Victims hit out at ‘unjust’ cut in abuser’s sentence

Five of the 11 victims of paedophile school principal Patrick Barry hit out at the “wrong and unjust” court decision to reduce his six year jail term to two years.

At the Court of Criminal Appeal last Friday, the 81-year from Well Rd, Kilkee, Co Clare, had his 11-year sentence, with five of those suspended, reduced to a five-year term with the final three years suspended.

It is likely he will be released from jail next spring.

“I think it belittles us as victims and would almost encourage other would-be predators that it is worth the risk with a slap on the wrist like this,” one victim said.

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“I sincerely hope it doesn’t put off other victims from coming forward. We were innocent, helpless children supposed to be in a protected environment but instead were subjected to this predator every single day for years. No sentence could be long enough to get the correct justice here but to shorten it to this is just wrong and unjust.”

The Co Clare man abused 11 school girls at Moyasta NS over a 21-year period between 1964 and 1985 and has never shown any remorse for the assaults committed in the classroom at the two-teacher school.

At the Court of Criminal Appeal, Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan said the trial judge had erred in locating the gravity of the offending at the starting point of 11 years’ imprisonment. He said the court considered five years as the appropriate starting point for Barry’s sentence.

Another victim said: “I find it a very bitter pill to swallow that, only six months into his sentence, the court has deemed him suitable to be released back into society less than two years into his jail term.”

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