The Ryan Report
Reformatory and industrial schools and twentieth-century Ireland
in Defining events
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This chapter explores the responses to the Ryan Report and, more generally, to analyse differing explanations for the system of industrial and reformatory schools that operated for over 100 years. It describes the Irish experience in comparative perspective. Ireland was not unique in confronting abusive regimes in institutions where children were maintained by state, religious and other philanthropic bodies for their protection, reclamation and rescue. The chapter presents some methodological difficulties associated with understanding and interpreting past practices in such institutions, and with the use of commissions or committees of inquiry, which aim to serve both investigative and therapeutic functions. All of the institutions cited in The Magdalene Sisters of the alliance between Catholic Church and Irish state operated across Europe and North America; thus they were not unique to Ireland, as is sometimes intimated.

Defining events

Power, resistance and identity in twenty-first-century Ireland

Editors: Rosie Meade and Fiona Dukelow

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