Belfast Telegraph

Ulster child abuser taught sex education in Donegal school

Court sketch of Michael Ferry being sentenced on June 18th at Central Criminal Court, Dublin for 96 counts of sexual abuse
Court sketch of Michael Ferry being sentenced on June 18th at Central Criminal Court, Dublin for 96 counts of sexual abuse

By Greg Harkin

Paedophile Michael Ferry gave sex education and religion classes to teenagers before he was unmasked as a serial paedophile.

Ferry (55) - jailed for 14 years this week for the rape of four boys - worked as a substitute teacher at a Co Donegal secondary school, former pupils confirmed last night.

Students as young as 13 were given classes by the former seminarian at the Gweedore secondary school - Pobalscoil Gaoth Dobhair - in the 1980s.

It is understood there are no allegations against Ferry from his time working at the school.

No-one from Pobalscoil Gaoth Dobhair was available for comment yesterday.

Ferry taught at the school before the current principal was put in charge. Sources say his time at the school ended before 1990.

After leaving the school he got work as the caretaker of a nearby Irish language summer college, Ard Scoil Mhuire, where he was involved in a reign of terror, abusing young boys.

Ferry was jailed earlier this week for 14 years after pleading guilty to 38 sample counts of rape and molestation of four boys on the college premises between 1990 and 2005.

Many children from Northern Ireland attend Irish language courses in the Donegal Gaeltacht.

Seosamh O Gallachoir, who runs the Irish language college at Ard Scoil Mhuire, last night expressed his "deepest regret" that Ferry had abused children at the property.

He said Ferry was sacked in 2001 after abuse allegations against him first came to light.

However, over subsequent years, Ferry was allowed to carry out repair work on the building "on an intermittent basis", Mr O Gallachoir said.

"With the benefit of hindsight, in light of the information now available, we regret having allowed this."

Sinn Fein's finance spokesman Pearse Doherty believes that he escaped the clutches of Ferry during an incident when he was a child.

He said Ferry had loaned him and some friends a tent to camp out and slipped a note to them, saying he would call to check on them that night.

The Donegal TD revealed they immediately went home, rather than wait on Ferry to return.

Fianna Fail Justice Spokesperson Dara Calleary has called for an urgent external investigation into the child abuse allegations.

"We need to know exactly what happened to allow a man convicted of sexual assault to continue to work in such close proximity to vulnerable children," Mr Calleary said.

"There is a sickening sense that we have not heard the end of this appalling story"

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