An Old Soup Kitchen in Skibbereen, Co Cork

In 1847, with the world’s eyes now watching, the government made money available for loans to establish soup kitchens which fed 3 million people. This showed that Britain had the means and the power to exercise successful relief in Ireland, but the soup kitchens closed after 3 months. After the closure of the soup kitchens the government stopped all relief to the starving in Ireland. The new plan, The Poor Law rate, was a tax on property to fund relief in Ireland and had to be collected before any further money would be made available by the Treasury. The collection of these taxes in a period of extreme hardship was predictably accompanied by widespread unrest and violence. Some 16,000 extra British troops were sent to Ireland and troubled parts of the country were put under martial law. Nearly 500,000 people died in 1847 alone. Taken from The Truth Behind The Irish Famine, 100 images, 472 eye witness quotes:

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