With small variations, the daily timetable for the boys and staff in Ferryhouse followed the activity pattern set out below:
|Time||Activity for boys||Duty for staff|
|6.30||Rise/ prepare breakfast etc|
|8.00||Boys called/ Wash and dress||Raise boys
|8.30||Mass then breakfast/ polishing boots and clothing inspection etc||Supervise|
|9.00||School/ Workshops/technical classes Mondays and Wednesdays||Return to dorms to check all is clean|
|12.00 to 12.45||Catechism|
|12.45 to 1.00||Playtime||Supervise|
|3.00||Band until 4.45 for players|
|9.00||Bed||Supervise until night watchman arrives/ on call|
He added, ‘That is the way it was when I went in there. Boys [who wet the bed] were always slapped ... one in each hand ... before they went to bed the next night’.
The existing orphanage building was not large enough for the new project and so, in 1872, work began on a new building adjacent to the orphanage. It was to be named St Joseph’s School for Boys. An aggressive fund-raising effort, spear-headed by Dr Delaney, raised sufficient funds for the construction of the School, with accommodation for approximately 220 boys. The Cork Examiner described the building as it neared completion: The new building itself is a handsome and substantial edifice, built of red brick, in the domestic Gothic style of architecture, from a design and plan furnished by Mr George Ashlin, the eminent architect. The front (or northern) elevation presents the bold and effective appearance of a three-storey house, pierced by about forty windows, of which the limestone dressings relieve the ruddy monotony of the chief material, and a lofty, projecting gable at either end with cut limestone barges, flanks the long range of the body of the building. The edifice as it stands, covers an area of 120 feet by 50 feet high. The first rooms met with in this corridor, on either hand, are intended for a reception parlour, 17 feet by 22 feet; a refectory for the Brothers, 22 feet by 23 feet; and a sitting room for the chaplain, 20 feet by 17 feet. Farther on, in the front of the building, is the refectory for the boys, a spacious and cheerful hall, 57 feet long by 28 feet wide, capable of sitting 200. It is lighted by six large windows of plate glass, and above each window appears a ventilator, which passes upward in the thickness of the wall to the eaves. At the eastern end of the refectory will be the kitchen, 20 feet by 15 feet, separated from the refectory by a partition, and communicating with it through a turnstile ... Opposite the refectory door is a convenient staircase, by which we ascend two flights to the first floor, passing on the first landing a room for one of the Brothers. Another ample corridor, like that in the basement, traverses this floor, and from it we enter the first dormitory, occupying the whole front of this storey, 120 feet by 28 and a half feet, with a similar arrangement as to the light and air to those observed in the refectory. The monotonous interior of this splendid apartment is broken near either end by moulded piers, united by three neatly moulded arches, at a distance of 15 feet from each wall.6
Both the Department of Education and the Congregation were well aware of the importance of having a suitably experienced person in this pivotal position in the School. The report entitled ‘Report on the Occupational Training Provided in the Industrial Schools and in Glencree Reformatory’ commissioned by the Department in the mid to late 1930s, which is referred to in detail in the section ‘Industrial Training’ below, and also the Cussen Report13 emphasised the importance of having a Manager with the requisite experience and qualities for this ‘highly specialised task’. Yet in Greenmount, as in other industrial schools, because the Resident Manager was very often also the Superior of the Community, the Department did not get involved in this appointment and left it in the hands of the Congregation. The Congregation, for its part, does not appear to have recognised the importance of the appointment, particularly in the 1950s, which was unfair both to the Resident Managers appointed, some of whom must have found themselves struggling to cope with the task, and most importantly, to the boys.
|Time||Activity for boys||Duty for staff|
|7.15||Prayers in oratory|
|7.30||Boys called/ dress|
|7.30–7.50||‘Chalks’ – cleaning duties. Monitor in charge of 8-10 boys|
|7.50||Boys strip in yard or hall and wash at sinks|
|8.30||Breakfast – bread and coffee||Breakfast in refectory|
|9.00||School||Teaching Brothers work in school|
|1.00||Lunch Dinner – meat and two veg then play||Lay Brothers supervise|
|About 6.00||Evening meal – Bread and cocoa|
|9.00 (Later in summer)||Bed|
This chapter also deals with certain allegations made by former residents of St. Joseph’s Industrial School for Boys, Passage West, County Cork, which was also under the management of the Sisters of Mercy. A sexual abuser moved from a School in Passage West to the School in Cappoquin therefore an account of his movements is relevant to the investigation of Cappoquin Industrial School as well as Passage West.
Recorded on the back of this letter is a handwritten note: Answered: [Date] Examined boy’s face no mark. Got him to examine it himself no mark. Boy asked not mention to [Br Verrill]. Wish acceded to. Reason? Mentioned boy was happy at Trade & Technical Course. Boy states that he did not see any T.D. Asked father to put me in touch with T.D.
Witnesses described having to wait before the corporal punishment was administered. Some were taken out of their beds at night to be punished. Boys sent to the Disciplinarian had to wait facing the wall until he was ready to deal with them, which led to an increase in anxiety about what was to come.
The Visitation Report continued: Unfortunately, for years there has been much immorality among the boys. Onanism and Sodomy have been frequent, and these practices take place wherever the boys congregate, in the play field, lavatories, schools, kitchen and in the grounds. Formerly the boys were allowed to go out by themselves and then these practices were frequent. Boys wandered away among the fields and roads and mountain and immoral practices were carried on. Accusations have been made against Br Perryn in this respect also, and my investigations seem to confirm the charges. I have got statements from the boys with whom he is alleged to have had immoral relations. They are so shockingly obscene, revolting and abominable that it is hard to believe them. I have sent him to the O’Brien on the plea of ill health as I could not conscientiously leave him in charge of the boys until the matter is dealt with. Boys got a Retreat last Christmas and since then things seem to have somewhat improved. I fear that the boys have been making bad confessions, and would recommend that Fr. C Counihan be requested to give them a Retreat at once, so that the boys may get a chance now that Br Perryn is away. Boys whom I interviewed told me that they were afraid to reveal the malpractices through fear of Br Perryn. It is alleged that he beats them, kicks them, catches them by the throat etc. and uses them for immoral ends. I found superintendence of the boys at times very slack. For instance, on many mornings there is only an old man ... in charge when the boys are getting up and dressing and washing. Many mornings there is no Br present when the boys are saying their prayers. [The man] says the prayers with them. Boys get up at 7 and attend mass at 7.30 Dublin time. House time is one hour later. The boys in the Junior Dormitory do not get up until 7.30 . There is no Br with these either at that time. A monitor is in charge though one of these monitors was recently carrying on immoral conduct with some of the juniors in the dormitory. The Superior has now arranged that a Brother takes charge of both dormitories when the children are getting up. I also found that no Br was in charge of the boys between 2.30 and 3.00 this is one of the times when it is alleged that Br Perryn was most active with his vile practices. The night watchman has no “punch clock” so there is no guarantee that he is doing his work of superintendence at night properly. He leaves each morning at 6.30 .
He said that he remembered that Br Vallois46 left suddenly but stated that he did not discover that this was because he was sexually abusing children until many years later. Similarly, he said that he had no idea why Mr Albaric47 left. He speculated that, if there had been an investigation into the activities of Br Vallois, he might have been frightened into stopping his own activities.
In the early 1960s, Br Vallois left Letterfrack because of a complaint of sexual abuse of a boy. There is no documentary evidence of this incident and the only information came from a Brother who had served in Letterfrack and who gave evidence to the Committee. Br Vallois was sent to Letterfrack as a temporarily professed Brother. The witness was in charge of the senior boys’ dormitory and Br Vallois, who seemed keen and enthusiastic, asked the witness to allow him to take the boys to bed. A boy reported to a Brother that Br Vallois used to sit on the edge of his bed and touch him inappropriately. The complaint was passed on to the Superior, who informed the Provincial, and Br Vallois was brought to the Provincialate for questioning. He did not renew his vows.
Br Michel described the incident as follows: The young man’s name was Vallois, Br Vallois. He was sent to Letterfrack as a very promising young man, as a teacher and so on. He was very keen and very anxious to work. A few times he asked me – I was in charge of the senior dormitory at the time and he said to me once or twice, “could I take the boys to bed tonight because I would like to learn the ropes?” So I said yes, I was probably glad of the break. It transpires that there was touching going on in the dormitory. Now, I am not perfectly clear who reported it, I presume it was the boy himself. I can’t remember his name, but it went as far as I remember to the Disciplinarian first and it went from the Disciplinarian to the Manager who was Br Guillaume and within a day or two that young man was transported by car to Dublin. I am not certain if the boy concerned was brought also, I have an idea he was. So the Provincial interviewed them and I am not again certain if the offender was let back for a short time to collect his stuff, I can’t recall fully. At any rate at the end of that year that young man left the Congregation. I don’t know whether he was dismissed or whether he decided to discontinue as a Brother. That’s the story in brief.
The Congregation’s Submission stated that ‘the Congregation accepts, on the basis of the evidence of Br Michel and on the basis of its own records, that Br Vallois was involved in some level of sexual abuse’.
Trades offered limited opportunities and became more irrelevant and obsolete over the years. Boys worked for the school, and in the process learned little or nothing to improve their prospects in life.
General conclusions on Upton and Ferryhouse are at paragraph 3.454 of the following Chapter on Ferryhouse. 1 Quoted in Bríd Fahey Bates, The Institute of Charity: Rosminians. Their Irish Story 1860–2003 (Dublin: Ashfield Publishing Press, 2003), p 74. 2 This is a pseudonym. 3 This is a pseudonym. 4 This is a pseudonym. 5 1933 Rules and Regulations for the Certified Industrial Schools in Saorstát Éireann, Rule 12. 6 This is a pseudonym. 7 This is a pseudonym. 8 This is a pseudonym. 9 This is a pseudonym. 10 This is a pseudonym. 11 This is a pseudonym. 12 This is a pseudonym. 13 This is a pseudonym. 14 This is a pseudonym. 15 This is a pseudonym. 16 This is a pseudonym. 17 This is a pseudonym. 18 This is a pseudonym. 19 This is a pseudonym. 20 This is a pseudonym. 21 This is a pseudonym. 22 This is a pseudonym. 23 This is a pseudonym. 24 This is a pseudonym. 25 This is a pseudonym. 26 This is a pseudonym. 27 This is a pseudonym. 28 Latin for curiosity, astonishment, surprise. 29 This is a pseudonym. 30 This is a pseudonym. 31 This is a pseudonym. 32 This is a pseudonym. 33 This is a pseudonym. 34 This is a pseudonym. 35 This is a pseudonym. 36 This is a pseudonym. 37 This is a pseudonym. 38 This is a pseudonym. 39 Latin for in a class of its own. 40 This is a pseudonym. 41 Latin for with a boy. 42 Latin for with boys. 43 Latin for As spoken. 44 This is a pseudonym. 45 Latin for curiosity, astonishment, surprise. 46 Latin for without delay. 47 This is a pseudonym. 48 This is a pseudonym. 49 Latin for due caution. 50 This is a pseudonym. 51 This is a pseudonym. 52 This is a pseudonym. 53 This is a pseudonym. 54 Dr Anna McCabe was the Department of Education Inspector for most of the relevant period. 55 Records exist for only 19 of the 23 years. 56 This is a pseudonym.
This statement goes further than simply to admit that abuse occurred. It states that the kind of institutional life that was made available in Ferryhouse until the late 1970s was in itself abusive. Boys lived in a system of military-style regimentation, and endured a ruthless regime of control by corporal punishment. The objectives were to reform them, and mould them into obedient and subservient citizens, but the system did not allow for the fact that they were young children with emotional and developmental needs. It offered them the cruel and austere life of a nineteenth-century institution that had survived largely unchanged into the third quarter of the twentieth century. It had few caring adults who could show affection, compassion and sympathy. The rare staff member who did treat them as individuals, and offered them kindness and support, were singled out by former residents for special mention. For the rest, the adults were there to control the children, and the children had to look to each other for emotional and social support.