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On this O’Cinneide and Maguire state58 The attitude of local authorities toward their responsibility for maintaining children in industrial schools, and general attitudes toward the efficacy of an institutional method of dealing with poor and neglected children, are themes that run throughout press coverage of local authority meetings and the often extensive coverage of children’s court proceedings. In an interesting and insightful discussion at the monthly meeting to the Galway Board of Health, one committee officer expressed a concern that the local ISPCC inspector, Mary Monnelly, was having children committed to institutions without the proper authority, and without consulting the appropriate local authorities. The Commissioner of the Board of Health instructed the superintendent home assistance officer to inform Monnelly that she was to consult with the local authorities before seeking the committal of children to industrial schools. In 1938 the Galway County Homes and Home Assistance Committee had a discussion, that was reported in the press, about the merits of boarding-out children rather than committing them to industrial schools. The committee was considering a proposal to discontinue boarding children out n favour of maintaining all local authority children in industrial schools. Alice Lister, the Department of Health inspector of boarded-out children, argued that children could never receive the same kind of care and attention in an institutional setting that they could in a good foster home... Other members of the committee countered these claims by pointing out that industrial school children received training in a skill or trade that would help them to support themselves upon release, while children boarded out, particularly with poorer families, were not guaranteed such an education or training... After much debate the proposal to discontinue the boarding-out system was defeated. The following week the local newspaper, the Connacht Tribune, published an editorial that attempted to provide both sides of the story but came down squarely in favour of industrial schools.
She said that the worst aspect of living in the School was that there were so many children in it, and it was necessarily very regimented. She felt very alone. Certain categories of children were picked upon by their peers. Those who had family and received packages were seen as better than those who did not. Those from Dublin saw themselves as more elite than those from the Midlands. Children from the Midlands were ‘the lowest of the low, because you were one of Maguires’. Mr Maguire19 was the ISPCC Inspector for that area. Travellers were marginalised and she recalled that, when the more impoverished children were brought to the School, they would invariably be filthy and their hair would be crawling with lice.