In the Phase III public hearing for Tralee, Br Nolan was asked to explain what the Visitation Dues were: The Brothers in the Community maintained their House through taking a stipend and taking a salary from the money available. So also would the Provincial Council, they had no means of support other than putting a stipend on each House. It is a few hundred pounds. It changed with time of course. It was a levy on each Brother to contribute to the Provincial Council.
During the course of the Phase I hearing, when asked whether he had any comment to make on the fact that this Brother was removed for immoderate corporal punishment and was then sent to another school, Br Seamus Nolan said: Well, he went to another school with a warning to behave himself and to control that failure so there was a chance. He didn’t lapse again apparently.
Br Seamus Nolan confirmed at the Phase I hearing that an inspector had been sent by the Department of Education to investigate this matter. He also said: The upshot I think for peace sake he was removed and I think the Department eased off, they didn’t really press the matter once they felt that he was no longer in that particular school.
The Opening Statement said that the Brother’s ‘withdrawal from a teaching and supervisory capacity in the school was long overdue when it occurred’. At the Phase I hearing, Br Seamus Nolan acknowledged that this Brother should not have been sent to Tralee after what happened in Glin. He could not explain it. He accepted that Br Marceau should have been removed before leaving the school in the Midlands. At the Phase III hearing, he also acknowledged that it was ‘absolutely indefensible and extremely difficult to understand, impossible to understand how it [was] allowed to go on for so long’. He claimed the Brother was there ‘essentially as a supernumerary to help out, not in an official capacity, and maybe the idea was that perhaps some supervision would be enough for him. But he had also failed on that in other occasions’.
Br Nolan also stated during the Phase I hearing that he believed that Brothers in Tralee would have complained about Br Marceau, but that there were no written reports apart from the Visitation Reports.
Br Nolan confirmed that transferring a Brother was a mark of disapproval, but he was still unable to explain the leniency shown towards Br Marceau.
Br Seamus Nolan, a member of the leadership team of St Helen’s Province of the Congregation of Christian Brothers, provided the Investigation Committee with an Opening Statement in regard to Carriglea. In his statement he described life in the Institution and outlined the Congregation’s view as to how the Institution operated. Br Nolan submitted that Carriglea remained in the shadow of Artane for a significant part of its existence and was compared unfairly to Artane. He added: the strength and individuality of Carriglea Park lay in the fact that it was small by comparison with its supposed parent, and while it practiced the same type of control, the staff, mainly Brothers, were accessible to the boys, befriended many of them and remained their mentors long after their stay in Carriglea Park.
Br Nolan referred to the various inspections carried out by the Congregation and the State, which ‘brought every aspect of life under scrutiny’. He stated that Carriglea fared well in these inspections and that ‘general provision for the pupils, medical care and especially education were highly praised’. Br Nolan referred to the annual Visitations to the School by members of the Provincial Council, which he believed were the most thorough and insightful of the inspections. He stated: ‘here again satisfaction and praise were the most common outcomes of the visits but censure and demands for improvement were not spared if failures were noticed’.
Br Nolan repeated the Congregation’s apology to any person who had experienced abuse by a Christian Brother in one of their institutions, but cautioned that it was important not to forget those who did not fail in their duty and gave generously of their time and service for the children committed to their care.
Br Nolan gave evidence to the Investigation Committee on behalf of the Congregation at a public hearing which took place on 24th May 2006. It focused on issues that arose as a result of the private hearings into Carriglea and the documentary material furnished to the Commission.
During Phase III of the Investigation Committee’s inquiry into Carriglea, Br Nolan referred to events that culminated in 1945. He stated, ‘the regime that followed was very like Artane, it was quite regimented and staff taking responsibility rather than monitors’. He conceded that ‘certainly, strong measures were to be taken after 1946. There is some evidence that that did happen’.
It was accepted by Br Seamus Nolan during the Phase III hearing that the punishment meted out to this boy was an impermissible punishment. He did, however, point out that it was partly within the rule, insofar as the punishment was administered in the presence of a witness.
The question was also raised at the hearing as to why the person entrusted with the investigation of the matter was the person against whom the accusation had been made. Br Seamus Nolan said that the matter may have been dealt with by him so as not to leave a ‘nasty job’ for his ‘successor’. In fact, the ‘successor’ had been in office at the time of the incident. Br Nolan further said that this individual had been appointed Resident Manager and after a short while resigned, and it ‘could well be on account of this, that he resigned from that appointment, though he remained on in the staff as assistant manager’.12 Again, this explanation does not accord with the dates in the documentation.
There has been no documentation furnished to the Committee by the Christian Brothers that would shed light on whether there was any investigation within the Christian Brothers into the matter. Br Nolan acknowledged that it was a pity that the allegation did not go directly to the Provincial, to be dealt with as a ‘completely outside matter’. He said that it was clear that the School at the time felt that it was satisfactory to deal with the matter in this way.
Contrary to the Department’s regulations, no punishment book was maintained in Tralee. To explain this fact, Br Seamus Nolan told the Investigation Committee during the Phase I public hearing: There was an understanding that a punishment book was for special punishments where the so called crime was very severe and it needed a special punishment, but for whatever the reason there wasn’t a punishment book.