Fianna Fáil Justice Spokesperson Dara Calleary has called for an urgent external investigation into child sexual abuse allegations in Gweedore, Co Donegal and an immediate inquiry into how concerns raised by the Gardaí about school caretaker Michael Ferry were handled by the Northwestern Health Board at the time.

 

Deputy Calleary said: “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. There is a sickening sense that we have not heard the end of this appalling story and that there may be other victims whose cases have not yet been fully investigated.

 

“Every facet of this story must be thoroughly investigated as a matter of urgency. I am calling on the Minister for Justice and the Garda Commissioner to appoint a Garda team from outside Co Donegal to carry out a full and swift investigation into all allegations of child abuse and sexual assault in the Gweedore area.  

 

“I am also calling for a full inquiry into how the then Northwestern Health Board handled garda concerns relating to Michael Ferry, to determine if appropriate action was taken.  People are finding it difficult to comprehend how this situation could have continued if every relevant body was informed and acted as they should, especially given the improved child protection protocols that were and are now in place.

 

“This is an extremely distressing situation for families in the Gweedore area and indeed families throughout the country who use the Gweedore gaeltacht.  They deserve full openness and honesty. They cannot be expected to wait for answers and assurances about the safety of their children. The Minister, the Garda Commissioner and the HSE must act with urgency in this matter.”