The Sisters of Mercy have little or no surviving administrative or management documentation in respect of Newtownforbes. Most of the surviving documentation furnished to the Investigation Committee by the Sisters of Mercy consisted of individual pupil files and medical reports. However, a set of documents entitled ‘Report on School Activities’ which covered the period 1938 to 1958 were furnished by the Sisters, and they provide additional information regarding the Industrial School. These reports were submitted annually to the Department of Education. The Sisters of Mercy also commissioned Dr Moira Maguire and Professor Séamus Ó Cinnéide to prepare a report on Newtownforbes, which was furnished to the Committee.
In a report by Dr Moira Maguire and Professor Seamus O Cinneide, entitled ‘Report for Newtownforbes Module’, submitted by the Sisters of Mercy in respect of Newtownforbes Industrial School, the authors refer to medical knowledge that was available in the 1930s. The two references12 used by the authors show that bed-wetting was recognised as a psychological problem as far back as the 1930s, with major causes being unhappiness and nervous strain. Treating the problem with harshness exacerbated it, according to the British texts: In these cases ... the only cure is the removal of the cause of unhappiness – that is, not by treating the physical symptoms but by treating the child psychologically. Success, not failure, should always be stressed.