Ryan report statistics


A chara, – It is astonishing to learn, some 10 years later, that the influential Ryan Commission report grossly overestimated the number of children who were admitted to industrial schools between 1936 and 1970 (“Child abuse inquiry admits to ‘seriously erroneous statistic’,” Patsy McGarry, Front page, November 26th). Instead of 170,000 children we are now informed that the true figure is likely to have been in the region of 42,000. It is, to say the least, most unfortunate that the original report contained such a monumental error.

While it will be of little consolation to the children who went through the system that they belonged to a much smaller group than previously suggested, it is still of fundamental importance that our historical perspective is as far as possible grounded in accuracy.

There is no doubt the industrial schools regime was cruel and callous for those who had to endure it, but whether Ireland in this respect was any worse than other countries at the time is very much open to debate. – Is mise,


Co Wicklow.