“SIR– On Friday last, the day for distributing a scanty ration, a large body of those who have been looked upon as “able-bodied,” but who are now in reality infirm from hunger, assembled around the issue-shop, in the vain hope that a few “crumbs” might remain for them. Their hope was vain. Even some of those who were legally entitled to relief, did not get it; owing to the parsimonious economy of the Board of Poor-law Guardians in not passing the Relieving Officer’s estimate for the current fortnight.
On the relieving officer announcing to them that he had no more meat for the present, no one can describe their consternation. They were struck dumb for a moment. Soon after they burst forth into a cry which continued for several minutes; when, as if by common instinct, they proceeded to the residence of their parish priest, the Rev. Mr. Tuomy. There again they renewed their wailings with redoubled earnestness. These unusual sounds at such a late hour in the night (between 7 and 8 o’clock), at first startled the rev. gentleman. But on a moment’s reflection he judged the cause and proceeded forthwith to the door. There he saw numbers of his parishioners of all ages assembled, with the tears rolling down their emaciated cheeks, asking for bread. He could not be otherwise than deeply affected, and he divided amongst them his last shilling.”
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Photo: Ireland Park, Án Gorta Mór Memorial, Toronto, Canada