Commission Report (Child Abuse)
Two clippings (on Cabra & Stillorgan) from the Commission Report:
Chapter 13 (1st volume) deals with the final Christian Brothers’ School investigated by the Committee, St Joseph’s School for the Deaf, in Cabra. This was not an Industrial School but was a residential school for boys from the age of eight who were profoundly or partially deaf. This school was also investigated on a document only basis. It was the subject of Eastern Health Board Investigations in the 1980s which revealed disturbing levels of sexual abuse and peer sexual activity amongst boys who were resident there. These documents reveal a persistent failure on the part of school Authorities to protect children from bullying and abuse.
In addition, the documents revealed that physical punishment of these children continued into the mid-1990s and that staff were protected by management when physical abuse was discovered.
It is significant that the Industrial Schools owned and managed by the Christian Brothers did not keep a Punishment Book as was required by the Rules.
Chapters 15 and 16 (2nd volume) are brief reviews of documentary evidence in relation to two schools that offered residential care to deaf girls: St Mary’s Girls Cabra which was run by the Dominican Order of Nuns and Beechpark run by the Daughters of Liege. Oral hearings were not conducted into these schools and there was not a significant amount of documentary material discovered to the Committee. Most allegations of abuse referred to the harshness with which the policy of oralism was imposed on children who were deaf and who instinctively used sign language as well. Whilst the wisdom of imposing oralism was a separate matter and one which the Committee could not comment on, the methods of enforcing it were at times too severe.