The Investigation Committee heard evidence in private from three witnesses at the Commission’s offices on 31st March 2006. The Department of Education and Science and the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform were legally represented at these hearings. In addition to oral evidence, the Investigation Committee considered documents received from both of these Departments as part of the discovery process. Statements were also furnished by these two Departments for the Phase III hearings. The Secretary General of the Department of Education and Science, Ms Brigid McManus, gave evidence at a two-day public hearing on 12th and 13th June 2006. These hearings focused on the role of the Department of Education in the regulation of industrial schools and its management of Marlborough House. The Assistant Secretary of the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Mr James Martin, gave evidence in public on 19th June 2006. The premises: a condemned building
A conference was held in Leinster House on 8th July 1971 which was attended by both the Ministers for Education and Justice, together with their officials. The Minister for Justice was very critical of the Department of Education’s handling of Marlborough House: ‘... there had been total neglect of the Marlboro House establishment: staffing had been obtained from among Labour Exchange undesirables: young children were left in their care when it was known that they indulged in brutality: he himself had inspected the place and had been appalled at conditions ...’. He added: ‘... it was very late in the day for the Department of Education to look for any sharing of responsibility in the operation of the establishment’. Following this conference, an official in the Department of Education contacted the Department of Justice with a view to setting up a Working Party in relation to Marlborough House. An internal Department of Justice memorandum informed the Department of Education unequivocally that there would be no Working Party and that ‘Marlborough House is not a matter for the Minister for Justice nor one in which he can be involved’. He added: ‘I felt that I should make it plain to him that in this Department it is believed that the Department of Education is endeavouring to involve this Department in something which is not its concern’. Mr James Martin, Assistant Secretary with the Department of Justice, at the Phase III hearing, said: ‘... they had views that the Department of Education should be more active but they were not going to take over that role themselves’.