The song tells about one of many similar tragedies in nineteenth-century Ireland.
The Wikipedia article about the lake Lough Sheelin writes about it:
Lough Sheelin (from Irish: Loch Síodh Linn meaning “lake of the fairy pool”) is a limestone freshwater lough (lake) in Ireland located in County Westmeath, County Meath and County Cavan near the villages of Finnea (also spelled Finea) and Mountnugent and the town of Granard, (County Longford).
The lake is naturally populated by brown trouts whose native stocks had depleted in recent years, hence the Central Fisheries Board stocking with farm reared the lake for the pleasure of anglers. Trout stocks are estimated to be over 100,000.
It is also the setting of the song “Lough Sheelin Eviction”, made popular by The Wolfe Tones. The lyrics tell the sad, but unfortunately, too typical story of a family being evicted from their home by an unforgiving & merciless landlord. Absentee landlords were common in Ireland and for many landlords the main interest was income rather than the conditions of their tenants. Many landlords realized that they could get a higher income by turning their properties to pasture than to continue with the old practice of collecting rents from tenant farmers. Evictions were the most common way of getting rid of unwanted tenants. In the song, the woman, Eileen, dies in the cold and the man is forced to flee his native land in order to find a new home.
It seems that the British government now wants to bring back the horrors of nineteenth-century Ireland to twenty-first century Britain.
From daily News Line in Britain:
Wednesday, 27 March 2013
Stop ‘bedroom tax’ evictions
The Bedroom Tax will lead to massive rises in rent arrears and homelessness, hitting the poorest people the hardest, Margaret Hodge, Chairwoman of the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of MPs said yesterday.
The tax comes in on 1st April next week, hitting housing benefit (HB) for tenants deemed to have spare bedrooms, who will have a 14 per cent cut for those with one extra room, and 25 per cent for those with two or more.
The bedroom tax will see affected tenants lose an average of £14 a week, while the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) expects 660,000 tenants will be affected by the cut. It is certain to lead to mass evictions.
Committee chair, Labour MP Margaret Hodge, said: ‘Even small reductions in housing benefit can have a severe impact on the finances of the poorest people.’
‘The first thing that springs to mind is that communities will defend themselves out of necessity. They have nowhere to downsize to.
‘Single households are being multiply hit with removals of benefits. There are people who are already affected because they are disabled who are now being affected by the bedroom tax and they can’t afford it.
‘Coupled with the absense of adequate social housing to downsize to, communities will have to defend themselves, it’s not a question of should they, it’s one of necessity. They are between a rock and a hard place.
‘The Labour Party needs to take responsibility and take action, their handling nauseates me.
‘Labour brought in a bedroom tax for private tenants and they have no plans to abolish the bedroom tax if they get back into power, so any noise they are now making against the bedroom tax is empty, absolutely empty.
‘I think there should have been general strikes for the last three years. Calling a march once a year is an empty gesture.
‘The bedroom tax is happening in the context that, for the first time in my life at the age of 42, I am comfortable in using a phrase like class war.
‘This is class war, an out and out attack on the most vulnerable in society. Services, jobs and homes are all being cut to ribbons.’
The PAC also warned that when Universal Credit comes into force, paying benefit to the claimant rather than the landlord, it will result in a sharp rise in evictions.
Hodge said: ‘Experience from the past suggests that stopping direct payments to social landlords will simply lead to an increase in arrears and evictions.’
More than five million families in England face the choice of putting food on the table or keeping a roof over their heads, housing charity Shelter warned.
Britain: HUNDREDS of thousands of welfare claimants are being denied support by the social services, and are being referred to foodbanks by Job Centre staff if they don’t have enough cash to buy food: here.
- Wales News: Bedroom tax sting for kidney patient with dialysis machine in spare room (walesonline.co.uk)
- Five things David Cameron doesn’t want you to know about the Bedroom Tax (leftfootforward.org)
- Councils told to use legal loophole in a bid to help tenants avoid bedroom tax (dailyrecord.co.uk)
- Bedroom tax: why you should march against this heartless, pointless ‘reform’ | Polly Toynbee (guardian.co.uk)
- ‘I’d rather go to jail than pay bedroom tax’ – husband carer’s desperation over controversial welfare cut (dailyrecord.co.uk)
- No Evictions for Bedroom Tax (bellacaledonia.org.uk)
- Tommy Sheridan: I went to jail over the poll tax and I’m prepared to do the same over bedroom tax (dailyrecord.co.uk)