Explore the Ryan Report

Chapter 9 — Clifden

Show Contents

General conclusions


General conclusions 1. Clifden was isolated and inaccessible for an industrial school. Contact with families was nearly impossible because of its location. Many children came from distant parts of the country, contrary to an important Cussen Report recommendation that children be sent to schools near their families. 2. Sr Roberta was Resident Manager for 27 years and established a strict, authoritarian and cold regime unsuitable for caring for children. During her administration, the School was also very understaffed. 3. Corporal punishment was over-used as a first option for enforcing discipline and was not restricted to cases of serious misbehaviour. 4. Children were institutionalised by the time they left, particularly those who were committed from a young age. They had no concept of normal family life. They were not shown love or affection by the nuns, and only had contact with the Sisters who worked in the convent (and Scoil Mhuire after 1969). The Sisters in the convent madean appearance once a year at the Christmas concert, but they were discouraged from having any other contact with the children who lived only yards away. 5. Mr Graham Granville noted as late as the 1970s that the children had very few visible reminders of home such as family photographs, which added to the isolation and lack of identity that they felt after leaving the Institution. 6. The Congregation accepts that the nuns’ vows dictated that they led a regimented lifestyle, which was reflected in the strictly controlled manner in which the children were brought up and in the absence of any demonstration of affection by the nuns. 7. The standard of education was low and there was little emphasis on academic achievement, which reflected the low aspirations the Sisters had for the children as regards future careers. 8. The children were poorly prepared for leaving the Institution and there were no aspirations for them beyond careers in domestic service. There was no preparation for departure. Many of the children had no idea what lay ahead when they were sent off to jobs in towns and cities.

  1. This is a pseudonym.
  2. This is a pseudonym.
  3. This is a pseudonym.
  4. See the chapter on St Joseph’s and St Patrick’s Kilkenny for further details in relation to this course.
  5. This is a pseudonym.
  6. This is a pseudonym.
  7. Dr Anna McCabe was the Department of Education Inspector for most of the relevant period.
  8. This is a pseudonym.
  9. This is a pseudonym.
  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
  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.