The records indicate that the authorities were very well aware of the distinction between dismissal and a grant of dispensation from vows, which was a considerable benefit offered to an abuser otherwise facing expulsion. Dismissal means removal from office, not permission to resign. The Brothers’ Statement offered no explanation as to why this facility was offered to offenders.
The Provincial gave Br Herve a Canonical Warning pursuant to Constitution 218 and a ‘serious warning that a repetition of any of the faults with which you are now charged will render you liable to expulsion from the Congregation’. He told Br Herve to make a determined effort to combat his ‘immoderate tendency to softness in dealing with your pupils and to think seriously over the grave spiritual harm your actions inflict on both them and yourself’. He also stated that, ‘May God grant that the consequences are not worse’. He transferred Br Herve as soon as possible pursuant to the rules of the Congregation.
Br Reynolds was also reluctant to accept that the reference to ‘May God grant that the consequences are not worse’ referred to the involvement of the Gardaí or other authorities: That’s your interpretation is all I am saying ... Off the top of my head that would not have been my interpretation of that. But I am not saying that you are not correct in that.
By making comparisons with contemporaneous indices, Mazars established that the grant paid per child in the industrial school system was adequate to provide a reasonable level of care for most of the relevant period. When other factors were taken into account, such as the value of the farm and the profit made from trades, the financial position was even stronger. A significant further factor that applied in Artane was the economies of scale that arose because of the large numbers accommodated there.
Artane was virtually self-sufficient, providing the majority of its needs from its own resources. The Industrial School’s sources of income were: capitation/maintenance grants (84%); income from the farm and trade shops (10%); and the balance from a variety of other sources, including parents’ contributions and receipts from band performances. The Institution was also in receipt of a substantial primary grant for the running of the national school attached to the Industrial School.
The Christian Brothers’ own Resident Managers’ meetings also took the view that funding was inadequate and throughout the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s they used the Resident Managers’ Association in order to express this view to the Department of Education, seeking increases in the grants paid. These requests were often made in years when the financial position in Artane was strong.
The Christian Brothers went on to state that the validity of the claim of gross under-funding made by the Resident Managers is strongly supported by the Kennedy Report, which described the grant aid paid to industrial schools as ‘totally inadequate’. When the Kennedy Report was published in 1970, numbers in industrial schools had fallen so dramatically that funding was at that point inadequate to meet the needs of the many institutions that were struggling to stay open. When the Kennedy Report was published, Artane had already closed down.
For most of the period under consideration, funding in Artane was adequate to provide for the children in its care. The Visitation Reports and the evidence of complainants and respondents indicated, however, that the physical care provided was poor, even by the standards of the time.
The capitation grant was increased by 50% as a result of the intervention by the Provincial. However, improvements remained outstanding and the Resident Manager pointed out that, despite the increase in the capitation grant, overheads remained high and were always increasing.
From 1st July 1972, Letterfrack was recognised as a ‘special school’ by the Department of Education, which resulted in an increase in the grant payable by the Department of Education.
Until 1954, the numbers in Letterfrack were reasonably high. From 1937 to 1955, the average number of boys in the Institution being paid for by the Department of Education was about 150. In addition, there were Health Board and voluntary admissions. For example, in 1954, Letterfrack received State grants for 147 boys, although there were 181 boys recorded in the School by the Visitor for that year. Those additional boys were paid for by the Health Boards and by voluntary contributions.
Letterfrack was not one of the biggest industrial schools but, even during the 1930s and 1940s, the numbers rarely fell below 150 boys and, until 1954, the number under detention was reasonably steady. However, it was smaller than many other institutions and this had implications for the level of funding available. Early Visitation Reports showed the constant struggle needed to make ends meet. Until the mid-1940s, the School incurred losses in each year of its operation. From 1943, things improved and, for the next 10 years, the School managed reasonably successfully.
It was not quite as bleak as that, however. In 1954/1955, there was a credit balance of £3,573 and, with the increased funding that had been made available since 1952, the outlook for the Institution was not too bad. Food, clothing and accommodation pre-1954
The funding provided by the State from 1936 to 1954 was sufficient to provide a reasonable level of physical care for the boys. The inadequacies in the care provided were more a matter of bad management than funding. Food, clothing and accommodation post-1954
By 1956 the effect of the change in finances in the Institution began to become more clear in the reports from Dr McCabe, the Department of Education Inspector, when she noted that ‘my suggestions have been brought into operation but still the “old system” is used for cooking – no other facilities’. She made the following general observation: Well conducted school on the whole – Of course, there are many improvements I would like to see – better clothes, better living conditions – better cooking facilities – but as usual when I mention these things I am always told – “we have no money” “it can’t be done” “get into debt” – so while I realise that expense comes into the argument so long as the boys are reasonably well clothed and fed there is very little else I can do.