Tuesday 20 March 2018

Don't hold it inside -- tell gardai to end nightmare, urges victim

Breda Heffernan

MICHAEL Ferry was yesterday described as a "demon" who continues to haunt one of his victim's dreams.

Derek Mulligan (24), from Gweedore, Co Donegal, bravely waived his anonymity to urge other victims of sexual abuse to come forward and report it to gardai in order to "end your nightmare".

"How can someone so sick prey, not even on people his own age but children -- the most vulnerable of all -- just for his own kicks and pleasures?" he asked after Ferry was jailed for 14 years yesterday.

Mr Mulligan was one of four boys who were systematically groomed and abused by the local school caretaker.

Given Ferry's previous conviction for sexual assault almost nine years ago -- and that he continued to abuse again and again -- his expression of remorse was meaningless to Mr Mulligan.

"Did he say the same to that victim that day in 2002, that he had remorse for what he had done to them? But yet he still goes on to abuse again. Does he even know what remorse means?" Mr Mulligan asked. "I believe someone so sick and perverted could never change."

He asked why Ferry was able to return to his job as caretaker of Ard Scoil Mhuire in Gweedore after his 2002 conviction.

"Why did his employers still employ him? There's so many questions," he said.

Mr Mulligan described how years of abuse had destroyed his childhood.

"Basically what happens is it ruins your life. First you lose your childhood; then, the more you try to bury it, it eats away at you, bit by bit. It even haunts your dreams."

However, he believes there is light at the end of such a dark tunnel and the first step toward him regaining his life was reporting the abuse to gardai.

"It wasn't until I came forward that my nightmare ended. My advice to anyone is 'don't hold it inside any longer. Talk to the gardai, end your own nightmare'."

The Dublin Rape Crisis Centre runs a 24-hour helpline (1800 778888) for victims of abuse.

Irish Independent

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