Mary Rafferty says it was.
Today, the Government faces a clear choice: will it continue its supine and cowed attitude – so disastrous in the past for the children of Ireland – or will it at last on our behalf stand up to those who have bullied and intimidated us all for so long?Well, this partial sentence taken from a letter from Department of Education (Vol I, Ch. 16) makes me think that, perhaps, that it wasn't just a matter of the Church bullying and intimidating the forces of the state*.
it is a general experience that for an institution of the kind management by a religious order is more economical than lay managementThe state was using the Church for its own ends. It was cheaper to outsource the management of the industrial schools, etc. to the Catholic Church than it was for the state to provide them.
*Really that is a ridiculous notion. As if the Church had more power than the state. The Church's power derived solely from the devotion of the people of this Republic. The state had an army and the police. The Church had men in cassocks and women in habits.