The Department official promised the mother that the matter would be investigated, and an official was sent to Daingean. Clearly, the Department was becoming alarmed because of these very similar complaints coming in quick succession. An unusually detailed investigation was carried out, and the full text of the report is given below: Daingean Admitted 1969 – stealing Runaí Cunta As instructed I visited Daingean to investigate Mrs. [Walsh’s]11 complaint about the ill-treatment of her son in Daingean and interviewed Brother [Macario],12 Acting Manager, and John Walsh.13 Brother [Enrico], who was alleged to have beaten the boy was on annual leave and called to this Office ... by arrangement where the investigations were completed. In the interim I visited the boy’s mother ... and also spoke to Father [Salamon],14 S.J. and Mr. [Carlos]15 who had experience of [John] in [a boy’s] Club where he was a member for a number of years. Though [John] had been described by the authorities in Daingean as being a bit of a ‘pup’ his mentors in the [boys’] Club would not agree with this opinion. They did say that he could be difficult at times. Brother [Macario] did not deny that on one occasion ... the boy had got ‘cuffed’ but did not know of any previous assault on the boy by a member of the Staff. Members of the [Walsh] family had arrived in Daingean ... and seeing the condition of [John’s] face had created an incident. When interviewed [John] admitted that he had absconded six times since [he arrived] and after an unsuccessful attempt to escape on ... had been brought back by Brother [Enrico] who counselled him on the futility of his intention and gave him a couple of apples. [John] admitted that he liked Brother [Enrico]. When he called to the Office, Brother [Enrico] described the incident. Having brought [John Walsh] back to St. Conleth’s as described above, Brother [Enrico] was on his way to organise the milking of the 100 cows kept on the farm in Daingean which [Walsh’s] earlier absconding had interrupted. The usual supervisory staff were being helped out by students from the Oblate Noviciate in Athy and word was sent to him that [Walsh] had again absconded and was threatening a young Clerical student who was attempting to restrain him. When Brother [Enrico] arrived on the scene [Walsh] was already half way across the canal which bounds the Reformatory. With assistance, Brother [Enrico] was able to shepherd him out of the canal and once on the bank he gave him a backhander on the face and then seizing a length of plastic hose, which was the nearest thing to his hand he gave [Walsh] three strokes on his wet jeans. He admitted that at that stage his patience with the boy was exhausted. He admitted that the boy’s face had swelled up as a result of the backhander and that because of his jeans being wet he had left weals on [John’s] legs with the plastic hose ... Control of delinquents in Daingean is a difficult task calling for endless patience and understanding but the one unjustifiable feature of the present case, notwithstanding the provocation given by the boy, is that while [John] is fifteen years old and weighs 8 ½ st. Brother [Enrico] is a giant of a man, weighing 17 sts. whose backhander could cause considerable damage in the circumstances. The best way of finishing this case would, I suggest be a talk with the Manager, Father [Luca], O.M.I. on his next call to the Office and if you agree this will be done.
One witness told the Committee that he had been in Artane before Daingean and he compared Daingean favourably. He found the regime strict but fair. Boys were only punished for wrongdoing in Daingean, whereas in Artane boys were beaten and struck for no reason. He also told the Committee that he was befriended by Br Macario in Daingean. He said this Brother was very kind to him and he felt he was protected by him. However, Br Macario took him to his room on a number of occasions and discussed how he was developing physically. He used to ask him to remove his clothes and lie on the bed. Br Macario then proceeded to measure him with a tape. The witness was adamant that nothing else took place. Some time later, he inadvertently told another Brother that he was being measured by Br Macario. Soon after, Br Macario came up to him and told him not to tell anyone but to keep it secret that he was measured by him. Years later, he again met Br Macario, who asked him whether he was still keeping their secret. The witness realised that perhaps this Brother had an ulterior motive. This disappointed him because he trusted him.