Sir, - A correspondent, Brian Quinn, refers (May 4th) to an account I gave on the Prime Time programme about Goldenbridge Orphanage to a visit I made to a residential home in the early 1960s with Sean MacEntee who was Minister for Health at the time.
I mentioned that the Sisters running the place looked exhausted and undernourished. Mr Quinn wonders what was done about it. My reference to the subsequent action got lost in the editing of the programme. As soon as we left the home, MacEntee gave a direction to the Secretary of the Department, who was with us, to have the payments to the centre increased immediately irrespective of what the Department of Finance view might be. This was done, but I cannot now recall the amount of the increase except that, for the times, it was generous.
I might mention that Finance was then keeping an extremely tight fisted control on payments to institutions. The home to which I refer was a centre for children with a mental handicap; the Department of Health did not assume responsibility for industrial schools (orphanages) until the early 1980s. Yours, etc.,