Two suspected associates of child abuser held
TWO suspected associates of jailed child-sex abuser Michael Ferry were arrested yesterday over links to a possible paedophile ring.
Two houses in Donegal were searched in what a source described was an effort to find evidence relating to child-sex abuse against young boys over a 20-year period.
It is understood the searches were of properties belonging to two men who were suspected of being known to Ferry, the school caretaker jailed for 14 years last month after pleading guilty to a series of sex offences, including rape, between 1990 and 2005.
The suspects were being held at separate garda stations, in Glenties and Letterkenny.
A garda spokesman confirmed that the pair were detained and were being questioned about "serious assaults".
The Irish Independent understands that four men who claim they were abused by a third man who may also have been known to Ferry have made fresh allegations to gardai in Glenties in the past few days.
The allegations relate to abuse of boys aged nine and 10 in the mid-1990s.
The case of Ferry (56) created huge controversy when it was revealed he raped four boys after he was allowed to return to his old job at the Ard Scoil Mhuire Irish language summer school in Gweedore despite being convicted in 2002 of the sexual assault of a pupil and being placed on the sex offenders' register.
Ferry worked at the school in an unofficial capacity, doing odd jobs and driving a bus, while continuing to abuse children at the premises.
His victims were not pupils at the school.
In the wake of Ferry's conviction, gardai have been investigating claims that he was involved in a child-sex ring with up to four others.
Parents have confirmed that six boys made allegations against one of Ferry's associates in the 1990s.
A file was sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions, but the case was not taken further.
Two years later, two more boys made similar allegations against the man but again the case was not prosecuted.
It is also understood that relatives of some of Ferry's victims have made fresh complaints to gardai, asking for the case to be re-opened.
Prior to conviction, Ferry was considered a respectable member of his community and ingratiated himself into several organisations.
He volunteered for the Order of Malta and the local mountain rescue group and was a regular at church and school events.
Meanwhile, Justice Minister Alan Shatter confirmed that he has received a further report from the Garda Commissioner in relation to the Ferry scandal.
Confirming receipt of the report, a spokesman for Mr Shatter said: "In the report the Commissioner has indicated that he has asked the Assistant Commissioner of the Northern Region to investigate if any outstanding matters arise for An Garda Siochana that would require a file to the DPP including the role played by school management and their knowledge of Mr Ferry's conviction."
The spokesman added: "In the circumstances the minister does not propose to make any further public comment at this stage."