The Distress Papers in the National Archives, Ireland, can tell us many stories behind the grim statistics of Famine Ireland. This is a document from the Kilfinane Relief Committee, Co. Limerick, showing some of the names of those who subscribed to the local relief committee in Kilfinaneand the sums given.

The Relief Commission established by Sir Robert Peel's government was responsible for the formation of local relief committees. The members of such committees were selected by the lieutenants of each county and comprised, amongst others, local government officials, magistrates, and clergy.

Their functions included the raising of local subscriptions, the setting up of relief schemes and the purchase of food which would only be given freely to the people in extreme circumstances. By August 1846 there were over 600 committees established across the country. [Source: National Archives of Ireland CSORP FAMINE DISTRESS PAPERS 1846 D1507/0001/0002]

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[Source: National Archives of Ireland CSORP FAMINE DISTRESS PAPERS 1846 D1507/0001/0002]

Find out more about the Distress Papers and what they contain here.