PO Societies and the Poor Law, 1830–50
in The Protestant Orphan Society and its social significance in Ireland, 1828–1940
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At a time when only rudimentary elements of a 'Poor Law' were in place, the Dublin Protestant Orphan Society (DPOS) embarked on a period of expansion through the foundation of parish auxiliaries. Protestant societies and associations were founded in the 1830s during a period of continued economic depression to preserve a Protestant presence in Ireland. Though an extensive public poor relief measure, the Poor Law was intended to stigmatise pauperism. Opponents of the Irish Poor Law included the Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin, Richard Whately, who believed the measure did not fit the Irish context. Charges of 'souperism' had largely overshadowed the good work of many Church of Ireland ministers and their families, some of whom died through concerted efforts to alleviate the suffering of others. The Poor Law Amendment Act, 1847, provided outdoor relief and also placed the burden of poor relief on local ratepayers.

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