Justice Minister demands to know how caretaker continued to work at Donegal school

Justice Minister Alan Shatter is demanding to know why a school caretaker - who had a conviction for sexually assault - was allowed to continue working at a Donegal school - where he then sexually molested another four young boys.

Michael Ferry of Gweedore was jailed for 14 years yesterday after pleading guilty to 38 sample charges - including rape and indecent assault.

The 55 year old was allowed return to his job despite being convicted in 2002 for indecently assaulting a pupil at the same school.

In a statement issued this afternoon, Minister Shatter says he was appalled to learn of the horrific events which resulted yesterday in Mr Justice Carney in the Central Criminal Court imposing an
18-year prison sentence for child abuse on Michael Ferry.

He says it is unacceptable that this individual having being reportedly convicted for child abuse of a student nine years earlier continued to be employed as a caretaker in the school and to have access to vulnerable children.

Minister Shatter has asked the Garda Commissioner to report back to him on the background to the case - and in particular any contact local Gardai may have had with those in charge of the school.  and with the local health board subsequent to the first conviction.

He says he is particularly calling on those in charge of this school to explain how this individual continued to be employed as a caretaker in the school and whether at any time they considered the risk he posed to children.

He says this case yet again starkly illustrates the vital importance of ensuring all those who in their employment come into contact with children are properly vetted so as to ensure, insofar as is possible, that children are not placed at risk by sexual predators.

He says it also starkly illustrates the absolute necessity of persons in management positions in the education sector complying with the children care guidelines.