March 1st, 1945


FROM THE ARCHIVES:Rationing and other government restrictions during the second World War led to a thriving black market and other shenanigans which landed the Swords-based Fianna Fáil TD for Co Dublin, Patrick J Fogarty, in court. The case was reported apparently only through the judge’s final remarks in the very small and censored newspaper of the day.

FINES AMOUNTING to £102 were imposed on Patrick J. Fogarty, T.D., Swords, Co. Dublin, by District Justice Molony, in the Dublin District Court yesterday, on three summonses – for supplying false and misleading information to the authorities in order to obtain a permit to purchase a motor lorry, and to obtain coupons for the purchase of petrol, and for aiding and abetting Peter Rooney, Ballyboghill, to the same end.

Peter Rooney, against whom there were seven summonses in connection with the matter, and who pleaded guilty, was fined £170, with a sentence of three months’ imprisonment, the warrant not to issue unless he offends against the law within the next three years.

Reviewing the evidence, the District Justice said that Sergeant McDade had been called by the Minister for Supplies [Seán Lemass] to give evidence of all that occurred at Lusk Garda Station on October 2nd, 1943. The sergeant’s chief testimony was the production of four statements, which spoke for themselves, and corroborated Rooney’s plea of guilty. As regards the sergeant’s evidence against Fogarty, he could find nothing seriously conflicting between the sergeant’s account and Deputy Fogarty’s.

The sergeant was cross-examined as to a number of altercations between himself and the deputy “I am satisfied that the sergeant is a thoroughly reliable, honest and unbiased witness . . .” Referring to a number of letters which were put to Fogarty as having been sent to the Minister or his Department by him, District Justice Molony said: “Fogarty’s explanation was that he had to write, or have written, 60 or 70 letters each day, and that it was impossible to do all this personally. As far as these letters were concerned, they were neither written by him nor dictated by him, nor written for him by a person with instructions, nor signed by him; but Deputy Fogarty added “I stand over them.” That was a very sweeping statement.

“I confess,” said Mr. Molony, “I found it difficult to believe that letters such as these, signed with the name of a Deputy of Dail Eireann and written on official paper of Leinster House, would be sent to the Minister of State without the knowledge as to their contents and as to their being sent on the part of the Deputy and without, in fact, having been signed by him. Deputy Fogarty said that local people constantly came to his office at Swords and asked to have letters written about different matters – land, petrol coupons, and such like, and he never sees the parties or hears their complaints or writes the letters. All that is done for him, he says, “by a woman secretary.”