British's Government's Intervention during the Great Irish Famine

2417 Words 10 Pages
The Great Irish Famine happened during the mid-19th century, and was caused by potato blight, which hit Ireland in 1845 (Grada, “Ireland’s Great Famine” 43). It destroyed a big portion of crops so it became “lethal” due to the fact that Ireland was very dependent on potatoes in their everyday meals (Grada, “Ireland’s Great Famine” 43). This led to a scarce amount of food and many died from starvation, or other diseases that resulted from the famine (Grada, “Ireland’s Great Famine” 51). In the 1800s, Ireland had already lost their own parliament, so “all legislative and executive power was therefore centralized at Westminster,” which meant the UK parliament of the British government was responsible for Irish relief in their time of need, …show more content…
The British government opened soup kitchens to “distribute free food” (Kinealy, Death-Dealing Famine 9). She stated that this intervention directly addressed the problem of starvation, and many people, over three million, were fed on a daily basis (Kinealy, Death-Dealing Famine 9). Although the soup kitchens did provide free food, the government was unable to sustain that aid, because it only lasted for a very brief period of time (Kinealy, Death-Dealing Famine 9). Therefore, the aid did not last long enough for it to be considered an improvement on social conditions in Ireland. Also, we must consider that the government stopped previous relief works before they opened the soup kitchens. According to Mary E. Daly, relief works were closed in March, and soup kitchens were opened in May (Daly 133). In that gap, many people suffered and died from starvation, since they lacked any relief from the government (Ferriter 15). This government intervention was poorly planned and did not improve the social conditions in Ireland. Although the soup kitchens did eventually feed a large amount of people, it must be taken into account the just as great amount of people that died, due to the lack in planning on the government’s part, by terminating relief projects before instating another. In addition, the food provided by the soup kitchen were of “low nutritional value” (Kinealy, Death-Dealing Famine 9).

More about British's Government's Intervention during the Great Irish Famine

Open Document