Explore the Ryan Report

Chapter 7 — Artane

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Fr Henry Moore


He was aware that Archbishop McQuaid was very unhappy with the state of affairs in Artane. He was concerned about the vastness of the Institution. Fr Moore believed that the Archbishop’s disquiet regarding Artane was motivated by a deep concern for the children. In 1962, when he was asked by the Archbishop to write a report regarding Artane, he did not feel any pressure to colour his report in line with the Archbishop’s trenchant views. In fact, the Archbishop’s opinion mirrored his own experience of Artane after two years’ working there. Fr Moore had become involved in the area of aftercare, much to the annoyance of the Brothers, he said. He worked with a youth club for former Artane boys run by the Legion of Mary, which highlighted to him the deficiencies in the provision of aftercare by the Brothers. He understood his purpose in writing the report was to present a global picture of his experience of Artane. He became aware subsequently that the Archbishop stated in correspondence with the Department of Justice that he had appointed Fr Moore to set about reforming Artane.


Fr Moore visited the refectory for the purpose of his report and observed that ‘it was generally unruly. Boys sitting at tables snapping each other’s food, as it were, things like that. Pretty unruly I would have thought. Pretty crude’.


He contrasted the appearance of Artane boys with their peers in the parish: It is difficult to describe. I could use the one word, to me anyway, at the time they looked institutional. That’s a blanket sort of description but I discerned a certain difference in a boy who was institutionalised, in his pallor, in his gait, in his general appearance.


He said that some of the Artane boys were most definitely undersized for their age.


He stated that the boys told him that they had to pay for their overcoats and, as a result, most boys did not own one: I would have noticed on wintry days in the schoolyard, for example, very cold, bleak area of north Dublin, it seemed to me that they were very cold and some of them had chilblains and they would have runny noses and using their sleeves to clean their noses and to me looked very cold and pretty miserable.


The boys went for a walk most Sundays and, even in the depths of winter, they did not wear overcoats.


He knew the Superior in St Joseph’s Industrial School, Salthill and visited him at the School. Salthill was a much smaller school than Artane but he was very impressed by the way in which Salthill was managed, ‘I thought Salthill was more civilised and more happier’.


Fr Moore confirmed the evidence of a complainant who said that he had reported sexual abuse to Fr Moore when he was in Artane. The boy had confided in him that he had been sexually abused by Br Adrien who worked in the kitchen. Fr Moore had always found him to be personable and thought that he was popular with the boys. He had never experienced or heard of complaints of sexual impropriety during his own time as a pupil in St Vincent’s and this was the first time he had ever had to deal with such a matter. Fr Moore suggested that the boy go to the Superior, Br Ourson, about the matter, but he was reluctant to do so, as he felt that it would be perceived that he was telling tales on Br Adrien. Fr Moore offered to speak to Br Ourson. He immediately went to Br Ourson and told him the nature of the allegations made against Br Adrien who said that he would deal with the matter. Fr Moore also informed the Provincial, Br Mulholland, to reinforce the seriousness of the matter. Within days, Br Adrien was removed from Artane and transferred to another institution. His departure was not announced: he simply disappeared.


He did receive another complaint, which he reported to Br Ourson, and the Brother was removed from the School.


His observations regarding the standard of education were based on his own personal contact with the boys. He did not observe them in class or consult with teachers or the headmaster regarding their education, although he would have had informal conversations with them regarding education. Similarly, his finding regarding the medical facilities in the School was made without consultation with the local GP or the Brother in charge of the infirmary.


As regards trades training, he observed: My experience was the boys didn’t have a choice of which trade they were assigned to; wherever there was a shortage personnelwise in a trade perhaps. I don’t know the reason but they didn’t have a choice.


An elderly Christian Brother was in charge of aftercare. He had to secure approximately 30 to 40 jobs per year. Most of the jobs were badly paid, menial jobs, and many of the boys were placed in positions for which they were not suited. A high proportion of boys emigrated.


He was asked for his observations on the comment made by Department Inspector Mr MacDaibhid that Artane was one ‘big happy family’, and he replied that such an observation was a travesty.


He had a good relationship with most of the Brothers. However: there was a resistance to any intrusion in the affairs of the Institution of Artane by the Brothers in general. They seemed to me, autonomous in their management and they resented and resisted any interference from anybody in their work.


Conditions did improve in Artane over his time there. Clothing and food improved, a swimming pool was installed and, most importantly, numbers were very much reduced. A community of nuns helped out in the School, introducing much-needed female influence. Aftercare improved with the opening of a hostel in Eccles Street by the Archbishop. Under cross-examination, he accepted that he was not aware of changes that the Brothers had initiated, such as the introduction of a remedial teacher and a psychological support service. Whenever the subject of Artane came up in conversation with the Archbishop after he had submitted his report, the Archbishop would mention the fact that he was working upon changing matters.

  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.
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  9. Br Beaufort had previously also worked in Carriglea in the early 1930s.
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  15. This is a pseudonym. See also the Carriglea chapter.
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  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 .
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  36. The same incident is referred to in the Department’s inspection into the matter as ‘a shaking’.
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  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).
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  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.
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