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Estudios Irlandeses, Number 10, 2015, pp. 95-108
Administrative Expedience and the Avoidance of Scandal:
Ireland's Industrial and Reformatory Schools and the
Inter-Departmental Committee of 1962-3
Anthony Keating
Edge Hill University in Lancashire, UK Copyright (c) 2015 by Anthony Keating. This text may be archived and redistributed both in electronic form and in hard copy, provided that the author and journal are properly cited and no fee is charged for access.
This article utilises the surviving working papers of the Irish, Inter-Departmental
Committee on the Prevention of Crime and Treatment of Offenders of 1962-3 (IDC) to critically
evaluate its work on the industrial and reformatory schools. The industrial and reformatory schools
were populated by vulnerable children, from largely poor backgrounds, who were not well regarded by
Irish society. The work of the IDC in regard to adult prisoners is argued by academics and politicians
to have been a turning point in Irish penal policy; representing the point at which a more enlightened
approach to the treatment of offenders began to feed through into the penal system. This positive
assessment of the IDC's impact on adult penal policy is demonstrated to stand in stark contrast to its
actions in regard to the children detained in the industrial and reformatory schools. Children, against
whose interests, the IDC and its political masters chose to place economic expediency and the
perceived interests of departmental and religio-political sensibilities. The actions of the IDC left these
children exposed to the worst excesses of abusive institutions despite clear evidence of their plight. It
was not until the years after the publication of the Kennedy Report in 1970 that the Irish State took it
first hesitant steps in reforming the rotten and abusive system.
Key Words. Inter-Departmental Committee, Education, Justice, Child Abuse, Church, Irish Industrial
and Reformatory Schools.
Resumen. El artículo se sirve de los documentos existentes del Comité Interdepartamental irlandés
para la Prevención del Delito y Tratamiento de Delincuentes de 1962-3 (IDC) para evaluar
críticamente su labor en las escuelas industriales y reformatorios. Las escuelas industriales y
reformatorios estaban llenos de niños vulnerables, provenientes principalmente de entornos pobres, a
los que la sociedad irlandesa no veía con buenos ojos. En círculos académicos y políticos se considera
que el trabajo del IDC en lo que respecta a los presos adultos supuso un punto de inflexión en la
política penal de Irlanda en tanto que introdujo un enfoque más inteligente para el tratamiento de los
delincuentes en el sistema penal. Esta evaluación positiva del impacto del IDC en la política penal de
adultos contrasta vivamente con sus actuaciones en relación a los niños confinados en las escuelas
industriales y reformatorios donde, en lugar de velar por los intereses de los reclusos, el IDC y sus
dirigentes políticos priorizaban la conveniencia económica y supuestos intereses y sensibilidades
político-religiosos. Las acciones del IDC dejaron a estos niños expuestos a los peores excesos de
instituciones abusivas a pesar de la clara evidencia de su difícil situación. No fue hasta los años
posteriores a la publicación del Informe de Kennedy en 1970 que el Estado irlandés tomó los primeros
pasos vacilantes en la reforma del corrompido y vejatorio sistema.
Palabras clave. Comité interdepartamental, educación, justicia, abuso de menores, Iglesia, escuelas
industriales y reformatorios.
_ ISSN 1699-311X The public understanding of the care of This article will utilise the working papers of children in institutions funded and regulated by the Inter-Departmental Committee on the the Government in the Republic of Ireland Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of (Ireland) has profoundly altered over the last Offenders 1962-3 (IDC)3 to explore its
two decades. This change of perception has investigation and recommendations in regard to occurred as a result of the public exposure, of the industrial and reformatory schools. There what for some had been an open secret for will be a particular focus on four most decades, namely, the poor levels of care and the notorious institutions, Artane (1870 -1969), abuse of children living in institutions, run Letterfrack (1887-1974), Daingean (1940- largely, though not exclusively, by religious 1973) and Marlborough House remand centre orders of the Catholic Church.1 The public (1944-1972). It will be demonstrated that the outcry regarding this maltreatment and abuse IDC found evidence that something was very has led to a substantial redrawing of the policy wrong in these schools, yet despite this landscape in regard to child protection and politicians and administrators failed to act to welfare and Irish society's sense of itself and its protect children, a failure that constituted a history. The Office of the Minister for Children dereliction of their duty of care.4 The IDC and Youth Affairs asserted in the preamble to a papers afford an insight into the political 99 point Implementation Plan that followed the publication of the Ryan Report in 2009;2 The institutions of Church and State, the dictates of history of our country in the 20th century will which ensured that political expediency was be rewritten as a result of the Ryan placed before the protection of children. Commission of Inquiry…. Institutions that we Notwithstanding, Rafterty & O'Sullivan's held to be beyond reproach have been work on the State's failure to act on its limited challenged to their core. When the 1916 recommendations (Raftery & O'Sullivan 1999) Proclamation of the Republic declared its and Arnold's observations relating to the resolve to cherish all of the children of the nation equally, it was not considered to be undermine key evidence (Arnold 2008), to date controversial and yet today it is clear that such the work of the IDC, in regard to reformatory idealism was misplaced (Office of the Minister and industrial schools, has received little for Children 2009: xiii). scholarly attention. There has, however, been a The legitimacy of the concept of a greater focus of the IDC's work on adult ‘misplaced idealism', which implies a level of prisons. Rogan's 2011 study and Kilcommin et ignorance of the realities of the conditions in al's. 2004 work, have explored the IDC's the schools on the part of the State, fails under impact on the treatment of adult prisoners and even under the most superficial scrutiny. There these studies have argued that the IDC was a is a plethora of evidence that the appalling manifestation of the progressive attitudes in the conditions in the schools, both in terms of the Department of Justice in the early 1960s that buildings themselves and the treatment of drove humanitarian reform in Ireland's prisons children held in them, was known to those in (Rogan 2011; Kilcommins 2004). Notwith- authority for over 60 years prior to the standing, this judgement of the work of the IDC, publication of the Ryan Report (Raftery & O'Sullivan 1999; Arnold 2008). However, in spite of this knowledge virtually nothing was 3. The Department of Justice IDC files were viewed done to improve conditions, whilst much was by the author at the Department of Justice, Dublin in 2001, prior to their release to the Commission to done to conceal the truth. Inquire into Child Abuse. These consist of inspection reports, memos, internal discussions 1. Hereafter referred to as ‘the Church'. documents, transcripts of evidence of the Committee itself and subsequent communications in regard to 2. The Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse, its recommendations. commonly known as the Ryan Commission, is one of a range of measures introduced by the Irish 4. The Departments of Education and Justice had Government to investigate the extent and effects of statutory responsibility for the schools under the abuse on children from 1936 onwards. It published 1908 Children and Young Persons Act and the its final report in the May of 2009. Children Act, 1908, Adaption Order, 1928.
its pursuance of an open, progressive agenda,
application of censorship (Brown 2010). was not evident in its work on the Nation's However, by the mid 20th century the post- reformatory and industrial schools. The failure revolutionary settlement was beginning to alter, of the IDC to have the same impact on the hardly noticeable at first, but to alter industrial and reformatory schools as it had on nonetheless. The forces that drove these the adult prison population, was as a result of a changes, political, economic, social and complex and interrelated set of variables. technological, gathered pace in the late 1950s These found their roots in the realpolitik of and early 1960s when a deeply conservative Ireland in this period, which were themselves and isolationist revolutionary generation of manifestations of the concomitant complexity politicians retired from political life. They were of Ireland's sense of itself, Church and State replaced by a new generation who believed that relationships, economics and inter-departmental Ireland's future was to be as part of the ‘turf wars'. However, the potential for ‘turf European mainstream. However, it would take war' disputes over adult prisons was far less another 40 years for the modernisation of Ireland's child protection services to achieve The Department of Justice controlled and meaningful change.5 These developments have directly ran adult custodial institutions, been in no small part driven by the however, whilst the Church had a strong overwhelming evidence of endemic child abuse emphasis on moral leadership in regard to the both in Irish institutions and more generally in prisons, it did not have the direct operational Irish society. A reality downplayed or denied
control or financial interest in the prisons that it for much of the State's existence as it did not fit had in the schools. Neither did the other wider cultural myths about the inherent virtues significant player in this regard, the Department of Ireland's people (Smith 2007; Brennan of Education. The Catholic Church and the 2013). Realities amply illustrated in a plethora Department of Education were both highly of reports on this issue,6 all of which provide sensitive to any intrusion into the schools, disturbing insights into the realities of the particularly if it could lead to criticism and treatment of children by both Church and State. scandal, the avoidance of scandal long having Poverty was the overwhelming cause of driven the Church above its duty of care to children being placed in reformatory and those in its charge (In Plain Sight; The Cloyne industrial schools. Poverty was an issue that Report, The Ryan Report; The Ferns Report). Governments had continually failed to address, or indeed made worse for much of its early administrative and political culture that, whilst history through the pursuance of isolationist on the cusp of change, was still steeped in the economic policy (Garvin 2005). The reality of logic and rhythms of post colonial Ireland. An childhoods lived in poverty was too thorny, too Ireland that was conservative, devout and complex, too uncomfortable, to address, as the highly sensitive to criticism from within and reality that the Nation was failing children did outside of its borders (Garvin 2011). These not chime with the ‘acceptable' self-image of Ireland (Ferguson 2007). Therefore, it was investigation, are therefore central to any convenient to focus on the shortcomings of the understanding of its handling of the evidence it families and children within the schools, and in consequence they became the institutional recommendations and their failure to be manifestations of what O'Toole has described implemented by politicians and administrators. The Political, Cultural and Administrative
5. There are still significant concerns regarding Context of the IDC's Work
looked after children in Ireland today. The Report of the Independent Child Death Review Group, Since the establishment of the Irish State in published in 2012, highlighting serious concerns 1922, a high social premium had been placed related to the deaths of young people in contact with on homogeneity and social conformity. This the State's child-protection services between 2000 was a feature of Irish life that persisted for much of the twentieth century, bolstered by 6. In Plain Sight, The Cloyne Report, The Ryan economic and social policy and the rigid Report, The Murphy Report and The Ferns Report. as the "criminalisation of poverty" (Ferguson of funds the Government simply did not feel it 2007: 127). It was far better, from the could afford (Keating 2002). The result was Government's perspective, to focus on the large institutions that warehoused children in moral turpitude and corruption of poor children large numbers; institutions too often run by and their families, the causation of which could unqualified, overstretched staff who were not be comfortably externalised to forces that had subject to appropriate selection, vetting or their origins beyond Ireland's shores (Keating supervision and consequently too often kept control through the frequent brutal application of violence. Much of the institutional On the foundation of the modern Irish State architecture of the schools was inherited from the responsibility for reformatory and industrial the British; however, post-independence, the schools was placed with the Department of level of investment in, and inspection of the Local Government, a responsibility it kept up schools had been substantially eroded as a until 1924 when it transferred briefly to a result of difficult economic conditions. reluctant Department of Justice. However, later The low status of the children cared for in the in 1924 responsibility for the reformatory and schools was reflected in the personnel industrial schools was transferred to the employed to care for them, as those members Department of Education, a responsibility and of religious orders who worked, in what cost which the Department of Education did not Coldrey has referred to as, the "orphans' want. The Department of Education saw itself circuit", were regarded as having low status as the vanguard department in the crusade to within their orders (Coldrey 2000). The schools instil ‘true' Irish culture and nationality in were staffed largely by individuals drawn from Ireland (Frehan 2011), a mission that lay members of the order, members of the delinquency or the perceived moral degeneracy, community who had not received the same manifest in the very existence of the industrial educational and training opportunities as Notwithstanding this transfer, the Department Furthermore, members of religious orders with of Justice retained the authority to inspect the a drink or mental health problem, or those with reformatory schools, something it carefully a propensity to cause difficulty in some other avoided exercising. way, could be placed in an industrial school to When it came to the care of children in keep them out of ‘harm's way' (O'Sullivan reformatory and industrial schools, the default 1978; Keating 2002). position of the Irish Government was an However, it is important to remember that adherence to the status quo, premised on a not all the staff, religious and non-religious, belief in the power of the Catholic Church to which ran these schools, were abusive or affect some good, even amongst the most incompetent; many were committed to the care ‘contaminated' of souls. This mindset was of the children in their charge. Some, sadly, doubtless influenced by what McLoone- were embittered as a result of their experiences Richards has described as a "culture of honour and became brutalised, whilst a number were towards the Church and its agents" (McLoone- sexually and physically abusive prior to Richards 2012). Furthermore, effective action working in the schools, as in any walk of life. It should not be forgotten that Irish child rearing Government departments, extra expenditure, practices in the 1950s and 60s relied heavily on and an admission that things were far from corporal punishment. Indeed, when in 1955, right, by both Church and State. Senator Sheehy Skeffington raised concerns in Ireland's economy had been relatively weak Seanad Éireann, the Irish Parliament's Upper from the foundation of the State until the economic modernisation of the 1960s and the punishment in mainstream Irish Schools, childcare services provided by the Church was Skeffington was attacked by the Minister for nothing if not cheap. Therefore, any substantive Education, Richard Mulcahy, who accused him development of the school's inspection regime of "pushing for a non-Irish, alien system of and regulation, or upgrading of conditions and discipline and child rearing" (Garvin 2011). Given protection, would have required an investment there was then little sympathy at ministerial level for the plight of children in mainstream tasks. In the case of reformatory and industrial Irish schools, it is not surprising that politicians schools, it was primarily the departments of and officials had little sympathy for the Education and Justice that experienced the children in the reformatory and industrial greatest level of inter-departmental tension on schools, children seen as in some ways to blame for their own plight. Haughey suggested that the IDC split into The Church was similarly impervious to any sub-groups, one of which was charged with the suggestions regarding changes in its practices exploration of juvenile crime and the treatment within the schools, including its disciplinary of young offenders and it was this group that regimes. It was ideologically antagonistic to decided to investigate the Nation's reformatory any form of encroachment by the State in what and industrial schools. The IDC was to have the it viewed as areas of policy that properly "services of experts", academics, practitioner, belonged in its bailiwick (Whyte 2008), in lay and religious.7 These schools were largely particular those of education and family related run by religious orders and were funded and policy. This antagonism is manifest in the regulated by the Department of Education, a Church's opposition to the legalisation of department that had long resented the fact that adoption (Keating 2003), Noel Browne's it had the responsibility for these schools. Mother and Child Scheme (Horgan 2000), and Schools that Education felt that would be more Donagh O'Malley's Free Education policy appropriately managed by the Department of (Walsh 2009). Furthermore, the Church's moral Justice, something the Department of Justice strictures, particularly in relation to sexual had long avoided. morality, caused the ascendancy of a form of In addition to the Departments of State sitting moral Puritanism that ensured the persistence on the IDC there was another institution of Victorian values and precepts of behaviour, influencing its work, albeit one that hadn't any not least impacting on the way that the children formal representation on the Committee; who populated the reformatory and industrial namely, the Church. Notwithstanding the fact schools were viewed by the public. Ferguson that Ireland was not a theocracy, deep ties of has argued that these children were labelled as faith and friendship between Ireland's political carrying a contagion resulting from their abuse, and Church elites, and the loyalty of the vast neglect or illegitimacy, which had "‘polluted majority of Ireland's population, afforded the and contaminated the child with ‘impure' adult Church a significant amount of power and knowledge." leading, he argues powerfully, to influence, particularly in relation to education these children to be viewed as "moral dirt" by and family policy (Whyte 1984). Therefore, the large swathes of Irish society (Ferguson 2007). Church was a constant influence in all Irish Governmental deliberations in this period, The Establishment of the IDC and its Terms
especially in areas of social policy (Fahey of Reference.
2007), a reality personified in the person of The Minister for Justice, Charles, J. Haughey, John Charles McQuaid, Archbishop of Dublin, in the September of 1962, established the IDC, who was dubbed, "the grey eminence behind its brief being to investigate: a) juvenile the Government", by the Irish Times in 1950. delinquency b) the probation system and c) the No Irish policy maker or politician could institutional treatment of offenders and their effectively make decisions, plan or review aftercare (Department of Justice files (DJ), without consulting or having cognisance of the 93/182). The members of the Committee, views of the Catholic Hierarchy,8 a Hierarchy Chaired by Peter Berry, Secretary of the Department of Justice, included representatives 7. ‘Experts' included the Jesuit, Father Sweetman, a from the Departments of Justice, Education, psychiatrist, Dr McLoughlin, Father Moore, Health and Industry and Commerce. As with all Chaplain to Artane Industrial School and assorted inter-departmental committees, the diverse managers of various industrial and reformatory interests of its constituent members lead to a schools and Department of Education inspectors. certain amount of jockeying for position and 8. For the purpose of this essay ‘Hierarchy' refers to posturing in pursuance of departmental the Primate, Bishops, and Provincials of Religious interests over the primary considerations of the Orders of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland, ·/· that was as quick to act to preserve its financial John Charles McQuaid, Archbishop of Dublin, interests and the avoidance of scandal, one of and having submitted his report to McQuaid in its great preoccupations, as it was to act on the July of 1962 Moore, with McQuaid's doctrinal concerns. blessing, gave evidence to the IDC in the December of 1962. Moore gave broad-based The IDC's Investigation
evidence which included concerns over the Soon after beginning its deliberations, the IDC stigmatization of children living in Industrial was to receive evidence that conditions in the School, the institutionalisation of boys from industrial and reformatory school sector9 were babyhood and the problems this caused them in far from well. The IDC despatched inspectors later life. Moore criticised the manager of to several industrial and reformatory schools, Artane as being an "unwilling captain, and too conservative in his approach." He also raised Daingean, Letterfrack and the remand centre concerns regarding the educational programme, Marlborough House.10 The reports of these staff numbers and training. In addition, he visits had to be acceptable to both the asserted that the funding of the institution was so poor that the boys clothing, footwear, representatives on the Committee. What may bedding, nutrition and medical needs, were all be described as ‘turf wars' are evident in the appallingly below standard (DJ. 93/182/8). In working papers of the IDC, explored below. addition Moore noted the physical brutality of The politics involved account for the the regime at Artane, which he argued led to nondescript reports of the visits in relation to long term psychological damage to the boys criticisms of the institutions, the use of guarded that made it difficult for them to "establish language and the positive spin relating to the negative aspects of what they found. Moore's evidence clearly ruffled T.R. Ó Raifeartaigh, Secretary of the Department of One of the first people to give evidence to the Education,12 and an IDC member, who IDC was Father Moore, a diocesan priest and interrupted Moore angrily on a number of chaplain to Artane Industrial School, an institution managed and staffed by members of portrayal of life in Artane. Ó Raifeartaigh the Christian Brothers,11 a religious order with objections to Moore's evidence were doubtless significant power and influence in matters of driven by concerns to limit reputational damage education in Ireland. Moore had been to both the Christian Brothers and his own commissioned to write a report on Artane by Department. The poor conditions in the school should not have come as a surprise to him. Ó ·/· their administrative organisations and agents. Raifeartaigh had visited Daingean Reformatory 9. The reformatory schools were established to deal in 1955 and observed that "the cows were primarily with offenders and the industrial schools better fed than the boys" (Arnold 2008: 58). for those in moral danger that may lead them to Additionally, in 1957 he had received a report offending. That said, there was a great deal of mixed from the Office of Public Works, the use of the sector. Government agency responsible for the upkeep 10. The IDC also sent inspectors to St Anne's of public buildings, warning that Marlborough Reformatory School, Kilmacud and St Mary's House remand centre was so dilapidated that it Lakelands Girl's Industrial School, Sandymount. No presented "a grave risk of loss of life" (Ibid), concerns were raised in regard to either of these yet he chose to do nothing to remedy either schools, both of which they lauded with praise. situation. Following Moore's evidence Ó 11. The Congregation of Christian Brothers is a worldwide religious community within the Catholic despatched inspectors to Artane to assess Church, founded in Waterford, Ireland by Edmund Moore's claims. However, the Christian Brothers Rice. The Christian Brothers, as they are commonly known, chiefly work for the evangelization and education of youth. Their first school was opened in 12. The post of ‘Secretary' is the Department's Waterford, Ireland, in 1802. senior civil servant. were given advance notice of the inspection Discipline had "occasionally" to use the strap and unsurprisingly the inspectors returned from that he "fills this demanding position with Artane with positive reports that contradicted sincerity and firmness but without harshness" Moore's evidence and denigrated Moore's (DJ.93/182/11). The inspectors interviewed the character (DJ.93/182/8). Dean of Discipline without the presence of the The inspection was conducted by three Manager or other senior managers, a privilege Department of Education representatives on the not afforded to the children as the Manager was 20th and 21st of December 1962 and drew a very present at all times. The fact that the Manager's different picture to that painted by Moore. The continual presence may have had some bearing inspectors' report, when combined with the on the interactions between the inspectors and knowledge now in the public domain about the boys seem to have escaped the inspection Artane, (Ryan Report) illustrates the collusive team. Their report concluded, "not a single boy and apologist nature of the inspection in had any complaint to make except the one operation at the time. The inspectors concluded about the breakfast sausage" (DJ.93/182/11). that the boys in Artane were "well fed, warmly The inspector did however recommend that the clothed, comfortably bedded and treated with Dean of Discipline would "benefit from a kindness by the Christian Brothers in an course in psychology at UCD [University atmosphere conducive to their physical and College Dublin]". This section of the report spiritual development". The section of the was the only area the IDC touched upon inspectors' report that addresses the boys' regarding the issue of training or the quantity or clothing is of particular interest as it quality of staff that worked in the sector. demonstrates how Department of Education officials sought to put a positive spin on their Education inspectors report, Peter Berry, department's inadequate childcare provision. Chairperson of the IDC, felt that Moore's The inspector asserted: evidence had credibility (Arnold 2008). However, in the interest of interdepartmental Before turning to other premises visited, I think it is proper to comment at this stage on the politics he ensured that the discomfort for the clothing of the boys, the outward show by which Department of Education produced by Moore's the uninformed public must, perforce, judge the evidence was smoothed over. The reaction to, work of the school. Canons of criticism and management of, Moore's evidence by the inevitably change once the criticised is the ward IDC illustrates as much about intra-Church of the State and/or in the control of the religious. politics as it does about Church-State relations, The cherry nosed ruddy-faced boy playing or the conditions in Artane. McQuaid viewed coatless in a muddy street on a winter's day will Artane as the "Plague Spot" (Arnold 2008: at once be the happy despair of his mother for 276) in his Dioceses and was keen to have it his appearance and his father's pride for his rude closed down. However, the power of the health. Place the same child in the gates of an industrial school and he immediately earns the Christian Brothers, an independent Order label ‘neglected and exploited' (DJ.93/182/11). beyond diocesan authority, was enough to ensure that Moore's report was shelved14 The inspectors also commented on the despite its potential utility to McQuaid's discipline applied in the school, and again the preconceived attitudes of the inspectors are Moore was convicted of sexual abuse in the evident in the preamble, which states: 1990s, a fact used by the Christian Brothers to "Complaints about the treatment of children in undermine his evidence against them in recent industrial schools are not infrequent but from years. Notwithstanding Moore's subsequent experience I would say the majority are crime his report regarding Artane is respected for its veracity and there is no indication that (DJ.93/182/11)". It is worth noting here that it his career as an abuser had begun during his was the Department for Education's standard period in Artane (The Ryan Report; Arnold practice in this period to run down the character of parents or carers who registered complaints against the schools (Keating 2002). 13. Moore's evidence was not released until the mid The inspectors reported that whilst the Dean of Daingean
man. He has made a number of improvements The IDC's Report on Daingean14 begins with in the institution and is taking steps to make the assertion that the buildings gave an more." Given what is now known about impression of "old fashioned homeliness." Letterfrack at this time and after; an institution However, it goes on to say, "Nevertheless the known for its brutality, as described in various efforts of the community can accomplish only publications (Raftery & O'Sullivan 1999; so much, and the place remains a relic of the Tyrrell and Whelan 2006), this view seems at penal days." The Committee noted "evidence best naïve and based on a rather superficial of advanced timber decay" that the better enquiry, deluded, or at worst, deliberately buildings on the campus were "grey and depressing" (DJ.93/182/17). The "grey and The IDC had a particular interest in the use depressing…penal days" nature of Daingean of the education and psychological services in would hardly have been surprising to the IDC penal institutions and they asked the Manager given the low base from which the institution of Letterfrack how many of the inmates had had started. Representatives of the General below average intelligence. His reply seems to Prisons Board in 1926 were sent to assess the have astonished them; he asserted only 2 out of suitability of Daingean as a borstal, concluded that it was entirely unsuited, reminding the intelligence, something the IDC members felt inspectors of prison hulks from the Georgian the manager was incorrect (DJ.16/205). The era15 (DJ.16/205). assumption made by the IDC members Whilst the IDC concluded that Daingean was regarding high rates of below average not suitable for use as a borstal institution it was not closed until 1974. The IDC was unable populations reflects the ‘progressive' values of to comment on the mood of the young people the Department for Justice members of the in Daingean, asserting that: Committee identified by Rogan (Rogan 2011). There was not any worth-while opportunity The progressive orthodoxy of the day, at least in the course of the visit to judge of the state of from a psychological perspective, was that personal relations between the boys and the much crime had psycho-pathology at its root members of the community. Father Mahon, [the and that identifying this pathology would manager] however, appeared to be humane, facilitate the ‘treatment' of offenders (Raynor sensible, personally modest and concerned for 2009; Hollin 2013). Similarly, a growing body the moral welfare of the boys. of research had identified, what is now referred to as a learning disability, as a significant factor Letterfrack
amongst offender populations, in particular The Committee noted similar physical young offenders (Hall 2000). conditions in Letterfrack Industrial School to Marlborough House
those it had found in Artane. However, the IDC did comment more favourably on the staff/ boy The facility that most clearly illustrated the relations, stating, "The boys seemed happy, not tensions between the departments of Education at all cowed and there appeared to be a very and Justice is Marlborough House (Keating good relationship between them and the 2004). Marlborough House as a remand centre, brothers. The Manager seemed a sensible, humane seemed to be more anomalous than the other schools, being neither a reformatory nor industrial school. In addition it was the only 14. St Conleth's Reformatory School, Daingean, part of the Department of Education's remit for County Offaly. Most of those in a reformatory had the industrial and reformatory schools not been convicted by the courts of criminal offences managed by a religious order. The Department that would in the case of adults have been punishable by imprisonment or penal servitude. At Marlborough House provides graphic evidence the time of conviction, boys were aged between 12 of the distain it held for the children detained in and 17, and were committed for between two and Ireland's reformatory and industrial schools. four years, but the period of detention could not extend beyond their 19th birthday. The conditions and brutality experienced in Marlborough House were as in many of th worst institution managed by the religious, yet nest", a place where the boys were held in it was directly managed by the Department of solitary confinement if they attempted to Education. Indeed, it was so appallingly run abscond. It was at this location that ‘George' and maintained that John Charles McQuaid and the other boy were "raped" by O'Sullivan. consistently turned down requests by the State Whilst it has not been possible to independently that it be taken over by the religious (Keating verify ‘George's' description regarding the use 2004). There can be no question in the case of of the chair leg or the cage, there is wider evidence to verify the appalling physical responsibility for the appalling conditions in the conditions and poor diet in Marlborough House school was in some way once removed, a result (Keating 2004; Ryan Report ) There is also of placing too much trust in the good offices of clear evidence of the regular use of physical the Church.16 Marlborough House illustrates brutality as part of it disciplinary regime the universality of distain for children of the (DJ.93/195) and of a litany of denials and poor, detained in Ireland's reformatory and manipulation of evidence, by the Department of industrial schools by both Church and State. Education, in order to cover up the truth, when The IDC visited Marlborough House in complaints were raised by children or their January 1963; its records comment on the families (Raftery & O'Sullivan 1999). Features physical structure of the institution, which was of life which were still very much part of the appalling. Indeed, the Office of Public Works, modus operandi of Marlborough House at the having issued its warning in 1957, again time of the IDC's visit, but went unremarked pronounced the building to be in danger of upon on in its report. imminent collapse shortly after the IDC's visit By the time the IDC inspected Marlborough (DJ.96/195). However, as bad as it was, it was House in 1962, plans were in place to replace it not the physical structure of Marlborough with a new facility in Finglas in the north of House which was its most shocking aspect. Dublin. Much of the IDC's time was taken up Marlborough House had the dubious distinction with the Department of Education's attempts to of being the site of the first conviction of a staff transfer management of the new centre to the member for institutional sexual abuse of Department of Justice, whilst for their part children. In January 1951 an attendant, one Justice Officials attempted to force Education Isaac O'Sullivan, was sentenced to twelve to increase the number of beds Education months custody for sexually assaulting two boys detained in the institution (DJ.93/122). (DJ.93/182/12). The Finglas Centre, which had In 2012, the author interviewed one of the been in the planning since the late 1950s, did two boys assaulted by O'Sullivan, referred to not open until 1971 and even then only as a here as ‘George'.17 Now a man in his 70s, he consequence of the complete collapse of order recounted a brutal regime at Marlborough in Marlborough House, caused in no small part House, recalling the physical brutality of staff, by its staffing difficulties. The reality was that violent punishment being the norm, which the majority of staff employed at Marlborough included the beating of boys with the leg of a House were predominantly unqualified, poorly chair, insanitary living conditions and appalling educated individuals who worked long hours food. ‘George' also recounted the use of a wire for poor pay in an understaffed, overcrowded, cage placed in an isolated section of the dilapidated building, operating a punitive building, referred to by the boys as "the crow's regime that was sanctioned by the Government. Whilst brutality was not officially sanctioned, it 16. A tactic deployed by the Irish Government was a near-inevitable outcome of an abusive which at once accepts responsibility whilst regime which used solitary confinement, cages minimising its own blame (Keating 2004; Arnold and beatings to keep order (Keating 2004; Interview with ‘George' 4.7.2012). 17. A man, now in his 70s, his anonymity is protected Despite the IDC being aware of Marlborough by the author. He reports a life that has been blighted House's inadequate number and poor quality of by violence, repeated suicide attempts and relationship staff, its evident structural failings and the dysfunction, all of which he believes resulted from his reliance on physical brutality to keep order, it abuse in Irish institutions. offered no constructive suggestions. The IDC's only recommendation was that to alleviate educational and physical development of the boredom that "wood chopping" should be schools, at no stage did the IDC call for the introduced as an activity "as it would be better closure of the worst of the schools, or acknowledge the brutality and degradation so recommendation is hardly indicative of the evident in the lived experience of children in imaginative thinking associated with the IDC's these schools. This reality, if acknowledged and pressed home, would have served to add modernisation of the prison system. The Departments of both Education and Justice held architectural and structural inadequacies in the responsibilities system; if for nothing else, from the State's Education ran and funded whilst Justice perspective, in the interest of avoiding scandal certified the beds, and therefore had the right to which could compromise the Minister. With this impetus lacking the political imperative certification if it found it fell below approved required to bring about meaningful change was standards. However, had the Department of Justice acted in pursuance of its responsibility, On receipt of the IDC's recommendations for Marlborough House would have closed and the reformatory and industrial schools the Justice may have been forced to provide Minister for Justice, Charles J. Haughey, wrote alternative accommodation for remand beds to the Minister for Education, Dr. Patrick however, despite the evidence the Department Hillery, in October of 1963 commending the of Justice chose to do nothing in order to recommendations to him. Particularly Haughey preserve the status quo.18 urged Hillery to establish visiting committees, something to which Haughey felt that the The IDC Recommendations
managers of the schools would not object Following four meetings, the IDC made a (DJ.93/182/16). A civil servant, on a draft number of recommendations on matters copy of the same letter, placed a handwritten relating to the reformatory and industrial note urging Haughey to put pressure on the schools, the recommendations were tame. The Department of Education, he wrote, "Minister. IDC's most radical recommendation was to Unless somebody prods the Department of appoint independent visiting committees for Education, the Committee's work will go for each of the schools, in order to improve the naught to a large extent (DJ.182/16). Hillery replied to Haughey in a less enthusiastic tone Additionally, it recommended, that a matron or stating that he was less than "sanguine as to the nurse be appointed to each school and that boys managers attitude to the idea of Visiting from urban centres should not be placed in rural Committees," suggesting that the best course schools, the immediate implementation of was to "…once more approach the Resident formal aftercare programmes, the abolition of Managers' Association with the present the term ‘industrial school' and the provision of suggestions…" (DJ.93/182). The Resident adequate clothing, bedding and footwear. All of Managers' Association was in reality an arm of which were to be prescribed through the the Catholic Church, the one institution, above introduction of minimum standards. Outside of all, that the Department of Education did not these recommendations, the focus was upon the want to confront. It seems inconceivable to the modern reader 18. The Department of Justice was eventually forced that the managers of child care facilities would to briefly run Marlborough House following riots in have the power to reject visits arranged by their 1972. Prison officers were deployed from Dublin's funding and regulatory Government depart- Mountjoy Prison to impose order. On arrival at ment. There was no legal basis for them to Marlborough House they found a unit devoid of the refuse this under the 1908 Childcare Act or its bare essentials, children who had been brutalised by subsequent amendments but yet the Minister of staff, poorly fed and clothed. Conditions were so Education would not challenge the authority of unsanitary prison officers were reported as vomiting as they attempted to clean the premises (Keating vested Church interests. The reticence on the part of politicians and officials to challenge the resident managers is telling, demonstrating In addition, it is interesting to note that either a powerful example of the deference of notwithstanding the fact that the Kennedy the political class to the authority of the Committee included representatives from the religious or the deployment of feigned Departments of Education and Justice that it deference for political ends. The Department of had no access to the papers of the IDC during Justice failed to apply any pressure on its deliberations (Arnold 2008), an indication of Education to implement even the limited how thoroughly the work of the IDC had been proposals recommended in the IDC report, if quarantined by the authorities. Justice had pushed too hard, it might have lead Conclusions
to a reopening of the debate regarding where management responsibility for the schools Whilst the neglect and brutality of Ireland's resided, thereby ensuring that the status quo industrial and reformatory schools has been remained unaltered, and the issue remained obfuscated until the publication of the Report of illustrates the administrative mechanics which the Committee on Reformatory and Industrial operated and maintained an abusive system. It Schools, commonly referred to as The Kennedy was a system in which political, economic, inter-departmental and socio-religious sensi- The Kennedy Report was the first report tivities held sway over the needs of vulnerable relating to the Nation's detained children that children. In offering any form of meaningful received public scrutiny. It was published at a analysis of what went wrong in Ireland's juncture when a human rights based discourse reformatory and industrial schools it is necessary to recognise a complex causative consciousness, during the period that marked chain of mutely reinforcing variables, including the nascent liberalisation of Irish society individual pathology, vulnerability, isolation, (Ferriter 2013), which would see old prejudices societal neglect and disdain for the children start to erode. It highlighted, in cautious and detained in the schools. These variables were measured terms, a failing system in need of a compounded by an inspectoral compliance by substantial overhaul, with a number of its the State with the managers of the schools, a recommendations mirroring those made by the collusiveness born partly out of deference to IDC eight years earlier. Additionally, in religious authority, but one which also suited common with the IDC, the Kennedy Report the Irish Government economically and sought to minimise any potential damage to ideologically. It should not be forgotten that Church and State, editing out of its published the Department of Education directly ran report those more damaging aspects that could Marlborough House every bit as abusively as inflict real reputational damage to either. Issues the worst of the Church run institutions, a fact that included, the provision of insanitary, indicative of the widespread disregard for the threadbare clothing, bought second hand from children who lived in the schools. Church and England, concerns regarding the beating of State were the co-dependent parents of an children, which sometimes included their abusive system in which children, as always, stripping and humiliation, and the provision of paid the price for its continuance. poor quality, inadequate rations leading to The IDC found evidence of a sector malnourishment. (Keating 2014). It did, punctuated by poor management, brutality and however, call for the immediate closure of the neglect. A sector in which, many children worst of the schools and several members of were treated appallingly. They were held in the Committee ensured that the worst excesses dilapidated buildings, poorly clothed, fed and were addressed prior to agreeing to sign the educated, in institutions ran by untrained, watered-down Report. Notwithstanding its less unmanaged, and all too often, brutal staff. The than candid content, the Kennedy Report did IDC, rather than acting to improve conditions fuel a public discussion on the plight of the in the schools, sought to minimise criticism and children living in the schools; however, real the potential for scandal with its inspection change was to remain elusive as The Kennedy team acting as apologists, downplaying or Report enjoyed limited success in policy terms. simply ignored the evidence. However, those commentators who have Powerful forces were at work to ensure that studied the work of the IDC in regard to the conditions within the schools were Ireland's prisons have been largely positive in misreported, minimised, ignored and in some regard to its contribution as a turning point in cases, covered up and neither the Departments Irish penal reform. Reforms, driven by of Education nor the Department of Justice politicians and administrators convinced of the wanted anything that affected the availability of need of a more progressive and enlightened beds. Officials in the Department of Education penal policy in regard to adult offenders. were at pains to ensure that their perceived However, notwithstanding its impact for the value for money option, of cheap child care, in good on adult prisoners, the IDC failed in its large scale religious run institutions, continued. responsibilities to the children resident in the The provision of these beds by religious orders nation's industrial and reformatory schools. provided the added value of being low The explanation for the differing responses and impact of the IDC regarding the prison involvement in their daily running. They were population and the schools, lie in the in many cases hidden and protected from public combination of the composition of the IDC, with its various departmental interests seeking bureaucracy and moral authority of the Catholic to further their own aims and in the Church's Church in what was still a deeply religious concern to safeguard its own reputational and financial interest; factors that did not apply to The loss of this opportunity left Irish children the reform agenda relating to the provision of to suffer the worst excesses of a system that the prison places. Consequently the recom- State left substantially unaltered for decades mendations made by the IDC subgroup on the following the work of the IDC. It was not until reformatory and industrial schools proposed a the public concern generated by The Kennedy few low level, low-cost recommendations, and Report in 1970, that the long road to a slow even these failed to be acted upon due to improvement of the system, was to begin. Improvements that were slow and foot- dragging until the revelations concerning the Whilst in its terms of reference, the IDC had institutional abuse of children began to reach no official remit for the industrial and public consciousness in the 1990s, reforms that reformatory schools, the fact remains that it did are still incomplete. In essence, the children of inspect a number of the schools and therefore, Ireland's industrial and reformatory schools it could, indeed should, have acted to rectify the were to suffer as a result of the intransigence of wrongs. A moral imperative given even greater the Catholic Church to accept the need for change. The intransigence of the religious was departments, Justice and Education, had endorsed by the silence and collusion of the regulatory and, or managerial responsibility for IDC and its political masters, who, in regard to the schools. However, political and economic the Nation's looked after children, simply did expediency, deference towards the religious not want to rock Ireland's sense of itself, the establishment and inter-departmental politics, inter-departmental balance of responsibility or proved too compelling a motivator when the religious establishment that provided the compared with the needs of the children, for majority of the beds. which Ireland neither wanted nor cared. Works Cited
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Dublin: Raftery, Mary & O'Sullivan, Eoin. 1999. Suffer the Little Children. Dublin: New Island Rogan. Mary. 2011. Prison Policy in Ireland: Politics, Penal-Welfarism and Political Imprisonment. London: Smith, James M. 2007. Ireland's Magdalen Laundries and the Nation's Architecture of Containment. Indiana: University of Notre Dame. Tyrrell, Peter.Whelan, Diarmuid. 2006. Founded on fear. Dublin: Transworld Ireland. Walsh. John. 2009. The Politics of Expansion: The Transformation of Education Policy in the Republic of Ireland, 1957-72. Manchester: Manchester University Press. Whyte, John Henry. 1980. Church and State in Modern Ireland 1923-1979. Dublin: Gill and Macmillan. Brennan, Karen. 2013. "Punishing Infanticide in the Irish Free State". Irish Journal of Legal Studies Vol 3(1): Coldrey, Barry M. 2000 "A strange mixture of caring and corruption: residential care in Christian Brothers orphanages and industrial schools during their last phase, 1940s to 1960s". History of Education, Journal of the History of Education Society 29:4, 343-335. Ferguson, Harry, 2007. "Abused and Looked After Children As ‘Moral Dirt': Child Abuse And Institutional Care In Historical Perspective", Journal Of Social Policy 36, 123-139 Hall, Ian. 2000. "Young Offenders with a Learning Disability". Advances in Psychiatric Treatment, 6 (2000) Keating, Anthony. 2003. "The Legalisation of Adoption in Ireland". Studies: An Irish Quarterly Review, 92 _. 2004. "Marlborough House: A Case Study of State Neglect". Studies: An Irish Quarterly Review, 371, Vol 93. 323-335. _. 2008. "Church, State, and Sexual Crime against Children in Ireland after 1922". Radharc: A Journal of Irish and Irish-American Studies, 5-7. pp. 155-180. _.2012. "Sexual Crime in the Irish Free State: Its Nature, Extent and Reporting". Irish Studies Review, May 20:2, 137-158. _. 2014. "A Contested Legacy: The Kennedy Committee Revisited" Irish Studies Review 23/3 304-320. McLoone-Richards, Claire 2012. "Say Nothing! How Pathology within Catholicism Created and Sustained the Institutional Abuse of Children in 20th Century Ireland". Child Abuse Review Vol 21, 394-404. O'Sullivan, D. 1978. "Negotiation in the Maintenance of Social Control: A Study in an Irish Correctional School", International Journal of Penology and Criminology Raynor, Peter. 2009. "Why Help Offenders? Arguments for Rehabilitation as a Penal Strategy". European Journal of Probation Vol. 1, No. 1, 3 – 20 Frehan. P.G. 2011. National Self Image: Celtic Mythology in Primary Education in Ireland, 1924-2001. PhD Thesis University of Amsterdam. Keating, Anthony. 2002. Secrets and Lies: An Exploration Of The Role Of Identity, Culture and Communication In The Policy Process Relating To The Provision Of Protection And Care For Vulnerable Children In The Irish Free State and Republic, 1923-1974. PhD Thesis, Dublin City University. Irish Times 1.12.1950 INTERVIEW Interview with a former resident of Marlborough House, ‘George' (name withheld by author) 4.7.2012. Archival: Department of Justice IDC files viewed by the author at the Department of Justice, Dublin in 2001 prior to their release to the Inter-Departmental Committee on The Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders. Received 7 November 2014 Last version 8 February 2015 Dr Anthony Keating is a Senior Lecturer in the Psychosocial Analysis of Offending Behaviour at
Edge Hill University in Lancashire, UK. He completed his PhD at Dublin City University in 2002 and
was awarded a Government of Ireland Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship. He has published on child
welfare and maltreatment, sexual crime and censorship in Ireland; most recently in Irish Studies
Review, Nordic Irish Studies and the Journal of Church and State.


Microsoft word - pierce_provincetheol_gh

I Shall Gather Them Back From the Countries and Bring Them Back to Their Own Land (Ezk:34.18) Emma Pierce Abstract: Mental illness is not ordinarily considered to be the domain of Theology. Here I propose to ask the question: Should it be? This is a question for practical theology. What would theology make of the experience of mental illness if it heard it first-hand, through the voice of the witness rather than second-hand, through the filter of the analyst's interpretation? My point here is very simple: understanding as distinct from knowledge about any human experience can only be truly gained by listening to the voice of the witness speak their experience as experience. In this paper I invite theological reflection on only one aspect of mental illness, but it is one of the several aspects universal to every mental illness. Depression! The question for theological reflection is this: Is this an illness as posited by the Human Sciences, or is it an ordinary part of the human condition so misunderstood that it is fostered and nurtured into mental illness by secular ears that do not recognise the existential dimension that underpins depression?1

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