- Volume 1
- Volume 2
- Social and demographic profile of witnesses
- Circumstances of admission
- Family contact
- Everyday life experiences (male witnesses)
- Record of abuse (male witnesses)
- Everyday life experiences (female witnesses)
- Record of abuse (female witnesses)
- Positive memories and experiences
- Current circumstances
- Introduction to Part 2
- Special needs schools and residential services
- Children’s Homes
- Foster care
- Primary and second-level schools
- Residential Laundries, Novitiates, Hostels and other settings
- Concluding comments
- Volume 4
Chapter 3 — Society and the schoolsBack
Part 4 Independent monitoring
It should be noted that in the 1960s, the rare journalists who wished to do so, like Michael Viney and another journalist, Joseph O’Malley (who wrote a single article in The Irish Independent) were not discouraged by the Minister (George Colley) from visiting and inspecting the Schools subject to the fact that the particular schools permission would have to be obtained. And in fact, the Schools facilitated their visits.
This lack of investigation and reporting may reflect the absence of interest in this subject by the public. As regards the personal attitude of journalists, a journalist who was the educational correspondent of one of the national dailies in the 1960s recalls: We saw educational issues as involving middle class concerns like curriculum development or Church and State, not ‘the lesser breeds without the Law’ in the Industrial Schools. After Kennedy, there was some improvement but we didn’t push as hard as we should have done.
When a rare derogatory comment was published, there was a strong defence from the Orders. In the 1950s, Fr Nagle of Lower Glanmire Parish, Cork, said something that seemed to be a criticism of the Schools; the Christian Brothers’ Managers’ Association was quick to demand an apology. As reported, the priest had said: We are convinced that an indifferent home is better than a good institution, because in an indifferent home children receive at least from time to time some love, affection and interest from their parents. They cannot receive this in the institution and this has an unfortunate bearing on the children’s emotional and mental development. The Managers’ Meeting of the Christian Brothers responded:64 We assume that the institutions referred to are the Industrial Schools. You may not be aware that all these Industrial Schools, in which there is accommodation over seven thousand (7,000) children, are conducted by Religious Communities of Priests, Brothers and Sisters. According to your statement, as reported, children in these schools cannot receive even from time to time some love, affection and interest from the Religious who have dedicated their lives to this noble and necessary work. Your statement has been deeply resented by the members or our Association and they fail to see what purpose such a statement, so unrelated to facts, can serve other than to belittle their work. It was also stated that ‘Father Nagle was simply echoing his Bishop’s pronouncement – Dr Lucey seems be totally opposed to the Industrial Schools System’. Fr Nagle’s reply was that: I did not state that the children cannot receive love etc from the religious. I stated that the they cannot receive parental love. I have the highest regard for the Religious who cared for those children. I genuinely apologise for any offence, but I insist that it was unintentional.
Again, in 1963, a solicitor, who was representing two boys in Galway District Court, urged the court not to send his clients to Letterfrack. He said that every murderer in the country had served time there and that he would prefer that his clients were sentenced to six months in prison than two years in Letterfrack. The district justice’s response was to the effect that ‘there may be a great deal in what you say but I cannot do anything about it’. Exceptionally this exchange was covered in The Evening Press, The Connaught Tribune, The Connaught Sentinel and The Tuam Star. The manager of the school wrote to the Minister demanding to know what he proposed to do about these ‘very scurrilous and false allegations’ and adding ‘I also wish to draw your attention to the fact that too many TD’s are applying to Minister for Education to have certain boys discharged from here.’65
It might have been expected that, in the same way as prisons and (in recent times) national or secondary schools66, each Reformatory or Industrial School would have had its own ‘Board of Visitors’, namely, a group of respected local citizens who would make regular visits to a school, be aware of what was going on there, encourage improvements and inquire into any complaints.
A broader question is why, until the 1970s, even in the wider educational field, there were no local boards overseeing primary and secondary schools. The answer was regarded as self-evident, namely that the religious were giving their entire lives, usually working long hours, for scant financial reward, to serve the community in buildings that they had also provided. In an unsuspicious and deferential age, it would have seemed perverse to require that there be accountability to a board of lay outsiders. As against this, it might be thought that a special case should be made in regard to Industrial and Reformatory Schools because they were closed worlds with vulnerable inmates.
In fact, relatively late – in 1962 – the Inter-Departmental Committee on the Prevention of Crime and Treatment of Offenders did recommend the establishment of visiting committees for certified schools. Mr Haughey, Minister for Justice, wrote to Dr Patrick Hillery, Minister for Education, commending this proposal and received the following lukewarm and third-person response: In view, of the rejection by the school managers some years ago of this Departments proposal that they be visited by an ad hoc committee of representatives of the Departments of Finance, Social Welfare and Education in connection with the managers appeal, at the time, for improved grants, the Minister is not over-sanguine as to the managers’ attitude to the idea of Visiting Committees. Neither is he clear as to how best such committees, if agreed to, should be brought into existence. He proposes, nevertheless, once more to approach the Managers’ association with the present suggestions.67
Starting mainly in the 1950s, Godparents’ Associations grew up for some Industrial Schools but they had no formal status, their central purpose being to provide as many of the children as possible with a person or family who would take a personal interest in them and bring them into their homes at some weekends or holidays. There was no connection between individual associations. The judgments they expressed on the Industrial Schools they knew were usually unfavourable and their presence was at best tolerated by Managers and at worst regarded as meddling. The Catholic Godparents Guild68 hosted children from several Schools throughout the State. The other associations each focussed on a single school, for instance Artane or Upton – or, at most, two Schools in the case of the Galway Godparents Association, which was concerned with the children in St Anne’s Lenaboy and St Joseph’s Salthill. This association found the Managers of each school uncooperative in the efforts it made to bring greater interest into the lives of the children.
A pressure group that took an interest in the Schools from the 1940s-70s was the Joint Committee of Women’s Societies and Social Workers. 69 Their submissions to the Minister were striking for raising not individual complaints but rather suggestions for the sort of innovation that ought to have been debated more frequently within the Department and the Schools themselves. For instance a letter of 2nd February 1966 to the Minister contains a constructive suggestion:70 In the matter of further education, that is, in preparation for a career, we would advocate the authentic training of the Vocational School, which, again, could serve as an interim introduction to the normal community into which the boys must, in two years time, become suddenly integrated. This would of course necessitate their sharing the benefits accorded to other boys, but surely they have as great a claim. Towards this end we would suggest that a proportionate number of places be reserved at each Vocational School. We have been particularly interested in the methods used by Br Stephen Kelly at St Patrick’s in Belfast. He employs a Social Worker, a layman, who meets each boy and follows his progress through the school, paying attention to his aptitudes. It is interesting to note that boys without homes are not automatically boys for farming.’
Between 1970-74, the Minister for Justice was Des O’Malley (as it happens Donagh O’Malley’s nephew and the inheritor of his Dail seat). In an interview in 2002, Mr O’Malley told Dr Keating that he was concerned about the Industrial and Reformatory Schools sector, in part because of the general public erroneous belief that it was the responsibility of the Department of Justice. A few months after taking office as Minister for Justice, Mr O’Malley happened to take a family holiday in North Connemara near Letterfrack and heard and observed personally a certain amount about that institution. On his return to Dublin, he made some inquiries and was told by the Secretary of the Department to ‘leave it to Education’. 71
In contrast, according to the memoirs of Padraig Faulkner, Minister for Education 1969-73: It was to be quite some time after I left the Department of Education that I first heard the word ‘paedophile’. During my time as Minister I hadn’t an inkling that child sex abuse existed. When I published the Kennedy Report in 1970 Dail questions on a variety of aspects of it came thick and fast. Some deputies praised the diligence and selflessness of the religious orders in caring for Children in care. Nobody raised the question of abuse. Dr Noel Browne and Dr John O’Connell were among my most persistent questioners and nobody doubts that if these deputies had heard so much as a whisper about abuse, they would immediately have raised the matter in the Dáil.
Even among external observers who scrutinised the schools, there seems to have been little or no contemporary knowledge of sexual abuse. Mr Michael Viney, for instance, who visited several schools, over a six-week period, in 1966 researching his 15,000-word series in The Irish Times in 1966, did not discover any evidence of sexual abuse (though, in those more innocent days, he was not looking for any). In the Tuairim Report of 1966,72 nothing is said in about sexual abuse because, according to one member, they could not believe what they were being told.
A district court clerk who served in the 1960s remarked: We knew about the sexual abuse in the Schools because one of the Gardai who drove the children from the Court to the Schools told us about it. In today’s climate I’d have protested to the Department of Justice. But in those times, at best my protest would have been ignored, at worst I’d have been disciplined.
It seems that the general public living in the locality of a School had some broad idea of the conditions. It was not uncommon for parents to threaten children who were misbehaving with some such formula as: ‘Stop it or you’ll be sent to Artane / Upton / Letterfrack...’ Both sides knew what was meant. When John B Keane wrote in 1967 about farmers exploiting cheap labour of youths from an Industrial School, it seems likely that he expected his readers to know what he was writing about.Letters of a Successful TD 73 contains the following passage: We will never again see a worker like Topper. I will never forget him a long as I live. You probably don’t remember Jeremy Tlopper. He died of TB when you were about three or four. It still plays on my conscience that I might have driven him too hard. In those days we used to get youngsters out of Kilnavarna Industrial School to work as farm labourers. They were usually aged about fifteen or sixteen. You didn’t have to pay them much and I know for a fact that most people paid them nothing. I had several lads but they were better for eating than they were for working. It was a mistake, too, to get fellows who hadn’t made their Confirmation because you would have to leave them off every day for catechism. Jeremy Topper was different. He had made his Confirmation. He was a great worker and a light feeder. He was as thin as a whippet but I never heard him complain and he worked out-of-doors, hail, rain, or shine. I often worry that I might have misused him, but no, that isn’t true, because he worshiped me as a son would. He had no father or mother but that was during the Economic War when nobody could afford a regular workman and dead calves were blocking the eyes of the bridges. The only labour we could afford were young lads or girls out of orphanages or Industrial Schools. Jeremy died when he was twenty but I think he killed himself. I never touched him, although I know of boys and girls who were whipped and punched like slaes and there were young girls who were badly abused by certain farmers who are pillars of the Church to-day. May God forgive them and the priests who knew what was going on. I put up headstone over Jeremy when he died. There was no cure for TB in those days. ...
In that year, 1988, there was a more sceptical reaction to Paddy Doyle’s story74 of, amongst other things, the violence of the nuns of St Michael’s Industrial School in Cappoquin. He recalled that: ‘I used to hear people refer to me as one of the children from the orphanage, which was the phrase locals used to soften the brutal reality of the Industrial School in their midst.’
- C O’Grada A Rocky Road: the Irish economy since the 1920s (Manchester UP, 1997) 17, 194 and Table 1.5. In 1949, one child in 16 did not live to see his or her fifth birthday. 100 mothers died in childbirth in 1949 compared to fewer than one per year at present (Central statistics Office, 2000).
- F Fearon ‘The National Problem of Nutrition’ Studies vol 26 (March, 1938). Twelve similar figures are given in an article based on the families of 60 patients attending the Rotunda Hospital in GC Dokeray and WR Fearon ‘Ante-Natal. Nutrition in Dublin’ (1938) Irish Journal of Medical Science (6th series) 80.
- O’Cinneide and Maguire, pp 39-40.
- E Holmes ‘Medical Social Work’ at the Rotunda in A Browne (ed) Masters, Midwives and Ladies in Waiting, p 216.
- See, to similar effect: TWT Dillon MD ‘The Social Services in Eire’, Studies, September 1945 329; Dunne ‘Poverty Problems for a Patriot Parliament’ Journal of the Statistical and Society Inquiry Society of Ireland, 1922:190; Dr Clancy-Gore ‘Nutritional Standards of some working class families in Dublin’ Journal of the Statistical and Social Inquiry Society of Ireland, vol 17 (1943-44) 241.
- Report of the Commission of Inquiry into the Housing of the Working Classes of the City of Dublin 1938-43 (Dublin: Government Stationery Office, 1944), p 15, quoted in O’Cinneide and Maguire, p 22.
- TWT Dillon ‘Slum clearance past and future’ Studies, March 1945, pp 13-20.
- Department of Health, National Nutritional Survey (Dublin: Government Stationery Office, 1968) quoted in O’Cinneide and Maguire The Industrial Schools: A Monograph, pp 33-4, citing as sources: WT Dillon ‘Slum Clearance Past and Future’ Studies, March 1945, p 163; The Standard, 14th November 1931, p 9; The Standard, 27th September 1935, p 2; Irish Weekly Independent, 25th December 1937, p 8.
- K Kearns Dublin Tenement Life (Gill and Macmillian, 1995).
- O’Cinneide and Maguire ‘Findings from the ISPCC records’ (2000) second progress report to the Sisters of Mercy. Industrial Schools in context project.
- Rotunda Hospital Annual Clerical Reports for 1936-68, Social Services section.
- Dillon The Social services in Eire, p 331:
- Rotunda Hospital Annual Clerical Reports for 1936-68, Social Services section.
- JV O’Brien Dear Dirty Dublin (Dublin, 1978), pp 167-8.
- NAI, DT, S4183, report on VD in the Irish Free State: Committee of Inquiry (1924–26). The report was not published (ibid, 7th May 1927) Here one ought also to mention briefly the Carrigan Report on Sexual Offences (1931) which led ultimately to the Criminal Law Amendment Act 1935. The immediate reason for its establishment was the fact that the English Law in regard to sexual offences against young person had recently been made more stringent including law on prostitution, carnal knowledge of an underage person. The Committee had a good deal of evidence about such crime, from, for instance, Garda Commissioner Eoin O’Duffy. The Report was not made public on the advice of the Department of Justice and the Catholic Church, because it was thought that it would show Irish sexual morals in a poor light. The general lesson which this Report and its non-publication teaches is that there was a good deal of sexual crime against children in the early 1930s and there is no reason to suppose that this position changed at any rate for several decades; and also that the official approach was to sweep such matters under the carpet. The Report did not discriminate between crimes taking place within the family or at a school of whatever type. See generally: Report of the Committee on the Criminal Law Amendments Acts (1880-1885) and Juvenile prostitution (Dublin, 1931), p 26; M Finnane ‘The Carrigan Committee of 1930-31 and the moral condition of the Saorstat’ Irish Historical Studies (November 2001), p 519; F Kennedy ‘The Suppression of the Carrigan Report’ studies, Vol 89, No 356, p 362.
- Louise Ryan ‘The massacre of innocence: Infanticide in the Irish Free State’, Irish Studies Review, No 14, Spring 1996, pp 17-21.
- Rotunda Clinical Report for 1945-46, section on Social Services by the Almoner, Miss Murphy.
- Lunney’s survey of the Sisters of Mercy Schools.
- In Limerick, in 1936, the Society provided boots and clothing to nearly 2,000 families, and disbursed nearly £2,000 in assistance. This was in spite of the fact that the Society’s resources were so diminished, and their donations significantly diminished, that they had been forced to reduce by nearly half the number of people they could assist (The Standard, 3rd April 1936, four cited in O’Cinneide and Maguire The Industrial Schools Over a Hundred Years: A Monograph, p 32). Dillon ‘The Social Services in Eire’ at p 329 states that, in 1943, the society distributed goods and grants to the total value of €150,000.
- The other two income-support schemes, old age pensions and insured worker’s benefits, are not relevant.
- The Evening Standard, 5th May 1939.
- F Kennedy From Cottage to Crèche (IPA, 2003), pp 218-9.
- School: A Sociological Study’ (1971) Unpublished M Soc Sci thesis, UCD.
- Number of orphans admitted to various Industrial Schools from establishment to 1950
- Total admissions
- Percentage of School population
- Taken from E O’Sullivan, PhD.
- Saorstát Éireann Report of the Commission on the Relief of the Sick and Destitute Poor, including the Insane Poor (Dublin: Stationery Office, 1928), p 5 (our italics); J Robins From Rejection to Integration: A Centenary of Service by the Daughters of Charity to Persons with a Mental Handicap (Dublin: Gill and Macmillan, 1992), pp 2-3.
- Department of Local Government (1928) Annual Report 113, quoted in Kilcummins at p 84. In response about eight ‘mother and child’ homes were set up for unmarried mothers giving birth for the first time. In 1922 the Sacred Heart Home in Bessboro, County Cork, managed by the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary, was opened. Similar homes were established by the same Order in Roscrea, County Tipperary, in 1930 and Castlepollard, County Meath, in 1935. The Sisters of Charity of St Vincent De Paul opened a similar institution on the Navan Road, in Dublin, in 1918 and the Sisters of the Good Shepherd opened a home in Dunboyne, County Meath, in 1955. In addition, three special homes were provided by local authorities themselves in Tuam, County Galway, Kilrish, County Clare and Pelletstown in County Dublin: See further Kilcummins ‘The Origins of Penal Policy’ in Crime Punishment and the Search for Order in Ireland (IPA, 2003), pp 82-6.
- National Archives, DT S14472b – Report of the Interdepartmental Committee appointed to examine the Question of the Reconstruction and Replacement of County Homes, p 24.
- Kennedy Report, Appendix E.
- At para 3.2.
- TE O’Sullivan Child Welfare in Ireland, 1750-1995: A History of the Present (TCD PhD, 1999), pp 204-7.
- In other words, in the Irish Legislation there was no equivalent of Part V of the (English) Children and Young Persons Act 1933 provides for the registration of all homes and other institutions, supported wholly or partly by voluntary contributions, and receiving poor children and young persons. By section 25 of the Children Act 1908, there was a bare power of inspection with no power further to intervene in any way and certainly none to investigate individual children; nor was any duty to register imposed.
- See eg Health Discovery, 42
- Barrett, ‘The Dependent Child’ Studies, Winter 1955 at p 422.
- At pp 33-4.
- Table 34. Kennedy states: ‘One of the tasks we attempted was to draw up a list of private voluntary Homes. Their principal sources of information were the Irish Catholic Directory and the Church of Ireland Handbook, but as there is no standardised classification of private Homes, it is possible that, in spite of independent checks, we have overlooked some Home or school which should have been included.’
- Kennedy, para 1.5.
- Sources: Mary Raftery and Eoin O’Sullivan Suffer the Little Children: The Inside Story of Ireland’s Industrial Schools (Dublin: New Island, 1999), Appendix 1; Dail Debates Vol 220, col 687-88 (2nd February 1966); Kennedy Report, para 1.5; Cussen Report, para 17 and Appendix B; Department of Education complied from quarterly returns from each School to the Department.
- Classified as a special school with the Department of Education, it is still in law a Reformatory which is managed by the Oblate Fathers who have a long-standing tradition of residential child care in Ireland. It caters for up to 60 boys from all parts of the Republic, as the only Reformatory facility. The age range of boys referred would be between 12 and 17 years and the other main criteria for admission include the seriousness of the offence and whether a committal is for more than one year. The school is run on the basis of four units with one being an intake unit.
- This transfer which was effected by means of three forms (until an administrative reform in the late 1950s reduced this to one). First the Manager of the junior School completed a form of transfer which was returned to the Department. This form was forwarded to the Manager of the senior School who returned it, signifying his willingness to accept the child. Finally, the Minister made a transfer order, exercising his power under s 69(2) of the 1908 Act, transferring a youthful offender or child from one industrial school to another. Notification of this was sent to the Manager of each school.
- These were the Baltimore Fishing School (under the management of a local board of which the Bishop of Ross was chairman (SD, vol 25, col 495 (5th March 1941)), closed, under Departmental pressure in 1950; and the school in Killybegs, closed, on its acquisition by military authorities in 1950.
- Kennedy Committee, para 1.5.
- At para 4.6.
- The Poor Clares were founded in 1204, committed to a life of prayer and penance, among the strictest orders in the Catholic Church. Generally, one might doubt as to whether celibates would make good mother and father figures (horses for courses). How did the Poor Clares get into this field? Were they in need of the income? A contemplative order, their concepts of love focussed on Christ and Our Lady had complete charge of young children deprived of family life. The isolation of the community of St Joseph’s Orphanage, Cavan meant that the fire of 1943 claimed the lives of 35 girls as well as one woman.
- According to the official history of the Christian Brothers order (A Christian Brother (1926), pp 524-5):
- This was a congregation which stood apart as a body of men committed to the education of boys, especially poor boys; which before independence, had stayed outside the National System for ideological reasons; which asserted its independence from each local bishop; and which, most significantly, was the principal provider of secondary education for the Nineteenth and most of the Twentieth Century.
- In fact, this effect is greater than appears from the Table since the Table treats boys in a single category yet boy’s Schools were divided into those for junior or senior boys. A consequence would be that a greater number of boys than those shown in the Table would have had to be sent outside their home county because there would have been no School available for someone of their particular age. In the interest of simplicity we have not gone into this effect. Another detail that is omitted, but which would have told in the opposite direction, is that, in some cases, girls Schools took junior boys. This would have had the effect of enlarging the number of places available in the county to boys.
- DD vol 145, col 946–52 (23rd April 1954); SD vol 75, col 60 (1st June 1973); vol 252 (25th March 1971); DD vol 75, col 150 (28th March 1939); vol 94, col 272-7 (13th June 1944), respectively.
- For questions in this paragraph, see respectively DD vol 127, col 274 (7th November 1951) (stating that the police car used to transport children to the schools had been replaced by a station wagon the previous month); vol 49, col 1359 (28th June 1944); DD vol 174, cols 126, 272 (8th and 9th April 1959).
- DD vol 88, col 2271 (19th November 1942).
- DD vol 88, cols 2270–3 (19 November 1942).
- DD vol 88, col 2273 (19 November 1942). See too, col 2536:
- I have a case here, for example, of a boy aged 11 years, who was three times before the court before he was committed in July 1941. In August, 1941, I ordered his release. He did not attend school, and during the period after I ordered his release in August, 1941, and before October, 1942, when he was recommitted, he was before the court no less than six times.
- DD vol 66, col 25 (31st May 1937); DD vol 126, col 1732, 1744 (17th July 1951).
- DD vol 94, cols 272-7 (13th June 1944). See also vol 126, cols 1699, 1731, 1744 (11th July 1951).
- DD vol 151, col 20 (25th May 1955).
- DD vol 174, col 272 (9th April, 1959).
- See eg DD vol 126, cols 1699, 1731, 1744. There were no sweeping condemnation, the equivalent of Deputy Dillon’s comment on Summerhill, (not an Industrial School but a residential institution for juveniles (see 00) run by the Department of Education). He stated:
- Summerhill is closed. Ten weary years of battering at the walls of Summerhill have at last brought them down. Deputies may remember the Taoiseach saying that he thought Summerhill a very nice place to which he would send his own children if they did not behave themselves... the alternative accommodation [is] Glasnevin.
- FILL OUT. On another occasion, Deputy Dillon said he would not like to see greyhounds or terriers kept in Summerhill: DD vol 88, col 1580 (28th October 1942). For Summerhill (later the place of detention was transferred from Summerhill to Marlborough House) see: para 00.
- Deputy A Byrne is an exception, referring to Scotland and the US at DD vol 82, cols 1120-1 (11th December 1940).
- M Maguire ‘Briefing Paper Newspaper Research on Former Residents of Mercy Industrial Schools’, Sisters of Mercy Industrial Schools in Context.
- At 46. Sources: Connacht Tribune, 24th January 1931, p 2; Connacht Tribune, 22nd January 1938, p 3; Connacht Tribune, 29th January 1938, p 6; Irish Weekly Independent, 13th April 1935, p 1; Irish Weekly Independent, 14th May 1932, p 9; Connacht Tribune, 8th July 1939, p 9; Irish Weekly Independent, 22nd November 1930, p 9.
- At p 275 of his PhD thesis.
- Brian Quinn, editor of The Evening Herald (1969–76).
- See Appendix, Vol V, Part B.
- This is one of a number of pioneering series by Mr Viney, 27th April– 6th May 1966. D Gageby ‘The Media’ in JJ Lee (ed) Ireland 1945-70 (Gill and Macmillan, 1979), p 133, refers to ‘a whole new world of cool clinical reporting which came from Michael Viney, with novel studies of unmarried mothers, alcoholics, deprived children and other castaways of the 1960s.’ The other exceptions were The Irish Times, 3rd February 1950
- This letter (10th May 1966) was from Captain Edgar White from the First Dublin County Boys ‘ Brigade. It suggested that uniformed organisations like the Boys’ Brigade, Catholic Boy Scouts, could provide persons capable of acting as voluntary welfare liaison officers. A comment in response from Michael Viney indicated that in his opinion, voluntary workers were not the answer and would only provide the State with ‘an excuse for further procrastination’.
- Minutes of Christian Brothers’ Managers Meeting of 30th April 1957.
- DJ 93/182/17, cited in Keating at pp 201-2. We do not have the Minister’s response. On 18th February 1955, the Joint Committee of Women’s Societies and Social Workers, who had a long-standing interest in the Schools wrote to the Minister suggesting various reforms, among them a visiting Committee for each institution, appointed by the local authority and comprising members of the council and outside social workers.
- National School Boards of Management did not start until 1975; and Boards of Management for secondary schools started somewhat later: Fuller Irish Catholicism since 1950 (Gill and MacMillan, 2002), p 161.(There is no need to go into the precise gradation of functions and powers between committee of management or a board of visitors because the essential point here is that there was next to nothing in the way of either type of body.)
- DJ 93/182, quoted in A Keating, PhD, pp 224-6.
- According to the minutes of a discussion between the Inter-departmental Committee on the Prevention of Crime and Treatment Offenders and the Catholic Godparents Guild, 6th November 1963, (the Kennedy Committee being missing, we are using the evidence to the Inter-Departmental Committee):
- The Catholic Godparents Guild originated (1949) in personal contacts when Miss Wogan enlisted the aid of certain individuals in sending presents to industrial school children and it has preserved this personal, discriminatory approach to new membership. (In the first year of its existence it dropped 25 members who did not keep to the high standard set.)
- Furthermore, the Guild has now for the first time a surplus of potential godparents, and proposes to communicate with all industrial schools asking for the names of children. This move may enable it to interest more industrial school managers in the idea of the Guild and in the ideas of Visiting and After-Care Committees. Mr MacDaibhid [of the Department of Education] undertook to supply to Miss Fleming a list of all industrial schools. It was remarked that not all industrial schools cooperate with the Guild, but Mr JJ McCarthy was able to assure the representatives that most industrial school managers with whom the question of a Visiting Committee was raised had welcomed the idea.
- In view of the experience of the Galway Godparents Association one would suggest that there was an element of wishful thinking here.
- However, occasionally suggestions came from, for example.
- i) Irish Association of Civil Liberties. On 28th May 1963, the Association proposed that the Department should take advantage of the declining numbers in the 1960s, to widen the categories of children they took, in order not to break up families, for instance: ‘Cavan Senior Girls school is looking for permission to take boys, Rathdrum junior boys wants authority to take girls and Drogheda junior boys would like to keep their children until the age of eleven years.’
- ii) See, too, Knights of St Columbanus: letter to the Minister, 4th November 1966, complaining that Daingean residents were not eligible from free health services provided by the State and noting that the Knights took an interest in ‘after-care and improving amenities for the institution’.
- iii) Following a visit to Artane by the Junior Chamber Commerce, Junior Chamber, in a letter of 24th June 1966 offers the help of its membership equipping the boys ‘to take their place in society’: see fn 215 of Education Discovery, May 2006.
- iv) See also the following extract from the Incorporated Law Society’s (18th January 1971) response to the Kennedy Report:
- The Society’s committee was chaired by Cork Solicitor, John B Jermyn. ‘Full use should therefore be made of Organisations like Rotary and the Lions Club. These Bodies consist of representatives of all the Professions and Trades and would find little difficulty in placing any boy or girl on release from an Industrial School. Some years ago a Scheme was evolved with the Cork Rotary Club for such a purpose. The intention was that the Club would form a permanent standing Committee who would make contact through the Manager of Upton Industrial School with all boys aged 14 or 15. They would get to know them as intimately as possible and learn their capabilities so that when their 16th birthday arrived they would be employed immediately in a suitable position. The Committee would then continue to act in loco parentis to the children so placed and be available at all times to advise them and help them out of trouble. Unfortunately the Scheme was killed at birth because the then Manager of Upton Industrial School would not give it his blessing as he felt that it constituted a trespass on his own preserves.
- See the Department’s earlier brush-off on a memo submitted by the Joint Committee of Women’s Societies and Social Workers on Children in Institutions, dated 18th February 1955.
- As the members of the joint committee heartily endorse the view that a bad home is better than the best institution they obviously have very little sympathy with or appreciation of the excellent work being done in Irish orphanages and Industrial schools for the homeless or deprived child. Indeed the Joint committee would appear to have a strong prejudice against the system and in these circumstances it is difficult to see what contribution they can make to the problem beyond airing their prejudices against the existing system. I hold that while the system can never replace the good or moderately good home, it has a lot to recommend it.
- This paragraph draws on the detailed account in A Keating, pp 244-89. See also Keating ‘Marlborough House: A Case Study of State Neglect’ Studies Vol 93, No 371, p 325.
- Some of our children – a report on the residential care of the deprived child in Ireland, No 13, January 1966
- Mercier Press, 1967.
- God Squad, p 38.
- At para 20.
- M Osocpa’s memo of 4th April, 1951 states:
- Committals from Dublin City and County amount to between 30 to 40 per cent of the total committals; yet the accommodation of the schools in the Dublin Area (Artane and Carriglea – 1090) is only 34 per cent of the total accommodation for boys (3,229) and these two schools are required, in addition to giving vacancies for the Dublin committals, to cater for practically the rest of Leinster and the counties of Cavan and Monaghan.
- The Department shared the Managers assessment that many schools were ‘in danger of becoming uneconomic’ and accepted that as a consequence ‘the chances of modernising’ these schools became ‘increasingly remote’. One solution considered was the closure of the least economic schools and the transfer of their children to more viable schools, but it was accepted that it would be unfair to put children beyond the reach of those parents and relatives who visit them. See, too, letter of 19th March 1954, letter from Christian Brothers (A OhAulain) announcing closure of Carriglea and suggesting that distribution of former Carriglea residents should be sensitive to the location of their homes.
- A similar practice was to be reported in the case of a previous manager by the Tuairim Report (1966) 22 Some of Our Children: See, like effect O’Connor (1963); Kennedy, para 6.22 ; McQuaid (1971)]
- Department document Ref No 63/1937. See, to rather similar effect 7th June 1937 internal Departmental memo and letter from Mr Whelan to Deputy Secretary of Department ,14th September 1937 (116/37 DEI P0036).
- At p 79.
- At para 77.
- The Manager had to make a return to the Department annually, giving: the name of each child, the periods of leave, and the total number of days’ leave taken since above the limit of 31 days, the capitation grants would be affected.
- As early as 1929, it was noted in a Department of Education memo (Misc /56) that while the numbers of committals to Industrial and Reformatory Schools was somewhat higher than in Saorstat Eireann, the actual numbers in the schools was less because the British school managers were making ‘more and more use of their power of ‘licensing’ the children’.
- At pp 79-80.
- Table 14.
- Letter from M O’S to Assistant Secretary, 4th April 1951. It was also noted earlier that unless committals continued to increase, it was likely that Baltimore would have to close. In fact, Baltimore closed in 1950.
- 11th August, 1943. See also Daly, p 78 (see Report of Department of Education 1929-30, p 109.
- Minister T O’Deirg to Archbishop. McQuaid letters, 15th August, 23rd September 1944.
- On 4th April 1951, M O’S of Department wrote to the Assistant Secretary:
- Since 1945 there have on an average been 250 vacancies in the Boys’ Schools which tends to show that (i) the existing Industrial School accommodation for Senior Boys is adequate for the present conditions of comparatively full employment occasioned by the continuance of international tension and (2) with the improvement in the Social Welfare Services and general conditions (including housing) it is anticipated that less children will be committed to Industrial Schools on the grounds of poverty than heretofore. It must be remembered, however, that the incidence of the causes which leads to committals (unhappy marriages, poverty, illness or deaths of one or both parents, lack of control etc) is unpredictable and makes accurate forecasts of the number of committals very difficult.
- The Christian Brothers Managers Meeting of 12th January 1954 states:
- The question of the desirability of closing, for economic reasons, one of our Industrial Schools was discussed in detail and at length. It was mentioned that the Presentation Brothers were seriously considering the closing of Greenmount. [this actually occurred only in 1959] It was mentioned that His Grace the Archbishop of Dublin had expressed his preference for the smaller rather than the larger type of school. The Committee were of opinion that one of the schools should be closed but that the final decision should be left to the Provincial Council.
- Minutes of 28th April 1956 stated that: ‘it would be well, at least in order to shake up the Department, to propose that two of the Institutions (sic) should be closed’.’
- The St Joseph’s Industrial School, Greenmount Cork annals for February 1959 record:
- The decline in the number of boys being committed to Industrial Schools had become very marked in recent years. The certified capacity of the school was 235 but at this time there were only 131 boys in the school. The meagre grant from the Government of 45/- per boy per week (only comparatively recently increased from 30/-) which had to cover food, clothing maintenance, provision of staff, other than the teachers in the class-room, etc made it very impractical to run the school efficiently. The second Juniorate at Passage West had its serious setbacks too. These two factors influenced the Higher Superiors to make the decision to close St Joseph’s as an Industrial School and made the building available as a Juniorate instead of St Teresa’s, Passage.
- However Keogh (p 183) writes:
- There is another explanation for the decline in the numbers of the boys being sent to the school. According to Fr Good: ‘there were rumours after the events of 1955, the Church held an inquiry into allegations that two members of the Greenmount Community were involved in an abusive relationship with a number of boys.] Fr Good (Chaplain to Greenmount 1955-70) writes to the Commission on December 29, 2005) that Bishop Lucey had asked the sisters in Passage to ignore government transfer orders and keep the boys to their sixteenth birthday. They did so successfully, and the boys went to secondary or technical schools in Passage.’ Interview with Fr James Good, History Department, UCC Cork, December 2000. I have yet to seek confirmation of this view from the Sisters of Mercy.
- Sr Bernadette was in charge of the Boy’s Junior Industrial School, Passage West, Co Cork (recently deceased). Sr Bernadette told me that Bishop Lucey had come to her and directed her to tear up all transfers of boys from her school to Greenmount and Upton. These Government transfers took effect on the child’s tenth birthday. (providing them with the secondary/technical education) until their release from Industrial School care at age 16. This effectively closed both Greenmount and Upton in a relatively short time.
- J Coolahan Irish Education: history and structure (IPA, 1981), pp 194-95.