This was an incident that highlighted vividly the injustices that Irish tenant farmers suffered during the 19th century. Many tenants were evicted for inability to pay rent during the The Great Hunger, but quite often the evictions were at the ruthless whim of landlords. Over 300 people in the village of Ballinlass, Co Galway are evicted by their landlord.
The 300 inhabitants of the village of Ballinlass were relatively ‘wealthy’ and able to pay their rent. But despite this fact, they were evicted because the landlord, a Mrs Gerrard, intended to establish a grazing farm where the village was situated. Following the eviction, all the housing was destroyed by army and police. The tenants slept in the ruins overnight but the next day, police and army returned to evict them permanently. Their neighbours were not allowed to take them in.
Even the London Times, never a supporter of Irish rights railed against this particular injustice.
‘How often are we to be told that the common law of England sanctions injustice and furnishes the weapons of oppression? How long shall the rights of property in Ireland continue to be the wrongs of poverty and the advancement of the rich be the destruction of the poor?’