Ireland’s Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse Volume Four

Ireland’s Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse Volume Four

Chapter 1
Department of Education


Part 1 The functions of the Department

Introduction

1.01The Department of Education had overall responsibility for the Reformatory and Industrial School System and for Marlborough House detention centre. The Department provided finance to the schools and oversaw their operation, leaving day-to-day control to the Congregations and Orders that operated them. The Department had a duty to ensure that the rules and regulations were observed, that finances were correctly utilised and that reasonable standards were maintained. The principal method of monitoring the schools was the inspection system, which was carried out by members of the Department’s Reformatory and Industrial Schools Branch.

1.02The timeframe of this investigation falls between the publication of the Cussen Commission’s Report into Reformatories and Industrial Schools in 1936 and the Kennedy Report on the Schools in 1970. The Cussen Report endorsed the system contingent upon the implementation of its 51 principal conclusions and recommendations, but the implementation of these recommendations by the Department of Education was inconsistent and intermittent. Consequently, the system continued largely unchanged until the late 1960s. By the time the Kennedy Report was published in 1970, the system had greatly declined and the report itself was more of an obituary than a death sentence. The events that led to the ending of the system had little to do with policy decisions by the Department of Education, and that also is part of the story. Consideration of the Department’s role is thus largely confined to the 34 years between these two reports.

1.03The Secretary of the Department of Education in evidence to the Investigation Committee in June 2006 admitted that there had been ‘significant failings’ by the Department:

As Secretary General of the Department of Education and Science I wish to state publicly here today that there were significant failings in relation to the Department’s responsibility to the children in care in these institutions and that the Department deeply regrets this.

Children were sent to industrial and reformatory schools by the State acting through the courts. While the institutions to whose care they were committed were privately owned and operated the State had a clear responsibility to ensure that the care they received was appropriate to their needs. Responsibility for ensuring this lay with the Department of Education, whose role it was to approve, regulate, inspect and fund these institutions. It was clear that the Department was not effective in ensuring a satisfactory level of care. Indeed, the very need to establish a Commission of Inquiry testifies this.

1.04This chapter deals with general topics: particular events and the Department’s role in them are discussed in the chapters on individual schools.

1.05The Minister for Education had legal responsibility in respect of schools. Under the Children Act 1908, children could only be committed to a school that was certified. The Minister held the crucial legal power of certification (1908 Act, sections 45, 58 and 91). Certification was granted for an indefinite period, not on an annual basis. The Minister had the power under section 47 to withdraw certification from schools; certification was intended to be the means by which the Minister could control many significant features of the schools. However once a school had been certified, there were heavy pressures against the use of derecognition and there are no cases of its actually being done.

1.06When certified, schools were furnished with a document that stated the name of the school, geographical location, date of certification, conditions of admission, the number of children for which the school was certified and the name of the agency running the school. The document was signed and dated by the Minister for Education and by the manager of the school.

1.07Certification of a school was contingent upon acceptance by the school’s management of the entire ‘Rules and Regulations for the Certification of an Institution as an Industrial School’, and these rules were listed in the certification document. It was a seven-page document that set out the legal framework for almost every aspect of a resident’s circumstances, including accommodation, clothing, diet, instruction, conditions on which children may attend National Schools, industrial education, inspection, religious exercises and worship, discipline, punishments, recreation, visits from friends and relatives, children placed out on licence or on apprenticeships, treasury grants, discharge, visitors to the school, timetables, journals, the medial officer, inquests and returns to the Department. However, there were no regulations governing the ratio of staff to children.

1.08The Rules remained in practically the same form throughout the history of Industrial Schools. They were in signed standardised form in 1933 but they were still signed in the same way by the institution and the State.

1.09The Minister for Education derived further powers from the Children Act 1908, sections 54-84, which included the authority to:

  • determine the amount of the government contributions towards the expenses of children;
  • sanction alterations in buildings;
  • discharge (with or without conditions) or transfer inmates;
  • allow the removal of a child by emigration; or
  • remit payments towards the child’s maintenance ordered to be made by the parent.

1.10The Children (Amendment) Act 1941 gave the Minister the power to direct the removal of a Resident Manager. This power which was very occasionally invoked to bring pressure to bear on the management of the schools to remove the Manager.

Part 2 The structure of the Department of Education

The Reformatory and Industrial School Branch

1.11Throughout the period under consideration, the unit dealing with schools was the Reformatory and Industrial Schools Branch or RISB. This division was responsible for overseeing the certified school system and was also responsible for the administration of the detention centre in Marlborough House. This Branch predated independence and changed little following the establishment of the Free State.

1.12The RISB occupied a lowly place in the Department’s hierarchy. Supervising the RISB and the primary schools unit, as well as other units, was an Assistant Secretary, who was subject only to the Secretary of the Department, but it is likely that the RISB received little of his attention. Again, compared with other branches, for instance the Primary Schools unit, which had a Principal Officer as their head, the head of the RISB was, until the reform of 1971, a relatively junior official. During the period 1941-65, he was usually at or about Assistant Principal level. The only other figure in the RISB at even a medium level was the Medical Inspector, an important and central position held during the 1940-64 period by Dr Anna McCabe.

1.13An increased workload for the branch was brought about by the changes created by the Children Act 1941. For instance: a medical inspection was established; capitation grants were to be paid for under-sixes, teachers of literacy subjects in the schools had to be assessed in order to receive recognition as national teachers; and the Department had to allocate half of parental contributions to local authorities instead of sending the entire amount to the Exchequer. Thus the workload increased and, consequently, the level of clerical assistance had to be augmented. As of 1943 (and after 1943 there were no changes until the early 1970s), the RISB’s establishment was as follows:

  • Inspector (Assistant Principal);
  • Medical Inspector (a qualified doctor);
  • Staff Officer Grade I (approximately equivalent to a higher executive officer);
  • Clerical Officers (two);
  • Writing Assistants (two);
  • Stenographer;
  • Part-time Parental Money Collectors (two).

1.14According to a 1960 organisation and management survey of the RISB, carried out in 1959, by P Ó Maitiú, a principal in the Department, during the period 1943-59, 85 percent of the RISB’s time was spent on five main routine clerical tasks:

Collecting and accounting for parental monies 25%
Filing and registration 20%
Applications for release of children 20%
Check of county council accounts 10%
Preparation of annual report 10%

1.15Mr R MacConchradha, a Higher Executive Officer in prisons administration but formerly in the Department of Education, wrote on 20th April 1968 to Mr McCarthy, his superior in the Department for Justice. Mr MacConchradha expresses his views frankly:

Even at the risk of breaking confidence, may I say that the Industrial School system has been centrally administrated in a very plodding way, with little sympathetic involvement or thought for the children. Finances have been ungenerous for years and what forward thinking there was, came from individuals in the conducting communities. The lot of the children, especially the boys, is very sad and there is an unbelievably entrenched ‘status quo’ to be overcome, not least in the Department of Education, if there is to be any change for the better.

1.16Further evidence of the unimportance assigned to this field is the lack of written information regarding its role within the Department; for instance:

Despite a number of institutional histories of the Department of Education, to date none have explored the role of the Department in relation to reformatory and Industrial Schools. Nor does O’Connor, a former secretary of the Department of Education mention reformatory or industrial schools in his personal reflections on his role in that Department between 1957 and 1968. Likewise renewed histories of the Department of Local Government and Public Health and from 1947, onwards the Department of Health (now Health and Children) and Department of Local Government (now Environmental and Local Government), do not explore the child welfare dimension of their work.

1.17However following the publication of the Kennedy Report, the RISB became the fulcrum for instituting the changes recommended in the Report and it underwent restructuring. The section was renamed ‘Special Education (2)’ in 1972 and a review of the staffing structure in the Special Education Section was undertaken in November 1973. The review concluded that the staffing situation was inadequate and that the inspection system was hampered by this staff shortage. In 1975, the was the post of Child Care Advisor was created.

1.18In general, the Department of Education was regarded as a conservative Department producing little by way of policy. Even on the wider fronts of primary and secondary education, its main concern lay with curricular content rather than wider social justice issues, such as what today would be called access to education. Further, the Department ‘enjoyed a reputation for secrecy’ and this secrecy would have had the effect of rendering it difficult for any countervailing pressure to that of the Church, even had there been any, to assert itself.

1.19In the case of Reformatory and Industrial Schools the conservative tendency was exacerbated by the fact that the unit with full-time responsibility for the schools was located at such a low level in the Department hierarchy.

1.20The unit did not initiate reform and did not confront the vested interests that reform would have stirred up.

Schools’ dominance over the Department

1.21The Department had the power of fixing the capitation fee and in theory this power gave it considerable control over the institutions However, the Department did not use such increases as an opportunity to impose changes of policy on the schools. When the Department succeeded in providing increased funding for the schools, it communicated in non-specific terms its wish to see improvements made in the standard of care provided to the children in the schools. For instance the Departmental circulars to Resident Managers announcing the increases in 1947, 1951, 1952 and 1958 stated the Minister’s expectation that, with the improved financial position, schools would effect, without delay, substantial improvements in the standard of diet, clothing and maintenance of the children. There is no evidence to show that these broad admonitions were followed up by attempts to verify that these substantial improvements had actually materialised. Few circulars were as specific as the following (Circular 1/1952 (10th March 1952)):

The Minister trusts that consequent on the improvements in the financial position of the schools as a result of the increase of 5/- weekly in 1951 and of this increase of 6/- weekly in the amount of the Capitation Grants that the Managers of the Schools will be in a position to effect substantial all round improvements where necessary. Each child should get as a minimum one pint of milk daily, the full ration of butter and sugar, and 4 to 6 ozs of meat at each meal at which meat is served. It is desirable, that the children’s breakfast should include an egg, sausage, rasher, tomato or other suitable relish and that the dinner should be a substantial meal consisting of soup (where practicable), meat, vegetables (including potatoes) to be followed by a dessert such as pudding, jelly stewed or raw fruit, cereal.

1.22The circular met a polite but prompt rebuff in the form of a message from a meeting of the Managers’ Association (letter from Chairman to Department, 31st March 1952), which said that, given the prices, this ‘recommendation’ was not ‘practical’. Indeed as the Department of Education submitted;

Evidence provided to the Commission by Mr Granville also underlines the dominant role that school authorities continued to play [into the 1980s] in the operation of residential homes and special schools post-Kennedy. The religious orders, it is clear, remained the ultimate decision-makers.

1.23The real authority lay with the schools and the religious, because they owned and managed the institutions, and their constant claim was that the State under-resourced the Congregations in carrying out the State’s duty. One example of what a later generation would call ‘agency capture’, where a regulatory body is effectively controlled by the body it is supposed to regulate, may be seen in the way in which the Resident Managers’ Association looked confidently to the Department to champion them against third-party criticisms. For instance, the Association asked to meet the Minister for Education to discuss:

(2) The extract, from Circular Letter No. 7/52 issued by the Department of Health, which reads —

‘It is generally agreed that the institution is a bad substitute for the normal home life for children. It is recognised in the existing Regulations, which prescribe that Public Assistance Authorities shall not send a child to a certified school if the child can be suitably boarded out. Every effort should therefore be made to have children placed in suitable foster homes before having recourse to their maintenance in an institution.’

(3) The uncalled for and offensive remarks regarding Industrial and Reformatory Schools made by some District Justices and published in the newspapers.

1.24In response to this letter the Minister ‘promised to do everything he could to help these Schools’.

1.25The schools’ control over the Department can be seen in the way decisions were made in the early 1950s about mixing offenders and non-offenders in Industrial Schools. The question whether children who had been convicted of offending seriously or repeatedly should live in the same school as those in need of care should have been a key policy issue for the Department of Education.

1.26What happened in practice was that the matter was decided by the Christian Brothers. In a letter to the Minister of Education dated 19th March 1954, the Provincial advised the Minister for Education that, in future, Letterfrack, County Galway, would be reserved for boys who were offenders; whilst the Christian Brother Industrial Schools at Artane, Glin, Tralee and Salthill would no longer accept boys who were offenders.

1.27Two District Justices expressed opposition to this move. In a letter dated 30th July 1954, District Justice J J O’Hora advised the Secretary of the Department that the arrangement involving Letterfrack would cause serious difficulties for the Children’s Court in Limerick. The Justice requested that the Minister make representations to the Brother Provincial of the Christian Brothers to have either Glin or Tralee appointed for the reception of cases in which offences had been proved. However the Department had earlier consulted with the Christian Brothers requesting that it reconsider its decision regarding Letterfrack but the Order’s position remained unchanged.

1.28Secondly, District Justice McCarthy, Children’s Court Judge in Dublin from 1941-57, stated in 1954 in open court, that he would not be prepared to send to Letterfrack the type of boy for whom the school was supposed to be reserved henceforth, until such time as the ‘non-offenders’ at present in the school were transferred to other schools. As a result, a conference was convened on 14th May 1954 and, attended by the District Justice, the Department’s Secretary and Assistant Secretary (Micheal O’Siocfradha) and Br O’Hanluain, the Provincial of the Order. The compromise reached was that the Manger of Letterfrack would transfer all the boys sent by local authorities and a number of non-offenders committed by the courts until the total number at Letterfrack was 85. They would be sent to Salthill, mainly, and to Artane and other schools.

1.29These diverse opinions illustrate that the question of whether offenders and non-offenders should be held in the same institution was an issue on which informed opinion could differ. The Department ought to have developed a considered policy in consultation with the schools and ought then to have ensured that the schools observed it. Instead, it appears to have simply allowed the question to be decided by the Congregation. For example, in 1954 the Department noted resignedly:

The Provincial (of the Christian Brothers) has informed the Department that his Council have decided to introduce into the Industrial Schools conducted by their congregation a measure of segregation. They have, accordingly, arranged that the Industrial School in Letterfrack is to be reserved for boys brought before the court and found guilty of an offence. All such boys, if committed to an industrial school will not now be accepted into their schools by the resident managers of the Artane, Salthill, Tralee and Glin Industrial School. The Industrial Schools for senior boys at Upton, Clonmel and Greenmount [non-Christian Brother School] will continue to accept boys as heretofore.

1.30When addressing this question, before CICA, the Department of Education simply stated:

The policy regarding the category of child admitted to and detained within a particular school was a matter for the Religious Order concerned and the Department had no role in the committal process. While the courts ordered the detention of a child, the Resident Manager of a School could exercise his/her power to refuse to accept this child into the school. Similarly the Religious Order could decide to change the category of child being admitted to a school.

The essential question, however, is broader than the legalities involved. For the schools to work properly the system needed an authoritative overseer. If the Department declined to play such a role then there was no one to do so.

Part 3 Departments of Health and Justice

Differences in attitude between the Departments of Education and Health – ‘boarding out’

1.31One noteworthy aspect of the State’s approach to childcare was the difference between the policies and approaches of the two Government Departments with responsibility in the area of childcare.

1.32They had divergent attitudes to boarding out as an alternative to the schools for dealing with needy children. The Department of Health’s general policy, repeatedly stated, was that maintaining children in their families of origin should be encouraged and, if this was not possible, foster care rather than institutional care should be provided. In sharp contrast, the Department of Education believed firmly that institutional care offered many benefits and in March 1946 went so far as expressly to prohibit the boarding out of children from Industrial Schools.

1.33Reflecting on this divergence, a Department of Education memo, written in 1964, stated.

It seems strange that two Government departments should be at variance on such a fundamental issue. I spoke to an official of the Department of Health and apparently that Department considers that a home, even a disrupted home, is preferable to an institution however good…Industrial school managers are not in the most favourable position for supervising the treatment of boarded out children and this Department has no officers for that kind of work. On the other hand the Department of Health has its own Inspectors for inspecting foster homes etc…

If the practice of boarding out children becomes widespread the industrial schools could very well become uneconomic but it is submitted that to keep children in institutions for the sake of the institutions would be inverted thinking. Modern thinking as practised by Department of Health and abroad, regards institutionalism as a dehumanising factor and instead favours a home environment as a proper place for a child to develop its personality. Moreover the decision of this Department to prohibit boarding out from industrial schools was taken at a time when economic conditions were very bad (immediately post-war) and was based on fear of an inquiry rather than on what was best for a child.

1.34The enthusiasm of the Department of Health for ‘boarding out’ and the reluctance of some health authorities to implement this policy is apparent in a note of September 1964 from M Division of the Department of Health, which states:

Art 4 of the Boarding Out Regs, 1954 provides that ‘a health authority shall not send a child to a school approved by the Minister under Section 55 of the Act unless such child cannot be suitably and adequately assisted by being boarded-out’. Health Authorities do not always comply with this provision of the Regulations and it is normal departmental procedure to challenge the continued maintenance of children in institutions who would seem to be suitable for boarding-out. Such action is taken on the recommendations of the Inspector who is supplied with a list of all children in institutions under Section 55 of the Health Act, 1953, on the occasion of her bi-annual visit to the health authority offices.

Reasons for the different attitudes of Health and Education

1.35The different attitudes between two Departments of State are not easy to explain. Education had neither access to, nor direct knowledge of, boarding out and its legislative powers were confined to supervising the school authorities. By contrast, boarding out was and always had been organised by way of local boards of health, the Department of Health being the central Department for these agencies. Thus, the Department of Health had access to the information obtained by the boards of health as well as information gathered by its own inspectors whose responsibility extended to both boarding out and the Industrial Schools. In short, Health had a more informed view, whereas, short of major legislative changes, which no one in the Department contemplated, it would have been impossible for Education to get any children boarded out or to acquire knowledge of the subject.

1.36The Department of Health took more individual interest in each child than Education. For example, by way of a Department of Health circular, health authorities were requested to establish arrangements between the health authority and the Manager of the school whereby a child could be visited at any reasonable time and at regular intervals, by an authorised officer of the health authority or of the Department of Health. The reason given for this decision was to ascertain if any children were suitable for transfer to relatives or to foster homes. Likewise the Department of Health, or the health authorities, kept track of family circumstances and there are files in which it is evident that the return of a child to his or her family was initiated by Health, rather than being, as in Education, a reaction to a parental request to the Minister to grant early discharge.

The Department of Justice

1.37The only responsibilities that the Department of Justice had as regards the detention of persons under the age of 16 years were

(a)if they were certified unruly or depraved by a court under sections 97 and 102 of the Children Act 1908, they could be detained in an adult prison and

(b)the Department had responsibility for certifying places of detention for children (i) arrested in connection with an offence held pending an appearance before court or (ii) remanded in custody by the court pending trial (as ‘the police authority’) under section 108 of the Children Act 1908. There was also the possibility under section 106 for a child to be sentenced to such a place of detention for a period not exceeding one month. The Department of Education was responsible for the inspection of such places of detention pursuant to section 109(3).

1.38Justice was mainly involved by way of its responsibility for the District Court and the Gardaí, who were the major channel by which children were committed to the schools. In addition, Justice was responsible for places of detention including St Patrick’s and Shanganagh Institutions, in other words, institutions exclusively for delinquent juveniles.

1.39However, the public and sometimes even officials did not appreciate that the Industrial and Reformatory Schools were not primarily for delinquent children and consequently, it was often assumed that the Minister for Justice was responsible for them. The Minister for Justice, in the 1960s and afterwards, on a number of occasions, indicated disquiet at the Department of Education’s performance or made an attempt to urge that Department into reforms. A letter dated October 1963, addressed to the Minister for Education, Patrick Hillery, was drafted for the Minister for Justice, Charles J Haughey. It stated:

…I hope that the Inter-Departmental Committee’s recommendations in relation to Marlborough House and the Industrial School system will find ready acceptance, the more so as the recommendations are subscribed to by the expert from Education on the Committee. In particular I should like to see some action taken to establish Visiting Committees and After-care Committees for the Industrial Schools. Contrary to views held earlier in your Department it has now become apparent that the Managers of schools, such as Artane, are not opposed to such a development.

1.40A civil servant had written at the top of this letter ‘Minister, Unless somebody prods the Department of Education the Committee’s work will go for nought, to a large extent.’ A second copy of the letter is scored through and endorsed: ‘Letter need not issue – I have spoken to Dr Hillary [sic].’

1.41Evidence of confusion as to who was responsible for the schools system also came from members of the public addressing complaints regarding the schools to the Department of Justice. For instance, in 1953, an ex-resident, wrote to Justice to complain about his experiences in Baltimore, who passed on his letter to Education; and a former night watchman at Glin wrote both to Department of Education and Minister for Justice. Justice dealt with criminal justice, including the courts and prisons. In the public mind, it followed that Justice was involved with the schools.

1.42Marlborough House Detention Centre was administered by the Department of Education, notwithstanding its repeated attempts to transfer responsibility to the Department of Justice. See the discussion of this matter in Volume I Chapter 16

Part 4 The Cussen Commission

1.43It seems that the impetus for the establishment of the Cussen Commission came from a desire to evaluate the entire schools system prior to the long overdue amendment of the 1908 Act. The Minister for Education, in his speech at a public session, to open the Cussen Commission (The Irish Times, 8th May 1934; DD vol 151, vol 1621, 11th April 1934) identified as among the reasons why the system called for examination: the training provided by the schools might be out of date in terms of the gradual disappearance of village tailor, shoemaker and carpenter; the fact that some of the children were ‘mentally deficient’; and the increase in juvenile offenders. The Minister also stated that the legislation that created the system in the first place was predicated on the assumption that it would deal primarily with delinquent children, whereas by 1934 the institutions catered primarily for poor and neglected children.

1.44Despite this encouraging launch, contemporary press and Oireachtas reaction to Cussen, who published the Report on 17th August 1936, was slight. There appears to have been no press report on Cussen. The absence of political interest can be measured by the lack of debate that the report received in the Oireachtas. There were only six Dáil questions dealing with the recommendations. These questions were spread out over several years and centred on the monetary aspects of the Cussen proposals, including a question on whether or not teachers of literacy subjects in Industrial Schools were to be paid for by the State, and whether or not the Summerhill detention home should be closed. However, no other specific aspect received any parliamentary notice.

1.45Overall, the Cussen Report endorsed the existing schools system, though subject to the implementation of its 51 principal recommendations and conclusions:

As a result of our investigations we are satisfied that subject to the introduction of various changes which we have indicated…the present system of Reformatory and Industrial Schools affords the most suitable method of dealing with children suffering from the disabilities to which we have referred, and we recommend its continuance.

1.46The primary response to these recommendations came in the form of the Children Act 1941 which amended the Children Act of 1908. Although some recommendations did get a green light to a greater or lesser extent, it is revealing to examine the recommendations that were overlooked. While the non-implementation of some recommendations can be explained by way of fiscal limitations and structural deficiencies within the Department, others are more difficult to explain. Full implementation would have involved a greater role for the Department and this may have been viewed at the time as an encroachment into the Church’s domain.

1.47One objective of the Cussen Committee was to help remove negative stereotypes and criminal connotations associated with the children in the certified school system. It was the firm belief of the Commission ‘that in the main the problem is one not of criminal tendencies, but of poverty’. Cussen encouraged a change in terminology to aid in the reduction of the stigma associated with certified schools: for example recommendation number 11 suggested replacing the term ‘committal order’ with the term ‘admission order’, and similarly the terms ‘Industrial School’ and ‘Reformatory’ were to be replaced with ‘National Boarding Schools’ and ‘Approved Schools’ respectively. Furthermore Cussen stated that these titles should be for administrative purposes and each school should have its own individual name, which would include any classification denoting its status. Cussen ultimately believed that neither the schools nor the public should view children in reformatories as criminals;

Although the young persons committed to the Reformatories have been found guilty of offences it is the case that the percentage of them who subsequently make a further appearance in the Courts is negligible. It follows, we suggest that such young persons cannot in any sense fairly be looked upon as criminals

1.48In line with this proposal, Cussen wished to remove other aspects of the committal proceedings that could contribute to the idea of criminality, such as:

  • the Children’s Court should be separated from the District Court;
  • judges should not wear robes in Children’s Court;
  • Gardaí should not wear uniforms in court nor when they were bringing the children to the schools.

1.49This child-centred approach of the Cussen Report also manifested itself in a desire to maintain each child’s identity and family connection. It was the belief of the Commission that school Managers were to be fully aware of all of the children under their care. Therefore, Cussen recommended that more detailed information about each child be provided to the schools upon committal. This information was to include a birth or baptismal certificate and a synopsis of each child’s history including comments from Justices where appropriate. This information was to remain confidential. In addition children were to be committed to Industrial Schools as near to their homes whenever practicable – subject to the discretion of the Justices – so as to allow parents easier access to their child and thus preserve familial ties.

Cussen on Resident Manager

1.50The functions to be performed by the Resident Manager of an Industrial School included the ability to manage all staff, control discipline within the school and, primarily, to be fully knowledgeable of the circumstances of each child in their care:

The success attained by these schools depends in large measure on the personality and fitness for office of the Managers – their capacity in directing their staffs, their power to make every pupil feel that the Manager is his guardian and his friend, while maintaining an ever vigilant but unobtrusive discipline.

1.51The Department’s concern as to the age of certain Resident Managers was a recurring theme

1.52The Cussen Commission considered the role to be one which required ‘qualifications and gifts that might not be considered indispensable in ordinary schools’. Consequently, the choice of person to fulfil this role was regarded as a most important decision and it was recommended that ultimate approval for this post should rest with the Minister for Education. The Report went further to state that the Minister for Education should also have the power to remove Resident Managers who were derelict in their duties. The report maintained ‘that it should be within the competence of the Minister to report to his or her Superior, with a view to replacement, a Manager who is found unsatisfactory’.

1.53The response to this recommendation came in the form of section 5 of the 1941 Act, which gave the Minister the power, for the first time, to direct the removal of the Resident Manager.

If the Minister is satisfied that the Resident Manager of a certified school has failed or neglected to discharge efficiently the duties of his position or that he is unsuitable or unfit to discharge those duties, the Minister may request the managers of the school to remove such Resident Manager from his position and the managers shall comply with such requests (unless withdrawn) within one month after receipt thereof.

1.54Crucially, however, the Act did not allow the Minister for Education the power of veto over the selection of a Manager or approve appointees to the role as recommended by Cussen, though this had been part of the Bill as introduced in the Dáil. The Resident Managers’ Association was against this change and protested to the Department and also lobbied the Opposition party who supported their protests. The Government withdrew the provision at committee stage in the Dáil and substituted a new section 5, which gave the Minister no power at the appointment stage and merely provided that the Minister had to be notified of the appointment within 10 days of its occurring. Following the appointment of a Resident Manager a Departmental form known as ACA 1 was completed by the new Resident Manager and by the representative of the Managers of the school and returned to the Department in accordance with the legislation.

1.55The Department of Education was reluctant to exercise its power of removal. There are only two known occasions where the Department invoked this power: the removal of the Resident Managers from Lenaboy, Industrial School, Galway and St Michael’s Cappoquin in Waterford.

Lenaboy Girls Industrial School, Sisters of Mercy Salthill, Galway

1.56In 1942 an internal Department of Education memo discussed the findings of Dr Anna McCabe’s inspection of Lenaboy Industrial School. The inspection report expressed grave unease at the actions of the Resident Manager.

The produce of the garden was sold. The old sister in charge of the kitchen protested against the starvation of the children – she and another old sister were removed and replaced by two young novices who dare not challenge the Superior’s orders. It is rumoured that the tea ration is also sold. (It is certain that the children have not been getting it.) The suggestion made by Dr McCabe last year that skipping ropes and a net ball should be provided evoked the remark If she thinks I’m going to throw away my money on skipping ropes, she’s mad.

1.57The memorandum reiterates Dr McCabe’s concerns

The Resident Manager is a miserly, ruthless old woman of 70 years who has as her objective the reduction of the debt on the institution. She has been hardened by age and a lifetime spent in Magdalene Homes. She has no experience of children and has no sympathy with them. Her fortes are finance and farming. She set about obtaining her end with cold thoroughness.

1.58An official at the Department of Education stated in a memo that Lenaboy represented a ’clear case for action under section 5(4) of the 1941 Act’. On 14th September 1943, the Department wrote to the Mother Superior stating that the Minister felt the Resident Manager of Lenaboy was unsuitable for the role and asked that she be removed from that position and a more suitable person be appointed in her place. Over one week later on 23rd September 1943 the Mother Superior of the Order replied to the Department to say that a new Resident Manager had been appointed.

St Michael’s Cappoquin, Sisters of Mercy, Waterford

1.59As with Lenaboy, the removal of the Resident Manager was precipitated by an inspection by Dr Anna McCabe in 1943. Dr McCabe found the children to be undernourished, where 61 out of the 75 boys in the school were under the normal weight for their age-height groups. An internal Department of Education memorandum referred to St Michael’s as ‘another school run by the Sisters of Mercy’ with ‘a long record of semi-starvation’. After much bitter correspondence the Department was forced to issue a statutory request for the removal of the Resident Manager whom Dr McCabe described as a ‘ruthless domineering person who resents any criticism and challenges advice’. After much wrangling, a new Resident Manager was eventually installed.

1.60This incident is an excellent illustration of the relationship between the religious Orders and the State. The requests for the improvement in diet in the school had begun in December 1943 following an inspection report. The removal of the Resident Manger was requested under statute by the Minister in September 1944 but only came about in November 1944. The lack of urgency following a statutory request by the Minister of Education and the language used by the school in the correspondence with the Department is further evidence of the timidity of the Department in dealing with the school. For instance in response to the statutory request to remove the Resident Manager the reverend mother replied a week later ‘I am looking into the matter and will communicate with you later’.

1.61On the other hand, these cases demonstrate that, when the Department was prepared to insist and to invoke the statutory power, the religious authorities responded.

Smaller schools

1.62The Cussen Report also recommended that schools should have no more than 250 children at one time which would permit the Manager ‘to make every pupil feel that the Manager is his guardian and friend’. With this in mind the Report advocated the division of Artane, which at that time was home to over 800 boys. The Report recommended that Artane be subdivided into four separate schools, each with its own Manager, segregating the children according to age and attainments. However the Christian Brothers argued against the division of Artane in their submission to the Cussen Committee;

Again it is said: ‘Artane is too large’. We reply that nevertheless it has exceeded beyond all expectations. We would go further and say that in its largeness lies its chief merit and advantage; for it is size and its multiplicity of activities that afford exercise to those following the various trades, etc within its own precincts…We hold that its great educative value is due to its size, and accompanying circumstances; for if a boy has only moderate intelligence, it must develop owing to the thousand and one influences to which he is subject.

1.63This recommendation of the Cussen Commission was never implemented by the Department of Education and, as preferred by the Christian Brothers, Artane remained as a single institution.

Lack of educational qualifications

1.64Until the changes brought about by the Kennedy Report in the 1970s, the staff of the schools seldom if ever had any education or training for their exacting role in childcare. The view seems to have been taken by the Department that the training and development of religious and lay staff in the institutions was largely a matter for the religious Orders.

1.65This lack had been perceived by the Cussen Commission, which sent questionnaires to school Managers regarding the qualifications and numbers of teaching staff within their schools. The information received showed a large deficit in the numbers of qualified literary teachers. The schools which completed the questionnaire disclosed that in the girls schools there were 81 teachers of literary subjects of whom only six were trained; the equivalent for senior boys schools was 73 literary teachers of whom 38 were trained. Reformatory Schools’ educational standards were deemed to be of an even lower standard than Industrial Schools: Cussen commented that ‘the standard of teaching and qualifications of the teachers in Reformatories are not high’.

1.66It was also the case that there was a lack of fully trained teachers because, commencing in 1932, on the basis of a request from the Christian Brothers, it became the policy of the Department of Education to allow Brothers to interrupt and defer completion of the required two-year teacher training after one year and to work in schools, with a view to completing their training within three years. In 1943 the Department agreed to extend this to a period of five years. Upon completion of their first year of teacher training the Brothers then became known as untrained assistants, who under the Rules and Regulations for National Schools, were allowed to teach in a temporary capacity for up to five years. This relaxation was extended to the other Orders in 1943 and came to an end only in 1962-63.

Education in the Reformatories and Industrial Schools

1.67Subject to the requirement of industrial training, the same pattern of education, including the same external exams, applied in principle to residents of the Industrial Schools as to the general population.

1.68The Cussen Commission was mandated to examine the:

… (2) the care, education and training of children and young persons in Reformatories and Industrial Schools, and their aftercare and supervision when discharged from these institutions.

1.69Recommendations 20-29 of the Cussen Report addressed these issues.

Literary instruction

1.70Each Industrial School signed a commitment that, in view of receiving the grant for literary teachers, out of the Vote for Primary Education, it would comply with the Rules and Regulations for National Schools. Rule 7 of the 1933 Rules and Regulations for the Certification of an Institution as an Industrial School provided that all children should be instructed in accordance with the programme prescribed for National School and, in this regard, children under 14 years of age (juniors) were required to have literary instruction and study not less than four and a half hours, five days a week.

1.71The literary instruction included: Irish, English, Maths, History, Geography, Needlework, Music, Rural Science or Nature Study, Drawing and Physical Education. The Industrial Training, which was particular to the Industrial and Reformatory Schools, included: Cookery, Laundry Work or Domestic Economy (girls), Manual Instruction (boys). At the other stage, Seniors (children over 14) were to have literacy instruction, not less than three hours, five days a week.

1.72Departmental inspectors’ reports, prior to the Cussen Inquiry, described the educational standard of certified schools as satisfactory in general; however the Cussen Report concluded that, ‘in some of the schools the work done is rather mediocre’ and the teaching staff were of ‘slender qualifications’. Artane was specifically mentioned for providing only the minimum standard of literary education. Cussen suggested a number of reasons for the disparity between educational standards in National Schools and Reformatory and Industrial Schools, one being that the school Managers were under no obligation to employ teachers trained to National Schools standard.

1.73The lack of standardised teacher qualifications within the system led the Report to recommend that teachers in both Reformatories and Industrial Schools should have the same qualifications as teachers in National Schools. It was also recommended that teachers in certified schools should receive the same pay and conditions as National Schools teachers. This, Cussen argued, would attract qualified teachers and remove the stigma associated with working within this system. The financing for this was to come from the Vote for Primary Education.

1.74Upon publication of these recommendations the Department of Education began the process of examining their feasibility. In 1939 a number of inspections took place in certified schools in order to examine the qualifications of the teachers and establish the basis for state grants. The reports from the inspectors show that although the Cussen recommendations stated that certified school teachers must be as qualified as National Schools teachers, in practice exceptions were made for teachers who, although not technically as qualified as National Schools teachers, were deemed to deserve the same recognition. Indeed Rule 73 of both 1932 and 1946 Rules and Regulations for National Schools provided for the recognition of ‘untrained’ teachers as National Schools teachers also. It was not until 1946 that a Department of Education circular sent to all Reformatories and Industrial Schools, stated that all religious staff must be qualified under the terms of Rule 85(6) of the Rules and Regulations for National Schools.

1.75In February 1943, following the shift to payment of literary teachers, the Department of Education issued revised instructions to inspectors in relation to Industrial Schools. It was made clear to the inspectors that the programme of instruction in all Industrial National Schools was the ordinary National School programme, except for the Domestic Economy subjects. In furnishing a report on a teacher the inspector was to bear in mind the circumstances in which many of them had been exceptionally recognised, and thus make allowances before deciding whether to rate a teacher as non-efficient. For those teachers whose teaching efficiency was deemed unsatisfactory, the Department approved the recommendation that these unqualified lay teachers should be given other duties or retired with a pension, the cost of which was to be defrayed by the school Managers.

1.76The Cussen Commission included a number of further recommendations with regard to education, including sending children within the system to local National Schools where possible. This policy of sending children to local schools allowed for greater contact with other children. At the time of the Report, the Commission estimated that approximately 33 percent of the schools did send their students to National Schools. This figure did not increase substantially until the 1970s.

1.77Cussen also recommended recognising Industrial Schools as National Schools when local National Schools were unable to accommodate the children from Industrial Schools. The object was to attract more teachers into the Industrial Schools, as there was a stigma associated with working in them. The full implementation of this recommendation did not occur until 1945 when a Department of Education submission to the Government made clear the Department’s objection to the persistent inequality between National Schools and certified schools.

Differing needs of the residents: children with intellectual disabilities

1.78A number of recommendations in the Cussen Report refer to the problem of the appropriate care and education of children with intellectual disabilities. Figures provided by the Resident Managers to the Cussen Commission show that in August 1934 there were 56 intellectually disabled children (10 boys and 46 girls) in certified schools and an additional 46 children with physical disabilities (26 boys and 20 girls). However other figures show that this may have been a gross underestimation.

1.79The Cussen Report makes reference to the general absence of legislation regarding the care and treatment of people with intellectually disabilities in Ireland and the consequent difficulty in effectively dealing with the issue within the certified school system. Overall the Report was against the idea of sending intellectually and physically disabled children to Industrial Schools. The amalgamation of children with differing educational needs was recognised as unsatisfactory and the benefits of educating these children separately was emphasised in the report.

1.80Recommendation 33 advocated the establishment of an institution specifically for the care of intellectually disabled children with separate departments for the physically disabled under the auspices of the Department of Education. The Report also recommended that, pending a medical report, judges be empowered to send these children to specialised institutions instead of the schools:

If it is found from the report of the examining doctor that the child is physically or mentally abnormal or if the doctor is unable to form a definite opinion the justice should, if the case is one calling for detention in a school, order the child to be sent to the institution especially certified for such cases.

1.81The Secretary General of the Department of Education and Science told the Investigation Committee that ‘the Government decided…that it shouldn’t be made mandatory to have an assessment, I think that was in 1956…’. The number of intellectually and physically disabled children within the Reformatory and Industrial School system is unknown. No medical or psychological research material exists to support the figures supplied by the Cussen Report. The Kennedy Committee established that there was a significant level of educational disadvantage in the schools and there were no remedial resources available.

1.82Br Burcet was both a teacher (1954-55) and a principal (1956-69) in Artane Industrial School. In his evidence he describes the large numbers of physically and mentally disabled children in Artane during his tenure and contends that there was a change in the type of boy sent to Artane in the late 1950s and early 60s. It is his belief that with the development of social welfare services in Ireland the demographic of the resident population of Artane began to change ‘I had a sense that more disturbed children were coming into us in the 1960s, certainly in the 1960s.’

1.83Br Burcet attempted to introduce a special needs programme within the school. He described the resistance from the Department of Education in relation to any deviation from the National Schools curriculum. His belief was that the physical welfare of the children was the primary concern of the Department

So, if you are asking me how did the Department see Artane, they were looking at it from a physical care philosophy. I would say they were quite happy.

Post-primary education in Industrial Schools

1.84From the 1950s, the Department’s annual reports indicated a concern that secondary education should be provided to children who would be able to benefit from it. For example, the Report of 1954–55 stated that: ‘every effort is being made to make post-primary education available to those pupils suited to such’ but the evidence is that it happened in few cases.

1.85The annual report of 1932-33 noted that ‘a few schools have afforded promising girls special opportunities for higher education’ and this trend continued in the following years. But a 1952 document, noted that St Joseph’s, Tralee was the only boys Industrial School to send its children to secondary school. With regards to the numbers of children, approximately 250 Industrial School pupils were in post-primary education, either in secondary tops, secondary schools, and vocational schools or in vocational classes confined to Industrial School pupils. The gender breakdown is striking: 11 percent of the girls (i.e. 180) against 4½ percent of the boys (i.e. 70).

1.86The proportion of Industrial School pupils receiving post-primary education was always very low, and negligible in the case of Reformatories. As of 1963, out of the seven schools for senior boys, only two sent boys out to local secondary or vocational schools and only one provided a full vocational course within the institution. Conversely, almost all the girl schools, with only one or two exceptions, had pupils attending outside secondary or vocational schools. In some cases the secondary school was conducted by the religious community and was located beside the Industrial School; generally, however, the girls in full-time post-primary education were receiving it outside the institutions.

1.87It is not until 1950-51 that the Department’s annual reports started to provide data on the numbers who obtained an Intermediate Certificate or Leaving Certificate:

Year Boys/Inter Girls/Inter Boys/Leaving Girls/Leaving
1951 0 5 0 2
1952 0 11 0 1
1953 Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
1954 Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
1955 4 21 0 5
1956 1 13 0 4
1957 1 18 2 2
1958 1 20 0 3

Applications for extension of detention

1.88The Cussen Report noted that in some schools children were retained beyond the age of 16 years (the age of discharge) so as to enable them to derive benefit from a special course of training, and that such training was undertaken at the sole expense of the school. The Report advised that the Minister be given power, where he was satisfied the circumstances so warrant, to authorise a resident to remain in a school up to the age of 17 years, subject to the payment of an appropriate grant and this proposal was implemented by the Childrens Act 1941. For the remainder of the 1940s, applications were very small, ranging from two to seven per year. The numbers of successful applications rose slightly in the 1950s, peaking at 23 a year, in a school system then catering for 4,000 or so children. The reasons for the extensions, according to annual reports for the period, were to pursue secondary, vocational or commercial courses and occasionally to sit the civil service examinations or attend nursing training.

Cussen recommendations on training

1.89A number of the Cussen Report recommendations with regard to training came from a report entitled ‘Report on the Occupational Training provided in the Senior Boy’s Industrial Schools and in Glencree Reformatory’, which was compiled by four Departmental inspectors as part of the Cussen Committee’s Inquiry and was published as Appendix H of their Report.

1.90The Commission was largely dissatisfied with the provision of training in the certified schools. The relevance of certain trades and the validity of the instruction provided were questioned, noting that there was a ‘complete absence of fully qualified instructors’. With regard to agricultural training the Commission found that ‘The training in farming is unsatisfactory, the work being unorganised with no systematic instruction in field or in the classroom’. The Commission also feared that the children were being treated as unpaid labourers and received no educational value for their time on the farm. Cussen consequently recommended the employment of a full-time farm manager with sufficient expertise allowing him to act as instructor. Cussen (para 57) advocated a wage to be held in trust for those children working in the schools, stating that:

as the labour of the inmates is of some value to them it should be provided that a special portion of the cash value of the work of the girls for whom grants have been paid should be placed to their credit and made available for them on leaving.

1.91The implementation of this recommendation did not occur. No record of a discussion of it within the Department has been discovered.

1.92As with agricultural training, the motivation for training children in a number of technical disciplines seemed to be predicated upon the interests of the schools. The Report stated (at para 111) ‘It appears to us that in the majority of the schools the trades taught – many of which are obsolescent – have in view the needs of the institution rather than the future of the boys’.

1.93Cussen recommended (para 23) therefore that more suitable and relevant crafts should be introduced in agricultural districts such as woodwork, thatching and harness making. Geographical proximity in relation to training was considered very important

Schools in the vicinity of cities and industrial centres should be set aside for the teaching of special trades, and pupils in other Industrial Schools where similar facilities are not available should be transferred to these schools, if they are considered likely to benefit by a course of industrial training.

1.94In the case of agricultural instruction, Cussen recommended the careful selection of tradesmen to train the children. and that the Department establish special courses to train instructors in the methods of teaching. In order to ensure that the training received by the pupils was both worthwhile and relevant the Cussen Report advocated regular occupational training inspections by inspectors of the Technical Instruction Branch of the Department.

Post-Cussen

1.95After the Cussen Report, consistent criticism of the schools’ training can be seen in the annual reports of the Department of Education. These reports observed once again ‘the work turned out is principally for the use of the schools. The annual reports from this time also show that there was a continuing difficulty in placing the boys in employment following their training. The visitation report for Artane, 8-13th December 1952, took a rather different approach to this subject, remarking happily: ‘Our institutions owe a great deal to those boys who work full time at their trades. Their work is of great financial advantage to each establishment.’

1.96In 1946 the Minister for Education enquired as to the suitability of the trades taught. He questioned that a pupil in Artane Industrial School was being taught gardening, which he felt ‘was not a suitable occupation in this day and age’. He requested that the matter of teaching trades in general be looked into. A Departmental memorandum was compiled in response to the Minister’s request, outlining the challenges facing the Resident Managers in this area, not least of which was finding suitable employment for the children. The memo went on to warn that if the Department ‘interferes much in the matter there might be a danger of the Managers trying to transfer their responsibility to the Department’. The memo also alluded to the severe criticism the Department had faced in 1952 from the Committee on Youth Unemployment for its failure to implement the recommendation of the Cussen Report with regard to industrial training. The author of the memo recommended that enquiries be made to the schools regarding:

  • what trades were taught in the years 1943, 1944, 1945;
  • the numbers of boys released into the trades taught; and
  • the number of boys who were sent into different trades to the ones taught.

1.97Significantly, the Artane statistics collected in response to these inquiries indicated that all, or nearly all, the boys went to employment in the trades in which they were trained. The gardening and tailoring figures for Greenmount, Carriglea and Clonmel, however, show that a significant number of boys did not end up in the trades in which they had been trained after they left their school.

1.98In February 1955, the Joint Committee of Women’s Societies and Social Workers wrote to the Department recommending that qualified teachers should be provided to train the children in trades. Over a decade later, the situation appears to have remained unaltered. In 1966 a delegation from the Junior Chamber of Commerce was sent to Artane Industrial School to ascertain what could be done to help. Their report identified difficulties with the industrial training provided, specifically that the workshops and equipment were out of date. The authors of the report considered the training the boys received was not adequate and would not allow them to achieve employment in their craft. It also commented that, even if a boy became proficient in a trade, his training would not be recognised by a trade union.

1.99About the same time, a letter of 10th February 1966 by Department of Education, replying to a letter from Joint Committee of Women’s Societies and Social Workers, stated:

In the matter, however, of entry of industrial school pupils to Coláiste Mhuire, Cathal Brugha Street, an Agricultural School or College, Commercial School or the Civil Service, it would be extremely unusual for any person to enter any of these before at the very least seventeen years of age. The normal entry to them would be at about eighteen years of age. On the other hand, it is unusual for children to remain in industrial schools after sixteen, which is the statutory term of their committal.

There is, however, another reason why it would be unlikely that children from industrial schools should enter such institutions as you mention. It is that entry is by competition, usually on the basis of a written examination and that the great majority of children in industrial schools are there on the grounds of ‘lack of proper guardianship’. This means that they come from unsettled homes; from which most of them have not been regular attendees at school and so are educationally retarded. Their chances at a competitive examination are therefore small indeed and so, as far as I know, there are none of them at the institution mentioned.

1.100In earlier decades, some individual trade unions seem to have had a policy of preventing employers from recognising such training, or counting it as part of apprenticeship, and giving jobs on the basis of it, thus in large measure rendering it pointless (Cussen Report, para 123). The trade unions were presumably protecting their members by upholding the traditional means of entry. However in 1968 the Department of Education was advised by the Department of Labour that the Irish Congress of Trade Unions was concerned that career guidance and apprenticeship training did not appear to be receiving sufficient attention in the schools judging by the attainments of the ex-pupils of Industrial Schools in later life. They recommended the establishment of fully trained career guidance officers and the re-assessment of apprenticeship training.

1.101Cussen had stated that the whole system of training had needed revision. What followed, however, in terms of Departmental policy was a piecemeal set of circulars, and advisory actions which resulted in little change. In a statement to the Commission in 2006 the Department acknowledges that it did not give this matter ‘sufficient attention’.

The Cussen recommendations on aftercare

1.102The Cussen Commission were deeply unhappy with the schools’ provision of aftercare, which was intended to support the placing of children in trades and occupations for which they have received training in the schools. The Christian Brothers were cited as particularly negligent in their duties:

We are not satisfied as to the adequacy of the methods of supervision and aftercare of children discharged from these schools, particularly in the case of boys leaving the Industrial Schools which are under the management of the Christian Brothers.

1.103Figures taken from the Cussen Report for the years 1932-33 illustrate what happened to both boys and girls who left Reformatories and Industrial Schools after their periods of detention:

Table 1 Boys

Occurrence after discharge Industrial Schools Reformatories
Returned home 191 39
Sent to employment 623 12
Retained awaiting employment 8 0
Recalled by Manager 26 0
Returned of own accord 44 4
Could not be traced 4 4
Total 822 51

Source: Cussen Report

Table 2 Girls

Occurrence after discharge Industrial Schools Reformatories
Returned home 148 14
Sent to employment 552 5
Retained awaiting employment 30 0
Recalled by Manager 26 0
Returned of own accord 39 4
Could not be traced 2 4
Total 730 19

Source: Cussen Report

1.104Both of these tables show that a quarter of boys and a quarter of girls did not move from the schools into employment, with a large proportion returning home at the end of their detention. Aftercare was deemed especially important by the Cussen Commission as it was seen as a way of assisting the boys and girls who received poor occupational training.

1.105The Report acknowledged the difficulties in securing employment in the skilled trades even for children who did not attend Industrial Schools and commented on the large numbers of Industrial Schools boys who gained work as agricultural or farm labourers regardless of their trade. Consequently Cussen advocated the payment of a capitation grant by the State towards the cost of apprenticeship. Several reasons were put forward as to why this system was so disorganised, including the idea that Managers did not fully appreciate their responsibilities in this area. Cussen suggested that school Managers take a more proactive role in securing employment for their students. This included establishing communication with the local labour exchange to determine what types of trade were in demand. In addition it was suggested that the Manager should explain to the children that if they faced any difficulties during the statutory period of aftercare they were entitled to return to the school in seek of help or advice.

Post-Cussen

1.106In 1952 at a meeting with representatives of the Department of Education and Justice McCarthy of the Dublin Metropolitan District Court, Fr Reidy, Resident Manager of Daingean, stated the there was ‘Not much done in aftercare’ and expressed his views as to why the boys had difficulty securing employment:

Lads now are much lasier [sic] and more apathetic to work than 20 years ago. This problem is partly a result of social welfare schemes. (It is) important therefore to get them to work at anything at all.

1.107In response Justice McCarthy suggested that it was this thinking, i.e. that ‘getting them work at ‘anything’ was perhaps to some extent the cause of the trouble’. Justice McCarthy also suggested the establishment of a hostel for the boys to enable them to adjust to life after the institution. However Fr Reidy disagreed, saying that it was a better option to break up the association amongst the boys after they left Daingean.

1.108In August, 1966, a letter to the Minister for Education from Minister for Justice, stated

…I am suggesting that you, coming to the problems with a fresh mind, might have a look at the industrial schools system. I have no doubt that the lack of proper after-care is a grievous fault in the system and that there are ample resources of voluntary assistance only waiting to be harnessed and guided. I think that a vigorous approach to the managers of the industrial schools – individually or collectively would make it extremely difficult for them to maintain a negative attitude.

1.109The file shows a reply from the Minister for Education stating that he would have a good look at the Industrial School system and would be in touch. A few months later, the Kennedy Committee was set up, by the Minister for Education.

1.110Thirty years after the publication of the Cussen Report, a Department of Education memo to the Minister of Finance highlighted the lack of progress in the area of aftercare stated, ‘In general, with the exception of Artane, they (the schools) lack any kind of aftercare or organisation’.

Part 5 The inspection system

1.111From the late 1920s until the mid 1960s there were three types of inspection. Firstly, there was the educational inspection, which was concerned with education in the National School. Secondly, there was a medical inspection performed by the Medical Inspector. Thirdly, there were general inspections to ascertain the quality of residential care provided for the children, which were sometimes carried out by the official in charge of the Reformatory and Industrial School Branch, but were generally done by the Medical Inspector at the same times as the medical inspection. While there were occasions, particularly in the early 1940s, where general and medical inspections were held separately, a trend developed over time where both would be carried out simultaneously in the one visit by the same Department inspector. The Department’s archive of medical and general inspections shows that, from 1939 to 1965, Dr McCabe carried out the medical inspections and the majority of the general inspections of the Industrial and Reformatory Schools.

1.112Following Dr McCabe’s retirement in 1965 the Department of Education left the post of Medical Inspector unfilled until the appointment of Mr Graham Granville in 1976. In the intervening decade a number of changes took place. In the absence of a dedicated Medical Inspector, inspections were initially augmented by, and then replaced with, medical reports by medical officers retained by each individual school. From 1961 to 1963, these medical reports were submitted to the Department on a quarterly basis. From 1963 to 1978, the medical reports were submitted on a twice-yearly basis.

General inspections

1.113The benchmarks for standards of residential care were set out in the Rules and Regulations that were issued to school Managers by the Department on certification. Department circulars were issued from time to time to supplement them.

1.114The general inspection covered premises including playground, dormitory, kitchen; living conditions generally such as clothing or diet; as well as staff and accounts. The report was based in part on a printed checklist with entries for accommodation, equipment, sanitation, health, food and diet, clothing, recreation facilities and precautions against fire. The reports were impressionistic in character – they were structured so as to give a general account of conditions within a school, dealing generally with the quality of residential care provided and the condition of the children. They left out everyday treatment, including corporal punishment. They did not give detailed information and did not deal with policy matters.

1.115The inspectors’ reports were not published. If a school was satisfactory, the inspection would result in only a short record. After the particular headings, there was a section for general observations and suggestions, which might be as brief as ‘well-run school’. On the other hand, where there was something wrong, these observations could run for several pages. Comments in inspection reports under the various headings ranged from excellent to fair to poor. Where standards fell below what was expected (e.g. inadequate diet) the Department wrote to the Resident Manager in the school with a view to having this rectified, though with mixed success.

Medical inspections

1.116The Cussen Report (para 86) was critical of the inspection system operated by the Department of Education up to that point. Cussen described as ‘unsatisfactory’ the system of medical inspection in schools and urged that, in addition to the medical examination of children on admission, a periodic medical examination should be carried out by a doctor ‘specially trained in the diagnosis of children’s diseases, physical and mental’. In response, Dr Anna McCabe was appointed in April 1939. One part of the medical report was a checklist focussed on the health of individual children, with headings such as teeth, thyroid, nail biters, stammer, eyesight.

1.117The principal duties of the Medical Inspector were:

(1)protecting the health of the children;

(2)making arrangements for the children when they are sick or when they need some medical attention such as for eyes, teeth etc.;

(3)general health considerations – food and clothing, sleeping facilities, conditions of work and so on;

(4)evaluating the medical services to schools, i.e. care provided to children by the school doctor, including:

(a)keeping a record of the medical examination given to a child when committed;

(b)the medical examination the school doctor performs on the children when he/she visits the school from time to time.

1.118Dr McCabe’s appointment coincided with efforts to revise the system used for recording medical information on pupils and the issue was the subject of two Department circulars between 1940 and 1943. The first of these, Circular 205/39, issued to Resident Managers on 5th June 1940, announced the introduction of a ‘standardised’ form, which would give both the particulars of the medical examination on admission and the subsequent medical history of the child while in the school. Such a record, which was the responsibility of the Manager, had the advantage of easy reference and was intended to be forwarded with the child on transfer to another school. In terms of medical history, the form included a record of illness section, under which was entered any treatment a child received in either the school infirmary or external hospital. A quarterly reading of height and weight was also to be entered on the form. It was evident from the documentation available that the Department placed great importance on the physical health of the children and wrote to the schools following Dr McCabe’s suggestions regarding referrals for treatment and dietary recommendations. A continuous reduction in weight would raise concerns in relation to adequacy of diet.

1.119A second circular was issued on 28th September 1943 to remind Resident Managers of their responsibilities in the matter of the ’safeguarding’ of the health of the children. They were also advised that the Minister attached the ‘utmost importance’ to the punctilious observance of Rule 22 of the Rules and Regulations for Certified Schools, which required the appointment of a medical officer for the school who would issue quarterly medical reports on the sanitary state of the school and the health of the children. The circular continued:

It frequently happens that the Quarterly Medical Return furnished by a School to this Department states that no children, or merely a small number, are suffering from disease, while the inspection by the Department’s Medical Inspector carried out at the end of the quarter in question, reveals that a much larger number of children are suffering from diseases. It should be clearly understood that the primary responsibility for the health of a School rests on the Resident Manager and on the School Medical Officer. The function of the Department’s Medical Inspector in this matter is to satisfy herself that their arrangements for keeping a watch on the children’s health and providing medical attention where required are working satisfactorily.

1.120The annual reports of the Department of Education frequently refer to the fact that the medical inspector had viewed the quarterly medical reports kept by school Managers in consultation with the local medical officers. Furthermore, despite what appears as initial resistance to their use by some school Managers, Dr McCabe was able to cite evidence from medical records as proof of underfeeding in schools in the mid 1940s.

Frequency of inspections

1.121Not all schools were inspected each year, as required by the legislation. The frequency of school inspection varied from school to school and from year to year and some schools were visited more frequently than others.

1.122For example, Baltimore school was subject to three inspections in one year (1947), while Artane went three years without any inspection (1950-52). The records did not reveal why some schools were inspected more often than others. In certain cases complaints or issues of a serious nature were brought to the Department’s attention and a special inspection of a school was ordered. Geography and accessibility may also have been a factor. In 1949, for example, no Industrial School in either Connacht or Ulster received a visit from a Department inspector. In the same year, the inspectors had five contact days (days where the inspector was present in a school to conduct a general or medical inspection or both) with Dublin’s seven Industrial and Reformatory Schools; seven contact days with the 12 schools in the rest of Leinster; and five contact days with the Munster schools. The following year, 1950, the number of contact days between the Department and the various schools revealed the following regional spread: Connacht (1); Dublin (1); Leinster (9); Ulster (2); and Munster (3).

Table 3 Frequency of inspections 1940s

Province No of schools Total no of inspections Average inspections per school per year
Connacht 10 86 .86
Dublin 7 82 1.17
Leinster 12 129 1.07
Munster 23 212 .92
Ulster 2 16 .8
Total 54 525 .97

Table 4 Frequency of inspections 1950s

Province No of schools Total no of inspections Average inspections per school per year
Connacht* 10 118 1.18
Dublin 7 112 1.6
Leinster* 12 229 1.91
Munster* 22 235 1.07
Ulster 2 26 1.3
Total 53 720 1.36

Table 5 Frequency of Inspections 1960s

Province No of schools Total no of inspections Average inspections per school per year
Connacht 9 74 .82
Dublin 6 43 .72
Leinster 12 112 .93
Munster 21 146 .70
Ulster 2 14 .70
Total 50 389 .78

Note that 12 schools closed between 1965 and 1969 and all are included in the above list.

1.123With regard to the rate of inspections Dr McCabe wrote in 1943:

I agree that these institutions should be subject to frequent inspection – my practice at present is to pay a visit at least once a year to such institutions and if there is any need I revisit them within three or four months to find if my instructions have been carried out.

1.124The figures show that in the 1950s the average number of inspections increased significantly. By the 1960s the number of inspections fell again, to below 1940s levels. There were on average 0.78 inspections per school per year during the 1960s, although the number of schools decreased steadily in the second half of the decade as a result of closures. Another reason for the decline in inspections at this time was the retirement in the mid-1960s and non-replacement of Dr Anna McCabe as Medical Inspector.

1.125144 inspections for 32 schools were carried out during the 1970s, representing an average of 0.45 inspections per school per year. The lowest point was 1975, when the Department inspected no residential or special school.

Other limitation on the inspections

1.126A significant limitation that runs through the school system was that the Department’s inspectors were in no position to promise or provide additional resources to schools to enable them to address shortcomings and bring about improvements. Inspections and action taken on the basis thereof were pursued within the context of the available resources at the relevant time. The focus was confined to material and physical aspects of residential care and, until the establishment of the Child Care Advisor, was without reference to the developmental and emotional needs of children. It would appear that, in the main, schools were given advance notice of inspector’s visits and residents have described how, as a result, proper blankets, eiderdowns, dishes – never otherwise used etc. – were all on display. However, unannounced visits were not uncommon and were used on occasion to check on schools where concerns had arisen. The Resident Manager of Letterfrack, for example, protested that Dr McCabe periodically visited the school unannounced.

1.127Instances of abuse would not normally be brought to the attention of inspectors during the course of a routine inspection of a school. Occasionally, as in Newtownforbes in 1940, inspectors identified evidence of mistreatment, and in this case the threat of censure was mooted: ‘I was not satisfied in finding so many of the girls in the infirmary suffering from bruises on their bodies’, Dr McCabe informed the Resident Manager in a letter: ‘I wish particularly to draw attention to the latter as under no circumstances can the Department tolerate treatment of this nature and you being responsible for the care of these children will have some difficulty in avoiding censure.’

1.128However, most of the abuse cases were not discovered as a result of normal school inspections.

1.129Official concern at conditions in the school – and also the incomplete character of the information available and perhaps a feeling of helplessness – was apparent from the response of the senior childcare officer in the Department of Health to the medical report of the death of a child in St Joseph’s Ferryhouse. She wrote:

This shocking report confirms some unofficial information that I have had over the years concerning Ferryhouse…from what I have heard the ill treatment of the boys could do with investigation also. One person who spoke to me about this matter was an inspector of the ISPCC. It is scandalous that only the death of one of the boys has led to the conditions there coming to light.

One-off inspections

1.130Sometimes particular complaints or episodes were serious enough to lead to an inspector’s being sent to make a more wide-ranging investigation than the usual regular visit. The following are examples from the Department’s records.

1.131In Rathdrum in December 1947 a child of three was put in to a very hot bath and died a few days later from his injuries. Dr McCabe was sent to inquire and discovered that at the time the victim was in the care of a 14½-year-old laundry maid. The school was inadequately staffed, partly because the 14 nuns in the Rathdrum Convent were old and incapable. The next month Dr McCabe returned to see what improvements had been made and wrote the following internal report:

I informed the Resident Manager that I did not consider she had sufficient staff at present and that she should employ at least two extra helpers immediately, one religious if possible and the other a capable woman with experience of children. She told me she accepted this suggestion and would try to meet my requirements. She then informed me that she expected a castigation since the school had been ‘in the news’ so often. I told her that the most recent episode amounted, in my opinion to criminal negligence…

I then informed her that I had given her one last chance to remedy her deficiencies and that if the school had any further complaints, which on investigation proved to be true that I would ask for her removal. Also I informed her that I would like to see the Mother-General in Carysfort and ask her aid in insisting on this Resident Manager carrying out her duties properly.

One facet of the resident manager I do not like is that she is inclined to be parsimonious and grasping about money and again on this occasion she said the grant was not adequate. I told her not to talk nonsense that schools catering for big boys 10-16 years could very well manage and that these boys eat far more than little boys and required more clothes! I consider it would be well to follow up my visit with a letter insisting on my suggestions being carried out and warning the resident manager that if she cannot cope with the situation she will have to be replaced.

1.132In fact, the letter of 25th February from the Department to the Manager, which was issued on the basis of this internal report, recommended an increase of two staff but did not repeat any of the condemnations or threats that, according to Dr McCabe’s memo of 14th February, she had made orally. These oral directions from Dr McCabe as to how the school should be improved were unusually specific.

1.133An earlier visit to Rathdrum in October 1944 by the general inspector gave rise to an internal memo to the Assistant Secretary, prepared as part of the discussion as to whether to dismiss the Resident Manager (which did not in fact happen):

Since I was appointed to this branch I have frequently drawn attention to the fact that children in industrial schools are, in general, not properly fed…This is a serious indictment of the system of management of industrial schools by nuns. If the children’s parents subjected them to semi-starvation and lack of proper clothing and attention from which they suffer in some industrial schools, the parents would be prosecuted. No laywoman, for instance could treat children as the former resident manager of Lenaboy did and escape punishment. Evidence is not wanting that the public have a shrewd idea of the conditions in many of these schools and that the public conscience is stirring. Last February for instance, the Minister for Local Government and Public Health sent the Minister the following extract from a letter which he had received from Deputy B Butler: —

‘A strong supporter of ours in the Ranelagh area – I think he is a sort of Probation Officer – asked me on Monday night to pass on the hint to you that the Labour Party are about to make capital out of the fact that the children in industrial schools are being literally starved through stoppage of supplies of oaten-meal and meat. I don’t think this can be so, but he appeared very earnest and insistent.’

Dr McCabe and myself have conducted a strenuous campaign against this semi-starvation. On her inspections she has attacked it in every school where she found it … I have followed up her reports in all such cases with official letters, generally in strong terms. We have before us the task of uprooting the old idea that industrial school children are a class apart who have not the same human needs and rights as other children. There may have been something to this idea in the last century, but the present position is that from a material point of view, running an industrial school on an aggregate grant of about 18s/3d per head per week is a business proposition and the community should get value for its money.

1.134Nothing more was heard of the matter.

1.135Another example of an effective inspection is described in an internal memo of 2nd December 1944 from Dr McCabe to the Assistant Secretary:

We arrived unexpectedly a short time before 12 and went straight to the refectory where the dinner was set out. Dinner consisted of one big slice of bread and jam for most of the children who come in and make short work of the bread together with a tin cupful of milk (about half a pint). We were told that the rice which, according to the dietary on the wall, should have been issued, did not arrive from Cork.

I took the whole up fairly strongly with the Resident Manger. She kept up appearances for a while and then confessed to me that everything I said was true that things were worse even than I thought. One of her remarks was that she thought the children so badly nourished that their little legs were hardly able to carry them and that she had warned her authorities that they would lose their certificate. At their suggestion I sent for the Revd Mother, and the secretary and myself warned her in strong terms that the situation which had existed there could not be tolerated any further. I pointed out that the two other schools run by the Order in Cork-Cobh and Kinsale – were at the very top of the list in the matter of food whereas Passage West had become a kind of a bye-word. The Revd. Mother assured us that arrangements had been made to bring the diet fully up to the required standard and that there would, in future, be no cause for complaint.

1.136A letter from the Department to the Provincial of St Joseph’s Clonmel in December 1944 began by thanking the Provincial for substituting a younger Manager at the behest of the Department and went on to describe conditions of considerable squalor:

Incidentally, I feel bound to say a word in defence of the inspectorial system. Admittedly an inspector who visits a school like yours for one day in the year cannot get a full and complete picture of the manner in which it is conducted. All we claim is that a lady like Dr. McCabe, who spends all her time at this work, acquires the ability to get a picture satisfactory as a result of her reports. The system has its faults but is there a better alternative?

Dr. McCabe suggests that the dormitories should be washed out at least once each month, and that one sheet should be changed on each bed weekly. The sanitary annexe should be cleaned each day, and whitewashed and pointed as required. (On the occasion of her visit it was very dirty and the walls were defiled with excrement.) The trouble here and in kindred matters is, in her opinion, due to the failure of the widow and daughter in charge to do their work properly. Apparently they got a lot of help from the boys before the School was recognised as a national school. The boy’s time is now more fully occupied by literary and trade training and apparently the cleaners have been letting things slide.

Kennedy on inspections

1.137The Kennedy Report was especially critical of the inspection system. Criticism was made concerning the inspectors’ failure to pay attention to the circumstances of individual children, the piecemeal character of the inspections and the missed opportunities. Its verdict was damning though it should perhaps be noted that Kennedy was reporting at a time when for personnel reasons the inspection system was in a trough. The Report was made between the retirement of Dr McCabe in the mid 1960s and the appointment of Mr Granville in the mid 1970s, in other words a period when the Department did not have an inspector with professional expertise. The Report concluded:

The system of inspection has, so far as we can judge, been totally ineffective. In other countries the Inspectorate acts as a link between those in the field and those in central authority. In this way the system ensures that no one school or centre is working in isolation, unaware of development in other regions. This has not been the position here. There is only one Inspector and he is, in fact, the Administrative head of the RISB of that Department. His time is, primarily, taken up with the administration of his Branch rather than the inspection of the schools.

We are satisfied that the statutory obligation to inspect these schools at least once a year has not always been fulfilled but, even if it had, this would not have been sufficient. There must, in addition, be meetings where ideas are exchanged and discussed – they should not be merely fault-finding missions.

We have been advised by those in other countries who operate such a system that, on the basis of the figures given of those at present in residential care, [a much lower figure than formerly] approximately five or six Inspectors would be required to operate a proper inspectorate based on a central authority. In this way, every school or Residential Home could be visited frequently. Every child’s case history could be periodically reviewed. These visits might be made to inspect a particular aspect of the running of the home – on other occasions they could be 24-hour visits to study the ordinary routine of the home. Faults, grievances, suggestions and requests could be examined in a general context and the inevitable result would be an overall and continuing improvement in the system.

1.138One of the results of the Kennedy Report was an overhaul of the inspection system and the appointment of Mr Graham Granville as Child Care Advisor in 1976. The difference between the previous inspection system and the post-Kennedy system was that the new Child Care Advisor’s role was to inspect the schools while focusing on the individual child rather than the institution. Prior to Mr Granville’s appointment, inspectors had adhered to a standardised checklist of conditions, but in 1976 a new form was introduced. This new basis for assessment was a departure from the old thinking and included enquiries into psychological services and individual child assessment. The welfare of the child was paramount. Mr Granville’s inspection reports also referred to medical aspects of each school ensuring that appropriate health and medical services were available.

Diet and nutrition in the schools

1.139The widespread underfeeding of children was of particular concern to Dr McCabe, who disagreed with the Cussen Report’s findings of 1936 that had described the diet of these children as ‘on the whole adequate.’ Dr McCabe instituted a system of revised diet scales, nutritional education and comprehensive medical charts recording the weight and height of each child, which she used as evidence of underfeeding in the schools. In a letter sent from the Department of Education to the Department of Finance, recognition is given to the value of correct medical records and stated that these charts ‘brought about a marked improvement’.

1.140The Department did try to address the near-starvation level of diet during World War II. An attempt at serious thinking is shown in a letter of 13th January 1945 from the Assistant Secretary in the Department to the Minister for Finance.

The Medical Inspector has stated time and again that the general standard of nutrition is too low. This grave state of affairs is due, to a degree, which varies depending on the individual School, to:

1.Inability to provide adequate quantities of food owing to the rise in prices;

2.Failure to do so owing to parsimony; and

3.Failure to provide a properly balanced diet (even when the quantity is adequate) owing to lack of training in the management if institutions for children and ignorance of fundamental deictic principles.

As to (1), the payment of the State capitation grant on all committed children and the increase from 5s to 7s per week of the State and local authority grants for children under 6, (both changes took effect as from the1st of July last), have done something to ease the schools’ financial position. When pressed to improve diet, however, managers complain continually that they cannot afford to do so, or that they can do so only by economising elsewhere e.g. in clothing. The Association of Managers has applied for an emergency bonus of 5s per week per child. There is no doubt that the schools, particularly the smaller ones and those that have no farms or very small ones have a case for an emergency increase in their income if they are to be compelled to maintain, and in many cases, to improve upon, their pre-war standards of food and clothing.

As to (2), the strongest possible action has been taken in all cases where the Department was satisfied that parsimony was the predominant cause of gross malnutrition. Two resident managers have been removed from office at the request of the Minister for Education. Others have been solemnly warned and will be removed in due course if there is no adequate improvement. (in one such case in Co. Cork the warning was given personally by the Secretary of the Department accompanied by the Inspector of Reformatory and industrial Schools.)

As to (3), this is a contributory cause of malnutrition in all schools, particularly those conducted by nuns, and an effort to eradicate it is an essential part of the general attack on malnutrition. It is proposed to have a course in institutional management next summer and to invite the Sister or Sisters in charge of the catering in each of the 43 schools conducted by nuns to attend. The City of Dublin Vocational Committee will be asked to conduct the course in Coláiste Muire la Tigheas, Cathal Brugha Street, and to make available the services of professors on their staff who are highly skilled in those subjects. From preliminary discussions between officers of the Committee and the Department it has been ascertained that the course could be specially designed to suit the actual conditions existing in the schools. It would deal with fundamentals of institutional cookery as applied to industrial schools needs, on costing, storage, and preparation of foodstuff. In addition, the Department’s Medical Inspector would avail of the opportunity to give some lecture on balance in diet, hygiene, etc. The course should last for four weeks.

Having regard to the background out of which this proposal emerges persistent pressure by the Department on the schools to spend more money on food and constant complaints from the schools that they cannot afford to do so it will be clear that the course must not involve the schools in any expense if there is to be a reasonable prospect of securing their cooperation. It is proposed to make a grant of £9 towards the expense of each nuns travelling expenses, £6 for four weeks hostel expenses in Dublin, and £1 for materials and part maintenance (they will eat the meals they prepare). Nuns from Dublin City schools would receive the grant of £1 only.

1.141In a long memo of 25th November 1944 written by Dr McCabe to a senior colleague she enclosed height and weight charts as a background to her scientific account of her attempts to get the schools to feed the children appropriate and nourishing food. The following quotation gives the flavour:

For a considerable time past I have been carrying on a campaign for an improvement in the diet scales in the industrial and Reformatory Schools. Shortly after my appointment in 1939 I revised all the diet scales and advised individual schools as to deficiencies in the diet scale. On the whole I secured a measure of cooperation. I introduced many items of food to the school diet which were not then in use because they were unknown to the school managers. For a time all went well but that was in the halcyon days when food was plentiful and fairly cheap. The position on this regard cannot now be regarded as satisfactory.

Dr McCabe and the Managers

1.142In the early part of her career Dr McCabe was vociferous in her demands for improvements in diet and conditions in the schools and was quick to inform the Managers of her dissatisfaction. In a memo sent by Dr McCabe to the Department on 25th November 1944, it is clear that her reforms were often met with resistance from the schools and only instituted when Departmental pressure was applied:

In the great majority of schools the children get a bare subsistence diet and nothing more. I have had abundant and convincing proof of this and have effected an improvement in conditions in some of the schools only after the strongest measures were used, e.g., Lenaboy and Passage West.

1.143The Resident Managers often ascribed failings on their part with regard to the shelter and diet of the children to the inadequate funding received from the Department. The unavailability of funds was proffered as an excuse by both the Department of Education and the Resident Managers, in response to many of the weaknesses cited in the inspection reports. Consequently, Dr McCabe’s work was hampered by the ongoing capitation negotiations between the Congregations and the Departments of Education and Finance. At the end of her period in office in 1964, she wrote:

I am constantly pressing for further improvements but I am met with the same query from all concerned ‘Where is the money to come from’… This state of affairs puts me in a very invidious position as I am unable to have the further improvements envisaged by me implemented.

1.144Following an inspection of Letterfrack in 1957, Dr McCabe described the difficulty she faced in attempting to improve conditions in the schools:

I would really like to see a number of improvements here- clothing, living conditions and cooking arrangements. I have often made suggestions but each time I feel up against a stone wall as always I am told increase the grant – give more money and of course I realize their difficulties – but all the same I will have to insist on better conditions for the boys. Br. Murphy the Resident Manager is very argumentative and difficult to persuade.

1.145Dr McCabe advocated a strong response to Resident Managers who refused to implement recommendations: in striking contrast to the usual emollient words used by the Department, her correspondence with certain Resident Managers was often peppered with strong language and demands for improvements. One such letter to the reverend mother of Newtownforbes in 1940, in relation to unsanitary conditions and neglect of sick children, states: ‘I cannot find any excuse which would exonerate you and your staff.’ The inspector felt the best course of action was to hit the schools in their purses and threatened to reduce or remove state funding or certification if the Resident Managers did not comply Nevertheless, the Department considered it ‘impolitic’ to withdraw the certificates of suitability. However, Dr McCabe did succeed in having two Resident Managers removed from their positions as a direct result of her inspection reports.

Corporal punishment

1.146Ensuring that the children received adequate food appears to have been Dr McCabe’s primary focus; the common use of excessive corporal punishment does not figure as prominently in her work. In her general report of 1964 she states:

Corporal punishment was very prevalent when I first visited the schools, beating of children being quite commonplace; in addition there was a form of sadism deplored by me the cutting of girls hair and the shaving of boys heads. All this has been virtually eliminated except for the unfortunate example of the nuns in Bundoran.

1.147Yet, so far as one can make deductions from a negative, there exists little to suggest that Dr McCabe actively attempted to prevent the excessive physical punishment of boys. Where criticism did exist it was levelled mostly against the girls schools. In 1940, upon finding girls in the infirmary in Newtownforbes showing signs of physical abuse, Dr McCabe wrote a scathing letter to the Resident Manager, in which she wrote;

I was not satisfied in finding so many of the girls in the infirmary suffering from bruises on their bodies. Under no circumstances can the Department tolerate treatment of this nature and you being responsible for the care of these children will have some difficulty in avoiding censure.

1.148Conversely in a boys’ reformatory the punishment received by a number of the children appeared to contravene Department regulations, Dr McCabe is not recorded as having challenged the Resident Manager. In a report to the Department on the basis of a complaint from the father of a resident of Daingean concerning excessive corporal punishment, Dr McCabe wrote: ‘I failed to discover any marks on any boy including …’. She also made disparaging remarks about the boys in general, referring to them as ‘terrorists’ and stating that the boy whose father complained ‘is an unpleasant type of boy’.

1.149Despite the 1946 circular stating that principals could draw on the advice of the Department’s Medical Inspector ’regarding any children who are specially troublesome of difficult to control’, there is no evidence that Dr McCabe offered advice on how the troublesome boys could have been treated differently. The standard forms completed by Dr McCabe and the other inspectors did not contain references to issues of discipline or punishment until Mr Granville, Child Care Advisor to the Department, noted that corporal punishment was still in use in the schools.

Punishment book

1.150The requirement to keep punishment books is provided for in Rule 12 of the Department’s Rules and Regulations which states:

The Manager or his Deputy shall be authorised to punish the Children detained in the school in case of misconduct. All serious misconduct, and the Punishments inflicted for it, shall be entered in a book to be kept for that purpose, which shall be laid before the Inspector when he visits. The Manager must, however, remember that the more closely the school is modelled on a principle of judicious family government the more salutary will be its discipline, and the fewer occasions will arise for resort to punishment.

1.151Department files do not provide examples of these punishment books being kept by schools or ‘laid before the Inspector’. The inspector did not refer to the checking of punishment books in her/his inspection report but would at times record that ‘Records were well kept’. It is possible that schools kept these journals for a time and subsequently disposed of them when they were no longer needed. On 16th December 1970, the Minister for Education informed the Dáil that: ‘No industrial school now keeps a punishment book’.

Dr McCabe’s illness

1.152In the early part of her career, Dr McCabe was heavily critical of the schools, reporting findings very different from the relatively favourable conclusions in the Cussen Report just a few years earlier. She stated that she was ‘simply horrified at the conditions existing in the majority of the Schools’. However, her reports from the 1950s show a marked decline in detail with little of the critical commentary that had characterised the reports of the 1940s. While it is possible that improvements were made during her tenure, and that the schools were better resourced, it is also necessary to take into consideration the fact that from the late 1940s Dr McCabe was suffering from recurrent illness.

1.153Although there is no definitive diagnosis of Dr McCabe’s condition, it is evident from medical reports in her Departmental personnel file that she suffered from severe depression for much of the period during which she held the position of Medical Inspector with the Department. This illness seems to have commenced in the late 1940s, with a severe episode in 1951 requiring hospital therapy.

Unfortunately, over the following number of years Dr McCabe’s health did not improve and began to deteriorate seriously in the mid-1960s. Dr McCabe resigned in 1965.

Part 6 Innovations and Improvements

Structural reforms

1.154Before Kennedy, there was little thought given to a fundamental overhaul of the system. One of the few considerations of structural change is contained in the following brief statement. T O’R on 15th March 1967 wrote in an internal memo.

A new development in recent years in a number of the Industrial Schools has been the introduction of the Group System. Under this system it is claimed that the children feel a greater degree of security, become more alert, make better progress at school, are generally more friendly and more easily overcome their handicaps. The Minister would be glad if Managers would give consideration to this new development with a view to its introduction, where possible, into their schools. 4.12.24 noted that in a small number of schools, laudable efforts are being made to break the residential portion of the school into units and encouraged stronger efforts in this direction.

One line of approach to the problem of the Industrial Schools is the provision of a Prevention Centre. The importance of the Prevention Centre will lie not only in the turning back of the youngsters from their first steps in delinquency and the caring for innocent youngsters from broken homes, but also in that it will reduce considerably the number of children who will be committed to industrial schools.

This raises the question of the second line of approach. It is that the industrial schools will in future have to devote themselves more to rehabilitation type of work. This will mean that they will have to organise the children into smaller groups and so have to employ a much larger staff of skilled personnel. The children will, learn by doing (as Senator Quinlan mentioned in the Seanad debate on ‘Investment in Education’).

It might be unwise to bring up the matter of industrial schools as we are in no position to defend our achievement as far as the size of grants goes.

1.155Another rare example of this fundamental question being squarely addressed comes in a letter of response by the Department to criticisms put forward by the Joint Committee of Women’s Societies and Social Workers in 1955.

The slogan that ‘a poor home is better for a child than the best institution’ is alright as a catch cry but is certainly not true if is meant by a poor home a home of squalor, hunger and malnutrition, vice and bad example. People before using such slogans should become familiar with bad homes and with institutions such as industrial schools or orphanages which are conducted on proper lines. These latter, at least the industrial schools administered by this Department, have considerably improved in the last 12 of 15 years, mainly through (1) a consciousness on the part of the conductors following the Report of the Commission of Inquiry into the R&I. School system of 1934-36, and the passage of the 1941 Children Act of the need for improvement standards in the schools, (2) efficient and regular inspection, (3) the Course in Childcare in 1953 for nuns engaged in Orphanages and Industrial Schools. The improvements resulting from this Course are becoming evident as time goes on.

With regard to the recommendation of the Women’s Committee the following comments are made in the order set forth in the Joint Committee’s letter.

1.That the maximum number in any institution should not exceed 250. The only school which accommodates more than 250 is Artane. The question of breaking up that school into smaller schools was recommended by the Commission of Inquiry 1934-36 but nothing came if it mainly due to the opposition of the conductors and the extra huge expenditure involved. I consider that in fact 250 is altogether too big a number for a school and that 50-100 would be the ideal number.

2.Division of children into groups.

Kilkenny Girls School (accommodation 130) and St. Georges Limerick (170) have introduced the group system. (Kilkenny in 1952 and Limerick quite recently). This means the grouping of the girls over 6 years of age in sections of 30 approx-each section under the care of a nun who acts as ‘House mother’. In Kilkenny each section has its own Dormitory, Dining Room, Living Room. I attach a description of the grouping system as given by Sr. Laurentia for the Kilkenny school at the Child Course held in Carysfort College in August, 1953.

The group system is new to our schools. It involves the school in extra staff and in considerable expenditure to adapt the accommodation to the system. It is probable that with a little encouragement and coaxing form the Departments schools. The question of adopting it in boy’s schools, both senior and junior would present more difficulties than in the case of girl’s schools.

Closure

1.156The schools’ population peaked in the late 1940s. There was a steady decline in numbers through the 1950s and the process accelerated in the 1960s. The Department of Education noted as early as 1951 that since 1945 there had been an average of 250 vacancies in the Boys’ Schools.

1.157In 1955, the subject of closure was tentatively mentioned by the Secretary of the Department of Education in negotiations with representatives of the schools. In a letter from the Minister for Education to the Minister for Finance on 21st January 1965, the former noted ruefully that Finance had been urging closures for years and then continued:

Naturally your main concern is economy while mine is the upbringing of children. Certain aspects of the matter of transferring children to other schools have to be carefully considered. Many children have god-parents in their school localities and quite a number of children attend schools, national, secondary and vocational outside the industrial school. It may not be possible to accommodate such children suitably if transferred to another district.

1.158In 1950, there were 50 Industrial Schools. In the 1950s five schools closed: four senior boys schools – Baltimore (1950); Killybegs (1950); Carriglea (1954); and Greenmount, Cork (1959) and one girls school, Sligo (1958); but in the case of each of the boys’ schools there were particular reasons that were at least as significant as the general trend. The next closure was Birr, Offaly (1963). During 1964-70, 17 more schools, more than a third of the total, closed, including the senior boys’ schools at Upton, Glin and Clonmel, in each case with the full agreement of the Orders concerned. By the time of the Kennedy Report in 1970, another 13 had closed leaving a total of 29 still operating.

1.159The impression is that the closures that did occur pre-Kennedy (1970) did not come about because the Department pursued a coherent policy and took a considered decision to bring them about. The closures happened because the Orders wished them. On 23rd May 1966, the Managers’ Association wrote to the Department:

At their meeting on last Friday there was a consensus of opinion amongst the Resident Manager that most of the Schools will be forced to close.

If the present system is not acceptable to the public or the Government the Managers are prepared to close the schools next year, because they feel that the strain of working under present-day conditions is too acute to be continued.

1.160Making allowance for some element of bluff in this letter, it is unlikely that the schools would have expressly raised such a fundamental issue as closure unless they believed that matters had reached crisis point. In 1968, the Manager of Artane visited the Minister to warn him that the Christian Brothers had decided to close Artane, though this closure did not in fact occur until 1969.

1.161One feature of the timing of most of the closures is that they coincided with the doubling in demand for secondary school places, which followed on the abolition of secondary school fees. This was announced suddenly by the Minister for Education, Mr O’Malley, in 1966 and came into effect in August 1967. As a result, enrolment in day secondary schools rose from 148,000 in 1966-67 to 239,000 in 1974-75.

Part 7 The beginnings of change

1.162Both the public and the authorities began to lose confidence in the Industrial School system at the same time. The Christian Brothers believed the ‘public had turned against them’, the image of the schools having being damaged by ‘negative newspaper and television coverage … and by criticism from professional sociologists, [and even from] the clergy and the bishops’. The Christian Brothers referred also to ‘Authorities charged with improving social matters’, who they felt had become ‘hostile to schools such as Artane… County Councils, the Department of Health and those various organisations involved with the care of children would prefer to put them in foster homes or with families, anywhere but in institutions such as Artane’.

1.163At 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

(1) OECD Report

1.164In 1961 one of a set of national surveys, a wide-ranging study of Irish education and training by economic experts, was prepared by officials from the Department of Education in cooperation with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), under the chairmanship of the economist and ex-civil servant, Professor Patrick Lynch. It included a section dealing with the treatment of children in detention. This section criticised the operation of the schools attributing many of their defects to the inadequacy of the capitation grant and also the substantial surplus capacity within the schools, especially the girls schools, where there was only 37 percent utilisation of space.

(2) The Commission on Mental Handicap

1.165In 1965 the Commission on Mental Handicap raised doubts about institutionalisation in a wider context. Its report observed at para 138:

Orphans and unwanted and illegitimate children are a very vulnerable group. Many fail to realise their potential through loss of firm ties of affection, lack of stimulation and absence of suitable adults to provide a feeling of security and to meet their emotional and psychological needs. Legal adoption, where it is possible, is undoubtedly the most satisfactory method of dealing with the problem….family care is preferable to care in an institution…. We are well aware of the wonderful work carried out in these institutions and our regret is that because of a lack of appreciation of the psychological and emotional needs of children or because of inadequate staffing, the best results are not always achieved.

(3) The Inter-Departmental Committee on Crime Prevention and Treatment of Offenders

1.166In September 1962 an Interdepartmental Committee was established to inquire into possible approaches to the prevention of crime and the treatment of offenders. The Committee was composed of senior officials of the Departments of Justice, Health, Education and Industry and Commerce. Its proceedings concerning Fr Moore’s views on Artane are discussed in the chapter on that institution (Volume I, Chapter 7).

1.167The Committee’s more general recommendations as to Industrial and Reformatory Schools anticipated those of Kennedy in some respects and echoed Cussen in others. One of its central recommendations was the introduction of proper aftercare supervision, the lack of which they viewed as ‘a most grievous fault in the system’.

(4) The Tuairim Report

1.168The Tuairim Report of 1966 was another harbinger of change and bookmarked a change in thinking within the Department. Tuairim was a private group interested in publishing ideas for practical, social or governmental reform. One of its best-known reports entitled ‘Some of our children’ evaluated the certified schools system in Ireland. In some ways its content also anticipated that of the Kennedy Report. The Tuairim Report drew attention to the ‘failure to implement, other than a few’, the recommendations of the Cussen Commission. The Department of Education concurred with a number of Tuairim’s findings and stated in an internal memo ‘it is true that the whole system is in need of complete overhaul’.

(5) A play at the Abbey Theatre

1.169On 30th January 1961 a play by Richard Johnson, The Evidence I Shall Give, was premiered at the Abbey Theatre. It ran for 42 performances, and then was restaged in July of that year when it ran for a further nine. It returned in August for 21 more, in September for nine, and finally in October for six. Such a run, with a total of 87 performances, was most unusual.

1.170The author was a District Court judge. The play depicted a day in the life of a District Justice and the principal case was an application to have a 13-year-old female inmate of an orphanage transferred to an Industrial School because her alleged disobedience made discipline impossible. The protagonists were the defending solicitor, who was a kind and humane character, and who argued that ‘small children need kissing and caressing’ and the Mother Superior of the home, who was unloving and was driven by the need to enforce severe discipline and through it to bring the children ‘to humility’.

1.171The children had been committed because their father could not afford to engage a woman to look after his six children. The solicitor then calculated that with the capitation fee of £2.10s per week per child, the Order was being paid £390 for the three sisters, and the other institution was being paid £370 for the other three. ‘Will you agree’, he asked the mother-general, ‘that for £150 a year he could have got somebody to look after all six?’

1.172The play ended with the young girl removing the scarf covering her head to reveal it to be shaven, her punishment for absconding. The solicitor then addressed the court, saying ‘…what a dreadful commentary on our so-called Christian State that the soul of a little child should be thus crucified in order to instil humility’.

1.173Far from being controversial, the message of the play was well received by the audience and its success reflected the readiness of the public to hear the criticisms made by the play.

The Kennedy Report

1.174In retrospect, the establishment of the Kennedy Committee to review Reformatory and Industrial Schools seems more like an obituary than a death warrant for the existing system. In a memorandum prepared by Tarlach O’Raifeartaigh, the Secretary, for the Minister for Education in March 1967, he suggested that it would be ‘well worth considering whether the whole problem of reformatory and industrial schools should not be our next major target’. The Minister, Mr O’Malley, said he had always ‘felt deeply’ that children in care there had ‘a very special claim on society’.

1.175Formally, both the Department and the Minister emphasised that a revision of the existing schools system should not be construed as an adverse reflection upon the management of schools by the religious Orders, which deserved praise for the ‘excellent manner’ in which the schools were conducted. However, there is no doubt that Minister O’Malley privately suspected that harsh conditions were pervasive in the schools as is evident from an informal remark to his Department’s representative on the Kennedy Committee: ‘I’m depending on you to see that this whole area is properly cleaned up. I’m behind you.’

Kennedy’s recommendations

1.176The Committee made a crucial finding in relation to the existing system. Paragraph 4.2 of the Report said that:

…there is, in general, a lack of awareness of the needs of the child in care. By this we do not mean physical needs which are, in the main, adequately if unimaginatively catered for. We are referring to the need for love and security. All children experience these needs from their earliest days; the child who has suffered deprivation has an even greater need for them.

1.177Noting that most of those working in Industrial Schools and Reformatories had little if any qualifications, the Report recommended: proper training, the transfer of administrative responsibility for childcare to the Department of Health, and the system of payment on a capitation basis to be replaced by a system based on agreed budgets so as to encourage improvement in the children’s circumstances. However the Committee’s major recommendation was that:

The whole aim of the Child Care system should be geared towards the prevention of family breakdown and the problems consequent on it. The committal or admission of children to Residential Care should be considered only when there is no satisfactory alternative.

1.178Like the Cussen Commission before it, the Kennedy Committee also supported the view that Resident Managers should have detailed knowledge of each child under their care. It was also agreed that a proper system of determining a child’s background and capabilities was essential in preventing an escalation of anti-social behaviour or educational disadvantage. In the Kennedy Report it was concluded that:

As the system operates at present, a child is often admitted or committed to the care of the school manager, who knows little, if anything, about the child’s background. This can lead to great difficulties, particularly in the case of delinquent children, or those with delinquent or anti-social tendencies. The child may be retarded, suicidal, homicidal or homosexual, but the school authorities have no way of knowing this and by the time they learn it, much damage may have been done.

Part 8 The Department’s handling of complaints

1.179The chapters in Volumes I and II on the schools recount many instances of complaints that came to the notice of the Department and the manner in which they were handled. Those cases are not repeated here and the following remarks are confined to general issues.

Complaints from parents and members of the public

1.180The Department of Education wrote to the Kennedy Committee to explain its procedures for dealing with complaints from the public:

Upon receipt of a complaint from a parent or guardian about the treatment of a child in an industrial school, the Manager is furnished with a copy of the complaint and his observations are requested. Depending on the seriousness of the complaint the Inspector of Reformatory and Industrial schools will also interview the child and the school authorities and take appropriate action where necessary.

1.181The Department also told the Committee it had ‘no complete record of all complaints received’ as many were of a ‘trivial nature’. It provided the Committee with nine examples of complaints received in the previous five years, all but two of which were deemed to be baseless. Mr Mac Uaid, an executive officer in the Department, wrote on another occasion: ‘Complaints about the treatment of children in industrial schools are not infrequent but from experience I would say that the majority are exaggerated and some even untrue.’

1.182The Department’s submission to the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse summarised the situation:

The procedure for dealing with parent’s complaints was to refer them to the Manager of the school for consideration and depending on the response of the Manager and the seriousness of the complaint to determine whether the matter should be pursued with the school management. There does not appear to have been a defined system of assessing the seriousness of a parental complaint and generally the Department did not interview the parent or child concerned… There is no indication that complaints supported by public representatives were taken more seriously than others.

1.183It added:

There is also evidence to suggest that in many cases the Department accepted the explanations given by the Resident Manager when complaints were brought to his/her attention and that the Department may have viewed some complaints with a degree of scepticism.

1.184The Department’s submission also stated:

Where complaints were aired in the public media, the Department appears to have been concerned to protect the reputation of the school while privately addressing concerns with the religious order.

Enforcement

1.185At the conclusion of the Department’s investigation of a complaint or episode, some kind of judgement had to be reached. The Department generally gave the benefit of the doubt to the school. Where an adverse conclusion was reached, the question of sanction, if any, depended on the nature of the complaint. One possibility where a member of staff was personally culpable was the removal of the staff member, which did happen but only on a very few occasions. As each side knew, there was also the ultimate sanction of derecognition, but, as each side also knew, this was the nuclear option, to which there were big disadvantages from the Department’s point of view.

1.186The Department did not have a system for examining and investigating complaints. It had a system that managed complaints in a way that minimised adverse publicity and scandal. Its trust in the religious Congregations led to a sceptical approach that rejected complaints in the majority of cases. The Department relied on the Resident Managers to respond to complaints and tackle the issues raised. This approach was a serious failure of the Department’s supervisory role.

Part 9 Missing files

Introduction

1.187The principal sources of documentary evidence in relation to Industrial and Reformatory Schools are:

  • the Department of Education and Science;
  • other Departments of State including the Department of Health and Children and the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform;
  • the archives of the Congregations that managed the schools and reformatories.

1.188Records on Industrial Schools comprise a wide range of internal Departmental files, covering areas such as: certification, general inspection and medical inspection. Registers on all children who were admitted to the schools through the courts also exist and in some of these cases there are files with varying degrees of detail on individual children. The completion of a comprehensive archivist exercise on these records by the Department has resulted in the creation of a database of approximately 36,000 entries.

Archival and discovery reports

1.189In 1996 the archives of the Reformatory and Industrial Schools were catalogued by an archives and records management company, at the behest of the Department of Education and the National Archives. The records relating to the schools were mostly kept in the basement of Talbot House, a building on the grounds of the Department of Education headquarters, Marlborough Street, Dublin. In April 1998 the company submitted its final report to the Department. It noted the poor storage conditions in which these sensitive documents were kept, so much so that documents had to be cleaned before cataloguing could begin. Its findings were:

(1)Case files and registers:

  • a total of 41,714 entries made in registers and case files
  • there were no registers or case files for three schools.

(2)Certification files:

  • 72 entries in the certification files.

(3)Administrative files:

  • 792 entries in the administration files.

(4) Miscellaneous registers

  • 31 entries in the miscellaneous registers.

1.190In 1999 Dr Gerard Cronin undertook to complete a report on the Reformatory and Industrial Schools’ Archives in Athlone. In his ‘Initial Report on the Reformatory & Industrial Schools’ Archives Athlone’ Dr Cronin stated:

…every so often I have come across items (sometimes misfiled) which directly or indirectly throw unfavourable or critical light on the conditions which the young offenders had to endure at the Daingean School.

1.191In 2004 Mr Noel Dempsey TD, the Minister for Education and Science, appointed Mr Matthias Kelly QC to conduct an independent review and report on the provision of discovery by the Department of Education and Science to the Commission. There was a particular background to this decision, which is explained at para 6 of Mr Kelly’s report:

There has been criticism of the way in which the Department of Education and Science has handled the process of discovery of documents to the Commission. In the Third Interim Report, Ms Justice Laffoy recorded that the Commission were not satisfied that the department had complied fully with an order for discovery. There were concerns that the process of discovery was experiencing problems. It was against this background that I was asked to undertake this review.

1.192His main objectives were:

(1)to review the processes and procedures operated by the Department of Education and Science in main discovery to the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse; and

(2)to make such recommendations as are appropriate in relation to discovery by the Department of Education and Science.

1.193Although the Department had disclosed its historic archive to the Commission voluntarily, this archive did not contain the total number of files relevant to the work of the Commission. Files not included and identified by Mr Kelly QC were:

  • 27,000 pupil files;
  • incomplete and early discharge papers;
  • the working papers of the Kennedy working party;
  • material separately held in safe storage within the Department;
  • incident books;
  • precedent books;
  • miscellaneous files one would expect to find.

(1) 27,000 missing pupil files

1.194The 3rd Interim Report by CICA describes how the Department of Education sent to the Commission a ‘Database of Former Residents of Reformatory and Industrial School’, containing approximately 42,000 entries of pupils who were committed by the courts to Reformatories and Industrial Schools during the allotted timeframe relevant to the Commission; however the database does not contain records of pupils placed in Industrial Schools by local authorities under the Public Assistance Acts or the Health Acts or voluntary placements. The Department should be in possession of 41,000 pupil files. However files exist relating to only 14,000 pupils, therefore 27,000 pupil files are missing. Of these 27,000 files, 18,000 relate to children who were admitted to institutions from 1936 onwards. From 1960 onwards the Department is in possession of virtually 100 percent of pupil records. Matthias Kelly concluded that these files were thrown out in the Department’s ‘general clear out’.

(2) Incomplete and early discharge files

1.195Early discharge papers relate to applications made by parents to the Department to have their children released from institutional care. Some of the discharge papers are missing and in other cases the record in relation to the individual is incomplete and some of these applications may have been placed on the individual child’s pupil file. The Department has a register of applications for early discharge dated 1951-60 only. Matthias Kelly stated within his report the importance of these records for former Industrial School pupils, emphasising the need for these people to know that their parents tried to ensure their release from the schools. Mr Kelly concluded that the papers were lost as a result of the ‘general clear out’.

(3) The Kennedy working papers

1.196The report of Matthias Kelly concluded that the 10 working papers of the Kennedy Commission were missing. Subsequently, in May 2004, seven of the working papers were given to CICA, and an eighth was handed over in 2007. Mr Kelly in his report stated ‘In my view those working papers are or may be relevant to the work of the Commission.’ However his report concluded that the Department had done all within its capabilities to locate the two papers.

(4) Material separately held in safe storage within the Department

1.197In his evidence before the Commission Mr Liam Kilroy, when asked about the process of storing files, suggested it was a practice within the Department to store documents in a separate filing cabinet if the official was personally involved or the file was deemed unsuitable for general filing. He explained: ‘If it was an issue with which I was personally involved …, then I would retain the papers in my room, in my office.

1.198Furthermore in his evidence before CICA on 4th March 2003 Mr Paddy Matthews referred to the use of a safe to hold sensitive and confidential files. Mr Matthews claimed that Mr Luttrel, Head of Document Registry Unit, kept confidential files in a little safe in the document registry in Tyrone House. When asked what type of documents were kept in this safe, Mr Matthews replied: ‘I am only going on what I heard now, but that any offences with a suggestion of a sexual offence in them were kept there.’ Although the Kelly Report stated that all reasonable steps had been taken regarding the issue of safe storage, Mr Matthews later went on to state that he too had a safe in his office, which contained documents of a ‘sexual nature’. He said he had no log of the documents contained therein. In further evidence before CICA, Mr Matthews claimed that he had only ever heard of one complaint of a sexual nature (relating to Clonmel) He added: ’I cannot remember any other complaint now, to tell you the truth. I think if there was, I would have heard it.’

1.199The report prepared by Mathias Kelly QC was critical of the way the Department had kept sensitive papers on the Clonmel sexual abuse allegations in a temporary folder.

1.200The file known as TN030, short for Temporary Number 030, was kept in Liam Kilroy’s private office. Liam Kilroy went on to affirm knowledge of two other files in his office relating to abuse – Lisnagary in Limerick, Daughters of Charity (Q 20) and Finglas Children’s Centre.

1.201Mr Kelly concluded, however, that the case of TN030 was an isolated one and that in any large organisation there will be the occasional instance of documents being wrongly filed and individual idiosyncratic filing. He concluded, ‘I cannot, therefore, attach any weight to the suggestion that “sensitive” documents were stored separately.’

(5) Incident books

1.202Incident books, sometimes called ‘log books’, were kept by the various schools to record significant incidents or events within the schools or institutions. Matthias Kelly concluded:

The Secretary General has assured me that the Department does not generally hold incident books at all. The point is made, that if such books do exist, and I would expect that such books do exist, they will be held by the various institutions themselves.

(6) Precedent books

1.203The precedent book was a record of decisions made relating to the certified schools system, catalogued in one place to allow for administrative ease. Mr Matthews, a former Assistant Secretary within the Department of Education, made reference to the existence of such a book in his evidence before the Commission. He stated that:

the precedent book should still be there. No, there is no reason why it shouldn’t, because all the sections in the place, it was an essential feature of Government business, to know what the precedents were, just the same as in law.

1.204However Mr Kelly concluded: ‘In my view there is no hard or reliable evidence that the book, as described, ever existed.’

(7) Miscellaneous files one would expect to find

1.205This category refers to the general gaps in information regarding the Department of Education’s running of the Industrial Schools system. These files include certification files, general and medical inspection reports, internal Departmental memos, letters and general correspondence.

Sex abuse files

1.206The Department of Education Statement to CICA in May 2006 stated:

There are few cases of reported sexual abuse in the industrial and reformatory schools recorded in Departmental files (7 in all). We have no record of sexual of abuse issues surfacing during the course of normal inspections.

1.207The seven abuse files are:

  • Upton 1945
  • Kilkenny 1954
  • Ennis 1956
  • Daingean 1959
  • Artane 1960
  • Mr Brander
  • TN030.

1.208Ms Bridgid McManus, Secretary General of the Department of Education, gave evidence before CICA on 13th June 2006. In light of the absence of Departmental records relating to incidents of sexual abuse in the Industrial Schools and Reformatories over which the Department of Education presided, Ms McManus was asked if any efforts were made to ascertain from old employees, retired employees or even existing employees of the Department who worked in the relevant section, whether incidents of abuse may have been passed on to the Department, but were not reflected in the files. All senior administrative staff in the Department, at principal officer level and upward, and all existing and former Department inspectors were contacted. Following this line of questioning CICA was furnished with the responses received by the Department from former officials within the section; these responses did not give any information regarding undocumented cases of sexual abuse.

1.209Subsequently other former staff members who had previously worked in the RISB or Special Education Section were contacted regarding specifically:

  • the historic management and storage of files relating to the Industrial and Reformatory School system;
  • their knowledge of any destruction or purging of such files;
  • any information they may hold with regard to missing files or gaps in the Department’s records;
  • departmental files relating to the Kennedy Committee;
  • the use of a safe to hold sensitive and confidential files.

1.210With regard to information ascertained from these efforts the Department of Education informed CICA that:

While these interviews provided information in relation to the destruction in 1958/59 of some industrial and reformatory ledgers which predated the 1900s, they did not throw any light on any of the other matters mentioned above or on any particular arrangements for holding sensitive or confidential records in relation to incidents of abuse.

Mr Brander and TN030

1.211The case of Mr Brander and the file entitled TN030 are of most relevance to this chapter.

1.212In September 1997, the Gardaí in Tullamore, County Offaly, wrote to the Department of Education (Primary Branch) informing them that Mr Brander, a former principal of Walsh Island National School, was the subject of a Garda investigation. The investigation related to incidents that took place during Mr Brander ’s time in Walsh Island. The Gardaí requested any information regarding complaints the Department may have received during the time in question. The Department stated that they conducted a ‘thorough search… Primary and Second Level Branches, but nothing came to light at the time’. In January 1998 a file containing papers relating to Mr Brander was discovered in Second Level Branch, Athlone. The papers included a letter, sent to the Department on 27th May 1982, by Mr Rothe who identified himself as a national teacher, living in Edenderry, alleging sexual abuse of boys by Mr Brander. Although a number of internal memos were found discussing a possible course of action, no reply to Mr Rothe was found amongst the papers.

1.213Among these memos was correspondence from a higher executive officer, dated October 1983, stating than there were no records regarding Mr Brander as his cards and appointment file were missing.

1.214The full story of this man’s career of abuse is told in Volume I Chapter 14.

1.215TN030 is a Department of Education file titled ‘Meeting with Clonmel Authorities, Wednesday 04th December 1996’; the TN refers to the ‘Temporary Number’ assigned to this file. Contained within this file is correspondence between the Department of Education and Science and the Rosminian Order who operate St Joseph’s Special School, Ferryhouse, Clonmel. In particular it deals with a series of contacts from 1980-97 between Departmental officials and the institution and refers to incidents of child sexual abuse in the 1970s that are discussed in detail in Volume II Chapter 3.

1.216In total there were three separate allegations made to the Department.

1.217The Commission learned about the existence of these allegations following the receipt of a statement from a former Manager of St Joseph’s Special School. The Department had been made aware of allegations of abuse as early as 1979. The Investigation Committee conducted a through search of the documents given to them by the Department, but no file relating to these reports of sexual abuse were discovered.

1.218Following correspondence with the Chief State Solicitors office, the file relating to these matters was located and furnished to the Commissions. The full account of the cases appears in the chapter on Ferryhouse Industrial School (Volume II Chapter 3).

Renmore

1.219In 1969, during a routine inspection of Renmore, a Department of Education inspector was approached by a 15-year-old boy who claimed to have been sexually abused by a senior member of the staff of the school. Following questioning of the boy the inspector became satisfied that he was telling the truth and informed his superior in the Department of Education, the Provincial of the Brothers of Charity and the school Manager.

1.220The Manager told the inspector that he would investigate the complaint and within a matter of days informed him that the Brother had admitted to the sexual abuse of the boy and had been transferred to a psychiatric hospital.

1.221The inspector’s superior in the Department of Education requested a written report on the matter. The Department of Education were unable to produce this report and consider it missing. The report was last seen in the Department in 1989 by an inspector. The Department believe it is impossible to say how or when the report went missing.

St Joseph’s Cabra

1.222A teacher in St Joseph’s Cabra was the cause of numerous complaints between 1980 and 1985. The matter was being investigated by the Department of Education, which had withheld his teaching diploma pending investigation of the complaints.

1.223Fifty nine St Joseph’s teacher files were furnished to the Commission by the Department of Education, but this teacher’s file was not among them. A letter dated 10th October 2007 from the Chief State Solicitor’s office confirmed that the Department’s file register had a record of the file. The letter also stated that the file could not be located and that the Department had no record of any complaints in respect of this teacher prior to 1985.

Lota missing files

1.224Several files relating to Lota were also missing. The files, which should have been given to the Commission but which had not been located, were listed by the Department. These files are described as having gone missing since 2001 when they were catalogued. The Department gave no explanation as to why these files have gone missing.

Concluding comment

1.225The Department of Education bore responsibility for the children placed by the State in its care. There was no other body to watch over the interests of one of the most vulnerable groups in the community.

1.226The Department retained the Industrial and Reformatory School system inherited in 1922, making only a few minor changes when circumstances demanded them. The Department continued to see itself, as Richard Mulcahy, the Minister for Education, put it, as ‘the man with the oil-can’ who goes around attending to squeaks but makes no fundamental change to the machinery.

1.227The unit dealing with the schools was at a very low level in the hierarchy of the Department. It had considerable powers, but it lacked the initiative and authority to do anything more than maintain the status quo, and keep the costs down. When alternative strategies for helping children in care emerged, such as boarding out, they were ignored. The Department of Education’s submission to the Commission stated:

We do not have any records to suggest that this was actively considered by the Department. The Department did not see itself as having an active policy or operational role in the committal of children to institutions and it seems likely that it would have taken the view that the question of boarding out was a matter for the Department of Health.

Could the government have done more to make the schools better run?

1.228Assuming that the Industrial Schools or something like them would have had to exist for some children, much could have been done by the Department of Education to improve their operation.

1.229The Department was, firstly, lacking in detailed information. The inspections were too few and too limited in scope. The failure to insist on an external review on at least two occasions during the period between Cussen and Kennedy was supine. The need for some kind of external informed supervision of the certified schools is self-evident. If the Department had been in possession of better information about the schools, it would have been in a stronger position to exercise control. In addition, greater openness would probably have reduced the level of abuse: sunshine is the best disinfectant. It is plain too from the chapters on individual schools that officials did know of many of the abuses that were going on in the schools.

1.230The Department of Education should have exercised more of its ample legal powers over the schools in the interests of the children. The power to remove a Manager given to the Department in 1941 should have been exercised or even threatened on more than the handful of occasions when it was invoked. This would have emphasised the State’s right to intervene on behalf of a vulnerable group.

1.231The Department was woefully lacking in ideas about policy and made no attempt to impose changes that would have improved the lot of the detained children.

1.232Finally, evidence of the failures by the Department that are catalogued in the chapters on the schools can also be seen as tacit acknowledgment by the State of the ascendancy of the Congregations and their ownership of the system. The Department’s Secretary General, at a public hearing, told the Investigation Committee that the Department had shown a ‘very significant deference’ towards the religious Congregations. This deference impeded change, and it took the Kennedy Report in 1971 to begin the process of dismantling the Industrial and Reformatory School system.


Chapter 2
Finance


Historical background: the capitation grant system

2.01The legislation that established the Industrial Schools system expressly provided State funding for maintenance of the children, but not for the establishment of schools themselves. The Children Act 1908 continued this capitation grant system.

2.02The Industrial Schools were owned by the religious Orders who provided the buildings and farms, and they were responsible for improvements, alterations, extensions, renewals and repairs. The expenses for renovations and repairs were to be paid for out of the private resources of the congregations and by charitable donations.

2.03By paying for the children rather than the institution the British administration avoided the delicate issue of whether to give money directly to religious denominations. Protestant and Roman Catholic communities were fearful of either side being given too much power by the authorities.

2.04Local authorities were obliged under the 1908 Children Act to provide for the maintenance and reception of offenders in Reformatory and Industrial Schools. They did not have to pay for children who were admitted on the application of their parents or guardians or for children whose parents were unable to look after them. Also they were exempt if the parents had committed an offence punishable by imprisonment that resulted in their children detained.

2.05Unlike the State however, the local Authorities did have to pay for children in excess of the certification limit and for children under the age of six.

2.06These provisions were altered in changes made in 1944 (see below).

2.07Most of the children who were placed in Industrial Schools came from backgrounds of poverty and deprivation. If the State saw fit to remove a child from its parents because the child was at risk of malnutrition and neglect, it had an obligation to ensure that the institution into which the child was placed did not also put it at risk of malnutrition and neglect. In other words, the capitation grant had to be large enough to keep a child adequately, so that a proper standard of care was provided.

2.08The Department of Education’s Rules and Regulations were clear as to what the minimum standards were. Rule 5 stipulated that

the children shall be supplied with neat, comfortable clothing in good repair, suitable to the season of the year, not necessarily uniform either in material or colour.

2.09Rule 6 provided minimum standards for an adequate diet:

The Children shall be supplied with plain wholesome food, according to a Scale of Dietary to be drawn up by the Medical Officer of the School and approved by the Inspector. Such food shall be suitable in every aspect for growing children actively employed and supplemented in the case of delicate or physically under-developed children with special food as individual needs require. No substantial alterations in the Dietary shall be made without previous notice to the Inspector. A copy of the Dietary shall be given to the Cook and a further copy kept in the Manager’s Office.

2.10It was the responsibility of the Department to ensure adequate finance for these minimum standards of care, and it was the responsibility of the Resident Manager to ensure they were maintained. From time to time tensions arose because one or other failed in its obligations: the Department could let funding become inadequate or the Resident Manager could allow basic living conditions to fall below the standards set by the rules.

2.11During the period under investigation, this argument about funding was constant, and for the most part the Department sided with the Resident Managers. An internal Education Department memorandum to the Minister in 1967 wrote that it was ‘in no position to defend its achievement as far as the size of grant goes’.1

2.12A central figure in this argument was the Department’s medical inspector, whose role included ensuring that basic conditions such as food and clothing and living conditions were appropriate to promote general health. In many instances she accused the school of negligent mismanagement of the funds, but she could also take the side of the Resident Manager and argue that funding was inadequate to meet basic needs.

2.13The fundamental question, whether the State fulfilled its obligations under law to provide the basic needs of children in care, is not an easy one, and perhaps no definitive answer is possible.

2.14The Investigation Committee engaged expert assistance from Mazars, Financial Consultants. Mazars examined the available financial records of four separate institutions and they also addressed the general question of whether the capitation payments down through the years were adequate to enable the institutions to provide for the children who were detained in them. The Mazars report and submissions in response are considered later and are annexed to this chapter.

The basic cost of keeping a child in an industrial school

2.15The Cussen Report2 outlined the problems of estimating the cost of keeping a child in an Industrial or Reformatory School:

It is difficult to arrive at a figure which would reasonably represent the average yearly cost of maintenance per child in the schools. This is due in the main to differences of circumstances existing as between the various schools; many have farms which produce a very substantial proportion of their food requirements, while others with small or no farms are forced to purchase such supplies either partly or wholly in the open market. In addition variations in the cost of materials for the workshops, clothing, bedding bootmaking, etc, have to be considered. According to figures furnished to us for the year 1933, the cost per head per annum for food varied in the Senior Boys’ Industrial Schools from £7 1s 2d to £20; for wearing apparel from £2 6s. 4d to £6 1s., and for medical expenses from 11s 7d to £2. In the Junior Boys’ Industrial Schools; food varied from £10 10s. to £15 4s 2d. per head per annum; wearing apparel from £2 8s. 7d to £4 11s 9d., and medical expenses from 3s. 5d to £1 8s. In the Girls’ Industrial Schools food varied from £9 8s. to £26 per head per annum, wearing apparel from £1 2s. 3d. to £11, and medical expenses from 3s. 11d. to £7.

Corresponding figures from the Reformatories were: Boys’ School, food £30 per head per annum; wearing apparel, £8 16s. and medical expenses, £1. In the Girls’ Reformatories the figures were: food £14; wearing apparel, £6; and medical expenses £2 10s.

The disparities in cost as shown are probably due also in some measure to a lack of uniformity in the methods of cost accounting adopted, as the diet in the schools are substantially the same, and the fact that a greater proportion of foodstuffs has to be purchased in some schools as compared with others would hardly explain the marked differences in the cost of maintenance indicated by the figures obtained from the schools. We are, however, satisfied, as a result of our inquiries, that the schools are very economically managed, supplies being obtained where possible by contract or on equally favourable terms.

2.16The same question was raised in a letter by Mr Breathnach of the Department of Finance in 1957-58. He wrote:

There is another aspect of the question which puzzles us – the wide range of expenditure on various items by the schools, e.g.

Item Cost per head
Food £25.8 – £54.6 a year
Fuel and light £4.3 – £15 a year
Clothing £5.4 – £20.3 a year
Salaries £11.3 – £40 a year

Do you know why it should cost £2.1s a week to keep each of 117 inmates in St. Lawrence, Sligo, while the cost of keeping 120 at Clifden, Co Galway, should be only about £1.11s? It would be helpful if your Department could explain the disparity.

2.17The Department of Education attempted to gain information to establish the basic cost of keeping a child in an Industrial School by requesting detailed accounts. These requests were made in the following years:

1945 21 schools out of 52 responded
1947 statement of income and expenditure was received from all industrial schools
1950 42 industrial schools and one reformatory school provided statements
1954 nine schools provided accounts.
1955 The Resident Managers’ Association provided accounts for 22 schools
1962 The Department requested accounts from six representative schools. Nine schools provided statements.
1964 The Resident Managers Association provided a summary of the financial situation of 21 schools to support their application for an increase in the rate of the grant.

The request for accounts in 1945

2.18Despite the Department’s general recognition that the Industrial Schools were underfunded, they were at times sceptical about the claims being made by the Resident Managers.

2.19For example, a deputation from the Resident Managers’ Association went to see the Minister for Education on 10th July 1945 to request an increase in the capitation grant, the payment of salaries to literary teachers and the application of medical and dental services to Industrial Schools. The Minister told the deputation that if statements of accounts, preferably audited, were submitted they would be examined by the Department with a view to submitting them to the Department of Finance. He stressed that a convincing case would have to be made for an increase in the capitation grant.

2.20Only 21 Industrial Schools submitted statements and, of these, just five were ‘stated to have been prepared by accountants and/or auditors’. They were Rathdrum Junior Boys’ School, Goldenbridge, Westport, New Ross, and Wexford.

2.21Three of the 10 senior boys’ Industrial Schools submitted statements prepared by the Orders. They were Greenmount, Upton and Ferryhouse.

2.22Four Industrial Schools for junior boys submitted statements: Passage West, Kilkenny, Drogheda and Rathdrum.

2.23Fourteen girls’ industrial schools made submissions: Clonakilty, Kinsale, Booterstown, Goldenbridge, Westport, Birr, Wexford, Lakelands, Kilkenny female, Ballaghaderreen, Benada Abbey, Whitehall, Dundrum (County Tipperary) and New Ross.

2.24These schools were run by the following orders: Rosminians, Presentation Brothers, Sisters of Charity, Sisters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul, Sisters of Mercy, Sisters of the Order of Our Lady of Charity of Refuge, Sisters of the Presentation Order and Sisters of the Good Shepherd.

2.25These 21 statements, covering a period of 12 months in the years 1944 and 1945, were duly examined and the result was recorded in a Departmental memo as follows:

Three of the accounts showed excesses of Income over Expenditure. viz Birr, £1.2.5, Dundrum £433 (excluding an amount of £810 claimed as ‘an allowance to Sisters wholly employed in the Industrial School’ which would convert this surplus into a deficit of £377) and New Ross £6.4.3.

The remaining accounts showed deficits ranging from £27 to over £5000.

2.26The Department went on to conclude:

The statements cannot be regarded as very reliable or as furnishing an accurate view of the financial position of the schools. In some cases items of capital expenditure (especially for repairs, renewals and additional buildings) have been included e.g. Whitehall, where a deficit of £5,036 is shown a sum of £4,573 is stated to have been expended on building repairs and erection of a new sanitary wing.

It was also observed that in many cases the salaries paid from the Primary Branch to members of the communities serving in the schools as literary teachers were not included in the statements of Income. The inclusion of this item would in some cases reduce the deficit to a negligible figure or convert it to a surplus of income over expenditure.

We have no means of determining from these statements whether the produce of the farms or gardens is supplied to the schools or charged against the school accounts at wholesale or retail prices.

2.27Despite these criticisms of the accounting methods the Department did reach a conclusion:

On the whole we feel that the statements are not reliable. We also wish to point out that the period to which they refer may be regarded as the period of the emergency when the cost of food, clothing and other necessaries attained its maximum. In all the circumstances and making allowance for an anticipated reduction in time in the cost of these items consequent on the termination of the World War and a gradual easement in the supply position we do not feel that on the information contained in these statements a convincing case could be made to the Department of Finance for an increase in the Capitation Grant.

2.28In concluding that the capitation grant was adequate, the Department took into account the fact that most institutions had not bothered to submit their accounts, despite the desired increase being dependent on their production. The Department wrote:

We are also influenced in making this observation by the fact that a majority (over thirty) of the schools did not furnish any statements of income or expenditure in support of the claim for increased grants and also that as practically all the schools have farms attached the increased prices for agricultural produce during the emergency compensated to some extent for the rise in the cost of living.

2.29On the face of it, the Department’s demand for detailed and reliable accounts was not unreasonable, but many institutions, including all those run by the Christian Brothers, did not comply. The result was they lost their case for an increase in funding.

2.30The document also illustrates that the Department recognised that each institution had different needs, because of their different sizes and resources. The request for accounts from every institution was an attempt to assess these differing needs that were not being met by the capitation grant system.

The request for accounts in 1947

2.31In early 1947 the Resident Managers’ Association made a further application for an increase of 5/- per week in the combined payments for maintenance by the State and local authorities. The rate of the capitation grant at the time for the State was 7/- for Industrial Schools and 9/6 for Reformatory Schools, with the local authorities paying 8/- to the Industrial Schools and a rate not exceeding 9/6 and not less than 8/6 for the Reformatories.

2.32The Department replied:

The Minister is prepared to have a careful examination made of the application received from the Managers’ Association and to reconsider the present grant if he is satisfied that a sufficiently strong case can be made to convince the Government and the local authorities that these grants are inadequate to meet the present expenses of the schools. He has, accordingly, directed me to say that in order to have the fullest consideration given to the matter it will be necessary (this word is deleted and changed to ‘desirable’) for each Certified School to furnish detailed statements of its income and expenditure for the year ending 31st March 1947. If it is not practicable to have the statements duly certified by an auditor they should be signed and certified by the School Manager.

2.33The Department then put in a reminder about the failed attempt two years previously to get such accounts:

In this connection I am to state that when similar statements were asked for in 1945 by the Minister through the Association of General Managers in regard to a previous application for an increase in the capitation rate for maintenance grants, only 21 out of a possible 53 furnished statements, and this factor rendered it difficult for the Minister to give favourable consideration to the application for increase. I am accordingly to request you to arrange to submit for the consideration of the Minister a statement of the financial position of school in respect of the twelve months period ending 31st March 1947.

2.34The Department then spelled out the kind of information wanted:

The statement of the financial position of your school for the period mentioned (1/4/1946 to 31/3/1947) should show in detail the items of expenditure appropriate to your industrial school only under the various heads viz. food, clothing, footwear, fuel, medical expenses, dental treatment, salaries and wages, etc.

2.35It requested that the average yearly cost for these items ‘should be carefully calculated and shown in a separate document accompanying the statement’. The document added:

Where the cost of remuneration or maintenance of Religious members of the staff is part of the expenditure, any salary or other grant received by these members as Nat. Ins. Or any capitation grants paid to the school as a national school should be included as part of the school income.

2.36All schools did respond although not in the detail requested. Thirty seven reported a deficit per head per week for each child in the institution, and 10 institutions reported substantial debts or overdrafts. Two schools were noted as not having given particulars of the income from the farm. However, in the absence of the detailed information sought no increase was granted.

The request for accounts in 1951

2.37The pressure on the Congregations to provide detailed accounts was increased in 1951 when it was proposed to set up an interdepartmental committee with representatives from the Departments of Education, Finance and Social Welfare to inquire into the economic running of the schools. In the meantime, a significant increase of 5/- per week was granted. There was immediate opposition from the Resident Managers’ Association to the inquiry. The minutes of a special meeting of the Christian Brothers’ Resident Managers to discuss the move, held on 14th February 1951, noted:

It was decided after discussion that the offer of an increase of 5/- per head, per week should be accepted under protest as to its inadequacy.

It was agreed that the proposal of a special inspection by a Board of Inspectors from each of the Departments of Education, Finance and Social Welfare should be treated with extreme caution. It was not quite clear from the Department’s letter as to what was the function of this Inspection Board would be. It was feared that this might be an attempt to infringe upon the established rights of the Manager. It was obvious that the Department was desirous of an opportunity of examining the Financial Accounts of the institutions. After discussing the various difficulties that might arise it was decided that at the General Meeting the Brothers should neither accept or reject the proposal but should press that a further letter be sent to the Department asking that their Association should be supplied, in writing, under definite headings, with what the proposed inspection is going to entail and what its powers would be.

2.38The Resident Managers were reassured that the Board of Inspectors was only going to establish the right level of funding for the schools. The terms of reference were to inquire into the conditions and circumstances of the Industrial and Reformatory Schools under the control of the Department of Education and to make recommendations as to how they might be most efficiently and most economically conducted.

2.39The Resident Managers refused, however, to consent to the inspection as ‘the terms of reference to the inquiry were too wide, and include subjects which they do not consider relevant to the question at issue’. On 6th April 1951 the Secretary of the Association wrote to the Minister:

I have been directed by the Association to inform you that the members are strongly of the opinion that no useful purpose would be served by the holding of such an inquiry.

2.40Specifically they objected to the involvement of the Departments of Finance and Social Welfare, believing that it constituted an attempt to interfere with the way in which the schools were run. The Minister, Richard Mulcahy, tried to allay their fears, but the project was dropped in the face of continued strong opposition. A further increase of 6/- per week followed in 1952.

The request for accounts in 1954

2.41When a further application for additional money was made in 1954, the Department tried again to get each school to submit accounts. In a letter to every Resident Manager the Minister again requested that each certified school should furnish detailed statements of its income and expenditure for each of the years ended 31st December 1951, 1952, and 1953 together with ‘particulars of improvements carried out in those years and of further improvements contemplated’. As well as demanding details about expenditure on food, clothing etc it asked for details about the farm or garden, if the school had one. It stated, ‘the gross value of the food supplied to the school and the proceeds of any sales should be shown in the statement as well as the working total expenses. The value of the food should be calculated at market prices current at the time of supply’. It also asked for the statement to include gross income from trades and industrial activities.

2.42Unusually it also asked the Managers to furnish ‘a statement showing how far the requirements and suggestions of the Circular of the 19th March, 1952 have been complied with’. This circular, following the increase in the grant that year, asked for ‘all round improvements in the matter of diet, clothing and facilities for indoor and outdoor recreation’. The Department asked specifically for ‘Statements of Accounts (Receipts and Expenditure) for calendar years 1951, 1952 and 1953 showing in particular the amounts spent on food and clothing for those years’ and for statements ‘indicating improvements to accommodation e.g. new recreation hall, new domestic economy room etc.

2.43The Department, in short, was asking for proof that the extra money had been used in the way intended. The letter ended with a reassurance that the Department had no hidden motive for asking for such accounts:

I desire to say that the information now asked for is not in the nature of an audit, or strict investigation, of the accounts of any school. It is required solely to enable the Minister to form a correct opinion of the actual financial circumstances of the various schools so that he may be in a position to consider the application made for an increase in the rates of capitation grants for maintenance.

2.44Accounts were received from just nine schools. They were Drogheda, Loughrea, Upton, St Anne’s Kilmacud, Pembroke Alms Industrial School, New Ross, Waterford, Westport and Clonakilty.

2.45On 18th May 1955 the Resident Managers’ Association submitted accounts for ‘an unknown number of schools’. There was no record on file requesting these accounts. They were returned to the Association because ‘the Department was unwilling to accept these accounts in the format presented’. The Association then submitted accounts for 22 Industrial Schools. The Department no longer holds copies of these accounts and has no record of the 22 schools involved.

2.46Further attempts to get accounts were made in 1962, when the Resident Managers’ Association submitted accounts in respect of nine schools. The Department had chosen six representative schools for the exercise. The schools that submitted accounts were Artane, Upton, Letterfrack, Lakelands, Moate, St George’s Limerick, St Patrick’s Kilkenny, Drogheda and St Kyran’s Rathdrum. All nine schools showed excess expenditure over income. A major cause for this was the drop in numbers. For example, St Kyran’s wrote,‘

The fall in numbers is a big concern with us. There was some hope of keeping things going when we had between 120 and 110 on roll, but now we are nearly on the 70 line and still falling I see no hope of keeping the place going except financial aid is increased.

2.47Artane, which was certified to take in 830 boys, had just 430, only 367 of whom were committed by the State. An analysis of the nine accounts showed that the congregations were finding it hard to manage as numbers fell.

2.48Finally, in 1964 the Resident Managers’ Association presented the Department with a two-page document relating to the financial position of 21 schools. Most schools were shown to have excess expenditure over income.

2.49Unlike in the 1950s, when accounts requested by the Department were not forthcoming, as numbers fell and income dropped, the accounts became a valuable part of the case for an increase in the capitation grant.

2.50The figures can be represented in graph form as follows:

2.51The Department’s protracted struggle to get detailed accounts about each school reveals:

(1)The power of the Congregations to resist pressure from the Department. Within their institutions the Resident Managers had near absolute power and they defended their ‘established rights’ vigorously. Without their consent, the Department could not obtain what it wanted.

(2)The Department may have been sympathetic to the argument that the schools were under-funded but was aware that the situation differed across institutions. A fair decision on how much was needed to keep a child in a school depended not just on the cost of living but on the resources of the school. These resources remained a largely unknown quantity.

(3)The accounts that were submitted were not as detailed as the Department wanted. Details of other income, such as from the farms or trades, were not included until the 1960s.

(4)The capitation grant remained the only system of funding given consideration. Despite repeated efforts by the Department of Education to find out the different needs of each institution, it failed. Without knowing the different needs of children in different schools, it continued the system of paying the same amount for every child. The capitation grant remained the basic system until 1984.

The process for increases in the capitation grant

2.52The Department of Education determined the capitation grant rate for committed children, but any increases were subject to the consent of the Minister of Finance. The process would begin with submissions from the Resident Managers to the Education Department making a case for an increase in the grant. The Department would consider the submission and would then put a proposal to the Department of Finance. The two Departments would then consult and the Department of Finance would then come to a decision. It could refuse to sanction an increase, or sanction one, usually at a lower rate than the one sought by Education.

2.53The Department of Finance was often sceptical as to whether the Resident Managers’ Association or the Congregations had put the full picture before the Department of Education. The issue may not have been a refusal by the Department of Finance to provide sufficient funds: it may well have been the case that their calculations and deliberations led to its settling on a lesser sum as being sufficient.

Changes to the capitation grant system over the years

Changes to method of payment

1944 Reforms

2.54There was no increase between 1939 and 1944 in the amount of the grant, although the cost of living had risen significantly, which brought dissatisfaction with the grant scheme to a head and led to three financial reforms.3

2.55(i) The most important of these concerned the termination of the ‘certified number’ requirement which had applied to the Department, but not the local authority, contribution. How the system operated is explained in the following Departmental minute: (see also Cussen, para 157)

The practice of paying State Grant on an arbitrary number the ‘Certified Number’ in each School, and not on the number actually under detention or for which there was accommodation, in a school, began in the 1870s. State expenditure on Industrial schools became limited to a figure fixed by the Treasury from time to time. This system seems to have been originally intended to keep control over the number of committals generally and to regulate their distribution throughout the country and amongst the various competing communities and bodies.

2.56At Independence, the system appears to have been taken over and continued without question. The aggregate of the certificates then on issue to the Schools in the 26 counties (6,644) was fixed as the maximum. In the course of a redistribution of certificates in 1939, it transpired that only 6,563 were actually on issue at that date, and the maximum was reduced to that figure. This number was an issue in 1944.

2.57As a result of the certified number limitation system,4 the actual number of children under detention often exceeded the number chargeable to the State. However, in some cases schools refused to accept committals above the certified number. Instead, they accepted cases under the Public Assistance Acts which were not counted against them under the certified number. In any case, the certified number restriction was abolished by a Finance minute of 19th April 1944, which announced that capitation grant should be paid on all children committed to industrial schools up to the full number for which the schools had accommodation.

2.58(ii) Until 1939, in respect of a child under six only the local authority’s contribution (not that of the Department) was paid and the local authority paid only about two-thirds of the contribution of that for a child over six. The thinking was that children under six should be dealt with under the Poor Law. However, the social outlook changed at the beginning of the Twentieth century and children under six were committed to industrial schools in increasing numbers. These children were accepted, effectively at less than half cost, by the Schools partly out of charity and partly so as to have a reserve of children who could be put on the grant immediately they turned six. However, in 1939, the Department started to pay a contribution of two thirds of the amount paid for an over-six. And, as from the date of Department of Finance minute of 1944 mentioned in para (i), the full amounts were paid by both the Department and local authority, irrespective of age.

2.59(iii) The Department of Education submission state that, before-1944, the process for claiming the grants involved the Schools in furnishing a detailed account in respect of each child. After 1944, the State capitation grant for a full quarter was paid by the Department at the end of each quarter. This was based on the number of committed children under detention on the last day of the preceding quarter, after the Manager had submitted a list of the names and registered numbers of the children together with the name of the local authorities to which each child was chargeable.

Increases in the amount paid

2.60Capitation grants were increased from time to time by the Department over the relevant period.

2.61There was no increase in the capitation grant between April 1939 and July 1944. The rate was increased at two and three year intervals for the rest of the 1940s. It will be noted that there were significant increases in the (state and local authority) capitation grant from 19/- in 1946 to 27/- in 1951 in respect of Reformatory Schools and from 16/- to 24/- in respect of Industrial Schools. (The figures used here combine both the central and local government contributions.)

2.62A substantial increase was also provided in the period 1951 and 1968, when the combined rate for Reformatory Schools increased from 27/- to 85/- and from 24/- to 82/- in respect of Industrial Schools. Strikingly, the capitation grant was then doubled in the following year to reach approx 171/- for Reformatory Schools and 165/- for Industrial Schools.

2.63In the 1950s, there was a six-year gap between 1952 and 1958 when no increases were made and a further five-year interval between then and 1963. For the rest of that decade, increases occurred every one or two years. There was a three-year gap between 1969, when the grant was doubled, to 1972 when the grant was increased by a further £10.30 (roughly 200/-) in respect of Reformatory Schools and £9.90 (roughly 180/-) in respect of Industrial Schools. The figures in 1972 represent the changeover in currency. Thereafter in the 70s and 80s there were annual increases to meet cost of living increases and wage increases.

2.64When increases were granted, the Department generally sent a circular to say that it was the Minister’s expectation that improvements in the care, diet and maintenance would be made, so there was no suggestion that increases were just to maintain the status quo.

2.65Total expenditure out of public funds was:

Negotiations on capitation payments 1957 and 1969

2.66Two case studies outline the very different circumstances leading to the 1957 and 1969 increases. The earlier, 1957, negotiations were typical whereas the later increase was exceptional. The Minister for Education and some of his officials met with a deputation representing the Resident Managers’ Association. The deputation sought an increase of 40/- in the grant to a combined rate of £3.10 per head per week. They argued that, owing to cost of living increases, the standard of diet and clothing for the children entrusted to their care had fallen much below what was required and that the buildings and accommodation facilities were in need of renovation.

2.67The Department then wrote to the Department of Finance supporting the claim and requesting a minimum increase of £1 in the weekly capitation grant by the Department and in that of local authorities. This was estimated to involve extra State expenditure of £121,000 (on top of the existing figure of about £400,000) in a full year. Education admitted that there had been an approximate increase of only 1/6th in the cost of living during the period since the previous increase. However, the size of the suggested increase was supported by: the steady decline in the number of committals to the schools with no corresponding fall in overhead expenses; the increases in wages of employees in the preceding four years; the need for greater effort to brighten the lives of children; and the modernising of certain facilities in the schools. In January 1958, the Department of Finance sanctioned an increase of 15/- in the State capitation rate for Industrial and Reformatory Schools with a corresponding increase in the local authority contribution.

2.68By 1967, when another increase was sought, circumstances had changed. The religious Orders were described as ‘gravely dissatisfied’ with the last increase and it appears that threats had been made about closing all the schools. The Department believed that this was not such a remote possibility as might be thought and that it would, if it happened, constitute a ‘national disaster’ because the cost of maintaining children would at least be doubled; for in Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the cost was some three or four times the cost in Ireland. In those circumstances, the Department recommended that a substantial interim increase was warranted, even pending the outcome of the Kennedy Report, of 21/- per week. The Department of Finance’s response, in February 1968, was that the proposed increase was disproportionate and also untimely, while the system was being examined by Kennedy. Nevertheless, as an exceptional measure, Finance was agreeable to a 15/- increase.

2.69The Department of Education submitted:

Records of the Department of Finance which were discovered to the Commission indicate that in June 1969, the then Minister for Finance, Mr Charles Haughey, had met with a group known as the Friends of Industrial Schools and indicated that he would authorise a doubling of the capitation grant in respect of children in industrial schools. The Department of Finance subsequently notified the Department of Education of the Minister’s decision.. The Department of Education records also indicate that the then Taoiseach, Jack Lynch, inquired from the Department about the capitation grant prior to its doubling and was informed of its increase in letters from the Department respectively dated 19 September 1969 and 24 October 1969.

Themes in the negotiations

2.70Many of the same themes recurred in each of the negotiations between the 1940s and the 1970s. The Resident Managers emphasised the increasing cost of living and made comparisons with British and Northern Irish fees, and with prisons or private schools. As discussed above, the Department responded by asking for detailed accounts from the schools, justifying the request by the need to persuade the Department of Finance of the case for the increase.

2.71Through the 1950s further causes of strain on the schools’ finances were drawn to the Department’s attention. The major factors were the decline in the number of children, increases in wages of lay staff and the need for repair of premises that were often nearly a century old. The figures for all the schools were as follows.

Total capacity: 7,484
Residents: 5,227
Committed: 4,662
Others: 565
Percentage occupancy: 70%

2.72At least as early as September 1955, the Department of Finance raised the reasonable suggestion of closing one-third of the schools in order to allow the remaining schools to operate at full capacity and become financially viable.

2.73The minutes of a meeting on 20th November 1955 between the Minister for Education with his officials and five representatives of the schools stated:

The Secretary said ‘that Ireland was very fortunate to have religious communities in charge of these schools’. He wondered whether a partial solution would be for some of the schools to be closed. From a social point of view, he said, the falling number was a very good thing….

2.74Two years later, however, in a letter to the Department dated 18th June 1957, the Managers’ Association wrote:

The Managers have had a desperate struggle to keep the Schools open but they cannot be expected to accept children unless sufficient funds are made available.

2.75It is against this historical background that the question of the adequacy of the State funding of the institutions has to be approached.

Department of Education’s attitude to level of funding

2.76The Department of Education, in its detailed submissions to the Committee, accepted that the schools were badly funded by the State. The Department’s position down through the years was generally sympathetic to the pleas of the institutions through the Resident Managers’ Association for increases in the capitation grant. The situation in the 1960s brought matters to a head. Numbers were falling dramatically and with that income was dropping.

2.77An internal Departmental memorandum dated 5th June 1963 outlined the situation:

The pressure for an increase in grants arises mainly from the falling numbers and chiefly from the senior boys schools. In all the convent schools I have visited it appears that they would be quite satisfied with the rate of grant provided that the schools were kept nearly full, but many of the schools are less than half full. With many of their overheads fixed the institutions would be uneconomic but in many of the convent industrial schools the deficit is obviously met by the surpluses on national and post-primary schools run in conjunction with the industrial schools, the whole being run as one institution. None of the senior boys schools has any other grant-winning institution attached and they find themselves therefore unable to compensate for the falling numbers and increased grants are therefore necessary in their cases.

2.78This same memo pointed out that ‘the element if any for the maintenance and improvement of buildings was too small’. The buildings were old and in need of repair and modernisation, and the Department had begun to pay a contribution to help the Orders carry out necessary work.

2.79The dwindling funds caused by falling numbers worsened because of the failure to rationalise the system and close most of the schools as was suggested as early as 1955 by the Department of Finance. A letter dated December 1964 to the Department of Finance backed the Resident Managers and asked for more funds rather than school closures:

We are satisfied that the present grants are insufficient to meet the current expenditure of the schools and very many of them, if not the vast majority, can subsist only by meeting the continuing deficits from income from other activities of the communities or by charitable donations or by accumulating debt, the last mentioned occurring even in schools conducted by nuns who are noted for prudent management.

Further expenditure in the schools is confined to bare necessities as their incomes will not allow of any of the many improvements deemed necessary by this Department…

It should also be borne in mind that the school premises have all been provided free of cost to the State and in the matter of structural improvements or repairs they qualify for State aid on the day-school portion of the premises only. It had been claimed in the past that the capitation grants contained some unspecified element in respect of buildings maintenance but such, in fact, was not the case.

These institutions have been treated so parsimoniously by the State that there is now grave danger that the goodwill of the religious orders concerned will be lost and it is unnecessary to indicate the enormous extra cost which will be involved were they to give up the work and be replaced by lay staff.

2.80The letter ended:

In all these circumstances the Minister is satisfied that an increase of £1 a week in the capitation is less than that warranted but is the minimum that can reasonably be offered and it is suggested that the entire cost, estimated not to exceed £155,000 should be borne on the exchequer.

2.81In the period 1961-62 to 1967-68, there was a decrease by 12% in the overall funding of Industrial Schools from £436,278 to £385,812 but the fall in committals was 45.65%. Funding on Reformatory Schools for the same seven-year period increased 16% from £25,975 to £30,144 with a 19% drop in committals from 177 to 144.

2.82By contrast the two-year period from 1968-69 to 1969-70 was a period of uncharacteristic generosity. The combined figures for the Industrial and Reformatory Schools show an increase of 28%, funding rising from £411,059 to £527,7731. Even so, the Kennedy Report in 1971 found the schools under-funded.

Adequacy of funding

Submissions of Congregations

2.83The funding of Industrial Schools and Reformatories was raised in most of the submissions from Congregations.

2.84In the Opening Submission to the Artane module, the Christian Brothers stated :

The level of grant aid was a constant topic of discussion between the Resident Managers Association and the Department of Education, the former continually insisting that the grants paid were seriously inadequate.

2.85The Congregation went on:

The validity of the position held by the Resident Managers is strongly supported by the findings of the Kennedy Committee and by comparison with the levels of grant paid to similar institutions (Approved Schools) in neighbouring jurisdictions.

2.86The Submission then went on to compare the cost to the State of a residential school in Northern Ireland with Artane and concluded that when salaries and other costs were taken into account, the school in Northern Ireland was in receipt of considerably more funding than its counterpart in the South. In particular, the Congregation compared the stipend paid to all the Brothers in Artane with salaries paid in Northern Ireland and found the southern payment to be considerably less.

2.87Artane was a large well-appointed institution with many advantages including a large and productive farm. Letterfrack, on the other hand, was a considerably smaller institution and although it had a very large farm (amounting to some 827 acres), it was not good farming land and was very labour-intensive.

2.88In the opening statement to the Letterfrack module, the Christian Brothers addressed the issue of funding and again made comparisons with Northern Ireland in order to ground a contention that funding was inadequate. The submission stated that Letterfrack was only able to survive because of the produce of the farm, which provided food for the school and also generated some additional income.

2.89No special case of under-funding was made for Letterfrack although the much smaller numbers, particularly after 1954, were a cause of considerable hardship to the boys there.

2.90The submission for Tralee adopted a more instructive approach. Although it did make comparisons with UK residential schools, it also set out wages paid to workers in the school for 1945, 1952 and 1962 and compared the stipend paid to all Brothers in the school with those wages. This is explored in more detail below.

2.91Carriglea Park made the same submission in relation to adequacy of capitation as the other Christian Brothers’ schools and, like them, cited the Kennedy Report as support for their position. This school closed in 1954 and, according to the opening statement:

A surplus of £25,225 was generated between 1940 and 1954. A number of factors contributed to this surplus, a major one being the age of the building. It was built in 1893 and was not in need of major renovation while the school remained open…….The number of boys in the school was a viable one once it reached its promised certified number of 250 but it was the rises in maintenance grants in 1947 and 1948 that finally brought the accounts out of an annual deficit situation.

2.92This did not appear to be an adequate explanation for the surplus money in this institution at its closure and indicated a significant level of funding until 1954.

2.93Other Congregations made submissions on the question of funding.

2.94In their opening statement, the Oblates compared the cost of caring for a child in a residential institution today with the money paid to the Oblates for doing this job. They adjusted these figures for inflation and concluded that, by current standards, it would have cost the State £10,060 to keep one boy in Daingean in 1950. The Oblates received £52 for keeping each boy there. Much of their submission was based on valuing the work done by the Order for the benefit of the school and this is dealt with fully below.

2.95The Sisters of Mercy made a submission on the issue of funding in its opening statement for Goldenbridge. They stated:

From the interview with the former Resident Manager and from the limited records available it is clear that there was a constant struggle to provide even a basic standard of living for the children within the limits of the funding provided to Goldenbridge right through until the 1970s….

2.96The Sisters set out what they understood the capitation grant was intended to cover:

The capitation fees……were expected to cover wages and salaries for an average of eight or nine staff, and other overheads such as food and clothing, fuel and light, insurance, repairs to the buildings, purchase and replacement of furniture, recreation expenses, hardware and all the usual household appliances.

2.97Although they did not specifically refer to capital expenses, it would appear from this opening submission that the Sisters did not expect the capitation grant to cover capital costs.

2.98The Sisters related the expenses of Goldenbridge to ordinary household expenses at the time, which they submitted as being a valid comparator:

Where annual accounts are available they show that overheads alone accounted for around 60% of the total funding received, leaving just around 40% …for food, clothes, Medical care and recreational activities. The 1940s, 1950s and the 1960s were difficult times for every household in Ireland struggling to make ends meet on limited incomes and it was no different for the Resident Manager of Goldenbridge. Difficult decisions had to be made on competing needs.

2.99In relation to Newtownforbes, which was a relatively small school with a maximum of 145 children and often with numbers that fell well below that, the Sisters simply asserted:

The financial records of Newtownforbes have been made available to the Commission and they indicate that the finances of the industrial school operated within a range of plus or minus 5% of the capitation budget.

2.100The Sisters of Charity ran two schools that were the subjects of detailed analysis by the Investigation Committee. The Sisters appeared to have a clearer idea of what the capitation grant was intended to cover than other Congregations. In their submission on St Joseph’s Kilkenny they stated:

It appears that in the earlier years there was no Capital funding provided by the Department for Capital development.

2.101The submission continued:

Funding was provided from central funds by the Superior General in Dublin.

2.102The Sisters quoted a letter from the Department of Education to the Department of Health dated 8th May 1978:

The provision of buildings was the orders’ contribution…the capitation grant was regarded as containing an element in respect of the maintenance of buildings.

2.103The lack of financial support did not deter the Sisters from large-scale capital developments throughout the 1950s and 1960s, which were largely funded through fund-raising activities and through contributions from the Convent. Much of this development consisted of the purchase of property for the development of group homes and these houses remained the property of the Congregation.

2.104In general, all the opening statements that referred to finance submitted that there was a significant lack of funding by the State and this impacted upon the level of care for the children and specifically in the provision of material necessities and comforts.

2.105There were, however, questions that remained unanswered. There were indications from documents, particularly the Visitation Reports of the Christian Brothers, that the financial position of some schools was good with substantial surpluses in some cases. There was also documentation from the Department of Finance that indicated scepticism about the pleas for funding supported by the Department of Education.

2.106On the other hand, Inspection Reports contained references to children being poorly fed and poorly clothed and complainants were consistent in their allegations about inadequate food, clothing and accommodation in most of the institutions investigated.

2.107The documentation furnished by the Christian Brothers gave rise to questions on the issue of funding. In fairness it must be emphasised that the Christian Brothers kept better records than other Congregations and also operated a system of internal inspection which revealed details that were not disclosed in other Congregations’ discoveries. For example, the Visitation Reports for Artane contained the following references to finance:

(1)In 1934, the Visitor noted ‘The financial condition of this House is strong’. He also recorded: ‘In 1934 the deduction from the school income for the services of the Brothers was £3,920’. The Brothers made a contribution of £2,000 towards the cost of building St Joseph’s Missionary College in Marino.

(2)In 1937, the income for Artane was £29,000 and the expenditure was £31,000. There was a sum of £10,000 in the bank left ‘for the building of new schools’ and there were credit balances in both the Brothers and school accounts. The Superior gave a loan of £6,000 towards the building of the noviciate as well as a subscription of £1,000. Visitation dues and subscriptions towards central funds totalled £1,200.

(3)In 1938 a farm of 49 acres was purchased by the school for £1,600.

(4)In 1939 the visitation report stated ‘the financial state of the school and house is sound’. At that point there was a total expenditure of £33,600 and the total income of £28,700 but the Visitation Report noted that much of the deficit was capital expenditure. The salaries to the Brothers amounted to £2,260 or £133 per Brother which would have been as much as a national school teacher at that time5.

The total number of employees amounted to 60 and their salaries for the year totalled £9,000 which averaged out to about £132 per employee per year.

(5)1940 saw the income for the school total £32,500 and £3,300 had to be drawn from the reserve fund to meet the current expenses ‘owing to the laying in of large stocks’. The farm expenses in that year were recorded as being £3,460. The Visitation Report stated: ‘during the past 6 years Artane has invested in the building fund £16,500’.

(6)The 1942 Visitation Report was extremely optimistic about the financial position of the Institution, it stated:

The financial position is remarkably strong. The community account has a credit at the bank of £6,990 and the school account has a credit of £3,568. The total receipts of the establishment last year amounted to £32,240 and the expenditure was £29,733. The amount advanced from the funds as stipends for the community was £4,280. The Community income from all sources was £6,001. All the trades with the exception of that of the tin-smiths showed a profit. There was a net profit on the farm of £1,774 and on the mill and bakery of £2,346.

The house-to-house collection made in the city and suburbs came in at about £500 annually and the Superior suggested that this collection be discontinued.

£500 was a substantial sum in 1942 and it was a indication of a level of comfort with the funding that it was considered that it could be dispensed with.

(7)In 1943, the Visitation Report stated: ‘During 1943, the school bought 32 acres of land at Belcamp for £2,625’.

(8)In 1944 the net amount in the building fund for the institution was almost £20,000. In 1945 this figure had increased to a net balance in the building fund of £29,500.

(9)In 1951 the Visitation Report stated that, ‘the financial condition of Artane is not too sound and it does not appear to be improving’. The excess expenditure over income in the school was £8,306 between the years 1949 and 1951. This was due to capital expenditure on a sanitary block and on a play hall and it still left a credit balance in the building fund of £6,728.

(10)The Visitation Report of 1954 recorded that the financial position for Artane at the end of 1953 was fairly satisfactory. The school account showed a surplus income of £974 and the house account surplus was almost £2,000. The credit balance at the end of 1953 was nearly £3,000 higher than that at the end of 1952.

(11)The Visitation Report for 1955 stated :

The Financial position of this establishment is very satisfactory at the present time…..On both accounts there was a Credit Balance at the end of the year of £36,203, to carry on to the 1955 accounts. There is a sum of £30,000 invested in the Building Fund and, strange to say, taking this investment into account, there is due to the Building Fund a sum of £8800.

This figure appears to have been the repayment to the fund of money advanced for the sanitation block and other capital expenses and was repaid the following year: ‘There is no debt on the establishment. The total credit to the Community in the Provincial fund is now £36,000.’

(12)A comprehensive survey of the financial position of Artane was conducted in the Visitation Report of 1957 and 1958. By that time the number of boys had decreased significantly to 526 and it was seen that the staff of 68 to look after this number of boys was completely out of proportion:

The wages bill for the 40 employees amounted to over £13,000 per annum which would be 25% approximately of the grants received from the industrial schools branch and the various county councils. If £300 per Brother were allowed it would mean that almost 45% of the grants given for the support of the boys would go in upkeep for the staff. In addition there were up to 168 boys employed without payment in various activities.

The Visitation Report recommended that it was time to set up some sort of a committee of experienced Brothers to examine the whole situation. The Visitor did not think that Artane should be closed down: ‘it is the only school of its kind in the whole of Leinster’. In spite of the reduced grants and the rather wasteful manner in which the place is run at the time of visitation, Artane had £45,000 in the building fund and approximately £17,000 in the bank. The latter large figure was caused by the arrival shortly before hand of the major grants.

(13)In 1962 the Visitor remarked:

even though the numbers have fallen considerably your financial position is still strong. Most of the departments of Artane are self supporting but from the annual accounts it would seem that the farm could pay much better. With 300 of the best land of North County Dublin there should be a very substantial return for the year.

(14)After 1962, sales of land increased the credit balances in the house accounts and made it difficult to establish what had derived from the school and what had derived from sales.

2.108What emerged from these references was that Artane was a large contributor to the Christian Brother’s Congregation in Ireland. The Visitation Reports indicate that most of the money for these contributions came from the house accounts that were funded almost exclusively by salaries paid to Brothers. Given that Brothers had almost no living expenses because these were covered by the school, the money paid in salary went in large part to the development of the Congregation. There was clearly a greater surplus of funds during periods of high occupancy in the 1940s and into the 1950s.

2.109The school appeared to have adequate funds to function and to allow for substantial payments to the Congregation.

2.110Other Christian Brothers’ institutions had similar references in their Visitation Reports.

2.111In Glin, the Visitor referred to the purchase by the school of farm land in 1938 and stated:

The finances of the Establishment were able to meet this outlay on land which is necessary for the production of food for the School and training for the boys.

2.112In 1941, the Visitor remarked:

Financially the Institution is sound, and if the numbers keep up to the present average all will be well.

2.113The Reports show a credit balance for most of the 1950s in Glin but, as in Artane, falling numbers made the situation more difficult going in to the 1960s. A figure of £7,000 was recorded in the building fund for most of the 1950s and 1960s.

2.114Carriglea also had references to the sound state of its finances. In 1936, the Visitor stated: ‘the Institution is in a sound state financially’. In 1937, the bursar was instructed that ‘The salaries of the Brothers should be debited against the school just as are the salaries of other officers of the Institution’.

2.115Visitation Reports throughout the 1940s criticised the lack of proper book-keeping in Carriglea, although such figures as could be extracted indicated that the school was making a surplus for most of the years it operated. In 1951, it was again described as appearing to be ‘in a sound financial position’.

2.116In 1953 the Visitor remarked:

With almost £11,000 to its credit in the Bank and £4000 in the Building Fund, the financial position of the establishment is satisfactory. By some judicious method this £11,000 should be transferred to the Building Fund. To transfer it all by one cheque might not be desirable, as the Government – and possibly other parties also – seem to be anxious to probe into the financial position of industrial schools.

2.117In 1954, the Visitor stated:

The finances of this institution….are in a very sound condition. There is a sum of £16,000 invested in the Building Fund….

2.118There was little in the Visitation Reports of Carriglea to indicate an institution struggling to survive financially.

2.119In 1954, the numbers in Letterfrack were reduced substantially in order to restrict that Institution to boys convicted of criminal offences. Prior to 1954, it was not a very large school with numbers ranging from 130 to 170. In 1954, the Superior observed:

Financially you are solvent but it is evident that there is not a whole lot of money to spare when one considers the need for expenditure.

2.120In 1955 however, the Visitor stated:

The finances for the year 1954 are remarkably satisfactory. The total credit balance rose from £3117 14.5 to £3573.0.1. There was a surplus income in the school a/c of £914.7.4 in spite of an abnormal purchase of a car for £521.

2.121By 1956, the situation had deteriorated, but even then the Visitor sounded a note of optimism: ‘With growing numbers his [the Manager’s] position is gradually though slowly improving.’

2.122In 1960, the Visitor remarked:

The financial position of the establishment is not too sound but if the numbers can be maintained about their present level [110] the place could carry on.

2.123That forecast proved correct. In 1962 the Visitor observed:

One wonders why the financial position of this house is not bad considering all the repairs and renovations which have been carried out during the past four years. If the various County Councils pay up their portion of the contribution due, the house should be solvent at the end of the year.

2.124The financial situation was described as ‘sound’ in 1962 and ‘by no means bad’ in 1964. By 1972, the Visitor could state:

Both house and school are in good financial condition. On December 30 1972, there was a balance of 12,000 pounds in the house accounts and of 15,000 pounds in the school account.

2.125Letterfrack closed the following year.

2.126These extracts from the Congregations’ Visitors do not indicate a chronic shortage of funds in Letterfrack. The shortage that was encountered by the reduction in numbers appears to have been quickly made up. Letterfrack, like all Industrial Schools, was largely dependent on the capitation allowance and it appears that even at a time of reduced numbers, this was sufficient to generate a substantial surplus by 1972.

2.127In 1940, the Visitor to Tralee Industrial School made the following observation arising out of the separation of the Industrial School, St Joseph’s, from the larger Community of Brothers who lived in the adjoining monastery of St Mary’s:

The only debt on the establishment is the sum of £600 due to St Mary’s Tralee. At the time the two Communities were separated it was arranged that St Joseph’s should contribute to St Mary’s £600 annually to help towards liquidating the debt on the new secondary school. This sum has been paid regularly up to 1938 but has not been paid for the year 1939.

2.128In 1938, the total school grants to St Joseph’s amounted to £2,616 and £600 was a substantial portion of that. St Mary’s Secondary school was a completely separate institution and none of the boys from St Joseph’s attended it.

2.129By 1941, the Visitor could state that although the school had operated at a deficit for that year:

As the school has now a full enrolment, its income for the year will be at least £1000 higher than it was for last year. Hence the establishment is financially sound.

2.130Throughout the 1940s, the school operated at a deficit although it did engage in considerable improvements during that time including the construction of a new chapel.

2.131In 1953, the school acquired extra farm land for £3,000, which would appear to have been paid for out of the school funds. For most of the 1950s, the school account showed a debit balance whilst the house accounts showed a credit balance. In the latter part of the 1960s, the school began showing a surplus and by 1969 the Visitor described the finances as ‘very sound’.

2.132Tralee was a small industrial school by Christian Brothers’ standards with a population of just over 100 during the 1950s. It had a small farm of no more than 60 acres and the school struggled to break even. The house, which received its income from stipends paid to the Brothers, had a steady surplus throughout the period and by 1966, there was £8,000 invested in the building fund.

2.133Tralee illustrated the impact of low numbers and a small farm on the ability of a school to remain solvent.

2.134These extracts from Visitation Reports are selective and out of context and are not intended to establish the particular facts about finance in the schools but rather to demonstrate the complexity of the issue and the background to the brief to Mazars.

Building fund

2.135Details of the building fund were furnished by the Christian Brothers between July 2007 and February 2008.

2.136The Congregation stated

The Building Fund consisted of monies which were forwarded to the Provincial Councils by communities for use in refurbishing existing schools and building new schools. A Community submitted excess funds to the Building Fund, which funds could be called on for refurbishments and/or erections of new buildings.

2.137The Congregation was not in a position to say how much money in total was paid in to the building fund by their Industrial Schools but the accounts furnished show that Artane was consistently one of the largest contributors. Visitation Reports show payments into this fund by all the Industrial Schools at some point. There was also some evidence of payments out of this fund by way of loans to the schools but these were relatively small sums and were generally concentrated in the period immediately prior to the closure of the institution as an Industrial School. For example in 1963, when numbers in Artane had fallen substantially, a large sum of money was spent building a swimming pool. In Carriglea, after the decision was made to close down the Industrial School and use it as a Juniorate for the Order, large-scale refurbishments of dormitories occurred.

2.138All of these issues outlined above, although not specifically adverted to in the Mazars’ report, formed part of the documentation used by Mazars to analyse the question of capitation funding. They gave rise to a degree of unease on the part of the Committee regarding the true state of the finances of some of the Industrial Schools.

2.139In addition, the opening statements of the Congregations raised a number of queries:

  • Were Northern Ireland or UK costs valid comparators?
  • Could the comments of Justice Eileen Kennedy, written in 1970 when the numbers had fallen dramatically, apply to the 1936–66 period of high occupancy?
  • Was the capitation grant adequate to meet the basic needs of the children in care?

2.140The submission of the Congregations that Irish schools received considerably less funding than their UK or Northern Irish counterparts was obviously correct. However, this did not necessarily mean that Irish schools received so little funding that they were unable to provide a basic standard of care. The system in neighbouring jurisdictions was fundamentally different in that they had phased out large institutional homes in favour of group homes from the 1920s and this inevitably led to a move towards a budgetary system. A capitation system depended on large numbers of children being committed, a budgetary system did not. It was because the capitation system had encouraged Managers to keep large numbers of children that it was phased out in England and abolished there in 1933 and in Northern Ireland in 1950.

2.141The Managers of schools in Ireland had to be aware of these developments in the UK and yet, as was pointed out in the historical introduction to this chapter, in all of the submissions for increased payments made to the Department, there was no suggestion that the system itself should be changed.

2.142The capitation system had advantages for both the State and the religious Congregations. The religious communities gained by undertaking the work of caring for poor and disadvantaged children as part of their charism. They could ensure a Catholic upbringing for children in need of care while educating them.

2.143The State, by supporting them in the charitable work by paying maintenance for the children, gained an inexpensive pool of care workers without the expense of paying salaries and providing buildings.

2.144However, the capitation system required schools to run at full capacity to be economical, so changes to this system were not undertaken because of the financial implications. It led to more children being kept in the institution than was necessary because their presence served the needs of the bodies in whose care they had been placed.

The terms of reference for Mazars

  • Mazars was asked to look at the adequacy of the funding provided by the State to establish whether this sum was adequate to provide basic care for the children in residential institutions.
  • Mazars was asked to examine the accounts of four sample institutions to see how the capitation grant was used and to identify what the overall financial impact the schools had on the Congregations that ran them.

2.145The method adopted by Mazars was to produce a draft report in the first instance, which was sent to the Congregations responsible for the four institutions. These Congregations were invited to make submissions on the general issue dealt with in Part I and Part II of the Mazars’ report as well as the issues specific to their institutions at Part III. They submitted responses that Mazars took into account in producing their revised report.

2.146This section contains the Mazars’ revised report, incorporating some subsequent corrections and amendments, and the submissions made by the Congregations.6 It has to be remembered that the submissions were made in respect of an earlier version of Mazars’ report and so there are some references in the responding submissions that do not relate to the revised report because they have already been taken into account. The main points of difference and argument are however reflected in the revised report and the various submissions.

Adequacy of capitation

2.147Chapter 4 of the Mazars’ report dealt with the adequacy of the capitation grant and summarised its approach as follows:

Adequacy in our opinion is most appropriately considered in a context that is contemporaneous and which agrees to the norms of the society at that time. In our work we have sought to compare the capitation grant to available contemporary Irish data. Adequacy is also properly assessed against the background of purpose. In the case of the Reformatory and Industrial schools, the purpose of the capitation grant is, in our view, contained in the guiding legislation.7

2.148Mazars began their analysis by identifying what the capitation grant was expected to cover. Because the schools were the private property of the religious owners, they submitted that the grant was not intended to cover capital acquisitions or capital improvements beyond day-to-day maintenance. This was not always understood by Managers:

From the information available to us we understand that the capitation funds were in practice applied to any expenses deemed by the managers of the institutions to relate broadly to the running of the institution8.

2.149Mazars observed that it was both inevitable and appropriate that in the ‘community’ nature of the whole enterprise, school and house (ie Congregation) expenses would be interrelated. Nevertheless they deemed it important to identify what was intended to be covered:

it appears reasonable to conclude that the intention in the Act9 is for the capitation funding to apply specifically to the lodging, clothing, feeding and education of the resident children.10

2.150Mazars used the Cussen Report as a point of departure and concluded:

in the view of the Cussen Commission, the funding to the schools was adequate if supplemented with a grant towards teaching costs – provision for which was made early in the period under review11

2.151Cussen also suggested bringing the local authority contribution in line with the Department of Education payment and this was also done.

2.152Chapter 4 of the report looked at the rate of capitation increase against inflation and concluded that ‘annual inflation exceeded changes in the capitation grant by 15 percent on average’ between 1939 and 1957. Between 1957 and 1969 ‘the annual capitation changes exceeded inflation by 58 percent on average’.12

2.153As pointed out above, other factors such as the payment of capitation to the under-sixes; the accommodation limit being used as the basis for payment; and the introduction of the National School grant, all increased the actual income to the schools without an increase in the capitation allowance during the 1940s and therefore a simple comparison of capitation and inflation does not give the full picture.

2.154Having compared the capitation rates and economic conditions and the cost of living, Mazars concluded:

Taking the review period in its entirety, the funding per head to schools did not decline in real/purchasing power terms as changes in the capitation grant more than match movements in the general price level.13

2.155The chapter then addressed the issue of adequacy of funding, which it approached from two points of view

  • adequacy in accordance with the 1908 Act;
  • adequacy in comparison with other frameworks of reference suggested.

2.156For the first, they used benchmarks that identified the cost of maintaining a child as opposed to maintaining an institution and used:

  • average household income per head;
  • unemployment benefit.

2.157Specifically, Mazars did not accept the comparisons used by the Christian Brothers in some of their submissions, which sought to compare the costs of a residential institution in Ireland with one in the North or UK because of the different economic and social circumstances and because the capitation system had been abolished in the UK in the 1920s and had been replaced with a block grant system that was not dependent on large numbers of children being committed. It did, however, note that the rate of increase in the two jurisdictions was largely in tandem.

2.158Mazars also believed it was invalid to apply modern childcare standards retrospectively as suggested by the Oblates in their opening statement.

2.159Under the household income per head analysis, Mazars concluded:

on average, the industrial school capitation grant was 88 percent of household income per head.14

2.160When compared with unemployment benefit, Mazars concluded:

For the 30-year period, the industrial school capitation grant was on average 122 percent of unemployment benefit payments. Therefore, it is reasonable to conclude that the capitation payments were sufficient to support a child as they exceed what was expected to support an adult male.15

2.161Mazars used the Central Statistics Office’s household budget survey covering the 1939–69 period to ascertain expenditure on child maintenance and concluded:

This analysis suggests that the weekly capitation was appropriate for its intended purpose as weekly capitation exceeded expenditure incurred per child by a typical household.16

2.162Mazars also noted that the analysis demonstrated economies of scale associated with child maintenance.

As the numbers of children in a household increase two things happen: (a) the incremental or marginal cost of that additional child is less than the incremental cost of the maintaining previous child; and (b) this serves to drag the average maintenance cost per child downwards. Unfortunately we do not have data to measure the economies of scale likely to arise in a Reformatory or Industrial School situation.17

2.163Mazars concluded that the capitation grant was sufficient to feed, clothe and accommodate the children in Industrial Schools to a basic but adequate level – no child should have been hungry, cold or neglected.

2.164For many institutions other important factors came in to play. This was particularly true in the case of the larger boys’ schools where farming was a significant benefit to the running costs of the schools. Large farms in schools like Artane, Letterfrack and Daingean were worked on by the boys and allowed these schools to be almost self-sufficient in terms of food and even generated extra income through selling produce.

2.165In addition, it was a consistent complaint even in contemporary documents that industrial training was used as a means of providing for the needs of the institution rather than the needs of the children. The impact of this varied from school to school and as between boys’ and girls’ schools.

2.166Clothing, footwear, food, cooking and property maintenance were provided to the institution by the industrial training provided to the boys.

2.167Clothing, cleaning, cooking and childcare were provided to the school by the industrial training offered to the girls.

2.168In some Sister of Mercy schools such as Goldenbridge, rosary bead making and other industries provided a considerable extra income to the school.

2.169There was evidence from complainants of baking and laundry facilities being made available to the public for profit.

2.170Not all schools had these additional factors but some did. At the very least it might be expected that in schools that had extra resources, the capitation grant would be seen to go further and provide a better standard of care for some children. There was little evidence that this occurred and indeed some of the best physical care was given by schools such as St Joseph’s Kilkenny, which had almost no farming and no outside source of income.

2.171Another significant factor identified by Mazars was the economies of scale that applied to the larger institutions. The Orders argued that the institutions’ fixed costs remained static irrespective of how many children were there. This fact, which was used to ground an application for increased funding when numbers began falling, was also true in reverse. Large institutions should have had the benefit of savings when in periods of full occupancy and yet the evidence pointed to greater deprivations during those periods.

2.172Mazars’ findings were contrary to the assertions of the Congregations and the Department of Education. The Commission invited submissions from the four Congregations that were the subject of the accounts analysis in the third part of the Mazars’ report and from the Departments of Education and Science and Finance.

Response of the Christian Brothers

2.173The submission by the Christian Brothers in response to Mazars was dismissive and critical of the Mazars’ approach in relation to adequacy of the capitation grant. This document exhibited a defensive approach by this Congregation to the investigation by the Committee. Instead of seriously analysing the funding issue and acknowledging the validity of the questions raised, the response sought to achieve by vehemence what it ought to be striving to do by way of analysis.

2.174Mazars was asked to look at the capitation paid to ascertain whether it was enough to do the job intended. Mazars was not asked whether the system was cheaper or more expensive than that operated elsewhere. They were asked simply to analyse whether the money paid for the maintenance of the children was sufficient to do that. Mazars used comparators that were contemporaneous and directly relevant to the costs of childcare at that time.

2.175Their analysis showed that when compared with costs in Ireland at the time, the capitation grant was adequate to care for the children to a reasonable standard. Other factors such as economies of scale, farming produce, contribution from trades and income from trades could be factored in, depending on the individual school, and these would also impact on the resources available to care for the children.

2.176The Congregation did not respond to this analysis but simply dismissed the basis for it and insisted that the only valid comparator was the one they set out in their opening statements, that of a school in Northern Ireland or in the UK.

2.177The Congregation criticised Mazars for failing to take note of the findings of the Kennedy Commission (1970), the Tuairim report (1966), and the Department of Education submission to this Committee. All submitted that the funding to Industrial Schools was inadequate. However, both of these reports were written at a time when numbers had fallen so dramatically that the system of funding, based on capitation, was under pressure. Even at this time, the payment per child was reasonable but the costs of keeping the institutions open for smaller numbers was becoming more burdensome and was taking an increasing amount out of the maintenance grant. The Department of Education acknowledged to the Committee that they had not conducted any investigation into the rates of capitation but had simply relied on the Kennedy and Tuairim reports and on the correspondence with the Resident Managers’ Association through the years.

2.178The question Mazars was asked to investigate was whether the capitation was adequate throughout the relevant period including periods of high occupancy.

The Sisters of Mercy response

2.179Some issues arose in relation to the Sisters of Mercy and Goldenbridge that also gave rise to questions on finance.

2.180The Sisters of Mercy ran a lucrative bead-making industry in respect of which no accounts appeared to have survived. Inquiries by the Committee indicated that this activity brought in at least £50 per week.

2.181In 1952, which was a time when the Resident Managers were demanding substantial increases in capitation allowances, the Sisters bought a large house in Rathdrum, County Wicklow, with this money, which they used as a summer house for the children for a couple of weeks every August. There was no record of any other Sisters of Mercy schools using Rathdrum and there is no evidence as to what it was used for during the other 11 months of the year. Such a purchase was not consistent with an institution struggling to survive.

The Sisters’ response also dismissed the comparators used by Mazars on the basis that they failed to take into account the nature of the costs implicit in running an institution. It insisted that the only valid comparator was with a UK institution but, like the Christian Brothers’ submission, did not advert to the differences between the two systems.

The Rosminian response

2.182The Rosminians also disputed the comparators used because of the inherent expenses in running an institution that were not reflected in ordinary household accounts. They stated:

In any event, and critically, the schools were dealing with a situation which required remedial and restorative standards of care. This cannot be done on a tight budget, never mind a persistent deficit.

2.183The allegations made against institutions – including Ferryhouse and Upton – were that basic care was not provided. The Commission accepts that high levels of individual care were not possible because of the lack of funds, but was concerned to establish to what extent serious neglect could be excused.

2.184The Rosminians stated that their schools barely survived and that that would indicate either gross mismanagement by the Order, or underfunding by the State. All the evidence, they maintained pointed to the latter.

The Oblates of Mary Immaculate response

2.185The Oblate response to the Mazars report was also defensive. The Oblates saw the Mazars’ report as an attempt to illustrate that the Order had profited from their involvement in Daingean and set about dismissing that proposition. They did not see that Mazars was engaged in a much simpler task. Their response set out the arguments for using UK schools as a benchmark for assessing the adequacy of the grant and they also engaged in a detailed exercise of looking at the costs of childcare in institutions today and adjusting these costs for inflation.

2.186In relation to the ‘benchmarks’ used, they reiterated the point made by the other three submissions that

Comparisons with the value of average family incomes, welfare benefits paid to families or family spending are unlikely to give a useful measure of the cost to the Oblates of running a residential institution.

2.187Whilst this is true to a certain extent, the comparators used by Mazars are valid in assessing whether funding was adequate to provide basic physical care such as food, clothing and accommodation.

Conclusion

2.188The Mazars report raises doubts about the generally accepted proposition that funding for the residential schools was so inadequate that children suffered neglect and deprivation.

2.189There were variables that had a considerable effect on the ability of schools to provide an adequate standard of care. These include:

  • The size of the school. Mazars calculated a break-even number in respect of the four schools. This would indicate that where numbers fell below a critical figure, which varied as between the schools, a school would have been under financial pressure.
  • Economies of scale were a significant factor in large schools.
  • The ‘one size fits all’ approach by the Resident Managers failed to address the genuine needs of some of the smaller institutions.
  • The existence of a farm that could provide food and fuel to the institution.
  • Schools with an internal national school received a national school grant in addition to the capitation grant. This grant was also based on capitation and was therefore more valuable to larger schools.
  • Many schools used industrial training as a means of generating income and for providing the needs of the institution.

Value of work done by the Order

2.190The purpose of the residential school system was that the State and religious Orders would act in partnership in providing care to poor and destitute children. The Religious would raise donations for the establishment and upkeep of the schools and the State would pay to maintain the children. By the time the Department of Education took over the running of these schools and by the start of the period examined by the Investigation Committee, this dual role had become blurred for a number of Congregations. Most religious Orders did not seek public subscription for the premises used as residential homes and used the capitation grant to enhance and improve them. It is difficult to establish what effect, if any, this had on the funds available for the children and it varied from school to school.

2.191In assessing the adequacy of the capitation grant, some Congregations have taken into account the monetary value of the work done by the religious staff over the years. On a simple accounting basis such an approach may be justified, but in determining whether the institutions had enough money to provide the basic needs of the children, an analysis of what was, at the time, understood to be the charitable nature of this work is important.

2.192The Christian Brothers were particularly defensive of the remuneration paid to the Brothers. Their response submission criticised the suggested assumption by Mazars that everything earned by the Christian Brothers in the community irrespective of source should have been available to the school ‘to fund its losses’. It argued that this was tantamount to suggesting that anybody who worked in state institutions should hand back any money left over at the end of the year. The argument proceeded to criticise this approach as ignoring ‘obvious and unarguable facts.’ One of these facts was that each and every Brother who provided his services to the industrial school was entitled to remuneration and that such remuneration paid by way of stipend ‘was unarguably the property of the community. If the State was running the institution itself it would have paid each and every person employed there a salary which would have been the legal property of that person.’

2.193In putting forward their analysis of the value of the Brothers’ work to the institution, the Christian Brothers stated in their opening statement to the Artane module:

the Brothers working in Artane were not paid a salary; instead a stipend for each Brother working in the schools or on the administrative staff was paid to the local Community. This was in keeping with other schools or institutions in the capitation system. The annual stipend in Artane ranged from £142 per Brother in the 1940s to £300 per Brother in the 1960s. Significantly the rate of stipend in Artane was lower than in other schools where the rate in the 1960s was £550. The fact that the Brothers were only paid a stipend represented a clear saving to the State….

2.194The statement then set out the 25 Brothers working in Artane in the 1960s and, by reference to Northern Ireland salary scales, estimated what they would have been earning in salary. They concluded that had the State paid the Brothers’ salaries instead of stipends it would have cost the State £14,070 per year in the mid-1960s.The stipends came to a total of £7,500 thus representing a saving to the State of £6,570.

2.195As in the case of assessing adequacy of income, the Northern Irish comparator is less helpful than an actual salary comparison in the Republic. According to the Christian Brothers’ Northern Ireland comparator, eight primary school teachers at £750 each at the lower end of the salary scale would have attracted a total of £5,800. In fact, in the State a primary school teacher at the lower end of the salary scale earned £450 in 1963, which increased to £605 in 1964. The correct figure for that one element of the Christian Brothers’ calculation is either £4,000 or £4,840. Similar adjustments to each category of Brother employed in Artane would quickly erode any ‘clear saving to the State’.

2.196The following is a table of stipends paid to Brothers in Artane, against primary school salaries from 1944 to 1968:18

Year Trained single teacher – lowest point on salary scale Artane stipend per Brother
1944 €187 €152
1945 €187 €152
1946 €187 €152
1947 €279 €241
1948 €279 €241
1949 €279 €241
1950 €317 €241
1951 €317 €241
1952 €362 €241
1953 €396 €241
1954 €396 €317
1955 €396 €317
1956 €432 €317
1957 €432 €317
1958 €432 €508
1959 €458 €381
1960 €476 €381
1961 €476 €381
1962 €546 €381
1963 €571 €381
1964 €768 €381
1965 €787 €381
1966 €837 €381
1967 €837 €381
1968 €837 €381

2.197Two important factors arise:

  • All of the Brothers’ ordinary living expenses were paid by the school including food, accommodation and general maintenance of the monastery. The stipend, which was paid directly to the monastery, covered expenses such as clothing, holidays, travel and medical care.
  • All Brothers received this stipend, even those in more menial positions in the school and those with no involvement in the care of the boys. If £300 represented a fair remuneration for a Brother who was a teacher in the school, it was arguably an overpayment for Brothers who worked in the kitchens or the farm. It was certainly an overpayment for those Brothers who were retired and elderly and who were not directly involved in the running of the school.

2.198Although the value of the stipend fell in the latter half of the 1960s, it was a generous payment in the 1940s and 1950s and early 1960s. It allowed Artane and other schools to make significant contributions to the building fund, which facilitated the development of Christian Brothers’ schools outside of the Industrial School system.

2.199It is not correct to assert that the payment of stipends represented a significant saving to the State on salaries that would otherwise have to be paid. The cost to the State of running institutions like Artane was considerable.

2.200It is not clear that the cost to the State of paying all the Brothers in the institution a stipend was fully understood by the Department of Education or the Department of Finance at the time. As was shown in the historical section of this chapter, no proper breakdown of this figure was submitted to the Department in the 1940s or 1950s and no reference appears to have been made to it by the Department in its communications with the Resident Managers’ Association when discussing increases in grants.

2.201A difficulty with the Christian Brothers’ submission is in the distinction between the charitable contributions of individual Brothers and the larger interests of the Congregation, including the funding of its operations.

2.202In respect of the Reformatory at Daingean, run by the Oblate order, Mazars stated that the payments to the Province amounted to almost €50,000 over the period under review:

A report prepared on behalf of the Oblate Order in May 2002 indicates that these payments to the Province and to the Order members were funded by farm sales, stipends and donations. An analysis of payments to the Province and to the Order members in the context of the surplus/deficit generated from the farm and income from donations and stipends indicates, however, that in most years such income sources, when related costs are taken into account, would not have supported the level of payments made to the Province and to the Order members and, at an overall level for the period from 1940 to 1969, payments to the Province and to the Order members would have exceeded these sources of income by an amount of approximately €25,111, i.e. farm income, donations, stipends and sundry sales together exceeded farm expenditure by just €35,395 and were not sufficient to cover payments to the Province… This would, therefore, imply that capitation grants were, in part, funding payments to the Province’19.

2.203In response, the Oblate Order made a strong submission on the question of the value of the Order’s work in Daingean to the State. This was not part of their opening statement but it was addressed by them in their response to the Mazars’ report. They stated:

For example, the full value of the work done by the priests and brothers of the Oblate order should be counted as a cost to the school, matched by a liability from the school to the Oblate order.

2.204The economic consultants, Goodbody’s, engaged by the Oblates attempted to work out the cost of the work done by the religious against the value to them of their accommodation and living expenses. They stated:

When a minimum value of the work done by the members of the order is recognised, and this value is reduced by maximum values for the value of the goods, services and cash provided by St Conleth’s to the Oblate order the accumulated loss increases to €113,947 [£96,268].

2.205According to the accounts furnished by the Order, 10 percent of the total income received by the institution was paid to the Order by way of stipends or direct payment to the Province20. If the figure suggested by Goodbody’s for food and accommodation was added to that, a total of €251,000 was used by the Order out of the capitation grant, which represented approximately 1/3rd of all income21.

2.206An important added factor is that Daingean accommodated a large number of retired priests who had little or no contact with the school. A former Resident Manager of the Order was asked about this at hearing. It was pointed out to him that of the five priests listed in Daingean, only one appeared to have direct involvement with the school, and he said in respect of the other four:

They were there for different purposes. It would often give a choice of say confessor for a boy.

2.207A former Resident Manager said that one priest was interested in arts and crafts and another in music and that they involved themselves in those activities.

2.208Of the 19 Brothers, only six or seven appeared to be involved with the school and the former Resident Manager mentioned a number of Brothers who were retired and still living in the Community and still receiving stipends.

2.209He confirmed that in addition to these stipends, a levy was paid to the Province to pay for the training of new members.

You see every community was expected to make some contribution to the central fund because men had to be provided and trained and things like that and this was common enough.

2.210He had a difficulty with this because he ceased paying this contribution in the 1960s when he became Manager:

2.211Mazars observed:

The Industrial and Reformatory Schooling system during the period under review did not provide for payment by the State, of salaries of those employed in the running of the institutions. The matter of salaries would not appear to be a matter which was raised by the Order at the time they ran the Reformatory in Daingean. Rather they appeared to accept the responsibility of managing the Reformatory and, in so doing, participated in the system as it prevailed at that time.22

2.212The analysis by Goodbody’s was designed to show that the Order had not profited from the operation of Daingean Reformatory but it actually illustrated the lack of clarity around the ‘voluntary’ or ‘charitable’ nature of the work. Whilst it may be an interesting exercise to calculate the money that could have been paid to religious for the work done, the fact is this was not the understanding at the time. This school was a charitable venture undertaken by a religious Order in pursuance of its mission and was supported in that by the State.

2.213In their response to the Mazars report, the Rosminians stated:

Whilst the Rosminians had a certain desire for autonomy in the operation of their Schools, it was not for the sake of protection of property as such, it was to preserve independence in undertaking charitable works. This was the nature of the support by the religious which the State undertook. ….The religious were used because they could be relied upon to act on the basis of charity and because they were the largest supplier of social service/welfare in the Country. As they provided a service on trust, their claim to be struggling should have been taken more seriously.

2.214This goes to the core of the matter – the Congregations were on trust but were not willing to reciprocate this trust by being transparent in their dealings with the State. There was no attempt to identify institutions that, because of their size or their lack of a farm or even the age profile of their pupils, would have been genuinely struggling to make ends meet. The Resident Managers’ Association, dominated as it was by Managers from the large senior boys’ schools, had no real interest in disclosing how they spent the capitation and therefore smaller schools that had a genuine case were not heard.

2.215In the module on Goldenbridge, Sr Xaveria stated that prior to the appointment of Sr Bernadine in 1943, the capitation grant was paid to the convent and an allowance was then given to the Sisters who were engaged in the running of the school. Although that practice stopped, the few financial accounts that survived showed significant payments to Carysfort Mother House and to the reverend mother:

The accounts of Carysfort Mother House indicate payments received between 1939 and 1954 on a monthly basis totalling between approximately €5000 and €9000 per annum described as ‘National Education Goldenbridge’. The Carysfort accounts indicate payments totalling between approximately €1000 and €5000 per annum to the Goldenbridge Convent and Goldenbridge school expenses. The source of the income is not clear nor is the extent to which the payments related to wages. It is also not clear how much of this income, or expenditure, relates to the industrial school, rather than the adjacent national school.23

2.216Mazars also noted a payment of £90 per month to the reverend mother but were unable to say what this payment represented because of a lack of information.

2.217The Sisters of Mercy did not offer any explanation for these payments, but they did not suggest that in assessing the capitation grant adequacy, monetary value should be placed on the work of the Sisters in Goldenbridge.

Conclusions

2.218The extent to which money was paid out of capitation to the Congregation varied from school to school. Although it may not have represented a full wage for some of the work done, when added to the living expenses provided by the school to the religious staff, it amounted to a significant payment for this work.

2.219The submission by two of the Congregations that attempted to place a monetary value on the work of their religious did not address the charitable nature of the undertaking.

2.220Full itemised accounts should have been available to the Department of Education clearly outlining the expenditure of the State grant. These accounts would have helped form a more accurate view of the financial aspects of these schools if they had been preserved by the Congregations.

2.221Not all Congregations behaved the same. There was evidence from smaller institutions with small numbers and little extra income that were clearly struggling to survive. Notwithstanding that, accounts of neglect and hunger were just as prevalent in the large boys’ schools that were well funded particularly during periods of high occupancy.

Analysis of individual accounts

2.222Before discussing the Mazars’ report and the submissions made, some preliminary observations are necessary. A central point is that the sources of information and documentation about financing the institutions are limited and in some cases virtually non-existent. If proper records were available, it would be a relatively simple matter to analyse the accounts and to identify the relevant issues to be considered. It is not possible to do that because either those records are not available, or they were not kept in a manner that would enable such analysis to be made.

2.223Although the Christian Brothers records were reasonably detailed, they did not provide enough of a breakdown to establish what payments were made. This was particularly true under the wages and maintenance sections. There was no way of knowing whether these sums related to Congregation or school expenses.

2.224Other Congregations, such as the Sisters of Mercy and the Rosminians, have hardly any records at all. It is not clear whether these were never kept in the first place or were subsequently destroyed.

2.225It is a significant criticism of the Congregations that they did not maintain proper records so as to establish, to their own satisfaction if to nobody else’s, that they were using all the money that they received from the State to provide for the children in care. They were in receipt of considerable financial aid at a time when money and resources were scarce and they had an obligation to account for this money properly.

2.226The first simple point accordingly, is that there is an extraordinary dearth of financial records in regard to the Industrial Schools and that is the fault – and the serious fault – of the Congregations.

Artane

2.227The Mazars’ report noted that:

Two separate sets of books and records were maintained by the Brothers in respect of the institution at Artane – school accounts and house accounts. The school accounts recorded all of the activities deemed to relate to the operation of the school, including the farm and trade activity. The house accounts recorded the activity of the community of Brothers resident at Artane. The community also invested in the Order building fund, and details of balances held to the account of Artane are recorded in the financial information presented to us by the Christian Brothers.24

2.228The school accounts for the period 1940-69 show that expenditure exceeded income by €70,818. The House Accounts for the same period show that income exceeded expenditure by €339,724.

The most significant items contributing to the recorded surpluses are stipends or allowances for the Brothers engaged in the day to day management of the institution, and income generated from the disposal of lands. During the 1940s stipends represented 85 percent of total income of the house. In the 1950s stipends represented 68.6 percent of income, with sales of land generating a further 10.6 percent of total income. In the 1960’s stipends represented 22 percent of total income, with sales of land accounting for 63.2 percent.25

2.229The Report concluded that the school:

was virtually self-sufficient, providing the majority of its needs from the farm and the various other activities carried on within the school. This is evidenced by the low levels of expenditure on clothing and provisions, and is also reflected in a number of the Visitation Reports… It is particularly evident that figures for the 1960s are impacted significantly by the reducing number of children attending the school. However, over a number of categories expenditure was relatively consistent for the period, for example provisions purchased, clothing and fuel, light and power, reflecting the unchanging requirement for this expenditure.26

2.230The trades and the farm contributed very significantly to the financial position of the institution.

2.231In regard to capital expenditure there were no major items in the 1940s and the school achieved a surplus after capital expenditure in the 1950s. Such spending was at its greatest in the 1960s, ‘reflecting perhaps the need to address degeneration in the standard of accommodation over time’.27 However,

It is not apparent from the Visitation Reports as to why the decision to take an extensive programme of upgrade and refurbishment was undertaken, when reports from the later part of the 1950s stressed the uncertainty of the future of the institution and the inappropriateness of incurring such costs in that environment. The most significant element of the capital expenditure incurred by the school was during the period 1963 to 1968, when the numbers of children in the institution were significantly in decline.28

2.232This expenditure was funded:

primarily from the school account – with the exception of the items funded in the 1940s by the house, and refunds received from the Board of Works referred to above. The house accounts in the 1950s and 1960s show very low levels of capital expenditure. 29

2.233Mazars’ conclusions on Artane were as follows:

The house benefited from the contribution of cost of production of food and maintenance from the school. The house also levied on the school a stipend per Brother.

The house had beneficial rights to the lands and property and to any income from this source. The school, on the other hand, bore the cost of supporting the boys, the costs of employing the lay staff, the costs of maintaining and upgrading the buildings and making a contribution toward the costs of the community of Brothers.

If the capital expenditure incurred at the school was to be excluded, then the capitation grant would have been sufficient to cover the operating expenses of the school.

Obviously, our comments in chapter 4 regarding the appropriateness or otherwise of the State providing funding towards the capital costs of the school applies in the case of Artane.30

The position could be summarised in tabular form as follows:

Total Expenditure €2,364.996 100%
Funded by:
State and Local; Authorities €1,868,443 79%
Other Income €425,734 18%
Deficit – funded by the Order (€70,819) 3%

Submissions on behalf of the Christian Brothers

2.234The Congregation challenged five of Mazars’ assumptions, three of which were not accepted by Mazars. They were that:

  • the land at Artane was gifted to the Christian Brothers for the specific purpose of establishing an Industrial School;
  • the State had no responsibility to provide capital funding;
  • the Industrial School and Christian Brother community in Artane were a single unit.

2.235As the chapter on Artane shows, the documentary evidence indicated that Artane was acquired for the purpose of establishing an Industrial School. The Christian Brothers have stated 31 that the land upon which the Industrial School was built was purchased by the Congregation with Congregation funds. It had originally been intended for use as a novitiate for the Order but, upon the request from Archbishop Cullen, it was decided to use the land for the provision of an Industrial School for boys. However, a letter dated June 1870 by a proposed management committee to the Chief Secretary for Ireland stated that Artane Castle plus 23 hectares of land had been purchased for the purpose of setting up an industrial school.32 The property had been purchased for £7,000 and it was proposed that dormitories, classrooms etc would be erected for a further £1,600.

2.236The Christian Brothers stated:

Public personages of all shades of opinion gave the school generous support. To raise the funds for the provision of permanent buildings a petition by a large number of people was presented to the Lord Mayor. The Lord Mayor in response to this petition called a public meeting and substantial voluntary funds were soon received. From this response and from newspaper articles of the time it is clear that there was strong public support for the work of the school. The design, atmosphere and work ethos of the school received much acclaim from numerous eminent persons in public life and many visitors were impressed with what the witnessed.

2.237Whatever about the initial proposal that £1,600 would be spent building dormitories and classrooms, we know from a souvenir Annual which was published by Artane in 1905 that buildings which had cost over £60,000 had been erected at Artane by that time.

2.238The land associated with the school increased from 23 hectares (about 56 acres) up to a maximum of 143 hectares (about 353 acres) by the early 1940s.

2.239The position therefore is not clear. Mazars were, however, entitled to rely on contemporaneous documentation in the absence of any evidence to the contrary. The issue of capital funding has already been dealt with above. There is no suggestion that the State was not obliged to provide capital funding. The issue Mazars looked at was whether the capitation grant was intended to be used for this purpose. The answer would appear to be that it was not. The Sisters of Mercy and in particular the Sisters of Charity appeared to have understood this. Capital grants were available for building projects directly connected with the school and these should have been funded separately from the maintenance of the children. If State grants were inadequate to meet the needs, other fund-raising options could have been explored. The important point is that capitation was intended for the children and should have been used for that purpose.

2.240The third point raised addressed the issue of seeing the Community and the school as a single unit. The Industrial School and the Community were in the main funded from the same source. It is not possible to look at the issue of finance without regarding the operation as a single unit from the point of view of the allocation of that funding. There was no specified sum that was designated for the use of the Congregation out of State payments. Each Congregation made their own decisions on how much would be allocated to that purpose and therefore the funding of the monastery had to be seen in the context of the overall financial position of the institution.

2.241The Christian Brothers’ submission argues strongly about what they were entitled to in terms of property and salary, but never mentions the essential charitable nature of the work. Assumptions about the altruism of the Brothers’ involvement in this work underscored its relationship with the State and certainly formed the basis of the public’s view of the Congregation and its members. From the tone of the Congregation’s submission it would appear that these assumptions were not correct. The difficulty for the Committee is that for many other religious communities, charity and altruism were very important and they did not see the Industrial School as a business but rather as a calling. It is clear that individual Brothers were likewise motivated by a strong sense of religious vocation. The Committee believes that many of the charitable, hard-working members of the Community who gave their lives to the service of others would be disturbed at the tone of the Congregation’s submission.

2.242The Congregation rightly point out that, at its closure, Artane Industrial School had a deficit of €70,819 which was paid off by them in 1971. Much of this deficit arose during the 1960s when large capital projects, including the building of a swimming pool, were undertaken. Visitation Reports had been questioning the viability of Artane as an Industrial School from the late 1950s and there is no indication in the documents as to whether these expenses were incurred in the expectation that Artane’s future as an Industrial School was assured.

Goldenbridge

2.243Unlike the Christian Brothers, the Sisters of Mercy had no internal monitoring of their schools and there is absolutely no written account surviving of what difficulties, if any, the school experienced during the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. The accounts that survived were piecemeal and the information contained in them was incomplete and confusing.

2.244There were no accounts produced for the period 1939-54. Six-monthly accounts were available for the period 1955-69 with the exception of three sets ending 31st December 1957, 30th June 1968 and 30th June 1969.

2.245This fact alone is a matter of serious criticism of the Community. When private bodies receive State funding there is an absolute responsibility to account for how that money was spent. That was even truer in the middle of the last century when money was scarce and public funding limited. It is difficult to form any definitive view on Goldenbridge in the absence of proper records.

2.246However, the analysis by Mazars on the level of funding by reference to contemporaneous indices would indicate that, as a large institution, the capitation grant should have been adequate to provide a reasonable standard of physical care. Goldenbridge did not have a farm and did not have profit-making trades shops, but it did have a thriving bead-making industry during the 1950s and into the 1960s. No financial records survived about this income but Mazars were able to establish an estimate of the income it generated. They stated:

We understand that bead-making commenced as a trade within the school in the early 1950s and ceased prior to 1970. From our discussion with the representatives of the Order, we believe that children made ‘decades’ of beads (the stringing of beads onto wire using pliers). Quotas were imposed in order to meet the requirements of their contracts with two companies. We understand that the quota was 60 decades per participating child per day. We do not know how many children participated and no financial records of this income source have been made available to us. We did receive correspondence from one company which purchased the decades from Goldenbridge and we have used this data to estimate the range of possible income that has not been included in the accounts.

Exhibit 51

Bead Income
Number of children 120 90 60 30
Income per decade IR£0.11 IR£0.11 IR£0.11 IR£0.11
Income per annum IR£3,432 IR£2,574 IR£1,716 IR£858
Discounted income per annum IR£2,869 IR£2,152 IR£1,435 IR£717

We understand that:

  • There were quality issues with the decades, for which we have discounted our estimates by 5 percent.
  • For most of July, August and Christmas there was no production, for which we have discounted the estimate by 20 percent.
  • On occasions the children worked six days a week, for which we have increased the estimate by 10 percent.

This means that the range of income would be between IR£717 and IR£2,869 per annum depending on the number of children making the decades. We understand that the Sisters of Mercy believe that the income was at the lower end of this scale.

We believe that the income generated may have been significant because an amount was used in 1954 to contribute to the purchase of a property in Rathdrum, County Wicklow. We have been advised by the Order that the property was used by children during holiday periods.33

2.247The major outgoings were food (34%), wages (21%), clothes (12%), building repairs and decoration (11%), fuel and light (7%), furniture and fittings (3%), medical (1%) and other (11%). Wages comprised staff wages, payments to the Resident Manager and payments to the reverend mother.

Limited information is available in relation to the staffing levels during the period 1939– 69. We understand that generally the staffing consisted of two nuns (both teaching and one having the dual responsibility of resident manager), two lay teachers and a number of other staff (seamstress, domestic, etc). We note that based on records of 1955 there were eight members of staff excluding the nuns and teachers. This increased to eleven members of staff in 1958.34

2.248The school accounts available for the period 1955-69 showed a surplus of €33,410.

2.249As already outlined above, the accounts of the Carysfort Mother House revealed monthly payments totalling approximately €5,000. €9,000 per annum were received from ‘National Education Goldenbridge.’ Mazars observed:

The source of the income is not clear nor is the extent to which the payments related to wages. It is also not clear how much of this income, or expenditure, relates to the industrial school, rather than the adjacent national school.35

2.250The Report noted that the total capital expenditure during the period 1951-69 was €158,745.

Capital expenditure using the school account was primarily on building repairs and decorations and furniture and fittings. In the 1960s this amounted to 19 percent of expenditure. In 1969 repairs to buildings made up 29 percent of expenditure. We have received some records in respect of a building account held in the 1960s which was funded by the school account and various grants. It is unclear how much of these funds were used for properties other than for the industrial school; although based on a sample review of such expenditure we did note a certificate of payment in respect of Rathdrum in the amount of IR£750.

The accounts of the industrial school indicate funding given to capital expenditure of IR£2,000 for the purchase of a holiday home in 1954, with further contributions to the building fund account of IR£2,000 in 1959 and IR£4,000 in 1960, before a subsequent repayment from the building fund account to the school account of IR£1,050.36

2.251Mazars’ conclusion was that based on the limited information available, the financial position of Goldenbridge over the period 1939-69 ‘are probably best characterised as being one of being close to break even’.37

2.252Where accounts are available, the position is summarised as follows:

Total Expenditure €351,743 100%
Funded by:
State and Local; Authorities €282,239 80%
Other Income €102,913 29%
Surplus €33,410 9%

(Mazars noted that the school accounts did not show any primary grant received, with the exception of one period, and excluded income from the bead-making activity.)38

2.253The analysis by the Sister of Mercy accountants acknowledged weakness in the fact that it was not possible to get supplementary explanations of various figures in the accounts.

2.254However, based on the financial information available, it suggested that in the period for which accounts were largely available, 1951-69, the school did manage. It was however submitted that this was ‘probably best characterised as being close to break-even’. It suggested that whilst Goldenbridge had an overall surplus in the period analysed, this largely accrued from the mid 1960s when pupil numbers increased and there was a 100 percent increase in capitation grant in 1969.

2.255Unfortunately, much of this analysis is guesswork and there is no real way of knowing the extent to which Goldenbridge contributed to the mother house or how any surplus funds were spent.

Daingean

2.256An analysis of income and expenditure for the period 1940-69 indicated that ‘the school operated at approximately a break-even position for the first two decades under review but ran into deficit during the third decade.’39 The deficit in 1969 was €20,602.

2.257The primary sources of income were government and local authority grants. Other sources of income included farm sales, stipends, and sundry sales. Indirect sources of income involved the labour of the boys in the trade workshops.

2.258Mazars noted that the expert report commissioned by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate and prepared by Goodbody Economic Consultants suggested that had the school paid wages to the religious staff working there the deficit would have been larger. Mazars accepted that the calculations carried out by Goodbody’s were reasonable but did not take into account: (1) the fact that the reformatory was not a State school; and (2) the system did not provide for the payment of wages at the time.

2.259Separate accounts were not kept for the farm. The school accounts showed the farm making a loss of €25,003 over the period 1940-69.

These figures do not, however, take into account the value of farm produce consumed by both the boys and the Brothers and Fathers resident at the School. In availing of farm produce to feed the boys and Brothers, there was, presumably, both a financial saving to the school, which would have resulted in lower total expenditure and lower deficits than if these costs were incurred externally, as well as a corresponding loss of potential income. Similarly, the accounts do not reflect the fact that labour on the farm was largely that of the boys and the Brothers. Again, there would have been a certain saving to the school in using this ready pool of labour as opposed to employing additional farm labourers.40

2.260A Department of Education Report prepared in 1955 stated that the farm was making profits and that there was no evidence that these profits were being ploughed back into the school. Mazars concluded:

The views of the Department Official are not consistent with the record in the financial statements, which show an overall deficit from the farm. We have not been able to identify a reason for this inconsistency.41

2.261As to capital expenditure, the terms of the lease required the Oblates to keep the premises in suitable repair, and documentation from the Department of Finance indicated that the capitation grant was sufficient to meet this expenditure. The State was responsible for all items of capital expenditure from 1940-69.

Despite the significant capital investment in Daingean in the period 1939-69, Department of Education records indicate that Daingean was not in a good state of repair. Correspondence between the OPW and Departments of Finance and Education in 1969 and the early 1970s indicates that certain buildings in Daingean were ‘structurally unsound’. A visit paid by an official of the Department of Education in 1967 echoes this view of the state of repair, referring to the premises being ‘in a bad state ……….. should be demolished42

2.262Mazars had not had sight of a balance sheet for Daingean during the period under review and accordingly it was limited in the information which could be extracted from the accounts. The salient points in assessing the overall financial consequences included the following:

  • There was a deficit in the bank of the Reformatory School at 30th November 1969 in the amount of €11,710.
  • The total deficits generated by the school over the period amount to €17,706.
  • Expenditure on the buildings (furnishing and carpentry, repairs) amounted to €72,422.
  • In analysing the farm income and expenditure in the school accounts, it can be seen that the farm made an overall deficit of €25,003. It is not known to what extent farm expenditure includes work of either a capital or a repairs and maintenance nature.

2.263The following is a summary of the financial position.:

Total Expenditure €744,587 100%
Funded by:
State and Local; Authorities €533,614 72%
Other Income €193,273 26%
Deficit to be funded €17,700 2%

2.264Mazars also concluded that:

An examination of the transcripts, statements and documentation of the Oblate Order made available to us describes a situation where making ends meet was a constant struggle, especially in light of the ongoing works and maintenance required …

2.265 It is clear from the financial statements reviewed that the expenditure on furnishing, carpentry and repairs contributed significantly to the deficits in the school.43

2.266The Oblate submission in relation to the value of the work done by the Order has already been discussed above and is central to the observations made about the overall financial position of the Oblate Order and Daingean.

2.267The submission concurred with Mazars’ view that the accumulated loss of equivalent of €17,700 that was made over the period of operation of Daingean could not to be taken at face value to indicate that the capitation grant and other income were insufficient to cover operating costs. Goodbody looked at the flow of payments and benefits between the Order and St Conleth’s to see whether the services provided by the Order exceeded the value of goods and services moving in the other direction. If the Order gave more to the Reformatory than it received, then the inference was that the Oblates subsidised the Reformatory. If the situation was otherwise, as Mazars conclude, then the Oblates received a net benefit and can be said to have actually profited from the operation.

2.268The accountants sought to complete the picture of the estimated surplus or deficit to the Order by making appropriate allowances and adjustments. Having done this, Goodbody concluded that the cost of operating St Conleth’s exceeded the capitation grant and all the other income sources and that, therefore, the school could only operate because the members of the Order worked there without receiving proper compensation. They concluded that ‘it is clear that St Conleth’s was operated at loss over the period in question. There was no possibility of the Oblate Order profiting from the operation at St Conleth’s. In fact St Conleth’s was only able to operate due to a subsidy from the order.’

2.269Goodbody’s calculation was based on valuing the work of an average of 24 members of the Oblate Order throughout the period in question at the average weekly wage of an industrial civil servant, which meant a person working at unskilled or craft work.

2.270The question whether the Oblate Congregation profited from its operation of Daingean Reformatory thus resolves itself into a consideration of whether it is legitimate to value the work of the members of the community in the way suggested by Goodbody in their report. If so, the institution could not have operated except for the net contribution made by the Congregation. If that approach is not to be considered legitimate, then it follows that the Congregation was in a position to enjoy a surplus and it would also seem to follow that the capitation payments were at least adequate.

2.271On the basis of the discussion already outlined on the issue of the value of the work done by the Order, it is reasonable to conclude that Daingean Reformatory was adequately funded during the relevant period.

Ferryhouse/Upton

2.272Very limited financial information was available for these institutions. In respect of Upton, there were no records for 1940-49 but there were financial documents for the years 1952, 1953, 1960-66. In relation to Ferryhouse, there were some records only for the years 1941, 1947, 1951-54, and 1960-69. In addition to the above, Mazars were also provided with the accounts of the Province for the periods 1952-53 and 1961-69.

2.273Because of the incompleteness of the records the figures can only be regarded as indicative. With that qualification, for the years for which financial records exist, it appears that Upton enjoyed a surplus of €24,284 and Ferryhouse a surplus of €26,901.44

2.274Mazars quoted from the submission made by the Order:

The submission made by the Rosminian Fathers draws attention to a number of issues that are relevant not only to those Schools run by the Order, but also to the system of Reformatories and Industrial Schools in its entirety. These have been dealt with, in that context, in the early sections of this report. In summary, the issues raised by the Order are as follows;

  • No State monies were available to assist with the provision of buildings and other facilities in the Industrial Schools.

• The Order also notes ‘It must be kept in mind that the two Industrial Schools were only part of the financial burden on the Province that also had to provide and maintain houses for students who were called to join the Institute and who did not pay any fees for their training. From 1945 onwards, the Province had a further call on its limited financial resources when it was required to provide for the travelling expenses, health care and much more, of the members who went on mission to East Africa.

The question of State funding of the property is, as we have already seen, complex, and is relevant to our understanding of the relationship between the State and the Orders and their collective perception of their respective roles in relation to the provision of the Reformatory and Industrial Schools’45

2.275Mazars responded to these points:

With regard to the additional financial burdens on the Order, we note that this question is relevant to an understanding of how the Religious Communities viewed the Schools as a potential contributor to other unfunded or under-funded activities of the Order. From our examination of the financial information made available to us by the Rosminian Fathers it is our view that the Schools did leave the Order in a net surplus position, to the extent that the closing balance sheets of the schools show an improved position on the earliest available accounts. However, the contribution of the Schools to other Community activity does not, based on the available information, appear to have been sufficient to yield the Order a significant surplus.46

2.276The Rosminian Order made a more reflective submission as part of its final submissions to the Investigation Committee. They stated that the ‘Mazars draft report raises many controversial issues’.47

2.277They submitted that

The predominant financial characteristic of the Schools was persistent under funding and accumulated debt. Where funding increased it was too little and too late, and the financial relationship between the schools and the State was adversarial. We have already described how the Schools financial position was a struggle. In fact the relationship with the State is best described overall as dysfunctional. This is illustrated by two phenomena. Firstly, the Schools’ Inspector usually (but not always) characterised the quality of provisions in school as satisfactory, but increases in State grants were usually accompanied by the requirement that school conditions be improved. The underlying conflict in those assessments disguised a lack of focused thought, and guided standard.

Secondly, if it is assumed that funding was even barely adequate, the temptation for the Schools to seek maximum numbers of boys on the basis of economies of scale (same overheads, more income) was destructive to standards of performance, because boys were then being kept for money, and not vice versa.48

2.278The Rosminians also submitted that a ‘definition of the purpose of State funding to the schools’ was irrelevant because:

Whilst the use of its property was clearly donated to the Industrial School Purpose, the Order itself had very little other resources, and as the buildings aged and standards of living rose, the Industrial School project as a whole obviously had increasing capital needs. Whilst the issue of capital expenditure might well have become part of the polemic of the acquisition of State funding and increases, it was plainly unrealistic to expect an Order without substantial means to carry and ever increasing burden. This is very clearly acknowledged in the Cussen Report.49

2.279The Rosminians rejected the benchmarks used by Mazars as unsuitable comparators. For example the Rosminians object to the capitation grant compared to welfare grants as they feel that it is unjust as the State never used such comparisons when determining the level of the capitation grant.50 They also rejected the reasons advanced for not comparing the Irish capitation rates to British rates.

2.280The Rosminians posited the view that:

The level of capitation grant was never claimed to be enough by the State. It was envisaged as contributory funding. It was calculated on compromise and accepted in desperation.51

2.281The Rosminians argue that the capitation grant was deficient even when capital expenses are excluded. ‘Comparison with weekly industrial earnings distributed per capita shows a shortfall in all but 3 of the 30 years between 1939 and 1969.’52

2.282They do however concede that ‘Some fault could be attributed to the religious for not pursuing closer accounting with the State.’53 The Rosminians also dispute that the relationship between the State and the religious as ‘outsourcing’, as claimed by Mazars. The Rosminians counter that the religious were used as it was known that they would ‘act on the basis of charity’:

The two Rosminian Schools operated under constant financial constraint and uncertainty. Amongst other influences, this aggravated disciplinary issues. Broken windows or equipment, soiled or torn clothes, perceived waste or stolen food, were punished partly because of the need for stringent economy.54

2.283The Rosminians concluded:

Allowing for debate on the complaints, three things are clear beyond interpretation or opinion:

What was achieved by the Schools was only possible through significant financial contributions outside State funding.

There is no evidence was waste or misdirection in the accounts.

State funding was never regarded as adequate by the State or Schools…’55

Break-even point

2.284The Mazars’ report attempted a comparison of the financial data available in respect of these individual institutions for two sample periods, namely, 1951-55 and 1961-65, to ascertain the number of children necessary for the Institution to break even financially.

2.285Mazars reached the following conclusions.

When we compare 1951–55 with 1961–65 we noted the following:

  • The breakeven point for Artane and Upton decreased significantly when comparing 1951–55 with 1961–65. In the case of Artane the breakeven level decreased due to the increase in the level of variable income and variable costs by approx. 100 percent to €255 and €126 respectively per child per year increasing the monetary amount of the contribution. In the case of Upton, unlike other schools, variable cost levels per child remained constant at approx. €110 per child per year while variable income increased by approx. 50 percent.
  • Over time the contribution per child has increased. As identified above, this is due to the variable income increasing by a higher monetary value than the variable costs per child. The level of contribution was higher in the schools with a farm due to the farm income, which was an important source of additional funding for those schools.
  • In line with the increased contribution, fixed costs and capital expenditure have also increased.
  • The break-even analysis for the sample period in the 1950’s shows that all of the schools, with the exception of Upton, had numbers of children in excess of the break-even point – suggesting that they should have been in a position to run at least at break-even. In the 1960’s, Artane and Daingean experienced a decline in the number of children to a point below their break-even point.
  • The break-even calculation does not include capital expenditure. If capital expenditure were included, the break-even point would increase in each school. In the 1950’s, capital expenditure was low and would not impact the break even point significantly. In the 1960’s, where capital expenditure was higher, adjusting for capital expenditure would mean that Artane, An Daingean, Upton and Ferryhouse would have numbers of children below their break-even point.

• In considering this analysis we believe that two points should be noted. The decline in the numbers of children during the late 1950’s and through the 1960’s meant that the schools in general became increasingly uneconomic to run, with some schools reaching a position where they were below break-even point. However, significant increases in the capitation grant in the late 1960’s, outside of our sample period, would have compensated for this to an extent. We also note that there is a strong argument that capital expenditure was not intended to be funded from the capitation grant – for the reasons we have examined in the early part of this report. If this is accepted as a reasonable understanding of the position, then the break-even analysis excluding the impact of capital expenditure is the more appropriate representation of the position of the individual schools, as regards the expected impact of the State contribution. Of course, the schools still had to fund this expenditure, from other sources if necessary.56

2.286The Rosminians rejected the use of the ‘break-even’ formula:

the condition described as breaking even is a false approbation. The School simply postponed improvements in order to maintain existing services. Expenditure was dictated by necessity, and sometimes crisis rather than performance, or aspiration.57

Conclusion

2.2871.There was no opportunity for a school with particular need to have a voice in the negotiations with the Department. The negotiations were dominated by the larger boys schools which adopted a ‘one size fits all’ policy

2.Smaller schools without these advantages struggled to survive.

1 Quoted in D of E submission, pp 103-4.

2 Report of Commission of Inquiry into the Reformatory and Industrial School System, 1934-36, paras 165-7.

3 These reforms are explained in a cogent six page Minute of 14th March 1944 written by the Department (Ó Dubhthaigh, Leas Runai) to the Runai, Department of Finance. The Minute also questioned the certification system’s legality:
There is no justification for the ‘Certificate’ system. The Children Acts, 1908 to 1941, lay down the circumstances in which children may be committed to industrial schools. The Courts commit children to them in accordance with these Acts. At this stage the Certificate system operates inconsistently to allow payment of the State Grant on some of the children so committed and to forbid it on others. There seems to be no reason for the State’s failure to contribute to the support of some arbitrary number of those children. No such distinction is made, for instance, in the case of youthful offenders committed to Reformatories under the same Acts or of people sent to jail. If the purpose is to limit the number of children to which the Children Acts may apply, its legality is questionable.
Memo of 4th April 1951 from M O’Siochfradha states:
In all cases the actual accommodation limit was greater than the certified number and in many cases it was considerably greater viz., Glin – accommodation 220, certified number 190; Letterfrack, accommodation 190, certified number 165; Artane, accommodation 830, certified number 800.
See also Education Statement, para 3.2.

4 At certain periods (e.g. 1940s) anxious consideration was given to the question of how many places to certify – whether to raise or lower the previous year’s figure or to leave it the same. Among the factors weighing with the person taking the decision (usually there was a significant contribution from Dr McCabe) was: the numbers of committals anticipated; the suitability of the schools (e.g. accessibility from Dublin); the need to assist small schools with disproportionately high overheads; a desire to avoid creating jealousy among the schools.

5 Data provided by Mazars indicates that a single man at the lowest point of the salary scale was paid £145 in 1944.

6 Appendices to the Mazars’ Report are included on the Commissions website (www.childabusecommission.ie)

7 Mazars, Part 4.1.

8 Mazars, Part 4.2.3.

9 Section 44 of the Children Act 1908.

10 Mazars, Part 4.2.3.

11 Mazars, Part 4.3.1.

12 Mazars, Part 4.3.1.

13 Mazars, Part 4.3.1.

14 Mazars, Part 4.4.2.

15 Mazars, Part 4.4.3.

16 Mazars, Part 4.4.4.

17 Mazars, Part 4.4.4.

18 Mazars ‘Analysis of Stipends in Lieu of Salaries & Teachers’ Pay, March 2008’.

19 Mazars, Part 8.2.

20 That is approx £69,000 out of a total of £726,881.

21 That is £251,000 out of £726,881.

22 Mazars, Part 8.2.

23 Mazars, Part 7.2.

24 Mazars, Part 5.1.

25 Mazars, Part 5.1.

26 Mazars, Part 5.2.

27 Mazars, Part 5.2.

28 Mazars, Part 5.2.

29 Mazars, Part 5.2.

30 Mazars, Part 5.4.

31 Submission of the Christian Brothers on the Review of Financial Matters Relating to the System of the Reformatory and Industrial Schools, and a Number of Individual Institutions 1939 to 1969 – Appendices to the Mazars’ Report are included on the Commissions website (www.childabusecommission.ie).

32 Ciaran Fahy Report: see Vol I, ch 7, Appendix.

33 Mazars, Part 7.2.

34 Mazars, Part 7.2.

35 Mazars, Part 7.2.

36 Mazars, Part 7.2.

37 Mazars, Part 7.2.

38 Mazars, Part 7.4.

39 Mazars, Part 8.2.

40 Mazars, Part 8.2.

41 Mazars, Part 8.2.

42 Mazars, Part 8.2.

43 Mazars, Part 8.4.

44 Mazars, Part 6.4.

45 Mazars, Part 6.4.

46 Mazars, Part 6.4.

47 Rosminian Final Submissions, p 13.

48 Rosminian Final Submissions, pp 13-14.

49 Rosminian Final Submissions, p 17.

50 Rosminian Final Submissions, pp 17-18. Cf p 19.

51 Rosminian Final Submissions, p 19.

52 Rosminian Final Submissions, p 17.

53 Rosminian Final Submissions, p 20.

54 Rosminian Final Submissions, p 22.

55 Rosminian Final Submissions, p 23.

56 Mazars, Part 9.2.

57 Rosminian Final Submissions, p 15.


Appendix
Review of Financial Matters relating to the system of the Reformatory and Industrial Schools, and a number of individual institutions 1939–69 (30th November 2007)


1. Introduction

In 2004 the Commission of Inquiry into Child Abuse (‘the Commission’) requested Mazars to carry out a review of certain financial issues relating to the operation of the system of Reformatory and Industrial Schools in Ireland during the period 1939–69. Our work was also to consider the financial information available in relation to a number of individual institutions within that system. In accordance with the terms of reference selected by the Commission we have carried out a review of documentation and files made available by the Commission by a number of religious Orders and Government Departments. This report is the output of that review, and is structured as follows

Part 2 presents a summary of our findings in respect of each of the terms of reference defined by the Commission.

Parts 3 and 4 deal with an analysis of the capitation system as it functioned at the time and the adequacy of funding provided by the State.

Part 5 deals with the financial information available in respect of the Christian Brother institution at Artane, County Dublin.

Part 6 deals with the financial information available in respect of the Rosminian Father institutions at Upton, County Cork and Ferryhouse, Clonmel, County Tipperary.

Part 7 deals with the financial information available in respect of the Sister of Mercy institution at Goldenbridge, County Dublin.

Part 8 deals with the financial information available in respect of the Reformatory at Daingean, County Offaly, run by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate.

Part 9 contains a comparative analysis of the financial information available to us, and some observations on the impact of fluctuations in numbers of children in each school over the period 1939–69.

Terms of reference

Our report to the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse is based on records and documentation extracted from the Commission’s document management system and documents provided directly to us by the relevant religious Orders.

Our work to date, unless otherwise indicated, consists principally of the review and analysis of relevant information. In accordance with requirements specifically identified in our terms of reference, we have considered;

  • An analysis of the adequacy of funding provided by the State;
  • A review of the application of State funding to the care of children in the relevant institutions
  • An analysis of the capitation method of funding the Institutions as operated at the time
  • A commentary on the effects of changes in the number of children in the relevant institutions over the period 1939–69
  • The financial consequences for the relevant institutions as a result of caring for the children over the period 1939–69
  • A commentary on staffing/student ratios over the period of the review.

Restatement of currency

Our work focused on the collation and analysis of information from the Summation Document Management System and provided by the relevant religious communities. Much of the relevant financial information we examined contained financial information in the old Irish pound format (pounds/shillings/pence).

We compiled a model to accommodate this format of financial information from the relevant institution and convert contemporaneous Irish legal tender values to equivalent Irish Punt values and, ultimately, equivalent Euro values.

Our calculations converted the old Irish pound format on the basis that an Irish Punt was equivalent to 20 shillings and that there were 240 old pence in an Irish Punt. We then converted the figures to equivalent Euro amount using the fixed conversion rate of €0.787564 to an Irish Punt. This is the rate that prevailed at the time of the changeover to Euro.

In line with accounting convention we have not adjusted converted financial data for inflation, except where we believed that the illustration of a particular item in ‘today’s terms’ would be of use to the reader.

Acknowledgments

We would like to thank the Commissioners and staff of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse, the members, staff and advisors of the Christian Brothers, The Institute of Charity (Rosminian Fathers), Sisters of Mercy and Oblate Fathers of Mary Immaculate, and the staff of the Department of Education, who assisted us in the course of our work.

Restrictions in use

Mazars assumes no responsibility in respect of or in connection with the contents of this report to parties other than to the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse. If others choose to rely on any way on the contents of this report they do so entirely at their own risk.

Mazars

Chartered Accountants

Harcourt Centre, Block 3

Harcourt Road

Dublin 2

30th November 2007

2. Findings of our review

Part 3 An analysis of the capitation method of funding the Institutions as operated at the time.

3.1At independence, the Irish State inherited an established system of private Reformatory and Industrial Schools, with an attaching set of defined relationships, as provided for in the Children Act 1908. There was no apparent suggestion that either this system or the roles occupied by different participants in the system should change significantly until the 1960s.

3.2The key participants in the management of the system were the religious Orders, the Resident Managers’ Association, the Departments of Education, Justice, Health and Finance, and the local authorities.

3.3The key State roles were oversight and inspection – which were roles primarily inhabited by the Department of Education – and the provision of funding, where again the Department of Education had a significant role, subject to oversight and approval by the Department of Finance. Local authorities also provided funds to the schools, under the terms of the relevant legislation, in accordance with the rates set by the Department of Education.

3.4The Children Act 1908 described the roles and responsibilities of the State authorities and the schools as follows:

  • The State is responsible for the certification and inspection of schools.
  • The local authority is responsible for providing for the reception and maintenance of the child in a suitable certified reformatory or industrial school – which responsibility it can discharge by ‘contract with the managers of any certified school for the reception and maintenance therein of youthful offenders or children for whose reception and maintenance the authority are required under this section to make provision.’
  • Both the State and the local authority have a responsibility to provide funding towards the costs of a child maintained in a certified Reformatory or Industrial School.
  • The managers of the certified school have a responsibility, once they have accepted a child, to teach, train, lodge, clothe and feed the child.

3.5These roles were implemented as follows:

  • The Department of Education issued circulars defining the standards of treatment of children in the Schools.
  • The Department of Education operated a process of inspection of schools.
  • The State and local authorities provided funding through the capitation grant, the primary grant and, occasionally, other grants for specific purposes.
  • The religious Orders owned and managed the schools, providing clergy to act as managers and staff, and hiring lay staff.
  • The Resident Managers’ Association acted as a vehicle for interaction with the Department of Education, including a role in seeking increased funding.

3.6The primary payment by the State and local authorities, to the religious Orders in respect of the schools was the capitation grant, although other funding was available through the primary grant and, on a limited and case-by-case basis, for specific capital works.

3.7The system of capitation grants provided for in the legislation was to provide funding towards the maintenance costs of a child resident in a Reformatory or Industrial School. This responsibility arises from section 73 of the Act, which defines the responsibility of the Treasury – to approve and make payment of any sums ‘on such conditions as the Secretary of State may, with the approval of Treasury recommend towards the expenses of any youthful offender or child detained in a certified school’

3.8While the treatment of capital expenditure appears to have varied over time, and the schools applied capitation funding to capital expenditure, it is our opinion that the State did not intend capitation funding to be applied to capital expenditure. We have looked first to the legislative background when addressing this issue. The 1908 Act does not, in our view, appear to have intended the capitation grant to cover items of capital expenditure – the Act refers to the ‘expenses of any youthful offender or child detained in a certified school’. This also appears to us consistent with the description in the Cussen Report of the arrangement for providing school buildings of Reformatory and Industrial Schools.1 While a 1946 scheme proposed to implement a system of payment, as part of the capitation grant, towards the capital expenditures of the schools, this scheme was discontinued within two years and, in notifying the schools of this, the Department drew attention to the ‘clear understanding that the School Manager shall accept liability for any building and repair work and the provision of equipment for vocational training which the Minister considers necessary in their Schools’.2

While the introduction of the scheme does render the position potentially ambiguous, it is our view that the State was unambiguous in presenting its understanding that the termination of the scheme meant that the position originally set out in the Act was resumed – the capitation grant did not include a contribution towards capital expenditure. This understanding is also consistent with the findings of the Kennedy Report:

No grants are made available for maintenance, renovation or modernisation of premises.’3

and

Separate grants should be available to cover new buildings and maintenance, renovation and modernisation of existing buildings while grants for educational purposes should be made available and paid direct by the Department of Education.4

3.9We note that there is evidence that the Resident Managers sought, in their response to the 1946 scheme, to assert that capital expenditure should not be borne by the Orders: ‘increased Capitation Grant does not enable them to accept such a liability as indicated’.5

3.10Our finding at 3.8 should not be read to mean that capital expenditure is not relevant to an understanding of the operation of the schools – we deal with the implications of capital expenditure in Part 4, when we consider the issue of adequacy of funding to the needs of an institution and again when we turn to the question of the implications for the Orders of running the schools.

Part 4 An analysis of the adequacy of funding provided by the State

The capitation grant system

4.1Under the capitation system a payment or grant per student accrued to schools weekly. The payment came from two sources: a) local authorities and b) the Department of Education.

4.2There were different capitation rates applicable to Industrial and Reformatory Schools, with reformatory schools receiving a higher capitation rate.

4.3While income to schools accrued weekly it was not paid weekly. In particular, local authorities were slow to release funds to the institutions. Although we have not seen records to evidence the impact of this delay on the schools, it can be reasonably assumed to have had cashflow implications for the institutions.

4.4The capitation grant increased 17 times during the period 1939–69. The process by which grant levels were increased appears to have been one of negotiation and, at times, almost adversarial. Typically, the institutions lobbied for an increase and the Department of Education, after consultation with the Department of Finance, agreed to an increase lower than that sought.

Adequacy in accordance with the 1908 Act

4.5Neither the 1908 Act nor the 1941 Act defines what the capitation grant was to cover, beyond making it clear that the grant was towards the maintenance of a child in an institution. However, the 1908 Act defines the purpose of the schools – to include lodging, clothing, feeding and education of the child. Based on our review of the legislation, it appears reasonable that the grant was intended to contribute to these costs.

4.6The funding of capital expenditure appears to be additional to these costs – we have dealt in Part 3 of this report with our understanding of the treatment of capital expenditure under the legislative framework.

4.7Whether the State should have funded capital expenditure by another mechanism – as was suggested in the Kennedy Report findings – is a question that we do not express an opinion on, and which the Commission may wish to consider in the light of all of the evidence available to it.

4.8The Act clearly defined the responsibilities of the State and local authorities as certification of and oversight of the schools, and provision of funding. The responsibility of the School was to care for the child, once accepted into the institution. Again, we have dealt with this in detail in Part 3 of this report.

4.9An important consideration is that we have not seen a situation, in those schools examined, where an Order sought to cease operation of a school, or where the State sought to revoke the licence of a school, on grounds of inadequate conditions.

4.10We note that the system of payment of capitation changed in mid 1944 from being restricted to a maximum based on the number of children certified for a school, to being based on the number of children actually resident in the school. This had, in the case of a school with numbers in excess of the certified level, the effect of increasing the funds provided to the school.

We have examined data available which gives an indication of the adequacy of the grant provided to maintain a child in Ireland during the period under review. We consider the following to provide useful benchmarks against which this issue can be considered:

4.11At the start of the review period the capitation grant appears to have been deemed adequate if supplemented by a grant to pay teacher salaries and the local authorities paid the same grant as the State authorities – this view is expressed in the Cussen Report. In 1946 the former recommendation was implemented, with the introduction of the primary grant for teachers in Industrial Schools. In the case of the Industrial Schools the local authority and State grants appear to have been harmonised from 1940 on.

4.12Over the entire 30-year period the general price level rose by 385 percent, the capitation grant increased by 1,327 percent in the case of Industrial Schools and 1,375 percent in the case of Reformatory Schools. Excluding the very significant increase in the grant in 1969, the grant increased by 663 percent. This data shows that the grant increased by more than inflation – it grew in real/purchasing power terms.

4.13Over the period the Industrial School capitation grant represented, on average, approximately 88 percent of household income per person (not per child). If one accepts the assumption that household income is not spent evenly by each member of the household and that adults spend and consume more than children, then the capitation grant would be closer to the average child’s share of average household income.

4.14For the 30-year period, the industrial school capitation grant was on average approximately 20 percent above unemployment benefit. For the years 1939–49, where capitation was lower than unemployment benefit, it represented 92 percent of unemployment benefit provided. Thereafter, the grant exceeded unemployment benefit for 19 out of 20 years.

4.15Data extrapolated from the 1965–66 Household Budget Survey shows that weekly capitation payments significantly exceeded average household expenditure per child during the period 1960–69.

4.16Data extrapolated from the 1951–52 Household Budget Survey shows that weekly capitation payments were lower than average household expenditure per person in the period 1947 to 1956.

4.17We also have carried out, in Part 9 of this report, some break-even analysis of the financial statements provided by the schools reviewed. Analysis of data based on the accounts available for the period 1951–55 shows that all of the schools, with the exception of Upton, were at or above the break-even number of students. Upton was, based on the average number of students, at 85 percent of the break-even point. Analysis of data based on the accounts available for the period 1961–65 shows that Artane and Daingean were below their break-even point. Based on the average number of students over the period, Artane was at 94 percent of the break-even point, and Daingean was at 93 percent of the break-even point. This illustrates the impact of a decline in student numbers over time.

4.18The individual financial position of the schools examined is dealt with in later sections of the report. At an overview level the Schools were generally close to break-even over the period, with Artane showing a deficit of 3 percent of total expenditure, Daingean showing a deficit of 2 percent of total expenditure, and Upton, Ferryhouse and Goldenbridge, based on the limited financial information available for the period, also apparently close to a break-even position.

4.19If capital and other building-related expenditure is excluded from the available accounts of those schools examined, the income available to the schools is sufficient to meet the other costs of the school.

4.20An analysis of the data provided by the 1951–52 and 1965–66 Household Budget Surveys, set out in Part 4 of this report, shows that the capitation grant in respect of both Industrial Schools and Reformatory Schools exceeded the cumulative amounts recorded in the survey data as spent on food and clothing in those years for which data is available and that the reformatory grant exceeded the cumulative amounts spent on food, clothing and lodging in those years. The Industrial School capitation grant exceeded the cumulative amounts spent on food, clothing and lodging in all years after 1951 for which data is available. Prior to 1951 we note that numbers of children in the system were at a higher level, and economies of scale may have compensated for grant levels lower than Household Budget Survey benchmark data.

4.21We note that the primary grant is reflected in the accounts of very few of the schools examined. It is not clear, as a consequence, whether all of the schools were in receipt of the primary grant. If they were, this unrecognised income would obviously improve the financial position of the schools in question.

4.22Those schools with significant farms had an important additional resource. These farms were, in the schools examined, worked by the children resident in the institution. Of the schools examined, both Artane and Daingean had large farms, while the schools at Upton and Ferryhouse had smaller farms. The school at Goldenbridge had a very small farm and also had income from industrial activity – the assembly of rosaries by the children.

4.23Similarly, the school at Artane had a number of industrial activities, which contributed to the economy of the school.

4.24Over the period, there appears to have been significant economies of scale in meeting the cost of child maintenance. The 1965–66 Household Budget Survey analysis demonstrates that as the numbers of children in a household increase there are two effects (a) the incremental or marginal cost of that additional child is less than the incremental cost of maintaining the previous child and (b) this serves to reduce the average maintenance cost per child. Based on a typical family of two adults and three children, the cost of maintenance per child was approximately 60 percent of the average cost for the first child – indicating the potential impact of economies of scale in this regard.

4.25We note that the impact of numbers of children, and the effect of economies of scale is reflected in contemporary correspondence. This is considered in Part 3.

4.26We also have noted the significant impact of reducing numbers on the schools. In the late 1950s the numbers of children in many of the schools began to decline significantly. At this time, both the Resident Managers and the Department of Finance began to suggest that some of the schools might have to be closed. In our view it appears that the reduction in numbers brought the schools closer to a break-even point – as numbers fell, grant income fell to a point where it was less efficient for the Orders to run the schools.

Adequacy in comparison with other frameworks suggested

4.27A comparison with the capitation funding in the UK shows that the Irish capitation grant was far lower than the UK amount. If it is accepted that the UK serves as a valid benchmark for measurement of the adequacy of the capitation grant, then the Irish capitation grant may be considered to be inadequate.

4.28Similarly, if it is accepted that the calculation of costs of maintaining a child in a modern institution is a valid benchmark for evaluation of the capitation grant over the period under review, it may be concluded that the Irish grant is inadequate.

4.29We note that these comparators do not derive from the particular circumstances or context that applied in Ireland at the time. We consider them to represent what may be termed a contemporary, in the case of the UK, or retrospectively applied, in the case of more modern comparators, best practice comparator and, as such, to be of limited use in determining adequacy of the grant to purpose in the context of Ireland of the time.

Conclusion

4.30The question of whether the capitation funding provided by the State and local authorities to the Industrial and Reformatory Schools over the period 1939–69 was adequate is inherently complex. This complexity derives from from the length of the period under examination and the partial and, in parts contradictory, nature of some of the data available, the availability of other resources (for example, farm produce) and funding sources, and the apparent difference between the State and school’s understanding of the purpose of the grant. We have sought in our work to consider the issue from as many different reasonable perspectives as possible, to try to arrive at a balanced view of the issues involved.

4.31Analysis has been submitted to the Commission, and examined by us, that shows that the schools had less funding than their equivalent in the UK, and that the schools did not have sufficient grant income to provide for the levels of care expected in an equivalent modern institution. Analysis has also been provided that demonstrates that, had the Orders charged a salary for religious working in the institutions, the institution costs would have increased significantly. In one sense, such comparators may provide a valid measure of adequacy.

4.32However, it seems to us that an at least equally valid measure of adequacy must be based on the framework as it existed, and was participated in by all of the relevant parties. In this framework, whatever opinions now may be in relation to the appropriateness of that system, the schools had certain responsibilities and the State and local authorities had others. The Orders may not have charged a full economic rate for the work of the religious staff in the institutions. Neither did they pay those staff a full economic rate for their efforts. The system was such that it relied on charitable contributions of time and effort by individual religious staff, and by contributions from outside the institutions as well as contributions from the State. Based on our consideration of the information available to us it is our opinion that the adequacy of the grant should be considered by reference to the 1908 Act framework – that is that the purpose of the grant is to provide funding towards the food, clothing, lodging and education of the children – and in the context of Irish social and economic conditions during the period. We note that adequacy, in these terms, does not necessarily represent provision of sufficient funding to meet all of the costs of a particular school.

4.33In arriving at an opinion on the issue of adequacy we have noted the following matters:

  • The view expressed in a Department of Education memorandum to the Minister in 1967 in the context of setting up the Kennedy Committee states that the Department was ‘in no position to defend its achievements as far as the size of the grant goes’.
  • Grant levels are lower than some of the available benchmark data in the 1940s and part of the 1950s
  • There are a number of comparators – for example the UK data and the contemporary data suggested in a number of submissions made to the Commission – which exceed the amount of the capitation grant.
  • The Kennedy Report suggests that the grant level was inadequate.

Together these support a conclusion that the grant was not adequate to the needs of the children in the schools. However, we also note:

  • Comparison of the grant with inflation shows the grant to be in excess of that benchmark. This gives us an indicator of the relative purchasing power of the grant.
  • Comparison with the level of unemployment assistance shows that, post 1949, the grant exceeded this basic level of State provision for an adult during the period.
  • The financial information available does not take into account the contribution from the farms and industries to the schools – which were worked by the children and, accordingly, might be considered to supplement the grant.
  • From 1946 the primary grant was designed to meet the cost of teaching the children in Industrial Schools – thus providing additional income to the schools towards one of the purposes of the capitation grant. This income was not available to a Reformatory School; however in this case a higher capitation grant attached.
  • Analysis of the school accounts available shows that the school income was sufficient to meet the costs of the schools when capital expenditure is excluded. We have noted that the position of the schools and the Department on the issue of payment of this cost appears to have differed. We also note that the Orders disagree with the suggestion that the capitation grant was not intended to fund capital expenditure in the schools.
  • The benchmark data from the 1951–52 and 1965–66 Household Surveys shows that the capitation grant in respect of both Industrial Schools and Reformatory Schools exceeded the cumulative amounts recorded in the survey data as spent on food and clothing in all years for which data is available and that the reformatory grant exceeded the cumulative amounts spent on food, clothing and lodging in all years for which data is available. The Industrial School capitation grant exceeded the cumulative amounts spent on food, clothing and lodging in all years after 1951 for which data is available.
  • Economies of scale may have served to close the gap between the expenditure levels per person in the 1940s and 1950s and the grant.
  • We also note that we have not seen a situation, in those schools examined, where an Order sought to cease operation of a school, or where the State sought to revoke the licence of a school, on grounds of inadequate conditions. This suggests that, at the time, neither the State authorities nor the Orders considered the position to be so inadequate as to warrant closure.

4.34Taken together, these points suggest that the grant was adequate to provide for the needs of the children in the context of Ireland of the period.

4.35Having considered all of the above information it seems to us persuasive that the analysis of 1951–52 and 1965–66 Household Surveys show that the Industrial School and Reformatory School’s capitation grant exceeded the cumulative cost of food and clothing for all years for which information is available in the period reviewed. This analysis also shows that the grants exceeded the cumulative amounts spent on food, clothing and lodging in all years for which information was available after 1951. In this context we also note that school numbers were highest in the 1940s and that economies of scale may have compensated for grant levels that were comparatively lower than the extrapolated Household Budget Survey benchmark data during this period. Accordingly, we believe it reasonable to conclude that the grant was adequate to supply the needs specified by the 1908 Act, as judged against contemporary data.

Part 5 Christian Brothers Artane

The application of State funding to the care of children in the institution

5.1The income and expenditure of Artane Industrial School, as presented in the school accounts for the period 1939–69 is as follows:

Exhibit 1

1940–49 1950–59 1960–69 TOTAL
INCOME 493,018 871,580 929,580 2,294,178
EXPENDITURE 507,429 842,366 1,015,201 2,364,996
SURPLUS /<DEFICIT> <14,411> 29,214 <85,621> <70,818>

5.2Capitation grants represented approximately 80–84 percent of income of the institution in each decade over the period 1939–69. The total amount of capitation grants received over the period was equivalent €1.87 million.

5.3An analysis of expenditure as recorded in the school financial statements presented in respect of Artane shows that funding was applied as follows

Exhibit 2

1940–49 1950–59 1960–69
% % %
Industrial departments 18% 21% 9%
Farm, poultry & garden 12% 12% 7%
Salaries & wages 28% 20% 16%
Provisions purchased 13% 16% 17%
Clothing 3% 2% 4%
Fuel, light, power 8% 7% 6%
Capital expenditure 1% 18%
Transfer to community account 7% 11% 8%
Other 11% 10% 15%
Total 100% 100% 100%

5.4An analysis of farm income and expenditure shows that the farm generated a surplus of equivalent €79,271 over the entire period. We note that farm income is reflected in the school accounts, and the farm costs were charged to the school. It appears from the available evidence that this surplus does not include the produce consumed by the school and house. Similarly, the internal contribution from trades does not appear to be measured in the accounts. From the available evidence we believe that it is reasonable to conclude that the contribution to the economy of the institution at Artane by the farm and trades was significant. In addition to the economic contribution of the farm and trades to life at Artane, these activities also served to train the boys for occupations outside of the institution.

5.5Capital expenditure on the Industrial School was incurred primarily in the 1960s. Prior to then, considerable concern was expressed in Visitation Reports both about the state of repair of the school and the appropriateness of investing in such work given the uncertainty regarding the future of the school. It is not apparent from the Visitation Reports why the decision to undertake an extensive programme of upgrade and refurbishment was made, when reports from the later part of the 1950s stressed the uncertainty of the future of the institution and the inappropriateness of incurring such costs in that environment. We can only suppose that either clarity was provided regarding the future use of the institution or the state of disrepair was adjudged to have reached crisis proportions or that the Community wished to ensure that the facility was brought up to an acceptable standard before the premises ceased to be part of the Reformatory and Industrial School system.

5.6The capital expenditure incurred in Artane was funded primarily from the school account – with the exception of the items funded in the 1940s by the House, and refunds received from the Board of Works referred to in the Visitation Reports that do not appear to have been included in the accounts. The House accounts in the 1950s and 1960s show very low levels of capital expenditure.

5.7During the period, a large portion of the lands at Artane was sold by the Order. The funds raised from these sales were recorded in the House accounts.

Staffing/student ratios over the period of the review

5.8The ratio of students to all staff was between 8 and 9 to 1 for most of the 1940s and 1950s. From the late 1950s the ratio increased to approximately 6 to 1, ultimately increasing to 0.75 to 1 in 1969.Throughout the 1940s and up until the 1950s there was a relatively consistent number of lay employees and Brothers involved with the Institution. There were approximately 38–46 lay workers and approximately 31–36 Brothers (with an average of 16 teaching in the primary school). When the school numbers fell significantly in 1955 to 653 (1954: 737), a decrease of 11 percent, the school responded by reducing the numbers of Brothers from 36 to 26, while making little change to the number of lay workers. Through the late 1950s and into the 1960s student numbers continued to fall by an average of 14 percent per annum. In response the number of lay staff employed was reduced considerably from 44 in 1955 to just 12 in 1969. Twenty Brothers remained at the school in 1969.

The financial consequences for the relevant institutions as a result of caring for the children over the period 1939 to 1969

5.9The financial statements presented to us in respect of Artane show a situation where the school ran at a loss, while the house achieved a surplus – some of which, we have been advised, was used to clear school debts.

5.10This presentation derives from a definition of financial parameters; that is:

  • The school bore the costs of maintaining the children, operating the farm and trades, feeding and paying the Brothers (stipends) and lay staff (salaries), and funding the upkeep of the property. The income available for this purpose was, in the main, the income provided by the State, supplemented by earnings from the farm and trades.
  • The house bore the costs of maintaining the community of Brothers. The income available to this end was the stipends from the school, supplemented by rents and other income. The house had beneficial entitlement to the land and buildings, and held any revenues from this source: for example the sale of lands. Visitation dues were returned to the Order from the house income.

5.11As discussed in Part 3, the funding of capital expenditure from the capitation grant is not consistent with our understanding of the framework provided for by the Children Act 1908 and the State position as expressed at the time of termination of the 1946 Scheme. If the capital expenditure incurred at the school is excluded, then the capitation grant would have been sufficient to cover the operating expenses of the school.

5.13The financial consequences for the relevant institution of caring for the children over the period 1939–69 might be summarised as follows;

Exhibit 3

%
Total expenditure 2,364,996 100%
Funded by:
State and local authorities 1,868,443 79%
Other income 425,734 18%
Deficit – funded by Order 70,819 3%

We understand that the Order funded a final overdraft on the school account of €111,737. The above summary is based on the presentation of the accounts discussed in paragraph 5.4 of Part 5.

Part 6 Rosminian Fathers Upton and Ferryhouse

The application of State funding to the care of children in the institution

6.1No financial information is available in respect of the school at Upton for the years 1940–49. Financial information is available in respect of the years;

  • – 1952, 1953
  • – 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966.

The school at Upton closed in 1966.

Similarly, a limited amount of financial information is available in respect of the institution run by the Rosminian Fathers at Ferryhouse in County Tipperary. Financial accounts were made available for the following years:

  • – 1941, 1947
  • – 1951, 1952, 1953, 1954
  • – 1960, 1961, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969.

6.2An analysis of expenditure in Upton and Ferryhouse is set out in Exhibits 39 and 42 (Part 6) respectively.

6.3We note that the accounts available record that capital expenditure in the amount of equivalent €59,420 was incurred at Upton during the period 1939–66. There is no evidence that a specific contribution was made by the State in respect of this expenditure. We have identified capital expenditure in the accounts of Ferryhouse in the amount of equivalent €84,931. We note that in 1968 grant income of equivalent €19,173 was received in respect of a new school building, although the source of this income is not identified. We have dealt in an earlier chapter of this report with the issue of funding of capital expenditure.

Staffing/student ratios over the period of the review

6.4Information is not available in respect of the staffing levels at Ferryhouse and Upton over the period under review.

The financial consequences for the relevant institutions as a result of caring for the children over the period 1939–69.

6.5The accounts provided show that the institution at Upton showed a surplus of income over expenditure in all years presented except two – 1952, where the accounts showed a deficit of equivalent €17, and 1962, where the accounts showed a deficit of equivalent €1,588. Of the 15 years where accounts have been presented in respect of the school at Ferryhouse, seven show a deficit, while eight show a surplus of income over expenditure.

6.6We have, for the purposes of assessing the financial consequences for the Rosminian Fathers of running the Upton and Ferryhouse schools, also examined the available financial statements of the Province.

The balance sheets of the schools show that both schools had a surplus of assets over liabilities at closure (Upton 31st December 1966: equivalent €17,233, Ferryhouse 31st December 1969: equivalent €19,790). Taken together, it appears that the schools contributed a net surplus position to the Order at the end of the period reviewed.

The Province accounts at the same date show an excess of liabilities over assets of equivalent € 10,661.

6.7We note that the Rosminian Fathers have, in presenting information to us, drawn attention to the history of under-funding and persistent scarcity of resource in the schools. They have also noted that the community and schools were, of necessity, interdependent, and both significantly dependent on the produce of the farm for essentials. The Order also notes that the Province did not maintain central funds, and could not, accordingly, provide significant additional support. The net liability position of the Province at 31st December 1969 supports this contention. We attach at Appendix XIII the submissions of the Order in relation to the financial position of the schools.

In our consideration of the submissions made by the Rosminian Fathers, we note the following points as relevant:

  • — The Order has drawn our attention to the fact that the Province needed to fund other activities. It is our view that the schools were, when the entire period is viewed and based on the improved net asset position in the closing balance sheets of the schools, a net contributor to the Province, but that the yea-on-year contribution was not sufficient to yield the Order a significant surplus.
  • — We acknowledge that the accounts in certain years point to shortages of fundings in those years, and that these highlight the particular financial difficulties of the relevant schools. However, we note that the balance sheets of the schools at the end of the period indicate a net accumulation of assets over the entire life of the school.
  • — There is evidence that additional capital funding appears to have been provided – presumably by the State – in respect of only one item of capital expenditure incurred at the Upton and Ferryhouse schools – grant income in respect of a new school building received in 1968. We note, however, that it has not been possible to confirm the source of this grant.

Part 7 St. Vincent’s Industrial School – Goldenbridge

The application of State funding to the care of children in the institution

7.1A limited amount of financial information is available in respect of Goldenbridge industrial school:

  • — No accounts were available for the period 1939–50

— Accounts were available for the period 1955–69 in six-monthly sets with the exception of the six-month periods ended 31st December 1957, 30th June 1968 and 30th June 1969. The period ended 31st December 19606 has also been omitted from our analysis as this appears to be a duplication of the 30th June 1960 accounts and therefore is of questionable validity. Two different sets of accounts were made available to us for 1953. For the purpose of this analysis we have used SOMGB-00568/12 and SOMGB-00568/13. In the years 19617 and 19638 we note that the accounts of the Goldenbridge do not appear to tot correctly. We have used the detailed analysis in the accounts rather than relying on sub-totals as presented.

7.2We have not received any financial information from the Sisters of Mercy in relation to bead-making. We have calculated, based on information from a company that Goldenbridge sold beads to, that the likely range of the annual income from beads was IR£717 per annum to IR£2,869 per annum.

7.3We note that, with the exception of the 1953 accounts, there is no record of the school having received primary grant funding in respect of teachers in the Industrial School.

7.4A building account was operated during the period under review. We received accounts for the period 1961–66 in six-monthly sets with the exception of the six months ended 30th June 1962 and 30th June 1964.

7.5The income and expenditure statements for the industrial school, for the years provided, show a surplus of €33,409

7.6The most significant items of expenditure can be summarised as follows:

Exhibit 4

1951–60 1961–69
% %
Dietary expenses 34 26
Wages 21 18
Clothing 12 12
Building repairs and decorations 11 16
Fuel and light 7 7
Furniture and fittings 3 3
Medical 1 2
Other 11 16
Total 100 100

The wages identified above consist of staff wages, payments to the Resident Manager and payments to the reverend mother.

7.8Capital expenditure in the school account amounted to €68,745 recorded in the income and expenditure statements received. This was mainly attributable to repairs to building, decorations and furniture and fittings. Capital expenditure financed from the building account during the period 1961–66 amounted to €90,000, giving a total capital expenditure of €158,745 for the period reviewed. Due to the incomplete nature of the records we are unable to determine whether the lodgements to the building account represent capital grants or general funding of the school which was allocated to capital expenditure. It is unclear how much of this fund was used for properties other than for the Industrial School; although based on a review of a sample of such expenditure we did note a certificate for payment in respect of Rathdrum in the amount of IR£750 – suggesting that the fund was not applied solely to the Industrial School.9

Commentary on the effects of changes in the number of children in the relevant institutions over the period 1939–69

7.9The number of children committed to Goldenbridge Industrial School peaked in the early 1960s and then began to decline in the late 1960s.

A commentary on staffing/student ratios over the period of the review

7.10We understand that the staffing consisted of two nuns (both teaching and one having the dual responsibility of resident manager), two lay teachers and between approximately 8 and 10 other staff (seamstress, domestic, etc.). We understand that numbers of teaching staff remained constant during the period.

Financial consequences for the relevant institutions as a result of caring for the children over the period 1939–69

7.11There was a surplus in the bank account of the Industrial school at 30th November 1969 of €16,265

7.12The financial consequences for Goldenbridge of caring for the children over the period 1939–69 may be characterised as being close to break-even. This view is consistent with the available financial statements. We note, however, that the school accounts do not include funds from the industrial activity at the school, and that they do not include any amount in respect of primary grant received, with the exception of an amount of IR£878 in 1953.

7.13There were peak years for payments of wages and salaries in 1953 and 1954 of approximated €4,900 per annum. These levels were not reached again until 1967. We note from the payments books, which are only available subsequent to 1960, that they show a payment, recorded as wages, to the reverend mother of IR£90 per month. We do not know whether this payment actually represented wages or if the funds were used for the school or for another purpose.

7.14The records of Carysfort Mother House shown to us indicate payments received between 1939 and 1954 on a monthly basis totalling between approximately €5,000 and €9,000 per annum described as ‘National Education Goldenbridge’. The Carysfort accounts indicate payments totalling between approximately €1,000 and €5,000 per annum to the Goldenbridge Convent and Goldenbridge school expenses. The source of the income is not clear nor is the extent to which the payments related to wages. It is also not clear how much of this income, or expenditure, relates to the Industrial School, rather than the adjacent national school.

Part 8 St Conleth’s Reformatory School, Daingean

The application of State funding to the care of children in the institution

8.1The income and expenditure of St Conleth’s Reformatory School, Daingean, as presented in the school accounts for the period 1940–69 is as follows:

Exhibit 5

1940–49 1950–59 1960–69 TOTAL
INCOME 148,231 223,993 354,657 726,881
EXPENDITURE 147,222 222,106 375,259 744,587
SURPLUS /<DEFICIT> 1,009 1,887 <20,602> <17,706>

8.2Capitation grants represented, on average, 76 percent of total income of the institution for the period 1940–69. In individual years, however, grants ranged from a low of 58 percent of total income in 1969 to a high of 90 percent of total income in 1941. The later years appear to reflect lower percentages which is, in part, a reflection of increasing levels of income being generated from the farm, and the declining numbers of children in the institutions.

8.3An analysis of expenditure as recorded in the school accounts shows that funding was applied as follows:

Exhibit 6

1940–49 1950–59 1960–69
% % %
Dietary expenses 19 21 19
Farm 14 17 22
Clothing and shoe-making 14 10 7
Payments to province 14 6 4
Furnishing and carpentry 7 9 10
Wages 7 10 10
Rent 4 3 2
Fuel and light 5 6 10
Car, lorry and freight 3 5 1
Medical 3 3 3
Rates, taxes, and insurances 1 2
Other 10 9 10
Total 100 100 100

8.4Separate accounts were not maintained by the Order in respect of the farm and it has been necessary therefore to base our examination on farm income and expenditure recorded in the school accounts. These accounts do not, we understand, reflect the value derived by the school and the Order from the farm produce. Nor do the school accounts reflect the labour of the boys and the community members used on the farm.

An analysis of the farm income and expenditure, as recorded in the school accounts, shows that a deficit of €25,003 was generated over the period 1940–69. It is not known, however, to what extent expenditure on the farm of a capital nature has been included in arriving at this deficit.

Irrespective of the size of the accounting deficit generated from the farm, it is clear from documentation reviewed that a benefit was derived from the farm in that the residents were recorded as being well fed at least in the early 1940s when numbers were at or near the highest level for the 30-year period.10

We note, in this context, that the farm was owned by the State. The views of one official regarding the profit-generating ability of the farm and use to which such profits should be put are stated in a Department of Education report prepared in 1955 following a visit to the school:

I am of the opinion that very handsome profits are made on the farm but I can see no evidence of any of the profits being ploughed back for the benefit of the boys or the improvement of the buildings.11

The views of the Department Official are not consistent with the record in the financial statements, which show a deficit from the farm, and it is not clear how the official arrived at his opinion.

8.5In addition, activities at the Reformatory School in Daingean included tailoring and shoe-making which would have met a significant portion of the needs of the boys in this regard. Documentation indicates that at one point production in the tailor’s shop was sufficient that the school could provide for all clothing requirements.12

8.6Under the terms of the lease agreement, the Oblate Order was responsible for repairs and maintenance expenditure incurred at the school. This responsibility extended to keeping the premises ‘in good and tenantable state of repair and condition’. It was the view of the State that repair and maintenance expenditure was provided for in the capitation grant.

The accounts of the school record expenditure in the amount of €72,422 on repairs and furnishing and carpentry over the 30-year period under review which represents 10 percent of total expenditure for the period reviewed. While the farm land and buildings would appear to have been kept in good condition, some of the buildings occupied by the residents would appear to have been in disrepair.13

8.7In addition to this repairs and maintenance expenditure, a significant amount of building work was carried out by the OPW in Daingean between 1940 and 1969. Correspondence reviewed indicates that requests for capital funding were ongoing throughout the 1939–69 period and both the State’s and the school management’s frustration in this regard is quite apparent14. Over £85,500 (€108,563) was incurred by the OPW in capital expenditure up to 1960. Throughout the 1960s requests for additional work continued but it is less clear what work was actually sanctioned and ultimately carried out. Despite the significant capital investment and repair work carried out in Daingean, Department of Education records indicate that Daingean was not in a good state of repair. Correspondence between the OPW and Departments of Finance and Education in 1969 and the early 1970s which indicates that certain buildings in Daingean were ‘structurally unsound’15.

8.8In transferring the Reformatory to Daingean, there was a need for the Oblate Order to house its training college elsewhere. An estate was purchased in Piltown, County Kilkenny for this purpose. This purchase was funded from monies received by the Order in relation to the closure of the Glencree Reformatory.

The effects of changes in the number of children over the period 1939–69

8.9There was a decline in numbers of children committed in the mid to late 1960s. As the numbers dropped below 200 in the 1950s, the Resident Manager at Daingean expressed the view that the grant should be on a sliding scale since the overhead costs were reasonably constant regardless of the number of boys while the income stream was linked directly to the number of boys under detention. Break-even analysis carried out on a sample basis in the course of this review indicates that during the period 1951–55, when the average number of students detained was 156, the break-even point was 122 while a decade later, in the 1961–65 period, when the average number of students detained was 113, the break-even level was 121.

Staffing/student ratios over the period of the review

8.10Throughout the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s there were between 22 and 25 Oblate Fathers and Brothers resident at the school. The Oblates were assisted by two lay teachers, a carpenter, a tailor and a drill instructor giving a total staff complement of up to 30. The ratio of students to number of staff ranges from 7:1 in the 1940s to 5:1 in the 1950s and 4:1 in the 1960s.

The staffing structure, particularly in terms of the numbers of Fathers and Brothers, remained broadly the same over the entire period.

The financial consequences for the institution as a result of caring for the children over the period 1939–69

8.11A balance sheet has not been available in respect of St Conleth’s Reformatory School, Daingean for any of the years under review.

8.12The total deficit generated by the school as recorded in the accounts over the period 1939–69 amounts to €17,706 with the result that there was a deficit in the bank account of the Reformatory School at 30th November 1969 in the amount of €11,710.

8.13A summary of the financial effect on the Order of running the school is as follows;

Exhibit 7

%
Total expenditure 744,587 100%
Funded by:
State and local authorities 533,614 72%
Other income 193,273 26%
Deficit to be funded 17,700 2%

We note that the school remained open after the period of our review. We are not aware whether the deficit identified above remained at the date of closure of the school and how any such deficit, if it existed, was funded.

8.14The position illustrated by the transcripts, statements and documentation provided by the Oblate Order, who ran the school, is that making ends meet was a constant struggle, especially in light of the ongoing works and maintenance required. Repair and maintenance expenditure, being the responsibility of the Oblate Order under the terms of the lease, represented a constant outflow of funds and contributed significantly to the deficits at the school.

8.15The Order contends that the non-payment of salaries to Brothers and Fathers who dedicated their time to the School went some way towards minimising the deficits incurred. While it is noted that the Oblate staff in St Conleth’s were not in receipt of a salary, the accounts indicate that there were payments during this period to the Province and that in addition to this there was expenditure incurred in respect of retreats, the sacristy and sanctuary, fathers’ allowance and sundries as well as reimbursement of expenses of Fathers/Brothers. Amounts paid in this regard are outlined below. The Brothers and Fathers also boarded and lodged at the school.

Exhibit 8

1940–49
1950–59
1960–69
TOTAL
Payments to Province 20,087 13,650 16,189 49,926
Retreats & holidays 2,112 3,338 9,061 14,511
Sacristy & sanctuary 983 1,838 1,468 4,289
Stipends to provincial 115 3,104 3,219
Fathers allowance & sundries 665 1,186 3,317 5,168
Fr Shannon’s disbursements 838 838
Fr Keane’s passage 71 71
TOTAL 24,871 20,012 33,139 78,022
% of total expenditure 16% 9% 9% 10%

8.16It has been submitted the Commission that had the school paid salaries to the members of the Order working in the school, the deficits would have been higher, and that the salaries would have exceeded payments made to the Province and amounts expended to the benefit of the Order or its members working in the school. This logic is supported by calculations of salary levels from the time, and the calculations appear reasonable. However, we note in this regard that:

  • it was quite clear at all times that the school was not a state school;
  • the system of Reformatory and Industrial Schools did not provide for payment, by the State, of salaries to these employed in the school, and the Order willingly participated in the system;
  • the Order did not pay salaries to the relevant staff, as they gave up their time and labour as part of their vacation.

Accordingly, we do not think it is appropriate to restate the accounts to recognise these salaries, as to do so would not accurately represent the situation at the time.

Part 9 – Comparative analysis

Comparative analysis

9.1When provisions and operational expenses were considered together the level of this aspect of expenditure as a percentage of total costs was relatively consistent across the schools irrespective of whether they had a farm.

9.2The level of capital expenditure varies significantly between schools but peak expenditure, with the exception of Daingean, consistently occurred in the late 1960s, which is notable as children numbers were falling at that stage. There was discussion throughout the 1960s as to what future the schools had – and there appears to have been a decision (although no explanation as to why) across in all schools to invest in buildings towards the end of the decade. In Daingean, expenditure on capital items is spread more evenly across the period.

9.3Wages, salaries stipends and other religious costs were most significant as a percentage of total costs in the earliest years for which accounts are available.

9.4Stipends and other religious costs in isolation as a percentage of total costs, within the same time period, vary significantly. We are not aware of the rationale for the level of these charges. One explanation may be that the level of stipends varied with the level of funds available. This explanation would also be consistent with a larger school being able to be more efficient in terms of cost per child and therefore generating a larger surplus available for distribution to the religious Order.

Break-even analysis

9.5When variable income and expenditure are considered in combination we can see that there is consistently a positive contribution. A positive contribution indicates that income was available towards the funding of fixed and other costs. Over time the contribution per child has increased. This is due to the variable income increasing by a higher monetary value than the variable costs per child.

9.6The break-even point for Artane and Upton decreased significantly when compared over time. In the case of Artane the break-even level decreased due to the increase in the level of variable income and variable costs by approximately 100 percent to €255 and €126 respectively per child per year, increasing the monetary amount of the contribution. In the case of Upton, unlike other schools, variable cost levels per child remained constant at approximately €110 per child per year while variable income increased by approximately 50 percent.

9.7The break-even analysis for the sample period in the 1950s shows that all of the schools, with the exception of Upton, had numbers of children in excess of the break-even point – suggesting that they should have been in a position to run at least at break-even. In the 1960s, Artane and Daingean experienced a decline in the number of children to a point below their break-even point.

9.8The break-even calculation does not include capital expenditure. If capital expenditure were included, the break-even point would increase in each school. In the 1950s, capital expenditure was low and would not impact the break-even point significantly. In the 1960s, where capital expenditure was higher, adjusting for capital expenditure would mean that Artane, An Daingean, Upton and Ferryhouse would have numbers of children below their break-even point.

9.9In considering this analysis we believe that two points should be noted. The decline in the numbers of children during the late 1950s and through the 1960s meant that the schools became increasingly uneconomic to run, with some schools reaching a point where they were below break-even point. However, significant increases in the capitation grant in the late 1960s, outside of our sample period, would have compensated for this to an extent. We also note that there is an argument that the capitation grant was not intended to fund capital expenditure – for the reasons we have examined in the early part of this report. If this is accepted as a reasonable understanding of the position, then the break-even analysis excluding the impact of capital expenditure is the more appropriate representation of the position of the individual schools, as regards the expected impact of the State contribution. Of course, the schools still had to fund this expenditure, from other sources if necessary.

3. An analysis of the capitation method of funding the Institutions as operated at the time

This section of our report provides an analysis of the capitation method of funding the Institutions as operated during the period 1938–69. In doing so, we have sought to provide the reader with details, in summary form, of the Industrial and Reformatory School system as it applied in Ireland between 1939 and 1969, an understanding of the roles of the various institutions active in that system and the background to the funding of the Schools under relevant legislation.

3.1 Origins of the Reformatory and Industrial Schools system

The Irish system of Industrial Schools and Reformatories pre-dates the State. Much of the governing legislation and, accordingly, structures and frameworks implemented to give effect to this legislation, relevant to the period of our review was passed when Ireland was a constituent part of the UK. Subsequent to the foundation of the Irish State this legislation was retained on the statute book, and the framework within which these institutions were funded and run remained in place.

The childcare system in Ireland evolved from various systems of aid to the poor. In the middle 19th century the only public provision for children was in workhouses. Subsequently voluntary institutions operated under the auspices of religious organisations and charitable persons provided in some measure for the care of juvenile offenders. These institutions did not receive assistance from public monies and were not subject to inspection or supervision by any State authority.

Reformatory schools were introduced to Ireland under the Reformatory Schools (Ireland) Act 1858 which provided for the State certification of such institutions to care for juvenile offenders. The Act certified a number of existing voluntary institutions and homes as suitable for the reception of youthful offenders committed by the courts. It also provided for an inspection process.

The introduction of reformatories was followed by a different type of institution – Industrial Schools – to meet the needs of neglected, orphaned and abandoned children.

The Industrial Schools (Ireland) Act 1868 provided for the establishment of Industrial Schools in Ireland. The Act did not provide for the cost of establishment of such schools. Public bodies were precluded from establishing Industrial Schools or making contributions towards such costs. The State provided funds to the schools by means of a capitation grant. Thus, the legislation provided a framework within which concerned sections of society could establish Industrial Schools and receive funding from the State towards the operation of those schools. We understand that this role was often assumed by various religious congregations, often with the support of concerned citizens or groups of citizens who provided property or capital funding to permit the initial establishment of the schools.

The Prevention of Crimes Act 1871 extended the classes of children who might be sent to Industrial Schools.

Reformatory Schools were reserved for those children who had committed and were convicted of an offence. Industrial Schools, on the other hand, were designed to prevent children becoming candidates for Reformatory Schools by removing them from a socially undesirable environment and providing them with an industrial training.

The 1868 Act was replaced by the Children Act 1908, which provided that schools were certified and funded by the State and the State had role in ensuring that minimum standards were maintained, that finances were in order and that the legislation was observed.

Defining an ‘Industrial School’

Section 44 of the Children Act 1908 specifies an Industrial School as ‘a school for the industrial training of children, in which children are lodged, clothed, and fed as well as taught’. The expression ‘children’ means persons under the age of 14 years but was later revised upward in the Children Act 1941 to 17 years of age.

Defining a ‘Reformatory School’

Section 44 of the Children Act 1908 defines a Reformatory School as ‘a school for the industrial training of youthful offenders, in which youthful offenders are lodged, clothed, and fed as well as taught’. The age limits that applied in reformatory schools were the same as those that applied in Industrial Schools.

The Children Act 1908 amended the preclusion from public establishment of schools but limited use was made of the powers. Up until the 1940s almost the entire capital cost of Industrial and Reformatory Schools was met by religious orders and private charitable societies. It is our understanding that the network of schools was, by the time of the 1908 Act, well-established and that there was no suggestion of a need for change by either the State or the relevant Orders. In essence, the newly independent Irish State inherited a system of schools that were by then well established, and an attendant funding structure which provided for the payment by the State of a grant on a capitation basis towards the cost of maintaining those children in the schools.

The 1926 School Attendance Act provided for committal proceeding to be taken against parents who failed to send a child to school or parents who failed to respond to a warning notice sent by school attendance committees.

The 1929 Children Act made it easier to commit children. The 1941 Children Act made it possible to commit children without parental consent in limited circumstances. The 1941 Act also extended the age limits of children who could be committed from 14 to 17.

The 1952 Adoption Act was viewed as a contributory factor in the subsequent decline in the number of children in Industrial Schools.16

3.2 Responsibility framework

We believe it important, in considering the terms of reference prescribed by the Commission, to clearly identify the roles and responsibilities of the relevant participants in the operation of the Reformatory and Industrial Schools. These roles and reponsibilities derive from, in the first instance, the legislative framework of at the time.

The primary piece of legislation governing the Reformatory and Industrial Schools operating in Ireland during the period 1939–69 was the Children Act 1908. This Act prescribed the recognition of schools, the responsibilities of the Treasury (or Central Government – post-Independence, the Department of Education and Department of Finance took this role), local authorities and Managers of the schools. It also defined the relationship between the State, local authorities and schools. In particular, we would draw attention to:

  • Section 45, which defined the basis for recognition of a school by the Secretary of State as fit for the reception of children, upon inspection by the authorised inspectors

• Section 52, which defines the responsibilities of the Managers of a school, once they have accepted a child – to teach, train, lodge, clothe and feed the child – ‘when they have once so accepted any such offender or child they shall be deemed to have undertaken to teach, train, lodge, clothe and feed him during the whole period for which he is liable to be detained in the school’

• Section 73, which defines the responsibility of the Treasury – to approve and make payment of any sums ‘on such conditions as the Secretary of State may, with the approval of Treasury recommend towards the expenses of any youthful offender or child detained in a certified school’

  • Section 74, which defines the responsibility of the local authority – to provide for the reception and maintenance of the child in a suitable certified reformatory or industrial school

• Section 74(8), which permits the local authority to ‘contract with the managers of any certified school for the reception and maintenance therein of youthful offenders or children for whose reception and maintenance the authority are required under this section to make provision’

  • Section 48, which prescribed the conditions under which the managers of a school could resign certification
  • Section 56, which provided for the establishment of a superannuation scheme for the officers of the school by the Managers of the certified schools, either individually or collectively.

The schools were the property of the religious Orders. In this regard we note both from the legal position – the properties comprising the schools were in the possession of the individual Orders, in the case of Daingean by way of lease – and the organisation of the school activity – that is, each school was managed on a day-to-day basis without direct interference from the State, the decisions made in terms of acceptance of children, daily activities within the schools and the continued operation of the individual school rested primarily with the Resident Manager of the school. This understanding is also consistent with the statement in the Artane submission that ‘The schools were the property of the Orders and as such they were entitled to protect and safeguard their interests in these schools.’17and with the file note documenting discussions between the State and the Order at the time of foundation of the Daingean Reformatory – ‘Mr Frank Duffy, representative of the Dept of Ed, made it quite clear that the Reformatory School though recognised and financed by the State was not a STATE INSTITUTION but a private school under the management of a religious body. There was no legislation to constitute it a STATE INSTITUTION’.18

State funding appeared to have been considered to be a contribution towards the reception and maintenance of a child, rather than an undertaking to fund the entire cost of any school. In this regard we would draw attention to:

• The submission from the Rosminian Fathers, which states ‘The level of capitation granted was never claimed to be enough by the State. It was envisaged as contributory funding. It was calculated on compromise and it was accepted in desperation. All residual expenses were carried by the Order’;19

• An early version of the 1946 scheme to provide for some element of capital expenditure suggested that capital expenditure would be funded one-third by the relevant Order, one-third by the local authority and one-third by the Exchequer – ‘Local authorities to compound for their statutory liability for provision, etc, of schools by bearing one-third of the cost of authorised expenditure for the purpose, the amount to be apportioned amongst them by reference to the number of committed children chargeable to each. The State to undertake liability for an equal contribution. The schools to pay the remaining third.’20

Taken together, it is our view that the framework of operation of the schools, was one where the State sought to place relevant children in privately owned and operated schools, in accordance with section 74 of the 1908 Act. The State made provision towards the costs of maintaining those children resident in the schools by means of a capitation grant. The respective roles and responsibilities of the State and schools are described in greater detail in the following paragraphs, but might be summarised as:

  • The State is responsible for the certification and inspection of schools.

• The local authority is responsible for providing for the reception and maintenance of the child in a suitable certified reformatory or industrial school – which responsibility it can discharge by ‘contract with the managers of any certified school for the reception and maintenance therein of youthful offenders or children for whose reception and maintenance the authority are required under this section to make provision’.

  • Both the State and the local authority have a responsibility to provide funding towards the costs of a child maintained in a certified reformatory or industrial school.
  • The Managers of the certified school have a responsibility, once they have accepted a child, to teach, train, lodge, clothe and feed the child.

3.3 The role of the Department of Education

The 1908 Act provided for a measure of oversight of the system of Reformatory and Industrial Schools by the State, a role which was occupied by the Department of Education, during the period 1939–69.

The relationship between the Department of Education and the religious Orders was set against the context of the time and the reliance on the religious order for first- and second-level education.21 The Department clearly recognised the autonomy of the religious congregations in managing and operating privately owned Industrial and Reformatory Schools. The Department was also aware that it was reliant on the religious congregations for care and education of the children in Industrial and Reform Schools.

It was originally proposed (in the Children’s Bill 1941) that the appointment of a Resident Managers would be subject to approval of the Department of Education. Following apparent opposition from the Resident Managers this requirement was reduced to a simple notification when the Children Act was passed. Accordingly, the Department of Education had little or no role in the appointment of staff. The appointment of a Resident Manager had to be notified to the Department and even then it was after the event, not beforehand. Employment of staff was left to the Resident Manager22.

The Department oversight role was limited to:

  • Evaluating school management through the general inspection and medical inspection process
  • Assessing teaching practice through the standard inspection process.

The Department issued circulars to Resident Managers addressing various policy, funding and administrative issues such as: capitation, diet, teaching standards, teachers pay, home leave, travel etc. Many of the circulars appear to be in response to concerns of the Department with regard to particular aspects of school management.23

It was often the case that an increase in capitation was accompanied by a circular/communication from the Department of Education to the Resident Managers making it clear that the Department/Minister expected the increased capitation to be reflected in the improvements in the diets, clothing, health and welfare of the children. One example is that the Minister expected ‘all round’ improvements in the schools, particular with regard to dietary provision24. In another case, a 1947 circular states

The Minister trusts that following the improvement in their financial position as a result of the increase in the rate of capitation grants the schools will effect with the least possible delay substantial improvements in the standard of dietary, maintenance, clothing &c., of the children committed to their care.25

The Department appeared to be sympathetic to the position of the schools and usually lobbied the Department of Finance for an increase in capitation significantly higher than that ultimately awarded.

Department of Education statement

In its submission to the Commission the Department says:

The Department’s records indicate that it pressed the Department of Finance for additional funding during much of the period and was successful in securing increases in the capitation grants at various intervals. At the same time there was recognition that the funding increases secured did not go far enough. A Departmental memorandum to the Minister in 1967 in the context of setting up the Kennedy Committee states that the Department was ‘in no position to defend its achievements as far as the size of the grant goes’.

We have considered this submission in arriving at our findings.

3.4 The role of other State Departments

While the Department of Education was responsible for overseeing and funding the care and education of the children, it did not have a policy or operational role in regard to the committal into care. This was overseen by the Departments of Justice and Health. Similarly, the role of the Department of Education in relation to matters of finance was limited – ultimately, all financial decisions were subject to the oversight and approval of the Department of Finance. At inter-Departmental level, most of the material seen by us relates to communications between the Department of Education and the Department of Finance.

The Department of Finance

This was the Department with which the Department of Education had most contact in relation to industrial and reformatory schools.

Since the foundation of the State the Department of Finance has had a central role in the economic and financial management of the State and the overall management of public funds. The Ministers and Secretaries Act 1924, section 1(ii), lays out the functions of the Department:

The Department of Finance which shall comprise the administration and business generally of the public finance of Saorstát Eireann and all powers, duties and functions connected with the same, including in particular the collection and expenditure of the revenues of Saorstát Eireann from whatever source arising (save as may be otherwise provided by law), and the supervision and control of all purchases made for or on behalf of and all supplies of commodities and goods held by any Department of State and the disposal thereof, and also the business, powers, duties and functions of the branches and officers of the public service specified in the first part of the Schedule to this Act, and of which Department the head shall be, and shall be styled an t-Aire Airgid or (in English) the Minister for Finance.

Thus, as the Department responsible for all State expenditure, the Department of Finance had an oversight and approval role in relation to any State monies applied to the schools. This role is reflected Children Act 1941 whereby any changes in the capitation rates required the consent of the Minister for Finance, but it extended to all categories of Exchequer expenditure on the schools.

The files provided by the Department of Finance illustrate the detailed nature of this role – not only did the Department of Finance oversee and approve the annual estimates in relation to voted expenditure on the Reformatory and Industrial Schools, but any supplementary expenditure, even where amounts were relatively small, seem to have been passed to the Department for approval. The files presented include, for example, individual medical expenses, transport expenses and requests for funding of the attendance of children at events such as Feiseanna, presented to the Department of Finance for approval.

Contacts and discussions between the Department of Education and Department of Finance almost exclusively centred on financial matters. A great deal of correspondence is given over to consideration of capitation rates as the Department of Education required approval from the Department of Finance when increasing capitation as per section 21 of the 1941 Act.

There are also a number of internal file memoranda and copies of letters from the Department of Education to the Residential Managers noting the need for additional school-level financial information to build a strong case for submission to the Department of Finance.

The Department of Finance almost never granted the full amount of the increase sought by the Department of Education. There may be several reasons for this but the main two reasons noted in the material reviewed are:

  • (1) The State’s inability to fund a higher rate of increase
  • (2) The Department of Finance’s apparent view that the Department of Education was, in today’s language, prone to ‘regulatory capture’ – it was considered to be possibly too sympathetic to the religious orders. For example, when discussing the failure to conduct the 1951 proposed Inter-departmental Review the note reads:

The [Residential] Managers by withholding their consent frustrated the intention. Grounds of objection (Department of Education minute of 20.1.51) are unconvincing (amour propre?).

If the situation of the schools were, indeed, as desperate as represented a more co-operative approach might be expected and a willingness to furnish to public authorities all evidence reasonably required26

The Department of Justice

There was limited contact between the Department of Education and the Department of Justice on Industrial and Reformatory Schools. Where contact is recorded in the files seen by us it is limited to specific topics such as Marlborough House (a State-run institution).

By and large, the Department of Justice appears to be at a remove from the Industrial and Reformatory School system. However, it should be noted that under the Children Acts most of the children committed to the institution were committed by the District Court.

The Department of Justice is also connected to the system of Reformatory and Industrial Schools by way of the role of members of An Garda Síochana in conveying children to the schools.

The Department of Health

The Department of Health was responsible for the boarding out of children to residential care.

It appears from the files available to us that there was limited contact between the Department of Education and Health for most of the review period.

Under the 1939 Public Assistance Act and the 1953 Health Act the schools ‘could apply for approved status from the Department of Health that would allow them to receive certain funding for children placed there.’27 In practice very few of the children detained were placed in these institutions by the Department of Health (most were placed by the courts).

3.5 The role of the religious Orders and the Resident Managers

A number of religious Orders, as we have seen, ran individual Reformatories and Industrial Schools. The reasons for this derive from the particular history of the need for such schools in Ireland and also, in all likelihood, from the individual religious missions of the relevant Orders.

The schools, and the assets attaching, were in most cases, the property of the Orders. The schools were not regarded as State institutions in any case that we have seen. Under section 52 of the Act, the Managers of a school had primary responsibility for the care of a child, once that child had been accepted into the school.

The direct running of the schools was delegated to a Resident Manager. Under the Children Act 1908 Resident Managers were fully responsible for care of children accepted into their institution. Under the Act, when a child is accepted by a school the manager of the school is deemed to have accepted to undertake to teach, train (where relevant), lodge, clothe, and feed the child during the whole period of detention at that school.

It should also be noted that Residential Managers had the power/discretion whether or not to admit a given child to their institution (section 52 of the Children Act 1908). For example, in 1972 the Resident Manager of Daingean indicated that the following categories of boys would not be admitted:

  • (a) Those over 16 years of age
  • (b) Those guilty of a violent crime
  • (c) Those who were difficult to handle due to psychiatric problems.

Section 48 of the 1908 Act prescribed the process by which a school could resign certification.

The day-to-day running of the schools and care of the children in the school fell under the remit of a Resident Manager as they operated the schools. Resident Managers were charged with the employment and supervision of all staff in the schools. Based on our review of the available documentation, it appears that the Resident Manager was always a member of the Order running the particular institution.

The Resident Managers’ Association

The documentation available to us also includes copies of minutes and correspondence kept by the Resident Managers’ Association, and internal memoranda kept by the Christian Brothers relating to proceedings of that Association. This documentation illustrates the role of the Association as a vehicle for the concerted lobbying of the State on behalf of the individual schools. The Association appears to have convened meetings approximately annually, circulating an agenda and seeking the views of the Resident Manager of each of the relevant schools. The Association then wrote to the Department of Education expressing a collective view on issues arising. There is also evidence on the files that representatives of the Association met with the Minister for Education on a number of occasions during the period under review.

3.6 Public funding of the Schools

3.6.1 Capitation

The 1908 Act specified two sources of public funds for Reformatory and Industrial Schools:

Contributions from the Treasury: ‘paid out of money provided by Parliament such sums on such conditions as the Secretary of State may, with the approval of the Treasury, recommend towards the expenses of any youthful offender or child detailed’.

Contributions from local authorities: ‘where a child is ordered to be sent to a certified industrial school, it shall be the duty of the [local authority] to provide for his reception and maintenance in a certified industrial school’. For the purposes of the Act a child is presumed to reside in the place where the events which cause the child to be sent to a reform school occurred, unless it can be proven otherwise.

Collectively, these sums are referred to as the capitation grant.

The Act also covered non-public funds:

• Where a child is sent to a school at the instance of guardians or other responsible parties, those voluntarily sending the child ‘shall contribute towards the maintenance of the child … such a sum as may be agreed upon between them and the managers of the certified school … or in default of agreement as may be fixed by the Secretary of State’.

• Where a child is detained in a reform school the parents, guardians or other responsible parties ‘shall, if able to do so, contribute to his maintenance therein a sum not exceeding such sum as may be declared … to represent approximately the average cost of maintenance of youthful offenders of children’. The sum specified was to be paid to the Exchequer, not the individual school.

Thus, the Act entitled the State to recoup from the child’s parents monies expended on detaining a child in an Industrial/Reform Schools. However, more often than not the monies could not be collected and it appears that the State eventually made little active effort to collect the parental contribution where it was not forthcoming as the collection system was not cost-effective to operate. Where it was collected the parental contribution accrued to the State, not the school in which a child was detained.

3.6.2 Teachers salaries – the primary grant

In 1945 national school recognition was awarded to those Industrial Schools that provided primary education within the institution. These schools were subject to the Rules and Regulations for National Schools and were provided aid on the same basis as other national schools. In accordance with the Rules and Regulations, the primary grant was a grant paid by the Department to cover the salary costs of recognised teaching staff.

Recognised teaching staff were identified when the Resident Manager notified the Department of appointments to teaching posts which were subject to Department sanction. Once an appointment was sanctioned by the Department, in accordance with the Rules and Regulations, the Department arranged for the funding/payment of the teachers salaries.

Recognised teaching staff in schools owned and operated by religious Orders were subject to different arrangements in relation to funding of salaries depending on whether the school opted as a classification national school or a capitation national school. The difference between these designations was that the classification national schools were schools where the salaries were paid directly to the teachers by the Department of Education, while in a capitation national school grants were paid to the manager of the school to cover the salaries of the teachers.

In March 1946, a circular was issued to the schools asking them to opt for their preferred method of payment. Department records indicate that the majority of industrial schools opted to be classified as capitation national schools, and to have grants paid to the managers of the school.

The issue of registration of staff as recognised teachers eligible for funding under the State primary grant was an important one in the 1940s. It appears from our reading of the files that the Department permitted the recognition of unqualified members of the Orders working in schools, on the grounds of their experience working in the institutional schools. From the perspective of the Orders, such recognition was important and had significant financial consequences. There is evidence that the Orders sought to ensure that as many Religious as possible were afforded recognition. A letter from the Managers of the Industrial Schools28 on the topic of teachers’ salaries notes:

In schools in which the teaching staff is composed of both members of the Community and of lay teachers, it is assumed that in determining the maximum recognised staff the members of the Community will always have precedence of the lay teachers.

A perhaps related matter is the question of pensions. It has been suggested to us, in the course of our meetings with the relevant Orders, that the State has not made any provision for the pensions of recognised teachers who were members of the religious communities. Section 56 of the 1908 Act provided for the establishment of a superannuation scheme for officers of the schools, either individually or collectively by the schools.

With the exception of the reference in the Act, we have not been able to identify any documentation dealing clearly with this issue and have not seen any information that would permit us to estimate the sums that might be involved. The question of whether the State had an obligation to meet such payments is also complex. It is our understanding that the primary grant was in essence a payment administered by the schools – in other words that the sums paid under this heading were paid to the school, and not directly to the individual recognised teachers. We have also seen that the schools were privately owned. There is inherent in such a system a question of who is the legally responsible employer of the teachers. This complexity is suggested in later documents included in the Department of Finance files – where individual lay teachers seem to have been considered for pensions on a case-by-case basis.29

3.6.3 Other income

There are, on the files provided, examples of Resident Managers seeking, and obtaining, additional funding from the Department to cover expenses that might be reasonably expected to be funded out of the capitation payment. For example:

• Prior to 1943–44 travel expense by children going home on holidays were paid by family members and/or Residential Managers30. From 1943–44 the Department of Education asked the Managers to cover the cost of travel and meals where necessary. However, where the cost of travel exceeded the weekly capitation grant for the child the Department would refund the excess payment.

  • Entertainment expenses were at times reimbursed – such as the cost of summer camps or attendance at drama competitions.

3.6.4 Capital

A particular complexity in relation to our work was the appropriate treatment of sums expended in relation to capital items by the schools. This issue has consequences for consideration of the adequacy of the capitation grant. Again, we have looked first to the legislative background when addressing this issue. The 1908 Act does not, in our view, appear to have intended the capitation grant to cover items of capital expenditure. This appears to us consistent with the description in the Cussen Report of the arrangement for defraying the costs of Reformatory and Industrial Schools31. While the 1946 scheme proposed to implement a system of payment, as part of the capitation grant, towards the capital expenditures of the schools, this scheme was discontinued within two years and, in notifying the schools of this, the Department drew attention to the

clear understanding that the School Manager shall accept liability for any building and repair work and the provision of equipment for vocational training which the Minister considers necessary in their Schools.32

While the introduction of the scheme does render the position potentially ambiguous, it is our view that the State was unambiguous in presenting its understanding that the termination of the scheme meant that the position originally set out in the Act was resumed – the capitation grant did not include a contribution towards capital expenditure. This understanding is also consistent with the findings of the Kennedy Report:

No grants are made available for maintenance, renovation or modernisation of premises.33

and

Separate grants should be available to cover new buildings and maintenance, renovation and modernisation of existing buildings while grants for educational purposes should be made available and paid direct by the Department of Education.34

Provisions of the 1908 Act

Section 55 of the 1908 Act provided that ‘No substantial addition or alternation in the buildings of a certified school shall be made without the approval in writing of the Secretary of State.’ As we have already noted, sections 73 and 74 of the 1908 Act provide for a contribution towards maintenance costs through the capitation grant, with subsection 74(13) of the Act providing for such expenses to be defrayed from local authority funds. Section 74(8)(a) of the Act states that a local authority:

may, with the approval of the Secretary of State undertake or combine with any other such authority in undertaking, or contribute such sums of money upon such conditions as they may think it fit towards, the establishment, building, alteration, enlargement, rebuilding, or management of a certified school, or for the site of any school intended to be a certified school.

Section 74(14) of the Act states:

(14) Money may be borrowed by a local authority for the purposes of defraying or contributing towards the expenses of establishing, building, altering, enlarging, rebuilding, or purchasing land for the use or site of—

(a) A reformatory school, under and in accordance with the Local Government Act, 1888, in the case of the council of a county, and under and in accordance with the Municipal Corporations Act, 1882, in the case of a council of a county borough.

(b) An industrial school, under and in accordance with the Education Acts, 1870 to 1907.

Provided that the maximum period within which money so borrowed is to be repaid shall be sixty years.

Our reading of the Act suggests that it is more reasonable to conclude that the Act separates the provision of a contribution in respect of the reception and maintenance of a child at one of the institutions, from the provision of grants to assist the capital expenditure associated with a school.

This view also appears to be consistent with the comments in the Cussen Report:

It must not be overlooked that the buildings, farms, plant etc. have as a rule been provided by the schools themselves.

suggesting that the capitation grant was not considered to have provided for capital expenditure.35

The 1946 scheme

The 1946 scheme, on the other hand, suggests that there was some intention to include capital expenditure in the capitation grant. The history of this development merits some detailed attention as it illustrates the contemporary positions of the Orders and the relevant Departments. It was also, to our knowledge, the only negotiation regarding the basis of provision for capital expenditure during the period.

It was proposed in 1946 that the provision of special buildings and equipment grants be abolished and replaced by an additional grant payable under the standard capitation scheme. The reasons given for this recommendation were:

(1) The schools which do not avail of those special grants [under the Buildings and Equipment Grants scheme] will be at a disadvantage

(2) The proposed merging of the special grants would be more acceptable to the schools in general that the existing arrangement and would act as a greater incentive to carry out any necessary building improvements and/or provide the necessary equipment for vocational training.

(3) The new arrangement would be less complicated, more easily administered and would obviate the necessity for keeping detailed accounts the checking of which occupy considerable time this Branch.36

The impetus for the 1946 scheme came from both the schools and the Department as noted in an August 1947 Department of Education memo:

It is felt that the discontinuance of the Scheme for the provision of Building and Equipment Grants and the incorporation of these grants in the grants for maintenance would be very welcome to the schools managers. This proposal, it might be mentioned, has, in fact, on more that one occasion been made by various School Managers.37

Support for a scheme of this sort is illustrated by a memo on a building and equipment grant scheme prepared by the Residential Managers for submission to the Minister for Education in 1940:

Basic Principle: Local authorities to compound for their statutory liability for provision, etc., of school by bearing one-third of the cost of authorized expenditure for the purpose, the amount to be apportioned amongst them by reference to the number of committed children chargeable to each. The State to undertake liability for an equal contribution. The schools to pay the remaining third.

Provision of Funds: Capitation grant payable by local authorities and State to be increased provisionally by 6d per week each.38

In December 1945 an official from the Department of Education wrote to the Resident Managers with details of the draft building and equipment scheme39. The indication was that the Resident Managers were, on the whole, in favour of the scheme as indicated by the Resident Managers document entitled ‘OPINION OF THE RESIDENT MANAGERS re: PROPOSED SCHEME FOR ALTERATIONS, REPAIRS, ADDITIONS, etc., etc.’40

A letter from the Resident Managers’ Association to the Department of Education following a meeting on the suggestion of replacing the buildings and equipment grants noted:

The Meeting welcomed the proposal, and appreciated the efforts being made by the Department to better the conditions of the Schools. … The simplest arrangement, in the Managers’ opinion, is that the 1/- should be added to the grant, i.e. the present grant be raised to 16/- per week.

The Managers would be prepared to place this extra sum (1/- per head per week) in a special a/c to be known as ‘The Repairs and Equipment Fund’ (or some such name), and to use such monies solely for repairs, improvements, equipment etc. Two-thirds only of the amount of such expenditure in any financial year would be drawn from this Fund. The Managers would show in the Returns each quarter, or preferably at the end of the financial year, the amount spent from the Fund, with, if necessary, receipts or vouchers.41

However, the Resident Managers wrote to the Department of Education in October 194642 to voice their objections to some of the conditions attached to the scheme grants.

As a result of the objections raised the Department informed the schools on 11th November 1947 that:

The Scheme for the payment of Capitation Grants at the rate of 1s/- weekly towards the cost of Buildings and the provision of Equipment for Vocational Training which came into operation on the 1st of October 1946 is to be discontinued after 31st December 1947 as it was not acceptable to some of the Schools. The State Capitation Grant is being increased by an equivalent amount, this increase is being given on the clear understanding that the School Manager shall accept liability for any building and repair work and the provision of equipment for vocational training which the Minister considers necessary in their Schools.43

The Resident Managers again wrote to the Department on January 1948 to object to the conditions attached to the revised grant as noted in a circular:

Some points in the Circular, however, have caused the Managers a certain amount of uneasiness. They consider that the second part of the paragraph 3 –

‘This increase is being given on the clear understanding that the School Managers shall accept liability for any building and repair works and the provision of equipment for vocational training which the Minister considers necessary in the Schools’

And the latter parts of paragraph 8 –

‘He also expects that such improvements in School accommodation and equipment as will bring the Schools up to modern standards will be undertaken as soon as possible. In this connection the Minister desires to stress the need for improved technical training in Senior Boys Schools and he would urge that special attention be given to this important matter’

Would seem to throw an undue burden on them.44

While the Resident Managers accepted the increase capitation they felt the

increased Capitation Grant does not enable them to accept such a liability as indicated [by the Minister]45

Based on the documentation available, it is our view that the 1946 scheme did not represent an intention by the State to take responsibility for all capital expenditure at the schools. The documentation suggests that:

  • The original proposed scheme was that the State/local authorities would contribute towards the costs of any capital expenditure – two-thirds being the suggested proportion, capped at an amount of 6d per week.

• The State believed that the school Manager was responsible for the capital expenditure – ‘This increase is being given on the clear understanding that the School Managers shall accept liability for any building and repair works and the provision of equipment for vocational training which the Minister considers necessary in the Schools’46 – although this position was contested by the Orders.

• The scheme was discontinued after 31st December 1947, and the State contribution grant increased – with the Department restating its contention that there was a ‘clear understanding that the School Manager shall accept liability for any building and repair work and the provision of equipment for vocational training’.

We note that the schools put some of the capitation grant funding towards capital expenditure, and that this would appear to have been evident in financial statements sent by the Resident Managers’ Association to the Department of Education. If this understanding is correct, it would seem at odds with the legislative background and the statement made by the Department at the time of termination of the 1946 scheme. We also note that the State made separate contributions towards capital expenditure, suggesting that it did not consider the capitation grants to cover such expenditure, which appears more consistent with the legislation. Examples of this are the case of an additional grant made available to St Michael’s School, Cappoquin, in respect of the building costs of a new school47, and the provision of Board of Works funding to Artane in the 1960s. The Rosminians also appear to have received funding towards a new school building at Ferryhouse in the late 1960s.

The Kennedy Report

Finally, we note the consideration that the capitation grant did not include provision for capital expenditure seems to be consistent with the findings of the Kennedy Commission.

No grants are made available for maintenance, renovation or modernisation of premises.48

and

The Committee is strongly of the opinion that the system of payment of grants on a capitation basis should be discontinued and replaced by an annual grant, based on a budget of estimate costs submitted by each school, sufficient to cover all costs in connection with the maintenance of children.

Separate grants should be available to cover new buildings and maintenance, renovation and modernisation of existing buildings while grants for educational purposes should be made available and paid direct by the Department of Education.49

In our opinion, it is more reasonable, therefore, to conclude that the legislation did not provide for State funding of capital expenditure at the schools by way of the capitation grant, but that separate funds could have been made available under the terms of section 74 of the 1908 Act.

3.6.5 Availability of financial information to the State

The Department of Education sought audited accounts from the schools and/or school level financial information prepared on a comparable basis on a number of occasions.50

From our review of material made available by the Department of Education it appears that the financial information was received from the schools on the following occasions:

  • 1939
  • 1946
  • 1947
  • 1950
  • 1954
  • 1955
  • 1962
  • 1964.

We have attached the evidence made available to us by the Department in Appendix XXI to this report. At an overview level it appears that while some schools provided accounts, others did not. In some of the correspondence seen by us Department officials expressed some difficulties with the comprehensiveness and comparability of some of the financial statements provided. It is not possible to identify which particular schools are referred to in the records seen by us, and copies of the relevant financial statements do not appear, in many cases, to have survived.

3.6.6 The proposed Inter-Departmental Committee Review

In 1951 a cabinet sub-committee comprising the Departments of Education, Finance and Social Welfare proposed to establish an Inter-Departmental Committee to investigate how the schools might be run most economically and efficiently. The Committee was to involve the Departments of Education, Finance and Social Welfare.

There was opposition to the proposed review by the Industrial and Reformatory School Managers Association. The Association took particular exception to the involvement of the Departments of Finance and Social Welfare on the basis that the Department of Education was fully aware of the circumstances in the schools. They also feared that the inquiry would be ‘the thin edge of the wedge in an attempt by the State to impose its control on the detailed management of the schools’.51

The Managers were of the ‘opinion that the terms of reference of the enquiry are too wide and include subjects which they do not consider relevant to the question at issue’. They particularly objected to the organisation and conduct of the schools being subject to review.52

Despite reassurance from the Minister for Education and the Minister’s view that the inquiry was an ideal tool to help secure an increase in funding the Resident Managers remained ‘unaltered in their opinion that the terms of references to the enquiry were too wide, and include subjects which they do not consider relevant to the question at issue’.53 The proposal appears to have been abandoned at this time by the State as the Review required the willing consent of Resident Managers.

We have summarised the documentation we have seen in respect of this proposed review in Appendix XXII to this report.

3.6.7 Liability for injury

The extent to which the State regarded the Resident Manager as responsible for the children committed to institutions is reflected in internal communication with regard to a child seeking damages following an accident while detained in a reformatory in the early 1950s. A letter notes that the Department of Finance advised the Department of Education not to involve itself in any outlay with regard to the case. It was clear from the 1908 Act that liability rested with the Resident Manager. The letter goes on to say ‘In this connection it is understood that it is not the practice to indemnify Managers of National Schools in any way against similar claims against them’54 and that similar treatment was to apply to Reformatory and Industrial Schools. In the event, the matter was not resolved. The case did not proceed as the child and his family emigrated.

Policy in this regard appears to have changed by the 1980s, based on the evidence of a later case relating to an accident to a child in 1971 (but which was not fully resolved until 1983). The Chief State Solicitor advised that the ‘the Minister for Education has no obligation in the matter and whether the State should shoulder the responsibility for any award against the Defendants was one of policy’.55 The policy in this case was to treat Residential Homes like comprehensive and community schools and thus the school received an ex-gratia payment of the amount awarded to the plaintiff as there was no evidence of negligence.

3.6.8 Overall State contribution to Reformatory and Industrial Schools 1939–69

From our examination of the files, it is apparent that the State contribution to the Reformatory and Industrial Schools was not confined to the Capitation Grant. We have, in our review of the files available to us, noted that references to funds or resource being made available to Reformatories or Industrial Schools can be summarised under the following headings:

  • Reformatory and Industrial School vote – includes direct contributions to the schools, including the capitation grant
  • Department of Education vote – the primary school grant was available to the Reformatory and Industrial Schools in respect of recognised teachers
  • Board of Works/Office of Public Works vote – funding was provided in respect of certain capital projects.

Unfortunately, insufficient information exists to quantify the full contribution under each of these headings. We have, however, carried out a review of the State appropriation accounts for the period 1939–69 and identified the following as the amounts expended by the State on the system of Reformatories and Industrial Schools. We believe that these represent the most significant contributions by the State to the system, with the exception of the primary school grant – which is subsumed in the overall primary school vote and indistinguishable from payments to national schools. A full analysis of the relevant appropriation accounts is at Appendix XIX.

Summary analysis of relevant appropriation accounts 1939–69

Exhibit 9

1939–69 Equivalent €
Vote on Reformatory and Industrial Schools
Reformatory Schools 329,007
Industrial Schools 5,610,406
Places of detention 97,468
Conveyance expenses 13,253
Parental moneys – collection 19,224
Building & equipment grant 57,617
Appropriation in aid56 (159,434)
Vote on Public works57 139,204

It should be noted that these figures do not include local authority capitation payments. Including these amounts would approximately double the figures above for Reformatory Schools and Industrial Schools, based on the capitation rates over the period.

While the amounts paid to the schools under the primary school grant cannot be identified in the appropriation accounts, the individual schools examined did receive funding under this heading in relation to recognised teachers. To illustrate the point, our analysis of the Artane school accounts show that the primary school grant typically represented an additional 10 percent of income on top of the standard capitation grant. The school accounts for Upton support a contention that this may be a reasonable understanding of the contribution from this source.

3.7 Related issues

In dealing with the nature and context of the system of Reformatory and Industrial Schools, we believe it relevant to deal with two other issues. The first of these, the issue of quality of training, relates to one of the core missions of the system. The second item that we consider relevant is the question of the role of economies of scale in relation to the financial management of the schools.

3.7.1 Quality of industrial training in schools

The 1936 Cussen Report, a review of Reformatory and Industrial Schools, was critical of the education and training provided in the industrial and reform schools:

The farms fail, however, to achieve their primary objective. They do not serve to train the boys in farming. The boys are little more than juvenile labourers … there is no organised training of any kind and no systematic instruction.

There is support for this view in a 1942 file note58 by the Department of Finance that reads:

Technical training in the industrial and reformatory schools has up to the present consisted to a large extent in the utilisation of the boys, in connection with trades pursued in the Institution with a view to making the Institution self-sufficient, to as great a degree as possible.

This view is echoed in an internal note by the Christian Brothers headed ‘Points for Discussion at Managers’ Meetings’ in 1960. It commented that:

From what I have observed over the past ten years in our schools, the boys are being used, they are not being trained.59 (Emphasis by the author of the note)

In addition, the Department of Educations statement points out that the Irish Congress of Trade Unions was concerned in 1968 that career guidance and apprenticeship training did not receive enough attention in Industrial Schools. Proof of this was evidenced by the poor labour market performance of pupils post detention.

3.7.2 Economies of scale

There is a recognition of the economies of scale involved in running schools to be found in a memorandum by the Resident Managers’ Association. The memorandum relates to a deputation going before the Minister for Education in circa 1946 and point (g) of the memo reads:

When the number of children detained in the Schools is below the certified number. Here the Managers think a grant equal to about three-fifths of the normal grant ought to be paid for the number the School is below the certified number. This is considered necessary to meet overheads and expenses.60

This logic is paralleled in a letter to the Department of Education in 1957 from the Provincial of the Christian Brothers suggesting that Artane is uneconomical at 500 boys.

In the final chapter of this report we have sought, in relation to each school, to provide an indicative analysis of the point at which the schools became uneconomical to operate.

4. An analysis of the adequacy of funding provided by the State

4.1 Introduction

This section of our report seeks to provide an analysis of the adequacy of the capitation funding provided by the State. In so doing this section provides an explanation of the capitation funding system and its purpose, details changes in the capitation rates payable to schools and considers its adequacy relative to a number of contemporaneous benchmarks.

Context for analysis of adequacy of the capitation grant

We believe that it is also important to clarify the background against which the capitation grant adequacy is assessed. Adequacy in our opinion is most appropriately considered in a context that is contemporaneous and which agrees to the norms of the society at that time. In our work we have sought to compare the capitation grant with available contemporary Irish data. Adequacy is also properly assessed against the background of purpose. In the case of the Reformatory and Industrial schools, the purpose of the capitation grant is, in our view, contained in the guiding legislation.

The methodology followed in our assessment of adequacy was to seek, in the first instance, to understand the relationship between the parties and framework which set out the roles and responsibilities of each party. We have dealt with these issues in Part 3 of this report. Our work also included obtaining a definition of what the capitation grant was intended to cover – a matter which is dealt with in the paragraphs below.

We then sought to understand what contemporary Irish information would provide evidence of this cost. In our view the benchmarks selected, which give a view of different levels of maintenance provision made by the State, and of contemporary income and expenditure levels, provide a reasonable basis for understanding the maintenance cost of a child. This chapter of our report deals with these elements of our work.

4.2 The capitation grant system

4.2.1 The Children Act 1908

In Part 3 of this report we have examined the background to the system of capitation funding as it operated in the period 1939–69. The Children Act 1908 provided the basis for payments by State and local authorities towards the costs of maintaining children in Industrial and Reformatory Schools. This legislation was updated in the Chidren Act of 1941.

4.2.2 The Children Act 1941 – the capitation system

Our understanding of the functioning of the capitation system during the period 1939–69 is based on information extracted from the Commission’s database and an examination of the Children Act 1941 and related statutory instruments pursuant to section 21 of that Act.

Under the capitation system a payment or grant per student payable by the Exchequer accrued on a weekly basis to each Industrial School. The actual payment to an Industrial School came from two sources:

1. Local authorities: Under section 21 of the Children Act 1941 each local authority is obliged to make a payment to the relevant Industrial School keeping a child originating from within its geographical boundaries. The rate of payment was prescribed by statute. Every time there was a change in the local authority capitation rate the change was made by way of statutory instrument. Up to mid-1944 the capitation grant was broken into two: one payment for those less than six years of age and a slightly higher payment for those aged six and older. After mid-1944 local authorities made a flat rate payment regardless of age.

2. The Department of Education: A weekly payment per head also accrued to industrial schools from the Department. Changes in the capitation rate from the Department of Education do not appear to be made by way of statutory instrument and the mechanism for changing the Department’s capitation rate is not specified in the Children Act 1941. As with the local authority grant, the Departmental grant was a flat rate per child regardless of age, post 1944.

Up to the end of June 1944 the capitation grant was restricted to the number of children for which schools were certified and it was calculated on a day-to-day basis. From 1st July 1944 the grant was paid in respect of the number of children committed under detention up to the limits of the accommodation approved for the school. Another change was that the total grant to a school was calculated by reference to the number of children detained on the last day of the preceding quarter. It would appear from correspondence on file that this change was made for administrative convenience, not for financial reasons.

The system of payment of capitation changed from being restricted to a maximum based on the number of children certified for a school, to being based on the number of children actually resident in the school had, in the case of a school with numbers in excess of the certified level, the effect of increasing the funds provided to the school.

While the income to Industrial Schools accrued weekly it was not paid weekly. We know from correspondence on the Commission’s files that local authorities were slow to release funds to schools, an issue which was at the heart of several communications to the Department61. A Department of Education memorandum62 as late as 1981 noted that many local authorities paid capitation grants only half-yearly and, in many cases, irregularly. Indeed, it made several attempts to encourage local authorities to pay grants more frequently. These attempts were made directly to local authorities and through the Department of Environment under whose remit local authorities fell.

The Department of Education paid its portion of the grant to schools on a quarterly basis.

4.2.3 Purpose of funding

Of central importance to an understanding of the capitation system is the question of what was the purpose of the funding – to what, specifically, were the funds to be properly applied? From the information available to us we understand that the capitation funds were in practice applied to any expenses deemed by the managers of the institutions to relate broadly to the running of the institution. It may be considered, given the ‘community’ nature of the Orders managing the institutions, and the inter-relationships between the activity of running the schools, the farms and other trades attached to the schools, and the Order or ‘house’ activities, that this was both inevitable and appropriate. Nonetheless, from the point of view of clarity, we believe that it is appropriate to consider what the Act intended as the purpose of the capitation grant.

Section 21 of the Children Act 1941 states that:

The Minister [for Education], with the consent of the Minister for Finance and the Minister for Local Government and Public Health, may make regulations prescribing the payments to be made by local authorities to the managers of certified schools for the maintenance of such children and youthful offenders as such local authorities are liable under section 74 of the Principal Act to maintain.

Neither the Children Act 1941 nor the Children Act 1908 (the Principal Act) defines the term maintenance or specify what it includes.

Section 44 of the Children Act 1908, however, specifies an industrial school as ‘a school for the industrial training of children, in which children are lodged, clothed, and fed as well as taught’.

Read together, it appears reasonable to conclude that the intention in the Act is for the capitation funding to apply specifically to the lodging, clothing, feeding and education of the resident children. This is also consistent with the State assertion in relation to the 1946 scheme that liability for building works be borne by the schools, rather than the State.

In this regard, it is also relevant to note that:

  • The school managers, once they had accepted a child into the school, bore primary responsibility for the care of that child.
  • The schools examined appeared not to have made any distinction between capital and non-capital expenditure when spending capitation funding received.

Lodging

The institutional land and buildings derived from a number of sources, but it is our understanding that the school buildings were either provided directly by the State (as in the case of Daingean) or established by the individual religious Order. This background raises the question of what precisely was the capitation grant to fund in this regard – was it for example intended to fund reasonable maintenance costs and upgrade costs of the school and dormitories? Was it to fund the acquisition of lands and other buildings for farm, trade or other activities? Was it to fund the housing and other lodging needs of the religious and lay staff involved with the institution?

We have already considered the legislative framework and other available information and have, in Part 3, concluded that the capitation grant was not intended to cover capital expenditure incurred by the school.

Accordingly, in our consideration of the issue of adequacy, we have assumed that the capitation grant was to cover the cost of lodging those children committed to institutions. We have sought to identify relevant contemporary benchmarks including this cost, as a means of understanding the adequacy or otherwise of the capitation grant in this regard. These benchmarks are dealt with in the remainder of this part of our report.

We note that examination of individual schools shows, as we have already mentioned, a number of approaches to the funding of capital expenditure requirements of the schools – including use of capitation funding and provision of additional funds by way of Board of Works grants, for example. In the absence of information in relation to the condition of individual schools, the definition of an adequate condition, and the cost of bringing schools to such a condition, it is impossible for us to comment as to whether the State contribution, such as it was, to capital costs of the schools, was adequate during the period 1939–69. Equally, it is beyond the scope of this work to express a view as to whether the State legally or otherwise had an obligation to fund the schools in this regard.

Clothing and feeding

The provision of food and clothing for the children resident in the institutions is complicated in those institutions that operated farms and other trades. In essence, many institutions were adequately resourced to be largely self-sufficient in these terms. Identifying the extent to which farm and trades contributed to a particular institution is difficult as the accounting records, as was the convention, generally provide only for income arising from sales to third parties – that is, they do not value the produce utilised within the institution – while recognising all costs of production, with the notable exception of the labour of the children resident in the institution. One view of the operation of this aspect of the activities of the schools was;

Technical training in the industrial and reformatory schools has up to the present consisted to a large extent in the utilisation of the boys, in connection with trades pursued in the Institution with a view to making the Institution self-sufficient, to as great a degree as possible.63

Education

The educational needs of children in the Industrial Schools was provided by a combination of lay and religious teaching staff. Where the institution included a registered national school, the State national school system provided funding in this regard. In addition to formal academic education, which consisted primarily of primary school education, in some instances augmented by continuation school, many of the children were provided with training for a particular occupation – usually in the form of supervised work on the school farm or trade shops.

4.2.4 Capitation rates 1939–69

Exhibit 10 shows the capitation rates analysed by funding agency. As we have already noted, changes in the local authority grant rates were made by Statutory Instrument and can be tracked over the reference period 1939–69. While the table shows the grant levels in ‘old money’ where the value before the ‘/’ are in shillings and value after the ‘/’ is in pence. Equivalent € amount values are also shown.

Exhibit 10: Weekly capitation grant per child 1939–69

Exhibit 10 illustrates the following points:

  • While the grant increased 17 times over the reference period, changes were not made at regular intervals. Almost every time the rate increased following a number of years without increase it was increased again within 12 months.

• The irregular timing of capitation rate increases, which reflects the adversarial nature by which increases in capitation rates were made. Those who ran Industrial Schools lobbied hard for an increase in the grant, the Department of Education and/or the Department of Finance resisted the calls for an increase, and when an increase was finally granted it was often a lower increase than was sought and so on.64

• The increase in 1969 is remarkably high compared to previous increases. We have been unable to ascertain why there was an increase of this magnitude at a point when many of the schools were closing. The Sisters of Mercy submission to the Commission suggests that the 1969 increase was prompted by criticisms of the level of funding at the time the Kennedy Report was being compiled.65

4.3 Economic conditions and the cost of living

4.3.1 Inflation

To put the data in Exhibit 10 into some context Exhibit 11 illustrates the rate of change in the general price level (i.e. inflation) over the period 1939-69 and the rate of change in the capitation grant. For comparability both the capitation grant and the general price level are set at 100 in 1939 to form two equivalent indices.

Exhibit 11: The rate of change in the weekly capitation grant per child and the general price level 1939–69

Exhibit 11 shows that:

  • The capitation rate per child in a reformatory school was slightly higher than the rate per Industrial Schools child. Both rates moved in step as changes in the Reformatory and Industrial School capitation rates were made simultaneously.
  • Between 1939 and 1950 the rate of increase in the capitation grant lagged inflation, which means it fell in real terms and in purchasing power. During this period the CPI index grew by 83.4 percent, while the Industrial School capitation grew by 53.2 percent and the Reformatory School capitation grew by 77.2 percent. The 1950–51 figures show respective cumulative increases of 88.9 percent (CPI), 73.4 percent (Industrial Schools) and 116.5 percent (Reformatory Schools).
  • It was not until 1957 that the rate of change in the Industrial Schools capitation grant exceeded the rate of change in general price level.
  • Between 1939 and 1957 the average gap between the Industrial School capitation grant index and the inflation index was 15 percent p.a. in favour of the inflation index – annual inflation exceeded changes in the caption grant by 15 percent on average.
  • Between 1957 and 1969 the average gap between the Industrial School capitation grant index and the inflation index was 58 percent p.a. in favour of the capitation grant index – annual capitation changes exceeded inflation by 58 percent on average.
  • Over the entire 30-year period the general price level rose by 385 percent, the grant increased by some 1,300 percent – increasing by 1,327 percent in the case of Industrial Schools and 1,375 percent in the case of Reformatory Schools.
  • Again, the impact of the 1969 increase in capitation is marked, and represents a significant element of the overall increase. However, even before this increase, the capitation grant had increased by 663 percent compared to its 1939 level, significantly more than the movement in the general price level over the same period.

Also of relevance to this analysis is the Cussen Report’s finding in 1936 which indicated that the funding to the schools would be adequate on the basis that schools received both capitation funding and a grant towards the costs of providing teaching staff – a finding that was subsequently implemented.

After a careful review of all relevant circumstances we have come to the conclusion that the position would be reasonably met if, as recommended at paragraph 145 above, the schools were relieved of the cost of Literary teachers, and if, in addition, the present State payments were supplemented by a grant of equal amount from the Local Authorities, the rates of payment to be subject to periodic review so as to bring them into line with any appreciable variations in the cost of living figure, or with any material alterations in the numbers of children committed.

This implies that, in the view of the Cussen Commission, the funding to the schools was adequate if supplemented with a grant towards teaching costs – provision for which was made early in the period under review. In the case of Industrial Schools the State and local authority capitation grants appear to be equal, over the period 1939–69. Taking the review period in its entirety, the funding per head to schools did not decline in real/purchasing power terms as changes in the capitation grant more than match movements in the general price level.

4.4 Adequacy of funding

4.4.1 The benchmarks and their context

The question of whether the State funding provided was adequate, or not, is complex. In reviewing the documentation available to us, we have seen many expressions of the view that funding was not adequate. We have also seen evidence that the grant may have been adequate to maintain a child. We have seen that the schools examined managed to operate at a point close to break-even for much of the period. In this section of the report we seek to understand each of these, perhaps conflicting, points as they relate to our terms of reference.

The question of adequacy of funding is in our view linked to an understanding of the purpose of the funding and of the respective roles and responsibilities of the schools, and of the State and local authorities.

In our view the 1908 Act provides a clear statement of the purpose of funding and of the relevant roles and reponsibilities.

We note that the Orders, in their submissions to the Commission, have expressed the view that the capitation grant was inadequate. This view appears to derive from comparison with a number of alternate frameworks – most notably, modern costs of such care, the contemporary grant under the UK framework and an understanding that the capitation grant was intended to fund the entire cost of running an institution – as well as from a review of the historical correspondence between the Resident Managers’ Association and the Department of Education, which shows that the schools constantly sought increased funding. We also note that the Department of Education, in its evidence to the Commission, has expressed a view that the grant was not adequate. This assertion derives from the Department’s own review of the historical opinions of the grant contained in the Department correspondence files – most significantly, the statement in a memorandum at the time of the setting up of the Kennedy Commission that the Department was in ‘no position to defend its achievements as far as the size of the grant goes’.

We believe that it is appropriate to distinguish between these two views of the question of adequacy – that is, a view that the question of adequacy should be considered against a definition of purpose of the grant as provided for in the 1908 Act – and a view that derives from an understanding of what the various commentators consider that the grant should have covered – that is, full costs of a school, comparable with modern best practice or the UK system of funding and so on. Accordingly, we divide our work in this section into two parts, as follows;

  • Adequacy in accordance with the 1908 Act
  • Adequacy in comparison with other frameworks of reference suggested.

Adequacy in accordance with the 1908 Act

Our objective in considering benchmark data is to provide a basis for fairly assessing whether the capitation grant was adequate to maintain a child as provided for in the legislation. To this end, it is important to recognise that the measures proposed concentrate on:

  • Benchmarking the cost of maintaining a child, as opposed to meeting the cost of an institution. Institutional issues are addressed separately in subsequent chapters
  • Benchmarking the cost of maintaining a child at the time, i.e. the benchmarks are contemporaneous and relevant to the standard of living that applied at the time
  • Benchmarking against minimal standards, as they deal with average data or State contribution in a framework of provision for basic means.

We identified the following benchmarks as providing a reasonable basis of comparison in that they each illustrate (or help to illustrate) the costs of maintaining a child over the period under review:

  • Average household income per head
  • Unemployment benefit.

It is our view that these benchmarks provide a reasonable basis for consideration of the question of adequacy of funding.

We have also sought to develop an ‘expenditure on child maintenance’ approach, which we believe also serves as a reasonable benchmark for evaluating the adequacy of the capitation grant to the needs of a child resident in the institutions. This benchmark is derived from available CSO information in respect of expenditure patterns in the 1950s and 1960s.

These benchmarks are selected to indicate what the then State provision for maintenance was and to identify what the costs of maintaining a child were at the time. Accordingly, there is no reason to expect any benchmark to exactly match the grant per head – we do not suggest that the State authorities would have necessarily considered such benchmarks when agreeing the capitation rate.

Adequacy in accordance with other frameworks of reference suggested

The question of adequacy of the capitation grant can also be considered from another perspective – that of the adequacy of the grant to the needs of the institution. This perspective brings with it consideration of the management of resource available to the institution. This perspective also leads us to consider the following factors:

  • The cost of providing staff to care for the children. On the issue of childcare, it is true that the average household got the benefit of ‘free’ child supervision, which was typically provided by the mother of the house as the marriage bar was in operation at the time. However, the maintenance costs of the child supervisor had to be borne by the household just as it was borne by the schools. Thus, the comparison is valid as the costs of child care are inherent in the cost of living and had to be funded from household income. There is inevitably some differential between the cost of maintaining the childcarer and the cost of a salary for a childcarer, but we consider that economies of scale – the ratio of children to carer was typically higher in a school than in the average household – counterbalance this consideration.
  • The value to the institutions of farm produce and other goods to which the children in the institutions contributed by virtue of their labour on the institution farms and trade workshops.
  • The lodging costs of a child – we have already dealt, in Part 3, with the issue of the capital expenditure costs incurred by the institutions.
  • Economies of scale.

The institutions may have borne, from the capitation grant, costs of childcare that would not ordinarily have been borne by the typical family. Equally, the institutions benefited from the availability of goods produced by the unwaged labour of children in the care of the institutions.

We have dealt with this issue in part in the sections of the report dealing individually with institutions, by considering the financial consequences for each institution over the period. We also, in this regard, have noted the impact of reducing numbers on the schools. In the latter part of the 1950s the numbers of children committed for Reformatories and Industrial Schools began to decline significantly. At this time, the Resident Managers also began to suggest that some of the schools might have to be closed66. In our view it appears that the reduction in numbers brought the schools close to a break-even point – as numbers fell, grant income fell to a point where it was inefficient for the Orders to run the schools. We have dealt with this issue in Part 9 of this report.

Alternate benchmarks

In addition to the benchmarks used, some other potential benchmarks were initially considered but not used. In general, we have not used these benchmarks as they deal with the issue of adequacy from the perspective of different regimes to that which existed at the time. We do, however, consider this type of benchmark in the course of our findings. The potential benchmarks and the reasons for not analysing them in detail are as follows:

  • State funding provided to Northern Irish and/or British certified schools: A detailed comparison was initially considered but after some research we believed comparison invalid for the following reasons:
  • – The economic and social circumstances in Ireland and the UK were quite different over the period. For example:
  • Irish wages were lower
  • Irish unemployment rates were higher
  • There was substantial outward migration from Ireland
  • Ireland’s income per head was about half that of the UK.
  • – The evidence of Dr Eoin O’Sullivan is that the systems that operated in Ireland and the UK were very different both in terms of (a) school funding and (b) school organisation.

Question: Do we have comparisons with the position of funding as it applied in England and Wales?

Answer: They [Children’s’ Branch of the Home Office] identified a key problem with the funding, that the capitation system of funding encouraged managers to retain high numbers of children. … They identified this as a key stumbling block to the reform of these institutions. In the early 1920’s they abolished the capitation system and replaced it with a block grant system.67 68

So we see very clearly from the annual reports of the Children’s Branch of the Home Office its antipathy towards institutionalism [that is, industrial and reformatory schools], as they call it. ‘An ugly word for an ugly thing’, they describe it as. So consistent effort from 1913 onwards to decrease, to close down the institutions, to take over management of the institution from lay management, to reform the funding system and to explore alternatives to institutionalism.69

In 1933 in England, they abolished the system of reformatory and industrial schools and the year later, 1934, they abolished the system in Scotland.70

The system is abolished in Northern Ireland in 1950.71

  • – Contemporaneously, the Department of Finance was of the view that there were significant differences between the British and Irish school systems when it commented:

We were then aware of the disparity between our [Irish] rates and the British rates. The systems and their managements are not comparable.72

Boarding schools: such schools were not considered a valid comparator as

  • – The nature and purpose of the schools were very different
  • – The funding model differed substantially.

Marlborough House: it was not regarded as directly comparable as its purpose differed from other certified schools – it was a short-stay facility and, as a State-owned facility, subject to a different funding regime than privately owned and operated schools.

Modern residential care facilities: We do not believe it to be valid to apply modern childcare standard retrospectively as there are many differences in the standards of care that would render such a comparison meaningless. For example, the following items are taken from the research and recommendations of the Kennedy Report and the Interim Report73 and Final Report74 of the Task Force on Child Care Services, describing some of the changes under consideration at the time that those reports were drafted:

  • – The move to small group residential homes
  • – The improved focus on education as opposed to industrial training
  • – The use of highly specialised staff
  • An enhanced focus on the family
  • A greater focus on parental rights and the rights of the child.

4.4.2 Average industrial earnings and average household size

Data on average industrial earnings was sourced from the CSO’s historical records. This data is presented in euro equivalents in Exhibit 12, along with income after child support payments from the Exchequer.

Exhibit 12: Household earning, household income and income per capita

Weekly industrial earning Weekly household income (with children’s allowance)* Avg. household size Income per capita Ind School weekly capitation Reform. School weekly capitation
1939 €3.77 €3.77 4.31 €0.87 €0.79 €0.79
1940 €3.90 €3.90 4.31 €0.90 €0.79 €0.79
1941 €3.95 €3.95 4.31 €0.92 €0.79 €0.79
1942 €4.09 €4.09 4.31 €0.95 €0.95 €1.14
1943 €4.33 €4.33 4.31 €1.00 €0.95 €1.14
1944 €4.66 €4.66 4.31 €1.08 €0.95 €1.14
1945 €4.48 €4.48 4.31 €1.04 €0.95 €1.14
1946 €4.86 €4.86 4.16 €1.17 €1.02 €1.21
1947 €5.78 €5.78 4.16 €1.39 €1.21 €1.43
1948 €6.37 €6.37 4.16 €1.53 €1.21 €1.43
1949 €6.69 €6.69 4.16 €1.61 €1.21 €1.43
1950 €6.86 €6.86 4.16 €1.65 €1.37 €1.71
1951 €7.70 €7.70 4.07 €1.89 €1.71 €1.90
1952 €7.70 €8.40 4.07 €2.06 €1.71 €2.10
1953 €8.53 €9.23 4.07 €2.27 €1.71 €2.10
1954 €8.80 €9.50 4.07 €2.33 €1.71 €2.10
1955 €9.28 €9.98 4.07 €2.45 €1.71 €2.10
1956 €9.75 €10.45 4.06 €2.57 €1.71 €2.10
1957 €10.02 €11.01 4.06 €2.71 €2.86 €3.05
1958 €11.24 €12.23 4.06 €3.01 €2.86 €3.05
1959 €11.63 €12.62 4.06 €3.11 €2.86 €3.05
1960 €12.52 €13.51 4.06 €3.33 €2.86 €3.05
1961 €13.43 €14.42 3.97 €3.63 €2.86 €3.05
1962 €14.72 €15.71 3.97 €3.96 €2.86 €3.05
1963 €15.43 €16.42 3.97 €4.14 €3.17 €3.36
1964 €16.99 €17.98 3.97 €4.53 €3.49 €3.68
1965 €17.69 €18.68 3.97 €4.71 €4.29 €4.48
1966 €18.72 €20.34 4.01 €5.07 €4.29 €4.48
1967 €19.66 €21.28 4.01 €5.31 €4.76 €4.95
1968 €21.78 €23.40 4.01 €5.84 €5.24 €5.43
1969 €23.07 €24.69 4.01 €6.16 €10.48 €10.86

Note: Children’s allowance was introduced in 1944 and between 1944 and 1952 only the third and subsequent children qualified. Please note that children’s allowance was intended as a support payment or income supplement; it was not intended to meet the full maintenance cost of a child.

Sources: Some Statistics of Wages and Hours Worked (Various1940–70), CSO.

Historical social welfare data provided on request by Department of Social and Family Affairs. Census Reports (1939, 1946, 1961 & 1971), CSO.

As were the social norms of the time, the typical household had one male wage earner, as the convention was that married women ceased to work outside the home post-marriage. Hence, average weekly household income can be approximated by adding weekly industrial earnings to the child support payment to which all parents/guardians were entitled. Our analysis assumes two children per household as this is a fair reflection of the average household size throughout the review period (as confirmed by the relevant population census).

Once we divide weekly household income by average household size we get the first benchmark against which to compare capitations payments – household income per capita. Please note that in constructing this benchmark we do not assume that capitation payments should be equal to household income per capita. However, the comparison is illustrative of the correlation in movements in household income per capita and capitation payments.

For ease of interpretation the last three columns in Exhibit 12 above are shown graphically in Exhibit 13.

Exhibit 13: Household income per head and capitation rates

Sources:

Some Statistics of Wages and Hours Worked (Various1940–70), CSO.

Historical social welfare data provided on request by Department of Social and Family Affairs.

Census Reports (1939, 1946, 1961 & 1971), CSO.

The data and the graph show that:

  • o For the years between 1939 and 1949 the industrial school capitation was 88 percent of household income per head (not household income per child).
  • o For the years between 1950 and 1959 the industrial school capitation was 83 percent of household income per head (not household income per child).
  • o For the years between 1960 and 1969 the industrial school capitation was 92 percent of household income per head (not household income per child).

Thus, we see a drop in the level of capitation as a percentage of average household income per capita in the 1950s and early 1960s, but this gap was closed and subsequently reversed. Over the 30 years weekly capitation payments to Industrial Schools tracked the movement in income per head as, on average, the Industrial School capitation grant was 88 percent of household income per head. Broadly speaking this exhibit illustrates that the variables, household income per capita and capitation payments, moved in line over the period with capitation lagging behind household income per head.

4.4.3 Unemployment benefit

Those who were in paid employment and made sufficient social insurance contributions were entitled to unemployment benefit. Exhibit 14 shows capitation payments against a single male’s weekly unemployment benefit between 1939 and 1969.

Exhibit 14: Unemployment benefit and capitation rates

Sources:

Historical social welfare data provided on request by Department of Social and Family Affairs.

The data and Exhibit 14 show that:

  • o For the years between 1939 and 1949 the industrial school capitation was 92 percent of unemployment benefit.
  • o For the years between 1950 and 1959 the industrial school capitation was 121 percent of unemployment benefit.
  • o For the years between 1960 and 1969 the industrial school capitation was 155 percent of unemployment benefit.

For the 30-year period, the industrial school capitation grant was on average 122 percent of unemployment benefit payments. Therefore, it is reasonable to conclude that the capitation payments were sufficient to support a child as they exceed what was expected to support an adult male.

4.4.4 Expenditure on child maintenance

The following analysis draws on the CSO’s Household Budget Survey of 1965–66 and uses the data for that year to construct an index of household expenditure per child.

The 1965–66 Household Budget Survey data was gathered in such a way that it is possible to extrapolate the expenditure differential between:

  • Households with just two adults
  • Households with two adults and one child
  • Households with two adults and two children
  • Households with two adults and three children.

By examining the expenditure differential across the relevant expenditure categories covered by the Act (lodgings, clothing, feeding and education) we calculate a measure of expenditure per child for that year. By adjusting for inflation it is possible to produce an index of household expenditure per child over the review period as shown in Exhibit 16. This index is most robust for the five years before and after 1965–66.

Exhibit 15: Average household expenditure per child index 1965–66 base

1960-69

This analysis suggests that the weekly capitation was appropriate for its intended purpose as weekly capitation exceeded expenditure incurred per child by a typical household.

Our analysis (detailed data in Appendix II) also demonstrates that:

  • For households with one child, the weekly capitation was, for most of the period, less than the actual expenditure incurred in maintaining that only child.
  • For households with two children weekly capitation was always significantly more than the actual expenditure incurred in maintaining the second child.
  • For households with three children weekly capitation was always significantly more than the actual expenditure incurred in maintaining the third child.

What this points to is that there are clear economies of scale associated with meeting the costs of child maintenance. As the numbers of children in a household increase two things happen: (a) the incremental or marginal cost of that additional child is less than the incremental cost of maintaining the previous child; and (b) this serves to drag the average maintenance cost per child downwards. Unfortunately we do not have data to measure the economies of scale likely to arise in a Reformatory or Industrial School situation.

It must be noted that for the reference household in the 1965–66 survey, household expenditure exceeds income by some 15 percent. We have not sought to question the validity of the CSO’s data as there are many possible reasons for this such as:

  • It may well have been the case that households were spending more that their income either by going into debt or running down their savings.
  • True household income may have exceeded stated income, e.g. undeclared income.

A similar household analysis was undertaken using the CSO’s Household Budget Survey of 1951–52. In this case we are only able to construct an index of household expenditure per person (not per child). It is our view reasonable to consider that more is spent on goods and services per adult than is spent per child. This view is supported by the fact that where household expenditure data is split between expenditure on adult and children’s items the adult expenditure is higher, e.g. clothing in the 1951–52 Household Budget Survey and the 1965–66 Household Budget Survey. Further support for this view is provided in the analysis of the 1965–66 Household Budget Survey on which the expenditure per child is calculated.

We use as our reference household the largest possible household category with 8.31 persons. The reason for choosing largest possible household category as the reference household is that, of all possible households, it contains the greatest number of children. In this case children accounted for 3.96 persons or 48 percent of the household. By way of comparison, children account for just 32 percent75 of persons in the average household across all categories in the sample. Thus, our reference household is the household with the highest proportion of children.

Again, we adjust our analysis to exclude expenditure headings not covered by the capitation grant, e.g. alcoholic drink and tobacco.

Exhibit 16: Average household expenditure per person index 1951–52 base 1946-56

As before, the index is most robust for the five years before and after 1951–52, but it is still illustrative for the entire period.

This exhibit demonstrates that in the period 1946–56 the capitation grant was less than the average expenditure per person in a large household. From the late 1940s the gap narrowed significantly and was reversed by 1957. However, this composite household is made up of 3.96 children and 4.35 adults and it is reasonable to expect that the adult expenditure is pulling the average expenditure per person upwards.

For both the 1951–52 and the 1965–66 Household Budget Surveys the source data has been analysed to show expenditure on lodging, clothing, feeding and other goods and services. The reason for doing this is to show expenditure under the headings relevant under the 1908 Act, i.e. lodging (which is taken to include fuel and lighting), clothing and feeding. All items that do not fall into this classification are classed under ‘other’ and include expenditure on services, miscellaneous items and sundry items, e.g. transport, entertainment, education and training, etc. While education was included under the 1908 Act a direct comparison with household expenditure data in respect of this item is not informative because the expenditure in the household survey relate to incidental costs of education, while the expenditure in the schools refers to the cost of teaching. It should also be noted in this context that the Industrial Schools were, from 1946 onwards, in a position to receive the primary grant, contributing towards the cost of educating the children in the schools.

For the 1965–66 Household Budget Survey we are able to show expenditure per child. As noted, it shows that the average expenditure per child is below both capitation rates which is taken to imply that the capitation grant was capable of maintaining a child by comparison with the domestic setting.

Exhibit 17: Average household expenditure per child index 1965–66 base 1960-69 by expenditure category

Examining the lodging, clothing, feeding and other expenditure we can see the following:

  • Food was the most expensive item of expenditure (accounting for 39 percent of total the weekly analysed).
  • Lodging, which includes fuel and light, was the second most expensive item of expenditure (34 percent of expenditure).
  • Clothing was the least expensive item of expenditure (5 percent of expenditure).
  • The ‘other’ category was the third most expensive item of expenditure (22 percent of expenditure).

This analysis further supports our interpretation of the capitation grants’ adequacy to the requirements of the 1908 Act, as it was sufficient to cover food, lodging and clothing. It was also sufficient to cover the other expenditure items reflected in the 1965–66 Household Budget Survey.

For the 1951–52 Household Budget Survey we show expenditure per person, not per child, as we are unable to isolate the expenditure per child. The exhibit demonstrates that in the period 1946–56 the capitation grant was less than the average expenditure per person in a large household. However, this composite household is made up of 3.96 children and 4.35 adults and it is reasonable to expect that the adult expenditure is pulling the average expenditure per person upwards.

Exhibit 18: Average household expenditure per person index 1951–52 base 1947-56 by expenditure category

Looking at expenditure on the basis of lodging, clothing, feeding and other expenditure shows:

  • Food was again the most expensive item of expenditure (accounting for 46 percent of total the weekly spending analysed). At all times in the period 1947–56 the capitation grant was sufficient cover food costs based on the expenditure incurred per person in the domestic setting.
  • Clothing amounted to 12 percent of expenditure and at all times in the period 1947–56 the capitation grant was sufficient cover clothing and food costs based on the expenditure incurred per person in the domestic setting.
  • Lodging represented 14 percent of expenditure. The cumulative cost of lodging, clothing and feeding were covered by the Reformatory School grant for the 1949–56 period. However, it was not until 1951 that the weekly Industrial School grant was sufficient to cover the cumulative costs of lodging, clothing and feeding
  • In the 1951–52 Household Budget Survey the other category was the second most expensive item of expenditure (27 percent of expenditure). Our analysis indicates that the capitation grant, at best, only made a contribution towards this cost. However, this expenditure category included items not covered by the Children Act 1908.

4.4.5 Comparison with Britain

Just as we were able to establish the weekly capitation rates in the State from the Children Act 1941 and related statutory instruments pursuant to section 21 of the Act a similar exercise was conducted for Britain. This yielded comparative Exchequer capitation payments, channelled through local authorities, under the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 in (a) England and Wales and (b) Scotland.

As noted earlier in this chapter, we believe that the usefulness of this comparator is limited, as it does not relate to the regime that pertained in the Republic of Ireland. However, we do believe that it provides some indication of the relative scale of funding, in comparison with some of our near neighbours.

Exhibit 19: Capitation rates in Ireland, Scotland, England & Wales

Sources:

Children and Young Persons Act 1933 and related statutory instruments (UK)

From 1939–47 the capitation rates in Ireland and Scotland were comparable but about half the rate available in England and Wales. From 1948 onwards a widening gap opened between the UK and Irish capitation rates. It is noticeable that changes in the capitation rates tend to move in tandem; however we do not draw a particular conclusion from this point.

5. Christian Brothers – Artane

This section of our report deals with our consideration of the financial information available in respect of the Industrial School at Artane, County Dublin, run by the Christian Brothers between 1939 and 1969. In the course of our review we considered the following terms of reference identified by the Commission:

  • A review of the application of State Funding to the care of children in the institution
  • A commentary on the effects of changes in the number of children in the relevant institutions over the period 1939–69
  • A commentary on staffing/student ratios over the period of the review
  • The financial consequences for the relevant institutions as a result of caring for the children over the period 1939–69.

5.1 Background to financial information

The Industrial School at Artane was founded in 1870 on lands at Artane Castle purchased for an amount of Stg£7,000. We have seen the following documentation in relation to this transaction, and the subsequent establishment of the industrial school.

  • Draft conveyance dated 18th July 1870
  • Memorial of conveyance 19th July 1870
  • Letter dated 20th June 1870 on behalf of the purchasers of Artane Castle to the Chief Secretary for Ireland requesting that the facilities be examined for and granted certification as an Industrial School
  • Letter dated 5th July 1870 from Mr John Lentaigne, Inspector, reporting on a visit to Artane Castle on 24th June 1870 and concluding that the facilities were well suited to the purpose of an Industrial School.

These documents are at Appendix XXIV. The letter of 5th July 1870 refers to the purchase of the lands as being for the purpose of an Industrial School. The opening paragraph of the letter notes:

I beg to report that on the 24th ultimo I visited Artane Castle, Co. Dublin, and found it in every way, well suited for the purposes of an Industrial School for boys. Indeed I was consulted as to its fitness before the purchase was concluded.

We understand that the Christian Brothers have identified documentation from 1927 that indicates that the lands at Artane Castle were initially purchased for the purpose of the establishment of a novitiate. This does not appear to accord with the sequence of documents identified above or with the history of the school recounted in the letter of 5 July 1870.

The Christian Brothers managed the facility at Artane from 1939 to 1969. The facility provided accommodation in respect of 772 children committed there at 30th September 1939 declining to 24 children by 30th September 1969.

Artane incorporated a primary school for those children committed to the institution. A continuation school functioned in the evening time for those who worked on the farm or in trades. A vocational school was also operated in Artane. Trades taught included:

  • Farming (including poultry)
  • Tailoring
  • Weaving and hosiery
  • Carpentry
  • Baking
  • Bookmaking
  • Painting
  • Hairdressing and laundry.

The Christian Brothers in Artane also operated a substantial farming operation in a number of dispersed locations. The table at Exhibit 20 shows the locations and quantity of land farmed as at November 1949. We are aware from a Visitation Report that a parcel of land was sold during the year 1959 for an amount of equivalent €4,839,76 which would have reduced the figures quoted below. The Visitation Report from May 1968 makes a reference to ‘negotiations are at present proceeding to sell nearly half the total area. About 100 acres are being retained in the immediate vicinity of the buildings.’

Exhibit 20 – Artane farm land – November 194977

Farmlands Acreage Type
Belcamp Farm 32 Acres Grazing land
Woodville 63 Acres Grazing land
Kilmore 76 Acres Tillage and grazing land
Home Farm 182 Acres Tillage and grazing land
Total 353 Acres

A number of the Visitation Reports make reference to the extent of the work performed on the farm by the boys and also the transfer of produce from the farm to the institution. The Visitation Report from November 1950 refers to the value of produce from the farm provided to the institution – the amount quoted in the report equates to an equivalent €12,269. Total income from all sources for the institution in 1950 was an equivalent €64,452.

Books and records

Two separate sets of books and records were maintained by the Brothers in respect of the institution at Artane – school accounts and house accounts. The school accounts recorded all of the activities deemed to relate to the operation of the school, including the farm and trade activity. The house accounts recorded the activity of the community of Brothers resident at Artane. The community also invested in the Order building fund, and details of balances held to the account of Artane are recorded in the financial information presented to us by the Christian Brothers.

Summary income and expenditure – school accounts

Exhibit 21 – Summary income and expenditure 1940–69

1940–49 1950–59 1960–69 TOTAL
INCOME 493,018 871,580 929,580 2,294,178
EXPENDITURE 507,429 842,366 1,015,201 2,364,996
SURPLUS /<DEFICIT> <14,411> 29,214 <85,621> <70,818>

The accounts of the Artane Industrial School income and expenditure accounts for the period 1940–69 record that the expenditure exceeded the income by equivalent €70,818.

1940–49

The combined deficit of equivalent €14,411 for the period 1940–49 was funded in part by:

  • A transfer from the Building fund of equivalent €4,263 in 1940
  • An increase in the Schools overdraft to equivalent €5,742 at the end of the decade.

1950–59

In the years to 1959 a surplus of equivalent €29,214 was realised. During this period there was a very low level of capital expenditure. Any surplus generated was carried forward from year to year for use by the school.

1960–69

The figures for this period show the overall deficit generated was equivalent €85,621. The major factor giving rise to the deficit is that significant capital expenditure, particularly on the building, was made during this period. The amount expended was equivalent €182,098.

Summary income and expenditure – house accounts

We have carried out an examination of the house accounts as the interaction of the house and school appear central to an understanding of the financial position of the Artane institution. The house accounts presented to us cover the years 1940–69. These accounts show that the income credited to the House exceeded expenditure by equivalent €339,724.

Exhibit 22: Income and expenditure summaries 1940–69

194049 195059 196069 Total
Income 78,696 134,781 391,294 604,771
Expenditure 76,113 77,721 111,214 265,048
Surplus 2,583 57,061 280,080 339,724

The most significant items contributing to the recorded surpluses are stipends or allowances for the Brothers engaged in the day to day management of the institution, and income generated from the disposal of lands. During the 1940s stipends represented 85 percent of total income of the house. In the 1950s stipends represented 68.6 percent of income, with sales of land generating a further 10.6 percent of total income. In the 1960s stipends represented 22 percent of total income, with sales of land accounting for 63.2 percent.

5.2 Analysis of income and expenditure

School accounts

The main sources of income recorded in the school accounts are as follows:

  • Department of Education grants
  • County and borough council grants
  • Primary school grant
  • Industrial departments
  • Sale of farm produce
  • School band performances.

The main sources of expenditure over the period 1939–69 include:

  • Wages, salaries and insurance stamps
  • Industrial departments
  • Farm (including poultry farm)
  • Provisions purchased
  • Clothing
  • Repairs and decoration
  • Fuel, light and power
  • Rents, rates and taxes
  • Band expenses
  • Laundry and cleaning.

For the years where detailed information was available we carried out an analysis of the percentage of total income for the Institution deriving from the Department of Education and the county and borough councils (capitation grants). As can be seen from Exhibit 23 below the most significant portion of income for the institution over the period 1940–69 was derived from the Department of Education – including primary school capitation funds – and the county and borough council grants.

Exhibit 23: Main sources of income 1940–69

Sources of Income 1940–49 1950–59 1960–69
% % %
Capitation/Maintenance Grants 84 81 81
Sundry Income 2 1 2
Trades/Farm Income 10 15 13
School Band 1 3
Sweet Shop and Store 1 1 1
Total 97% 99% 100%
Other income sources immaterial

From the detailed income and expenditure accounts provided in Appendix IV it is apparent that the school was virtually self-sufficient, providing the majority of its needs from the farm and the various other activities carried on within the school. This is evidenced by the low levels of expenditure on clothing and provisions, and is also reflected in a number of the Visitation Reports:

Two beasts are killed weekly for consumption in the Institution. The farm supplies, besides meat, milk, potatoes, vegetables, meal and a good quantity of flour used in bread making.78

The main idea in working it is to supply the needs of the boys and Brothers. It is well stocked and cultivated. The milk supplied last year amounted to £2482:17:6; wheat £1,100; meat, potatoes and vegetables together £5,817. The net gain on the farm for the period was £6,600. A staff of 9 workmen helped by 50 boys can do all the work in connection with the stock, crops and harvesting.79

To provide the Artane boys with breakfast 100 gallons of tea are necessary. To provide them with dinner for a week requires two well finished, fat, three year old cattle. Two hundred 4lb loaves just meet the breakfast table.80

The main items of expenditure in each of the decades examined are summarised in the following table.

Exhibit 24 – Analysis of the major items of expenditure 1940–69

1940–49 1950–59 1960–69
% % %
Industrial departments 18% 21% 9%
Farm, poultry & garden 12% 12% 7%
Salaries & wages 28% 20% 16%
Provisions purchased 13% 16% 17%
Clothing 3% 2% 4%
Fuel, light, power 8% 7% 6%
Capital expenditure 1% 18%
Transfer to Community account 7% 11% 8%
Other 11% 10% 15%
Total 100% 100% 100%

It is particularly evident that figures for the 1960s are impacted significantly by the reducing number of children attending the school. However, over a number of categories expenditure was relatively consistent for the period, for example provisions purchased, clothing and fuel, light and power, reflecting the unchanging requirement for this expenditure. Break-even analysis, which is detailed further in Part 9 of this report, examines this issue in more detail.

Farm and industrial expenditure

We have already noted that the institution at Artane included a sizeable farm and a significant number of trades, which the boys worked at as part of their training. The accounts presented to us show both income and costs relating to the farm and trade activity. These are summarised in exhibit 25 below.

Exhibit 25 – Farm and industrial expenditure 1940–69

194049 195059 196069 Total
Farm income 54,671 133,947 122,122 310,740
Farm expenditure 58,979 99,624 72,866 231,469
Farm surplus/deficit (4,308) 34,324 49,256 79,271

A review of the available visitation reports indicates that these figures may not be entirely consistent with other contemporary records. The 1947 Visitor commented that:

There was a net gain on the farm last year of £2,763.

The 1946 accounts show a net deficit for that year of £1,143. Similarly, the 1950 accounts show a deficit of £3,471, while the Visitation Report for that year suggests that the farm recorded a surplus of approximately £6,000. Later Visitors Report surpluses that align more closely with the accounts presented.

The produce of the industrial trades seems to have been primarily consumed by the institution. The accounts of institution do not identify significant earnings from this source. The Visitation Report of 1952 comments:

Artane has a more elaborate organisation of trades than our other Industrial Schools. These trades serve, or are supposed to serve, a dual purpose – training the boys for outside life and balancing the Artane budget….each shop has one or more trained lay tradesmen. In practice, some of the trades serve only one purpose. For example, the wages of the two shoemakers amount to £800 per annum. It is believed that this sum plus the money expended on leather would supply the boys with factor-made boots for one year. On the other hand, the tinsmiths supply the establishment with such things as kitchen-ware, refectory-ware at a cost well below factory prices, but no boy has been placed as a tinsmith in any outside factory in the past six years.81

From the available evidence we believe that it is reasonable to conclude that the contribution to the financial position of the institution at Artane by trades and, in particular, farm was very significant.

In addition to the economic contribution of the farm and trades to life at Artane, these activities also served to train the boys for occupations outside of the institution. The Christian Brothers have provided us with the following analysis of the numbers of boys participating in trades over the period of our review.

Exhibit 26

Trade 1943 1944 1945 1946 1947 1950 1963 1965 1966
Bakers 11 16 10 9 10 9 6 d.
Barbers 4 8
Blacksmiths 6 6 4 5 d.
Bootmakers 46 50 35 41 35 41 16 ? x
Carpenters 6 6 7 6 6 9 21* 2 x
Cart/wheelwrights 13 14 14 14 d.
Farmers 65 60 66 60 73 50 13 6 6
Fitters 10 9 8 7 6 7 3 ? d
Gardeners 15 ? 14 ? ? ? 1 ? ?
Laundry 3 ? ?
Millers ? 2 d
Painters 4 8 7 10 12 13 6 6 d
Poultry farmers 5 ? 5 ? ? ? 3
Tailors 92 75 80 54 42 46 20 5 x
Tinsmiths 2 ? 3 7 ? 6
Waiters/kitchen 10 ? ? ? ? ? 10 ? ?
Weavers 18 25 23 24 30 32 23 5 x
Total 267** 279 276 237 214 213 128 24? 6?
Total in school 800 812 818 794 789 762 317 301 327
  • Sheet-metal working: discontinued in the early 1940s due to wartime shortages of material.
  • * Includes 10 in carpentry machine shop
  • ** Excluding 40 part-timers included in 1943 returns
  • x These shops, together with metal-working, continued (no numbers given)
  • d Discontinued

Capital expenditure

There were no major items of capital expenditure for the Institution over the period 1940–49 although an amount of IR£18,916 (approximately €24,000) was expended from the house accounts in 1948 and 1949 on a new sanitary block, a play shelter and a hen house. The overall deficit achieved for the institution over this period was equivalent €14,411.

During the period 1950–59 the school achieved a surplus of equivalent €29,214, after capital expenditure of equivalent €8,388. Capital expenditure was greatest during the 1960s when equivalent €182,098 was spent on improvements and additions to the institution.

We have seen that the level of capital expenditure was quite low for much of the 1940s, with the exception of the additions recorded in the house accounts in the latter part of the decade, and 1950s. The expenditure in the 1960s was very significant by comparison, reflecting perhaps the need to address degeneration in the standard of accommodation over time. The Visitation Reports provide us with some evidence as to the condition of buildings, although they are far from unanimous in their appraisal – some Visitors appearing to place more emphasis on the cleanliness and order of the institution, while others drew attention to progressive decline of aspects of the state of the premises. The 1947 Visitation Report presents a summary of that Visitor’s impression:

All of the premises are being cared for very well. The newer portion of the Brothers Dwelling shows signs of dampness. The boy’s lavatories are altogether antiquated. I believe new ones are to be built in the near future. The school buildings are also condemned as unsafe and new ones will be required as soon as possible. The playhall is too small and is unheated in winter. The shower-baths and foot-baths are good and efficient. The dormitories are neatly kept and the floors spotlessly clean.82

While the records show that expenditure was incurred in the late 1940s on the upgrade of some of these items, later reports record continuing concerns in this regard:

A good deal of repair work is calling out for attention in this establishment. In the large main buildings the roofs are in a bad state due to deterioration of lead and timber. Rain is coming down in some parts and, as a consequence, the paint is perishing right down to the Main Hall. These repairs demand immediate attention. In the Brothers’ Monastery, there is similar deterioration due to leaking roofs and the Bathroom is in a bad state.83

To provide adequate and suitable accommodation and recreation halls for the boys is a crying necessity. But as the future of the school is so uncertain it would probably be unwise to undertake any major schemes at present. A new toilet block for the Brothers residence was completed last year at the cost of £1200. The house and Chapel including the Sacristy are clean and well kept.84

The issue of whether and how the school premises might be improved, given the declining numbers of residents from the 1950s, was further considered in later reports. It appears that two options were contemplated – building a new school or creating new classroom space in the main building. The 1959 Visitation Report indicates that this latter option was approved by the Department.85

The 1960s saw a considerable investment in Artane. The 1963 Report describes some of the expenditure incurred:

The present Superior has been responsible for quite a number of very necessary improvements in the Institution since he became Superior in 1958. The following particulars give some idea of the extent of these improvements. I give also the approximate costs.

Alterations, additions and repairs to boys kitchen and refectory £29,253.0.0

Repairs to dormitories, which includes painting £4,933.0.0

Repairs to boys’ washrooms and toilets £7,559.0.0

Repairs to work-shops, which includes some new machinery £4,668.0.0

General repairs to roads including re-surfacing` £3,000.0.0

Repairs to dwelling house, which includes painting £1,698.0.0

New class rooms and boiler house. Total expenses £24,427.0.0

Less amount refunded by the Board of Works £14,341.0.0

Net amount incurred by Artane £ 9,906.0.0.86

We note that the Board of Works refund mentioned above is not reflected in either the school or house accounts. An amount of £6,441 is recorded in the 1971 school accounts, but we believe that to relate to subsequent works.

It is not apparent from the Visitation Reports as to why the decision to take an extensive programme of upgrade and refurbishment was undertaken, when reports from the later part of the 1950s stressed the uncertainty of the future of the institution and the inappropriateness of incurring such costs in that environment. The most significant element of the capital expenditure incurred by the school was during the period 1963–68, when the numbers of children in the institution were significantly in decline.

Funding capital expenditure

The capital expenditure incurred in Artane was funded primarily from the school account – with the exception of the items funded in the 1940s by the house, and refunds received from the Board of Works referred to above. The house accounts in the 1950s and 1960s show very low levels of capital expenditure.

The house accounts presented to us also make reference to a building fund account. This shows a net asset of £193,000 at 31st July 1969, an amount which is consistent with the 1968 Visitation Report87. This fund does not seem to have been drawn on to provide for the significant capital expenditure in the 1960s. It is not clear from the accounts presented how the assets in this fund were accumulated or where the funds were held, although taken together with the cash on hand of the house, it appears that virtually all of the surplus in the house accounts has been lodged either to the house bank account or the building fund . Accordingly, it is reasonable to conclude that the primary source of this fund is the sources of income of the house – with the receipts from the sale of lands at Artane contributing significantly to the fund.

Closure of the Industrial School

The Industrial School at Artane was closed in 1969. Subsequently, the property and lands were used as a secondary school, operated and managed by the Christian Brothers. It is our understanding that the beneficial title to the lands and property at Artane continued to be vested in the Christian Brothers Order.

The house accounts

We have been provided with House Accounts for Artane for the period 1940–69. We have extracted from these accounts a summary of the key items of income and expenditure by decade.

Exhibit 27 – Analysis of the house accounts 1940–69

194049 195059 196069
% % %
Income
Dividends on stock 3,631 4.6% 682 0.5% 874 0.2%
88Limited stipends 31,039 39.4% 1,450 1.1% 0 0.0%
Rents receivable 1,905 2.4% 3,720 2.8% 2,781 0.7%
Interest on loans 4,692 6.0% 10,558 7.8% 30,911 7.9%
Bank interest receivable 508 0.6% 574 0.4% 4,675 1.2%
Sales of land 0 0.0% 14,394 10.7% 247,450 63.2%
Old age pension 0 0.0% 367 0.3% 1,001 0.3%
Teachers pension 0 0.0% 940 0.7% 9,588 2.5%
Brother’s allowance 36,204 46.0% 92,532 68.7% 86,088 22.0%
Teachers salary 0 0.0% 0 0.0% 2,655 0.7%
Other 717 0.9% 9565 7.1% 5,272 1.3%
78,695 100.0% 134,781 100.0% 391,294 100.0%
Expenditure
Vegetables, fruit, garden 253 0.3% 47 0.1% 0 0.0%
Groceries,tobacco, mineral 1,030 1.4% 3,629 4.7% 6,368 5.7%
Wine etc. 1,152 1.5% 1,806 2.3% 2,352 2.1%
Clothing 6,227 8.2% 7,489 9.6% 7,729 6.9%
Laundry and cleansing 895 1.2% 1,465 1.9% 1,204 1.1%
Medical expenses 4,604 6.0% 5,897 7.6% 4,591 4.1%
Postage, papers stationery 866 1.1% 1,182 1.5% 1,432 1.3%
Vacation expenses 6,731 8.8% 10,861 14.0% 11,734 10.6%
Travelling 1,234 1.6% 2,324 3.0% 3,522 3.2%
Alms, donations, mass 3,751 4.9% 1,755 2.3% 3,040 2.7%
Fuel and light 17 0.0% 0 0.0% 1 0.0%
Visitation dues 16,481 21.7% 31,747 40.8% 34,346 30.9%
Rents, rates, taxes, insurance 4 0.0% 0 0.0% 0 0.0%
Repairs of premises 1,359 1.8% 599 0.8% 589 0.5%
Capital expenditure 736 1.0% 962 1.2% 955 0.9%
Interest on loans and overdrafts 2,765 3.6% 2,358 3.0% 0 0.0%
Bank charges, cheques 18 0.0% 39 0.1% 46 0.0%
Sundries 1,596 2.1% 5,560 7.2% 33,305 29.9%
Capex and cash – school 26,395 34.7% 0 0.0% 0 0.0%
76,113 100.0% 77,721 100.0% 111,214 100.0%
Surplus 2,582 57,061 280,080

As we have already noted, the house accounts show a surplus for the period 1940–69 of equivalent €339,723. This surplus arises primarily in the 1960s, although each of the decades reviewed shows a surplus of income over expenditure.

1940–49 shows a surplus of equivalent €2,582. During the decade the house contributed equivalent €26,395 toward capital expenditure on the school. Stipends, including limited stipends, of equivalent €67,243 represented 85 percent of total income during the period.

1950–59 shows a surplus of equivalent €57,061. Brothers’ allowances were augmented by the proceeds of disposal of lands at Artane and interest income to provide for costs that, excluding capital expenditure on the school, had increased by over 50 percent on the previous decade. Visitation dues represented a significant portion of the increase, accounting for 40 percent of total expenditure during the period.

1960–69 shows a surplus of equivalent €280,080. The most significant element of income is the proceeds from sale of lands at Artane. Excluding this income, other income of equivalent €143,844 was sufficient to cover costs booked during the period, leaving a contribution towards surplus of equivalent €32,630.

An overview of the three decades might be summarised as follows:

Exhibit 28 – Overview 1940–69

Stipends, salaries and allowances 261,863
Rent, dividends and interest 65,510
Other Income 15,554
Operating expenditure (153,530)
Visitation dues (82,575)
Surplus before capex 106,822
Income from sale of lands 261,844
Capital expenditure (28,942)
Surplus per house accounts 339,723

5.3 Numbers of children and staff

Number of residents

Exhibit 29 below graphs the numbers of children committed to Artane over the period 1939–69, the reference period for our report.

Exhibit 29: The number of children committed at Artane from 30th September 1939 to 30th September 1969

We can see from the above figures that there was a steady and almost unchecked decline in the number of children committed from the late 1940s.

The break-even analysis at Part 9 considers this issue in more detail.

Staffing numbers

From the Visitation Report of November 1952 we are aware that ‘Artane has a more elaborate organization of trades than our other Industrial Schools’. The types of trades offered included bakers, blacksmiths, boot makers, carpenters, fitters, millers, painters, tailors. Due to the variety of trades offered there was also a consequent demand for lay workers and instructors for the various trades and farm work.

Exhibit 30: The number of lay workers v number of Brothers employed in Artane Industrial School during the review period

The student to staff ratio over the period, is summarised in Exhibit 31 below. The overall ratio of students to all staff was between 12 and 15 to 1 for most of the 1940s and 1950s. From the late 1950s the ratio increased to approximately 10 to 1, ultimately increasing to 2 to 1 in 1969.

Exhibit 31 – Student to staff ratio 1939–69

* Estimate – figures not available for year

The Visitation Report dated November 1957 gives an insight into the implications of the declining numbers of residents at Artane.

The falling numbers in the Primary School is reflected in the small number available for part-time trades and obviously it will be getting more and more difficult to maintain such a diversity of Trades. This diversity also increases the numbers on the staff. At present there are 28 active Brothers and at least 40 other employees. A staff of 68 to look after 526 boys would appear to be completely out of proportion. Their wage bill for the 40 employees amounts to over £13,000 per annum which would be 25% approx of the grants received from the Industrial Schools Branch and the Various County Councils and if even, say, £300 per Brother were allowed it would mean that almost 45% of the grants given for the support of the boys goes out in upkeep for the staff. In addition to all this there are 168 boys employed, without payment, in various activities.

Throughout the 1940s and up until the 1950s there was a somewhat consistent number of lay employees and Brothers involved with the institution. There was approximately 38–46 lay workers and approximately 31–36 Brothers (with an average of 16 teaching in the primary school). When the school numbers fell significantly, for the first time, in 1955 to 653 (1954: 737), a decrease of 11 percent, the school responded by initially reducing the numbers of Brothers from 36 to 26, while making little change to the number of lay workers. Through the late 1950s and into the 1960s student numbers continued to fall by an average of 14 percent per annum. In response the number of lay staff employed was reduced considerably from 38 in 1955 to just 12 in 1969, however there was not a dramatic decrease in the numbers of Brothers involved in the School. From the Visitation Report of May 1968 we know that there were 25 Brothers employed, and 20 at May 1969.

An analysis of payroll records made available to us by the Christian Brothers shows that the average number of employees in each activity was as follows. In addition we understand that approximately 15 Brothers taught in the school.

Exhibit 32

194049 195059 196069
Bakers 1 1 1
Boilersman 1 2 1
Bootmaker 2 2 2
Carpenter 1 2 3
Cart/wheelwright 1 0 0
Chaplain 0 0 1
Farmers 14 14 10
Gardeners 1 1 2
Laundry 4 5 3
Kitchen 2 2 2
Millers 1 1 0
Painters 1 1 1
Tailors 2 3 3
Teachers 5 2 1
Tinsmiths 1 1 1
Weavers 2 3 2
Total 40 39 30

Appendix V to this report summarises the numbers and roles of Brothers at Artane over the period 1939–69. Appendix VI provides information in relation to the lay staff employed. Appendix VII deals with the numbers of Brothers employed as teachers.

5.4 Financial consequences for the relevant institution of caring for the children

In the normal course, one would look to a balance sheet or statement of affairs as a primary record of the financial position and, accordingly, the financial consequences of an activity. We have not had sight of a balance sheet in respect of Artane Industrial School for any year during the period under review. However, we have been advised that an overdraft of equivalent €111,737 was cleared by the Order in respect of the school, at closure. This overdraft, while somewhat larger than the deficit recorded in the school accounts, might be considered to represent the significant element of a balance sheet at 1969. Similarly, while a formal balance sheet has not been prepared for the house, we believe that the building fund and bank balances attaching to the house constitute the most significant components of a balance sheet. Obviously, both of these ‘balance sheets’ exclude the value of the lands and buildings at Artane, which might properly be included either to the account of the house,or the Order, as we understand that the title to the property is vested in a number of Brothers on behalf of the Order. For the purposes of our work we have assumed that neither the school nor the house had any significant assets and liabilities, other than the land and buildings at Artane and bank accounts identified, at 1st January 1940, an assumption broadly corroborated by the Visitation Report of 194289 which notes:

The Community account has a credit at Bank of £6,990, and the School account has a credit of £3,568.

While these sums were not insubstantial at the time, they are of a magnitude that suggest that it is reasonable to believe that the surplus/deficit shown in the school and house accounts, and the various bank and building fund balances at 1969 represent an accurate picture of the financial consequences of running the institution from 1939–69.

The closing balance sheet of the community at Artane might be summarised as follows;

Exhibit 33

Cumulative 1939–69 School
House
Total
Cumulative surplus/ (deficit) (70,818) 339,724 268,906
Represented by:
Balance at bank (97,407)90 116,42291 19,015
Building fund 245,059 245,059
Land & buildings92
Net assets/(liabilities) (97,407) 361,481 264,074

We have been advised that the Order funded a final overdraft on the school of equivalent €111,737.

The Visitation Report of 1966 comments as follows on the relationship between the School and the House:

The Accounts are carefully kept and everything ‘shows’ for any Department Inspector to inspect. There are two Accounts – a School Account and a House Account. In addition to supporting the boys the School supports the Brothers to the extent of food, maintenance but not clothing or medical or any luxury items. In addition there is transferred from the School Account to the House Account each year £300 per Brother for extra services, etc. This is shown in the School Accounts. There is a debt on the School of £72,891-10-4, interest free because the House Account carries a Savings Account in the Bank of that amount. In the Building Fund the House Account has £193,000 on loan in addition. The School Account runs at a deficit each year due to the fact that it gets only £5-7-6 per boy per week, which is not enough, they say. It seems that the Bursar’s Office is run very efficiently and with care.93

As well as presenting the extent of the economic relationship between the school and the house, the above extract also clearly states the understanding of how a financial dividing line was to be drawn between the two elements of the community at Artane. The house benefited from the contribution of cost of production of food and maintenance from the school. The house also levied on the school a stipend per Brother.

The house had beneficial rights to the lands and property and to any income from this source. The school, on the other hand, bore the cost of supporting the boys, the costs of employing the lay staff, the costs of maintaining and upgrading the buildings and making a contribution toward the costs of the community of Brothers.

If the capital expenditure incurred at the school was to be excluded, then the capitation grant would have been sufficient to cover the operating expenses of the school.

Obviously, our comments in Part 4 regarding the appropriateness or otherwise of the State providing funding towards the capital costs of the school applies in the case of Artane.

The financial consequences for the relevant institution of caring for the children over the period 1939–69

The financial consequences for the relevant institution of caring for the children over the period 1939–69 might be summarised as follows;

Exhibit 34

%
Total expenditure (Exhibit 11) 2,364,996 100%
Funded by:
State and Local authorities94 1,868,443 79%
Other income95 425,734 18%
Deficit – funded by Order (70,819) 3%

As we have seen, the Order funded a final overdraft on the school account of €111,737.

6. Rosminian Fathers – Upton and Ferryhouse

This Part of our report deals with our consideration of the financial information available in respect of the Industrial Schools at Upton, County Cork, and Ferryhouse, Clonmel, County Tipperary, run by the Rosminian Fathers between 1939 and 1969. In the course of our review we considered the following terms of reference identified by the Commission;

  • A review of the application of State funding to the care of children in the institution
  • A commentary on the effects of changes in the number of children in the relevant institutions over the period 1939–69
  • A commentary on staffing/student ratios over the period of the review
  • The financial consequences for the relevant institutions as a result of caring for the children over the period 1939–69.

6.1 Background to financial information

We have been asked by the Commission to examine two Industrial Schools operated by the Rosminian Fathers – Upton in County Cork and Ferryhouse, at Clonmel in County Tipperary.

Upton was originally founded as a Reformatory in 1860 by the Cork Society of St Vincent de Paul. The Rosminians were asked by the Society to run the Reformatory. We understand that the original buildings at Upton were provided by the Cork Reformatory Society, a subsidiary of the St Vincent de Paul Society. The Reformatory closed in 1889 and reopened five days later as Danesfort Industrial School. The application on behalf of management for a change in certification was prompted by a decrease in the number of boys being sent to Reformatories, coupled with a sharp increase in numbers sent to Industrial Schools. The Industrial School closed in 1966.96

The Industrial School included a farm, some of which, we have been advised, was purchased by the Institute of Charity. The table at Exhibit 35 shows quantity of land farmed.

Exhibit 35 – Upton farm land

Farmlands Acreage Type
Farm 100 Acres Mixed

No financial information is available in respect of the years 1940–49. Financial information is available in respect of the years:

  • – 1952, 1953
  • – 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966.

Ferryhouse was originally founded and certified as an Industrial School in 1884. The institution included a small farm. We understand that the land and buildings at Ferryhouse were gifted to the Order by Count Arthur Moore, MP.97

Exhibit 36 – Ferryhouse farm land

Farmlands Acreage Type
Farm 9-50 Acres Mixed

Again, a limited amount of financial information is available in respect of the institution run by the Rosminian Fathers at Ferryhouse in County Tipperary. Financial accounts were made available for the following years:

  • – 1941, 1947
  • – 1951, 1952, 1953, 1954
  • – 1960, 1961, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969.

The Irish Province of the Institute of Charity ran the Industrial Schools of Upton and Ferryhouse and also operated a house of formation for students of the Order, at Omeath in County Louth. In addition to the accounts of the two Industrial Schools we have been given sight of the accounts of the Province for the following years;

  • – 1952, 1953
  • – 1961, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969.

6.2 Analysis of Income and Expenditure

Upton

Exhibit 37 – Summary income and expenditure 1950–69

1952–539898 1960–669999 TOTAL
INCOME 47,628 310,392 358,020
EXPENDITURE 47,578 286,158 333,736
SURPLUS /<DEFICIT> 50 24,234 24,284

From our analysis of the available Upton Industrial School income and expenditure accounts for the period 1940–69 we can see that income for the years presented exceeded the expenditure by equivalent €24,284. Obviously, the figures above are aggregated for the purposes of illustration only – the financial outcomes for the institution are dealt with below in the section of this report dealing with the balance sheet of the school and Province.

1952–53

In the years 1952 and 1953 a surplus of equivalent €50 was realised. During this period there appears to have been a very low level of capital expenditure incurred, and this is consistent with other information provided to us by the Order.

1960–66

The figures for this period show that the overall surplus generated was equivalent €24,234. The school income and expenditure figures include income and expenditure from the farm and garden. It should be noted that the school income and expenditure accounts presented for the period 1960–62 did not include farm income and expenditure. To make the data comparable, the farm income and expenditure figures have been included for 1960–62100. Capital expenditure for years available during this period represents 16 percent of total expenditure.

Sources of income

The income of the institution came from a number of sources. Over the period 1950–69 the main sources were:

  • Department of Education grants
  • County and borough council grants
  • Primary school grant
  • Voluntaries
  • Farm income
  • Masses.

For the years where detailed information was available we carried out an analysis of the percentage of total income for the institution deriving from the Department of Education and the county and borough councils (capitation grants). As can be seen from Exhibit 38 below, over 60 percent of income of the Institution over the period 1950–69 was derived from the Department of Education and county and borough council grants.

Exhibit 38: Sources of INcome 1950–66

Sources of income 1952–53 1960–66
% %
Capitation/maintenance grants 64 63
Farm income 15 20
Voluntaries 9 0
Primary school grant 0 6
Mass 5 2
Total 93% 91%
Other income sources immaterial

The main items of expenditure over the period 1950–66 were:

  • Wages, salaries and insurance stamps
  • Farm and garden
  • Capital expenditure
  • Provisions
  • Bread
  • Clothing
  • Fuel, light and power
  • Meat and fish
  • Rents, rates and insurance
  • Laundry and cleaning.

An analysis of expenditure during the years for which information is available shows that salaries and wages represent a more significant portion of overall expenditure in earlier years, while expenditure on capital items and farm and garden increased over time.

Exhibit 39: Analysis of expenditure 1950–66

1952–53 1960–66
% %
Salaries and wages 17% 7%
Farm and garden 15% 19%
Provisions 14% 4%
Capital expenditure 6% 19%
Bread 6% 9%
Meat and fish 8% 6%
Clothing 7% 5%
Fuel, light and water 5% 5%
Rates, rent and insurance 3% -%
Prov contribution -% 3%
Masses 5% 2%
Other 14% 21%
Total 100% 100%

Capital expenditure

From our review of the income and expenditure accounts of the school over the period 1950–66 we note that capital expenditure in that period totalled equivalent €59,420. There is no evidence that the State made a specific contribution in respect of the capital expenditure at Upton Industrial School.

Ferryhouse

From our analysis of the Ferryhouse Industrial School income and expenditure accounts for the period 1940–69 we can see that on an overall level the income exceeded the expenditure by equivalent €26,901 for these years available. Again, the figures above are aggregated for the purposes of illustration only – the financial outcomes for the institution are dealt with below in the section of this report dealing with the balance sheet of the schools.

Exhibit 40 – Summary income and expenditure 1940–69101

194049 1950–59 1960–69 TOTAL
INCOME 19,806 90,183 404,474 514,463
EXPENDITURE 24,039 85,551 377,972 487,562
SURPLUS /<DEFICIT> <4,233> 4,632 26,502 26,901

Income sources

The Income of the Institution came from a number of sources. Over the period 1940 to 1969 the main sources were:

  • Department of Education grants
  • County and borough council grants
  • Government grants
  • Local authority grants
  • Voluntaries
  • Farm income
  • Salaries
  • Masses.

For the years where detailed information was available we carried out an analysis of the percentage of total income for the institution deriving from the Department of Education and the county and borough councils (capitation grants). As can be seen from Exhibit 41 below the most significant source of income (70–77 percent) for the institution over the period 1940–69 was the capitation grant.

Exhibit 41: Sources of income 1940–69

Sources of income 1940–49 1950–59 1960–69
% % %
Capitation/maintenance grants 75 77 70
Farm income 7 10 12
Voluntaries 9 2 0
Salaries 5 0 0
Poor law contributions 0 0 3
New school building 0 0 5
Masses 0 5 0
Total 96% 94% 90%
Other income sources immaterial

An analysis of the expenditure incurred by the institution during the period shows that salaries and wages represented 20 percent of expenditure in the early years of the period, but declined in significance over the period. Capital expenditure increased from 5–19 percent, over the same period.

Exhibit 42 Analysis of expenditure 1940–69

1940–49 1950–59 1960–69
% % %
Salaries and wages 21 10 7
Provisions 14 14 0
Farm & garden 9 13
Groceries 14 0 13
Fuel, light and heat 5 7 5
Clothing and bedding 5 7 3
Bread 6 8 0
Meat 4 4 6
Capital expenditure 5 12 19
Tailoring 3 6
Building and repairs 3
Footwear 2 2
Travelling 2 3
Masses 4
Interest, bank charges and loan payment 2 6
Medical, printing & postage, church expenses & recreation expenses 3 3
Rent, rates, insurance 1 2
Provincial contributions 3
Other amounts 13 19 14
Total 100% 100% 100%

Other amounts include professional fees, wine and spirits, petty cash, tobacco, maintenance fees, charitable donations, provincial levies and loan repayments.

Capital expenditure

From our review of the income and expenditure accounts of the school over the period 1940–69 we noted that capital expenditure in that period based on available information totalled equivalent €84,931. We note that in 1968 there was a contribution of equivalent €19,173 towards a new school building. This has been classified under the heading ‘other grants’, although the source is not identified.

6.3 Numbers of children and staff

Information is not available in respect of the numbers of staff at Upton over the period under review. Information in respect of the numbers of children in residence at the school was derived from data provided by the Department of Education to the Commission and is attached at Appendix XVII. The impact of changes in the numbers of children over the period is considered further in Part 9 of this report.

6.4 Financial consequences for the relevant institution of caring for the children

The Province accounts

We have carried out a review of the financial data in respect of the Province, from financial information presented by the Rosminian Fathers. Our key observations, based on this review, are as follows:

  • A very limited amount of financial information is available in respect of the Province. Financial Accounts were available for the following years:

– 1952, 1953

– 1961, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969.

  • The bank balance of the Province at 31st December 1969 shows cash in bank and in hand totalling equivalent €4,087.
  • The accounts provided show that the Province showed a surplus of income over expenditure in all years presented except two – 1966, where the accounts showed a deficit of equivalent €36, and 1967, where the accounts showed a deficit of equivalent €2,944.
  • Capital expenditure during the years examined amounted to equivalent €2,041.

Exhibit 43 – Summary income and expenditure 1950–69

1952–53 1960–69 TOTAL
INCOME 47,895 218,661 266,556
EXPENDITURE 47,334 211,496 258,830
SURPLUS /<DEFICIT> 561 7,165 7,726

Sources of income

The main sources of income over the period 1950–69 are outlined below.

1952–53

Income of €16,228 in 1952 derived primarily from Masses (€12,281). Financial information in respect of 1953 shows no income from Masses but that the significantly increased income of €31,667 derived mainly from the contributions of Upton (equivalent €1,359), Clonmel (equivalent €1,521) and Omeath (equivalent to €5,286) as well as Kilmurry (equivalent €9,980) and the repayment of loans, made to the USA (equivalent €5,064).

1960–69

In the period 1960–69, income derived primarily from Provincial contributions and stipendia missarum.

Exhibit 44: Main Sources of Income 1950–69

Sources of income 1952–53 1960–69
% %
Masses 26% 12%
Schools 45% 8%
Provisional contributions 0% 23%
Stipendia missarum 0% 39%
Other sources 13% 2%
Total 84% 84%
Other income sources immaterial

Expenditure

The main items of expenditure over the period 1950–69 are outlined below.

1952–53

Expenditure in 1952, in an amount equivalent to €16,140, was incurred primarily in respect of scholastics, novitiate, juniorate, missions and travel. Total expenditure in 1953, equivalent to €31,194, included spending on travel and schools as well as transfers to other accounts.

1960–69

Funds available in the period 1960–69 were expended primarily on interest costs, mandates and subsidies, transfers to stipendiorum, Glencomeragh, schools and in reducing the overdraft.

Exhibit 45: Analysis of the major items of expenditure 1950–69

1952–53 1960–69
% %
Scholastics 3% 0
Novitiate 5% 0
Juniorate 12% 0
Missions 3% 0
Interest 0% 10%
Travel 17% 1%
Transfers 26% 2%
Schools 24% 3%
Glencomeragh 0% 4%
Mandates & subsidies 0% 38%
Reduction of overdraft 0% 7%
Transfer stipendiorum 0% 22%
Total 90% 100%

Amounts expended on capital items would not appear to be significant – amounting to an equivalent of €2,041. Glencomeragh was at first the Scholasticate for the Province but it subsequently served as the Novitiate and at times catered for Novices and Scholastics together. Some or all of the expenditure on Glencomeragh (total equivalent to €9,129) may however be capital in nature. Expenditure on schools represents payments from the Province to Omeath, Fermoy, Kilmurry and Upton.

Statement of Affairs at 31st December 1969

The statement of affairs of the Province at 31st December 1969 shows assets and liabilities as follows:

Exhibit 46

£
Assets
Bank 3,160 4,012
In hand 58 74
Prize bonds 285 362
Various loans 12,170 15,453
Cork marts 600 762
No. 3 account 18,784 23,851
35,057 44,514
Liabilities
Pro missis translates at transferendis 860 1,092
Interest on loans due to burses 708 899
Funeral expenses 150 190
Overdraft 44,000 55,868
45,718 58,049
Excess of liabilities over assets (10,661) (13,535)

Upton

The balance sheet of the school at 31st December 1966 shows a net surplus of equivalent €17,233.

Ferryhouse

The balance sheet of the school at 31st December 1969 shows a net surplus of equivalent €19,790.

A summary position is also suggested for those years where accounts are available:

Exhibit 47

Upton %
Total expenditure 333,736 100%
Funded by:
State and local authorities 242,823 73%
Other Income 115,196 34%
Surplus 24,284 7%

Exhibit 48

Ferryhouse %
Total expenditure 487,562 100%
Funded by:
State and local authorities 369,317 76%
Other Income 145,146 30%
Surplus 26,901 6%

As the records are incomplete, this summary can only be regarded as indicative.

We note that the Rosminian Fathers have, in presenting information to us, drawn attention to the history of under-funding and scarcity of resource in the schools. They have also noted that the community schools, were of necessity, interdependent, and both dependent on the produce of the school farms for essentials. The Order also notes that the Province did not maintain central funds, and could not, accordingly, provide significant additional support. The net liability position of the Province at 31st December 1969, supports this contention. We attach at Appendix XIII the submissions of the Order in relation to the financial position of the schools.

The submission made by the Rosminian Fathers draws attention to a number of issues that are relevant not only to those schools run by the Order, but also to the system of Reformatories and Industrial Schools in its entirety. We have dealt with these, in that context, in the early sections of this report. In summary, the issues raised by the Order are as follows;

  • No State monies were available to assist with the provision of buildings and other facilities in the Industrial Schools.

• The Order also notes ‘It must be kept in mind that the two Industrial Schools were only part of the financial burden on the Province that also had to provide and maintain houses for students who were called to join the Institute and who did not pay any fees for their training. From 1945 onwards, the Province had a further call on its limited financial resources when it was required to provide for the travelling expenses, health care and much more, of the members who went on mission to East Africa.’

The question of State funding of the property is, as we have already seen, complex, and is relevant to our understanding of the relationship between the State and the Orders and their collective perception of their respective roles in relation to the provision of the Reformatory and Industrial Schools.

With regard to the additional financial burdens on the Order, we note that this question is relevant to an understanding of how the religious communities viewed the schools as a potential contributor to other unfunded or under-funded activities of the Order. From our examination of the financial information made available to us by the Rosminian Fathers it is our view that the schools did leave the Order in a net surplus position, to the extent that the closing balance sheets of the schools show an improved position on the earliest available accounts. However, the contribution of the schools to other community activity does not, based on the available information, appear to have been sufficient to yield the Order a significant surplus.

7. St Vincent’s Industrial School – Goldenbridge

We have carried out a review of the financial data and related information in respect of St Vincent’s Industrial School, held on the Commission database system and from financial information provided by the Sisters of Mercy.

Our work to date consists principally of the review and analysis of relevant information in accordance with applicable requirements specifically identified in our terms of reference. These are:

  • A review of the application of State funding to the care of children in St Vincent’s Industrial School
  • A commentary on the effects of changes in the number of children over the period 1939–69.
  • The financial consequences for the relevant institution as a result of caring for the children over the period 1939–69
  • A commentary on staffing/student ratios over the period of the review.

7.1 Background to financial information

St Vincent’s Industrial School was certified as an industrial school in 1880. The Sisters of Mercy managed the industrial school at Goldenbridge between 1939 and 1969. The facility provided accommodation in respect of 140 children committed there at 30th September 1939 and 141 children at 31st December 1969. For most of its existence the industrial school was certified for girls up to the age of 16 years and from 1954 its certification included permission to accept boys up to the age of 10 years.

The combined Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy was founded in 1994. Prior to that, the Order was divided into distinct congregations – one for each diocese. Each diocese had its own mther gneral and cuncil. Goldenbridge Industrial School was associated with Goldenbridge Convent (approximately 20 nuns), which was a branch house of Carysfort Mother House within the Dublin diocese. On the same grounds as the industrial school were the convent, the external convent primary school, the secondary top and a small farm. We understand that the small farm consisted of a couple of acres that was used to keep a few cows and crops, which were used to supply the convent.

We have not received any financial information for the school for the years 1939–54. Accounts were available for the period 1955–69 in six-monthly sets with the exception of the six-month periods ended 31st December 1957, 30th June 1968 and 30th June 1969. The period ended 31st December 1960102 has also been omitted from our analysis as this is a duplication of the 30th June 1960 accounts which therefore questions their validity. Two different sets of accounts were made available to us for 1953. For the purpose of this analysis we have used accounts reference SOMGB-00568/12 and SOMGB-00568/13. In the years 1961103 and 1963104 we note that the accounts of the Goldenbridge do not appear to tot correctly. We have accordingly used the detailed analysis rather than relying on sub-totals as presented in the accounts.

The school ceased to be an Industrial School in the mid-1980s.

7.2 Analysis of income and expenditure

The income and expenditure of Goldenbridge Industrial School, as presented in the school accounts for the period 1955–69 is as follows:

Exhibit 49

1955–60 1961–69 TOTAL
INCOME 154,582 230,570 385,152
EXPENDITURE 146,256 205,487 351,743
SURPLUS 8,326 25,083 33,409

Commenting on the funding of the school Sr Helena O’Donoghue noted:

In any examination of standards in the Industrial Schools the issue of funding is critical. From interviews with the former Resident Manager and from the limited records available it is clear that there was a constant struggle to provide even a basic standard of living for the children within the limits of the funding provided to Goldenbridge right through until 1970s when the capitation fee per child was doubled overnight on the eve of a General Election.105

The main sources of income recorded in the school accounts are as follows:

Dublin Corporation

Council grants

Dublin Health Authority

The Department of Education.

We note that, with the exception of one year there is no evidence that the school received any primary grant funding in respect of national school teachers. Those accounts relate to the period ended 31st December 1953 and refer to income from ‘Department of Education – Primary Branch – Capitation Grant for National School’. The grant received is represented in the accounts as an amount of IR£878.

The main items of expenditure over the period include:

Food

Clothing

Salaries and wages

Repairs and decoration

Rent, rates and taxes

Fuel, light and power

Furniture, fittings and bed linen.

Income

For the years where detailed information was available we analysed the percentage of total income for the institution deriving from the Department of Education and the county and borough councils (government and local authority grants). As seen below the most significant portion of income is from government and local authority grants.

Exhibit 50

Income 1951–60 1961–69
Dublin Corporation 37% 31%
Treasury (Department of Education) 46% 34%
County councils 4% 8%
Dublin Health Authority 0% 11%
Other 13% 16%
Total 100% 100%

Government and Local Authority grants varied between 84–87 percent of total income recorded by the institution between the years 1951–69. (This includes treasury amounts106 that we understand were capitation grants.) In total, the amount received over the period was equivalent to €304,519.

We understand that bead-making commenced as a trade within the school in the early 1950s and ceased prior to 1970. From our discussion with the representatives of the Order, we believe that children made ‘decades’ of beads (the stringing of beads onto wire using pliers). Quotas were imposed in order to meet the requirements of their contracts with two companies. We understand that the quota was 60 decades per participating child per day. We do not know how many children participated and no financial records of this income source have been made available to us. We did receive correspondence from one company which purchased the decades from Goldenbridge and we have used this data to estimate the range of possible income that has not been included in the accounts.

Exhibit 51

Bead Income
Number of children 120 90 60 30
Income per decade IR£0.11 IR£0.11 IR£0.11 IR£0.11
Income per annum IR£3,432 IR£2,574 IR£1,716 IR£858
Discounted income per annum IR£2,869 IR£2,152 IR£1,435 IR£717

We understand that:

  • There were quality issues with the decades, for which we have discounted our estimates by 5 percent.
  • For most of July, August and Christmas there was no production, for which we have discounted the estimate by 20 percent.
  • On occasions the children worked six days a week, for which we have increased the estimate by 10 percent.

This means that the range of income would be between IR£717 and IR£2,869 per annum depending on the number of children making the decades. We understand that the Sisters of Mercy believe that the income was at the lower end of this scale.

We believe that the income generated may have been significant because an amount was used in 1954 to contribute to the purchase of a property in Rathdrum, County Wicklow. We have been advised by the Order that the property was used by children during holiday periods.

Expenditure

The most significant items of expenditure can be summarised as follows;

Exhibit 52

1951–60 1961–69
% %
Dietary expenses 34 26
Wages 21 18
Clothing 12 12
Building repairs and decorations 11 16
Fuel and light 7 7
Furniture and fittings 3 3
Medical 1 2
Other 11 16
Total 100 100

The wages above consist of staff wages, payments to the Resident Manager and payments to the Reverend Mother.

Wages and salaries

Limited information is available in relation to the staffing levels during the period 1939–69. We understand that generally the staffing consisted of two nuns (both teaching and one having the dual responsibility of resident manager), two lay teachers and a number of other staff (seamstress, domestic, etc). We note that based on records of 1955 there were eight members of staff excluding the nuns and teachers. This increased to eleven members of staff in 1958.

We noted a number of inconsistencies in relation to wages and salaries: There were peak years for payments of wages and salaries in 1953 and 1954 of approximately €4,900 per annum. These levels were not reached again until 1967.

Exhibit 53

Wages and salaries 1953 & 1954
Non-teaching staff €1,400
Lay teachers and nuns €1,900
Unknown €1,600
Total wages per accounts €4,900

The data from the year where wage analysis is available, which is based on the staff numbers and weekly wages in 1955107, can be used to recalculate the annual staff wages to be approximately €1,400 per annum based on eight staff members. The difference is likely to be made up of payments to the two lay teachers and the two nuns. Based on average industrial wages in 1955 this would account for approximately €1,900.108We do not know what payments made up the remaining €1,600. However, we note from the payments books, which are only available subsequent to 1960, that they show a payment, recorded as wages, to the reverend mother of IR£90 per month. We do not know whether this payment actually represented wages or if the funds were used for the school or for another purpose.

The accounts of Carysfort Mother House indicate payments received between 1939 and 1954 on a monthly basis totalling between approximately €5,000 and €9,000 per annum described as ‘National Education Goldenbridge’. The Carysfort accounts indicate payments totalling between approximately €1,000 and €5,000 per annum to the Goldenbridge convent and Goldenbridge school expenses. The source of the income is not clear nor is the extent to which the payments related to wages. It is also not clear how much of this income, or expenditure, relates to the Industrial School, rather than the adjacent national school.

Exhibit 54

Capital expenditure

1951–69
Building Account 90,000
Accounts summary:
Repairs, Buildings and Decorations 50,195
Machinery and new equipment 227
Furniture, fittings and bed linen 11,084
Crockery and Hardware 1,030
Hardware 6,209
Total 158,745

The total capital expenditure during the period 1951–69 was €158,745. The following items of capital expenditure items were noted during our review:

1941: New recreation hall

1954: A holiday home at Rathdrum

1955: New heating system installed

1958: Re-wired

1960: Small villa at entrance gate for residents’ visitors

1963: Four new dining rooms; a recreation hall and playground

1963: New dormitory

1964: New external primary school.

Capital expenditure using the school account was primarily on building repairs and decorations and furniture and fittings. In the 1960s this amounted to 19 percent of expenditure. In 1969 repairs to buildings made up 29 percent of expenditure. We have received some records in respect of a building account held in the 1960s that was funded by the school account and various grants. It is unclear how much of these funds were used for properties other than for the industrial school; although based on a sample review of such expenditure we did note a certificate of payment in respect of Rathdrum in the amount of IR£750.109109

The accounts of the Industrial School indicate funding given to capital expenditure of IR£2,000 for the purchase of a holiday home in 1954, with further contributions to the building fund account of IR£2,000 in 1959 and IR£4,000 in 1960, before a subsequent repayment from the building fund account to the school account of IR£1,050.

Building fund

As we have noted above, the building account was operated during the period under review. We received accounts for the period 1961–66 in six-monthly sets with the exception of the six months ended 30th June 1962 and 30th June 1964. The following information has been extracted from those accounts:

Approximately €90,000 was spent during the period 1961–66 with €68,500 spent during the period 1964–66.

The main identified contributors to the funding were: Board of Works €32,000; Dublin Corporation €15,000 and Treasury (Department of Education) €17,000.

Due to incomplete records we are unable to determine whether other lodgements to the building account represent capital grants or general funding of the school which was used for capital expenditure.

The building fund account is summarised in Appendix XV.

7.3 Numbers of children and staff

Below is a summary of the number of students attending St Vincent’s, Goldenbridge and the income and expenditure per student for that year.

Exhibit 55

Year No of students Income per student Expenditure per student
1951 150 85 83
1952 154 89 82
1953 158 109 111
1954 151 106 112
1955 161 81 93
1956 161 99 87
1957 163 136 108
1958 166 90 110
1959 158 151 131
1960 161 198 121
1961 163 113 130
1962 190 99 108
1963 176 111 125
1964 194 162 136
1965 174 197 133
1966 165 195 195
1967 147 275 226
1968 139 279 166
1969 141 323 222

We can see from the above figures that the number of children committed to Goldenbridge peaked in the early 1960s and then began to decline in the late 1960s.

As noted above accounts were not available for the six months ended 31st December 1957, 31st December 1960, 30th June 1968 and 30th June 1969 and therefore for these years income and expenditure figures were calculated on a pro-rata basis in order to achieve comparable figures.

We understand that there was no significant fluctuation in teaching staff during the period. Limited information was available in relation to non-teaching staff.

7.4 The financial consequences for the relevant institution as a result of caring for the children over the period 1939–69

The financial consequences for Goldenbridge of caring for the children over the period 1939–69 are probably best characterised as being one of being close to break-even. The following table illustrates, for those years where accounts are available, the position.

Exhibit 56

%
Total expenditure 351,743 100%
Funded by:
State and local authorities 282,239 80%
Other income 102,913 29%
Surplus 33,410 9%

We note that there was a surplus in the bank account of the Industrial School at 30th November 1969 of €16,265, which is consistent with the position indicated in the above summary. We also note in this regard that the school accounts do not show any primary grant received, with the exception of one period, and exclude income from the bead-making activity.

8. St Conleth’s Reformatory School – Daingean

This part of our report deals with our consideration of the financial information available in respect of the Reformatory School at Daingean, County Offaly, which was run by the Oblate Order between 1940 and 1969. In the course of our review we considered the following terms of reference identified by the Commission;

  • A review of the application of State Funding to the care of children in the institution
  • A commentary on the effects of changes in the number of children in the relevant institutions over the period 1939 to 1969
  • A commentary on staffing/student ratios over the period of the review
  • The financial consequences for the relevant institutions as a result of caring for the children over the period 1939–69.

8.1 Background to financial information

On 6th August 1940, St Conleth’s School in Daingean, County Offaly, was certified as a Reformatory School to be managed by the Oblate Order. The Oblate Order had, up until this time, run a training college for those wishing to enter the Order at Daingean, with the premises leased from the State since 1932 on a 99-year lease while the adjoining lands were owned by the Order. The facility in Daingean was identified as a replacement for the Reformatory School in Glencree, which had been operated by the Oblates until 1940, having previously been run as a reformatory school since the late 1800s, and as an army barracks and convict prison prior to that.

In one of the sequence of transactions related to the establishment of the reformatory school at Daingean, the State purchased the farmland from the Oblate Order at a price of £4,500 (€5,714), including £1,000 (€1,270) for farm buildings which the Oblates had erected on the lands, and entered into a new 50-year lease agreement at an annual rental of £350 (€444). In addition the State paid to the Oblates a sum of £6,000 (€7,618) for improvements that they had carried out to the buildings at Daingean and £2,500 (€3,174) towards the liquidation of debts incurred by them in running the reformatory in Glencree.

Some of the monies paid to the Order were used to fund the purchase of an estate in Piltown, County Kilkenny for the purpose of housing the Oblate Order’s training college.

The farmland at Daingean comprised 259 acres of which a portion was given over to a dairy herd and 70 acres of which were under tillage. The farm supplied milk, butter, meat, potatoes and vegetables for the school. In addition to the farm produce, two bogs owned by the school provided fuel and bread was baked in the school bakery.

Activities at the school included tailoring, shoemaking, woodwork, farmwork, and working the bogs, while football, hurling and handball were played during free time. There was also a school band and mobile cinema. Ninety boys were members of the local defence forces. In 1945 a new theatre was completed where the boys put on performances both for the school and the general public. During the 1950s and 1960s, about 40 boys attended the technical school, another 40 attended the remedial school while the remainder were engaged in whatever trades and activities existed.

The staff at Daingean included the Resident Manager, chaplain, approximately four Oblate Fathers, up to 20 Oblate Brothers, two lay teachers, one tailor, one shoemaker, three farm workers, one PE teacher (part time).

The school at Daingean had an accommodation limit of 250 boys. Just over 220 boys were transferred from Glencree to Daingean in August 1940. The war years saw Daingean accommodating its highest levels of inmates. From the information available it would appear that student numbers reached a high of 240 in 1943 and dipped as low as 92 in 1969.

Financial information has been reviewed for all years from 1940.

8.2 Analysis of Income and Expenditure

Exhibit 57

1940–49 1950–59 1960–69 TOTAL
INCOME 148,231 223,993 354,657 726,881
EXPENDITURE 147,222 222,106 375,259 744,587
SURPLUS /<DEFICIT> 1,009 1,887 <20,602> <17,706>

As can be seen from the analysis, the school operated at approximately a break-even position for the first two decades under review but ran into deficit during the third decade.

1940–49

Whilst deficits existed in the years 1943, 1944, 1946, 1947 and 1949 a small surplus of €1,009 was generated during the decade. ’Proceeds of sale of Glencree’ of €4,444 were recorded as income in 1943 (resulting in a surplus of €4,469 in that year) but were then transferred out in the following year (resulting in an overall deficit of €6,209 in 1944). It is not clear from the accounts where these proceeds were transferred to or what specifically the proceeds related to. The deficit in 1944 was also driven, in part, by a bakery installation amounting to €1,200. Deficits were generated in each of the years 1946 (€587), 1947 (€188), 1949 (€1,204). It is noted that in 1946 and 1947 turf was purchased for other sites operated by the Oblate Order in Dublin.

What this broad analysis of income and expenditure, and resulting surpluses/deficits, shows is that, by and large throughout the 1940s, the school was run within the funds available.

1950–59

While the overall surplus of €1,887 generated for the decade 1950–59 is not significantly different from that generated in the previous decade, an examination of individual years show erratic results which range from a deficit of €891 to a surplus of €1,798. There appears to be a trend of a year of deficit being followed by a year of surplus. Significant one-off items of expenditure during these years included the following:

Exhibit 58

Year Expenditure Amount
1952 Technical school 1,439
1957 Schoolbooks & newspapers 3,595
1958 Payments to council 1,439

1960–69

Significant deficits were generated in all but two years throughout the 1960s. These deficits would appear to derive from increased expenditure across a number of different headings which include holidays and retreats; coal, gas,water and lighting; repairs; education; stipends to Fathers and provincial; farm. There would also appear to have been significant petty cash drawings in the 1960s (amounting to €9,604), the purpose of which is not identified. Throughout the 1960s income generated from the farm appears to have increased quite substantially – from €12,709 in 1940–49 to €73,685 in 1960–69.

Income sources

Government and council grants were the primary sources of income for the Reformatory School in Daingean. Other income included farm sales, stipends and sundry sales. The source of the stipends is not clear from the documentation available. An analysis of the percentage of total income for the institution which derived from the Department of Education and the county and borough councils (government and council grants) is outlined below. The analysis shows that Government grants accounted for a proportionately smaller amount of total income in later years. This reflects both the falling number of boys being admitted in later years as well as the increased farm income.

Exhibit 59

Sources of Income 1940–49 1950–59 1960–69
% % %
Government and council grants 83 77 67
Farm 9 14 21
Stipends 3 3 3
Sundry sales 5
Shop 1
Other 5 1 8
Total 100% 100% 100%

In addition to these direct sources of income, activities carried out at the school, which involved the labour of the boys, also generated some income which went directly to the Province – the annual sale of work was: ‘an annual effort from here (Daingean) towards the missionary endeavour’.

We note that the amount of funds raised from this source is not known.

Expenditure

The main categories of expenditure over the period 1939–69 include:

Clothing

Furnishing and carpentry

Payments to Province

Dietary expenses

Wages

Farm expenses.

The main items of expenditure, as a percentage of total expenditure, in each of the decades examined are summarised in the following table.

Exhibit 60

194049 195059 1960–69
% % %
Dietary expenses 19 21 19
Farm 14 17 22
Clothing and shoe-making 14 10 7
Payments to Province 14 6 4
Furnishing and carpentry 7 9 10
Wages 7 10 10
Rent 4 3 2
Fuel and light 5 6 10
Car, lorry and freight 3 5 1
Medical 3 3 33
Rates, taxes and insurance 1 2
Other 10 9 10
Total 100 100 100

From the detailed income and expenditure accounts provided it is apparent that the school was to some degree self-sufficient, with the majority of dietary needs coming from the farm. Reports in 1941 from Anna McCabe, the Medical Inspector, indicate that the boys were well fed which was helped significantly by the farm produce110. In addition, activities at the Reformatory School in Daingean included tailoring and shoemaking which would have met a significant portion of the needs of the boys in this regard. Documentation indicates that at one point production in the tailor’s shop was so high that they could provide all of their own clothes.111

Expenditure of the school includes payments to the Province which amounted to almost €50,000 over the period under review. ‘The Oblates levied an administration fee on the school as it did on every house in the Province’112.

A report prepared on behalf of the Oblate Order in May 2002 indicates that these payments to the Province and to the order members were funded by farm sales, stipends and donations. An analysis of payments to the Province and to the order members in the context of the surplus/deficit generated from the farm and income from donations and stipends indicates, however, that in most years such income sources, when related costs are taken into account, would not have supported the level of payments made to the Province and to the order members and, at an overall level for the period from 1940–69, payments to the Province and to the order members would have exceeded these sources of income by an amount of approximately €25,111, i.e. farm income, donations, stipends and sundry sales together exceeded farm expenditure by just €35,395 and were not sufficient to cover payments to the Province.

Exhibit 61

This would, therefore, imply that capitation grants were, in part, funding payments to the Province. One view which has been expressed is that, since the farm was owned by the State, funds generated from the farm should have been returned to the State. This view is suggested by Department of Finance considerations at the time when the Reformatory School was being transferred from Glencree to Daingean –

it would seem reasonable that any profit arising on the farm should accrue to the State … As the grants should enable the Reformatory to be conducted in a satisfactory manner, the profits on the farm should not be diverted to the Order.113

It is assumed that these payments to the Province replaced the direct payment of a stipend to members of the Oblate Order working at the institution. The members of the Order in Daingean did benefit from board and lodging as well as benefiting from farm produce. We have been informed by representatives of the Oblate Order that they also received a small amount of pocket money for their holidays. Income and expenditure accounts for the school indicate that total expenditure in the amount of approximately €78,000 was incurred on holidays, retreats, Father’s allowances and sundries, stipends to Provincial, and payments to Province.

The report prepared by Goodbody Economic Consultants on behalf of the Order and submitted to the Commission in May 2007 makes the point that had the school paid salaries to the Fathers and Brothers working in the institution that the amount of such salaries would exceed the amounts received by the Province and as a consequence deficits of the school would have been higher than those presented in the accounts. The calculations prepared by Goodbody’s appear broadly reasonable. However we believe it important to bear in mind the system that prevailed at the time (as described in Parts 3 and 4 above). That the Reformatory was not a State school is quite clear in documentation reviewed:

During the Conference two very important factors from an Oblate point of view and bearing on the work of the Reformatory were discussed and accepted as defining accurately the status of the Oblates in Daingean, viz (a) Mr Frank Duffy, representative of the Department of Education, made it quite clear that the Reformatory School though recognised and financed by the State was not a State Institution but a private school under the management of a religious body. There was no legislation to constitute it a State institution, (b) that should the Oblate Congregation at any time feel the yearly rent of E350 too burdensome it had two alternatives, first, to approach the Government for a remission of part of this burden or for an increase in grant and secondly, it had the option on six months notice to the Government at any time to relinquish the work of conducting the Reformatory.114

The Industrial and Reformatory Schooling system during the period under review did not provide for payment, by the State, of salaries of those employed in the running of the institutions. The matter of salaries would not appear to be a matter that was raised by the Order at the time they ran the Reformatory in Daingean. Rather they appeared to accept the responsibility of managing the Reformatory and, in so doing, participated in the system as it prevailed at that time.

We also understand that the Order itself did not pay salaries to the Fathers and Brothers who gave up their personal time and labour as part of their vocation. To restate the accounts, therefore, to take into account theoretical salaries would not, in our view, accurately represent the situation as it pertained at that time.

Farm income and expenditure

Separate accounts were not maintained for the farm at Daingean for the period under review. We have not seen a clear definition of what the category ‘farm sales’ included but it is assumed that this income source derives from excess produce being sold to third parties.

From the information provided in the school accounts we can see that the farm generated a deficit of income over expenditure in each of the three decades, as outlined below. These figures do not, however, take into account the value of farm produce consumed by both the boys and the Brothers and Fathers resident at the School. In availing of farm produce to feed the boys and Brothers, there was, presumably, both a financial saving to the school, which would have resulted in lower total expenditure and lower deficits than if these costs were incurred externally, as well as a corresponding loss of potential income. Similarly, the accounts do not reflect the fact that labour on the farm was largely that of the boys and the Brothers. Again, there would have been a certain saving to the school in using this ready pool of labour as opposed to employing additional farm labourers.

Exhibit 62

1940–49 1950–59 1960–69 TOTAL
Farm sales 115 12,709 32,446 73,685 116 118,840
Farm expenditure 20,883 40,294 82,667 143,844
SURPLUS /<DEFICIT> <8,174> <7,848> <8,982> <25,003>

A Department of Education report prepared in 1955 following a visit to the school provides an insight into one observer’s opinion of the profit-generating capacity of the farm and the use to which these profits were put:

I am of the opinion that very handsome profits are made on the farm but I can see no evidence of any of the profits being ploughed back for the benefit of the boys or for the improvement of the buildings.117

The same report goes on to say:

I could not help forming the impression that if the Institution and the farm attached to it were part of the one business it should be a matter of very little difficulty for the authorities of the school to make very considerable improvements in the interests of the boys without appealing to the Department for an additional grant.

From a comparative description, in this same report, of the farm buildings and the buildings occupied by the boys, there would appear to have been a very notable difference:

the kitchen and the dining-room ………. reminded me forcibly of the conditions so eloquently described by Dickens and which were common in poorhouses in England at this time ………. In contrast to the conditions for the boys, the conditions for the milking herd were excellent. The byre was a beautiful cut-stone building – an old building but very well maintained – beautifully clean, well washed out and the cattle very well cared for …………The attention paid to the cattle was in marked contrast to the care for the feeding of the boys.

The views of the Department official are not consistent with the record in the financial statements, which show an overall deficit from the farm. We have not been able to identify a reason for this inconsistency.

Capital expenditure

In January 1940 the property at Daingean was valued at £8,436.118

The Oblate Order entered into a 50-year lease agreement with the State dated 10th September 1941. Under the terms of this lease, the lessees (being the Oblate Order) were required to:

repair, cleanse, maintain, amend and keep the said messuage and buildings and all new buildings which may at any time during the said term be erected on and all additions made to the demised premises and the fixtures therein and the walls, fences, roads, sewers, drains and appurtenances thereof with all necessary reparations, cleansings and amendments whatsoever … in good and tenantable state of repair and condition.119

Department of Finance documentation indicates that the income to the Oblates under the capitation grant system was regarded by the Department as being adequate to meet repair and maintenance expenditure:

The grants are fixed so as to cover not only the maintenance of the boys but the maintenance of the buildings. The Order in the past made a profit out of the Reformatory.120

Expenditure of a capital nature, on the other hand, was the responsibility of the State and, in entering into the new lease agreement with the Oblates, it was acknowledged that certain further improvements to Daingean would be required.

The cost of acquiring the farm and farm buildings and of compensation to the Oblate Order in respect of additions to the premises, as well as of the further improvements now authorised and of such works as may be found necessary in future, will fall to be borne on the Vote for Public Works and Buildings.121

The accounts of the school record expenditure in the amount of equivalent €72,422 on repairs and furnishing and carpentry, which represents 10 percent of total expenditure for the period reviewed. The breakdown of this spend over the three decades is notably different however, as outlined below, with an increasing level of expenditure incurred in later years.

Exhibit 63

1940–49 1950–59 1960–69 TOTAL
Furnishing & carpentry 10,113 20,799 37,074 67,987
% of Total expenditure 7% 9% 10% 9%
Repairs 4,435 4,435
% of Total expenditure 1% 1%

A significant amount of building work was carried out in Daingean between 1940 and 1969.122

From documentation made available it appears that the steps involved in the carrying of capital works were as follows:

  • The Oblate Fathers contacted the Department of Education to request specific renovations at the school.
  • Department of Education contacted the Department of Finance to obtain approval for the funding of the works.
  • If the Department of Finance grants permissions it sent a memorandum to the Board of Works to initiate the works.
  • The Project Architect from the Board of Works would then make direct contact with the Reformatory Manager to determine the specifics of the works to be carried out.
  • The Board of Works would then conduct a publicly advertised tender competition to select contractors for the project. The Board of Works would manage the process of selection of contractors.
  • The Board of Works monitored progress on the assignment and managed all payments to the contractors.

Correspondence reviewed indicates that requests for capital funding were ongoing throughout the 1939–69 period and both the State’s and the school management’s frustration in this regard is quite apparent.123

Correspondence between the OPW and the Department of Finance indicates that building work carried out between 1940 and 1963 included the following124:

Exhibit 64

Date of completion Work carried out Approximate expenditure
£
1941 Sanitary annexe 4,000 5,079
1944 Wooden huts to serve as dormitory for 35 boys and a recreation hall 5,500 6,984
1948 New west wing 23,000 29,204
1954 New east wing 25,000 31,743
1958 Demolition Works (St Joseph’s wing, BOOT Shop, old recreation hall, wash house, shelter at rear of boot house)
New works (two play shelters, two handball alleys, new residence for 12 Brothers, paving of new recreation ground)
28,000 35,553
TOTAL 85,500 108,563

Despite the building work undertaken in the 1940s and 1950s, inspection reports indicate that the farm buildings were in better repair and condition than the living accommodation for the boys. Department of Education records from the mid-1950s include the following comments:

Dr McCabe informed me that she has been pressing for years on the authorities of the school certain improvements in the interest of the boys both spiritually and materially. Some of these have been carried out though with considerable reluctance and the almost invariable answer given to her when she suggests improvements is that there is no money available for such.125

During the early 1960s requests for capital funding continued with approximately £35,000 (€44,441) being requested for an assembly hall, games room and boot hall although this does not appear to have been sanctioned by the Minister for Finance. A further £6,000 (€7,618) was sanctioned in 1967 in respect of fire precaution works. In 1969 the Committee on Reformatory and Industrial Schools visited Daingean and, in their interim report, identified the need for works which the OPW costed at a minimum of £85,000 (€107,928). It is not entirely clear whether this amount was in fact sanctioned by the Department of Finance but there appear to be recommendations within the Department files to provide sanction for this amount126.

In considering the substantial capital and maintenance spend throughout the period, it is notable that this trend of significant capital investment continued right up until the reformatory at Daingean closed in 1973. Documentation from 1969 indicates that the future of the institution was given some consideration in the context of the £85,000 (€107,928) capital funding request. Assurance seems to have come from the Department of Education in this regard in correspondence of 30th May 1969:

Whatever the recommendations of the Committee on the future of St Conleth’s, this Department is satisfied that the building will continue to be occupied as a reformatory for a further period of at least 10 years.127

Despite the significant capital investment in Daingean in the period 1939–69, Department of Education records indicate that Daingean was not in a good state of repair. Correspondence between the OPW and Departments of Finance and Education in 1969 and the early 1970s indicates that certain buildings in Daingean were ‘structurally unsound’.128 A visit paid by an official of the Department of Education in 1967 echoes this view of the state of repair, referring to the premises being ‘in a bad state … should be demolished’.129

Closure of Reformatory School

The Kennedy Report in 1970 recommended that Daingean ‘should be closed at the earliest opportunity and replaced by modern special schools conducted by trained staff’.

St Conleths Reformatory School in Daingean was closed in October 1973, and replaced by Scoil Ard Mhuire, Lusk. The land and buildings at Daingean were surrendered to the State with the exception of a house at the entrance to the Reformatory which was retained by the Oblates and the gate lodge which was disposed of, to the occupant of 26 years, on terms recommended by an OPW valuer. The transfer value of the house to be occupied by the Oblates was a point of some contention – the original OPW valuation (£20,000/€25,395) was disputed by the Oblates due to the fact that they had recently incurred £12,000 (€15,237) on a milking parlour and the fact that they would need to incur expenditure on repairing and redecorating the house130. It is not entirely clear what value was ultimately ascribed to this transaction and we have not seen any documentation in relation to payments made in this regard.

8.3 Numbers of children and staff

Below is a summary of the number of students attending St Conleth’s, Daingean and the income and expenditure per student for that year.

Exhibit 65

Date Average students per year Income per student Expenditure per student
1940 222 31 24
1941 221 65 63
1942 223 65 60
1943 240 85 66
1944 236 68 95
1945 224 78 75
1946 199 73 76
1947 178 70 71
1948 206 80 75
1949 201 76 82
1950 175 98 103
1951 178 110 100
1952 177 133 134
1953 152 150 141
1954 142 148 154
1955 130 160 160
1956 166 132 122
1957 163 131 138
1958 154 167 170
1959 172 177 172
1960 187 92 97
1961 181 183 204
1962 146 254 234
1963 117 285 291
1964 129 222 294
1965 108 350 393
1966 119 342 344
1967 107 359 301
1968 104 424 449
1969 92 488 572

St Conleth’s had an accommodation limit of 250 students. It would not appear to have reached this limit at any point, 240 students being the highest number under detention (in 1943). Documentation indicates that the numbers under detention were at the highest levels during the war years as a concerted effort was made by the relevant authorities to minimise the number of offending children on the streets.

We can see from the above figures that there was a rapid decline in numbers of children committed in the mid to late 1960s. As the numbers dropped below 200 in the 1950s, the Resident Manager at Daingean was of the view that the grant should be on a sliding scale since the overhead costs were reasonably constant regardless of the number of boys, while the income stream was linked directly to the number of boys under detention. This point was raised at an interview given by the Minister of Education to the Resident Manager in 1950. The Minister vetoed the idea at that time on the grounds that a new wing at the school had just been completed and it was not considered to be the optimal time to draw the Department of Finance’s attention to the falling numbers:

The Minister stated that the time immediately following our successful struggle for the provision of the new wing is not the best time to ask the Minster for Finance for extra grants nor the best time to bring to the attention of the Minister for Finance that committals are falling so low that the new wing might, perhaps, not be needed. The question of increased grants would seem, therefore, to be a matter for a later date.131

The falling numbers of children contributed significantly to the deficit position of the school in the 1960s. This issue is dealt with further in Part 9.

Statements from the Oblate Order indicate that the staff structure remained essentially the same throughout the school’s lifetime. The staffing of the Industrial School at Daingean included on average 20 Oblate Brothers, 4–5 Oblate Fathers, plus a visiting medical officer and dentist, two lay teachers, a carpenter, tailor, laundrywoman, two night men, a drill instructor and farm workers. As detailed above, the Oblates, who made up a significant portion of the staff, were not in receipt of salaries although there were ‘allowances’ paid to the Fathers as well as payments that went directly to the Province.

In 1946 the Department of Education proposed to appoint two full-time technical instructors for the school and in 1967 the Department of Education recognised St Conleth’s under the national school grouping and agreed to pay the teachers accordingly. Up until this point the salaries of the teachers had been borne by the school. Towards the end of the period under review, in the mid to late 1960s, the staffing complement was enhanced with the addition of a matron, 2–3 further teachers, three Sisters of Mercy and four women in the kitchen. A growing number of outside professionals were also involved in the school. Three Oblates qualified as teachers and a further four or five qualified in childcare and childcare management.

8.4 Financial consequences for the relevant institution of caring for the children

We have not had sight of a balance sheet for St Conleth’s Reformatory School, Daingean for the period under review. Our assessment of the financial consequences is therefore limited to the information which can be extracted from the income and expenditure accounts provided. The salient points in assessing the overall financial consequences include the following:

  • • We understand that there was a deficit in the bank of the Reformatory School at 30th November 1969 in the amount of €11,710.
  • • The total deficits generated by the school over the period amount to €17,706.
  • • Expenditure on the buildings (furnishing and carpentry, repairs) amounted to €72,422.

• In analysing the farm income and expenditure in the school accounts, it can be seen that the farm made an overall deficit of €25,003132. It is not known to what extent farm expenditure includes work of either a capital or a repairs and maintenance nature.

A summary of the financial effect of running the school is as follows;

Exhibit 66

%
Total expenditure 744,587 100%
Funded by:
State and local authorities 533,614 72%
Other income 193,273 26%
Deficit to be funded 17,700 2%

We note that the school remained open after the period of our review. We are not aware whether the deficit identified above remained at the date of closure of the school and how any such deficit, if it existed, was funded.

An examination of the transcripts, statements and documentation of the Oblate Order made available to us describes a situation where making ends meet was a constant struggle, especially in light of the ongoing works and maintenance required:

The income deficit, plus the capital starvation for building projects, put a severe strain on Oblate management throughout the fifties and sixties. The Oblates were in no position to provide cash injections from other funds.133

Repair and maintenance expenditure, being the responsibility of the Oblate Order under the terms of the lease, represented an ongoing outflow of funds.

The Oblate Order’s statement for the period 1964–72 is of the opinion that the deficits:

were made up by contributions from various sources: chiefly the produce and income of the farm, but also occasional stipends received by members of the community, and signally by the non-payment of proper salaries for Oblate staff, and some charitable contributions from the public.134

The Resident Manager was of the opinion that introducing some form of sliding scale of grants when numbers dropped below 200 would have made for better financing of the school. Such a sliding scale was not, as we have seen, realised and as the numbers fell the deficits generated by the school increased. In analysing income and expenditure, however, in these later years where numbers fell and deficits increased, there was also increased expenditure on the following categories of expenditure:

Exhibit 67

194049
195059
196069
Holidays & retreats 2,112 3,338 9,061
Furnishing, carpentry, repairs 10,113 20,799 41,510
Education 1,755
Fathers allowance & sundries 665 1,186 3,317
Stipends to Provincial 115 3,104
Petty cash 9,604
TOTAL 13,005 25,323 68,351

It is clear from the financial statements reviewed that the expenditure on furnishing, carpentry and repairs contributed significantly to the deficits in the school.

9. Comparative and break-even analysis

9.1 Terms of reference

We have carried out an analysis of the financial data in respect of Goldenbridge in County Dublin, Upton in County Cork, Ferryhouse in County Tipperary, Artane in County Dublin and Daingean in County Offaly. The sources of the financial data were the Commission database system and information prepared and provided to us by the respective religious Orders.

Our work to date consists principally of the review and analysis of relevant information in accordance with applicable requirements specifically identified in our terms of reference. These are:

  • A review of the application of State funding to the care of children in the schools
  • A commentary on the effects of changes in the number of children over the period 1939–69
  • The financial consequences for the schools as a result of caring for the children over the period 1939–69.

9.2 Comparative analysis

The expenditure of the schools at Goldenbridge, Artane, An Daingean, Upton and Ferryhouse has been analysed into common areas and summarised into five-year periods commencing from the date from which financial information is available. These figures therefore represent the data available in the school accounts for the period 1939–69. Information not available for certain years and parts of years is dealt with in detail within the respective chapters. The groups of similar costs used for this analysis are detailed below:

Expenditure category Details
Provisions Provisions purchased, food, clothing, medical expenses, laundry and cleaning, aftercare, shoe making and bootshop
Operational Expenses Industrial departments, farm poultry and garden, sweet shop and store, stationery, telegraph, telephone, postage, books for schoolrooms and library,
Building-related expenditure Ordinary repairs and decorations, fuel, light, power, rent, rates, taxes, insurance, classrooms and payments to council
Capital Expenditure Expenditure on building works, furniture, fittings, machinery and hardware
Recreational Band expenses, games, awards, entertainment and holidays
Salaries Salaries, wages, insurance and stamps
Traveling Travelling expenses, car and lorry and freight.
Professional and financial-related expenses Bank charges, interest, solicitors fees and valuer’s fees
Stipends and religious-related expenses Stipends, transfer to community account, donations and payments to priests
Sundry expenses Other expenses and petty cash

Exhibit 68

Goldenbridge
5-Year intervals
1951–55 Average % 1956–60 Average % 1961–65 Average % 1966–70 Average %
Provisions 53% 44% 48% 29%
Operational expenses 0% 1% 2% 2%
Building-related expenditure 18% 24% 19% 42%
Capital expenditure 3% 7% 5% 6%
Recreational 0% 0% 1% 1%
Salaries 24% 21% 22% 17%
Travelling 1% 2% 2% 2%
Professional and financial-related expenses 0% 0% 0% 0%
Stipends & religious-related expenses 0% 1% 1% 1%
Sundry expenses 1% 0% 0% 0%
Total 100% 100% 100% 100%

Exhibit 69

Artane
5-Year intervals
1941–45 Average % 1946–50 Average % 1951–55 Average % 1956–60 Average % 1961–65 Average % 1966–71 Average %
Provisions 16% 16% 19% 19% 20% 26%
Operational expenses 30% 32% 36% 28% 19% 12%
Building-related expenditure 15% 15% 11% 12% 13% 15%
Capital expenditure 1% 1% 2% 7% 20% 13%
Recreational 1% 1% 1% 2% 2% 6%
Salaries 32% 23% 19% 20% 16% 18%
Travelling 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0%
Professional and financial-related expenses 0% 1% 1% 0% 0% 0%
Stipends & religious-related expenses 5% 11% 10% 12% 9% 6%
Sundry expenses 0% 0% 1% 2% 1% 4%
Total 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%

Exhibit 70

An Daingean
5-Year intervals
1941–45 Average % 1946–50 Average % 1951–55 Average % 1956–60 Average % 1961–65 Average % 1966–69 Average %
Provisions 36% 34% 36% 35% 29% 29%
Operational expenses 15% 20% 19% 20% 20% 23%
Building-related expenditure 10% 9% 10% 12% 14% 12%
Capital expenditure 8% 9% 9% 10% 8% 12%
Recreational 1% 2% 1% 2% 0% 0%
Salaries 5% 8% 10% 9% 8% 12%
Travelling 3% 5% 6% 7% 2% 0%
Professional and financial-related expenses 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0%
Stipends & religious-related Expenses 17% 13% 9% 5% 7% 2%
Sundry expenses 5% 0% 0% 0% 12% 10%
Total 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%

Exhibit 71

Upton
intervals
1952–53 &
1960–61 Average %
1962–66 Average %
Provisions 34% 22%
Operational expenses 20% 17%
Building-related expenditure 6% 6%
Capital expenditure 9% 26%
Recreational 2% 4%
Salaries 11% 6%
Travelling 3% 2%
Professional and financial-related expenses 4% 0%
Stipends & religious-related expenses 3% 7%
Sundry expenses 8% 10%
Total 100% 100%
Ferryhouse
intervals
1951–54 Average % 1960–65 Average % 1966–69 Average %
Provisions 39% 39% 27%
Operational expenses 12% 15% 13%
Building-related expenditure 9% 12% 15%
Capital expenditure 14% 7% 24%
Recreational 1% 0% 0%
Salaries 13% 7% 8%
Travelling 1% 4% 3%
Professional and financial-related expenses 3% 1% 0%
Stipends & religious-related expenses 5% 6% 5%
Sundry expenses 3% 9% 5%
Total 100% 100% 100%

Provisions and operational expenses

Provisions consist of food and clothing, while operational expenses consist mainly of farm and trade costs. To show a like-for-like comparison, these expenses were compared together across the five schools in order to include a cost element of providing farm and other trade produce to the school. We noted that these costs as a percentage of total costs normally fall within the range 45–55 percent with the following exceptions noted and explained below:

  • A number of the schools fall below the percentage range in the post-1966 range due to an increase in building-related and capital expenditure.
  • Also, in several schools, the number of children was decreasing, reducing both provisions and operational expenses incurred as a percentage of total costs.

Building-related expenditure and capital expenditure

We have considered these categories in combination because capital expenditure in some schools would have been analysed under various areas that would be contained within this combination. The non-capital elements of building-related expenditure include rent and rates, light and heat and repairs and renewals. The level of expenditure varies significantly between schools but peak expenditure consistently occurred in the late 1960s. From documentation made available to us and discussed elsewhere, there appears to have been discussion throughout the 1960s as to what future the schools had.

Wages and salaries and stipends and religious-related expenses

Wages and salaries in some schools include stipends and other payments to the members of the religious Order running the school. Therefore, in order to prepare a like-for-like comparison we will consider a combination of the wages and salaries and stipends and religious-related expenses. Based on the comparison across the schools we noted the following:

  • These costs as a percentage of total costs were most significant in the earliest accounts available.
  • The percentage of total costs, within the same time period, varies significantly. For example during 1951–55 the cost to Artane represented 29 percent compared with 14 percent and 18 percent for Upton and Ferryhouse respectively. It is unclear as to why these costs varied so widely.
  • The stipends and religious-related expenses in isolation, within the same time period, also vary significantly. For example during 1951–55 the cost to Artane and An Daingean represented 10 percent and 9 percent respectively compared to 3 percent for Upton and 5 percent for Ferryhouse. Goldenbridge’s nil percentage for this expense category is because payments to the Order are included in wages and salaries in their accounts. One explanation for the difference between the institutions may be that the level of stipends varied with the level of funds available. This explanation would also be consistent with a larger school being able to be more efficient in terms of cost per child and therefore leaving a larger amount available for distribution to the community.

Break-even analysis

We calculated the break-even point across all schools for two sample periods – 1951–55 and 1961–65.

For the purpose of this analysis, the following assumptions have been used:

  • Variable income consists of funding received on a per-child basis (i.e. government and council capitations funding and primary grant) together with farm and other trade income.
  • Other income consists of any income other than variable income.
  • Variable costs consist of both expenditure on provisions and operational expenses.
  • Fixed costs consist of wages that remained reasonably static with movement in child numbers and other costs with the exception of capital expenditure which is shown separately and required irrespective of the number of children resident at a point in time.
  • Contribution per child is calculated by dividing the excess of variable income over variable costs by the average number of children. This represents the annual amount that the variable income for each child contributed to fixed costs and capital expenditure.
  • The break-even point is calculated by dividing the contribution per child into the fixed costs. This represents the number of children required for the school to cover both its fixed and variable costs.
  • Where the financial information has been unavailable in a particular period we have indicated the alternative period used.

Exhibit 72: 1951–55 (Upton is calculated using accounts for 1952–53 and Ferryhouse is calculated using accounts for 1951–54)

Goldenbridge Artane An Daingean Upton Ferryhouse
Expenses –annualised:
Fixed 6,510 37,454 7,955 9,268 7,535
Variable 7,924 48,076 11,173 13,117 10,871
Capital 516 1,867 1,966 1,404 2,982
14,950 87,397 21,094 23,789 21,388
Income – annualised:
Fixed
Variable 14,349 89,803 21,379 21,055 20,609
Other 168 895 120 2,745 1,937
14,517 90,698 21,499 23,800 22,546
Average no of children 154 710 156 118 187
Contribution per child 42 59 65 67 52
Break-even point 155 635 122 138 145
  • When variable income and expenditure are considered in combination we can see that there is consistently a positive contribution within the range of €42–67 per child per year across the schools considered. A positive contribution indicates that income was available to fund fixed and other costs.
  • The contribution generated was used for fixed costs and capital expenditure.

We calculated the break-even point across all schools for the period 1961–65, which showed the following results:

Exhibit 73: 1961–65 (Ferryhouse is calculated using accounts for 1960–62 and 1964–65)

Goldenbridge Artane An Daingean Upton Ferryhouse
Expenses –annualised:
Fixed 10,147 45,144 16,937 13,099 13,040
Variable 11,253 41,576 17,120 19,387 19,033
Capital 1,193 21,323 2,957 10,638 2,290
22,593 108,043 37,014 43,124 34,363
Income – annualised:
Fixed
Variable 23,945 84,080 32,975 42,836 33,752
Other 285 4,099 955 3,340 2,590
24,230 88,180 33,930 46,176 36,341
Average no of children 177 330 113 166 168
Contribution per child 72 129 140 142 88
Breakeven point 141 350 121 92 149

When we compare 1951–55 with 1961–65 we noted the following:

  • The break-even point for Artane and Upton decreased significantly when comparing 1951–55 with 1961–65. In the case of Artane the break-even level decreased due to the increase in the level of variable income and variable costs by approximately 100 percent to €255 and €126 respectively per child per year increasing the monetary amount of the contribution. In the case of Upton, unlike other schools, variable cost levels per child remained constant at approx. €110 per child per year while variable income increased by approximately 50 percent.
  • Over time the contribution per child has increased. As identified above this is due to the variable income increasing by a higher monetary value than the variable costs per child. The level of contribution was higher in the schools with a farm due to the farm income, which was an important source of additional funding for those schools.
  • In line with the increased contribution, fixed costs and capital expenditure have also increased.
  • The break-even analysis for the sample period in the 1950s shows that all of the schools, with the exception of Upton, had numbers of children in excess of the break-even point – suggesting that they should have been in a position to run at least at break-even. In the 1960s, Artane and Daingean experienced a decline in the number of children to a point below their break-even point.
  • The break-even calculation does not include capital expenditure. If capital expenditure were included, the break-even point would increase in each school. In the 1950s, capital expenditure was low and would not impact the break-even point significantly. In the 1960s, where capital expenditure was higher, adjusting for capital expenditure would mean that Artane, An Daingean, Upton and Ferryhouse would have numbers of children below their break-even point.
  • In considering this analysis we believe that two points should be noted. The decline in the numbers of children during the late 1950s and through the 1960s meant that the schools in general became increasingly uneconomic to run, with some schools reaching a position where they were below break-even point. However, significant increases in the capitation grant in the late 1960s, outside of our sample period, would have compensated for this to an extent. We also note that there is a strong argument that capital expenditure was not intended to be funded from the capitation grant – for the reasons we have examined in the early part of this report. If this is accepted as a reasonable understanding of the position, then the break-even analysis excluding the impact of capital expenditure is the more appropriate representation of the position of the individual schools, as regards the expected impact of the State contribution. Of course, the schools still had to fund this expenditure, from other sources if necessary.

1 Section VIII of the Cussen Report, pp 40–7 – in particular we note that para 168 notes ‘It must not be overlooked that the buildings, farms, plant etc. have as a rule been provided by the schools themselves.’ suggesting that the capitation grant had not made provision for capital expenditure.

2 DE1P0058-049/1.

3 Kennedy Report, p 29.

4 Kennedy Report, pp 30–1.

5 DEIP0058-050/1 and DEIP0058-050/2.

6 SOMGB-00568/49-55.

7 SOMGB-00568/58.

8 SOMGB-00568/84.

9 SOMGB-00490/1.

10 Anna McCabe Report 13/1/1941.

11 DEDAN0285-031.

12 DNOB2016.

13 DEDAN0285-031.

14 DEDAN0282-046; DOF1939-02-110.

15 DOF1966-00-070.

16 The Department of Education’s Statement to the Commission, p 9 of the full report.

17 Page 8, Submission of the Christian Brothers, December 2006.

18 Oblates of Mary Immaculate Discovery file/FDR working file, pp 97 and 98 (Resident Managers Management File) – 10/02/41 Memo drawn up by Provincial of meeting on 07/02/1941 to discuss amendments to the lease drafted by Board of Works.

19 Page 19: Submission of the Rosminian Fathers, January 2007.

20 CBMIN-012/1 & CBMIN-013/1.

21 The Department of Education’s Statement to the Commission.

22 Taken from the Department of Education’s Statement to the Commission, Part 5.

23 For example, DE1P0059-008/4, DE1P0058-106/2, CBMIN-07/1 and CBMIN-101/2.

24 DE1P0058-106/2.

25 DE1P0058-049/2.

26 DOF1975-02-095/1.

27 The Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse hearing on 21st June 2004. Transcript of Dr Eoin O’Sullivan’s testimony, p 43.

28 CBMIN-018/2.

29 DOF 1959-00-055/1 to 1959-00-55/4.

30 DOF1943-00-172/1.

31 Section VIII of the Cussen Report, pp 40–7 – in particular we note that para 168 notes ‘It must not be overlooked that the buildings, farms, plant etc. have as a rule been provided by the schools themselves.’ suggesting that the capitation grant had not made provision for capital expenditure.

32 DE1P0058-049/1.

33 Kennedy Report, p 29.

34 Kennedy Report, pp 30–1.

35 Section VIII of the Cussen Report, pp 40–7 – the quotation is drawn from para 168 (see also fn 33).

36 DE1P0058-037/4.

37 DE1P0058-037/4.

38 CBMIN-013/1.

39 CBMIN-032/1.

40 CBMIN-031/1 to CBMIN-031/3.

41 CBMIN-034/1.

42 CBMIN-035/1.

43 DE1P0058-049/2.

44 CBMIN-037/1.

45 DE1P0058-050/1 and DE1P0058-050/2.

46 CBMIN-037/1.

47 DECAP058-059/1.

48 The Kennedy Report, p 29.

49 Kennedy Report, pp 30-1.

50 DE1P0059-008/1.

51 DOF1975-02-057/1.

52 CBMIN- 045/1.

53 DE1P0058-89/1.

54 DOF1953-00-039.

55 DOF 1975-03-019/1.

56 It is not clear what this amount represents. It may be reasonable to assume that it includes contributions from parents/guardians in relation to children detained in Reformatory and Industrial Schools.

57 This expenditure was incurred between 1940 and 1951, and related to the Daingean Reformatory.

58 DOF1942-00-056/1.

59 CBMIN-109/1.

60 CBMIN-030/2.

61 System reference ART0381-045.

62 System reference DE2P0050-010.

63 DOF1942-00-056/1.

64 System references UPT0150-055, NTFSOM0080-016, DE1P0056-027 & DE1P0056-028.

65 Report on Financial Matters Relating to St. Vincent’s Industrial School at Goldenbridge, p 21.

66 DOF1975-02/095/1.

67 The Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse hearing on 21st June 2004. Transcript of Dr Eoin O’Sullivan’s testimony, p 49.

68 This view is also consistent with the comment on p 30 of the Kennedy Report: ‘This total dependence on the capitation grant could lead to a situation where managers are reluctant to discharge pupils eligible for release or even to send them for psychological assessment (with consequent possibility of transfer) or for treatment to other institutions because of the financial loss involved.’

69 The Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse hearing on 21st June 2004. Transcript of Dr Eoin O’Sullivan’s testimony, p 81.

70 The Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse hearing on 21st June 2004. Transcript of Dr Eoin O’Sullivan s testimony, p 82.

71 The Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse hearing on 21st June 2004. Transcript of Dr Eoin O’Sullivan’s testimony, p 82.

72 DOF1975 -02-095/2.

73 DE1P0121-010/1 to DE1P0121-010/40.

74 DHEMST2-013.

75 1951/52 Table 2, Household Budget Survey, CSO.

76 Information taken from Visitation Report dated November 1960. Commission document Number CBVART – 044.

77 Information taken from Visitation Report dated November 1949. Commission document Number CBVART – 013.

78 Visitation report 1947, system reference CBVART 011/4.

79 Visitation report 1950, system reference CBVART 015/3.

80 Visitation report 1950, system reference CBVART 015/4.

81 Visitation report 1952, system reference CBVART 018/3 & 018/4.

82 Visitation report 1947, system reference CBVART 011/4.

83 Visitation report 1955, system reference CBVART 024/2.

84 Visitation report 1957, system reference CBVART 030/4.

85 Visitation report 1959, system reference CB VART 040/2.

86 Visitation report 1963, system reference CBVART 049/2 & 049/3.

87 Visitation Report 1968, system reference CBVART 062/5.

88 We understand that limited stipends represent capitation grant funding lodged directly to the house account during the period 1940–46.

89 Visitation Report 1942, system reference CBVART 004.

90 Source: bank statements provided by Christian Brothers.

91 Source: Visitation Report 1968, system reference CBVART 062/5. This report also identifies the Building Fund balance shown in this table. It puts the School overdraft at that date as £81,547 (equivalent €103,543).

92 No value is ascribed to the land and buildings at Artane. It would appear reasonable to assume that a valuation at 1969 would have been at least as much as, and possibly in excess of, the value of disposals in the late 1960s, as approximately 100 acres of land and substantially all of the buildings were retained by the Order.

93 Visitation Report 1966, system reference CBVART 060/3.

94 See Appendix IV.

95 See Appendix IV.

96 Historical data from Bríd Fahy Bates PhD The Institute of Charity: Rosminians Their Irish Story 1860-2003.

97 See Appendix XIII – Submission from Rosminian Fathers.

98 For the period 1950–59, accounts are only available for 1952 and 1953.

99 For the period 1960–69, accounts only available until 1966, year in which the school at Upton was closed.

100 For the majority of years the farm income and expenditure figures included in the school accounts do not agree to the farm accounts.

101 For the period 1940–49, accounts only available for 1941 and 1947. For the period 1950–59,accounts only available for 1951,1952,1953 and 1954, For the period 1960–69, accounts available for all years with the exception of 1963.

102 SOMGB-00568/49-55.

103 SOMGB-00568/58.

104 SOMGB-00568/84.

105 Statement of intended evidence by Sister Helena O’Donoghue (OSBG-002/32).

106 SOMGB-00568/12.

107 SOMGB-00568/21.

108 See Exhibit 3, Part 4.

109 SOMGB-00490/1.

110 Anna McCabe Report 13/1/1941.

111 DNOB2016.

112 Oblate Statement 1949–55.

113 DOF1939-02-020.

114 Resident Managers Management File.

115 Farm sales are taken directly from the accounts provided. Other income categories such as ‘sundry sales’, ‘unspecified’, etc may represent income generated from the farm but due to the uncertainty have been excluded from this analysis.

116 Farm sales presented in the accounts show zero farm income in 1968 despite expenditure in that year of €12k.

117 DEDAN0285-031.

118 DOF1939-02-167.

119 DOF1939-02-162.

120 DOF1939-02-018.

121 DOF1939-02-028/1.

122 The Commission has written to the OPW seeking clarification of this point but a complete response has not been available to date.

123 DEDAN0282-046; DOF1939-02-110.

124 DOF1939-02-199/1.

125 DEDAN0285-031.

126 DOF1966-00-073.

127 DOF1966-00-66.

128 DOF1966-00-070.

129 DEDAN0276-105.

130 DOF1966-00-077.

131 DEDAN0276-018.

132 This is based on figures taken from farm income and farm expenditure lines in the accounts. Farm sales presented in the accounts show zero farm income in 1968 despite expenditure in that year of €12,000. Other income categories such as ‘sundry sales’ and ‘unspecified’ may represent income generated from the farm but due to the lack of certainty have been excluded from this analysis.

133 Oblates Discovery file, p 84.

134 Oblates Discovery file, p 83 (1964–72 Oblates Statement).


 Chapter Mazars Appendixes: 155 page Microsoft Word Document on the Financials of the Church

http://www.childabusecommission.com/rpt/pdfs/Appendices_Final_mar_09_Mazars%20Report.pdf


Submission From the Congregation of Christian Brothers to the Commission to Inquire on Child Abuse on the Review of Financial Matters Relating to the System of Reformatory and Industrial Schools and a Number of Individual Institutions 1939-1969

Microsoft Word Document:

http://www.childabusecommission.com/rpt/pdfs/CICA-Vol4-05.pdf


 Report on Financial Matters relating to St Vincent’s Industrial School at Goldenbridge, A Report to the Commission prepared by Terrance O’Rourke, a partner in KPMG instructed by Arthur O’Hagan Solicitors on behalf of the Sisters of Mercy.

48 pg Microsoft Word Document:
http://www.childabusecommission.com/rpt/pdfs/CICA-Vol4-06.pdf


Submission On Behalf of Oblates of Mary Immaculate to the Commission to Inquire on Child Abuse. Response to Draft Mazar’s Report.

8 pg Microsoft Word Document
http://www.childabusecommission.com/rpt/pdfs/CICA-Vol4-07.pdf


Submission by the Rosminian Institute to the Commission to Inquire Child Abuse

25 pg Microsoft Word Document

http://www.childabusecommission.com/rpt/pdfs/CICA-Vol4-08.pdf


Chapter 3
Society and the schools


Prof. David Gwynn Morgan.

Part 1 Social, economic and family background

Child poverty in independent Ireland

3.01In a very real sense, poverty was the reason for the Industrial schools. The result of the adverse economic conditions of the times was that the late 1920s, 30s and 40s were scarred by deep poverty. All the classic signs were there: tuberculosis (‘consumption’); rickets; anaemia; emigration; apathy; money-lending and high unemployment, especially in the cities of Dublin, Cork, Waterford and Limerick.

3.02An economic depression lasted virtually throughout the 1920s and 30s. The war years, 1939-45, were a period of further economic decline, with urban unemployment and a drop in real wages of 30 percent between 1939 and 1943 and a recovery to the 1939 figure only in 1949. Even then stagnation set in until 1958. Thereafter, the economy grew at an unprecedented rate through the 1960s (about 4 percent pa) and through the 70s in a more patchy way.

3.03Another contributory factor to child poverty was the fact that during the period 1930-80, Irish levels of fertility were consistently the highest in Western Europe. Infant mortality, often invoked as a guide to living standards, was 90 per 1,000 in 1914. Then there was a reduction but it rose significantly during World War II (indeed during the period 1936-48 it remained between 60-80 per 1,000).1 In sum, it was inevitable that one of the major (if seldom noticed) problems of public policy would remain a significant number of poor families. At the root of this poverty was unemployment, coupled with the lack of welfare benefits. Usually the reason for low income was unemployment, which was heavily concentrated in Cork, Limerick, Waterford and especially Dublin. The following Table shows the unemployment rates.

Unemployment rates

Year Dublin County Borough National
Unemployed
Figures
Rate as % of
those available
for work
Unemployed
Figures
Rate as % of
those available
for work
1926 13,580 14.7 66,393 6.9
1936 17,500 13.2 83,235 8.5
1946 13,141 9.7 51,809 5.4
1951 9,293 6.2 36,115 3.8
1956 9,861 6.6 55,157 6.6
1961 8,559 6.1 46,989 5.7
1966 7,514 5.1 43,864 5.3

3.04This general view is confirmed by a number of empirical pioneering surveys in or about the 1940s by doctors or other public-spirited citizens. Writing in 1938 about the general population, Dr Fearon2 estimated that a weekly income of 30 shillings per week would be needed to keep a person, and of this amount the expenditure on food would be 10 shillings for a diet which ‘is almost’ nutritionally adequate. Yet 50 percent of the population had a weekly income of 20 shillings or less and spent 8 shillings or less on food.3 In the same year, the Rotunda Hospital, in inner North Dublin, almoners carried out a dietary survey on a small sample of 50 families living in one-roomed tenements where the breadwinner was unemployed – in other words the families whose children were most likely to be committed. The almoners found that when rent, insurance, fuel and light were paid, the average weekly sum available for food and clothes, for each family member, was 3 shillings.4

3.05A few years later, in 1945, the cost of living had increased and another study of family income told the same sad story. This study of 10,500 families drawn at random from the Corporation’s information on families in Dublin, found that 55 percent of them had an income that was below £2.10s 0d. The significance of the figure of £2.10s is as follows. The unemployment assurance was relatively high but only lasted for a few months. Where a man was unemployed beyond this period, he and his family would go on to either home assistance or unemployment assistance. In 1945, in the case of Dublin residents, this was 30 shillings per week. In addition, children’s allowances would bring in another 7s 6d, food and (in winter) fuel vouchers would bring in another 6 shillings, and there might also be a grant from St Vincent de Paul or another charity. Yet experts at the time stated that the weekly minimum cost for a healthy standard of living ranged from £3.5s 0d. to £4.18s 0d for a family with five children between the ages of five and 15 (taking the lowest figure for rent and for nutrition which will create healthy growth and resistance to the social disease of tuberculosis and rheumatism). Extrapolating from these figures, one can deduce that throughout the country, there was likely to have been at least 60,000 children who, because of either their parents’ chronic unemployment or inadequate wages, were living at such levels of destitution as to make them eligible for Industrial Schools.5

3.06A 1948 survey contrasted two types of meals, the ‘bread and spread’ and the cooked meal. The ‘bread and spread’ consisted of a tea or milk drink, bread and a butter or jam spread. The cooked meal consisted of fish, meat, or eggs and may also have included potatoes and vegetables or a pudding. For children under 14 years of age in slum families, 44 percent of all the meals they ate were of the ‘bread and spread’ type, while these figures declined to 36 percent of children in artisan families, and 18 percent in middle class families. The survey found that intakes of milk and cheese were insufficient in all income groups, although the deficiencies were most marked in slum families.

3.07As to housing for the poor, there was even at the higher level a shortage of adequate accommodation at affordable rents and, at the lowest level, an absence of any accommodation that was not overcrowded, unheated or often rat-infested.6 The conditions were ‘often quite unsuitable for cattle’.7 Writing about housing conditions especially in urban areas in the 1930s O’Cinneide and Maguire state:8

Studies … especially in urban areas in the 1930s suggest that housing conditions improved little from the beginning of the Irish Free State. In fact, one report noted that the number of urban families living in unsuitable or hazardous conditions in the intervening years rose from 25,820, in 1913 to 28,200 in 1938, in spite of slum clearance efforts in the intervening years.

3.08As late as 1950, there were 6,300 tenements housing 112,000 people or nearly one-third of Dublin Corporation population.9

Table showing number of rooms per household

1926 1936 1946 1961
No of households/ persons No of households/ persons No of households/ persons No of households/ persons
All areas
Private households in 1 room 47,000
140,000
43,000
125,000
34,000
89,000
15,000
27,000
– with 1 or 2 persons 24,000
35,000
23,000
33,000
20,000
28,000
12,000
15,000
– with 3–5 persons 17,000
85,000
15,000
56,000
11,000
43,000
3,000
10,000
– with 6+ persons 6,000
41,000
5,000
36,000
3,000
18,000
321
2,000
Dublin City and County
Private households in 1 room 27,000
89,000
27,000
92,000
22,000
66,000
11,000
21,000
– with 1 or 2 persons 12,000
18,000
16,000
22,000
14,000
19,000
9,000
12,000
– with 3–5 persons 11,000
42,000
11,000
42,000
9,000
33,000
2,000
8,000
– with 6+ persons 4,000
28,000
4,000
28,000
2,000
14,000
258
2,000

Source: Census of Population 1961, Vol VI: Housing and Social Amenities, Table 6

NB Because of rounding to nearest thousand sums may not add up.

3.09The Table shows that, for instance, in 1946, there were 3,000 households comprising six or more people living in one-room accommodation. Two-thirds of these one-room accommodation units were in Dublin City and County. These figures were worse in 1936 and worse again in 1926. By 1961, however, there had been significant improvement on the 1946 figures. Small wonder that the numbers of Dublin children committed for reasons of poverty were disproportionately high.

3.10As the country became less poor through the late 1950s and 1960s conditions improved. In 1936, in Dublin inner city, a family would have to consist of nine or more persons in one room to merit Corporation housing. Even then, many families living 12 in one room had to refuse the offer of a corporation house because they could not afford the rent. With the advent in 1950 of the differential rents system for corporation houses, this difficulty fell away and, by 1961, while conditions were still not good, a family of three or four had a reasonable chance of rehousing.

3.11Although conditions were worst in Dublin, they were also bad in the provinces. The following descriptions of family circumstances were collected by O’Cinneide and Maguire from ISPCC files:10

  • One-roomed house, mud-walled cabin, overcrowded and condemned by CMO. One bed for entire family (family of five, 1938, Arklow)
  • Two-roomed house mud walls and thatched in very bad state of repair; no rent paid. Home congested and damp, unfit for human habitation (family of four, 1943, Wexford)
  • Living in with the paternal grandfather in one room. Very little furniture. One double bed, poorly covered. One pram. Room clean and tidy. Family are overcrowded (family of six, 1954, Wicklow).

3.12Income shortage was often compounded by bad management and debt was a major problem. Credit unions did not start until the late 1960s. Moneylenders charged up to 100 percent interest and took children’s allowance books as security. One poor mother described her whirligig of debt – to the landlord, ESB, shop on the corner, moneylenders – as being ‘as if my head and my feet are in a halter’.11 Alcoholism or gambling were other thorns. Parents were occasionally in such severe straits that they refused to take their child home from maternity hospital. Dr Dillon wrote in 1945:12

The Poor cannot keep clean, because they are unable to buy soap or fuel to heat water. With every month at unemployment their position becomes more desperate, more hopeless, until they finally join the ranks of the unemployable. The mother starves herself to feed her children and, in a very high percentage of cases, is found on examination to be suffering from nutritional anaemia. The children fall behind in school and gradually slip down to a social status even lower than their parents. They are in the majority of cases all but useless to the modern employer. At the age of 18 they are replaced by some other unfortunate and join the ranks of the unemployable proletariat. There are families in Dublin in which the second generation is now well advanced on that dreary road.

3.13Family-planning facilities were virtually non-existent and many marriages floundered owing to these extreme family stresses. For instance: 13

A typical example of the emigration pattern of the 1940s and 1950s was an expectant mother with five children alive out of eight pregnancies, who usually became pregnant during her husband’s infrequent visits home. She lived in two rooms at the top of a city tenement, and was known to the almoner from 1939 to 1957. She was distraught because she suspected that her husband, who was living in ‘digs’ in England, was having an affair with his landlady – ‘he never wires but send money regularly’. She described him as ‘indifferent’, having no affection for his children.

3.14As well as poverty, many related evils flourished in these extreme and unnatural conditions. In the years leading up to independence, Crown books (court records) show that prosecutions for sexual crime involving children – indecent exposure, gross indecency, indecent assault, buggery and unlawful carnal knowledge – arising out of acts occurring in the Dublin tenements, were commonplace and prostitution was regarded as a common problem in Dublin. Of the 1,984 deaths from venereal disease recorded in Ireland between 1899 and 1916, 69 percent of the victims were children under five years of age.14 However, according to a report ‘contrary to the currently accepted opinion, VD was widespread throughout the country and it was disseminated by a class of girl who could not be regarded as a prostitute’.15

3.15The illegitimacy rate was high (eg 295 per 1,000 births in 1929-30) and according . to one historical survey: ‘To judge from the pages of the Cork Examiner, (from 1925-6) infanticide was a weekly, if not a daily reality in Ireland.’ The reports were brief, factual and non-judgemental. The most usual outcome was a guilty verdict ‘with a strong recommendation to mercy’, partly due to the stigma already attached to the perpetrator and their family.16

3.16Against this background of extreme poverty, some saw the Schools as no worse than anything else and as offering children at least adequate food and housing. The type of situation which might easily lead on to entry to an Industrial School is described in the Rotunda Hospital Annual Report for 1955:

Mrs X was delivered of her fifth child in November, 1954. She was under the care of the Hospital for her four previous confinements in 1946, 1947 1952 and 1953. She is of low intelligence and has served several sentences in prison always on charges of stealing. Her husband is frequently unemployed. The family is almost constantly in debt. When a social science student visited the home, both gas and electricity had been cut off due to non-payment of accounts and arrears of rent amounted to £3.

In early February, 1955 the new baby was brought to the Paediatric Unit and found to have gained no weight since birth and was in poor condition due to neglect. The child had to be admitted to Hospital forthwith.17

3.17A newspaper report (source not given, in Lunney, at 93-9418) gives a graphic description of conditions in some Dublin homes under the heading of ‘Shocking Case of Neglect’, during the Second World War years.

Miss Hannah Clarke, Inspector of the NSPCC gave evidence in court, stating that when she visited the one roomed home of this particular family in Dublin, she found three very neglected children in the room. The eldest girl was six years of age. They were alone. According to Miss Clarke: ‘Mary was dirty, her hair verminous and her clothes dirty and verminous. She was wearing old slippers. Margaret was in the same condition. Carmel was lying on a filthy bed. Her head was a moving mass of vermin. There was no food in the room and witness went to a shop and purchased bread, butter and milk for the children’s tea.

The father stated that it was not his duty to clean the children while the mother admitted negligence but pleaded ill health. Both parents were sentenced to imprisonment. The report went on to state that in the opinion of the presiding justice, Mr Little, ‘the children should be sent to one of those admirable institutions, miscalled industrial schools, which were really boarding schools for the poor.

3.18In the Rotunda Report for 1945-46 in the section on social services by the almoner, Miss Murphy, another case was summarised as follows:

Mrs N developed phlebitis following her discharge from the wards on her seventh confinement and she was advised to rest in bed at home. We were asked to arrange for a district nurse to dress her leg. Her home consisted of one small attic room. There were holes in the floor, the walls were wet and plaster was falling off them. All water had to be carried up from the ground floor. Mrs N was in bed. The head of the bed was against the damp wall and beside an open window. As a result, the baby had developed a cold. Mrs N and her husband and five children – the eldest aged 6 &frac12; years lived in this room and slept together on the only bed. In spite of the difficulties, the home was reasonably clean. Mr N, an unemployed cattle drover, was dependent on 18/4 unemployment assistance, 12/6 food vouchers and 5/- children’s allowance pr weekend and his rent was 10/-. Occasionally he obtained a day’s work and earned about £1. In addition the Society of St Vincent de Paul was giving him a food voucher value 4/- per week and the Catholic Social Service Food Centre was giving Mrs N dinner and milk every day. We applied at once to the Corporation Housing Department for accommodation for this family and seven months later they moved into a four-roomed corporation house.

State financial support

3.19In 1948, the maximum rate of unemployment assistance was 38 shillings per week. So, for a family with five children, the total income including children’s allowances would have been 45s 6d. The NSPCC Annual Report of the Dublin Branch 1947-48 stated:

Allowing for a moderate rent of, say, 5 shillings per week, the amount available per head, viz, 5/9&frac12; is well below the minimum necessary to provide food alone. …It is true that in the worst cases the home assistance authorities sometimes intervene with an allowance for rent; but the total is still insufficient to provide proper nourishment for the children, to say nothing of clothing or bedding, much less for any less necessary amenities. It is a small wonder that some parents give up the unequal contest and apply for the committal of their children to industrial schools on the grounds of inability to support them, when, as we have so often pointed out, they cost the public funds 15/-a head.

3.20The unemployment figures were as low as they were because of the emigration of thousands of fathers, throughout the 1950s especially, and the fact that many do not feature in these figures because they were trying to eke out a living on smallholdings of land.

3.21Despite the valuable work done by private philanthropic organisations, like the Saint Vincent de Paul19 or the Catholic Social Welfare Fund or such local charities as the Marrowbone Lane Samaritan Fund, Evening Herald Boot Fund, Belvedere News Boys’ Club, Rotarians or the Penny Dinners, the long-term problem was so great that only State support could ameliorate it.

3.22At independence, systematic State assistance to poor people was confined to two relevant20 supports. The first of these were the unpopular workhouses, which had been established in each Poor Law Union. Immediately after independence, in 1922, these were reorganised so that, in each county, there was one central institution, under the control of a local board of health. Between 1913-14 and 1924-25, the numbers of people, including some young children, living in these institutions declined by one-third (from 27,000 to 18,000).

3.23The second form of assistance was originally known as ‘outdoor relief’ (so called, by contrast with the workhouses). After independence, outdoor relief was renamed home assistance and restrictions on its payment to able-bodied persons or widows with a single child were dropped. As a result, between 1920 and 1925, the numbers receiving outdoor relief/home assistance increased from 15,000 to 22,000, which was still a very small figure having regard to the level of need, with total annual expenditure going from £114,000 to £373,000. The 1937-38 annual report of the Dublin branch of the NSPCC pointed out that while the rate of home assistance for Dublin was adequate at 25 shillings per week for a family of five children, rates prevailing elsewhere, specifically in Wicklow and Kildare, at a maximum payment of 10 shillings per week, were insufficient. Home assistance took the form not only of money but also food, clothing and bedding. Another form that home assistance might take – free or low-cost footwear – bears directly on committal to Industrial Schools: for, to take an example, during a three-month period in 1944, the Dublin Corporation School Attendance Committee dealt with 480 cases of non-attendance and, in at least 80 cases, the reason given was that the children had no footwear in which to attend school.21 In 1939 the unemployment figure was at 100,000, with over 83,000 people in receipt of home assistance, of whom one-third resided in Dublin City or County).

3.24During the relevant period three further welfare benefits were instituted. The first of these, provided under the Unemployment Assistance Act 1933 was unemployment benefit, that is (means-tested) relief of able-bodied men and women, during periods of temporary unemployment. Before the 1933 Act, only a relatively small proportion of the population had been eligible for unemployment benefit which was funded mainly by social insurance. This meant that generally it was confined to better-off working people. The rest, including all agricultural workers and smallholders many of them unemployed in all but name, had to rely on home assistance or the occasional emergency relief provisions provided out of central funds during periods of severe unemployment.

3.25Secondly, the Committee of Inquiry into Widows’ and Orphans’ Pensions (1932-33) made recommendations that bore fruit rather quickly, in the form of the Widows’ and Orphans’ Pension Act 1935. This established pensions, on a contributory basis, for widows and orphans of wage earners; and also, on a non-contributory basis, for anyone in need.

3.26But most significant of all in the present context was the children’s allowance, which was introduced in 1944. At the start, when it was confined to the third and subsequent children under 16, it benefited 320,000 children. This was not means tested, and provided a regular allowance, initially at the rate of 2s 6d per week. Dr Kennedy summarises the subsequent extension of the children’s allowance:22

Children’s allowances were extended to the second qualified child in July 1952, and to all qualified children from November 1963. Under the Social Welfare Act, 1973, the qualifying age for children’s allowance was raised to 18 years for children in full-time education, in apprenticeships, or disabled. The total number of families in receipt of children’s allowances has risen from 132,000 in 1944 to about 500,000 at present [2001].

3.27When first introduced, children’s allowance cost the State £2&frac14; million. This was the equivalent of 1&frac14; percent of national income or a quarter of the amount spent on all the other welfare payments put together: old age pensions, widows’ and orphans’ pensions, unemployment insurance and assistance, workmen’s compensation, national health insurance and public assistance.

3.28It is generally accepted that the decline in numbers in the Schools from the mid 1940s was partly due to children’s allowances and it is noteworthy that the numbers being committed to the Industrial Schools peaked in 1943, the year before they were introduced.

Groups from which the children came23

3.29Children from the following socio-economic groups were more likely to end up in a certified school:

1)Low-income and large families

2)Single-parent families

3)Orphans

4)Mentally-ill children.

1) Low-income and large families

3.30Children from the lower socio-economic groups were represented in disproportionately high numbers in the Schools. The reason for poverty or deprivation might be badly-paid, insecure employment, unemployment or the loss of a parent. The Kennedy Report, Appendix E, Table 31 (Committee’s survey) gives the following figures (as of 1968) for the occupations of residents’ fathers. The penultimate column gives the percentage for each occupation as their children were represented in the Schools. For comparison, the final column shows the percentage of each occupation in the general national population.

Father’s occupation Industrial Schools Reformatories
Boys’ Schools Girls’ and junior boys’ Schools Totals Boys’ Schools Girls’ Schools Totals Totals for Industrial Schools and Reformatories
%
National
%
Farmer 4 42 46 46 1.9% 28%
Higher professional 7 7 7 0.3% 2.5%
Lower professional 9 9 9 0.4% 3%
Employer/ manager 4 4 4 0.2% 1.5%
Commercial worker (eg agent) 12 12 12 0.5% 12%
Clerical worker 10 29 39 3 42 1.7%
Intermediate
non manual worker
27 85 112 4 1 5 117 4.7% 9.5%
Skilled tradesman 44 118 162 6 1 7 169 6.8% 7%
Semi-skilled worker 34 122 156 12 5 17 173 7% 7%
Agricultural labourer 22 76 98 1 1 2 100 4% 9%
Non-skilled worker 43 268 311 27 3 30 341 13.8% 5.5%
Unemployed 39 169 208 16 16 224 9% 7.3
Disabled 6 67 73 5 1 6 79 3.2%
Itinerant 11 51 62 4 1 5 67 2.7%
‘In England’ 10 71 81 4 4 85 3.4%
Occupation unknown 95 349 444 3 1 4 448 18.1%
No reply 306 203 509 20 24 44 553 22.3%
Totals 651 1,682 2,333 105 38 2476

3.31The McQuaid Artane survey found that a disproportionate number of School residents came from large families.

2) One-parent families

3.32A great proportion of children in the schools came from families that were non-marital or one or both parents had died. Where it was the mother who died, then the conventional view might be taken that the father, especially if a full-time breadwinner, was not equipped to bring up the family (and even, because of an unspoken fear of incest, where there were daughters in the family should not do so). If it was the father who died then, while the homemaker remained, there was no breadwinner so that the family was likely to be impoverished.

3.33If the child was born out of wedlock, the mother was likely to find herself in either a mother and baby home or a county home. The child might then be adopted formally or informally, boarded out or sent to an Industrial School.

3.34The Kennedy Committee ascertained that only about 18 percent of children were known to the School to have parents who were married, alive and living together. Some 30 per cent of the children had one parent who was dead and it was not known in 35 percent of cases whether the father was alive, although the mother was.

3.35The background of broken homes from which many of the residents came is captured by the Tuairim Report, 29:

Some of the children in these schools will have no parents, or a parent with whom they have no contact, others may have both parents living but temporarily or permanently unable to provide for them. The committal of the children of one family to different schools, particularly if one parent is dead, often means the complete disintegration of the family as a unit. The surviving parent may marry again, set up a new home with the new spouse, and, when more children are born, abandon completely those of the first marriage who are, in any case, scattered in schools in different parts of the country.

3) Orphans

3.36There was a high number of orphans in Industrial Schools. The Kennedy Committee survey found that the Schools knew that both of a child’s parents were dead in 1&frac12; percent of cases and did not know whether they were both alive in a further 10 percent. Another survey – Lunney’s survey of the Sisters of Mercy Schools – which checked the various school admission registers from the establishment of each School up to 1950 – elicited an average figure of 11.2 percent.24 As a comparison, during the same period, the numbers of orphans was about 0.25 percent of the general population.

3.37The full significance of these striking findings, here and under category 2, is brought out by Dr McQuaid:

Not to know whether one or other or both of the parents were alive or dead… represents a remarkable level of basic ignorance of the facts about the children, in dealing with whom this information is most fundamental. For the responsible authorities (one does not necessarily mean the schools) not to be aware of these details is one of the most shattering indictments of the ‘system’. For the children themselves, these facts are also vital. When one considers that in all of us the prime requirement for effective functioning is a secure and unshakable sense of identity, it must be plain to everyone that for a child not to know who his parents were, nor where they are, nor how he can get in touch with them and maintain contact, must seriously invalidate whatever else may be done to help and rehabilitate him.

4) Physical or mental illness

3.38O’Cinneide and Maguire observe:

The Boards of Health and Public Assistance received many requests, from parents and guardians, resident managers of Industrial Schools, and other concerned individuals to have children with physical or mental handicaps admitted to the various institutions that catered for people with disabilities. The various local authorities seem not to have operated according to a standardised set of criteria, and many cases of obvious merit were turned down because parents could not contribute to their children’s upkeep in institutions. For the most part, the Boards were extremely tight-fisted when it came to maintaining children in special institutions, and one can only imagine how many disabled children languished at home, with parents who could not cope or provide them with even a rudimentary education, because of the Board’s strident policies in this area.

…Cases that were clearly worthy, given the circumstances of the parents, were rejected on the grounds that the parents were not eligible for public assistance and thus the Board could not accept responsibility to maintain their children.

3.39The Kennedy Report, Appendix F, reported on a survey across different age groups and genders testing for intelligence, perceptual ability and verbal reasoning etc. Each category revealed broadly the same picture. The results of intelligence testing, in essence, were that (at p 113):

11.9 per cent of children in Industrial Schools are mentally handicapped compared with approximately 2.5 per cent in the population, and that 36.6 per cent are borderline mentally handicapped compared with approx 12.5 per cent in the population in general. This leaves 51.5 per cent who are of average or above average intelligence compared with about 85.0 per cent in the population at large.

Part 2 Other institutions for children in care

3.40A child might live in a School and, at a different period, in one of the alternative residential institutions. An example of such transfers is given by Professor Dermot Keogh, in a report he prepared for The Presentation Brothers relating to St Joseph’s Industrial School Greenmount and submitted to CICA, at 108:

According to Fr James Good, who was appointed chaplain in Greenmount Industrial School in mid-1955, the following arrangements were in place in the Cork area for the receipt of children. Babies born in the home for unmarried mothers at the Sacred Heart Convent, Bessboro, normally stayed there for two and a half years with their mothers. Between the age of two and a half and ten they lived in a junior Industrial School, generally Passage for boys and Rushbrooke for girls. On their tenth birthday, the boys were usually transferred to Greenmount or Upton. At age fourteen, they were ‘out of books’ and usually worked in the bakery or at shoe repairs. At sixteen, they were released to farmers, for whom they worked as labourers or to take up employment in the army, industry, domestic service or the trades.

3.41Two comprehensive tables25 show the various facilities available for children in care and also the scale on which they had to be utilised.

Table 5 Number of children regulated by census year
1861 1871 1881 1891 1901 1911 1926 1936 1946 1951 1961 1966 1971
Children in workhouses/county homes 12,307 12,089 11,618 6,618 5,527 5,213 1,900 1,291 800 400 100 53 40
Children in mother and baby homes 607 887 869 817
Children in Industrial Schools under detention 2,482 6,279 8,547 8,254 8,382 5,927 6,039 6,510 5,844 3,686 2,456 1,072
Children in Industrial Schools voluntarily 200 434 376 298 427 350 250 150 89 99 123 70
Children in Industrial Schools by health authorities 49 339 388 433 511
Total number in Industrial Schools 2,682 6,713 8,923 8,552 8,858 6,277 6,289 6,660 6,272 4,173 3,012 1,653
Children in Reformatory Schools 539 970 1,151 786 596 652 115 109 237 214 205 145 42
Children in approved institutions 245 425 532 788
Children in orphanages 5,000 5,000 3,000 3,000 3,000 3,000 2,500 2,500 2,000 1,000 1,000 1,000 750
Children in prisons (under 16) 1,345 912 912 574 200 5 4 2 2 1 9 2 61
Children boarded out 1,476 2,250 2,540 2,370 2,623 1,906 2,304 2,419 2,283 1,692 1,162 914
Children hired out 89 131 170 145 184 100
Children nursed out (infant life protection) 411 803 2,800 2,493 1,500 505 382 365
Total 19,191 23,553 25,644 22,724 20,245 20,762 14,112 16,271 15,631 12,902 8,254 6,472 4,713
Population under 14 (,000) 1903 1914 1614 1529 1353 1301 873 820 823 856 877 901 931
Number of children per 1,000 population 10.1 12.3 14.1 14.9 15.0 16.0 16.2 19.8 19.0 15.1 9.4 7.2 5.1
Ratio of children in institutional care to non-institutional care 14.7 10.4 7.8 7.5 5.8 4.2 2.1 2.1 2.3 2.5 2.7 2.4

3.42Dr O’Sullivan comments:

The table presents the total number of children in institutional care of the State, of whatever type, as a ratio of total population under the age of 14. The ratio rises continuously from 1861. 1936 was the peak year, with 19.8 per 1,000 of all children under the age of 14, in the care of the State. This ratio dropped slightly to 19.0 in 1946 and had declined to 7.2 by 1966. The ratio of children in institutional forms of care, rather than family placements can also be clearly seen. Although the ratio declined significantly over the period under review, by 1966, there were still 2.7:1 children in institutional rather than non-institutional care.

Table 5.5a Number of children regulated by census year (%)
1861 1871 1881 1891 1901 1911 1926 1936 1946 1951 1961 1966 1971
Children in workhouses/county homes 64.1 52.3 45.3 29.5 27.3 25.1 13.5 7.9 5.1 3.1 1.2 0.8 0.8
Children in mother and baby Homes 4.3 5.5 5.7 6.3
Children in Industrial Schools under detention 10.7 24.5 38.1 40.8 40.4 42.0 37.1 41.6 45.3 44.7 37.9 22.7
Children in Industrial Schools voluntarily 0.9 1.7 1.7 1.5 2.1 2.5 1.5 1.0 0.7 1.2 1.9 1.5
Children in Industrial Schools by health authorities 0.2 0.0 0.0 0.0 2.6 4.7 6.7 10.8
Children in Reformatory Schools 2.8 4.2 4.5 3.5 2.9 3.1 0.8 0.7 1.5 1.7 2.5 2.2 0.9
Children in approved institutions 1.9 5.1 8.2 16.7
Children in orphanages 26.1 21.6 11.7 13.4 14.8 14.4 17.7 15.4 12.8 7.8 12.1 15.5 15.9
Children in prisons (under 16) 7.0 3.9 3.6 2.6 1.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.1 0.0 1.3
Children boarded out 6.4 8.8 11.3 11.7 12.6 13.5 14.2 15.5 17.7 20.5 18.0 19.4
Children hired out 0.5 0.8 1.3 1.8 2.8 2.1
Children nursed out (infant life protection) 2.0 5.7 17.2 15.9 11.6 6.1 5.9 7.7
Total 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0

Dr O’Sullivan’s comment here is:

Table 5.5a shows the same data as Table 5; but in percentage form. This highlights the rapid growth of the Industrial School system as the primary form of state intervention into the lives of children, reaching a peak in the 1940s and 1950s with just over half the children regulated by the State in industrial schools. Although Boarding-out increased its share of children in care, Reformatory schools for convicted delinquent children and prisons played a relatively minor role in the regulation of children and the role of workhouses diminished rapidly from the 1920s. In summary, although the sites for the regulation of children shifted from the mid-nineteenth century, the number of children as a ratio of those under 14, rose steadily throughout this period and only declined from the 1950s.

3.43Besides the Industrial Schools there were alternative residential institutions in which a child in the care of the might be placed.

County homes (formerly workhouses)

3.44The Local Government (Temporary Provisions) Act 1923 brought the administration of the public assistance services formally into the Irish Free State. It provided that in each county one workhouse building should be retained as a ‘county home’ in which all the non-medical inmates in the county were lodged. In the clinical language of a 1920s Report on the County Homes, there were approximately:

11,000 itinerant beggars who moved from workhouse to workhouse; a delinquent element, including prostitutes and young criminals, often the product of an earlier workhouse upbringing; a large group of infirm old people no longer able to care for themselves; so-called idiots and imbeciles, mentally handicapped people for whom there was as yet no special public provision; lunatics unable to secure admission to the overcrowded district lunatic asylums; unmarried mothers and their so called illegitimate children; rejects of a disapproving society; and orphaned and abandoned children.26

3.45At independence, the only places that would receive unmarried mothers were the workhouses/county homes. In 1926, there were over a thousand unmarried mothers with their babies in county homes; by 1950, there were still over 800 children in county homes, but by 1966 only 53. The children remained for one or two years.

Mother and baby homes

3.46The undesirability of having mothers and their infants in the county homes was recognised and in the 1920s and 30s the policy was implemented of providing ‘mother and baby’ homes for unmarried women who were having children for the first time. These were reserved for young mothers who had ‘fallen’ once only and thus were likely to be ‘influenced towards a useful and respectable life’27 (leaving those unmarried mothers pregnant for the second or later time to the county homes). As can be seen from Table 5.5, from the 1930s to the 1950s, there were more than 800 children in mother and baby homes, but none by 1960.

3.47The usual practice in a county home or mother and baby home was for the mother and her child to remain for one or two years, while the mother carried out domestic labour working to pay off their keep and (possibly) to make another lapse unlikely. After that period the child was boarded out28; or adopted (informally or when the Adoption Act 1952 came into force, legally) or sent to a junior Industrial School. By the 1960s, it was also becoming more common for children to be taken by their parents.

Institutions approved by Minister for Health (but not Industrial Schools)

3.48According to a Health Circular of 1954, there were 43 Schools and institutions approved by the Minister for Health. One was also a Reformatory (St Anne’s, Kilmacud) and 30 were also Industrial Schools, leaving 12 that were neither Industrial Schools nor Reformatories and thus not available for committals through the courts.

3.49By 196929 there were 18 institutions approved by the Minister for Health which were not also certified schools. These institutions accommodated (in the 16 homes that responded to the Kennedy questionnaire) just over 700 residents (aged 0-2 years: 278; 2-14: 328; 14-18:73).

3.50Kennedy30 showed the distribution of children in the schools with relatively few below the age of six and observed that the figures seemed to suggest that a large number of pre-school children were accommodated in homes and institutions other than Industrial Schools.

Voluntary homes

3.51Historically, by the 1850s, the majority of orphanages had been taken over by local religious congregations. Their funding came from relations of the children in the orphanages or other private sources such as endowments or charity sermons. In addition, boarding out was phased out and the orphanages became exclusively institutional. A number of these orphanages were certified as Industrial Schools under the Industrial Schools Act 1868. However a majority remained outside the State-subsidised scheme of institutional child welfare and a very few new orphanages were established in the twentieth century. These institutions were officially referred to as ‘voluntary homes’ because they were not State funded. In popular jargon, they remained ‘orphanages’.31 but in many cases the residents were not orphans but simply children whose families were in crisis of one sort or another.

3.52There was no State control, monitoring or supervision of such voluntary homes32 and consequently no central source of information about them.33 Children were admitted on a voluntary basis. The homes were not certified to receive children committed through the courts. They had considerably more freedom of administration and organisation than did the certified schools and could exercise more flexibility in admission and discharge. They were thought of broadly as institutions for the middle classes34 and this was often indicated in their advertising.

3.53The average length of a resident’s stay in an orphanage was shorter than that in an Industrial School.

3.54Thirteen of these Homes were run by religious Orders, the others by committees or private individuals. Two were for short-stay children. The Tuairim Report35 found:

The Homes’ relative independence makes it possible for the private Homes to develop in different ways from the certified schools. Many of them have evolved a ‘family’ system, and in most children have fewer restrictions on their freedom than children in certified schools. These are some of the quotations from responses to our questionnaires: ‘As far as feasible, I try to make it as much like a home as can be. There is a minimum of regimentation and the boys have much the same freedom as boys who live at home with their parents’. ‘We try to have our Home as like an ordinary Home as possible’. Our own impression of the Homes we visited endorse these statements … Only one of these Homes does not send at least some boys to an outside school for tuition. Boys, in particular seemed to have greater educational opportunities than those in certified schools.

The manager maintains close personal contact with the surviving parents or guardians of the children and very frequently the parents contribute something towards the child’s maintenance. By paying something the parents feel their responsibility and fulfil their duty to the best of their ability.

3.55The Kennedy Committee36 has the following information.

Number of voluntary homes contacted Number replying Numbers in various age groups
0-2 Years 2-14
Years
14-18
Years
Total
24 20 66 571 365 992

This gives an average figure for residents in each School of 50 (Tuairim has a similar number of orphanages and an average of 42) compared with a figure for Industrial Schools, in 1966, of about 100.

Protestant children

3.56The last Protestant Industrial School closed in 1917 so the only institution to which a child could be committed was Marlborough House. Children who came before the courts were usually entrusted, through the local Gardaí, to the care of the local clergyman or minister of religion concerned and he assumed responsibility for having them placed in the care of a suitable family, school or home.37

3.57In regard to children who were not committed by the courts but needed to be in care, many of the Protestant homes situated in the State were closed or amalgamated. Although the numbers of children for which the remaining homes had to provide was greatly reduced, so, were the sources of their finance. Sometimes, the closing of a home or sale of a redundant building resulted in the creation of a fund which was applied for the support of children in the remaining homes or in ordinary boarding schools. Money from these and other charities was used to assist needy parents to keep their children at home, each diocese having its Protestant Orphan Society, which made such grants. Dr Barnardo’s Homes also provide grants for Protestant orphans living in Ireland. Another relevant factor is that there was a waiting list of would–be adopters.

Part 3 Facts and figures

Children

3.58The size of the schools’ population reflected the fluctuations in economic conditions. After independence, in 1924 the total population of all the Industrial Schools and Reformatories was 5,192. This figure remained steady in the 1920s and 30s. Then it rose to a peak of 6,979 in 1946-47. After the high point of the 1940s, the population declined gradually in the 1950s and more steeply in the 1960s and 70s.

3.59The reasons for the reduction from the peak in the 1940s included the introduction of children allowances in 1944, the Adoption Act 1952 and the rising tide of the economy from the mid/late 1950s that lifted all boats. In addition, from the 1950s on and quickening in the 1960s, the courts displayed a greater reluctance to send children away for long periods and when they did do so it was only for shorter terms.

3.60While the numbers committed by the courts fell in the 1960s, there was an increase in those placed by local authorities. A possible explanation is that there is an irreducible minimum number of children in the community who require alternative care to that of their own families and that this number was gradually increasing because of a growing population, particularly in the larger urban centres.

Schools38

School Accommodation Limit Order Date closed**
Senior boys Schools
Artane, Dublin 830 Christian Brothers 1969-70
Baltimore, County Cork 170 Order of Charity 1950
Greenmount, County Cork 235 Presentation Brothers 1959
Upton, County Cork 300 Rosminians 1967
Killybegs, County Donegal 144 Order of Charity 1950
Carriglea, County Dublin 260 Christian Brothers 1954
Letterfrack, County Galway 190 Christian Brothers
Salthill, County Galway 208 Christian Brothers
Tralee, County Kerry 150 Christian Brothers 1970
Glin, County Limerick 214 Christian Brothers 1967
Clonmel, County Tipperary 200 Rosminians
Junior boys Schools
Passage West, County Cork 80 Sisters of Mercy
St Patrick’s, Kilkenny 186 Sisters of Mercy 1967
Drogheda, County Louth 150 Sisters of Charity of St V de P
Cappoquin, County Waterford 75 Sisters of Mercy
Rathdrum, County Wicklow * 100 Sisters of Mercy
Girls Schools
Cavan 100 Poor Clares 1967
Ennis, County Clare 110 Sisters of Mercy 1964
Clonakilty, County Cork 180 Sisters of Mercy 1965
Cobh, County Cork 60 Sisters of Mercy
Kinsale, County Cork 180 Sisters of Mercy
Mallow, County Cork 80 Sisters of Mercy
St Finbarr’s, Cork 200 Good Shepherd Sisters
Booterstown, County Dublin 96 Sisters of Mercy
Goldenbridge, County Dublin* 150 Sisters of Mercy
Lakelands, Sandymount, Dublin * 110 Sisters of Charity
High Park, Dublin 100 Charity of Refuge
Ballinasloe, County Galway 100 Sisters of Mercy 1968
Clifden, County Galway* 120 Sisters of Mercy
Lenaboy, County Galway* 88
Loughrea, County Galway 100 Sisters of Mercy 1967
Tralee, County Kerry* 85 Sisters of Mercy
St Joseph’s Kilkenny* 126 Sisters of Charity
St George’s Limerick 170 Good Shepherd Sisters
St Vincent’s, Limerick 180 Sisters of Mercy
Newtownforbes, County Longford 240 Sisters of Mercy 1970
Dundalk, County Louth 100 Sisters of Mercy
Westport, County Mayo 117 Sisters of Mercy
Monaghan (moved to Bundoran, County Donegal in 1958) 140 St Louis Sisters 1966
Ballaghadereen, County Roscommon 90 Sisters of Charity 1969
Birr, County Offaly 100 Sisters of Mercy 1963
Summerhill, Athlone 200 Sisters of Mercy 1964
Benada Abbey, Ballymote, County Sligo 106 Sisters of Charity
Sligo 200 Sisters of Mercy 1958
Cashel, County Tipperary 125 Presentation Sisters 1969
Dundrum, County Tipperary 80 Presentation Sisters
Templemore, County Tipperary 70 Sisters of Mercy 1965
Waterford 200 Good Shepherd Sisters
Moate, County Westmeath * 74 Sisters of Mercy
New Ross, County Wexford 100 Good Shepherd Sisters 1968
Wexford 146 Sisters of Mercy
Mixed Schools
Killarney, County Kerry * 138 Sisters of Mercy

*Girls Schools certified for the reception of a limited number of boys of tender years. Commencing in 1970, most of the junior Boys Schools also started to take girls. The only one to do so before 1967 has also been asterisked. In case of  these schools, the figures given include boys and girls.

**If no date appears, the school was still in operation in 1970.

Reformatories

3.61At independence, there were four Reformatories in the Irish Free State and one in Northern Ireland. However by 1927, the number had fallen to two. St Joseph’s Reformatory in Limerick was for girls and was run by the Sisters of the Good Shepherd. The other was St Conleth’s for Boys at Daingean, Offaly, run by the Oblates. During the years 1934-41, Daingean was temporarily closed and the residents transferred back to Glencree, which had been Daingean’s predecessor. In 1974, Daingean closed, to be replaced by Scoil Ard Mhuire in Lusk,39 which was initially run by the Oblates but later transferred to the direct administration of the Department of Education.

3.62In 1944, a second Reformatory for girls was established, St Anne’s School Kilmacud, County Dublin, conducted by the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity of Refuge.

3.63In 1949, there were 212 boys in Daingean, 31 girls in St Joseph’s, Limerick and 13 in St Anne’s, Kilmacud. In 1967, there were 124 boys in Daingean and a total of 18 girls in St Joseph’s, Limerick and St Anne’s, Kilmacud.

Industrial Schools

3.64The category of Industrial School covered a very wide range of institutions, from the equivalent of orphanages run by nuns to usually larger institutions, which took young offenders. In the case of a girl, a resident would usually remain in the same school until released at 16. But junior and senior boys had separate schools. If a boy had been put into a school below the age of 10, he would at that age be transferred from junior to a senior school.40 A number of senior boys Industrial Schools in effect acted as Reformatories. There was no Reformatory for those under 12. Almost all male offenders in this age group were sent to Letterfrack Industrial School, County Galway.

3.65At their maximum, in 1898, there were 61 Industrial Schools caring for approximately 7,500 children in the 26 county areas. By 1922, there were 53 Industrial Schools. During the 1920s High Park (previously a Reformatory) was receritified as an Industrial School and the girls’ Schools at Roscommon and Tipperary were closed. Thus, by the time of the Cussen Report, there were 52 schools in operation certified for 6,400 children.

3.66For much of the period under review, there were 11 senior boys’ Industrial Schools, five junior boys’, 35 girls’ and one mixed for girls and junior boys. Two senior boys Schools were closed for particular reasons in 1950. 41 Later on, with the fall in numbers of residents, in the 1950s, two senior boys’ (Carriglea, 1954; Greenmount, 1959) and one girls’ School (Sligo, 1958) closed.

3.67In the 1960s there was a steady stream of closures and by September 1969,42 there had been a sharp drop to 31 schools. The remaining Schools numbered: senior boys – five; junior boys – three; girls’ schools – 23. The remaining Schools were certified for more than 4,000 (1969-70) children but were actually catering for 1,700. Artane, by far the largest school, closed in 1969. Its numbers had fallen from 700 in the early 1950s to 300 as late as 1968.

The Orders

3.68After the closure of the last School under Protestant management in 1917, all the Schools were owned and run by Catholic religious Orders, apart from two Catholic Schools that were run by the local clergy and which closed in 1950. One of the consequences of the lack of positive control by the Department is that the Orders that carried out the work of running Schools were usually self-selected. This did not always make for an appropriate match. Kennedy43 remarks gently ‘some of the Orders in charge of Industrial Schools and Reformatories are engaged in other work which is of more direct concern to them and which comes more into the public eye’. Likewise a Departmental memo of 30th September 1963 noted that:

The Good Shepherd’s are not a teaching order and by vocation are better fit to look after underprivileged children than the Sisters of Mercy where, perhaps the Industrial School Section could be the poor relation in a foundation catering for Secondary, Primary and Domestic Economy training.44

3.69The largest male Order involved in Industrial Schools (as also in regard to general primary or secondary education) was the Christian Brothers who operated schools for senior boys (10 to 16 year olds) at Artane, Salthill, Letterfrack, Glin, Tralee and Carriglea. Two others were run by the Rosminians (Clonmel, Upton) and one by the Presentation Brothers (Greenmount).

3.70The Sisters of Mercy ran two-thirds of all Schools consistently accommodating about 60 percent of girls and 40 percent of all residents. As of 1950, they ran 22 of the girls’ schools, three of the junior boys’ schools and the mixed school for girls and junior boys in Killarney (which was the only mixed school before 1954) The remaining girls’ Schools were conducted by the following Orders: Poor Clares (one); Sisters of the Good Shepherd (four); Sisters of Charity (four); Sisters of Our Lady of Charity of Refuge (one); Sisters of Saint Louis (one); and Sisters of the Presentation Order (two).

3.71The Sisters of Mercy also ran four of the junior boys schools and the fifth was run by the (Irish) Sisters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul.

3.72The only School formally categorised as a ‘Mixed School’ (as far back at least as the Cussen Report: para 18) was St Joseph’s, Killarney, which had accommodation limits of 98 and 50 for girls and boys respectively. However, in the 1950s, because they were short of residents, a few of the girls’ Schools started to take in junior boys. Commencing with Goldenbridge in 1954, eight Girls’ Schools became what the annual reports describe as ‘Girls Industrial Schools certified for the reception of a limited number of boys of tender years’. In practice, this seems to have meant that they had accommodation limits for boys up to about 10-15 percent of the figures for girls.

Boys and girls

3.73The aggregate Schools’ population, from all sources (courts, health authorities, voluntary committals) during the entire 1936-70 period, contained 47 percent boys and 53 percent girls (though, in the case of Dublin County Borough this imbalance was reversed, with 56 percent boys for the period 1939-59). The following Table gives the figures for particular years:

1937* 1939 1950 1960 1970
Boys Schools, Total 2,733 (45%) 2,786 (45%) 2,819 (47%) 1,709 (45%) 534 (43%)
Girls Schools, Total 3,341 (55%) 3,440 (55%) 3,165 (53%) 2,105 (55%) 722 (57%)

Source: Department of Education Annual Reports

*First year for which statistics by school available

3.74During the 1936-70 period, the average percentages of boys committed in each year were: 93 percent (offenders), 90 percent (non-School attendance) and 75 percent (uncontrollable: a relatively small category).

3.75On the other hand, in the case of those sent by local health authorities for the 1949-69 period (figures from Kennedy Report), the aggregate average figure is 49 percent for boys. For the large group of children within the category ‘lack of proper guardianship’ (including ‘having no home’) committal figures for the period 1936-70 show an average of 45 percent for boys. From 1949-50 until the early 1960s, when there is a clear change in the pattern, more girls than boys were committed every year under ‘lack of proper guardianship’. Again, while the real figures are small compared to the other categories, it is striking in the case of voluntary places the average figure for those sent annually during the period is only 16 percent boys.

3.76One major reason why there were more girls overall lies in the age at which the children were committed. The annual reports from 1937-46 show that for children committed under the age of six the number of girls was 63 percent of the total. After 1946, annual education reports do not give figures for those committed under the age of six. The closest information (in Table F of the Kennedy Report) gives figures for the three categories: 10 years and under; 12-14; and over 14. It is possible by comparing these figures with the total numbers to deduce the numbers of boys and of girls below the age of 10 who were admitted. If a girl was committed at a younger average age, she stayed for a longer period in the school.

3.77It is impossible to come to any definite conclusion on the question of whether the system was in some way biased in favour of sending girls to Industrial Schools. The difficulty is that almost the only information available is the net result, in other words the numbers of each gender sent to the Schools.

3.78Recognition of an imbalance and speculation as to the reasons for it are to be found in a Department Memo, dated 16th April 1943.

There are about 500 more girls than boys detained [the total School population in 1943 was 6,000]. The difference between the numbers of girls and boys in some counties is very great, e.g. Co Sligo 139 girls and 35 boys; Co Wexford 175 girls and 85 boys; Co Monaghan 78 girls and 26 boys; Co Cavan 70 girls and 14 boys. A comparison of the numbers of girls in these schools from wealthy counties like Wexford and Sligo with the numbers from much larger and poorer counties like Donegal (19) and Mayo (112) suggests that undue advantage is being taken of Industrial Schools in some districts.

This may be due to some extent to the better distribution of the girls’ schools (there are two in each of the counties Wexford and Sligo), and the objection of parents to allowing their children to be sent to schools at a distance from their homes. This does not, however, explain the fact that from Co Cork which is well supplied with Boys’ Industrial Schools, there are 298 girls in these schools as compared with 187 boys.

The present unduly large number of girls in industrial schools must be due largely to the fact that the Managers have an organised system of ‘touting’ for children; they have social workers who act as a sort of agent and get children committed to the schools. We have no means of preventing this practice, but I suggest that we consult the Department of Local Government with a view to getting the assistance of the Local Country Managers to ensure that children are not committed without sufficient reason, and to obtain periodical reports on the parents means when children are committed on the grounds of poverty.

3.79It may be relevant here that there were more vacancies for girls. Another explanation that has been offered is that the imbalance is a reflection of the Catholic Church’s traditional concern with sex and sexual temptation. In one particular situation – a widower left with female children and no female family member to act as a mother substitute – anecdotal evidence is that such figures as the parish priest were quick to pronounce that the father could not cope and scandal might follow if the father should attempt to do so. Accordingly, his daughters had to be sent away and a School was often the recourse.

Size of schools

3.80Another difference between boys and girls lies in the difference in size of the Schools for each gender. The following tables give the numbers of residents actually in the Schools, for the years indicated, not the accommodation limits.

1946

Classification Over 300 100-200 200-300 50-100 Under 50 Schools Pupils
Girls only: 14 21 1 36 3,666
Junior boys: 2 3 1 6 596
Senior boys: 1 5 4 10 2,595
Classification Average No of Pupils Range
Girls 102 38 to 200
Junior boys 93 42 to 183
Senior boys 260 126 to 823

(Girls’ Schools started to take junior boys only in 1954.)

1966

Classification Over 300 100-200 50-100 Under 50 Schools Pupils
Girls only: 1 8 13 22 1101
Girls and junior boys: 2 4 1 7 562
Junior boys: 1 3 2 6 386
Senior boys: 1 3 3 7 990
Classification Average No of Pupils Range
Girls, and girls and junior boys 57 7 to 123
Junior boys 64 27 to 104
Senior boys 141 64 to 310

Source: Annual returns made by the Schools to the Department: DE1P0085

These Tables shows that for both years the average number of children living in senior boys’ Schools was more than twice that for girls or junior boys’ School. Even if the figure for Artane is excluded, this only reduces the average in 1946 from 260 to 177 against an average for girls of 102. In 1966, the corresponding figures are from 141 to 97 against an average for girls of 57 for senior boys to 177 (1946) and 97 (1966).

Proximity of places available to resident’s homes

3.81The following table presents figures which show the places available in Schools in each county and the number of residents who came from homes in that county.

Industrial Schools 1946-47

Boys Girls
County Accommodation in Schools Residents from homes in county Ratio Accommodation in Schools Residents from homes in county Ratio
Carlow 0 19 X 0 30 X
Cavan 0 14 X 100 30 30%
Clare 0 88 X 110 139 126%
Cork 785 243 31% 700 369 53%
Donegal 0 13 X 0 22 X
Dublin Corporation 0 1061 X 360 811 225%
Co. Dublin 1150 188 16% 96 117 122%
Galway 398 131 33% 408 236 58%
Kerry 40 100 25% 183 140 77%
Kildare 0 44 X 0 55 X
Kilkenny 186 64 34% 126 61 48%
Leitrim 0 14 X 0 24 X
Laois 0 37 X 0 35 X
Limerick 214 159 74% 350 190 54%
Longford 0 16 X 240 18 8%
Louth 150 41 27% 100 38 38%
Mayo 0 44 X 117 94 80%
Meath 0 33 X 0 28 X
Monaghan 0 20 X 140 52 37%
Offaly 0 42 X 100 46 46%
Roscommon 0 29 X 90 86 96%
Sligo 0 25 X 305 86 28%
Tipperary 200 235 118% 275 305 110%
Waterford 75 128 171% 200 108 54%
Westmeath 0 53 X 274 52 19%
Wexford 0 76 X 246 175 71%
Wicklow 100 51 51% 0 31 X

3.82On the assumption that when it was possible to do so, a resident from the county was sent to a School in the same county, the third column shows the ratio of places in Schools to residents with homes in that county. Where the ratio is less than 100 percent, it would have been possible for the Schools in the county to have accommodated all the residents for that county. On the other hand, in some other counties, the ratio exceeds 100 percent. This means that the number of residents with homes in the county exceeded the number of places in Schools in the county. Thus, even assuming that none of the places in the Schools in a county was allocated to a resident from outside, it would not have been possible for the Schools to have accommodated all the residents from that county. In a number of counties, there were no Schools, which is indicated by an ‘X’ in the third column.

3.83Figures are taken from the annual departmental reports for the year 1946-47, when the Schools population was at its highest. The problem of children having to be sent to a School outside the county of their homes would have lessened after 1946-47, although some allowance should be made for the fact that two senior Schools, Baltimore and Killybegs, closed in 1950. Cork, Limerick and Waterford cities’ figures are added to those of their counties.

3.84Most schools took only boys or only girls. The Table reflects this by giving separate figures for boys’ and girls’ Schools. As regards boy’s Schools, the Table shows that in 17 of the counties there were no Schools, so that residents from those counties had to be sent outside the County.45 In addition, the ratio exceeded 100 percent in Tipperary and Waterford.

3.85In the case of girls, there were seven counties with no Schools. And in Dublin Corporation, County Dublin, Clare and Tipperary the ratio exceeded 100 percent so that some residents from those counties had to be sent to a School outside the County. The most significant conclusion is that for both boys and girls, the gravest effect on the family life of residents impacted on those from Dublin. This effect was heightened both by the numbers going to the Schools from Dublin and also by the distance from Dublin to most of the Schools outside Dublin.

Part 4 Independent monitoring

The Oireachtas

3.86During the relevant period, discussions of the Schools in the Dail were infrequent and brief, and even more so in the Seanad.

3.87With a single exception, there were no general motions on Industrial Schools. Even the reaction to Cussen and Kennedy came not in the form of a formal ministerial statement followed by a debate, but as incrementally expanding replies to Dail questions. The exception was in the Seanad and was a general discussion, lasting five hours, on a motion to take note of the Kennedy Report (though taking place on 10th December 1973, some three years after publication of the Report) proposed by Senators Robinson and West, representing Trinity College, Dublin. This elicited an unusually detailed, unguarded and heartfelt response from John Bruton, the Parliamentary Secretary at the Department of Education.

3.88Likewise, there was little debate on the estimates for the Schools. With most estimates, Opposition deputies seize the latitude allowed to roam around the subject matter, unrestricted by the procedural limitations that apply in other forms of proceedings. But in this field, the estimate was usually passed off with an unchallenged statement from the Minister of the amount to be spent.

3.89The daily adjournment debate (a maximum of 30 minutes in all, consisting of a speech from the member who initiated the debate, followed by a reply from the responsible Minister) enables a member to agitate some matter in a fairly narrow, often local, field. This might have seemed to be just the procedural vehicle for some allegations of individual injustice in a School to be ventilated. In fact it was seldom so used. One exceptional case in which it was invoked arose out of an incident in which a 14-year-old boy had his arm broken by a Brother at Artane using a sweeping brush when he refused to submit to additional beating. Both the Minister (Sean Moylan) and the Deputy, Captain Cowan, who raised the matter were concerned to emphasise that this was an ‘isolated incident’. In response to the debate, the Minister remarked rather broadly, that ‘this is an isolated incident…[and] any guarantee I give parents of full protection of their children is no licence to any of the children to do what they like’. He stated that he had visited practically all the schools and, rather unexpectedly, that ‘they are deficient in many things [and] in future a wider provision for expenditure must be made if these schools are to serve the purpose they ought to serve in the nation’. In one other rare adjournment debate, Deputy James Dillon set out the increasing figures for the committals by the Dublin Children’s Court and asked unavailingly that the Minister should review each individual committal.46

3.90Although Dáil questions were occasionally the source of some exact information not available otherwise, they are of their nature episodic with their content depending on Deputies’ interests. They concerned such issues as: funding of children’s travel home for holidays; the failure on the part of the schools (or Department) to inform or warn parents when their children were transferred; and the suggested replacement of a police car as the vehicle for conveying children from the Dublin Children’s Court to the Industrial School because of the embarrassment it caused.47 Many of the questions asked simply for the numbers of committals on the various legislative grounds, in the previous year, figures that were published anyway in the departmental annual reports. Others urged medium-level changes of policy, for instance, repeatedly in the late 1930s, the adoption of the Cussen Committee recommendation that the salaries of literary teachers should be paid by the Department. The Deputy who asked the initial question seldom put a supplementary in response to the Minister’s reply.

3.91In short, despite the panoply of weapons available to members, the ‘big issues’ in regard to the Schools were raised only seldom and then usually without preparation, passion or persistence. For instance: ‘It costs about 15 shillings per week to keep [a child at Industrial School]. It has often been said to me that if some of that money were used to help the parents, there would be a very big change in their conduct.’48 (There was no reply to this from the Minister, perhaps because he concentrated on another query advanced in the same interjection.) Another comment was:

Six months would be quite sufficient [for a child committed under the School Attendance Act]. There is a great inclination, when children are sent to Industrial Schools, to send them there for long periods.

To which the Minister replied:

Absence from school leading to committal would never be of such a character that six months would be sufficient …This proposal would mean setting up a new institution. Resident Managers would not accept a child for a short period. 49

Next, as regards early discharge, Minister O’Deirg stated:

If responsible people– the local clergy or prominent Deputies who show that they realise both sides of the case could testify to [the Minister] … an application for early release will be considered.50

A request for the setting up of a system for hearing individual complaints against the Schools received surprisingly little discussion with the Minister for Education emphasising the inherent difficulty confronting anyone evaluating a complaint from a child or parent:

You have the situation that the child probably had been proved before a police court to be a notorious liar… Nevertheless some great abuse may have crept in and you are in this dilemma, that it is impossible to satisfy your mind that the allegations made by the children have absolutely no foundation.

Improved after care was suggested, including compiling figures on those former school children who were subsequently in trouble with the law.51 And it was put to the Minister, with no thorough examination of the difficulties and possible solutions:

if he will get his colleagues [in Finance and Local Government] to provide for suitable foster parents remuneration on the same scale as the state is paying to industrial school… half the number of children in Industrial Schools… will go into decent families.52

The following exchange was over in an instant:

Mrs O’Carroll asked the Minister whether he is aware that the whole system of detention of boys and of Industrial Schools is out of date and needs to be reviewed and overhauled

General Mulcahy: I am not so aware. 53

That is all

3.92There was an air of Ministerial detachment in the Dáil exchanges arising out of the closure, in 1959, of Greenmount School. Deputy Stephen Barrett asked the Minister for Education, Jack Lynch, if he was aware that the Greenmount children had been ‘dispersed without any prior discussion with their parents and that, in fact, the parents were not aware that the children had been removed from the Industrial School to other Industrial Schools until after the dispersal had taken place?’ The Minister replied:

The conductors of the school did so for what they considered good and sufficient reason and there was no intention whatever to ignore parental rights. They did so in the best interest of the management and conduct of the school.

Deputy Barrett pressed the point by stressing that the interests of the parents had been ignored and that the promoters of the Industrial School knew that they were ignoring the rights of the parents. Minister Lynch’s answer was:

I think it ought to be made clear that they acted strictly within their rights and within the terms of the Children Act, 1908, which governs the conduct of Industrial Schools.54

3.93The tone of the debate was invariably respectful and grateful to the authorities who ran the Schools55, though sometimes there was an air of ‘formal pleading’ about this. There was surprisingly little reference to what was happening in Northern Ireland or other jurisdictions.56Down the decades, the same few members took part in debates, on the subject.

The newspapers

3.94When, as they did only spasmodically, the Schools were referred to in the newspapers, it was mainly in three contexts. First were court reports of committal proceedings. Dr Maguire57 states:

Regional newspapers and several of the Dublin evening papers published extensive accounts of committal hearings in Children’s Courts in Dublin and around the country, although it must be said that this coverage was varied and inconsistent: such reports were regular weekly or monthly features in some newspapers, while others reported on court proceedings not at all, or only in extraordinary cases.

Both the (Dublin) Evening Herald and the (Dublin) Evening Mail (and later the Evening Press, which began publication in 1954), usually reported on the same cases each week, and these published accounts were remarkably similar. It could be that a single correspondent provided coverage for all three papers, although it is impossible to know this for certain as the stories did not carry by-lines. Coverage of committal cases in the Dublin evening papers began to fall off in the early 1960s, and this trend could be due to a variety of factors; the folding of the Evening Mail in mid-1962; a decline in court committals, and/or a growing trend towards an overhaul of the industrial school system coupled with a growing awareness of the need for privacy and discretion in cases involving children.

3.95Secondly, there were accounts, generally in local papers, of the very occasional discussion of the Schools at a local authority meeting. For there seems to have been, if only spasmodically, livelier debate on the general topics of the School system at local authority meetings, sometimes inspired by resentment at the financial burden imposed by local residents in the Schools.

3.96On this O’Cinneide and Maguire state58

The attitude of local authorities toward their responsibility for maintaining children in industrial schools, and general attitudes toward the efficacy of an institutional method of dealing with poor and neglected children, are themes that run throughout press coverage of local authority meetings and the often extensive coverage of children’s court proceedings. In an interesting and insightful discussion at the monthly meeting to the Galway Board of Health, one committee officer expressed a concern that the local ISPCC inspector, Mary Monnelly, was having children committed to institutions without the proper authority, and without consulting the appropriate local authorities. The Commissioner of the Board of Health instructed the superintendent home assistance officer to inform Monnelly that she was to consult with the local authorities before seeking the committal of children to industrial schools.

In 1938 the Galway County Homes and Home Assistance Committee had a discussion, that was reported in the press, about the merits of boarding-out children rather than committing them to industrial schools. The committee was considering a proposal to discontinue boarding children out n favour of maintaining all local authority children in industrial schools. Alice Lister, the Department of Health inspector of boarded-out children, argued that children could never receive the same kind of care and attention in an institutional setting that they could in a good foster home…

Other members of the committee countered these claims by pointing out that industrial school children received training in a skill or trade that would help them to support themselves upon release, while children boarded out, particularly with poorer families, were not guaranteed such an education or training…

After much debate the proposal to discontinue the boarding-out system was defeated. The following week the local newspaper, the Connacht Tribune, published an editorial that attempted to provide both sides of the story but came down squarely in favour of industrial schools.

3.97The third type of material about the Schools that occasionally appeared was human interest stories. For instance, an account of the visit of a dignitary (as when, in 1935, Eamon de Valera visited Artane and spent two hours in the School ‘and was treated to a performance by the famous Artane Boys Band’). Another similar report described a fund-raising carnival held at the Lenaboy Industrial School in Galway city.

3.98The 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.

3.99Serious cases of sexual or physical abuse were not reported, even if they came to light by way of a court case. Thus, for instance, a letter to The Irish Times on 11th May 1999, from a former reporter (and subsequently editor) of the Evening Herald, Brian Quinn, stated that in the 1950s the writer had:60

witnessed one of the worst of the Christian Brothers break into the office of the manager and demand that a court case that mentioned Artane should not be used in the Evening Herald. Before the manager could lift a phone, the Manager would push open the editorial door to tell us the manager had instructed that the case be dumped…. Those requests should have alerted journalists to start inquiries into what was happening in Artane. That we did not is a heavy burden.

3.100Significantly, the case referred to in this letter seems to have gone unreported also by the other newspapers. Likewise, when in January 1951, an attendant employed at Marlborough House (not an Industrial School, but a place of detention, run by the Department of Education) was convicted of sexually abusing two boys detained in the institution, there were no newspaper reports.

3.101A Departmental report by Dr McCabe of 8th January, 1948 recorded that following the death of a child in Rathdrum, owing to careless supervision, Dr McCabe visited the school and sought to get a ‘callous’ resident manager to appreciate the gravity of what had occurred:

I drew her attention to the bad impression that would be likely to be created regarding the conduct of affairs in her school on anybody who would read the inquest proceedings in the newspapers. She told me that the matter had been taken care of in Carysfort and that there would be no report in the press.

3.102Even if a skeleton made its way out of its cupboard, the newspapers could be persuaded to turn their back. An example from as late as 1964 was a story about head-shaving in the Connacht Tribune, which was picked up by the British Sunday paper, The People; but no Irish national paper reported the story.

3.103The second omission was even more serious. With very few exceptions, there was no comprehensive survey of the School system and no accounts of the every-day experiences of the residents in the Schools. Specifically, so far as any serious discussion of the School system goes, in the 1940s and 1950s, only two contributions in daily papers have been found. Each was a multi-part feature in The Irish Times (referred to below).

3.104The Kennedy Committee Report, while it attracted more attention than any other single episode, was not front page news. Even the significant Doyle Supreme Court constitutional case61 received little coverage outside the The Irish Times of 13th October 1956.

3.105A series of four articles appeared anonymously (‘By a Special Correspondent’) in The Irish Times in February, 1950. The author appeared to have been well-informed about the system and aware of the history of the institutions and of developments in the State and elsewhere. The series was very critical of the system and proposed radical changes to do away with institutions. The writer expressed limited approval of the Cussen Commission, which did valuable work but failed ‘to see that something more revolutionary than improvements in the existing structure was necessary’. There was little reaction to the articles, which seem to have gone largely unnoticed in official and political circles as well as among the general public.

3.106The lack of interest generally is evident in a response by the Department of Education to a question from the Commission stating that it had found no records referring to The Irish Times articles on child delinquency in 1950. This is consistent with an expectation that there would be no interest in the matter among the electorate or public representatives. Otherwise, it would have been expected that cuttings would be kept and a defence dossier compiled.

3.107Another breach in the iron curtain was the work of Michael Viney. He wrote a series of articles62 in The Irish Times, based on six weeks’ research. Significantly, even this major series attracted only one (published) letter to the editor,63 and it seems likely that given the expenditure of resources, the paper would have published any reasonable letters received. Likewise, the series was met by an eerie silence from other Irish newspapers, which declined the opportunity to mine the rich lode, which, it might seem, had been opened up by Mr Viney.

3.108It 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.

3.109This lack of investigation and reporting may reflect the absence of interest in this subject by the public. As regards the personal attitude of journalists, a journalist who was the educational correspondent of one of the national dailies in the 1960s recalls:

We saw educational issues as involving middle class concerns like curriculum development or Church and State, not ‘the lesser breeds without the Law’ in the Industrial Schools. After Kennedy, there was some improvement but we didn’t push as hard as we should have done.

Reaction to press criticism

3.110When a rare derogatory comment was published, there was a strong defence from the Orders. In the 1950s, Fr Nagle of Lower Glanmire Parish, Cork, said something that seemed to be a criticism of the Schools; the Christian Brothers’ Managers’ Association was quick to demand an apology. As reported, the priest had said:

We are convinced that an indifferent home is better than a good institution, because in an indifferent home children receive at least from time to time some love, affection and interest from their parents. They cannot receive this in the institution and this has an unfortunate bearing on the children’s emotional and mental development.

The Managers’ Meeting of the Christian Brothers responded:64

We assume that the institutions referred to are the Industrial Schools. You may not be aware that all these Industrial Schools, in which there is accommodation over seven thousand (7,000) children, are conducted by Religious Communities of Priests, Brothers and Sisters. According to your statement, as reported, children in these schools cannot receive even from time to time some love, affection and interest from the Religious who have dedicated their lives to this noble and necessary work. Your statement has been deeply resented by the members or our Association and they fail to see what purpose such a statement, so unrelated to facts, can serve other than to belittle their work.

It was also stated that ‘Father Nagle was simply echoing his Bishop’s pronouncement – Dr Lucey seems be totally opposed to the Industrial Schools System’. Fr Nagle’s reply was that:

I did not state that the children cannot receive love etc from the religious. I stated that the they cannot receive parental love. I have the highest regard for the Religious who cared for those children. I genuinely apologise for any offence, but I insist that it was unintentional.

3.111Again, in 1963, a solicitor, who was representing two boys in Galway District Court, urged the court not to send his clients to Letterfrack. He said that every murderer in the country had served time there and that he would prefer that his clients were sentenced to six months in prison than two years in Letterfrack. The district justice’s response was to the effect that ‘there may be a great deal in what you say but I cannot do anything about it’. Exceptionally this exchange was covered in The Evening Press, The Connaught Tribune, The Connaught Sentinel and The Tuam Star. The manager of the school wrote to the Minister demanding to know what he proposed to do about these ‘very scurrilous and false allegations’ and adding ‘I also wish to draw your attention to the fact that too many TD’s are applying to Minister for Education to have certain boys discharged from here.’65

Boards of Visitors, committees of management or godparents’ associations

3.112It might have been expected that, in the same way as prisons and (in recent times) national or secondary schools66, each Reformatory or Industrial School would have had its own ‘Board of Visitors’, namely, a group of respected local citizens who would make regular visits to a school, be aware of what was going on there, encourage improvements and inquire into any complaints.

3.113A broader question is why, until the 1970s, even in the wider educational field, there were no local boards overseeing primary and secondary schools. The answer was regarded as self-evident, namely that the religious were giving their entire lives, usually working long hours, for scant financial reward, to serve the community in buildings that they had also provided. In an unsuspicious and deferential age, it would have seemed perverse to require that there be accountability to a board of lay outsiders. As against this, it might be thought that a special case should be made in regard to Industrial and Reformatory Schools because they were closed worlds with vulnerable inmates.

3.114In fact, relatively late – in 1962 – the Inter-Departmental Committee on the Prevention of Crime and Treatment of Offenders did recommend the establishment of visiting committees for certified schools. Mr Haughey, Minister for Justice, wrote to Dr Patrick Hillery, Minister for Education, commending this proposal and received the following lukewarm and third-person response:

In view, of the rejection by the school managers some years ago of this Departments proposal that they be visited by an ad hoc committee of representatives of the Departments of Finance, Social Welfare and Education in connection with the managers appeal, at the time, for improved grants, the Minister is not over-sanguine as to the managers’ attitude to the idea of Visiting Committees. Neither is he clear as to how best such committees, if agreed to, should be brought into existence. He proposes, nevertheless, once more to approach the Managers’ association with the present suggestions.67

3.115Starting mainly in the 1950s, Godparents’ Associations grew up for some Industrial Schools but they had no formal status, their central purpose being to provide as many of the children as possible with a person or family who would take a personal interest in them and bring them into their homes at some weekends or holidays. There was no connection between individual associations. The judgments they expressed on the Industrial Schools they knew were usually unfavourable and their presence was at best tolerated by Managers and at worst regarded as meddling. The Catholic Godparents Guild68 hosted children from several Schools throughout the State. The other associations each focussed on a single school, for instance Artane or Upton – or, at most, two Schools in the case of the Galway Godparents Association, which was concerned with the children in St Anne’s Lenaboy and St Joseph’s Salthill. This association found the Managers of each school uncooperative in the efforts it made to bring greater interest into the lives of the children.

Pressure groups

3.116A pressure group that took an interest in the Schools from the 1940s-70s was the Joint Committee of Women’s Societies and Social Workers. 69 Their submissions to the Minister were striking for raising not individual complaints but rather suggestions for the sort of innovation that ought to have been debated more frequently within the Department and the Schools themselves. For instance a letter of 2nd February 1966 to the Minister contains a constructive suggestion:70

In the matter of further education, that is, in preparation for a career, we would advocate the authentic training of the Vocational School, which, again, could serve as an interim introduction to the normal community into which the boys must, in two years time, become suddenly integrated. This would of course necessitate their sharing the benefits accorded to other boys, but surely they have as great a claim. Towards this end we would suggest that a proportionate number of places be reserved at each Vocational School.

We have been particularly interested in the methods used by Br Stephen Kelly at St Patrick’s in Belfast. He employs a Social Worker, a layman, who meets each boy and follows his progress through the school, paying attention to his aptitudes. It is interesting to note that boys without homes are not automatically boys for farming.’

Ministers

3.117Between 1970-74, the Minister for Justice was Des O’Malley (as it happens Donagh O’Malley’s nephew and the inheritor of his Dail seat). In an interview in 2002, Mr O’Malley told Dr Keating that he was concerned about the Industrial and Reformatory Schools sector, in part because of the general public erroneous belief that it was the responsibility of the Department of Justice. A few months after taking office as Minister for Justice, Mr O’Malley happened to take a family holiday in North Connemara near Letterfrack and heard and observed personally a certain amount about that institution. On his return to Dublin, he made some inquiries and was told by the Secretary of the Department to ‘leave it to Education’. 71

3.118In contrast, according to the memoirs of Padraig Faulkner, Minister for Education 1969-73:

It was to be quite some time after I left the Department of Education that I first heard the word ‘paedophile’. During my time as Minister I hadn’t an inkling that child sex abuse existed. When I published the Kennedy Report in 1970 Dail questions on a variety of aspects of it came thick and fast. Some deputies praised the diligence and selflessness of the religious orders in caring for Children in care. Nobody raised the question of abuse. Dr Noel Browne and Dr John O’Connell were among my most persistent questioners and nobody doubts that if these deputies had heard so much as a whisper about abuse, they would immediately have raised the matter in the Dáil.

Sexual abuse

3.119Even among external observers who scrutinised the schools, there seems to have been little or no contemporary knowledge of sexual abuse. Mr Michael Viney, for instance, who visited several schools, over a six-week period, in 1966 researching his 15,000-word series in The Irish Times in 1966, did not discover any evidence of sexual abuse (though, in those more innocent days, he was not looking for any). In the Tuairim Report of 1966,72 nothing is said in about sexual abuse because, according to one member, they could not believe what they were being told.

3.120A district court clerk who served in the 1960s remarked:

We knew about the sexual abuse in the Schools because one of the Gardai who drove the children from the Court to the Schools told us about it. In today’s climate I’d have protested to the Department of Justice. But in those times, at best my protest would have been ignored, at worst I’d have been disciplined.

The public

3.121It seems that the general public living in the locality of a School had some broad idea of the conditions. It was not uncommon for parents to threaten children who were misbehaving with some such formula as: ‘Stop it or you’ll be sent to Artane / Upton / Letterfrack…’ Both sides knew what was meant. When John B Keane wrote in 1967 about farmers exploiting cheap labour of youths from an Industrial School, it seems likely that he expected his readers to know what he was writing about.Letters of a Successful TD 73 contains the following passage:

We will never again see a worker like Topper. I will never forget him a long as I live. You probably don’t remember Jeremy Tlopper. He died of TB when you were about three or four. It still plays on my conscience that I might have driven him too hard. In those days we used to get youngsters out of Kilnavarna Industrial School to work as farm labourers. They were usually aged about fifteen or sixteen. You didn’t have to pay them much and I know for a fact that most people paid them nothing.

I had several lads but they were better for eating than they were for working. It was a mistake, too, to get fellows who hadn’t made their Confirmation because you would have to leave them off every day for catechism.

Jeremy Topper was different. He had made his Confirmation. He was a great worker and a light feeder. He was as thin as a whippet but I never heard him complain and he worked out-of-doors, hail, rain, or shine.

I often worry that I might have misused him, but no, that isn’t true, because he worshiped me as a son would. He had no father or mother but that was during the Economic War when nobody could afford a regular workman and dead calves were blocking the eyes of the bridges.

The only labour we could afford were young lads or girls out of orphanages or Industrial Schools. Jeremy died when he was twenty but I think he killed himself. I never touched him, although I know of boys and girls who were whipped and punched like slaes and there were young girls who were badly abused by certain farmers who are pillars of the Church to-day. May God forgive them and the priests who knew what was going on. I put up headstone over Jeremy when he died. There was no cure for TB in those days. …

3.122In that year, 1988, there was a more sceptical reaction to Paddy Doyle’s story74 of, amongst other things, the violence of the nuns of St Michael’s Industrial School in Cappoquin. He recalled that: ‘I used to hear people refer to me as one of the children from the orphanage, which was the phrase locals used to soften the brutal reality of the Industrial School in their midst.’

3.123The Task Force on Child Care Services 1980 refers to a most striking feature of the pre-Kennedy system of residential care as being …‘…the alarming complacency and indifference of both the general public and the various government departments and statutory bodies responsible for the welfare of children’.

Concluding comment

3.124Until very late in the day, the contribution made by the Oireachtas or the news media towards supervision, or even education of the public, in regard to the Schools, appears to have been negligible. Pressure groups were rare and usually ineffective The general public was often uninformed and usually uninterested. All these pools of unknowing reinforced each other.

3.125A trained social worker who practiced in the 1960s informed the Commission that:

we knew that the Schools were ‘institutions’ with all that implied and were alert to try to avoid them or minimise a child’s stay there; but on the other hand we regarded them as safe places where the child would be if not positively cherished at least ‘protected from harm.

Part 5 Family links

3.126The maintenance of family links was adversely affected by three issues, namely the geographical distribution of the Schools and the problem this posed for parental visits; keeping brother and sisters together; and home leave. The long-term social and psychological well-being of the children required that they keep their links with their families. This meant that siblings should as far as possible be in the same School and that resident children should be kept in touch with their families by holidays, parental visits and letters. These areas were often the subject of differences between the Department and the Schools. The Department appears to have appreciated the need for improvements but it was not sufficiently determined to overcome the opposition of the Schools to changes. The reason for this resistance was the Schools’ fear that liberalisation could undermine discipline. Using a mixture of persuasion and financial incentive, the Department effected some improvements. Where there was a cost, a good deal depended on who paid for the change; usually the Department ended up paying.

Geographic distribution

3.127The fact that so many of the Schools were located a long way from the homes of their residents made contact with families almost non-existent, except for such limited holidays at home as were permitted. In practice, sending a Dublin boy to Letterfrack could sunder the family almost completely. In very occasional cases, family circumstances were thought to be so bad that children were deliberately sent to Schools at a distance from their homes in order to remove them from their parents.

3.128The reason for the uneven geographic distribution of the Schools was explained in the Cussen Report:75

… on the introduction of the system most of the Local Authorities were unwilling to contribute even towards the maintenance of the children, and as the Treasury grant was insufficient for the building and equipment of such schools, their establishment was a matter of some difficulty. As a result, various Religious Orders were requested to undertake the work, and those who agreed and provided suitable premises had them certified. Certificates were, therefore, granted with little regard to the geographical distribution of the schools.

3.129The difficulties were exacerbated by the fact that committals were disproportionately high in Dublin.76

3.130As outlined in a Departmental memo in 1943, Munster had five senior Schools for boys and two junior Schools whereas Leinster had only two of each. The memo continued:

At the present time north of a line between Dublin and Galway there are no Senior Boys’ Industrial Schools; the nearest south of that line is in Clonmel and after that recourse must be had to Glin and Tralee (both of which have now numbers in excess of the certified complement – as also, incidentally, have the schools in Salthill and Letterfrack), or to a cluster of schools in a limited area in the extreme southwest, namely, Greenmount, Upton and Baltimore. Only the two last-named of these are at present short of their certified numbers. They therefore become of necessity the dumping-grounds for Dublin boys who cannot be sent to Artane or Carriglea.

3.131The Department was concerned about this problem.77 One way that it could use to ease the problem was in making transfer orders from junior to senior boys’ schools when boys were aged 10 years, on which occasion the Department could select Schools close to Dublin. In addition, there might be exceptional transfers, at other ages, including transfers to Dublin on emotional grounds.

3.132An example of the way in which the Department could sometimes operate is shown in an internal Departmental memo of 18th September 1963. It was noted that ‘St George’s Limerick was a good school and that its Resident Manager has in a recent phone call, sharply rebuked the Department for its lack of interest in the school and its problems. The memo continues:

Dr McCabe has been asked to call on the Inspector of the ISPCC Limerick with a view to channelling more committals to St George’s School and on the closing of Summerhill, Athlone next December, New Ross and Waterford should be kept in mind when arranging the transfer of the children if the addresses and family backgrounds permit this course.

3.133In 1954, when the Christian Brothers announced that all offenders were to be sent to the School in Letterfrack, District Justice McCarthy requested that the proposed schools for offenders be located in a place less isolated than Letterfrack (eg Tralee or Glin) as he felt that Letterfrack would not be the most suitable place for the rehabilitation of boys from Dublin City. However, this aspect of the district justice’s complaint fell on stony ground. Br O’hAnluan of the Christian Brothers replied that they had fully considered the question and that they had decided on Letterfrack.

3.134Naturally 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

3.135If a Dublin boy’s family wished to visit him at Letterfrack it would be difficult to do so and return by public transport on the same day. It was said that, to facilitate such contact, the Manager was good enough to drive pupils to the nearest railway town, 50 miles away, so as to avoid the necessity of a two-day journey.78

3.136More generally, the School authorities do not appear to have encouraged family visits.

3.137In her evidence to the Commission, Sr Úna O’Neill of the Religious Sisters of Charity observed that there was

nothing in place to give the impression that the visits of the parents to the children was a high priority … I found no evidence of any expression of priority in terms of making sure that parents could visit their children.

Parents’ travel expenses

3.138A constructive development came in 1971 by way of Circular No 30/71 providing for free travel for parents visiting their children in a school. If they were medical card holders, both parents were allowed the expenses of up to four visits per year.

3.139The operation of the scheme was delegated to School Managers and was extended gradually during the 1970s, culminating in a 1979 Circular broadening the free travel initiative to brothers and sisters.

Keeping brothers and sisters together

3.140There are reports of siblings who were at the same school seeing each other only by accident or finding out later that the two had been at the same school at the same time. Here the school authorities must have known and failed to put the two in communication.

3.141Internal memoranda show that the Department was aware of the danger of siblings losing contact with eachother and attempted to do something about it:79

It is the settled policy of this Department to do everything possible to maintain and encourage family ties where it is in the children’s interest to do so. The selection of a school is a matter for the committing justice in the first instance but the Department subsequently does all in its power to arrange transfers, as far as possible, to schools near the children’s homes, and to have members of the same family detained in the same school. Unfortunately, these post-committal adjustments are not always possible and, in any case, only touch the fringe of the problem.

3.142Transfer orders were sometimes made by the Department in order to keep a family in the same School. Lunney80 writes after a study of entry registers in Sisters of Mercy Schools for the period 1869-1950, that:

the admission registers of the Schools indicate that the Managers had a policy of keeping sisters together even if some had to be admitted in excess of the certified limit. For instance, the manager of Goldenbridge School in Dublin often arranged for the transfer of a child from St George’s Industrial School in Limerick to Goldenbridge so that she could be with her younger sister.

3.143The probability is that practice and attitudes varied from one school or from one Manager to another.

Going home for the holidays

3.144Home leave was a matter for the School authorities to arrange in accordance with rules laid down by the Department. The maximum home leave allowed each year was seven days, until 1935 when it was extended to 14 days. Following a recommendation in the Cussen Report81 the maximum period was extended, in 1944, to 21 days, and then to 31 days, in 1948.

3.145Generally, the Schools opposed leave.82 A letter from the Resident Managers Association to the Department of Education of 7th June 1949, responding to a proposal, which was not adopted, to extend home leave to six weeks, stated that 37 of the 44 Schools who replied were opposed to the increase:

It was pointed out that when the children return from Home Leave there is always a marked disimprovement in manners and conduct; they are often very discontented. All this is highly detrimental to the general spirit of the School, and it takes the children quite a long time to settle down again to the ordinary routine.

Numbers of them return ill fed and sickly, in an unkempt condition, with clothes in a filthy condition. It takes weeks to get rid of the vermin. Sometimes their language is vile.

Industrial School children generally belong to the poorest families and the home conditions are often most unsuitable and undesirable… A high percentage of these children are illegitimate and the mothers are not just what they should be; others have bee