Impact Of Poor Laws In Ireland

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Identify key events, political and ideological perspectives which led to the implementation of the Poor Laws in Ireland and discuss the impact of the Famine on the development of social services (2,000 words)

The Poor Laws in Ireland were established by the Irish Poor Law Act of 1838. (1) The act was primarily based upon the English Poor Law system established four years previously. The Royal Commission on the Operation of Poor Laws (1832-1835) had resulted in the Poor Law Amendment Act in 1834 in England, a key event leading to the implementation of a similar system in Ireland. (2) The ideology underpinning the English Poor Law was common to the act which applied to Ireland. Recognising the driving forces that led to the updated Poor Laws in England aids understanding why the Poor Laws in Ireland were implemented in 1838. Partly as a result of British policies, Ireland experienced a devastating Famine in the mid-19th century. This forced changes in the social policies which formed the basis for social services in Ireland.

In the early 19th there was an industrial revolution. The cost of poor relief rose and critics of the established poor relief system felt it favoured idleness and that outdoor relief was influencing wages. It was viewed that as a result of relief, independent labourers had poorer living conditions that that of people in receipt of assistance. (3) Liberalist ideology underpinned the creation of Poor Laws and their implementation in Ireland. This ideology

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