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Irish, Catholic and ScouseThe History of the Liverpool-Irish, 1800-1940$
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John Belchem

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9781846311079

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.5949/UPO9781846313363

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The Holy Sanctity of Poverty: Welfare, Charity and the Sacred Irish Poor

The Holy Sanctity of Poverty: Welfare, Charity and the Sacred Irish Poor

(p.70) 3 The Holy Sanctity of Poverty: Welfare, Charity and the Sacred Irish Poor
Irish, Catholic and Scouse
Liverpool University Press

This chapter analyses the contribution of the Catholic framework of charitable and institutional provisions to safeguarding the ‘low Irish’ in their holy sanctity of poverty. In Liverpool, Catholics persistently fought for pluralist religious provision at public expense within the workhouses, industrial schools and other ‘pauper’ institutions, progressively lived in by disproportionately large numbers of poor Irish Catholics. Catholic charities depended on ‘the magic of the poor man's penny’. The extent of Catholic rescue and welfare provision for the Liverpool-Irish was noteworthy, all the more so in the absence of a wealthy resource base. By reinforcing their ethnic identity through lengthy and bitter struggles over charity and social provision, the ‘low Irish’ appeared to be turning things to their own advantage by the eve of the First World War.

Keywords:   low Irish, charitable provision, institutional provision, Catholic charities, Liverpool, poor Irish Catholics, ethnic identity, First World War

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