Despite support from the Inspector of Industrial Schools, Sir John Lentaigne, the Archbishop’s application for the establishment of an industrial school in Letterfrack was refused by the Lord Lieutenant.
On 14th November 1885 the Chief Secretary’s Office confirmed its sanction for the establishment of an industrial school in Letterfrack certified for the reception of 75 boys to open ‘so soon after the 1st April next as the promoters of the school are in a position to satisfy the Inspector that the buildings intended for the purpose are fit for the reception of children within the meaning of the Industrial School Act’. With Sir John Lentaigne already on board, this latter stipulation did not prove to be a stumbling block.
The Christian Brothers agreed to manage the Institution, and extensive plans were made to develop the property into an industrial school. Included in their plans was the purchase of the adjacent land over which the Archbishop had promised grazing rights. The Government was concerned when it became aware of these plans and an internal memorandum dated 24th March 1886 stated that Sir Lentaigne should be officially notified that ‘the Government does not see its way to any future extension to the numbers in the Letterfrack School’ and that the Brothers should therefore be discouraged from expending large sums of money on the School.
The School got off to a difficult start, and initial reports from the Inspector for Industrial and Reformatory Schools were negative. There were problems with management in the School which caused the Patrician Brothers to withdraw. The Government Inspector, Mr John Lentaigne, called to the Superior General of the Christian Brothers in July 1876 and asked him to take over the running of Salthill.