Meeting held on 25th October, 1850.

The committee of guardians assembled on Monday the 21st at the Ballykeale Auxiliary Workhouse unanimously agreed to the following report. They found the house and its details of management, so far as such depended on the master and matron, conducted in a correct and orderly manner. The house is occupied exclusively by females and contained 473 pauper inmates. Of these 100 range from the age of 15 to 20 years, 120 are what may be considered mature abled bodied women and two hundred are advanced in years but healthy and capable of employment. Of the remaining, 53 consist of the aged and infirm and of the porter now in hospital. The gross amount has reached 530 in the present year but had been latterly reduced. These women have been for the last twelve months, since the departure of the vice guardians in November 1849, without occupation or employment thereby adding to the already heavy charges of this auxiliary house and inflicting upon the character of the pauper inmates irretrievable injury mentally and physically unfitting them in permanent pauperism or on the exhausted resources of our union. We find the yearly establishment charges of Ballykeale Workhouse amount to 310 distributed as follows.

 

         s d

For house and offices without ground attached

   200-0-0

Master and Matron

     40-0-0

Porter and general attendant

     10-0-0

Attending physician (Dr. Armstrong)

     20-0-0

Roman Catholic Chaplin Reverend A. Quinn

     20-0-0

P.P. Kilfenora

40-0-0
 

   310-0-0

Had the inmates of this workhouse, idly immured as we have stated, and, even limiting the number to the 420 we have enumerated, been employed in the manufacture of cotton, wool or flax, and for which a very small advance would have been sufficient, the master stated that at a low calculation he would, on an average, have saved a return of two pence a day for each inmate so employed, thus more than covering the expenses of the dietary and the clothing account realizing to the union, on the 12 months now nearly expired, a sum exceeding one thousand pounds. It is our duty to state the paupers are insufficiently clothed without shoes or stockings and evidently suffering, old as well as young, from the effects of exposure and unless timely aid be afforded their sufferings must be painful aggravated in the approaching months of winter. We postponed, with a view to their renewal, a revision of the inmates. We felt it should be carried out gradually and with great forbearance and not without the aid of guardians and relieving officer of each electoral division and these were but in few cases in attendance. We also doubted the propriety of any hasty attempt to correct the evils of a bad system badly administered by the expulsion of a body of women in the greater part without shelter or habitations by the operations of the quarter acre laws and most of them unqualified by long habits or inability for the duties of active life or the requirements of their former condition. The master and matron complained of some difficulty in the management and an occasional spirit of insubordination which they trace to the idle and unoccupied lives of the inmates. We recommend additional clothing and other necessaries the details of which shall be submitted by the master and attending physician. We have to add the infirmary under the care of Dr. Armstrong appeared to as well and affectivly managed.

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