Ireland's Child Care Institutions during the 20th. Century. Fo'T: The most vivid and passionate stories - banished babies, cruel orphanages, old abuses of power - have concerned things that went unnoticed, or at least unarticulated, at the time. News has often had to be redefined, not as the latest sensation but as that which everybody knew all along yet could not say.

Monday, September 12, 2005

MY QUESTIONS 1

  1. Given that the Catholic Church enjoyed a position of immense social influence in Irish society during the period in question, did members of the Catholic religious orders who ran the industrial schools believe that they could act with impunity? - In other words was there a conscious understanding among the religious that the State should be subservient to the Church?
  2. Why did inspectors fail to notice the harshness of the regime in the institutions---the semi-starvation, the excessive corporal punishment, the inadequate or non-existent education, the grievous bodily harm, the fear, the sexual abuse?
  3. Was there comprehensive deceit on the part of the religious? - Or were the inspectors complicit in protecting the religious orders from hostile publicity?
  4. If there was official knowledge of the abuses perpetrated in the institutions, was this knowledge conveyed to the senior ranks of the civil service, to members of the Cabinet?
  5. Under whose authority was the system designed so that the institutions were funded according to the number of children incarcerated?
  6. Was this system ever the subject of political criticism in the Dail or the Cabinet?
  7. Was there any awareness in the Department of Education or other Departments that the number in industrial schools was excessively high?

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