Boards of Health and Public Assistance

The boards of health and public assistance were bodies, which took over some of the functions of the abolished boards of guardians and rural district councils. Under the Local Government (Temporary Provisions) Act, 1923, county boards of assistance were established in every county except Dublin, where the board of guardians remained until 1930. The boards of assistance now operated the health and welfare schemes. The 1923 Act replaced the workhouses by a system of county homes for the old and hospitals for the sick.

The Local Government Act (1925) abolished the rural district councils and transferred their sanitary and housing responsibilities to the newly formed boards of health. The county boards of health were subject to the county council, and their responsibilities included water and sewerage, home assistance and the school medical service amongst others. Most of these boards were abolished under the County Management Act, 1940, and between 1942 and 1971 when the health boards were set up their functions were discharged by the health and public assistance sections of the county councils.

The Archives Service holds the boards of health and public assistance archives (up to 1970), and preserve what survives in their entirety. These archives are subject to restricted access as they may contain confidential information about families and individuals. These archives are highly valuable as they illustrate the operation of the new system of public welfare in the early years of independence of the new Irish State. They contain information not just regarding policy, finance and administration, but also about health, social and economic conditions and the application of the system to the populace.

For the Boards of Health and Public Assistance descriptive list, go to the 'Advanced Search' tab on the 'Search' page of our online catalogue and type in the collection code LCC/MB/005/ for minute books only or LCC/HPA/ for all other archives into the 'Reference' field and click 'search'.