Explore the Ryan Report

Chapter 10 — Carriglea

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Emotional abuse and neglect


In a report compiled by Br Donal Blake cfc for the Christian Brothers in February 2001, he referred to this and provided the following quote from the annals of the secondary school: In August 1936 an application was made by the Superior of Carriglea Industrial School to allow some of the senior boys of the School to join our Intermediate Classes. For obvious reasons, the application was turned down, but the Provincial over-ruled the decision. The experiment was very unsatisfactory and was the cause of a great deal of trouble and annoyance in the School, so much so that in August 1939 applications for admission had to be refused.


When questioned on the reason for the discontinuation of sending boys to the secondary school, Br Seamus Nolan who gave evidence at the Phase III public hearing, stated: We have not got any reason for it. There are suggestions that the social gap was a bit much for the school to take, because they withdrew. I think it was at that time that an alternative method of doing something for them after primary school, in a school sense, opened up the possibility of the post office exams. That’s the boy messengers that in the long term could lead to permanent, pensionable employment.


In fact, the Post Office examinations had operated side by side with the secondary school placements and were not introduced as an alternative to them.


Another scheme in which the School became involved was the provision of secondary technical education onsite. This appears to have arisen out of a proposal by the Department, which was, according to the agenda for the meeting of Christian Brothers Managers dated 23rd April 1949, ‘to have the instruction in the upper classes in Industrial Schools given a technical bias by the inclusion of Woodwork and Drawing’. It is not clear when the scheme was implemented in the School, but the minutes of the Christian Brothers’ Resident Managers’ meeting held on 12th January recorded that boys in Carriglea were at that time being prepared for the ‘Junior Tech. Examinations’. The teaching staff was supplied by the Vocational Education Committee, and the Resident Manager was supplying ‘everything else’.


One witness, who had been in the School from the mid-1940s to the early 1950s, recounted in evidence that he could read and write when he left Carriglea and that he did the Primary Certificate. He conceded that the education he received ‘was passable’. In fact, he went further and added, ‘In actual fact, I was a little above, when I went over to the army a few years later I was kind of more educated than, like my English counterparts ...’


Another witness recalled being in class from 9.30 in the morning until 2.30 in the afternoon. He learnt classical poems, which he did not consider very beneficial, ‘I learnt some very classical poems, for what good they did me, I could quote them now if you want me to’.


Another witness stated that he did not get a good education. However, he admitted that he was a bit behind educationally when he first arrived in Carriglea and, as a result, he never went beyond second class and so did not do his Primary Certificate.


The national school education provided at Carriglea appears to have been of a comparatively high standard. The initiative of preparing boys for the Post Office examination was a useful practical measure to take advantage of an employment opportunity. If this was School policy, the Superior and management are to be commended. If it was the enterprise of a particular Brother, which appears to be more likely, it shows what could be achieved by one motivated teacher by way of practical assistance. The practice continued when a lay teacher took on the task in succession to the original Brother. It is regrettable that the practice of sending brighter boys to the Christian Brothers’ secondary school was discontinued. It greatly enhanced the chances of securing employment and was in accordance with the recommendations of the Cussen Report. The school failed those pupils who could have taken advantage of further academic education.


Unlike Artane, there were only two trades available in Carriglea: boot-making and tailoring. In addition, there was an extensive farm and, latterly, a band. The practice, as with all industrial schools, was that from the age of 14, boys who had finished their formal education were put to learn a trade that would enable them to gain employment upon their discharge from the School. These boys were also given literary and religious classes for an hour and a half each day.


Although the two trades of boot-making and tailoring appear to have been well run, very few boys were engaged in them at any time.


In 1944, when there were 255 boys in the Institution, the situation was as follows: Farm – 4; Tailor’s shop – 15; and Bootmaker’s – 15.


The Visitor in 1944 was critical of the fact that the number of boys working on the farm had dropped to four, considering that this was the occupation that ‘most of them will follow’. The Visitor commented: These trades are essential for the school as all the clothing and boots required by the boys are made here under the direction of two capable foremen. Many of the boys reach a good stage of proficiency in these two trades before leaving the school.


In 1946, the Visitor gave the following numbers working in the trades: Farm – about 15; Tailor’s shop – 20; Bootmaker’s – about 20.


The 1946 Visitation Report stated: As the Institution should be vocational it is desirable that the Trades should be restored ... Laundry and knitting are the immediate requirements. Carpentry and painting could be introduced later.


The Visitor in that year also felt that: The Band should also be restored as it would give a tone to the Institution and give the pupils an interest in Music and culture.

  1. 121 boys in Carriglea who had been committed through the courts were transferred to Artane (106), Upton (8) and Greenmount (7). There were 55 voluntary admissions and they were transferred to Artane (16), Tralee (20) and Glin (19).
  2. As in the case of Letterfrack .
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  9. Dr Anna McCabe was the Department of Education Inspector for most of the relevant period. See Department of Education chapter for a discussion of her role and performance.
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  11. Br Ansel was also sent there for a few months around the end of 1945.
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  22. Review of Financial Matters Relating to the System of the Reformatory and Industrial Schools, and a Number of Individual Institutions 1939 to 1969.
  23. Córas Iompair Éireann was a State-owned public transport company.