Derek Mulligan, the young Gaoth Dobhair man who was sexually abused by Michael Ferry and waived his right to anonymity, has urged other survivors of sexual abuse to tell someone, and not to carry the burden by themselves.
Derek, who shared his story earlier this week with the Tuesday Donegal Democrat and People’s Press, also told RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta yesterday that he wanted answers from Coláiste Cholmcille and the gardaí as to how the situation with Ferry was allowed to develop.
The 56-year-old Ferry, with an address at Carrickboyle, Gweedore, was sentenced to 18 years in prison on Monday, after pleading guilty to 38 sample charges against four young boys for offences that took place between 1991 and 2003.
Ferry had been allowed to do repairs under supervision at Coláiste Cholmcille, the summer Irish college based at Ardscoil Mhuire in Derrybeg, despite having been convicted in 2002 at Letterkenny District Court of sexually abusing a young boy at the school.
He was placed on the sex offenders register at that time, and received a non-custodial sentence and a e500 fine.
In another development, Coláiste Cholmcille has withdrawn from Comhchoiste na gColáistí Samhraidh (Concos), the federation of Irish summer colleges. Gearóid Ó Brosnacháin, Concos cathaoirleach, said yesterday that at his request the Irish college has withdrawn from membership in the federation “until the problem that has arisen has been resolved”.
On yesterday’s Barrscéalta programme on RnaG, Derek Mulligan described Ferry as a monster, and the building where he had lured young boys as his lair.
The young man said he had carried his secret for 11 years before finally telling his mother and his family. He then received help from a local GP and reported the crime to gardaí. Derek said this gave him great relief, and after he felt free to talk about the attacks to others, three friends approached him to say that they had the same experience.
Derek told RnaG that Ferry’s conviction earlier this week had given him a chance to start his life anew.
Retired Garda Martin Ridge, who investigated the case of infamous child sexual abuser Eugene Green, praised Derek Mulligan for his courage. He said, “The courage of the survivors to speak out will give them solace to deal with their own pain, and will also help others to feel that they are not alone.”
Mr. Ridge also supported the growing calls for an external investigation, but said the investigation needed to look further than just the Gaoth Dobhair case and should include the entire diocese of Raphoe. “This is going back untold decades now, and surely before we move on we have to know what we are moving from,” Mr. Ridge said.