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Shortcomings in Ferry abuse case revealed in shocking new report

Michael Ferry.

Michael Ferry.

By Cronan Scanlon
A DAMNING new report has found that health board officials failed to investigate a convicted paedophile who returned to his job as a school caretaker in Gweedore where he sexually abused more young boys.

Michael Ferry (58) is serving a 14-year sentence after pleading guilty to dozens of sex attacks on young boys at Colaiste Cholmcille.
The report was only released to victims in recent days, however, the Donegal News has obtained a copy.

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Its shocking revelations include:

  • The then North Western Health Board received notifications from the local Garda Superintendent both prior to, and after, Ferry’s 2002 conviction for sexually abusing a 15 year-old boy. No action was taken.
  • The Health Board opened a file in 2002, only to close it three days later, after a director of the college informed a social worker that Ferry had no access to children.
  • The Health Board failed to contact Ferry’s family, some of who had children of their own.
  •  It was stated that, while the report was being carried out, there were still no written local guidelines or policy on how HSE staff should deal with referrals of child abuse. It was only in May, 2012, when a new Children and Families Services structure was implemented.
  • The report added that the relevant child protection guidelines of the time were not followed and that the Health Board’s response was “not in full compliance” with the ‘Children First’ policy.
  • The report stated a 2002 garda report on the incident was “puzzling” but that no one from the Health Board had contacted either the Gardai, the school principal or the pre-school on site, to see if Ferry had any access to children.

A comprehensive review of the shocking report and its findings will be published in Friday’s print edition of the Donegal News.
The paper will be on the streets of Letterkenny from around 6pm this evening (Thursday).

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Donegal News is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
Registered in Northern Ireland, No. R0000576. St. Anne's Court, Letterkenny, County Donegal, Ireland