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He said that this view was informed by ‘a folk memory, if I could use that word, that industrial and reformatory schools were very harsh places’, and also by the report of the Kennedy Committee, the media and, in particular, the ‘Dear Daughter’ RTE television programme. Mr Boland’s view was further informed by meetings with former residents and, to a limited degree, the work done by Dr Gerry Cronin, a social historian appointed by Minister Martin to review the Department’s files.
In 1999 Dr Gerard Cronin undertook to complete a report on the Reformatory and Industrial Schools’ Archives in Athlone. In his ‘Initial Report on the Reformatory & Industrial Schools’ Archives Athlone’ Dr Cronin stated: ...every so often I have come across items (sometimes misfiled) which directly or indirectly throw unfavourable or critical light on the conditions which the young offenders had to endure at the Daingean School.