In March 1846, relief committees were set up to alleviate the distress of the poor. They were responsible for the provision of employment for the poor where public works schemes were not in progress. The Ennis district committee included subcommittees for Dromcliffe, Inch, Kilmaley and Kilnamona. The public works schemes reached their peak in the early months of 1847, when an amazing 53,000 people were employed on the public works in Clare.
The public works were beset by huge problems from the start. Huge sums were squandered in administrative costs. Far too much emphasis was placed on road work, with a resulting neglect of tillage. The government's refusal to control grain prices meant that labourers on the works could still not earn enough money to survive. Despite the size of the works lists, many of the destitute could not find a place on the works lists. Stewards who supervised the works often faced physical intimidation, as famine conditions worsened. In January 1847 stewards in Inagh and Kilnamona were threatened; some time later, one of them was fired upon .
Captain Edmond Wynne was a Board of Works inspector who was to be centrally involved in the works in County Clare. Wynne felt that the huge numbers applying for relief were full of the less than destitute and strove to revise the lists to remove those he believed undeserving. He ruthlessly went about cutting numbers from the lists and by December 1847, he had removed 9,400 people. It seems that when numbers got employed above a certain level, regardless of the individual claim, the numbers receiving aid had to be cut. For instance, in Inagh, out of a population of 4,192, 1,195 people were employed. This had to be reduced to a maximum of 600. In Kilnamona, out of a total population of 1,758, the maximum permitted was 275; this left Kilnamona needing to be cut by 23. Wynne got in a dispute with members of the relief committees and was called before a parliamentary inquiry. He was transferred immediately afterwards. According to author Ciarán Ó Murchadha, "it is doubtful whether many of those removed from the works lists were any less destitute than those who replaced them" .
The Report from the Select Committee on Captain Wynne's Letter of 1847 gives lists and revised lists of people on works schemes. Kilnamona is one of the places documented.
The document is useful from a genealogical viewpoint as it gives lists of names of people for the various parishes, including names for Inagh-Kilnamona. I have transcribed each name exactly as it was originally printed. Alternative spellings of names may be guessed at. The Revised List for Kilnamona is also available.
|Matthew Keane, Senior||Ditto||3||-||-||7|
|John Lehy Leary||Shallee||4||1||8||14|
|John McGrath||NOT RECORDED||4||-||-||14|