Documentary on the Englishman who helped poor Galwegians

James H Tuke

James H Tuke

A documentary, to be broadcast next week, looks at the English Quaker James H Tuke, who helped save thousands of west of Ireland people from destitution and poverty.

Saved From Doom – Uncovering The Dramatic Story Of How English Quaker James H Tuke Helped Save Thousands Of Irish People From Destitution And Poverty will be broadcast on Galway’s student and alternative community radio station, FLIRT 101.3, on Monday at 2pm, and can be listened to on Youtube.

In the 1880s, James Tuke helped more than 9,000 impoverished Irish people along the western seaboard, escape destitution and poverty through his ‘Assisted Emigration Scheme’, which became known as the ‘Tuke Fund’ and lasted from 1882 to 1884.

Tuke paid all the costs of emigrating families, by specifically keeping whole families together, as well as by helping arrange suitable work and support networks for the emigrants, once they arrived in the Americas.

In the documentary, produced by Paul Wright, historians such as NUI Galway’s Gerry Moran and descendants of families who benefited from the Tuke Fund, like Californian Richard Le Maire, are interviewed.

“As far as I’m concerned, James Tuke changed lives for seven generations on my mother’s side,” said Mr Le Marie. “He helped people in Galway and Mayo who were, to all intents and purposes, refugees. I specifically call them refugees because they did come from a war, their own war with poverty and destitution. It was James Tuke who helped save them.”

Paul Wright says: “James Tuke poured his time, energies, and considerable monies into helping Ireland. He lived by the universal code of love, ‘What you do for yourself dies with you, what you do for others lives forever.’ His life bears testimony to that.”


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