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Poor Relief in Ireland, 1851-1914

Mel Cousins

This book examines the provision of poor relief in Ireland from the immediate aftermath of the Famine in the mid-nineteenth century to the onset of the Great War in 1914, by which time the Poor Law had been replaced by a range of other policy measures such as the old-age pension and national insurance. The study establishes an empirical basis for studying poor relief in this period, analysing over time the provision of indoor and outdoor relief and expenditure levels, and charts regional variations in the provision of poor relief. The author goes on to examine a number of issues that highlight political and social class struggles in relation to the provision of poor relief and also considers in fascinating detail the broader role of the Poor Law and the Boards of Guardians within local communities.


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Acknowledgements ix List of Illustrations xi Introduction 1 Chapter 1 Poor Relief in Ireland, 1851–1914 9 Chapter 2 Regional Trends in the Poor Law 31 Chapter 3 Poor Relief and Family Structures 61 Chapter 4 The Poor Law in the Post-Famine Decades, 1851–1878 81 Chapter 5 The Land War and Local Politics, 1879–1891 113 Chapter 6 Outdoor Relief and Labourers’ Cottages: Nationalism and/or Economics? 135 viii Chapter 7 The Poor Law and the ‘Plan of Campaign’, 1886–1891 161 Chapter 8 The Democratisation of Local Government and the Poor Law, 1892–1906 185 Chapter 9 The Broader Role of the Boards of Guardians in Local Politics and Community 203 Chapter 10 The End of the Poor Law, 1907–1914 237 Conclusion 261 Appendix 1 275 Appendix 2 279 List of Sources Consulted 283 Bibliography 289 Index 303

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