Witness asked why no-one intervened over abuse at Salvation Army boys home
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some Salvation Army institutions were "fiefdoms unto themselves", but there was a reluctance within the government to close problem, church-run schools.
Jan Doyle said while there were concerns within the department about the physical state of the Riverview Training farm, it was unlikely to have been aware of a slew of abuse complaints against it.
But had they been aware, there would have been resistance on a political level to remove their licences to care for children.
"We were a government department and we were controlled by a minister, and ministers are very much aware of who they will upset," Ms Doyle said.
"The churches at the time, in the early 1970s, were very powerful - not just the Salvation Army, the Anglicans, the Catholics, the Baptists, and I don't think any politician wished to read about themselves on the front page of the daily paper."