This response implied that the regular inspections of the School included consideration of the administration of corporal punishment. There is, however, no evidence that the inspections conducted on the Department’s behalf included an examination of the use of corporal punishment. Punishment books were not kept. Neither the General Inspection Report nor the Report on Medical Aspects of School Accommodation referred to this matter on the standard printed inspection form. There are no references to it in the general observations and suggestions section. Although one of the Brothers in this incident recalled being interviewed by Dr McCabe24 about it, no report from her survives in the records. The report from Dr McCabe following her next annual inspection made no reference to the incident, or to the question of punishment in the School.
Officials of the Department of Education carried out an investigation and rejected the complaints. In the course of their inquiry, the officials interviewed the boy and his grandmother, and they received written statements from each of the Brothers involved, furnished to them by the Superior of Artane. Mrs McCarthy was unhappy with the way that she and her grandson were questioned. The officials’ investigation was hampered by the grandmother’s refusal to give the names of boys said to have witnessed the events involving her grandson and, in addition, they failed to obtain information from the chaplain, Fr Moore, who had some knowledge of the matter and was unhappy that he had not been approached directly but through the Superior of Artane. More importantly, he feared that his bond of confidentiality with the boys in Artane might be prejudiced. A genuine misunderstanding might have caused the failure to get information from the chaplain. In the circumstances, it would be unfair to criticise the inspectors on this ground. Whatever impediments there may have been to the inquiry, it nevertheless seems unsatisfactory that the officials did not question the Brothers involved. The report of the investigation did not, however, equivocate: From an examination of the evidence obtained through interviews, enquiries made by phone and the reports furnished by the Brothers concerned, in association with the grandmother’s refusal to give the names of the boys who witnessed [the boy’s] being taken from his bed at night for punishment, it is clear that the charges of brutality and sadism made by Mrs. McCarthy are without foundation. The fact that she is content to leave her other grandson in the care of the Brothers in Artane lend support to this opinion. Br Ourson37 did give [the boy] a shaking ... but considering the boy’s infuriating failures to remain in employment, he showed remarkable restraint. Outside this occurrence, nothing emerged from the enquiry to justify the charges of ill-treatment ...
The Congregation also contended that the emotional needs of children were not a consideration at the time, either by the Congregation or by the Department of Education. In support of this contention, the Congregation stated that, when the Department carried out a full and thorough inspection in December 1962, it ‘focussed almost entirely on the physical conditions in which the boys lived and on their education’.
After another criticism of record-keeping in the mid-1950s, her Report of 1958 recorded that she was satisfied in this regard. She also noted that the children were examined by medical personnel from Dublin Corporation, which ensured that they could avail of free ophthalmologist and dental care funded by the local authority. However, while the local authority carried out medical examinations on all of the boys, it was only prepared to pay for spectacles and dental treatment required by boys from Dublin. In her 1956 Report she suggested that the dentist be requested to fill teeth rather than extract them.
Dr McCabe reported her complete satisfaction with the medical facilities, treatment and monitoring provided in Artane. She referred to her own regular medical and general inspections and medical checks carried out every two years by the local authority. She commended the hygiene and said that the boys’ diet was very good. The dormitories were ‘large, airy spacious and very well maintained’. Dr McCabe concluded: I would also wish to state that there is a most pleasant relationship between the Brothers and their care and I have never met with any fear on the boy’s behalf of those in charge of them.
What this scenario also demonstrated was that, while the Department of Education funded the industrial and reformatory schools and carried out periodic inspections of schools, these schools were in reality controlled by the Congregations that ran them, and it mattered little the level of opposition, or indeed who might be opposing any changes the Congregation proposed – their decision in the matter was final.
In 1966, Dr C.E. Lysaght carried out the general inspection. He stated that the School menu provided a ‘well balanced diet and variety’. He noted that the dinners, which he witnessed during his inspection, were ‘ample’, ‘satisfactory’ and that ‘little food was left behind’.
No documents, such as interview notes relating to the investigation conducted by the Department Inspector, were discovered to the Committee. Notwithstanding the fact that the punishment meted out was clearly in contravention of the Department’s own rules (in that it was not punishment on the hand but on the buttocks), there was no evidence of any action being taken against the school for breaking these rules and regulations.
Br Nolan referred to the various inspections carried out by the Congregation and the State, which ‘brought every aspect of life under scrutiny’. He stated that Carriglea fared well in these inspections and that ‘general provision for the pupils, medical care and especially education were highly praised’. Br Nolan referred to the annual Visitations to the School by members of the Provincial Council, which he believed were the most thorough and insightful of the inspections. He stated: ‘here again satisfaction and praise were the most common outcomes of the visits but censure and demands for improvement were not spared if failures were noticed’.
The Department of Education Inspections, both General and Medical, were carried out by Dr Anna McCabe, and she was consistently guarded in her assessment of the School. Food, clothing and accommodation were generally categorised as ‘fair’ or ‘satisfactory’ throughout the 1940s. She was particularly critical of the condition of the boys’ patched clothing and the habit of allowing the boys to go barefoot in the summer. This practice was recalled by a complainant to the Committee, who said that this caused cut and injured feet.
The depiction of Carriglea in the early 1940s was of a very run-down and dilapidated place. The main issues centred on the deterioration of the l buildings of the Institution itself, the lack of cleanliness and hygiene, both of the School and the boys, and the poor-quality clothing of the children. From the various reports, there was a divergence of views on the issue of clothing. Throughout the 1940s, the Department of Education Inspector, Dr Anna McCabe, commented on the fact that the boys were in patched clothing, whereas the Visitation Reports only referred to this on one occasion. Despite its being wartime, the care of the boys was praised by the Visitors throughout the 1940s, although Dr McCabe only rated the food, clothing and accommodation as ‘fair’ or ‘satisfactory’. The only direct criticism with regard to food was in 1946, when Dr McCabe felt that the children were not receiving adequate supplies of milk and butter.
The Inspector of Industrial and Reformatory Schools, Mr Sugrue,18 requested Dr Anna McCabe to investigate the serious complaints contained in the letter, which he specified as food, clothing, bedding, laundering of clothes and heating of the School in winter. Dr McCabe visited Glin for this purpose, and she also took the opportunity to carry out a General Inspection. Her brief report on the complaints stated: Mr Sugrue, I visited Glin Industrial School and had a long talk with the Manager. I told him about the letter we had received and which it was my duty to investigate. I really could find no ground for complaint in the school. It is well run and the boys appear well and happy. I asked the manager if there could be any spiteful reason why the letter should have been written and he told me that the man had been dismissed for insubordination and had vowed to injure the school ... Apparently he thought that writing this note he would cast reflection on the school. Many improvements have been made in this school and in my opinion there are no grounds for complaint against the management.
Dr McCabe’s visit was not only to investigate the complaint. She carried out a General Inspection on the same day, and her report gave little indication of the serious problems that she was investigating, and which were acknowledged by her superiors in the Department as needing special investigation.
The Submissions made by the Congregation on issues of neglect of the boys in Glin drew attention first to the General Inspection Reports of the Department of Education, which it stated were generally very favourable. It said that the process of inspection as carried out by Dr Anna McCabe was thorough and had good follow-up. At the end of each inspection, Dr McCabe made recommendations orally to the Manager of the School, which were then followed up by a letter from the Department, formally listing the recommendations. The process came to a close with a letter of confirmation from the Manager that the required alterations and improvements had been made. The Congregation contend that the Resident Manager responded promptly to the Department’s requirements, following both General Inspection Reports and Medical Inspection Reports. The reality, however, is that the Department Inspections were a good deal less effective than the Congregation’s description would suggest.
In 1939, Dr Anna McCabe30 conducted her first general inspection of Salthill. She noted that the School looked untidy, as did the children. Otherwise, she found the boys were healthy.