From the Papers 17 January 1916: The Extraordinary Peregrinations of Thomas Parker and Storms Cause Havoc in County Galway

Snippet taken from the Galway Express on 17 January 1916

Extract from the Galway Express 17.1.16

Parker the Prodigal

Bogus Officer Who Decieved Old Age Pensioners

An old friend in a new role has appeared in the Co. Galway within the past week. Residents of the county will recall the notorious Thomas Parker, who has familiarized himself to many a household. In the good old day his forte was to represent himself to unsuspecting persons as an official of the Congested Districts Board, charged with the important functions of distributing lands to needy tenants, and on the strength of these representations (or misrepresentations) the traditional hospitality of the Irish peasants was cordially extended to one who appeared in such a philanthropic role.

As a bogus representative of the C.D.B. he was successful for a time in practicing on the credulity of many people, but he subsequently disappeared – within the confines of an inhospitable jail. Here he languished for some time, and he signalized his release later by appearing in a new role, that of old age pension officer. 

His first appearance was in Tubbercurry, next in Ballina, then he ‘worked’ the districts of Foxford, Castlebar and Westport, whence h set the compass for Connemara. His next known debut was in Spiddal, which he visited in his ‘official’ capacity last Friday morning. His modus operadni was to visit old age pensioners, inspect their books, and then regretfully inform them that owing to the necessity for economy it was found expedient to suspend payment of the pensions as from 1st February next, but that each pensioner would receive as compensation a lump sum of about £50.

In no case has Parker demanded food, lodging or money, but his actions implied he was entitled to all or either of such. In Spiddal district Parker directed his credulous septuagenarians to be ready to go into Galway on the 7th inst., where he would pay them all their lump sums at the Bank of Ireland adding that he would have cars to take them. Needless to add, the cars were not available on that morning, nor was the ubiquitous Parker. On Sunday he passed through Galway, but as he was traveling incognito the presence of the august visitor was not known. On last Tuesday he made his appearance in Oranmore, making as if for Athenry, since when nothing has been heard of him. In the meantime, however, the R.I.C. steam-roller has been set moving, and an unconditional surrender is expected.

Extract from Galway Express, 22.1.16

‘Last week we gave an exclusive account of the extraordinary peregrinations of an individual named Thomas Parker, who has been going throughout County Galway and the counties adjoining, representating himself as an old age pensions officer, a role which he had adopted in lieu of hisformer one – that of C. D. Board inspector.  Parker has now been arrested in Tullow, Co. Clare.’

‘A storm of exceptional severity swept over Galway on Wednesday and Thursday nights and much damage to property and houses in the country districts is reported.  The Corrib has swollen to a remarkable extent, and has overflown its banks in many places, causing damage to adjoining lands and crops.  The Galway Bay Steamboat Company’s vessel, the “Dun Aengus,” was unable to proceed with her regular sailings to Aran.  Several wires in the post office were fused by the lightning on Wednesday night.’

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