V.E.C. member hits at “failings in Garda vetting”

A Letterkenny based member of the Vocational Education Committee has voiced concerns at what he called the “obvious poor controls and processes in operation” at the time of the sex abuse offences which resulted in 56 year old Gweedore man, Michael Ferry, being jailed for fourteen years this week.

A Letterkenny based member of the Vocational Education Committee has voiced concerns at what he called the “obvious poor controls and processes in operation” at the time of the sex abuse offences which resulted in 56 year old Gweedore man, Michael Ferry, being jailed for fourteen years this week.

Pointing out that he had been “shocked” at the case, Peter Cutliffe said the victim of the abuse, Derek Mulligan, who had waived the right to anonymity, deserved great praise for his courage.

A Commissioner of Oaths, Mr. Cutliffe demanded to know where the Garda vetting procedure had been in relation to the recruitment processes at the school, Ardscoil Mhuire in Gweedore, where the former caretaker had been employed.

Claiming that previous offences by Ferry appeared to have been disregarded, the V.E.C. representative said: “Garda vetting is an integral part of most recruitment procedures now and there has been an obvious failing in this instance. There were obvious poor controls and processes in operation at the time of these offences.

“As a relatively new member of County Donegal VEC, I would be confident of the Committee’s recruitment processes in place. I don’t believe that this particular school comes under the remit of the Committee, but this case would strengthen the argument for the VEC to take control of more schools within the county”, Mr Cutliffe maintained.

Michael Ferry of Carrickboyle, Gweedore, was sentenced at the Central Criminal Court to 18 years imprisonment after pleading guilty to 38 sample charges of sexual assault against four young boys between 1991 and 2003. The last four years were suspended with Justice Paul Carney ordering that Ferry be placed under supervision for ten years after his release.