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Tuesday 6 December 2016

Abuser tried to get work at under-age sporting events

Greg Harkin

Published 22/07/2011 | 05:00

CHILD abuser Michael Ferry offered to work with a voluntary ambulance service which provides first aid at underage sporting events, the Irish Independent has learnt.

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School caretaker Ferry (55) -- jailed for 14 years this week for the rape of four boys -- approached the Order of Malta in the late 1990s offering to set up a branch of the organisation.

However, the ambulance service said last night the branch proposed by Ferry "never really got off the ground" and ceased to exist following his conviction in 2002 for sexually abusing a boy.

There is no suggestion Ferry abused anyone during his involvement with the Order of Malta.

The organisation's spokesman Jimmy May said: "He would have offered services at a few local football matches and the like, but it never really got off the ground."

Another group, youth organisation Foroige, also confirmed yesterday that Ferry had worked with children between 1984 and 1987.

Foroige has contacted the Health Service Executive and the gardai to confirm this.

The disclosures came as gardai in Co Donegal continue their investigation into claims Ferry was involved in a child sex ring with up to four others.

The Irish-language college on whose premises Ferry abused children could be in danger of closing following revelations it continued to give him work after it became known he was a sex offender.

Colaiste Cholmcille continued to allow Ferry do odd jobs at one of its buildings, Ard Scoil Mhuire in Gweedore, after his 2002 conviction.

He would subsequently go on to abuse at least four other boys at the premises.

Seosamh O Gallachoir, one of the directors of Colaiste Cholmcille, said the business was "in danger" following revelations it continued to give work to Ferry after he was exposed as a paedophile.

Shock

The college's future was thrown in doubt after CONCOS, the umbrella organisation for Irish-language colleges, cancelled Colaiste Cholmcille's membership in response to the scandal.

O Gallachoir said a decision on the organisation's involvement in running Irish language courses would be taken "in the next few weeks".

Meanwhile, young adults attending a Colaiste Cholmcille course being run in different premises in the Donegal Gaeltacht this week expressed shock and surprise that Ferry had been given a position as an odd job man by the organisation after his first conviction for sex offences against children in 2002.

"It sickened me to think that this went on," said one 25-year-old student.

A relative of one of Ferry's victims told the Irish Independent his abuse had caused huge trauma in the lives of his victims.

"There were young lads who went off the rails around here through drink and drugs during this period and it is only now that we know why," the relative said.

"These boys were crying out for help and they were let down badly by so many people."

One of them, Derek Mulligan, waived his anonymity earlier this week to speak of his ordeal at the hands of Ferry.

Grainne Mhic Geidigh, a member of Udaras na Gaeltachta and local councillor, said the community was "determined" to support the victims.

"The community here is shocked and sickened by these revelations," she said. "Derek Mulligan's bravery contrasts starkly with the brutality and awfulness of Michael Ferry and what he did.

"We want other people who have been affected by Ferry or other paedophiles to take courage from Derek and the other boys and come forward. As a community, we will help them in any way we can."

Irish Independent

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