Tales from the Town Hall
BY contrast with the beginning of the century the start of the second decade (1910) saw little change in the situation of Naas town. The 1911 census recorded the town’s highest population with a count of 3,842 people. So much was achieved in the formative years of Naas UDC but little did the urban district members and the citizens of Naas know what was to come in 1914 – The First World War and the Blackout. Councillor Michael Fitzsimons was re-elected chairman of the UDC and was to fill the position on another eighteen occasions. The UDC congratulated Mr John Redmond MP and the Irish Party on the triumph of the Home Rule Bill through the House of Commons. The UDC members were also to condemn the importation of Sunday newspapers from Britain because their content was deemed not suitable for Irish readers. The content was described as “evil, wicket and corrupt” and a strong appeal was made to Irish newsagents not to sell these “filthy publications until an Irish legislature is in place to control this most inappropriate literature which will corrupt the minds of young people”. Another topic that was discussed at a number of meetings was “Steam Rolling” in Naas. The cost of steam rolling in Naas was estimated at £12 per week which involved hiring the equipment and the labour and materials used. At the January meeting of the UDC a letter from Colonial T J De Burgh was read thanking the members for expressing a desire that he should remain on the council but he regretted that he could not, owing to the change in the hour of the meeting. There is no record of any person being co-opted to replace Colonel De Burgh. A dispute between the UDC and the railway company (Sallins to Tullow ) was discussed regarding overdue rates. The council agreed to take legal action and conferred with Messrs Brown & McCann solicitors as to the council’s claim against the Great Southern & Western Railway Company in respect to the rates for the years 1910-1911-1912 and 1913. The council were advised through counsel Mr Murnaghan BL that in his opinion they were entitled to recover the full amounts outstanding. Wages were on the agenda for the March meeting where comparisons were made for rates of pay in three different areas. In Kildare it was £1 a week, Newbridge £65 per year and in Sallins it was 18 shillings a week. The wages in Naas were 15 shillings a week which had been set ten years earlier. A letter to the council on behalf of Mr Rogers, the caretaker of the waterworks and the workmen under the town surveyor, prompted a heated discussion. A motion was proposed to send the request to committee for further discussion because of the serious nature of the request. One councillor proposed an increase to Mr Roger’s salary to 24 shillings per week which was referred to the committee. However a request for an increase to the medical officer’s salary met with approval and the salary was increased to £30 per year. After more heated discussions the position of the lamplighters was also put on the agenda.