In conclusion: Notwithstanding the opposition of the Superior General to excessive and intemperate punishment and clear guidance given to Brothers, the problem persisted. The Superior General expressed himself in the restrained, admonitory language of pastoral counselling rather than issuing direct instructions. In circumstances where every Brother in Artane was given a leather for corporal punishment of the boys, it is difficult to see how these excesses could be avoided. Restricting the leather to the Disciplinarian would have had a direct effect on preventing capricious and excessive punishment, and Br Noonan could have directed that this be done.
In conclusion: Young, inexperienced Brothers were left to cope with difficult children without adequate training, and without the support and supervision of a good management system. There was no ordered system of discipline: control was maintained by force. The gravity of inflicting serious injury on a boy was not apparent to the Brothers until an external complaint was made. It should have been routine for the parents and the Department to be notified of a serious injury to a child, however it was caused. Failure to disclose such a serious incident immediately suggests that there was a policy of concealing damaging information. Injuries inflicted by Brothers should have been fully investigated. The infirmary record was wrong, and was not subsequently amended as it should have been.
In conclusion: A serious complaint was inadequately investigated and was dismissed on insufficient grounds by both the Department of Education and the Superior. The Superior did not deny that ‘to impress matters on the boy he gave him a tip of his hand’. The severity of the blow was subsequently disputed, but it is accepted that the boy was physically chastised in the presence of the grandmother. Neither the Brothers nor the Department of Education criticised the Superior for hitting the boy in this way. The correspondence reveals a lack of respect for the grandmother and her complaints. She is seen as a dangerous troublemaker whose complaints ‘have to be nailed’. The decision by the senior official in the Department of Education not to reply to the grandmother’s letter itself revealed a contempt for her complaint. The Department’s inspectors accepted written statements from the Brothers and did not question them directly, thereby affording them a preferential credibility. Although the grandmother’s complaint was totally rejected, the Superior still sent out a letter prohibiting a method of giving punishment that the establishment claimed had never happened. This odd fact suggests there was an apprehension that there was some truth in what had been alleged. Many witnesses before the Investigation Committee testified that they were taken out of bed and punished, thereby supporting this part of the grandmother’s complaint.
1.Artane used frequent and severe corporal punishment to impose and enforce a regime of militaristic discipline. 2.Corporal punishment was systemic and pervasive. Management did nothing to prevent excessive and inappropriate punishment and boys and Brothers learnt to accept a high level of physical punishment as the norm. 3.Brothers used a variety of weapons and devised methods of increasing suffering when inflicting punishment, and in some cases they were cruel and even sadistic. 4.Brothers did not intervene to stop excessive punishment by colleagues, and there was a code of conduct between Brothers that prevented criticism of each other’s behaviour, even in cases where it was clearly extreme or excessive. All Brothers, therefore, became implicated in excesses. 5.Even where a child behaved and kept to the rules, he could still be beaten. 6.The result of arbitrary and excessive punishment was a climate of fear. 7.Artane did not operate within the Rules and Regulations for industrial schools and the precepts of the Christian Brothers concerning corporal punishment. 8.The absence of a punishment book in Artane was a disregard for a specific legal requirement intended for the protection of children. The Punishment Book was not maintained in Artane because the Christian Brothers chose not to maintain it. 9.The Department was also at fault in failing to ensure that the statutory punishment book was properly maintained and reviewed at every inspection. 10.The Department of Education failed in its supervisory role by maintaining a defensive and protective attitude towards the management and staff. Even when it conducted an investigation, the Department simply accepted Brothers’ explanations uncritically.
In conclusion: The School was driven to take action only when there was a threat to expose the behaviour of Br Herve. The Provincial expressed sympathy for, rather than criticism of, the Superior. The offending Brother was considered to be an unfortunate man who was ‘more to be pitied than censured’. There was relief that worse did not happen, having regard to the known habits of Br Herve. The Congregation was aware of the harm Br Herve was inflicting on children in his care, but did nothing to alleviate it or to ascertain the full extent of the damage. Sending a Brother with this history to a residential school for boys was reckless and dangerous, and showed a disregard for the safety of children in care.
In conclusion: Br Gaillard was transferred within the Congregation, notwithstanding a history of abuse. His letter seeking dispensation could not be clearer in underlining the danger he posed to children. By being granted a dispensation from vows, he left the Congregation apparently in good standing. He was able to move into a teaching job immediately on leaving the Congregation. The Provincial, when asked directly for a reference, was not afraid to identify him as a danger to children, but there is no evidence that he took steps to notify other schools or the Department of Education. Despite the employment pattern of this man prior to 1960, there are no known complaints about his later career.
In conclusion: The Department expressed concern about the revelation of sexual activity between boys in Artane, and asked Dr McCabe to inquire into the extent of the problem and the proposals for dealing with it. The Manager undertook to do no more than was already in place, which, by his own admission, was inadequate. The Department did not pursue the matter. The Resident Manager was inconsistent in the information he gave to the Department, indicating a lack of respect for the Government officials who raised the matter with him. This case indicated that there was a higher level of sexual activity in Artane than the authorities there were capable of dealing with. It is a matter of concern that no documentation relating to this matter survived in the records furnished by the Christian Brothers.
In conclusion: The number of boys in Artane, the extreme regimentation of their lives, the lack of appropriate training of the Brothers, the insufficient numbers of staff, and the pervasiveness of corporal punishment all had serious adverse effects on the welfare and emotional development of many of the children who passed through Artane. A climate of fear in Artane was a dominant memory for many ex-pupils. Practices used for management and control of the boys were frightening and abusive from the child’s point of view. It was a problem central to the whole system in Artane that the boys’ perspective was not taken into account. The Christian Brothers did not understand the impact of those practices.
In conclusion: Artane was an important source of support and income to the Congregation. Lack of funds was not a reason for failure to provide for the children in Artane. Artane was a major contributor to the Building Fund and to the support of the Provincial Organisation. The Artane Community charged a full stipend for Brothers who had little or no involvement in the care of the boys and funded the Community’s day-to-day expenses out of the maintenance grant for the children, which enabled the House to run at a profit.
In conclusion: Food from the farm and bread from the bakery made it possible to provide for the needs of the School and the Community at reasonable cost. Mealtimes were not properly supervised, and young or timid boys were bullied and did not get enough to eat. This was a failure of management. Facilities for preparing food and for serving it were primitive. Meals were poorly prepared and monotonous. A Brother categorised as ‘slip-shod’ by his own colleagues was in sole charge of this department for up to 15 years until the early 1960s and complainants testified that food was poor until this Brother was replaced. This was evidence of inferior management in the fundamental task of providing three meals a day for hundreds of boys. The facilities available in the Brothers’ kitchen were in stark contrast to those provided for the boys. The problems identified by the Visitor in 1957 and confirmed by witnesses were not picked up by the Department Inspector. The food during an inspection was not typical of that served on a daily basis, indicating a serious flaw in the inspection procedure.
In conclusion: Clothing was poor, patched, and institutional in style, and the repeated criticism by the Department Inspector was often to no avail. Underwear inspections in public were a feature of life in Artane. The explanation that this was done to clean the underpants before they were sent to the laundry was not confirmed by former residents. It would not, in any case, have afforded justification for this degrading practice. Changes of clothes were not available to boys who worked in wet, muddy and dirty conditions. Until the mid-1960s, overcoats were not provided. Bad clothing marked out the boys and reduced their self-respect and personal dignity.
In conclusion: The 800 boys in Artane had no toilet facilities other than dry buckets until about 1950. The Department of Education and the Congregation should not have allowed such primitive conditions to continue for so long. Some facets of the accommodation were poor and overlooked. Even when no uncertainty about the future of Artane existed and numbers were at their highest, provision of proper facilities for the boys was not considered a priority.
In conclusion: The pass rate for the Primary Certificate was high by national standards, but not all boys of 6th class standard sat the examination. Boys who attended continuation school did so after working at a trade during the day. Many boys had not attained 6th standard before they reached 14 and were taught by teachers in classes that were not subject to Department Inspections. The standard of their education was the subject of contemporary criticism in Visitation Reports. Boys who completed the Primary Certificate went over the same course until they reached 14 and went into trades training, and did not get the opportunity to progress into secondary education. The Christian Brothers have been critical of the Department of Education’s failure to provide for the educationally backward children in Artane, but they must also accept blame for their failure to provide secondary education to intelligent and able boys who passed through Artane. The Congregation ran secondary schools close to Artane, and yet no provision was made for any Artane boys to attend these schools. Training/trades
In conclusion: The Christian Brothers assumed a responsibility to provide training and they failed to do so for many of their pupils. Industrial training was a key objective of the system and the largest industrial school in the country should have provided it to a high standard but training was, to a large extent, only a by-product of work that met the needs of the Institution. In an era of high unemployment, it would have been impossible to place all the boys in jobs, and it would be unreasonable to criticise the Christian Brothers for failing in this regard. In many respects, they achieved a high level of employment for their school leavers. However, much of this employment was menial and exploitative and, for some, led to a lifetime of such work.
In conclusion: The objective of aftercare was to ensure the welfare of the boys following their discharge from Artane. It was often conducted, however, without direct contact with them. It would appear that post-discharge inquiries were conducted mainly with employers, to establish their satisfaction with the boy. Insofar as aftercare did occur, and subject to the limitations set out above, it was more extensive than the ex-residents were aware of. Many were surprised when they saw documentation showing the level of contact maintained between the School and their employer. Direct communication with boys who had left Artane would have had a positive impact. Failure to provide more of it represented a missed opportunity to extend support and encouragement to boys after discharge.