of-Staff of the Volunteers, as President, and it was at that time that the Volunteers, officially came under the authority of Dail Eireann, and became the Arm of the Irish Republic. Some time later De Valera was elected President and he appointed Cathal Brugha as Minister for Defence.
Due to the R.I.C. inactivities as a police force, and as they ceased to function, the Republican Courts took over. Some people thought that no law or order existed and tried to take advantage of the situation, but found themselves in difficulties with the Republican Administration. The big problem was that in dealing with offenders, there were no jails to contain them. This gave rise to the following little song which was popular at the time.
"This is how they do it in Ireland,
If you will not toe the line,
They'll take you off on a big long looney,
Down to a place called Leamybrien".
Another I.R.A. activity was to prevent the collection of Income Tax. Tax Offices were raided as happened Lismore and Dungarvan, and papers and records were destroyed. R.I.C. resignations continued. More Tans and Military were drafted into the area. They instituted a reign of terror throughout the country. Raids, suppressions, killings, confiscations and all the stock and trade [of Britain] failed to break the moral of the Volunteer soldiers. They [Military, Tans etc] held up unarmed people, and murdered some of them, as happened in the case of Mrs. Foley at Carriglea…..an old woman out gathering some sticks for the fire, was shot by the English Military. This [Brigade] area was also subjected to repeated raids by the Military from the surrounding garrison towns of Youghal, Fermoy, Clonmel and Waterford.
The Volunteers Organisation in West Waterford had grown from Company to Battalion strength, and from Battalion strength to Brigade, [all] Brigades being subject to G.H.Q. in Dublin. Later on divisions were formed and the brigade was part of [1st] Southern of which Liam Lynch was O.C.
Author: Domnall O'Faoláin