Introduction
in Precarious childhood in post-independence Ireland
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This book speaks for historical actors who formed a large sector of the Irish population but who have not been noted or have been marginalized in the historical record. It examines the plight of poor, illegitimate and abused children to re-evaluate the Catholic influence in post-independence Irish society. It also provides a different interpretation of the relationship between and among the Catholic hierarchy, the political establishment and Irish people. The place of the family in Irish society is addressed. Irish society quickly became convulsed with misery, grief and anger, and all of that emotion was directed almost entirely at the Catholic Church. Legislation and parliamentary debates, government commission reports, annual reports of the Departments of Health, Education and Social Welfare, and the archival material of various government departments offer insight into official attitudes towards the state's responsibility in caring for poor, neglected and abused children.

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