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FALVEY MEMORIAL LIBRARY
FALVEY MEMORIAL LIBRARY
Joseph McGarrity Collection
Joseph McGarrity Books
Appeal for the Irish School Children of Connemara, to provide food for them and support for the Iris...
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Appeal for the Irish School Children of Connemara, to provide food for them and support for the Irish language.
Casement, Roger, Sir, 1864-1916.
6 June 2018
[Dublin?: Irish Independent?]
Joseph McGarrity Collection
Connemara Schools Free Meals Fund.
Community and school
Disclaimer of Liability
Disclaimer of Endorsement
.7 FOR THE llristr School Qliildreii at Connemara, TO PROVIDE FOOD FOR THEM IN SCHOOL AND SUPPORT FOR THE IRISH LANGUAGE. Sm, With reference to the Annual Report of the Congested Districts Board published in to-day’s “Irish Independent,” I observe it stated, with reference to the Connemara islanders, that “while exception is taken to the assertions that chronic starvation and famine existed in the year 1913, yet what has been written is well founded as to the insanitary housing and surroundings, the polluted water supply, and the comfortless habits of life of the district.” When your correspondent’s reports from Gorumna, Letterinullen, and Carraroe, in May last year, excited so much public feeling in Ireland, and resulted in a consi erable sum of money being raised for the immediate relief of those in distress, I pointed out that a permanent change could come only through the agency of the State, and that private efforts to relieve the often acute want there prevailing could bring about no permanent betterment. I indicated one direction in which private goodwill could proceed with some prospect of benencial results, namely, by providing a free meal daily for the infant children of the Carraroe National School. In response to my appeal, a. sum of over E600 was received, and is now being expended in giving the large - infant school at ‘Carraroe an excellent meal of bread and hot cocoa every midday. A sufficient sum is in ' hand to carry this on for several years at ()ai'raroe. But Carraroe School is not the poorest of the locality. There are others quite as poor-if not, indeed, poorer-and at which large numbers of little hungry boys and girls put in an enforced and dazed attendance of six hours daily, to imbibe a knowledge of English phrases on an empty Irish stomach. V I revisited the district two weeks ago, being accompanied by three friends, one a doctor, another a Professor of one of the Irish Universities, and the third the Editor of one of the leading papers of Germany. I went with a two-fold purpose-to see how the school children at Carraroe were getting on under the changed circumstances, since the daily meal was introduced, and if possible to see whether this daily meal could not be extended to the neighbouring schools equally in need of such help, and to let the German Editor see the conditions under which a large number of Irish people dwell, in the twentieth century, and under the rule of the most enlightened administration in the world. The result of my journey, so far as Carraroe School is concerned, was most eiimiiraging. There a complete transformation has been wrought since the daily meal was introduced in September last. The excellent schoolmistress (Mrs. Tubridy) presides each midday over one of the happiest schools in Ireland. The children are bright and fresh-skinned and ‘clear-eyed, with rosy cheeks and happy smiles. Not only are they physically better-but they are mentally improved, and confidence and an air of friendship have taken the place of the former dull and listless disregard that met the visitor’s eye. M three companions were greatly struck with the atmosphere at Carraroe School, and the contrast between the children there and at the neighbouring schools of Tiirine (on the Carraroe mainland), of Trabane, and Drim (Gorunina), and of Lettermullen is a painful one. At Turiiie and Trabane the doctor, who accompanied me, declared that half the children were “ half-starved,” and he again and again indicated one, a boy or girl, with the most apparent proofs of physical exhaustion due to lack of sufficient. nourish- ment. I became convinced, as the journey pr0cee(led, that what has been attempted and done for Carraroe with such happy results, should be attempted and done for at least the four neighbouring schools of Turiiie, Trabane, Drim, and Lettermullen. An outlay, say, of E25 :1 year per school would go far to provide a meal during the worst months of the year, when food in the home is searcest, to these neglected and literally half-starved little Irish- speaking boys and girls, who represent at once the hope and the last of Irish-speaking Ireland. 100 a year would bring new life into these schools, and new strength into t.hesc.little bodies, and new strength into the Irish language throughout the whole of a wide region where it still prevails as the home tongue. But, like the people tlieinselves, it is clinging to the rocks.