The 1830s decline of the cotton, linen, and wool industries coincided with the Poor Law Commissions, a series of inquiries which were intended to shape the Poor Law Act of 1838. In Mayo, a Reverend Peter Ward told commissioners this:
[Women] occasionally assist during the spring and harvest, there being no employment for them since the destruction of the linen trade. I have minutely inquired as to what a woman could earn at spinning linen or woollen, and find that the most an attentive spinster could earn would not exceed 4d per day; a female servant will, when so fortunate as to get service, obtain wages, sometimes 5s per quarter, sometimes 6s.
Poor Inquiry (Ireland), appendix D, HC 1836 , xxxi.