Explore the Ryan Report

Chapter 7 — Artane

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Although Dr Lysaght was informed that the Manager placed the boys in suitable jobs upon discharge, ensured that they were properly treated, and if they left a job, found them another, he still expressed concern. He commented: this while outside the province of the School and Dept. of Education would seem an essential part of the support of young boys to make their way in the world. It can well be the case that all the time and care given them in the schools can be of no avail unless they are safeguarded during the first year or two after leaving.


He was told a Brother was assigned to visit the boys and keep in contact with them. Many of those who trained in the band found work in the Army bands; others were placed to work in hotels or in houses of religious orders. In fact, the vast majority of the boys did not go into such employment, but were sent as farm hands all over the country.


A common theme amongst the complainants committed to Artane is that Brothers were never in direct contact with them once they left Artane. When records were put to them that the Brothers did make enquiries with their employers to check their progress, they accepted this was true, but as far as they were concerned once they walked through the gates of Artane for the last time, they were very much on their own in the world.


Another common thread running through the testimony was that the boys were placed in low-income or, indeed, no-income jobs that offered no stability: they tended to move from job to job. Some complainants did fare well in later life, but they felt that this was despite, rather than because of, their experience in Artane, or indeed any assistance they received from the Brothers on leaving Artane.


One witness, who left Artane in the mid-1940s, went to work on a farm in County Laois. He worked seven days a week and slept in a hayloft above the horses. He earned up to 10 shillings a week. He moved from this job to another farm in the area where he was treated better, and from there he moved to another farm before moving back to Dublin. He was not aware that the Brothers were checking up on his progress, as revealed in the records.


Another witness, who left Artane in the early 1950s, was also sent to a farm in Athlone. He was not paid the 12 shillings a week promised to him and had to beg for money to go to the cinema. He eventually went back to Artane where he was told that he was a failure. He stayed there for a while, working on the farm for which he received no payment. He went from there to work for a butcher in Roscommon, where he was treated well. He was told not to tell anyone that he had come from Artane, but instead to say that he had worked with a wealthy family in Wicklow. When news leaked as to his true origin, he felt compelled to leave. His employment history after that involved a succession of low-paid, menial jobs.


One witness, who left Artane in the late 1950s, remarked that when he was discharged, ‘I wasn’t able for the outside world’. A complainant who left Artane 11 years later expressed the same sentiment, ‘Based on up to the time I left, I don’t think that I was prepared for the outside world, to be honest with you’. Another witness said very simply, ‘I lost a little bit of faith because after I came out I realised about life, that life wasn’t as simple as it was in Artane’.


A witness who was sent to Artane in the late 1950s stated that he spent three years training as a wood machinist, which he thoroughly enjoyed. When the time came for him to leave Artane, he was told that a job had been secured for him on a farm in Tipperary. When he queried why he was being sent to a farm rather than to a position suited to his training, he was told that that was all he was fit for. He refused to go to the farm and found himself a job.


Another witness, who left Artane in the late 1950s, was placed with a butcher in Co Leitrim after being trained as a weaver: ‘Even today I can’t understand they trained me as a weaver and they gave me a job as a butcher’. He received no monetary payment, and instead was given clothing from a market every month. He continued, ‘I asked to go back, I was there for about a year and I asked if I could go back to Artane, of all places to go back to, but it was the only place I knew’. He stated that he never received any direct communications from the Brothers whilst in Leitrim, and was surprised to learn that they had been in contact with his employer. The Brothers found him another job as a chef in Dublin.


A witness, who was discharged from Artane at the age of 16 in the mid-1960s, was sent to work on a poultry farm, having received training in this area. He stayed there for two years and was very badly treated: ‘I was given less than 2 a week, I was hardly being fed, and kicked like a football’. However, he said, it was better than life in Artane.


Another witness said: We were not trained in how to live amongst society, we were brought up in a society where we all had to fight to keep our corner and stand up to bigger boys who bullied you or tried to get you to do things that you didn’t want to do, take your food off the table or whatever. So it was a constant battle to stand up and be counted or be put down, one or the other. Unfortunately that’s the way my life went in the early part of my years from Artane. It was always the same, I always thought people were talking about me, people were ganging up on me and I would lose my head. I would just lash out and hit people.


A respondent, who worked in Artane in the 1950s, gave evidence that echoed the evidence of the complainants. On the one hand, he believed the boys were looked after in terms of education, training and food, but he questioned how well prepared they were for life after leaving Artane.


Mr Dunleavy commented on aftercare: The provision of after care was one of the statutory requirements of the industrial school system, and the School was supposed to have some regard to the welfare of its former pupils until they attained 18 years of age. In practice both archival records and interviews with Christian Brothers who worked at Artane indicate that aftercare, such as it was, was a very hit-or-miss affair. The Brother in charge of aftercare was responsible for trying to secure full or licensed employment for the boys and then monitoring their progress, usually for two years. In practice employers made representations to the Brother responsible for aftercare and if they were considered suitable, boys were assigned to work for them. Boys were often left unmonitored in their new positions and the only information the school had in relation to them was that provided by the boys themselves should they choose to write to the School during the early course of their employment. The low priority with which aftercare was regarded is indicated by the fact that of the two Brothers who were in charge for many years, Br. Colbert was quite an elderly man while Br. Leon was known to be an extreme eccentric, and neither man was even provided with the services of a motor car to attempt to visit the boys who were to be found in employment throughout the country.


In conclusion: The objective of aftercare was to ensure the welfare of the boys following their discharge from Artane. It was often conducted, however, without direct contact with them. It would appear that post-discharge inquiries were conducted mainly with employers, to establish their satisfaction with the boy. Insofar as aftercare did occur, and subject to the limitations set out above, it was more extensive than the ex-residents were aware of. Many were surprised when they saw documentation showing the level of contact maintained between the School and their employer. Direct communication with boys who had left Artane would have had a positive impact. Failure to provide more of it represented a missed opportunity to extend support and encouragement to boys after discharge.


Dr Anna McCabe carried out General and Medical Inspections of Artane between 1939 and 1963. Before she resigned from her position in 1965, she prepared a report on the industrial and reformatory schools system in Ireland dated 29th February 1964, in which she made specific reference to Artane. Although critical of specific aspects of care in Artane, Dr McCabe was complimentary of the overall management of the Institution. She regarded the School as very well run, and described the boys as healthy and well looked after. She was satisfied with the medical care available to the School, which she noted involved weekly visits from a GP and regular attendances by a dentist.

  1. Report on Artane Industrial School for the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse by Ciaran Fahy, Consulting Engineer (see Appendix 1).
  2. Rules and Regulations of Industrial Schools 1885.
  3. Commission of Inquiry into the Reformatory and Industrial School System 1934-1936 chaired by Justice Cussen.
  4. Dr McQuaid and Fr Henry Moore.
  5. This is a pseudonym.
  6. This is a pseudonym. See also the Tralee chapter.
  7. This is a pseudonym.
  8. This is a pseudonym.
  9. Br Beaufort had previously also worked in Carriglea in the early 1930s.
  10. This is a pseudonym.
  11. This is a pseudonym.
  12. This is a pseudonym.
  13. This is a pseudonym.
  14. This is a pseudonym.
  15. This is a pseudonym. See also the Carriglea chapter.
  16. This is a pseudonym.
  17. This is a pseudonym.
  18. This is a pseudonym.
  19. This is a pseudonym.
  20. This is a pseudonym.
  21. This is a pseudonym.
  22. This is a pseudonym.
  23. From the infirmary register it appears that while the boy was not confined in hospital he was due for a check up the day his mother called to see the superior so he may well not have been in the Institution when his mother called.
  24. Dr Anna McCabe was the Department of Education Inspector for most of the relevant period.
  25. It was in fact the Minister for Education who used those words. See paragraph 7.117 .
  26. This is a pseudonym.
  27. This is a pseudonym.
  28. This is a pseudonym.
  29. This is a pseudonym.
  30. This is a pseudonym.
  31. This is a pseudonym.
  32. This is a pseudonym.
  33. This is a pseudonym.
  34. This is a pseudonym.
  35. This is a pseudonym.
  36. The same incident is referred to in the Department’s inspection into the matter as ‘a shaking’.
  37. This is a pseudonym.
  38. This is a pseudonym.
  39. This is a pseudonym.
  40. This is a pseudonym.
  41. This is a pseudonym.
  42. This is a pseudonym.
  43. This is a pseudonym.
  44. This is a pseudonym.
  45. This is a pseudonym.
  46. This is a pseudonym.
  47. This is a pseudonym.
  48. This is a pseudonym.
  49. Dr Anna McCabe (Medical Inspector), Mr Seamus Mac Uaid (Higher Executive Officer) and Mr MacDáibhid (Assistant Principal Officer and Inspector in Charge of Industrial Schools).
  50. This is a pseudonym.
  51. This is a pseudonym.
  52. This is a pseudonym.
  53. This is a pseudonym.
  54. This is a pseudonym.
  55. This is a pseudonym.
  56. This is a pseudonym.
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  60. This is a pseudonym.
  61. This is a pseudonym.
  62. This is a pseudonym.
  63. This is a pseudonym.
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  66. This is a pseudonym.
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  68. This is a pseudonym.
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  70. This is a pseudonym.
  71. This is a pseudonym.
  72. This is a pseudonym.
  73. This is a pseudonym.
  74. This is a pseudonym.
  75. This is a pseudonym.
  76. This is a pseudonym.
  77. This is a pseudonym.
  78. This is a pseudonym.
  79. See General Chapter on the Christian Brothers at para ???.
  80. He went there after many years in Artane.
  81. Dr Charles Lysaght was commissioned by the Department of Education to conduct general and medical inspections of the industrial and reformatory schools in 1966 in the absence of a replacement for Dr McCabe since her retirement the previous year. He inspected Artane on 8th September 1966.
  82. See Department of Education and Science Chapter, One-off Inspections.
  83. The fact that they were tired is noted in many Visitation Reports.
  84. Council for Education, Recruitment and Training.
  85. This is a pseudonym.
  86. This is a pseudonym.
  87. This is a pseudonym.