The Distress Papers in the National Archives, Ireland, can tell us many stories behind the grim statistics of Famine Ireland. In this letter, Peace Officer Francis Cusack writes to Mr Comyn, Chief Constable of Police, Ballygar, Co. Galway on 8 June 1846. He refers to the distress amongst the people in the western part of Killyan (Killian) parish: 'their present want, and distress is gone beyond limits having nothing to eat'.
He queries the fact that some parishes have secured employment (public works) while Killyan is denied such works. Cusack warns of the consequences:
'the purpose of these lines is to inform you as a peace officer that it will be out of my power to prevent them from breaking through the law in order to afford themselves some subsistence to keep them from starvation for which you are hugely required to take notice.'
Find out more about the Distress Papers and what they contain here.
[Source: National Archives Ireland, CSORPFamine DISTRESSPAPERS1846D2322/0001]