The concerns expressed by Cussen were well founded. In particular, the excessive numbers of boys in the School continued to have a detrimental effect on the capacity of the Institution to provide a caring environment and on the lives of those who lived and worked in it, and contributed greatly to the problems that emerged over the years. The Congregation has conceded that, because of the numbers and because of the need for constant vigilance, Artane was run on a highly organised basis, even to the point of regimentation.
For the sake of ‘the care and after-care of the pupils’, Cussen recommended that Artane should be divided into separate schools of no more than 250 pupils.
Again, the Cussen Report’s recommendations concerning the issue of aftercare agreed with Fr Giuseppe’s argument. Recommendation 28 of Cussen asserted, ‘There is room for improvement in the methods of supervision and aftercare of children discharged from the schools’. The Report then recommended: 29(d)The after-care of pupils should be carried out by the Manager of the school or by a carefully selected and experienced assistant. 29(e)Managers should be required to explain to all the children at the time of discharge that if ever in difficulties during the statutory period of after-care they are entitled to return to the school for advice and help. 29(f)The co-operation of charitable organisations should be enlisted in the work of after care. The priest in the parish to which a child is sent should invariably be notified by the School Manager of the place of residence and the name of the employer.50
The Cussen Report did lead, over a period of time, to some changes, largely related to the internal management of the School. Capitation grants were increased and, by 1940, the teachers within industrial schools did acquire additional status to put them on the same footing as the teachers in National Schools. However, Cussen’s conclusion that the industrial school system ‘should be continued subject to the modifications suggested in the Report’ and that ‘the Schools should remain under the management of the religious orders who have undertaken the work’54 led to a protracted retention of the status quo for decades to come. Impoverished children who had lost one or both parents through death or social hardship, or who had been neglected or abandoned, continued to be stigmatised by a system that incarcerated and punished them for being in need. Both the Rosminians and Cussen deplored the effects of this system, yet they both seemed to accept that a life in an institution run by a Religious Order was to be preferred.
Neither Kennedy nor Cussen would have shared this opinion.