Distressed unions in Ireland: extracts from reports

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Henry William Massy, Esq., 
called in; and Examined. 
Monsell] I believe you were Chairman of the Tipperary Union 

' for some time?—Yes; 
I had heen Chairman of the Tipperary Union for five 29 June 1849. 

years previous to the dissolution of the Board of Guardians, and I had been a member of the Board of Guardians of Tipperary from within a few months after the opening of the workhouse. 
At what period was the Board of Guardians dissolved ?—The 
sealed order for the dissolution of the Board of Guardians came down on the 9th of January 1849. 
What was the operation of the extended poor law in that union, from the time that law was passed up to the time that you ceased to be chairman of the union ?—A 
great deal of relief was given under that Act, and the rates were very high in some electoral divisions; hut taking the average, I cannot say that in that union there was anything very oppressive in the rates. 

Was sufficient relief given to the poor in that union at that period ?— 
Certainly not; sufficient relief cannot be given under the Out-door Relief Act, to the poor, as it at present exists. 

Will you state your reasons for that opinion ?—The 
present Out-door Relief Act merely authorizes relief in food : while the poor people had clothing and some little means of procuring money from pawning their bedding and other small property that they had, this relief was sufficient; it was barely suffi¬ cient even then to keep life up; but now that the people have utterly exhausted their means they live partly by the plunder of their neighbours, and are in a state of utter misery. 
What is the general condition of the landed proprietors throughout the union of Tipperary ?—The 
condition of the landed proprietors is exceed¬ ingly had; but I think it would be very unjust to attribute that altogether to the poor law, 12887. 
Are the farmers in that union generally a respectable and opulent class?—There 
are a great many respectable farmers who have been opulent; but I am sorry to say that they are getting into a very bad state, and several of the respectable farmers are now seriously thinking of emigrating, and some of •them have emigrated, but not from the effect of the poor law altogether. 

To what do you attribute the very depressed condition of the people in that district?—I 
attribute it to the loss of the potato, and the consequent misery of the people; and that, perhaps, aggravated a good deal by the operation of the poor-law coming after; but the chief cause 1 consider to be the loss of the potato. 

What was the average rate levied in the union of Tipperary during the year ending the 29th of September 1848?—From 
the 24th of April 1847, to the 13th of June 1848, we had no rate in the union of Tipperary. 
At the former date we put on a rate which was sufficient for 14 months ; it was suffi¬ cient, because we were allowed to use the money that we had collected to repay the Government advance. 
That rate, which was sufficient for 14 months, averaged 3 s. 
o|d in the pound over the whole union. 
1280/A What was the financial condition of the union on the 8th of January 1849?—On 
the 8th of January 1849 tne debt °^ tne union amounted to about 7,500 /. 
I have not the exact sum, but it was between 7,0001, and 8,000 /.; 
I should say very near 7,500 L 12891. 
What was the arrear of rates at that time ?—About 
6,000 I. 
When had a rate been struck?—On 
the 13th of June 1848. 
What was the whole amount of the rate?—I 
think the whole amount of the rate was about 24,000/. 
How do you account for so large a sum as 6,000 /. 
being outstanding? 
—We had no revision of the rates in our union since the time of the original valuation; there have been great changes of occupation, and other changes in land during that time, particularly in the two or three years previous to this rate being laid on, which made the collection exceedingly difficult; and besides that there had been an arrear for a long time going on. 
Why did you not at an earlier period strike a new rate, in order to meet the financial difficulties of the union ?—The 
Board declined to do so, saying that the harvest was the time at which to put on a rate, and that the harvest