HSE review on sex offender working at Donegal school due in March

A complete review by the HSE into how a caretaker on the sex offenders register remained working at a Donegal school and was able to rape and sexually assault four boys should be complete in March

Michael Ferry abused the four boys on an almost weekly basis, some for as long as four years despite receiving a six-month suspended sentence for sexual abuse in 2002.

Michael Ferry  abused the boys between 1990 and 2005 even though he was on the sex offenders register between 2002 and 2007.

After sentencing him to 14 years at the Central Criminal Court last summer, Mr Justice Paul Carney said the authorities must have been aware Ferry had a conviction for a similar offence.

Justice Minister Alan Shatter asked the Garda Commissioner to investigate if, after the first conviction, gardaí and the HSE had contact with the school management.

He said that he was calling on those in charge of this school to explain how Ferry continued to be employed as a caretaker in the school and whether at any time they considered the risk he posed to children.

The HSE said it has established a review team to assess the response of the HSE /former NWHB services following a referral from An Garda Síochána in 2002 relating to Michael Ferry and the intervening period to July 2011.

The Executive said the report is expected to be completed by March 2012.

Ferry, of Bunbeg, Gweedore, was working at Ard Scoil Mhuire in Derrybeg, a former school building used for Irish language courses.

The boys were not pupils at the Irish language school.

Last summer, the directors of Coláiste Cholmcille said it was "factually incorrect" to say Ferry continued in his role as caretaker after 2002.