The diary entry from the mid-1970s stated ‘Br Remi struck [Michael].11 deformed his teeth’. The entry the following day noted that the boy attended the dentist.
An article about discipline in church-run schools in Ireland appeared in a newspaper report in the late 1960s. In it, the journalist wrote about a pupil from Artane Industrial School, who had recently become emotionally disturbed and had been kept under sedation in the School infirmary. Despite this fact, he was punched in the stomach by a Brother as he came out of the toilets that morning. The boy also said the nun in the infirmary kept a cane there. The journalist went to the School to confront the Brother Superior about the matter. The journalist wrote this account of the meeting: “Brother, is it true that Delmar39 punched Michael40 in the stomach last week?” Brother Gilles41 moves the papers about on his desk, nibbles a biscuit. “Sure, I asked Brother Delmar about it this morning. He says he can’t recollect punching Michael at all.” “Could that be because he punches so many boys that he can’t recollect this particular instance?” Brother Gilles looks sideways at me and giggles, leans back in his chair, twiddles his thumbs and does not reply. “Is it true, what Michael says, that the nun keeps a cane in the infirmary?” “I couldn’t say,’ says Brother Gilles. ‘It’s news to me.” “But you’re in charge here, aren’t you? Surely you must know what goes on?” “I really couldn’t say.”
The Superior wrote to the Assistant Secretary in the Department of Education. He had been asked for a statement in response to the article. In it, he protested that he had not given an appointment to the journalist who had accompanied a Mr O’Neill,42 who had requested an interview. He explained: Mr O’Neill asked for the interview because Michael used to visit his home in Blackrock on the second and last Sundays of each month. On [a particular Sunday] Michael was out in Mr O’Neill’s house when he complained of a pain in his stomach which, he stated, was the result of a punch he received from one of the Brothers that morning. Mr O’Neill brought the boy back here that night and put him into our Infirmary. The Matron took charge of him and put him to bed. In a matter of minutes Michael was sitting up viewing the television programme. The following morning he was examined by the school doctor who didn’t discover any marks on his stomach: in fact he told the boy to get up and go to school. Michael got up but stayed in the Infirmary that day and attended school as usual the following morning. He was never under sedation tablets here ...
One complainant, Michael,33 gave evidence of being abused by Br Garcia. He had been in Greenmount in the late 1940s and was discharged in the early 1950s. Michael said that he was about 12 when the abuse started, and that Br Garcia anally raped him about four or five times. He said that he ran away from the School and went with a friend to the local Chief Superintendent in Cork, Superintendent Caffrey,34 because his father worked for him and he knew him. Michael told the superintendent about the abuse.
Michael had faith in the Superintendent because he was such a senior figure in Cork, but did not tell his parents what was happening because he did not think it was proper to speak to his mother and father like that.
Michael recalled his meeting with the superintendent: So, he said "what’s wrong?" I said "there is a Brother and he’s interfering with all the lads in Greenmount". Right? He said to me "Michael", he said to me "they don’t do that". Well, I says, "Superintendent Caffrey, it is happening". So he said "I can only bring you up to Bishop Cohalan".
He brought Michael and his friend to see the bishop: ... he brought me in a police car ... he was in the front and myself and [my friend] were in the back and ... he drove up there anyway. The bishop was there anyway and Superintendent Caffrey went in. He said "there is two lads here from Greenmount". That’s what I presume he said to the bishop ... He went in first and he left us to wait. Then whatever conversation they had he called me and [my friend] in. He said "tell the bishop what’s happening?" So we told him that we can’t go to sleep at night, that this man is tormenting us, we can’t go to the toilets or anything. Because Br. Garcia was in charge of the dormitory, right. That was his – he was in charge. So, Bishop Cohalan said "the Christian Brothers (sic) don’t do these things at all". He said "you are two devils". He said "I am going to get ye excommunicated". We were more frightened than anything. So we came back out with Superintendent Caffrey ... and the sergeant drove us up to the School ... the next morning then we got a flogging.
Sr Rosetta identified Sr Callida’s drinking problem as dating to an incident in which one of her residents was killed in an accident on his first day at work. He was 16 years old at the time, and his death had a severe impact on Sr Callida. Other Sisters who gave evidence to the Committee have also traced her alcohol dependency to this event that occurred in the late 1970s: It was the first of drinking that I heard was that the older boys who came back and knew him in St Michael’s and stayed in the group home, I heard there was drink flowing, but I couldn’t do much about it at that sensitive time. Seemingly it must have gone on from there, that was [the late 1970s], I don’t know which. I think that made an awful change in her life. Maybe I didn’t give her enough attention to help her over that or whatever. It was only looking back on it maybe I should have. The drink story went on from there.
Michael32 had been sentenced to two years in Daingean in the late 1950s for house-breaking. He was aged 17 at the time. He absconded from the School seven months later, and was subsequently arrested and charged with house-breaking in Dublin. He was remanded in Mountjoy jail and, following his conviction, was sentenced to two years in St Patrick’s Institution.
The Garda thought that a prosecution was warranted, but he was not offered much encouragement by the Resident Manager, who told him that Michael was ‘not of very good character, capable of imagining things, and not to be relied upon’.