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Ireland in Official Print Culture, 1800-1850A New Reading of the Poor Inquiry$
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Niall Ó Ciosáin

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199679386

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199679386.001.0001

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The Catholic Church, the State, and Poor Relief

The Catholic Church, the State, and Poor Relief

(p.108) 6 The Catholic Church, the State, and Poor Relief
Ireland in Official Print Culture, 1800-1850

Niall Ó Ciosáin

Oxford University Press

One section of the Irish elite mobilized by the Poor Inquiry was the Catholic clergy, and as the majority of the population was Catholic, its cooperation was crucial. This was a new development in a state that considered itself Protestant and in which the Catholic church was only tolerated some decades previously. This chapter explores the Poor Inquiry as a major step in the incorporation of the Catholic clergy into official inquiries. In the case of the Poor Inquiry that process had some added dimensions. The almsgiving with which it was concerned was thought to be a specifically Catholic practice, and the principal Catholic politician, Daniel O’Connell, was represented by those hostile to him as ‘The Big Beggarman’, so that the Poor Inquiry can also be read as a discussion of Catholicism and Catholic politics.

Keywords:   Catholic, church, state, inquiries, almsgiving

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