The origins of child welfare in Ireland, 1838–1952
in The cruelty man
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Chapter One addresses the origins of welfare in Ireland from 1838 to 1952, looking at general trends, legislation, ideology, religion, and society, in order to establish the broad context in which the child protection movement emerged. It provides an outline history of the Poor Law in Ireland, issues surrounding boarding-out and nurse children, the establishment of reformatory and industrial schools, the introduction of free education at primary level and the growth of nationalism in the late nineteenth century. It discusses the changing social, economic and political environments in post-Famine Ireland, the increasing influence of the Catholic Church and the middle class, the importance of religion to all aspects of society and the conflict between Catholic and Protestant agencies. In essence, it sets the scene for the remainder of the book, highlighting issues that are developed in later chapters. It is divided into the pre and post independence era – addressing the difference between Ireland and Britain in the area of child welfare after independence.

The cruelty man

Child welfare, the NSPCC and the State in Ireland, 1889–1956


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