Evelyn: Changing The Law In Ireland - DES GOES TO ENGLAND

Exemplar order sending four-year-old Paddy Doyle to "Detention in a Certified Industrial School."  Image of document online, courtesy Irish National Archives. Click on it for a full-page view.


After the children were committed to the convent and industrial schools, Desmond sailed to England. He had secured a job in Huddersfield, a former parish town located in Yorkshire just north of Holmfirth.

Working in Huddersfield, Doyle met Jessie Brown (called "Bernadette Beattie" in the movie). First she was his landlady (while he lived in England), then she was his "housekeeper" (when he returned to Ireland eight months later). Desmond thought he had everything he needed to get his children back, including money and "female assistance."

But the law required more.

As soon as he returned to Dublin, in the early fall of 1953, Des wrote the Minister of Education to have Evelyn returned to him. He thought once that was granted, the boys would also come home.

Three weeks later, however, he received a shocking reply. Government officials thought it "would not be in the child's best interests" to leave the convent.

Doyle sought the help of his father's solicitor, Michael Beattie. A specialist in family law, Beattie gave Desmond bad news. Section 10 of the Children Act of 1941 applied:

This section authorizes a judge to send a child to an industrial school who is destitute but not an orphan if her parents are unable to support her. The judge can dispense with one of the parents' consent when he's ordering the committal, as happened in your case. But when an application arises for the same child's release from the school, the consent of both parents is required. (Tea and Green Ribbons, page 96.)

Evelyn's mother could not consent to her daughter's "release from the school." She was out of the country. And Desmond faced another unspoken problem: He was Catholic; Jessie Brown, his "housekeeper," was Protestant.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: Dec 01, 2002

Updated Last Revision: Jul 15, 2019

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"DES GOES TO ENGLAND" AwesomeStories.com. Dec 01, 2002. Feb 29, 2020.
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