Poverty Before the Famine, County Clare 1835
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Clare County Library


Parish Kilmanaheen. Barony Corcomroe.

DESERTED AND ORPHAN CHILDREN

ACCORDING to Archdeacon Whitty, there had not been more than 12 deserted children found in that and the neighbouring parish within the last three years. As to whether the desertion of infants had increased or not, all the witnesses who were examined expressed themselves satisfied that the crime, owing to the activity of the late roman-catholic clergyman of the parish, had of late years much diminished. A very great number also of those with whom the Assistant Commissioners conversed, attributed the reduced number of foundlings to the closing of the Foundling-hospital ; and it was stated that no instance had been known there of deserted children perishing before they had been discovered. The reason why deserted children alone are provided by the parish is, that the law is silent as to the support of orphans, whose condition, in one or two instances at Ennistymon, was wretched in the extreme, and could not be surpassed in extent of misery and neglect by that of the generality of deserted children. Those children when discovered are put out to nurse by the churchwardens, and are taken care of by some poor people in the parish, whose conduct deserves great praise for their kindness and attention to them. About 5l. per annum is allowed for the expenditure of each child. An assessment was levied by the foundling officers (persons who are not remunerated for their trouble, and incur much odium) upon all the inhabitants of the parish. There is no hospital now to which foundlings can be sent from that district ; but it was hoped that the children would turn out well, from the attention which has been paid by Archdeacon Whitty to their education ; and it was the reverend gentleman’s own opinion that these children are altogether much better taken care of in the present manner than they would be immured within the walls of the Foundling-hospital, where he had every reason to believe they were most shamefully neglected. There were no children there supported by the Protestant Orphan Society.


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