Other admissions to Artane were insignificant in number in the 1940s but they increased substantially later. Health Board and voluntary admissions increased from 13 in the 1940s to 113 in the 1950s, and 136 in the 1960s. These admissions were not included in the number of children in respect of whom a capitation grant was payable by the Department of Education. They were either privately funded to attend the School or paid for by the Health Board, and in the latter years they accounted for an additional 50% of boys in Artane.
The Department of Health also inspected the premises, but only in relation to direct funding of capital development projects. The Investigation Committee asked the Department of Health about their inspection regime for institutions for persons with intellectual disabilities between the period 1939 and 1990, and they replied: From enquiries made both within the Department and the H.S.E2 (S.H.B3. area as Lota is based there) this division is not aware of any inspections having being carried out by the Department or then Health Board staff on institutions for persons with intellectual difficulties between the period 1939 and 1990.
In June 1928, the staff and boys of St Joseph’s Industrial School moved to their new premises at Glin, some 50 kilometres from Limerick City. Despite the alterations, it was never a suitable building for a boys’ residential school. A letter from the Brother Provincial on 14th November 1961 suggested it did not become the property of the Christian Brothers. He wrote, ‘Glin was the only workhouse that was handed over to us and hence the only Industrial School for which we are paying rent to the Department of Health’. Correspondence with the Christian Brothers confirmed that Glin never became the property of the Christian Brothers, but was leased at a yearly rent of £40 from Limerick Health Authority. In 1970, the premises were returned to the Authority.
After his second time on retreat in the monastery (following the allegations made in respect of Tom Murphy), Br Dacian went to a Residential Therapy Centre for Religious Clergy in England. The Provincial, Br Travis, wrote to him there with information about the progress of the investigations. Br Travis apologised for the delay in writing and expressed the hope that Br Dacian was finding his stay helpful and looked forward to visiting in a few weeks’ time when ‘I will be able to have a chat with you then’. He went on to describe the state of the inquiries: I have had two further meetings with the Western Health Board and they have now concluded the investigations. They will not be following through with any proceedings, thank God. I have now to meet Mr and Mrs Murphy ... I hope this will be the final meeting. They still require an apology in writing which, on reading, they will immediately destroy in my presence. It should be brief and to the point. On the basis of legal advice I enclose a draft. I also enclose some of our own Cluain Mhuire notepaper on which you can write the apology in your own handwriting. However, write this apology only if you feel you should. I would need it to hand by Wednesday, [two days prior to my meeting with the Murphys] at the latest. When I meet you on ... I will bring you up to date on what has happened at all of these meetings. I am confident that it will all die down now with the help of God.
Br Grissel and Mr Gallagher met two Eastern Health Board workers at their offices the following day and briefed them on the situation. Over a week later, Br Grissel had a meeting with a social worker from the Eastern Health Board to discuss informing the boy’s parents, contacting the Gardaí and setting up an internal inquiry. Br Grissel then contacted the School’s solicitor.
Brian, who had witnessed the incident, was also seen by the assessment team. He informed them that Mr Moore had shown him on many occasions how to masturbate, and he named two other boys who had been similarly instructed. He also informed the team that Mr Moore used to show adult-blue movies to the boys. A case conference took place between the St Clare’s team, members of the Eastern Health Board and Br Grissel, where it was decided that an initial screening process should be undertaken of all children in both residential houses where Mr Moore had worked. In addition, staff of St Joseph’s were to be informed of the situation, and the parents of the boys named were to be contacted with a view to having their children assessed.
Arrangements were for the screening and assessment of pupils at St Joseph’s who it was felt could have been the subject of sexual abuse by Mr Moore. This was a slow and lengthy process. At the same time, the Eastern Health Board conducted an inquiry into the allegations, and a Garda investigation was also underway which continued early into the next year. Approximately two months after the investigations commenced, Mr Moore was dismissed from his employment.
There was a delay in actually commencing the screening process of past and present pupils at St Joseph’s, which was to be conducted by the social workers of the Eastern Health Board together with a member of staff at Cabra. The St Clare’s team had stressed the need to begin the screening process quickly. However, the minutes of a case conference held following the dismissal of Mr Moore noted that the screening process had not begun and parents had not even been informed at that stage, some five months after the initial complaint of sexual abuse had been made. The screening process began shortly after this case conference. Initially, 17 boys were screened. However, further screenings took place and were expanded to include past and present pupils of the School, which resulted in 70 boys being screened.
A few months later, the Eastern Health Board produced two reports. The first dealt with complaints about staff at the School, and the second with observations on the management and operation of the residential units. The first report catalogued complaints against members of staff that came to light during the course of the investigation, but it did not come to any findings. The second report identified three main issues of concern: (1) matters of sexuality; (2) communication; and (3) child care issues. With regard to matters of sexuality, the Health Board identified that there was a lack of a clear policy in this area, which they felt could ‘only have contributed to the likelihood of sexual abuse occurring in the units’. This was stated, in particular, with regard to sexual abuse amongst the boys. The report noted that there was a ‘sexualised culture within the school in general’ which they felt could only ‘be shifted by radical and ongoing management and training’. They concluded that institutional abuse had occurred in the School.
The report found communication with parents was poor and liaison with them slow and incomplete. Communication between childcare staff and the Director of Care was also unsatisfactory, because it was ‘formalised on an administrative, rather than a professional basis for instance, rosters, leave etc. will be organised efficiently but there is little evidence of professional supervision or professional accountability’. A problem with communication between management and staff was noted, and staff complained of being ‘kept in the dark’. Lack of communication between one shift of staff and another was found. The relationship between the residential and teaching staff was poor. The Eastern Health Board felt that a formal liaison system needed to be established between both staff groups to discuss matters of mutual concern.
Until 1954, the numbers in Letterfrack were reasonably high. From 1937 to 1955, the average number of boys in the Institution being paid for by the Department of Education was about 150. In addition, there were Health Board and voluntary admissions. For example, in 1954, Letterfrack received State grants for 147 boys, although there were 181 boys recorded in the School by the Visitor for that year. Those additional boys were paid for by the Health Boards and by voluntary contributions.
The second reason for the closure of the School was that Health Boards in the 1970s were focusing more on fostering as a means of caring for children rather than residential care in institutions.
The School was transferred to the South Eastern Health Board on 6th April 1999. At that time, there were 10 children in care in two houses, Avondale and Crannog. Avondale was purchased by the Sisters of Charity in 1976, and leased to the South Eastern Health Board in 1999, and later transferred to them under the Redress Scheme. The other home, Crannog, was built by the Sisters of Charity with funds raised locally and through an exchange of land between the Sisters and the County Manager. In 1995, an adjoining house was purchased by the South Eastern Health Board, and the two houses then formed one unit. The original house was transferred, free of charge, to the South Eastern Health Board in 1999.
It is clear that the Department of Education did not conduct any investigation into the events that took place in Ferryhouse in 1980. Nor did the Department facilitate any such investigation, whether by the Garda Sióchana, by the Department of Health, by the local Health Authority or by any other agency.
In response to the emerging allegations of sexual abuse in Renmore School in Galway, the Western Health Board set up an inquiry in 1999.