Derrybeg, County Donegal: Serial Child Sex Abuser ‘Was Never Employed By School’ Claim: UPDATED

20 Jul


Foroige confirmed that paedophile Michael Ferry worked at one of its clubs between 1984 and 1987

Foroige confirmed that paedophile Michael Ferry worked at one of its clubs between …

Ireland’s leading youth group has confirmed that paedophile Michael Ferry worked as a volunteer at one of its clubs.

Foroige said the 55-year-old serial child rapist worked with children for the organisation in Co Donegal between 1984 and 1987.

Both the Health Service Executive (HSE) and gardai have been contacted to make them aware of the revelations, a Foroige spokeswoman said.

“Foroige wishes to assure the public that child protection is a priority for our organisation,” she said.

“The most stringent child protection policies and procedures are currently in place.

“These include an application process, Garda vetting, a system of reference checks and Foroige’s own organisational child protection guidelines and training, which are derived from and consistent with Children First.”

The Foroige spokeswoman said Ferry has had no involvement with the organisation “to the best of our knowledge” for the past 24 years.



Pearse Doherty TD has expressed concern that a Foroige centre may have employed Michael Ferry

Pearse Doherty TD has expressed concern that a Foroige centre may have employed Michael …

Ireland’s leading youth organisation is investigating whether serial paedophile Michael Ferry worked as a youth leader at one of its clubs.

Foroige is understood to be examining files to see if the 55-year-old convicted sex abuser was a volunteer in the 1980s when the club was based in Derrybeg, Co Donegal.

Colaiste Cholmcille, which runs Irish language summer courses at the building, has also admitted the former school caretaker helped with classes even after being found guilty in 2002 of abusing a child.

Gardai have confirmed they are widening their investigation amid fears of a paedophile ring.

Another alleged victim has come forward in recent days, claiming more than one perpetrator was targeting children in the Gweedore area of west Donegal.

Locals said the former Ard Scoil Mhuire building – where school caretaker Ferry raped and abused children for more than a decade – was the base for the Foroige youth club.

Sinn Fein TD Pearse Doherty, who grew up beside the school which is owned and run by Colaiste Cholmcille said there was clearly a cause for concern.

“While I never attended Foroige as I was too young at the time, it’s my understanding that Mickey Ferry was one of the participants and indeed leaders in the Foroige group at the time there,” he said.

Foroige has confirmed it is trawling through records to establish if Ferry was connected to the youth movement in the past. It is understood files show he was not actually employed by the organisation but it has yet to establish if he was involved voluntarily with its activities in west Donegal.

It is believed the Foroige youth club in Derrybeg collapsed in the late 1980s and subsequent attempts to set it up again foundered. The organisation could not say exactly when or why the club was shut down.


NEWS UPDATE: 12.13pm.

Statement from Coláiste Cholmcille in Donegal on Michael Ferry’s employment as a caretaker.

 Coláiste Cholmcille - Statement

Coláiste Cholmcille – Statement
Play Stop

Morning Ireland: 'Serious questions' to answer at Donegal school

Morning Ireland: ‘Serious questions’ to answer at Donegal school

The directors of Coláiste Cholmcille wish to express their deepest regret to the victims of the convicted sexual offender Micheal Ferry for the pain, suffering and distress experienced by them by his criminal actions.

Coláiste Cholmcille has been in existence since 1951 providing summer Gaeltacht courses. It has successfully done so for many hundreds of students since its inception.

As parents in our own right we the directors of Coláiste Cholmcille take the safety and welfare of children in our care with the utmost seriousness. All Gaeltacht colleges are regulated and inspected by the Department of Education Inspectors on a detailed basis annually during the operation of their courses.

In conducting its summer courses Coláiste Cholmcille utilised a vacant former secondary school building – Ard Scoil Mhuire for approximately three months of every year for its teaching purposes. Apart from this approximate three month period the building was otherwise vacant and unoccupied.

On foot of extensive media reporting in recent days, in the aftermath of the conviction and sentencing of Micheal Ferry for serious sexual offences Coláiste Chomcille wishes to state the following by way of information and clarification.

1 It has been repeatedly stated that Micheal Ferry continued in his role as caretaker to the building after his conviction for sexual assault in 2002. This is factually incorrect.

Following his arrest in 2001 and prior to his subsequent conviction he was dismissed from his post as caretaker. This dismissal took place at a formal meeting, attended by two directors of Coláiste Cholmcille.

He was required to surrender the keys to the building at the meeting which he did. He was never subsequently reemployed as caretaker to the building. Teaching staff at the college were informed of his dismissal and the reasons for same.

2 Over subsequent years, on occasion, whilst the building was vacant and not in use, Micheal Ferry, on an intermittent basis and always in the company of other building workers, participated in effecting necessary repairs.

During this period also, he assisted on occasions, in the presence of college staff with some aspects of our adult courses, during which time no junior courses ever operated.

He was never unaccompanied and he was never provided with keys to the building. With the benefit of hindsight, in the light of the information now available we regret having allowed this.

3 Routine intermittent security checks of the building during its long periods of unoccupancy did not reveal evidence of unauthorized use.

However, information emerging from the recent court case states that Micheal Ferry continued to access the building subsequent to his dismissal as caretaker in 2001.

As already stated this was an unused and unoccupied building for approximately nine months of every year. Apart from the above mentioned periods of authorized accompanied access, any other access of the building by Micheal Ferry was totally unauthorized.

Coláiste Cholmcille wishes to express its profound shock at these new revelations. We wish again to express our deepest regret to those who have suffered appalling wrongs.

Issued by Seosamh Ó Gallachóir on behalf of Coláiste Cholmcille.


Photo: Judge Paul Carney said a disturbing feature of the case was that Ferry was kept on …

Judge Paul Carney said a disturbing feature of the case was that Ferry was kept on at the school despite a previous conviction for abusing a child

A serial sex abuser who preyed on boys at a summer school building even after being convicted was not employed there as a caretaker, one of its directors has claimed.

Donal O Loinsigh, who co-runs Ard Scoil Mhuire in Derrybeg, Co Donegal, denied paedophile Michael Ferry, 55, worked full-time for the college.

“Michael Ferry did not have employers, because he was not employed,” he said.

Jailing Ferry for 14 years for raping and molesting four boys, judge Paul Carney said a disturbing feature of the case was that he was kept on at the school despite a previous conviction for abusing a child in 2002.

Judge Carney said this must have been known to local gardai and the school authorities.

But Mr O Loinsigh, one of three directors of Colaiste Cholmcille, which runs Irish language summer courses at the former Ard Scoil Mhuire school building, said Ferry was known locally as the caretaker but was never contractually employed by the present authorities.

While he was previously paid on a casual basis to look after the upkeep of the building, Mr O Loinsigh told the Press Association they took the school keys off him as soon as they learned of the charges against him in 2002.

But he admitted Ferry, from Bunbeg, Gweedore, continued to do odd-jobs around the building, either paid for by the college authorities or sub-contracted by other workers hired in to maintain the school over the winter, since then.

“He would have done odd jobs under supervision, I mean everybody was informed,” he said.

“This was no secret, if he had to do something he was well-monitored.”


PRESSURE was last night mounting on the management of a Donegal school to explain why they continued to use paedophile Michael Ferry as a caretaker after he was convicted of sexual assault.

Calls for information were made by Justice Minister Alan Shatter, Children’s Minister Frances Fitzgerald, Sinn Féin Donegal TD Pearse Doherty and the Rape Crisis Network of Ireland.

One of the directors of Coláiste Cholmcille in Bunbeg, Donal Ó Loinsigh, yesterday said Ferry was not employed by the school after his conviction for sexual assault in 2002, but admitted he continued to do “odd jobs” around the building, which he claimed were “under supervision”.

Mr Doherty said it was “absolutely astounding” that the college continued to give Ferry casual work and said that the owners had “serious questions” to answer.

Ferry was sentenced on Monday to 18 years for raping and sexually abusing four boys at Coláiste Cholmcille.

The Central Criminal Court heard that Ferry received a six-month suspended sentence in 2002 and was placed on the sex offenders’ register. It heard Ferry continued to work at the school, and raped and sexually abused boys, up until September 2005.

Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan told Mr Shatter:

On October 16, 2002, gardaí informed the health board of Ferry’s conviction and where he was believed to be working.

The school’s owner was in court for the 2002 criminal proceedings.

A garda spoke to the school owner about the conviction and expressed his concerns about Ferry continuing to work at the school.

Mr Shatter said: “This makes it all the more necessary for those who chose to continue the employment of this person to explain themselves.”

Mr Ó Loinsigh said Ferry was never contractually employed and had worked on a casual basis before his conviction. After the conviction, he said, Ferry continued to do “odd-jobs under supervision”.

Ferry’s first victim called the system that allowed him to continue to work at the school “a joke”.


Gardaí expressed concerns about the continued employment of a convicted sex offender at a school in Co Donegal, it has emerged.

 Michael Ferry - Convicted man continued to be employed at school

Michael Ferry – Convicted man continued to be employed at school

Minister for Justice Alan Shatter has said that the gardaí informed the health board at the time of the conviction of a school caretaker in a Co Donegal rape case and expressed concerns about his continued employment to the school’s owner.

Mr Shatter also said in a statement that preliminary information he had received from the gardaí indicated that the owner of the school in question was in court for the case, and that a member of the force subsequently expressed concerns about the individual continuing to work there.

The Justice Minister said what he called ‘this clarification’ made it all the more necessary for those who chose to continue his employment to explain themselves.

Mr Shatter said it was unacceptable that Michael Ferry from Carrick Boyle, Gweedore, continued to work at a local school and have access to vulnerable children, despite a conviction in 2002 for sexual assault.

The minister now wants an explanation of how the convicted man continued to be employed at Ard Scoil Mhuire in Derrybeg.

He said it ‘starkly illustrated’ the necessity for those in management positions in the education sector to comply with guidelines for the care of children.

A director of Scoil Colmchoille, the Irish College that operates at Ard Scoil Mhuire, in Derrybeg, in Donegal said today a formal statement from the school in relation in Michael Ferry will be issued before the weekend.

Donal O’Lionsigh told RTÉ News that Michael Ferry had ‘no employment contract as such’.

He also said there were ‘no little children attended the courses’ run over the summer.

Among those who attend the Irish courses run at the college are teacher training students.

The Health Service Executive has released a statement saying it is ‘reviewing its involvement in relation to the case of Michael Ferry to establish that all appropriate actions were taken both by the former North Western Health Board and the HSE.

‘This review will be carried out in line with the HSE’s National Incident Management Policy.’

Victim says sex offenders register is a ‘joke’

Donegal caretaker Michael Ferry’s original victim has described the sex offenders’ register as a ‘joke’.

The young man described his shock when he learned that Ferry was still working around children on a daily basis.

He said he was happy enough that Ferry was convicted for what happened to him in 1985 and 1986, even though he had received only a suspended sentence.

But he said a while later he heard that Ferry was still on a school bus in the same local parish. He said people knew about it but nobody was really doing anything. He said he was livid because people knew what Ferry had done and here he was still with access to children.

The victim said Ferry was ushering children on and off the bus.

He said the sex offenders ‘register’ was a joke. He said no one really has access to find out who is doing what and where they are doing it.

He said he does not assign the main blame on the local gardaí, whom he said were as shocked as he was when they found out Ferry was still in the school.

The victim paid tribute to the four young men who were involved in the most recent case against Ferry.

He said they have got Ferry in jail now so he can not do it to anyone else. He said they faced a long road ahead, but he urged them to communicate with those around them.

56-year-old Ferry was given an 18-year prison sentence at the Central Criminal Court yesterday for raping and assaulting four young men between 1990 and 2005.

The court heard he had pleaded guilty to two counts of indecent assault in 2002, but had returned to work at the school.

According to information from the Department of Justice, there is no such thing as a sex offenders ‘register’.

There is a list of sex offenders held at Garda Headquarters.

Once a person is registered as a sex offender it is up to them to disclose certain information to their local gardaí, such as their address, which is then passed on to headquarters.

Under the 2001 Sex Offenders Act, offenders are required to disclose their convictions when applying for a job working with children. Failure to do so carries a prison sentence of up to five years.

24-hour rape crisis helpline: 1800 778 888. & &

(Editor’s note: Even the most dim-witted fool can hardly be expected to swallow such a lame explanation. The fact of the matter is that this person in fact WAS EMPLOYED at the school within a community and in a situation that allowed him free and unhindered passage to his child victims, that in turn ENABLED him with plenty of space, time and (opportunity in plenty) in which to commit his crimes).


3 Responses to “Derrybeg, County Donegal: Serial Child Sex Abuser ‘Was Never Employed By School’ Claim: UPDATED”

  1. Tony Grant 0JulyJ2011 at 1:37 pm #

    More questions could be asked, such as
    Who is D****
    What is his background
    What was his relationship with Michael Ferry
    What is their history
    Is D**** just a conservite that supports the establishment at all costs or did he have a vested interest.
    Why did he not put his students first
    Parents all around the country will be worried, in case any of their children were in the school at the same time as Michael Ferry.
    We need the dates that he was there so that we can double check.
    There are many teachers and people in authority in Donegal and throughout Ireland who turn a blind eye to dodgey goings on for peace sake. The truth is that they have a vested interest in turning a blind eye. They are seen as a “safe pair of hands” if they put up and shut up (especially if it is likley to upset a local cleric.
    You know what they say
    Bad things happen when “good people” stand idly by.
    In this case in Donegal, others must have known something and remained silent.

  2. helen 0JulyJ2011 at 12:29 am #

    All lies by Donal O’Lionsigh…..Michael Ferry played an active role in the summer school and Donal is WELL aware of this. In fact we (adult summer course students of 2008/2009) all were encouraged to engage in 1:1 Gaeilge lessons with him, behind closed doors, beside the principals office, and unfortunately totally unaware of his previous convictions/sick background. On numerous occasions he made inappropriate comments to me and others, this put us in a position of vulnerability and at risk, total disgrace!!! I am totally disgusted that we were uninformed and lead astray by liars and money grabbing pigs (no other words can describe them)…..and yes it is Donal and Peadar I am referring to!!!! who should be totally ashamed of yourselves. Lets hope justice is served. Guilty by association if you ask me!

  3. Sarah 0JulyJ2011 at 11:13 am #

    People of Gweedore should be ashamed of yourselves those people are parents, teachers, head of Ard scoil Mhuire, garda, PRIESTS, doctors people who children are suppose to trust, but they all turned a blind eye. These children robbed of there child hood and now left to pick up the pieces. This man got 14 years will be out in 10 this pain never goes away for these victims and there family’s. These people should never be aloud back into society.
    you can try and cover up all you like but the reality is this paedophile was working, sleeping in this building up until recently and there’s not point now back tracking saying he finished working here in 2002 that is total and utter LIES and justice will be done. I actually seen a picture on facebook recently taken at Ard scoil Mhuire of this paedophile and he had been teaching irish students that was as recent as two years ago. There’s no way out of this one……


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