When the terms of this agreement were put to the Department of Finance, strong objections were raised. The letter sent by Mr J. E. Hanna, Assistant Secretary at the Department of Finance, is worth quoting in full: Dear O’Dubhthaigh, I have read your letter of the 25th ultimo regarding the question of new accommodation for the Boys’ Reformatory School. The information contained therein raises a number of points which, I think, it would be well to have clarified before even tentative approval is given to the proposals outlined in your letter. 1.As you are aware, the Daingean premises are State property but the Oblate Order were given a 99-year lease of them, with the option to determine the lease at 7-year intervals. If the Daingean premises are to be used for the purposes of a reformatory, will it be necessary to determine the existing lease? That lease provides that any improvements effected during the term of the lease will enure to the State on the surrender of the lease. In the circumstances, there would seem to be a case for not making any grant to the Order in respect of improvements effected since 1932. Apart from this question, the responsibility of the Order in regard to maintenance, improvement, etc., of the premises in the future would have to be clearly defined. When the Reformatory was situated previously at Daingean the Oblate Order were responsible for repairs, maintenance, etc. I assume that a similar responsibility will devolve upon them in the future, if Daingean is again used as a boys’ reformatory. If not, it may be necessary to consider a reduction of the State grants. 2.I cannot say that I can see any convincing reason for the proposal that the State should purchase the Oblates’ farm. It may be that you contemplate that, in the event of the lease of the buildings being surrendered so as to allow their reversion to the State, the State should assume ownership of the farm as well, the Oblate Order standing in the position of agents of the Minister for Education in regard to the conduct of the Reformatory. If that should be the position and the State should purchase the farm, it would seem reasonable that any profit arising on the farm should accrue to the State. In this connection I note that, in 1927, £567 was realised from the sale of farm produce, after the needs of the Institution had been met. Unless the annual surplus on the farm were to accrue to the State it would seem that the State would be paying twice over for the farm. As the grants should enable the Reformatory to be conducted in a satisfactory manner, the profits on the farm should not be diverted to the Order. 3.As regards the debts on Glencree, it is possibly the case that they have mainly arisen in consequence of the inadequacy of the State and local grants in the past. To the extent, however, that they may be due to improvements at Glencree, the benefit of which will accrue to the Order, I think it only fair that the State should be relieved of that portion of the debt. 4.Have you considered what the position of the State in relation to the Reformatory premises, etc., will be in the event of the Order deciding at any time in the future to discontinue the work? I assume that, if such a contingency should arise, the buildings, with the furniture, equipment, etc., which have been bought from State Funds would revert to the State, free of all claim by the Order. 5.It seems to me that the Oblate Order see considerable advantage to themselves in the transfer of their Novitiate to Kilkenny. I assume that the proposal that Daingean should be used as a reformatory in the future came from the Order. 6.In furnishing these observations, I am at the disadvantage that I do not know what you intend should be the position of the State vis a vis the Order in regard to the Reformatory premises, and the farm. The position does not seem to be quite clear, and my observations are directed mainly with the object of anticipating difficulties in the matter, which may arise at a later stage. I shall be glad to hear further from you at your convenience. Yours sincerely, J.E. Hanna
In fact, many of Mr Hanna’s assumptions had been negotiated away. The Oblates were no longer to be responsible for anything other than day-to-day upkeep and maintenance, as they had been when the Reformatory was situated previously at Daingean, and the State was going to buy the farm but was going to get an annual rent in return, which at £350 was considerably less than the profit made from the sale of farm produce in 1927. He was accurate in his conclusion that ‘the Oblate Order see considerable advantage to themselves in the transfer of their Novitiate to Kilkenny’, and was also correct in his assumption ‘... that the proposal that Daingean should be used as a reformatory in the future came from the Order’. By the time this letter was written, however, matters had progressed too far. The need to get the new Daingean up and running as soon as possible meant that many of his concerns had to be shelved.