On 11th October 1976, the Taoiseach, Mr Cosgrave, received a letter from Sr M. Josephine, Superior General, Convent of the Mother of Mercy, Carysfort Park, Blackrock, County Dublin, where she sought an increase in the salaries to be paid to residential childcare workers, and stating that ‘we respectfully remind you that we who belong to your own constituency in which one of our residential homes is situated (St Anne’s, Booterstown), have a special claim on your consideration and support’. The Taoiseach contacted Mr Bruton at the Department of Education who, in outlining the situation to the Taoiseach, stated: The claim recently submitted by the Association of Workers for Children in Care would involve more than double the State expenditure on the homes, in real terms, in the first year alone. The whole trust of the claim is related to staff salaries rather than the cost of maintaining the children. About 65 percent of the State expenditure under the A.W.C.C. proposals would be in respect of staff salaries. Frankly, I think these expectations are unrealistic, especially in the present circumstances. One point I must emphasise is that we are totally opposed to any question of salary scales for child care workers in these homes being the same as those of housemasters in Lusk and Finglas. The A.W.C.C. claims that both groups are doing substantially the same work. We disagree. The boys in Lusk and Finglas, referred for persistent delinquency, are significantly more difficult to manage than the vast majority in the homes. However, apart from this, the Lusk and Finglas scales were deliberately designed to relate the housemasters with the teachers with whom they have to work closely. The staff in the homes, on the other hand, are similar to other staff in institutions for children who work alongside nurses. The implications for the cost of health services of paying child care staff in homes higher salaries than nurses could be enormous.