Sarah Roddy
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Talk of population
The clergy and emigration in principle

This chapter assesses how members of the clergy regarded emigration as an economic principle. That Ireland's problems could be dispensed with alongside a portion of its population became a common belief in the depressed decades following the Anglo-French wars. In the 1820s and 1830s, there were both Protestant and Catholic clergy who were in principle in favour of state encouragement of emigration, though often for very different reasons. It should be noted that the Congested Districts Board, with which both Catholic and Protestant clergy closely co-operated, undertook migration and wasteland reclamation in the 1890s, but not without considerable difficulty and expense. A majority of all clergy in the 1830s believed that emigration could form part of the solution to Ireland's problems and were open to its encouragement, direction or organisation, whether by the state or by private bodies.

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Population, providence and empire

The churches and emigration from nineteenth-century Ireland


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