The Department of Education has admitted that it significantly failed to ensure the satisfactory care of children in industrial schools.

Apologising for the department's shortcomings to the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse, the Secretary General of the department, Brigid McManus, also said that many complaints about institutions were regarded by officials as insignificant.

Responding to Senior Counsel for the Christian Brothers, she conceded that Artane School in Dublin was not inspected for three years, beginning in 1950.

Ms McManus also conceded other industrial schools were not inspected annually despite a legal requirement on her department to visit and write reports on them at least once a year.

She also recalled in 1969 the then Minister for Finance, Charles Haughey, ordered the doubling of a planned increase in the State's capitation fee for the religious who owned and managed the schools.