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Sunday 19 November 2017

Victims of paedophile Michael Ferry want case review released

Pearse Doherty. Photo: Tom Burke
Pearse Doherty. Photo: Tom Burke

Greg Harkin

VICTIMS of one of the country's most notorious paedophiles, Michael Ferry, put pressure last night on new Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald to release a review of their case.

In her former role as Children's Minister, Ms Fitzgerald has already handed over a damning HSE report to the victims of former student priest Michael Ferry.

Initially, the Child and Family Agency TULSA had refused to release the report but later agreed to give it to victims.

It found that the North West Health Board failed in its basic duties to investigate Ferry, who returned to his job as a school caretaker to sexually abuse more young boys despite a 2002 conviction for abusing a boy when he was just 11.

Ferry (59) is serving a 14-year sentence after pleading guilty to dozens of sex attacks on young boys at an Irish language college in Gweedore, west Donegal.

When the scandal broke in 2011, then Justice Minister Alan Shatter ordered a comprehensive review of the case, but he has never released its contents to Ferry's victims.

"I spoke to him (Mr Shatter) before Easter and he asked for a couple of weeks to look at it," said TD Pearse Doherty.

"Unfortunately he never came back and I would hope now there is a new direction inside the Department of Justice which will allow the victims of Ferry to find out about the failures which led to their lives being destroyed by a convicted paedophile who was already on the sex offenders register."

Victims told the Irish Independent last night that they hoped Ms Fitzgerald would finally release the report.

"To be fair to her, she has been a good minister for children and she did make sure we saw the HSE review of the case," one victim said.

"We sincerely hope that Minister Fitzgerald will now act in the right and proper manner once again and release the report given to her predecessor.

"It is vital for us so that our lives can move on and it is vital that lessons are learned so that this does not happen again in some other county in this country," he said.

The Department of Justice said: "A further report had been sought from the garda authorities by the minister's predecessor on any issues arising from the case, following the decision not to prosecute, and this material will be considered by Minister Fitzgerald upon its receipt. It is not possible to make any further comment pending that."

Irish Independent

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