The Workhouse in Dunshaughlin

Dunshaughlin Poor Law Union was made up of twelve electoral divisions. These were Dunshaughlin, Killeen, Kilmessan, Ratoath, Kilbrew, Skryne, Culmullen, Kilmore, Dunboyne, Garristown, Rathfeigh and Donaghmore.

The first meeting of the Board of Guardians of Dunshaughlin Union was held on Monday, the 20th of May, 1839. Different categories of guardian were present. Four ex-officio delegates, Messrs. Garnett, Thunder, Corballis and Johnson who were Justices of the Peace resident in the Union attended. Twenty-four Guardians elected by the ratepayers of the Union were present: Messrs. Green, Borbridge, Mathews, Langan, Philips, Eiffe, McCabe, Rooney, Kelly, Marmion, Cahill, Lawless, Byrne, Connor, Gannon, Rourke, McNally, Logan, Leary, Murray, King, Mangan, Langan, Hand. Finally, two Assistant Commissioners, Mr Earle and Mr Phelan, appointed by the Poor Law Commission in England were there. Although his name does not appear on the list of Guardians, the Earl of Fingall was unanimously elected first Chairman.

One of the earliest tasks facing the Board was the matter of finance. This was to be raised by the Poor Rate following the valuation of the Union. The firm of Mangan and Plunkett undertook the valuation and by mid November 1840 had completed the task.

The Poor Rate was struck for periods of six months. It varied slightly from division to division, because each area of the union was expected to support its own poor and hence a uniform rate was not struck. The first rate struck varied in the Union between 4d and 4 d in the . The revenue raised was used to build the workhouse, pay for the maintenance of the paupers and pay the salaries of the Workhouse Officers.

In May 1841 the Board held its first meeting in the Workhouse boardroom.


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