Explore the Ryan Report

Chapter 10 — Carriglea

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Emotional abuse and neglect


These subjects were not taught from 1942 to 1947 in the School, much to the dismay of the Congregation Visitors. The Visitor in 1942 was critical that woodwork was not taught in the School, as he considered it to be of ‘great educational value’. He highlighted the fact that one of the Brothers in the Community was qualified to teach woodwork, and recommended its immediate re-introduction. He was also of the view that such work ‘offered most valuable training to boys who have to take up manual work as a means of livelihood’. Again, in 1943, the Visitor criticised the fact that manual instruction was not taught: The Manual Instruction Room is still locked up and there is no Manual Instruction given these boys to whom it would be so helpful later on. The excuse offered was that Br Durrant could not get wood in Dublin.


However, these subjects were re-introduced into the School in 1948 and continued until its closure in 1954.


A unique feature of Carriglea was that it prepared some of the senior boys in 7th class to sit the examination for positions as Post Office messengers and telegraph operators, and for Guinness and C.I.E.23 clerkships. This was something that does not appear to have been offered in other industrial schools run by the Christian Brothers. The preparation for these examinations was given by an elderly Brother for some years and was then continued by a lay teacher.


The earliest record of boys sitting these examinations is to be found in the Visitation Report of 1936. It referred to a Brother of 74 years of age who ‘conducts a small class for the more advanced boys and prepares them for the Boy Messengers, Sorters and other elementary examinations at which they have been very successful’. Reference was made in the 1937 Visitation Report to seven of the ‘more advanced boys’ being taught by this Brother in preparation for the Post Office and other civil service examinations. The 1938 Visitation Report mentioned that this particular Brother spent four or five hours a day preparing a small group of boys for these examinations. The report went on to say that, ‘Within a period of five years some 15 boys have got into the Post Office, first as messengers and have later become postmen’.


The Visitation Report for 1943 recorded that most of the boys in 7th class took the Post Office examinations. The 1944 Visitation Report noted that ‘five boys secured appointments as telegraph messengers during the previous year’.


No reference was made in the Visitation Reports to boys sitting these examinations after 1944 but, from the Opening Statement of the Christian Brothers, it appears that boys were employed in the Post Office and C.I.E. clerkships until 1950.


One witness, who was resident in Carriglea from the mid-1930s to the early 1940s, recalled sitting two examinations to get into the Post Office as a messenger. He did the examinations two years running, as he was too young the first year when he passed the examination and so did it the following year and passed again. He went on to have a successful career in the Post Office.


In 1936, some boys from Carriglea were given the opportunity of attending the Christian Brothers’ secondary school in Dun Laoghaire. This came about shortly after the Cussen Report, when the Resident Manager of Carriglea approached the secondary school with a view to having his boys admitted.


The request was initially turned down but, upon the intervention of the Brother Provincial, the ‘experiment’ went ahead.


In 1936, the Visitation Report noted that: Two boys of the Institution have this year undertaken Secondary work at the Dun Laoghaire Schools and were found sufficiently advanced to join the Third Year of the Intermediate Certificate Course.


In 1937, the number of boys from Carriglea attending the secondary school had increased to five. Three of them were in first year and two in second year and were preparing to sit the Intermediate Certificate examination. The Visitation Report for 1937 commented that these two boys were sitting the examination ‘after 2 years preparation, and are considered the 2 best in the class’.


The Visitation Report for 1938 also recorded that five boys were attending the secondary school, with three of them in first year and two of them in the class preparing for the Intermediate Certificate examination.


By 1939, the practice of sending boys to the secondary school was discontinued. According to the Christian Brothers in their Opening Statement, it was terminated on the basis that the host school found the practice unsatisfactory. No further explanation was provided as to the basis for this dissatisfaction, which was inconsistent with the fact that, in 1937, the two Carriglea boys who were sitting the Intermediate Certificate examination were considered the best in the class. The Visitation Report for 1939 shed no further light and merely recorded the discontinuation of this practice, ‘The practice of sending a few of the more talented boys to the secondary school in Dun Laoghaire has been discontinued’.


In a report compiled by Br Donal Blake cfc for the Christian Brothers in February 2001, he referred to this and provided the following quote from the annals of the secondary school: In August 1936 an application was made by the Superior of Carriglea Industrial School to allow some of the senior boys of the School to join our Intermediate Classes. For obvious reasons, the application was turned down, but the Provincial over-ruled the decision. The experiment was very unsatisfactory and was the cause of a great deal of trouble and annoyance in the School, so much so that in August 1939 applications for admission had to be refused.


When questioned on the reason for the discontinuation of sending boys to the secondary school, Br Seamus Nolan who gave evidence at the Phase III public hearing, stated: We have not got any reason for it. There are suggestions that the social gap was a bit much for the school to take, because they withdrew. I think it was at that time that an alternative method of doing something for them after primary school, in a school sense, opened up the possibility of the post office exams. That’s the boy messengers that in the long term could lead to permanent, pensionable employment.

  1. 121 boys in Carriglea who had been committed through the courts were transferred to Artane (106), Upton (8) and Greenmount (7). There were 55 voluntary admissions and they were transferred to Artane (16), Tralee (20) and Glin (19).
  2. As in the case of Letterfrack .
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  9. Dr Anna McCabe was the Department of Education Inspector for most of the relevant period. See Department of Education chapter for a discussion of her role and performance.
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  11. Br Ansel was also sent there for a few months around the end of 1945.
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  22. Review of Financial Matters Relating to the System of the Reformatory and Industrial Schools, and a Number of Individual Institutions 1939 to 1969.
  23. Córas Iompair Éireann was a State-owned public transport company.