The 3rd Interim Report by CICA describes how the Department of Education sent to the Commission a ‘Database of Former Residents of Reformatory and Industrial School’, containing approximately 42,000 entries of pupils who were committed by the courts to Reformatories and Industrial Schools during the allotted timeframe relevant to the Commission; however the database does not contain records of pupils placed in Industrial Schools by local authorities under the Public Assistance Acts or the Health Acts or voluntary placements. The Department should be in possession of 41,000 pupil files. However files exist relating to only 14,000 pupils, therefore 27,000 pupil files are missing. Of these 27,000 files, 18,000 relate to children who were admitted to institutions from 1936 onwards. From 1960 onwards the Department is in possession of virtually 100 percent of pupil records. Matthias Kelly concluded that these files were thrown out in the Department’s ‘general clear out’.
Early discharge papers relate to applications made by parents to the Department to have their children released from institutional care. Some of the discharge papers are missing and in other cases the record in relation to the individual is incomplete and some of these applications may have been placed on the individual child’s pupil file. The Department has a register of applications for early discharge dated 1951-60 only. Matthias Kelly stated within his report the importance of these records for former Industrial School pupils, emphasising the need for these people to know that their parents tried to ensure their release from the schools. Mr Kelly concluded that the papers were lost as a result of the ‘general clear out’.
Incident books, sometimes called ‘log books’, were kept by the various schools to record significant incidents or events within the schools or institutions. Matthias Kelly concluded: The Secretary General has assured me that the Department does not generally hold incident books at all. The point is made, that if such books do exist, and I would expect that such books do exist, they will be held by the various institutions themselves.