PUBLIC MANAGEMENT IN IRELAND
The extent to which the movement in favour of the public
management of the liquor traffic is rapidly spreading is
further illustrated by the recent formation of the Ulster
Public-Houses Trust Company, Limited, which began operations
at Carnmoney, near Belfast, in May, 1901. The promoters
have but one inn at present, but they hope shortly to extend
their operations and acquire other public-houses. The principles
of management are practically the same as those adopted
by the Bishop of Chester's Association.
The inns are to be conducted as " refreshment-houses
and not ' drinking bars'; food and non-intoxicants will
be supplied as readily as intoxicants and during the same
hours." The surplus profits, after allowing a sufficient
sum for depreciation, reserve, and interest not exceeding
5 per cent, on invested capital, " will be administered
by carefully selected trustees for the benefit of the community."
THE CROWN AND SHAMROCK, CARNMONEY, NEAR BELFAST
May 31st, 1901
The Company began operations by acquiring an inn in the
parish of Carnmoney, about a mile beyond Glengormley, and
seven miles north of Belfast. The inn, which is now named
the Crown and Shamrock, had a bad reputation, and, according
to the Belfast News-Letter, was formerly " the scene
of frequent disturbances and irregularities of various kinds,
and gave the police of the district continual trouble. The
magistrates had, indeed, threatened to withdraw the licence,
but the Company -topped in and saved the situation, and
the house has titered on a new chapter in its history, which
promises o be more satisfactory than its past career."
Considerable alterations were made in the premises in order
to adapt them to the new requirements. "The areas in
front of the house have been enclosed with neat fences of
ash and oak, and provided with seats, and on the west side
they terminate with a verandah of similar construction,
leading to a glass door, by which entrance is gained to
the principal room of the inn. This is a long, low-ceilinged
apartment, containing a bay window of the old English type,
with a cosy seat running round it, and not far from the
window is an antique chimney-corner, such as may still be
seen in old farmhouses and cottages in the counties of Antrim
and Down. ... On each side of the fireplace is a ' seat
for one,' and it is easy to imagine that on cold and damp
days these cosy ingle-nook seats will be favourites with
frequenters of the inn. The room is furnished with beech
tables and rush-bottomed seats, and it is altogether as
snug an apartment as one could desire. Adjoining it is the
bar-room, which has undergone a complete transformation.
The bar has been entirely remodelled, and arranged more
in accordance with the requirements of such a hostelry,
no undue prominence being given to intoxicating liquors."
(Belfast News-Letter, June 1st, 1901. ).
Persons frequenting the inn are not to be subjected to
any rules or restrictions " other than those prescribed
by law or sanctioned by the licensing authorities, but everything
possible will be done by influence and example to prevent
misconduct or the use of objectionable language, and to
maintain the high standard of the establishment."
There is no hard and fast rule about the amount of liquor
to be supplied to a customer, but "the manager is under
strict orders to carry out the spirit as well as the letter
of the law, and refuse more to anyone who, according to
his judgment, has had enough. And the judgment of the manager,"
it is added, " is not liable to the bias which might
ensue from his personal loss, for he gets a fixed salary
with a percentage or bonus on non-intoxicants, and has no
interest in the sale of spirituous liquors at all."
(Rev. E. C. Hayes, in an article in The Visitor, the
organ of the Chinch of Ireland Temperance Society, July,
The precise method of appropriating the surplus profits
has not yet been fixed, but the promoters, among whom are
several local clergymen, " hope to be in a position
to give generous assistance to many deserving projects which
will benefit the large parish of Carnmoneyfor instance,
a coal-fund, a poor-fund, or a fund for the support of a
nurse for the sick poor in the district. This, however,
is a matter for future consideration." It is certainly
to be hoped that when this " future consideration "
is given, these suggested appropriations will be modified,
for in giving the inhabitants of the parish so direct an
interest in the sales, they appear to be hardly less objectionable
than the direct relief of rates sanctioned in Gothenburg.
The customers are drawn from three distinct classes; namely,
(1) neighbouring mill-hands, (2) small farmers on their
way to and from market, and (3) cyclists. At present the
house is said to do most with the third class.
The inn, which was opened on May 31st, 1901, has been working
for too short a time to show decisive results, " but
already," according to the testimony of the Eev. E.
C. Hayes, one of the promoters of the experiment, "
there is much to interest and very much to hope. Of course
many are exceedingly puzzled as to what it all means. Difficulties
daily arise for solution. And even after years of working
it is not to be expected that one reformed house among scores
of the normal type will have any startling effect upon the
country-side. But a beginning must be made in every movement,
and if this little social experiment succeeds, its originators
are not without ambition for a wider activity. It was with
that view they formed themselves into ' The Ulster Public-Houses
Trust Company, Limited.' By increasing their capital according
to need, they hope, as occasion affords, to buy up other
housesor even apply for new licences when they are
becoming necessary, and run them on the Oarnmoney model."
(Article in The Visitor, July, 1901.)