Archives: Forum

2006-11-01 17:19:54 Marie-Therese O’Loughlin

Re: From the Guestbook {2}

Acquired in the 1940s, & already in the 1950s the establishment was drawing complaints. Judge H. A. McCarthy had been making frequent representations to both relevant Departments about conditions in childcare institutions, and to the Department Of Education regarding Marlborough House specifically. A colleague on the bench (quoted by the judge) had been told by the Marlborough House Superintendent that bedding was being left for years unlaundered and not disinfected; that he (the Superintendent) had learned that there was no money to pay capable attendants (in the course of a discussion with the relevant Department Of Education official); and that the Superintendent had protested at the failure to appoint an official visitor.

Complaints – largely concerning physical abuse – were still mounting in the 1960s, and were taken in evidence by the (Kennedy) Commission of Enquiry into Reformatory and Industrial Schools. But even when judges and social workers/probation officers complained, the Department Of Education would scarcely reply. In 1969, shortly before its final Report, the Kennedy Commission wrote to the Department Of Education, saying that already in 1942 the building had been condemned as dangerous; that staff were untrained and unsuitable and recruited from the local labour exchange, and given to brutality]; and that at Marlborough House…is so dangerous from every aspect that something must be done immediately to eradicate those dangers”.

Finally, the boys there rioted. There was a staff walk-out – followed by more rioting. Then prison officers were sent in to replace staff – under the administration of a Department Of Justice official. He recalls: “The whole place was fouled with excrement, the bedding was urine soaked and infested with lice…Every bit of furniture was broken.” Desmond O’Malley, installed as Minister For Justice, even complained to the Department Of Education that his officials had recently been obstructed in trying to run the place. In 1972, the Department closed Marlborough House.

Anthony Keating is a Government of Ireland Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in the Humanities and Social Sciences, based in the School of Communications at Dublin City University.

Will source information here.

THE ABOVE IS INFORMATION CONCERNING JUDGE H. A. McCARTHY. It’s such a pity that the voices of the infants who were hauled before him in the courts weren’t heard. Older children could vent their distain, especially those who knew how to differentiate because of having lived in the outside world & because of having caregivers of some description or other. The infants unfortunately didn’t either have the luxury of social workers or probation officers to defend them, despite having criminal records from the ages, of three/four years onwards (affectionless thieves!)  IN THE PAST I WAS EXCRUCIATINGLY EMBITTERED WITH JUDGE McCARTHY, BECAUSE HE INCARCERATED ME INTO GOLDENBRIDGE INDUSTRIAL SCHOOL FOR A WHOLE CHILDHOOD. EVERY TIME I LOOKED AT HIS SIGNATURE ON MY COMMITTAL FORM WHICH I RECEIVED SOME YEARS AGO. IT QUITE LITERALLY SENT SHIVERS DOWN MY SPINE. IT BROUGHT SO MUCH INFURIATING, INTENSE DISPLEASURE TO THE FORE. THE NEGATIVE EMOTIONALITY, INDIGNATION, IRE, WRATH, AROUSED IN ME ON MERELY GLANCING AT SAME NEARLY DROVE ME TO SHEER MADNESS. BUT ALAS, RELIEF OF SORTS WAS EVENTUALLY FOUND ON READING ARTICLE ABOVE & ON HEARING OTHER POSITIVE STORIES OF OTHERS, WHOM HE GAVE A SECOND CHANCE – I NOW REALISE HE WAS ALSO A KIND MAN WHO DID CARE SOMEWHAT ABOUT VULNERABLE CHILDREN.


One thought on “Archives: Forum

  1. Marie-Thérèse, My name is Tony Keating and I have just stumbled on your posting re my article on Marlborough House. I thought you may also like to know that Justice McCarthy was such a thorn in the side of the Department of Education in relation to the appalling conditions in industrial and reformatory schools that a civil servant suggested setting him up to ruin his career.
    It is one of the strange conundrums that people like McCarthy and Justice Eileen Kennedy still committed children to the schools whilst working behind the scenes for reform of a system they knew to be, in large parts rotten. They were despite, I believe, being at heart caring individuals, creators of the establishment whose sense of duty and loyalty to their position, state and church precluded them from taking more public and dramatic action. McCarthy was particularly vociferous in the background with the Department of Education, it is a pity he and others did not feel able to break cover and go public. They were, however, creatures of their age, class and upbringing. I doesn’t make it right but may help explain it. Take care, Tony Keating, Edge Hill University UK.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s