Irish Poor Laws
The Irish Poor Laws were a series of Acts of Parliament intended to address social instability due to widespread and persistent poverty in Ireland. While some legislation had been introduced by the pre-Union Parliament of Ireland prior to the Act of Union, the most radical and comprehensive attempt was the Irish act of 1838, closely modelled on the English Poor Law of 1834. In England, this replaced Elizabethan era legislation which had no equivalent in Ireland.
In 1703, the Irish Parliament passed an act for "Providing the erection of a workhouse and for the maintenance and apprenticing out of foundling children". By 1771, there were 'Houses of Industry in every county and by 1833, the total cost was £32,967.
The Irish Poor Law was enacted by the British Government in 1837 and gave powers to each Board of Guardians to collect a Poor rate as a form of taxation to support the local parish Union Workhouse.
During the Great Famine, workhouses became so overwhelmed that large numbers of paupers were assisted to emigrate. This had the effect of permitting more to enter the workhouse in the hope of escaping starvation and disease. In response, Guardian-assisted emigration was reserved only for those who had received indoor relief for over two years.
After Irish Independence
Following independence, Boards of Guardians were replaced by County Boards of Health or County Boards of Public Assistance.
- Nassau William Senior – Letter...on a legal provision for the Irish poor (1831)
- Poulett Scrope, George Necessity of Poor Law for Ireland in Principles of political economy (1833)
- English tourist, EG Inglis, visits Dublin's Mendicity Institute, House of Industry and Foundling Hospital (1834)
- Selection of Parochial Examinations Relative to the Destitute Classes in Ireland Royal Commission of Enquiry (1835)
- George Nicholls – Poor laws—Ireland: Three reports (1838)
- Torrens, Robert Plan of an association in aid of the Irish Poor Law (1838)
- Poulett Scrope, George – Letters to the Right Hon. Lord John Russell, on the expediency of enlarging the Irish poor-law to the full extent of the poor-law of England (1846)
- O'Connor, John The Workhouses of Ireland: The Fate of Ireland's Poor 1995 : ISBN 978-0-947962-71-5
- Crossman, Virginia Politics, Pauperism and Power in Late Nineteenth-century Ireland : 2006 : ISBN 978-0-7190-7377-9
- Burke, Helen The people and the poor law in 19th century Ireland : 1987 : ISBN 978-0-905223-94-0
- *Butt, Isaac The poor-law bill for Ireland examined, its provisions and the report of Mr. Nicholls contrasted ... (1837) at Internet Archive.
- MacDonagh, Oliver : The Poor Law, Emigration and the Irish Question 1830–'55 : in Christus Rex – Studies in Irish History : January 1958
- Gray, Peter The Making of the Irish Poor Law, 1815–43 MUP 2009 ISBN 978-0-7190-7649-7
- Collison Black, R.D – Economic Thought and the Irish Question 1817–1870, 1993 (reprint of 1960) ISBN 978-0-7512-0124-6
- Anderson, James Pauperism: Poor Relief in Ireland—Some Suggestions (from "Ireland's Hope: A Call to Service"), 1913
- The Workhouse in Ireland
- Hidden Wexford Genealogy – births in the Wexford Workhouse 1851–1893
- Elements of Irish Poor Law Repealed Irish Statute Book[dead link]
- Irish Poor Law Union and their Records from Ask About Ireland, an Irish government sponsored portal.
- Guide to the records of the Poor Law from the National Archives of Ireland.
- The Irish Poor Law and the Great Famine
|*Map of Poor Law Unions 1842–49|
- Condition of the poorer classes in Ireland: first report: appendix A and supplement 1835 Whately report (1218 pages) available through EPPI.
- List of Irish Workhouse Unions at the Wayback Machine (archived October 6, 2008)