The result was that, up to the time of the Kennedy Report, as Dr Keating writes59: [Apart from Michael Viney’s articles of 1966] the rest of the sparse coverage of the Schools was treated either with the nostalgic gloss of Patrick J McNulty’s article of 20-21 June, 1969 entitled Memories of Artane or as simple reportage devoid of analysis, despite opportunity for greater analysis as a result of conferences on the inadequacies and dangers of the system.
At the same time, there were various practical improvements in the schools, mostly because of rising economic prosperity in the 1960s. The following contemporary account, from Michael Viney’s 1966 Irish Times series, provides some examples: A hundred boys is probably the most any one centre should contain, if the staff are to have any chance of treating them as individuals. So consideration of closing Upton and Letterfrack has not been without its ironies. For a hundred boys, more or less, is just what each of them has now. They were built, of course, to hold far more, and the present capitation system makes it uneconomic to run them at less than three-quarters full – about double their present population. Both Upton and Letterfrack have undergone major reconstructions and improvements in the last few years. The Department of Education has granted large sums to build or convert new classroom wings and the orders themselves have borrowed heavily from the banks to pay for other, very welcome improvements. So just as these schools have been brightened out of all recognition, their future has never seemed more uncertain. Reports and other indicators
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.
Naturally few of the resident’s families had cars and consequently a visit by them was effectively impossible, unless pubic transport was available. As an example of the limitations of this: although only 50 miles from Dublin, Daingean was even in 1966, served by a single daily bus from Dublin. A further restriction, according to Michael Viney, was that parents were allowed to visit Daingean only on the first Sunday of the month