For this daily routine to run on time, the boys had to be drilled with near military precision. As one priest, Fr Ludano,3 who stayed at the School in the late 1940s and early 1950s, put it: Probably even at that time I considered it harsh ... well, there was a lot of regimentation, some of which I didn’t think was necessary. It was run almost on army lines, which I think was unnecessary.
Fr Ludano who was resident in Ferryhouse in the early 1950s recalled one occasion when he was approached by a few boys about a Brother who had punished another boy. He told the Investigation Committee: Some of the boys came to me and said: “Brother so and so, he slapped so and so even though he is only a baby.” And that stayed in my mind ... I was horrified ... [I did] nothing ... I didn’t know what to do ... You see, my own position would have been a visitor, or just passing through or whatever ... I was very sorry for the little fellow who was involved, you know, and he was only a baby.
One witness said he was not long in Upton before he was called into the office by Brs Ludano and Donato, and questioned about his brother who had been in Ferryhouse and was now in Daingean. Once they established they were siblings, the Brothers said words to the effect ‘we won’t make the same mistake with you’ and proceeded to strike him across the face and gave him ‘benders’ on the buttocks with the leather. He was black and blue from this beating. He recalled being beaten also by a Fr Gian16 on the farm, but the main punishments were meted out by Brs Ludano and Donato.
The witness spoke about the punishment for immorality with others. He explained how, every couple of months or so in Upton, Brs Ludano and Donato would take a boy into the office and strap him until he offered up the name of a boy who had been scamping with him. This went on as the next boy would name another boy, ‘it was a never ending ... circle’.
The question of corporal punishment in Ferryhouse was considered at a meeting of Rosminian Superiors and others, which took place in Drumcondra on 19th April 1968. Fr Filippo,16 Provincial of the Rosminian Institute, called this meeting, and amongst those who attended was Fr Rafaele, Resident Manager of Ferryhouse, Fr Pietro,17 a previous Resident Manager there, and Fr Lucio18 who succeeded Fr Rafaele in 1970. Also in attendance was Fr Ludano.