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The Investigation Committee engaged a Consultant Engineer, Ciaran Fahy, to examine and report on the buildings and accommodation in Artane, and his report is annexed at Appendix 1 to this chapter.
The Investigation Committee engaged experts to prepare reports on Artane. Mazars, a firm of accountants and financial consultants, analysed the accounts of the Institution and produced a report which was provided to the Congregation for comment and response. The issues concerning Artane are analysed in the Mazars’ report which is dealt with in Vol IV. As indicated above, Mr Ciaran Fahy, consulting engineer, prepared a report on the buildings and lands of the Institution, which was similarly sent for comment and which is also annexed (to the chapter).
A report has been compiled by Mr Ciaran Fahy, consulting engineer, on the physical surroundings of Ferryhouse, with particular reference to the buildings. A copy of this report is appended to this chapter.
A report by Mr Ciaran Fahy, consulting engineer, on the buildings and accommodation in Clifden, appears in the Appendix to this chapter.
The procedure referred to by Br Amaury, ‘that if any staff member or child in the school had a complaint he could bring that problem to the Superior/Manager, the sub-superior, the school principal, the disciplinarian, or to the provincial or any one of his council’, was not used in this case of extreme violence. Instead, a letter of complaint was sent to an outsider, the School Inspector. There was no explanation in the documentation as to why this route was taken, but it was clearly deemed necessary or politic to avoid the Congregation’s management structures.
.Artane used frequent and severe punishment to impose and enforce a regime of militaristic discipline. The policy of the School was rigid control by means of severe corporal punishment and fear of punishment. Such punishment was excessive and pervasive. The result of arbitrary and uncontrolled punishment was a climate of fear. All Brothers became implicated because they did not intervene or report excesses.
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General conclusions Physical abuse 1. Corporal punishment was the option of first resort for problems. Its use was pervasive, excessive, unpredictable and without regulation or supervision, and was therefore physically abusive. 2. Corporal punishment was the main method of maintaining control over the boys and it created a climate of fear that was emotionally harmful to the boys. 3. The system of discipline was the same in Ferryhouse as in Upton. The Rosminians accept that there was excessive corporal punishment in both institutions. 4. Young and inexperienced staff used fear and violence as a means of asserting authority. Punishments were inflicted for a wide range of acts and omissions. The severity of punishment was entirely a matter for the staff involved. 5. Rules and regulations governing corporal punishment were not observed. 6. Excessive, unfair and even capricious punishment did lasting damage to many of the boys in Ferryhouse. 7. Boys were punished for bed-wetting and were subjected to nightly humiliation, degradation and fear. 8. The regime placed excessive demands on the few men who did the bulk of the work. Sexual abuse 9. Sexual abuse by Brothers was a chronic problem in Ferryhouse and it is impossible to quantify its full extent. 10. Complainant witnesses from every era, from the early 1940s onwards, testified to the Investigation Committee about the sexual abuse of children in Ferryhouse. The Rosminian Institute acknowledged that not all of those who were sexually abused have come forward as complainants, whether to the Commission, to the Redress Board, or to An Garda Siochana. In their Final Submission to the Investigation Committee they wrote, ‘We know that some boys were sexually abused who have made no complaint to the Commission or otherwise, but have spoken to us about it’. 11. The succession of cases that confronted the authorities must have alerted them to the scale of the problem, and to the need for a thorough ongoing investigation as to how deep the problem went among the Brothers and staff in Ferryhouse. Such an investigation did not happen. Instead, each case was dealt with individually, as if no other case had occurred. The Order was aware of the criminal nature of the conduct, but did not report it as a crime. 12. Sexual abuse was systemic. When it was uncovered, it was not seen as a crime but as a moral lapse and weakness. The policy of furtively removing the abuser and keeping his offences secret led to a culture of institutional amnesia, in which neither boys nor staff could learn from experience. 13. The extent and prevalence of sexual abuse were not addressed although the Order had some awareness of its impact on children. 14. Once placed in posts, priests and Brothers had complete autonomy, and there evolved a convention of not interfering with what other people were doing. 15. The Department of Education did not act responsibly when an allegation of sexual abuse was made to it in 1980. Neglect and emotional abuse 16. Living conditions in both schools were poor, unhygienic, inadequate and often overcrowded. 17. Boys were hungry and poorly clothed in circumstances where funding was sufficient to provide these basic needs. 18. Education and aftercare were deficient. 19. Family contact was not encouraged or maintained. 20. As their submission to the Cussen Commission reveals, the Rosminians knew the detrimental consequences of the industrial school system, but did nothing to ameliorate them. They could have changed the regime, but they did nothing until the 1970s. The attitude of the Rosminians 21. The Rosminian Institute of Charity is to be commended for its attitude to the Committee. The Rosminians’ refusal to take the conventional adversarial approach, their sympathetic questioning of the witnesses, and their proffering of apologies to the witnesses at the end of hearings, all contributed to an atmosphere very different from that of other hearings. 22. The Rosminians used the memories of former residents to add to the Order’s knowledge of life and conditions in their schools. The witnesses became a source of information and, by tapping into it, the Rosminians helped the Committee’s inquiry. 23. The Rosminians’ attitude to the allegations evolved before, during and after the hearings. They were the first Order to apologise publicly in 1990. They sometimes modified their approach during the course of a hearing, and they issued a final submission that was a balanced and humane response to the evidence they had heard.
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.
A report compiled by Ciaran Fahy on Daingean is appended.