Dunshaughlin - The First Ten Years
Over the first ten years of its existence the Dunshaughlin Board of Guardians proved itself to be an enlightened body, very much concerned with the welfare of the poor people of the district and the general plight of the country. We can examine this concern from several viewpoints.
Firstly, there were frequent clashes of policy between the Board and the central Poor Law Commission. For example, in January 1843, the Board of Guardians proposed that land valuation (and, hence, the Poor Rate) be reduced by 25% because of the "depression in agricultural produce since the valuation of Dunshaughlin union took place". This was not approved of by the Commission but the Board proceeded in accordance with their resolution (which was passed unanimously).
Secondly, we can see the forward looking attitude of the Board in its decision taken in December 1848 to train the male youth of the workhouse in agricultural labours - "a want of knowledge from a want of training incapacitates them from earning their ownsubsistence." Accordingly, ten acres of land convenient to the workhouse were purchased "to employ the able-bodied paupers."
Thirdly, there was the policy of arranging for the emigration of poor people to the prospect of a better life; the Board financed these projects at the expense of the Union. This was quite a common occurrence but we can get an idea of the commitment involved in the example of a woman emigrating to New South Wales in 1849. She was supplied with 6 shirts, 2 flannel petticoats, 6 pairs of stockings, 2 pairs of shoes, 2 gowns, 1 pair of sheets and 3 towels. Incidentally, the coat of an emigrant's passage to Australia at that time is given as from £18 to £25 (23 to 32) all of which was paid by the Board of Guardians.
Dunshaughlin Poor Law Union - 16.12.1848 - Training for Inmates -
Dunshaughlin Poor Law Union - 10.02.1849 - Emigrant - Copyright managed by the Library Council
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