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Irish abuse commission concedes ‘seriously erroneous statistic’

By Katie Ascough - 30 November, 2019

The Department of Education information calculates that the number of children in Industrial Schools and Reformatories from 1930–1970 now stands at approximately 42,000—less than one-fourth of the original figure.

Over ten years since the 2009 Ryan Report was published, the Chairperson of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse and High Court judge, Mr Justice Ryan, has published a statement conceding a “seriously erroneous statistic”.

“In two places it states that the total number of children who were admitted to Industrial Schools between 1936 and 1970 was approximately 170,000,” said Mr Justice Ryan. Industrial Schools and similar were institutions for neglected, orphaned, abandoned or troublesome children and were run by Protestant and Catholic groups. It was found that many of these children were victims of systematic and sustained abuse.

While it is not possible to provide a precise figure, Department of Education information calculates that the number of children in Industrial Schools and Reformatories between 1930 and 1970 now stands at approximately 42,000—less than one-fourth of the original figure. “It appears that the total given in the report was derived by adding the yearly figures for the population in the institutions but that did not take account of the fact that children were counted in each year of detention,” said Mr Justice Ryan.

The current estimate from the Department of Education Information is explained on the abuse commission’s website.

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