Monday 23 April 2018

Garda silence on sex offender unacceptable

MICHAEL Ferry was convicted on two counts of sexual assault in Letterkenny District Court in 2002. He was given a suspended prison sentence, fined €500 and placed on the sex offenders' register. He returned to his job as a caretaker -- in the school in which the offences had occurred.

Yesterday in the Central Criminal Court he pleaded guilty to 38 sample charges of rape and other sexual offences. Mr Justice Paul Carney sentenced him to 14 years' imprisonment and made some sharp comments on his crimes -- and opportunities. It was, he said, "a disturbing feature" that Ferry retained his job, which gave him the opportunity to groom more victims. His earlier conviction "must have been known to local gardai and presumably to the school authorities."

These are crucial points. This man should have gone to prison in the first place, and on his release he should never have been permitted to work in an environment which gave him easy access to children. Yesterday the Garda Press Office refused to answer questions designed to elicit more information. That is not satisfactory. In this particularly shocking case, the Garda Siochana must give an account of their conduct.

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