Foróige checks if Ferry was youth leader as Irish college is suspended

IRELAND’S leading youth organisation Foróige was last night investigating whether serial paedophile Michael Ferry worked as a youth leader at one of its clubs.

Foróige is understood to be examining files to see if the 55-year-old convicted sex abuser was a volunteer in the 1980s when the club was based in Derrybeg, Co Donegal.

Locals said the former Ard Scoil Mhuire building — where school caretaker Ferry raped and abused children for more than a decade — was the base for the Foróige youth club.

Meanwhile, CONCOS, the umbrella organisation for Irish-language summer colleges, has said that Coláiste Cholmcille in Gaoth Dobhair, the school at the centre of the Michael Ferry sexual abuse case, is no longer a member of the organisation, with effect from yesterday morning.

Irish courses for secondary-level students are held in the school during the summer and CONCOS asked the college to suspend its membership until the Ferry case is fully clarified.

CONCOS is due to issue a statement on the matter following a meeting next week.

Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty, who grew up beside the school which is owned and run by Coláiste Cholmcille said there was clearly a cause for concern.

“While I never attended Foróige as I was too young at the time, it’s my understanding that Mickey Ferry was one of the participants and indeed leaders in the Foróige group at the time there,” he said.

Foróige has confirmed it is trawling through records to establish if Ferry was connected to the youth movement in the past. It is understood files show he was not actually employed by the organisation but it has yet to establish if he was involved voluntarily with its activities in west Donegal.

It is believed the Foróige youth club in Derrybeg collapsed in the late 1980s and subsequent attempts to set it up again foundered. The organisation could not say exactly when or why the club was shut down.

Foróige runs clubs all over the country which it says provide a place for young people to hang out, meet new friends, have a voice and which it says is run by the young people themselves. It is run under the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs.

Mr Doherty said even after the club closed the Ard Scoil Mhuire building was cultivated as a den by Ferry for youngsters in the area to hang out. The sex abuser built living quarters with a bed out of an old shelter at the former school.

He had a table tennis set, a television and “gadgets” such as radio scanners which he used to attract young boys into the building and would also pretend to teach them karate.

More in this section

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day.

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day.