The body set up by the State to investigate claims of abuse in religious-run institutions has admitted that its final report dramatically over-estimated the number of children in the homes.
In a statement this week, the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse said the number of children housed in the institutions was approximately 42,000 – about a quarter of the 170,000 previously cited in the 2009 Ryan Report.
In a statement on the commission website, its chair Mr Justice Seán Ryan revealed that “the commission’s report published in May 2009 contains a seriously erroneous statistic according to the general agreement of relevant experts and bodies”.
After consulting relevant experts – more than ten years after the report claiming the 170,000 figure was published – Mr Ryan admitted this week that he is now “of the view that the number stated in the report is not correct”.
Judge Ryan said “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”.
While it was not possible to establish a precise figure, he said, “the department’s calculation of the number of children in Industrial Schools and Reformatories from 1930-1970 and beyond is approximately 42,000 or somewhat higher.”