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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of the Famine in the mid-nineteenth century to the onset of the Great War in 1914, by which time the Poor Law had been replaced by a range of other policy measures such as the old-age pension and national insurance.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

Extract

Acknowledgements I would like to acknowledge the assistance of a large number of people in the completion of this book. First, I must thank Professor John Stewart, who supervised the thesis on which this book is based, for his courteous and comprehensive advice and guidance over the period of this study. His knowledge of poor law (and related issues) was only matched by his ability tactfully to def lect my wilder inclinations to go of f on tangents. I would also like particularly to thank Inga Brandes, originally of the University of Trier and now of FernUniversität in Hagen. Inga was a constant and gener- ous source of information (based on her own extensive studies of the Irish poor law) and critical comment over my period of study. During my period at Oxford Brookes University, Professor Steve King (now of the University of Leicester), Dr Virginia Crossman and Dr Elizabeth Hurren provided much assistance and support. I would also wish to thank Dr Ina Scherder (originally of Trier, now at Oxford Brookes) who generously provided information on her own research on the Galway poor law union and Anna Schüle of Trier who provided me with a copy of her Masters dissertation on outdoor relief in Milford. Finally I would like to acknowledge the very helpful comments of Dr Caitriona MacDonald and Dr Larry Geary. The research has drawn on a wide range of archival and library research in both the United Kingdom and Ireland and I would like...

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