Transition is a key motif of this publication, in welfare policy and provision in Ireland in the first half of the twentieth century, and in polity, from British rule to native governance over the greater part of Ireland, and it is the confluence of the two that provides the volume’s charge. The relationship between the Poor Law system that was introduced to Ireland in 1838 and the welfare and health care policies pursued by the Free State government in the decades following independence is one of the questions that occupies the author, in particular the perpetuation or otherwise of the deterrent features of the Poor Law, the principle of less eligibility. He adopts a revisionist approach to the Poor Law as it evolved in post-Famine Ireland, questioning the nationalist construction...

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