A History of Neglect

The Reformatory Schools Act certified existing voluntary institutions and religious organisations to care for juvenile offenders with public funding and inspection

1868- The Industrial Schools Act. Industrial schools were established to care for “neglected, orphaned and abandoned children.” They were run by religious orders and funded by the public.

1900- Peak of industrial schools with 8,000 children in 71 schools.

1908- The Children Act defined reformatories as responsible for feeding, clothing, housing and teaching young offenders and instigated annual visits by an Inspector of Reformatory and Industrial Schools.

1919- The revolutionary Dáil established by Sinn Fein declares “It shall be the first duty of the Republic to make provision for the physical, mental and spiritual well-being of the children,” but doesn’t suggest an alternative to the British industrial schools.

1920- Six counties partitioned under the Northern Ireland Act.

1922- New Dáil and Seanad established under the Irish Free State Constitution.

1924- The new State’s Department of Education noted that there were more children in industrial schools in the Irish Free State than in all of the United Kingdom.

1929- The Children Act allowed destitute children to be sent to industrial schools, even if they hadn’t committed a crime.

1933- Rules governing industrial schools were updated and funding increased.

1933- The Commission of Inquiry Into Widows’ and Orphans’ Pensions found only 350 of the children in industrial schools were orphans (5.3 % of the total)

1933- Industrial schools were abolished in the UK, but not in Ireland.

1934- The Cussen Report, which investigated industrial schools, had reservations about the large number of children in care, the inadequate nature of their education, lack of local support and the stigma attached to the schools, but concluded that “ schools should remain under the management of the religious orders”.

1937- Under a new Constitution the State guaranteed to protect “the inalienable and imprescriptible rights” of the family.

1941 —The Children Act increased State funding for industrial schools.

1943- St. Josephs Industrial School in Cavan, run by the Order of Poor Clares, burnt to the ground, killing 35 girls and one elderly woman. The nuns were exonerated in the subsequent inquiry.

1944- P. Ó Muircheartaigh, the Inspector of Industrial and Reformatory Schools reported that “the children are not properly fed,” which was “a serious indictment of the system of industrial schools run by nuns-a state of affairs that shouldn’t be tolerated in a Christian community” where there was “semi-starvation and lack of proper care and attention.” The Resident Managers of Lenaboy and Cappoquin industrial schools, both Sisters of Mercy, were dismissed for negligence and misappropriating funds, despite Church resistance. However, there were no other changes to industrial schools.

1945- The Department of Education agreed to pay industrial school teachers directly at the same rate as National School teachers.

1945- Secretary to the Department of Education wrote to the Secretary of the Dept. of Finance to denounce the “grave situation which has arisen regarding the feeding and clothing of children in industrial schools” due to “parsimony and criminal negligence”.

1945- Funding to industrial schools tripled.

1946- Rules governing industrial schools were updated and funding increased.

1946- Community pressure in Limerick, led by Councillor Martin McGuire, on the Dept. of Ed forces the release of Gerard Fogarty, 14, from Glin Industrial School after he was flogged naked with a cat of nine tails and immersed in salt water for trying to escape to his mother. A call for public inquiry into industrial schools was rejected by Minister of Education. Thomas Derrig because “it would serve no useful purpose”.

1946- Fr. Flanagan, famous founder of Boystown schools for orphans and delinquents in the US, visits Irish industrial schools. He describes them as “a national disgrace,” leading to a public debate in the Daíl and media. State and Church pressure forces him to leave Ireland.

1947- Three-year-old Michael McQualter scalded to death in a hot bath in Kyran’s Industrial School. Inquiry found school to be “criminally negligent,” but the case was not pursued by the Dept. of Education.

1948- Fr. Flanagan died of a heart attack and with him, the debate on industrial schools.

1949- Ireland declared itself the Irish Republic.

1949- Minister of Education General Mulcahey received complaints from Cork City Council about Greenmount IS. A visit is arranged (with advanced warning) and the case is dismissed.

1951- State Inspector denounced conditions of industrial schools and care of children.

1951- The Catholic Hierarchy condemned the ‘Mother and Child’ scheme (4 April), which provided direct funding to expectant mothers for their children; Dr Noel Browne, Minister for Health, resigns; the scheme was abandoned on 6 April.

1951- Standoff between Church and State when Church refused to provide financial records of how it has used funding in industrial schools in exchange for increased state funding.

1952- State funding to industrial schools increased.

1954- Daíl debate on Michael Flanagan, whose arm was broken while in care in Artane Industrial School. The case was dismissed as “an isolated incident”.

1955- Secretary of the Department of Education visited Daingean Industrial School, Offaly, and found that “the cows are better fed than the boys.” Nothing was done for another 16 years.

1957- Marlborough House building was condemned by the Dept. of Works as “a grave risk of loss of life.” No alterations were made, and it continued unchanged for 15 years.

1959- Minister of Education Jack Lynch received complaints about Upton School from Senator Gus Healy, the mayor of Cork. A visit was arranged (with advance warning) and the case was dismissed.

1960- Gardaí informed Archbishop McQuaid that Fr. Paul McGennis had developed pornographic films in England of children in his care in Our Lady’s Hospital for Sick Children. McQuaid arranged for McGennis to “have treatment which was considered successful at the time” Fr. McGennis was convicted in 1997 of molesting girls in his care in Crumlin Hospital in the 1960’s.

1962- Fr. Moore, Chaplain at Artane Industrial School, complained about the abuse received by the boys in the school. The State dismissed his allegations as an exaggeration.

1963- The Bundoran Incident. Eight girls trying to escape from St. Martha’s Industrial Schooll had their heads shaved. It became a scandal when it was front-page news in a British tabloid with photos and headline, “Orphanage Horror”. A Department. of Education official visited the Mother Superior of the school to tell her “The Department was unlikely to do anything of a disciplinary nature”.

The Glin Affair. Department of Education investigated a boy who was hospitalised upon receiving facial injuries in Glin Industrial School from a Christian Brother. No action was taken.

1967- Department of Health visit Ferryhouse Industrial School, Clonmel to investigate the death of a child from meningitis. They described conditions as “a social malaise” and recommended the closure of the school.

1969- Under 2,000 children were in 29 schools. Artane Industrial School was closed.

1970- The Kennedy Report recommended closure of industrial schools, as Justice Kennedy was “appalled” by the “Dickensian and deplorable state” of industrial schools.

1971- Catholic Church in Ireland held a seminar on child care. Sr. Stanislaus Kennedy defended the role of the Church in industrial schools.

1972 —Marlborough House, Dublin closed down.

1974- Letterfrack Industrial School closed down.
1974 —Daingean Industrial School, Offaly closed down.
1976- RTE broadcasted a tribute to Bro. Joseph O’Connor, founder of the Artane Boys Band. He was subsequently proved to be a multiple rapist of boys in Artane Industrial School.

1978- A child care worker at Madonna House kidnapped a boy in his care, took him to Edinburgh and drowned him in a bath in a hotel. The Minister for Health, Charles Haughey, rejected a call for a public enquiry into the matter, stating that it “would serve no useful purpose.”

1980- A Task Force on child care services emphasised the need for child care staff training, care for children after leaving institutions and family support.

1984- Payment-per-head funding for children in care in Ireland was abolished.

1984- Department of Health introduced fostering for children in care.

1985- Children of the Poor Clares by Mavis Arnold and Heather Laskey published.

1989- The Children Act gave health boards powers to care for children.

The God Squd1989- The God Squad by Paddy Doyle published.

1991- The Child Care Act gave powers to health boards to care for children who were ill-treated, neglected or sexually abused.

1991- Fear of the Collar by Patrick Touher published Fear of the Collar

1996- A conviction for sexual abuse by a worker in Trudder House, Co. Wicklow, where he worked with Traveller children throughout the 80’s.

1996- The Madonna House Report detailed continuing physical and sexual abuse of children in State and Church care. The report was suppressed by the government.

Willie Delaney1996- Willie Delaney’s body was exhumed to investigate whether beating was the cause of the 13-year-old’ s death in 1970 while in care at Letterfrack Industrial School. The results were inconclusive.

1997 —Dear Daughter was broadcast on RTE. Christine Buckley’s description of her abuse while under care in Goldenbridge sparks public debate on industrial schools.

1998- The Christian Brothers in Ireland make a public apology to those who were physically or sexually abused in their care.

1999- States of Fear by Mary Raftery and Eoin O’Sullivan was broadcast on RTE in April and May, renewing debate on industrial schoolsSuffer the Little Childre

1999 —Suffer the Little Children by Mary Raftery and Eoin O’Sullivan published

Freedom of Angels1999- Freedom of Angels by Bernadette Fahy published

1999- An Taoiseach Bertie Ahern apologised on behalf of the government to the victims of child abuse in industrial schools, acknowledging the responsibility of the Irish State in providing services for children. A Commission to Inquire Into Childhood Abuse was established under Justice Laffoy, which became official under the Child Abuse Act, 2000newspapercutting

2000- The Child Abuse Act established a commission to investigate child abuse in institutions in the State, and to enable persons to give evidence to committees of the Commission.

2000- Focus Ireland publication, Left Out On Their Own, reported serious deficiencies in residential care. They found 75% of those leaving Health Board Care experience homelessness within the first two years of leaving.

2001- Catholic Church agreed to pay over £100 million into a special State fund for victims of abuse. In return, the State arranged that people seeking compensation from the Residential Institutions Redress Board are barred from suing the Church directly. Only victims of sexual, not physical, abuse are eligible for compensation.

5 days later, Justice Kelly described the juvenile justice system as “a shambles and chaotic” after being forced to send a disturbed and neglected child into a psychiatric hospital, due to lack of alternative accommodation.

2002 – An independent inquiry condemned conditions in Finglas Children’s Home, and recommended either change or closure. Arson attack on school.

History of Neglect Timeline 1858-2002

[ Click on each image to enlarge. For slideshow hover mouse over side of image to click image going forward and backwards. These are large images! ]
A History of Neglect Timeline image1The number of children committed to industrial schools by the Courts steadily declined from 833 at the time that the Irish Republic was declared in 1949 to merely 162 in 1968-69, when the industrial schools began to be closed down.
A History of Neglect Timeline image2A History of Neglect Timeline image3


[The table, from 1949-1969, is divided into three images. Click on each image to enlarge. For slideshow hover mouse over side of image to click image going forward and backwards]

The overwhelming cause of committal was “lack of proper guardianship.” Only a small number were committed for inadequate school attendance, indictable offences and homelessness.

Sources: Suffer the Little Children( by Mary Raftery and Eoin O’Sullivan); This Great Little Nation (Gene Kerrigan and Pat Brennan); Ireland Politics and Society, 1912-1985 (Joseph Lee); Ireland Since the Famine (FS Lyons) Victim and Critic: Child Mistreatment in Ireland ( Mary Killion)

Leave a comment ?


  1. Just wondering if anybody has any photos from golden bridge in the 30s.. my gran and her sister were there then and get brothers in letterfrack..
    My dad was in Dangan aprox late 50s early 60s.. would love pics if anybody has any..

  2. For free confidential counselling and support for both men and women affected by the trauma of sexual abuse, rape and sexual violence, please contact your local Rape Crisis Center. . While it takes courage to make contact for the first time, you can be assured that every caller to the Helpline is treated with respect and dignity … This is a link for your local services/centers throughout Ireland: http://www.drcc.ie/get-help-and-information/our-services/centres-around-ireland/ or you can call the National 24-Hour Helpline 1800 77 8888

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  4. Matters such as this should be brought to the attention of the Gardaí. They will look after the issue

  5. my phone no 094 9651812 after 11 am thanks

  6. id like to speak to you paddy about a murder and more whilst in ferryhouse clonmel co tipperary

  7. I feel so sorry that the government abandoned you all, I feel nothing has been learned since., children are trafficked and abused still in a variety of ways and they grow up with such mental problems. Some may commit suicide, some drink to forget .
    But if by some chance if you survive your ordeal , get counselling and talk to people, it’ll help you and hopefully teach them never to forget or perpetuate this.
    RIP to the many, too many that died and peace and tranquillity to you for surviving with grace and strength.

  8. I hope you will find someone that can help. If I come across anything, I will be in touch. Paddy

  9. Donnacadh Hurley


    I’m doing research on Irish Child Sexual Abuse. I want to find out more about what happened to children after they were in institutions like industrial schools. Specifically, do we have any information on how many emigrated?
    Kind regards,

  10. I wonder if Julie who asked below about St Anne’s Industrial School, Booterstown would like to get in touch with me?
    She asked a question here back in 2012, but she may still be in touch with this site… Or some one else may know her. I can send my contact details. Many thanks!

  11. My son Sean and daughter katrina r the children of the youngest McCarthy child john thee gra smother also known as Katrina or Katy she came to Rochdale or Rochester in the 60 and sadly died there before her son john could find his mother we r desperate to find out we’re the rest of the family went after leaving the industrial school in Ireland any info on organisations that can help would b of much help

  12. Does anyone know wat happened to the 13 McCarthy children from Killarney mother Katrina. in 1957 taken into industrial schools 2 youngest named john and Joseph boxer mccarthy

  13. Lara Fügenschuh

    Hello! I am a German student and currently working on my seminar paper about Industrial Schools in Ireland. I just came across “the God Squad” and read many comments of people who were sent to an Industrial School in Ireland. I would really love to get in touch with someone who was personally affected by the topic to get inside information.
    Please feel free to contact me at: lara.about.ireland@gmail.com

  14. is there any one who attended st annes bootes town dublin aged roughly 78 i would like to understand my mum more after she was dragged up in this awful place

  15. i would like to understand my mum more she attended st annes in dublin from age 3 til 18

  16. Angela Power

    Hi Christy, I am in the uk but maybe we should organise a get together and invite the nuns and brothers to finally apologise to us all for what they did

  17. Angela Power

    Hi again, I was wondering if anyone else has 5 vaccine marks on their arm that came from these places as I am trying to find out if the nuns involved me in their vaccine trials as I have 5 vaccine marks on my arm and was with the nuns from 1 to 15yrs

  18. Well what a surprise. I was looking for photos of Artane band and I found myself here. I went to St Patricks Kells Road Kilkenny 1953 and then to Artane 1959-1964. I have tried to blank it all out but the pain and loss it has caused to my sisters and brother has made me open up. Is there a group or are there any gatherings held for us who are the lucky ones to have survived. I would like to thank you all and wish you all future happiness. Christy

  19. Angela Power

    My father’s first children were brought up in the good shepherds waterford, then my mother and her sisters were also brought up in the good shepherds in waterford and I am sure the only reason she married my father was because he got her pregnant, my mother nora and sisters josie,and agnes were in the residential part of the good shepherds and her other two sisters nancy and margaret were in the magdalene laundries, because nancy was deaf and dumb they put her into a mental home where she stayed the rest of her life, then to my mothers horror I am assumping her five children ended up in residential schools, two of us were in the good shepherds, waterford, one brother in ferry house clonmel and the other in cappaquin,

  20. Angela Power

    I was brought up first in the good shepherds in waterford, then was sent to grianan training centre dublin, then to pennywell in limerick, had to work in the laundries in dublin and limerick, and I found the redress board were as bad as the nuns were to be honest, I started off with the nuns at the age of one and ended up being 15 years or more with them, there was about two good nuns in all that I met

  21. I was abused in all sort of manner. Today I am 63 and still suffer nightmares. It’s easy for those who were not in these hell holes to disbelieve what went on. I know different. I was in Letterfrack from 1960 to 1965. These bastards were animals under the guise of doing Gods work. I suffered more the most in that span of time. I will never forget what I endured and saw first hand.

  22. Anne O'Donoghue

    Hello Cherie

    Baranado’s Origins Service in Dublin may be able to help you. They have access to all the records of industrial schools. They have helped my mother find out who her mother was after she was brought up in an industrial school in Galway.


  23. Cherie Richards


    I seek the records of the St. Colman’s Industrial School for Girls, Cobh/Rushbrook, Co. Cork, 1920.

    I am searching for Kathleen Fitzgerald, born to Julia Fitzgerald at the Cork Union Workhouse Hospital March 29, 1920. Kathleen was fostered to the Corcoran family of Cork at 8 months of age. I believe she was at Rushbrooke at this time.

    Thank you,

    Cherie Richards
    Daughter of Kathleen, deceased 1977

  24. Hi Paddy, I’m a mature student (47) studying social care work in IT Tallaght. I just finished your book and ‘testimony’ ‘The God Squad’. I could not put it down. I read it in 2 nights the quickest book i ever read. The reason i read it so quick was because of your torrid story, your honesty, your positive attitude through adversity but most of all the abuse you had to suffer under the supervision of the Nuns. I am an ‘active catholic’ but was disgusted to read that humans (if you can call them that!!) can do to fellow humans. I felt sick and cheated. They were awful people and cowards at that. I was recently reading stuff of a young girl called ‘Victoria Climbie’ who was abused, both phsyical and sexual by her perpetrators and eventually died, aged 7. Her story, likes yours, will bring society to look at ways to prevent such abuse happen again. I look at abuse of all kinds the most evilest of all crimes on children.It saddens me to think it is still happening to-day. It will never stop due to the vulnerbility of children. However, if we, as a society, can have interventions and systems in place to stop the reported abuse getting worse, at least it will help the abused. God bless you Paddy, your story stopped me in my tracks and i will carry your ‘positive attitude’ in my work as a social care worker. Thanks Paddy and ‘keep up the great work all the world’..

  25. Anyone out there who went to St Annes Industrial School, Booterstown??

  26. anyone out there remember my name is sharon walton me I was in rathdrum in 1970-73 I was in aragal house

  27. Hi Pete. A lot of people probably didn’t know who I was when the “Joe Maxi” TV programme went out. They sure know me now! I’ve heard ‘stories’ of what happened to some of the nuns after I left. It’s not the sort of ‘stuff’ one could write here, perhaps we can exchange emails on that one. Let me know. I’ve always held the view that to say that the ‘perpetrators’ of abuse were oppressed themselves, would serve no purpose other than to lessen their ‘crimes’ against innocent children. You’re one heck of a guy for keeping an eye on me. Canadian Radio, “Jo Maxi” and elsewhere. Thanks for your interest in me. My hope is that I make sense when I give interviews be it to Canadian radio or ‘Jo Maxi’. Keep the faith Pete! Paddy.

  28. Thanks Paddy. thats great to hear about Sister Catherine. When I saw the Jo Maxi interview I admit I didn’t know who you were and what it was about at the time, but My Parents got your book during Christmas of that Year so thats when I read it first. I’m aching to ask you about the other Nuns in St Michaels (ie did you hear what happened to any of them later on in Life,etc) after all its always nice to hear that some sort of Justice eventually occurred, but I’ll leave that out as I’m sure you’ve been asked it a gazillion times already. Also, “Justice” as it were, doesn’t always work that way, and given some parts of your Book I feel reminded of the fact that sometimes even the “perpetrators” as it were, may have been oppressed throughout their Lives also and as Mary Norris said “the Church made them Sadistic”(with its unecessarily heavy restrictions I guess she means). Not that its an excuse, but it does point out where certain Violent Tendencies could have come from, and with the Stigma with Young Orphaned Boys at the Time(“Charged with being without a Legal Guardian”, as I heard you say on Youtube on the interview with a Canadian Station)that, among other things, kinda gave them an “outlet” to focus their agression on. I think that Theory is true, would you agree? P.

  29. Call me Paddy! You’ve one heck of a great memory – I barely remember the interview of “Jo Maxi’ but I do remember saying during it that I had the ‘distinction of being the only student to have attended Synge Street School ‘never to have been put STANDING out at the line!” It did draw a lot of laughter from the interviewer and the camera crew. Yes, it was indeed Sister Catherine, I was referring to in my previous post. Paddy.

  30. Thanks Mr Doyle. I don’t know if I could recite every single word but I think I could recite the a lot of the details. Being a Musican i’m more adept at reciting Songs :-D, as well as certain TV showes (i remember the interview you gave for “Jo Maxi” in 1989). Though I admit that these Days I tend to have little time myself for the Catholic Church with its insistence in holding onto what are in my, and many others, opinion, “Draconan Views”, I am carefoul not to paint all who serve in it and follow it with the one brush. Indeed, not only the Priests I mentioned, but also when I was very Young one of my Grand-Aunts on my Mothers Side was herself a Nun, who I later learned, worked in a place for “Unmarried Mothers” as it were (As far as I know it was not a Magdalene Laundry, but I do believe it was Work with the Sisters of Mercy) I knew her as a kind person with a sense of humour, and I do hope she was kind to the Girls in her care. I’d like to ask you though, is it Sister Catherine who is Nun who you refer to in your previous Post?

  31. Thanks for your very kind comments regarding THE GOD SQUAD. I can’t help but think you could recite the entire book without drawing breath. You will know from my writing that I was an altar boy – something I loved being and doing. As in all walks of life there are the good and the bad. I’ve no doubt whatever that there are ‘totally decent Gentlemen” in the priesthood and totally decent women who are also in the religious life. I celebrated a birthday the other day, (19th May) and got a card from a nun who nursed me as a child when I was undergoing major brain surgery. For the past 50+ years that nun has sent me a birthday card every year and if it wasn’t a birthday card, then she sent a text. I appreciate that. People like her and like the priests referred to in your comment illustrate that there are good people there. We would do well to recognise that. Best wishes. Paddy.

  32. Paddy, I am a huge fan of your book, must’ve read it a hundred times already (I’m not exaggerating). My Post is not out to paint all devout Catholics with one brush at all (indeed I grew up a Catholic, even serving as an Altar-Boy in our Local Church. The 2 Priests there were nothing but totally decent Gentlemen, one of whom is still serving Mass in Navan) But I do want to say that what gets to me is that though there is more open-mindedness these days, there are still People out there who are either brain-washed, or overly Religiously-obsessed (as well as sexually repressed in some cases) People who refuse to see the wrongs the Catholic Hierarchy covered up. Also, it really really annoys me when devout Catholics, most of whom seem to come from America talk about something as harmless and important as Contraception, as an “Evil” thing. Some of these People believe the Pill is an “abortificient” which is unbelievably ludicrous nonsense.

  33. I am just reading ‘The God Squad’ and I am shocked to read of the numbers of innocent children abused in these homes. As a Catholic I must say I think the church should never have control over children. I hope none of you still feel the stigma of this because it is so unjust. Innocent children don’t deserve the stigma, the so called’ religious care givers’ carry the blame for their illegal abuse of little children. Children are never ever responsible for the abuse, the adult abuser with the power over them to corrupt and defile them is always the guilty one. Bless you all for being the innocent survivors of this scandal.

  34. Katy Donovan

    Hello, I am examining the Catholic Godparents Guild, an organisation that helped allocate Godparents from members of the Irish public to children in industrial schools. It was founded in 1949 by Mr. L. Trant McCarthy and Miss Annie Wogan and ran up until the late 1970s. It was active across the whole of Ireland and affected the lives of many children from various different industrial schools. These children were probably assigned a Godparent without knowing why, or really who they were.

    I was wondering whether anybody was affected by the work of this Guild and may like to share their recollections of their experiences with me (or has any information that might prove to be useful). I would be ever so grateful as there is little information available about the experiences of the godchildren themselves, but I believe that this is one of the most important sections of this study.
    If you would like more information about me or my work please do not hesitate to contact me at donovak@tcd.ie.

  35. St. Patrick my a**. This is what Christianity did to Ireland. We would have been better off staying Pagans and Druids. We would have a better society. All this nonsense about sex before marriage and it’s consequences. Making people ashamed of their bodies and of nature. The British tried to do the same to the people of India and to the Aboriginal people of Austraila. What a load of money grabbing heartless hypocrites these Priests, Brothers and Nuns were. What sort of homes did they come from? I hope if there is an afterlife, which I doubt, that they suffer for what they did to these poor children. There has to be retribution, there must be.

  36. I agree Andrew. Trouble is who is going to do it. While I’m at it can I bring to your attention and the attention of other subscribers and visitors to this forum that THE STATUTORY TRUST RESIDENTIAL BILL IS BEING READ IN THE DÁIL NEXT WEEK, ON TUESDAY EVENING, WEDNESDAY EVENING AND THURSDAY ALL DAY IF NECESSARY. I just got that information a few minutes ago. Pass it on. With the majority the government it’s almost certain the Bill will be passed.

  37. Hi Paddy – the list definitely needs updating; to add the 10 years from 2002 up to 2012!

  38. I visited Connemara with my husband Dave at the recent Easter Weekend. We drove to Letterfrack and found the graves of the “boys” who died under the “CARE” of the brothers and priests who were put in charge of their welfare. We walked through a beautiful bluebell grove/wood on a lovely sunny day to find the graves, which lie near St. Joseph’s Catholic Church. It made us both very sad to see so many graves and like most other people I’m sure, we wondered how on earth so many young people died. They were abandoned, hurt, starved, left without creature comforts, some even tortured. The animals got fed better. I’m sure their “CARERS” never saw a hungry day. What sort of homes did these people come from who could treat mere children like this? I hope if there is a Hell they will burn there for a long time to atone for their sins. Who knows? If a God could let this happen then we will have to depend on the Devil to punish them. Ethel Gallagher. Dublin 6

  39. My heart goes out to all of those who suffered at the hands of the Devils who hid behind robes and Bibles. If any of you are reading this know that if I or others were not so ignorant of what was going on we would have helped. I am sorry, I am sorry that I did not know, I am sorry that animals that have no right to be around children were caring for you. It is my hope that maybe there is a god and maybe there is a heaven and a hell. May all your tormentors be in or go to hell, if there is a god I hope he or she punishes them, and if there is a heaven I know you will be there as you have already visited hell.

  40. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d12efUwrXIU
    Thanks for all the great work you do Paddy.
    Here is our latest protest at the Pro Cathedral.
    Now lets see if they will take action and let us be de-baptiszed from their evil religion.
    Lets see if they fancy a day or two in the courts.

  41. Im looking to find any of the women who were in st josephs cavan town during the fifties . my mother grew up there but has died. I would like to hear their stories of the place as I never got to meet my mother as i was adopted. Any information would be very much appreciated. I realise it was not a good place to grow up.

  42. Janette Roberts

    Hi sorry the address was Monaghan, Co Monaghan.

  43. Janette Roberts

    My mother Mary Patricia McLoughlin was admitted to St Martha’s Idustrial School, Burdoran, Co, Donegal on 17/4/1930 at the age of two, she was discharged on 27/3/1944. I am trying to trace my grandmother for her, she never saw her mother again. My mother would like to know what happend to her.
    She did go back to St Martha’s in 1990 but was told by the nuns that she had no right to find her and that her mother was now married with a family.

    Please if anyone has any information I would be grateful.

  44. Michael Howell

    My father, Christopher Howell was at Greenmount Industrial School, Green Street, Cork/Upton some time between 1933 – 1949 :

    Does any one know him or have any details or know someone who may have known him. Also, he was adopted by Dan and Nellie O’Driscoll on a farm in Upton by Brother Thiobald – does anyone know these people.

  45. does anybody know where Peter Tyrrell who was the author of Founded on Fear, is buried? he killed himself on hampstead common in the 60’s and I would like to visit his grave, any ideas or suggestions would be appreciated on how to find out where he is buried?



  46. kathleen Barry

    I have written a song in memory of all those children who lost their lives in industrial schools and I am in the process of completing a musical album in the hope of donating funds to people like christine Buckley for her courage and bravery in the face of all of this..I hope on some level the music helps to heal and more importantly bring the awareness to a much bigger audience

  47. We became strangers.

  48. I found my Cousin’s on friendsreunited in 2011 after many years trying to trace my roots ,I was delighted and hoped to meet them ,But they seem to hold back and seem to be embarrised that I and my Siblings were all in Industrial Schools ages from 8 Months to 7 years ,they dont contact me I have found it’s me who is doing all the contacting ,by the website NOT by phone as they haven’t given me any numbers nor where they live , That is part of the damage caused by the Government and religious orders in totally seperating families ,and Siblings when we were very young, our lives were Abused and Stolen from us ,you never get it back , NEVER.

  49. Sinead O'Loughlin


    The Blue Boy is a new theatre piece that is being developed by Irish theatre company Brokentalkers

    Fusing multi-media, video extracts, original music and movement, The Blue Boy tells the stories of men and women who were incarcerated as children in Catholic residential institutions.

    One of our primary methods in developing this piece is to interview people who have experienced life in residential institutes in Ireland. Our aim in these interviews is to learn about the reality of day-to-day life within these institutions and to represent the stories in a truthful way.

    Brokentalkers are looking to speak with individuals who have experience of residential institutions as well as groups who represent former residents.

    Brokentalkers are “one of the most exciting emergent voices in Irish
    theatre” (Irish Independent). They are fiercely committed to working in a collaborative way to give an honest account of contemporary Irish life and to give a voice to those that have been silenced.

    For more information on The Blue Boy or if you are interested in
    talking to Brokentalkers to aid their research and development of the
    work please contact Sinéad on blueboyresearch@gmail.com

    Your support will help to create a piece of work which will challenge, engage and inform audiences on this important subject.

  50. God bless all survivors of abuse in Ireland both catholic an Protestant and neither

  51. Margaret Halpin

    any remember me? was in st michaels cappoquin in the early 19seventies margaret halpin would love to hear from you…

  52. Current abuse of children

    I am wondering if there is any interest in current occasions of child
    abuse. The incidences that I am concerned about are not happening behind
    closed doors, but in full view of the public and mostly on a daily basis. Not only can the public see this happening, they, to my mind are actively supporting and encouraging
    this type of child abuse.

    As I work in the centre of Dublin, on many days if I pass through Nassau
    St., about 11 am or so I notice incidences of what I consider to be child abuse.
    These are the actions of at least 3 or more women, whom I presume from their mode of dress and accents are immigrants. Each woman is holding, sitting or carrying a child of varying ages. The children are wrapped within woollen blankets, making it difficult to see them, or indeed for them to see out.

    One woman, in particular, sits on the pavement beside the parked tourist
    buses beside the Trinity College wall while the other that I most commonly see, appears to walk continuously
    around the area with I believe is a younger child. On other occasions I have seem women with what appears to me
    to be the same baby. presumably swapped between them at different times of the day.

    They operate in the cold, wet, ice and snow as it appears that adverse weather conditions become an asset to their aims of receiving contributions of money and indeed presumably sympathy from passers by. I am sure that those who give them money may feel that they are somehow, by their action, relieving their condition. I however believe that they are only adding to this abuse of these children.

    As this activity occurs in public daily, should I be surprised that the only action of the Garda appears to be moving them on for purposes of keeping the pavement clear – or indeed the various civil and public servants, (Justice, Education, amongst
    others) and indeed the members and staff of Child protection agencies or
    similar charities with a remit to protect children have not, or apparently not, noticed their plight or considered that this is worthy of investigation or even action.

    The people who are exploiting and using these children are, I believe part of an organised and criminal activity.

    Near Westland Row Station shortly after 7am most mornings on most mornings, you can see at least 2 vehicles arriving to
    let off various “beggars” with or without their “begging aids” of crutches,proclamations in English saying they “dont do drugs” or “need a bed for the night” as well as several children. However the most incidious aid being used by them is children of ages, I would guess from weeks old to possibly 5 or so. They leave the vehicles with instructions for the days activities being given from assumably their “gangmasters”.

    I can only guess at what these are but these appear to be directions as to
    where they should stand, when they will be relived or should move to a new location.

    I have never seen the people who drive these vehicles participate actively
    in begging. So I have to assume the worst as to why the other accept their
    rulings and directions. I believe there is potentially some form of direct or indirect coercion involved in this process.

    How can such public abuse can happen openly in the middle of Dublin and I have to assume that this scam is not limited to only one Irish city.

    And more importantly, what are the authorities, the experts in the rights
    and care of children doing about this apart from ignoring the situation that they must, on occasssions pass regularly.

    I have to assume it is nothing or worse – do they not even see this as an abuse?

    So what does the future hold?

    For the children I assume it will be a good training in a very limited set
    of activities and the acceptance of their social position and condition of exploitation within a marginalised group.

    What will the costs be?

    For the children it will mean being locked within an unsocial condition
    where the obvious abuse may or may not be accompanied by other forms of abuse in not so public circumstances.

    And what about Ireland?

    Will this mean that at some point in the future, these children may realise
    that they were similarly “abandoned! by the State and the safety various nets that are provided or for some reason are not used because they are different?

    Is this not another form of abuse?

    Will this result in some future set of legal actions where they, the children, will endeavour to prove that the State deliberately ignored their plight and so abandoned them too?

    Or will the State use the potential get out created by: The Twenty-seventh Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland provided that children born on the island of Ireland to parents who were both non-nationals would no longer have a constitutional right to citizenship of the Republic of Ireland.

    May I remind you that these children have obviously been failed by the lack of and failure to pass the proposed Constitutional amendments:


    Bill Number 14 of 2007
    Sponsored by Minister for Health and Children
    Source: Government
    Method: Presented
    Status: LAPSED


    Article 42(A)
    1. The State acknowledges and affirms the natural and imprescriptible rights of all children.

    2. 1 In exceptional cases, where the parents of any child for physical
    or moral reasons fail in their duty towards such child, the State
    as guardian of the common good, by appropriate means shall
    endeavour to supply the place of the parents, but always with
    due regard for the natural and imprescriptible rights of the child.

    2 Provision may be made by law for the adoption of a child where the parents have failed for such a period of time as may be prescribed by law in their duty towards the child, and where the best interests of the child so require.

    3. Provision may be made by law for the voluntary placement for adoption and the adoption of any child.

    4. Provision may be made by law that in proceedings before any court concerning the adoption, guardianship or custody of, or access to, any child, the court shall endeavour to secure the best interests of the child.

    5.1 Provision may be made by law for the collection and exchange of information relating to the endangerment, sexual exploitation
    or sexual abuse, or risk thereof, of children, or other persons of
    such a class or classes as may be prescribed by law.

    2 No provision in this Constitution invalidates any law providing
    for offences of absolute or strict liability committed against or
    in connection with a child under 18 years of age.

    3 The provisions of this section of this Article do not, in any way,
    limit the powers of the Oireachtas to provide by law for other offences of absolute or strict liability.

    I assume they, these children, are therefore in danger of falling through our administrative “cracks” if they have not already!


  53. truth will out

    Bernadete, have you photos if so will you put the photos you have of children who were in Goldenbridge from 1950 to 1963 and if you have any from an earlier time say the 1930’s or 1940’s that would be part of healing for survivors or their children or grandchildren Great grandchildren .it is important that those photos are shared at last and about time. Thanks, please reply if others you might know has photos copy them and make sure survivors in the photos get copies.It would be very unjust and hard hearted if anyone has photos and hangs on to them without sharing them dont you think

  54. Donna Buggle

    Hi my name is Donna Buggle my father was taken from his mother when he was 6 years old and spent 9 years ans 3 months in care his last 2 years at Greenmount industrial school. The last time he saw his mother was in Rathdrum when he was taken from her. Her name is or was Kathleen Buggle and she came from Celbridge, Kildare. Does anyone know of Kathleen or what happened to her. My father is now 70.

  55. Many thanks monica I’ll look into it x

    Catherine I’m on an iPhone and cannot see you email address but here is mine feel free to contact me about the above matter many thanks Leanne
    Email leanne1913@Hotmail.co.uk

  56. Hi, I found an old photo at home taken in Greenmount Industrial School Cork recently. We think it was taken around the early 1920’s. My two great-uncles were sent there after my great grandmother died young and my great grandfather could not look after them. We know from stories that have been told over the generations that both were abused while they were there. I am trying to research what years they were there and to find out anything that i can about my family but i do not know where to start. We think that one of my great uncles are in this photo but are not sure as photo was only found recently and everyone that knew about this photo are now gone. I would appreciate if anyone had any ideas where i would start. Thanks

  57. Catherine Coffey

    Dear Leanne,
    Could you email us at above email address. I am a survivor of the industrial schools and am setting up an organisation to support Traveller Survivors. I would like to talk you to privately.

    Catherine Coffey and Patricia Twomey

  58. Hi Jacqueline and Leanne try the Origins team in Barnardos – they work with people who spent time in the industrial schools and are very helpful and respectful
    Dublin T: 01- 453 03 55 E: origins@barnardos.ie
    Cork: T: 021 431 05 91 E: origins@cork.barnardos.ie
    Galway T: 091 388 292
    E: josephine.togher@barnardos.ie
    hope this is of some help

  59. leanne langstead

    My grandad Thomas O’Brien was in ferry house with his brothers Michael, Paddy and another we have one photo of them in there and I think there is another one somewhere with about 16 rows of children the one my granddad has about 3-4 rows of children I was wondering as I’m in UK if you or anyone else knew where I could do some more research and hopefully find this other picture I would be very grateful I know my granddad suffered badly in there and he now has dementia which sometimes is a blessing as he will not remember his awful childhood but its still part of our life and we only have this one photo of his childhood many thanks leanne

  60. i am wondering why i was sent to an industrial sch in northern ireland without having been commited i was their for three years,i have struggled with this for a number of years but dont know who to turn to any suggestions

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