The following excerpts are taken from The Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse, otherwise known as the Ryan Report, dealing with the Roman Catholic Industrial School known as Artane:
Link to the Ryan Report on the Industrial Home Artane
7.01 St Joseph’s Industrial School, Artane was established under the Industrial Schools Act (Ireland), 1868 by the Christian Brothers at the request of the then Archbishop of Dublin, Cardinal Cullen. It opened on 28th July 1870 with the aim of caring for neglected, orphaned and abandoned Roman Catholic boys, and it operated as an industrial school until its closure in 1969.
7.02 The Industrial School was located in a north-eastern suburb of Dublin some five kilometres from the city centre in an area which was, at that time, open countryside amenable to intensive farming. The application for a certificate in June 1870, to the Chief Secretary for Ireland, stated that Artane Castle plus 56 acres of land had been purchased for the purpose of setting up an industrial school. The request was approved and the School was licensed to accommodate 825 boys on 9th July 1870. From an original intake of three pupils, it quickly grew in scale, housing 700 boys by 1877, and reaching its certified size of 825 boys before the end of the nineteenth century. During its existence, approximately 15,500 boys were cared for and educated in Artane.
7.08 The Rules and Regulations of Artane were similar to those of other industrial schools and required it to provide for the physical needs of the boys committed to the School, who were to be supplied with suitable accommodation, clothing, food, and instruction. Recreation was to be provided and they were allowed to receive visitors and to correspond with outsiders. They were to receive religious instruction, a secular education and industrial training. The School was also required to develop a spirit of industry, pride and discipline amongst the children.
7.10 These boys were ordered to be detained in Artane by the courts for reasons of inadequate parental care, destitution, neglect, truancy or the commission of minor offences. It is clear, however, that poverty was the underlying reason why children were sent to Artane, whatever the statutory category grounding the detention.
7.34 Phase I of the hearings into Artane took place on 15th September 2005 with a public session at the Alexander Hotel, Merrion Square, Dublin 2. Evidence was heard from Br Michael Reynolds, who described life in the Institution and outlined the Congregation’s view as to how the Institution operated.
7.35 Phase II commenced on 26th September 2005 in the offices of the Commission and continued in private in accordance with the legislation until 16th December 2005. The Investigation Committee invited 78 complainants to give evidence as part of the Artane inquiry, of whom 48 attended and gave evidence. 26 respondents, either Brothers or ex-Brothers gave evidence. In addition, the Committee heard from two other witnesses who were in a position to give general information about the Institution
7.36 In Phase III of the Investigation Committee’s inquiry into Artane, Br Reynolds returned to give evidence on behalf of the Congregation at a public hearing which took place on 22nd and 23rd May 2006. This session focused on issues that arose as a result of the private hearings into Artane and the documentary material furnished to the Commission.
7.37 In addition to oral evidence, the Investigation Committee considered documentary discovery material received from a number of sources, namely the Christian Brothers, the Department of Education and Science, An Garda Sıochana, the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Archbishop of Dublin and the Health Service Executive.
7.38 There are Department of Education General and Medical Inspection Reports for most of the period of the investigation. Files from the headquarters of the Christian Brothers in Rome yielded evidence of cases of sexual abuse considered by the Congregation to have been admitted or proven against individual Brothers. Visitation Reports of the Christian Brothers were another valuable source of information. Infirmary records were scant and were shown to be misleading in some cases. There was a statutory requirement to maintain a punishment book, which was to be examined by the Department of Education Inspector, but no such book was maintained.
7.39 An unusual feature about Artane was that there was independent evidence as to conditions there. The evidence was firstly that of Fr Henry Moore, who was chaplain to Artane by appointment of the Archbishop of Dublin, Dr J.C. McQuaid, from 1960 to 1967. Fr Moore was the author of a
confidential report on conditions in Artane, which he wrote in 1962 at the request of the Archbishop. He also gave evidence about the Institution to an Inter-Departmental Committee on juvenile crime in the same year, as a result of which controversy arose between officials of the Department of Justice and the Department of Education. Fr Moore was exceptionally qualified to comment on residential schools and the Christian Brothers, because he had spent nearly 10 years as a resident of St Vincent’s Glasnevin, an orphanage operated by the Christian Brothers. Fr Moore’s evidence is discussed in detail later in this chapter.
7.40 The Investigation Committee also heard evidence from Dr Paul McQuaid, consultant psychiatrist, who was a regular visitor to Artane in the late 1960s.
7.41 The Investigation Committee engaged experts to prepare reports on Artane. Mazars, a firm of accountants and financial consultants, analysed the accounts of the Institution and produced a report which was provided to the Congregation for comment and response. The issues concerning Artane are analysed in the Mazars’ report which is dealt with in Vol IV. As indicated above, Mr Ciaran Fahy, consulting engineer, prepared a report on the buildings and lands of the Institution, which was similarly sent for comment and which is also annexed (to the chapter).
Concessions and submissions
7.44 The Congregation accepted that the regime was mainly one of physical care and did not encompass much in the way of emotional attention. The Brothers denied that the Institution was generally an abusive one, and their fundamental contention was that Artane was a positive Institution which generally was a force for good.
7.45 With regard to sexual abuse, they acknowledged that such incidents had happened, and they greatly regretted them. They said that, as a Congregation, it did not tolerate such behaviour and the available evidence, they claimed, showed that they responded appropriately according to the norms of the time, even if present standards would condemn them.
7.46 As to allegations of physical abuse, the Congregation was also generally defensive. It maintained that this issue had to be seen in the context of the time, when corporal punishment was permitted, not only in industrial schools but in all schools, and was also common in homes across the country. Moreover, the Christian Brothers’ own rules forbade excessive punishment and encouraged a minimalist approach to the physical punishment of children. Where excessive punishment occurred, it was disapproved of, and the records of the Congregation showed that, where
instances came to light, they were the subject of comment and criticism. A Disciplinarian was employed in the School to deal with all serious breaches of discipline, and that promoted consistency of treatment.
7.47 They maintained that there was overall a good relationship between Brothers and boys in Artane, and the picture of a frightening regime with a climate of fear was a misrepresentation of the situation.
7.48 The positions adopted by individual respondents were more consistent with the evidence of the complainants.
7.49 In accordance with the legislation, the Committee was required to determine what abuse took place in Artane, how it happened, how much of the particular abuse was perpetrated, and why it happened. This chapter addresses the different forms of abuse, which can be summarised as physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect and emotional abuse. The method adopted in this and other chapters, in dealing with specific abuse, is first to analyse documentary material which may be considered reliable, and then to proceed to the oral evidence given by complainants and respondents, and to relate it where appropriate to the documented evidence. A further question has also to be considered, namely whether the Institution provided a safe, secure environment for the boys who were detained in it.
7.50 With regard to the oral evidence of complainants, the Congregation in its submissions drew attention to features that it maintained detracted from the credibility and reliability of testimony of abuse. It pointed out that the events in question happened many years ago, and witnesses’ memories were less reliable because of the lapse of time. They also pointed to interference of independent recollection by reason of contact with other former residents and by attendance at meetings promoted by campaigning groups. Other relevant features included media publicity and issues of compensation. These problems were exacerbated in the investigation of Artane because it was the biggest institution and one of the most controversial.