A museum to remember industrial schools
Sir, – As an ex-inmate of the notorious Artane industrial school in the 1940s and 1950s, my attention was drawn to the article “Government in dilemma over child abuse files” (Home News, November 30th). I empathise fully with the decription of “Tomas” as I too was and am a “Tomas”, and I know I am not the only one, having come across a few “compatriots” over the years.
My main reason however for writing is to give my own view as to the destination of the files in question. Rather than locking them away (and “out of sight out of mind as it were”), as the Government seems to be suggesting, I believe that they should be placed in a museum of sorts for public attention/inspection, as a reminder – lest we end up being merely a footnote in history.
I say that, bearing in mind that I have come across many people under the age of 50, who, to my amazement, were not aware of the circumstances appertaining to those days.
I would suggest that an ideal place for the files would be in my old place of incarceration, ie the building, still extant, that was Artane industrial school. It is still a school, albeit a proper one, known as St David’s, but it is such a large edifice that a room could be set aside for such a project.
As for those, and their relatives, who wish to opt-out; given the time that has elapsed, I see very little harm in allowing future generations and obviously historians, access to what is after all part of our history, albeit not a very pleasant one.
At 82, with time obviously not on my side, I could be one of its first visitors. – Yours, etc,
Bantry, Co Cork.