In a letter to the Department of Education from the foster-mother of a boy who was resident in Artane in the 1950s, only part of which survives, the woman complained that the boy’s head was cut following a blow from Br Searle. The Resident Manager prepared a report for the Department regarding her complaint, the relevant portion of which reads: The Br Searle mentioned in [the mother’s] letter was changed from Artane about two years ago. I have got in touch with him about the matter and the following statement is taken from the letter which I received from him: “I remember the occasion when [this boy] received a slight cut on the head. It will be remembered that on a prior occasion when I had a group of boys out on walk, one of them ... jumped out on the road, was struck by a lorry, and was killed instantaneously. The fear of a similar occurrence haunted me subsequently when taking boys on a walk. About four years ago when I had a group of boys out on a walk [the boy] began to act in a similar and even more dangerous manner. I was shocked at the thought of what could have happened to him. The impulsive thrust which accidentally struck him was a gesture of protection from a greater danger on a busy highway. I explained all this to [the mother] at the time but to the best of my recollection I never suggested that she should say nothing about what happened”. I am here for the past four years and never at any time did I receive a complaint from [this woman]. As a matter of fact she has expressed, frequently, her thanks for all that was being done for the boy.
The injury to the head was not disputed. The Brother explained that it was an ‘impulsive thrust which accidentally struck him’. The foster-mother had, apparently, had all of this explained to her, yet she was concerned enough to make a complaint to the Department of Education.