Goldenbridge State funding

Part 7 St. Vincent’s Industrial School – Goldenbridge

The application of State funding to the care of children in the institution

7.1 A limited amount of financial information is available in respect of Goldenbridge industrial school:

  • — No accounts were available for the period 1939–50

— Accounts were available for the period 1955–69 in six-monthly sets with the exception of the six-month periods ended 31st December 1957, 30th June 1968 and 30th June 1969. The period ended 31st December 19606 has also been omitted from our analysis as this appears to be a duplication of the 30th June 1960 accounts and therefore is of questionable validity. Two different sets of accounts were made available to us for 1953. For the purpose of this analysis we have used SOMGB-00568/12 and SOMGB-00568/13. In the years 19617 and 19638 we note that the accounts of the Goldenbridge do not appear to tot correctly. We have used the detailed analysis in the accounts rather than relying on sub-totals as presented.

7.2  We have not received any financial information from the Sisters of Mercy in relation to bead-making. We have calculated, based on information from a company that Goldenbridge sold beads to, that the likely range of the annual income from beads was IR£717 per annum to IR£2,869 per annum.

7.3  We note that, with the exception of the 1953 accounts, there is no record of the school having received primary grant funding in respect of teachers in the Industrial School.

7.4  A building account was operated during the period under review. We received accounts for the period 1961–66 in six-monthly sets with the exception of the six months ended 30th June 1962 and 30th June 1964.

7.5 The income and expenditure statements for the industrial school, for the years provided, show a surplus of €33,409

7.6 The most significant items of expenditure can be summarised as follows:

Exhibit 4

1951–60 1961–69
% %
Dietary expenses 34 26
Wages 21 18
Clothing 12 12
Building repairs and decorations 11 16
Fuel and light 7 7
Furniture and fittings 3 3
Medical 1 2
Other 11 16
Total 100 100

The wages identified above consist of staff wages, payments to the Resident Manager and payments to the reverend mother.

7.8  Capital expenditure in the school account amounted to €68,745 recorded in the income and expenditure statements received. This was mainly attributable to repairs to building, decorations and furniture and fittings. Capital expenditure financed from the building account during the period 1961–66 amounted to €90,000, giving a total capital expenditure of €158,745 for the period reviewed. Due to the incomplete nature of the records we are unable to determine whether the lodgements to the building account represent capital grants or general funding of the school which was allocated to capital expenditure. It is unclear how much of this fund was used for properties other than for the Industrial School; although based on a review of a sample of such expenditure we did note a certificate for payment in respect of Rathdrum in the amount of IR£750 – suggesting that the fund was not applied solely to the Industrial School.9

Commentary on the effects of changes in the number of children in the relevant institutions over the period 1939–69

7.9  The number of children committed to Goldenbridge Industrial School peaked in the early 1960s and then began to decline in the late 1960s.

A commentary on staffing/student ratios over the period of the review

7.10  We understand that the staffing consisted of two nuns (both teaching and one having the dual responsibility of resident manager), two lay teachers and between approximately 8 and 10 other staff (seamstress, domestic, etc.). We understand that numbers of teaching staff remained constant during the period.

Financial consequences for the relevant institutions as a result of caring for the children over the period 1939–69

7.11 There was a surplus in the bank account of the Industrial school at 30th November 1969 of €16,265

7.12  The financial consequences for Goldenbridge of caring for the children over the period 1939–69 may be characterised as being close to break-even. This view is consistent with the available financial statements. We note, however, that the school accounts do not include funds from the industrial activity at the school, and that they do not include any amount in respect of primary grant received, with the exception of an amount of IR£878 in 1953.

7.13  There were peak years for payments of wages and salaries in 1953 and 1954 of approximated €4,900 per annum. These levels were not reached again until 1967. We note from the payments books, which are only available subsequent to 1960, that they show a payment, recorded as wages, to the reverend mother of IR£90 per month. We do not know whether this payment actually represented wages or if the funds were used for the school or for another purpose.

Archives: Forum

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


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 information = Judge H. A. McCarthy. It’s such a pity that the voices of infants hauled before the judge in Dublin Disctrict 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.


  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