The Blight of the Buachallan Bui

The Blight of the Buachallan Bui

Being caught for weed nowadays means being caught by the police for possession of an illegal drug such as cannabis.

But in the Ireland of the 20th century weeds of a more innocent variety could land a farmer or landowner in court.

The Noxious Weeds Act of 1936 was constituted to deal with the problems caused by noxious invaders such as ragwort, thistle and dock.

The Act allowed for any person responsible for land on which noxious weeds were growing to be fined upon conviction.

This programme entitled “The Blight of the Buachallan Bui” was commissioned by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland under its Sound and Vision Scheme.

Contributors to the 40 minute programme recall how members of the Garda Siochana used to patrol the highways and byways of rural Ireland on bicycles peering across stonewalls and hedgerows to detect breaches of the regulation.

Among the contributors to the programme is retired vet Charlie Lydon from Westport who says there was good reason for the strong regulation as ragwort was potentially deadly for cows and horses.

Horticulturist Matt Shaw from Castlebar explains that sheep were immune to the toxic effects of ragwort.

Other contributors to the programme include retired gardai John Duggan and John Kelly and retired Judge Bernard Brennan as well as Margaret Maloney, Ann Healy and Mary Ruane (all from Foxford Active Retirement Group), Paddy Cannon, John Moran, Aeneas Noonan, Michael Boyle, Senator John Carty, Sean Nixon, Mary Livingston, Johnny Mee, Mattie Gilligan, Henry Jordan, Vincent Troy, Joe Byrne, Geraldine Hynes of Teagasc and Garda Sergeant Martin Murphy (Castlebar).

The series is presented by Teresa O’Malley and co-produced by Teresa and Liamy MacNally with technical assistance from Ronan Courell.

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