Explore the Ryan Report

Chapter 7 — Artane

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Fr Henry Moore


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.


In summary, he said: Fundamentally I would have to say, my critique would be on the grounds of defective training in the emotional and psychological preparation for the after-life, for post-Artane days. I found boys were – they many times had an inability to negotiate everyday tasks like handling money, interpersonal relations. Now admittedly many, many of those I am talking about would have had long experience of institutional care before they came to Artane ... I feel also that the environment was harsh, Dickensian and in my view extremely excessive in its administration of punishment and emotional deprivation. I think today that the many, many complainants of their bad experience of Artane would, in my view, validate everything I have said about it, and the Archbishop of Dublin.


The Christian Brothers reject the conclusions drawn by Fr Moore in his report and in his evidence to the Investigation Committee. They contend that his evidence is unreliable, inaccurate and that it is contradicted by the contemporaneous Department reports and evidence from former Brothers. They submit that Fr Moore was a young, ambitious priest eager to please his Superior. He was well aware of the Archbishop’s attitude to Artane, who considered the Institution ‘the plague spot of his diocese’. They contend that Fr Moore’s report does not portray an objective analysis of Artane, but rather a biased account providing affirmation of the Archbishop’s views.


The Congregation contends that Fr Moore had relatively little direct experience of day-to-day life in Artane. He did not live in the School, and therefore his observations are based on his visits to the School, which were limited to particular areas. They contend that his overall contact with the School would not enable him to come to informed conclusions on the manner in which the School was run.


They cite, as an example of the shortcomings in Fr Moore’s research, his analysis of the boys’ diet. During his evidence to the Investigation Committee, it emerged that his conclusions on diet were based on one visit to the refectory, his general observations of the boys and the views of a doctor, who accompanied some of the boys on a camping trip, that they were undernourished and undersized. However, the report did not disclose the limited sources which led Fr Moore to his conclusions, but instead gave the impression that a comprehensive review and analysis of the nature and adequacy of the boys’ diet had taken place.


Similarly, his conclusion regarding the low standard of education in Artane was based on illegible letters he received from former residents, and the Christian Brothers submit that such a flimsy basis for such an evaluation ‘is of no real value’. They also emphasise that Fr Moore was relatively young and inexperienced, with no teaching experience, and submit that all of these factors, when taken together, render his assessment unreliable.


The Brothers in their Opening Statement on Artane said that Fr Moore was ‘both unprofessional and indiscreet in the manner in which he carried out his assignment’. Whilst he acknowledged in his covering letter to the Archbishop enclosing the report that his observations were restricted to his personal experience, he proceeded to offer his opinion on areas in which he clearly had no training or expertise. The Congregation contend that the statistics he presented were inaccurate and misleading.


Similarly, his criticisms of the medical care in Artane have to be viewed in light of the fact that he had no medical training and did not discuss the matter with the GP who regularly attended the School.

  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.
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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 .
  26. This is a pseudonym.
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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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  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.
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  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.
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  87. This is a pseudonym.