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County Kildare History and Heritage

Gordon Bennett Motor Race 1903

Intro and Menu | June Articles

Leinster Leader, Saturday 13 June 1903 - Page 8


The annual meeting of the Kildare Co. Council was held at Naas, on Monday. Mr. J. Brown, J.P., outgoing Chairman, presided; the other members present were:- Messrs. John Healy, J. Shiel O’Grady, Laurence Malone, Owen Cogan, J.P., Charles Bergin, P. P. Timmons, James Coffey, R. J. McKenna, J.P., P. J. Doyle, John Field, Ambrose More O’Ferrall, John Quinn, M. J. Minch, M.P., Thomas Orford, J. Kelly J.P.; Thomas Keatley, Francis Colgan, J. O’Loughlin, Peter Crosbie, Chas. Bergin, James Sunderland, George Wolfe and Lord Frederick Fitzgerald.
Mr. J. T. Heffernan, Secretary, and Mr. E. Glover, County Surveyor, were also present.

The Council proceeded to deal with the following item on the agenda paper:- “To make an order under the provisions of sub-sections (1) (2) and (3) of the Light Locomotives (Ireland) Act, 1903, declaring that certain public roads may be used by the Automobile Club for races with light locomotives on the 2nd July, 1903, such order to be in the terms of the draft, here with sent to each member of the Council, and to take such other steps for the safety of the public as the Council may determine.”

The Chairman said that having in view what occurred in the Paris-Madrid race, the duty that developed upon them was a serious one. Their duty in connection with the proposed regulations was to take every precaution that they could take for the safety of the public. The Local Government Board had sent them draft rules, which they could amend if they thought fit. There really was no amendment required, unless as regards the change of course proposed to be made near Kilcullen.

Mr. Minch asked did the order include roads within the Urban District.

The Chairman’s opinion was that it did. Mr. J. S. O’Grady inquired whether it was not the police were to keep order. Mr. Glover: Yes sir. Mr. O’Grady: And I suppose we will have them from all Ireland. Mr. Glover: Yes.

The Chairman said that the Act provides that the Automobile Club should defray any expenses incurred; and that the Council might require them to make such deposit “as may be necessary for expenses”. He did not know whether that applied to the police.

Mr. O’Grady: It is a serious matter. I think it would be very unfair to ask the ratepayers to pay for guarding this road.

Mr. Owen Cogan: How many men will be required?

Mr. Crane, County Inspector, who was in attendance, said he could not tell.

The Chairman said that the police were absolutely essential to the race being held, and therefore any expenditure attached to their service should be defrayed by the Automobile Club Committee.
Lord Frederick Fitzgerald (to Mr. Crane) – I think you should wire to the Inspector-General and ask upon whom the expense will fall.

The Chairman: I have no doubt the expenses will be borne by the Committee. At the same time, in order to make it perfectly clear, it would be no harm to send a wire.

Mr. O’Grady: I think it is only right that the Automobile Club should pay the expenses. We have gone to some expense in steam-rolling the roads.

The County Inspector despatched a wire to the Inspector-General asking on whom the expense of the extra police would fall. Up to the time of the adjournment of the meeting no reply was received.
With reference to the change in the course, the County Surveyor explained that the Club thought it better to make the alteration, having in view the fact that there were two sharp angles at Knockaulin.
After further discussion it was decided to adopt the draft rules forwarded by the Local Government Board, with the changes suggested by the Automobile Club. It was also agreed that arrangements should be made as to the control of the car and other traffic on the day of the race, at an adjourned meeting on Saturday, at 11.30 or earlier if necessary.