In an exclusive interview broadcast on RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta this morning, Seosamh Ó Gallachóir, one of the directors of Coláiste Cholmcille, said that he would welcome an enquiry into the details surrounding the Michael Ferry case, and said that the future of the college was in danger.
He reiterated the assertion that college authorities were not aware that Ferry was a constant presence in Ardscoil Mhuire, although this appears to have been the case for a significant number of years subsequent to his initial conviction on sex offences in 2002.
Ó Gallachóir started the interview by expressing his deep remorse to all those who had suffered as a result of Michael Ferry’s actions, and said that the college management was as upset and distraught at these events as the community at large.
Speaking to Frances Nic Géadaigh on Barrscéalta this morning, Seosamh Ó Gallachóir said that Ferry had not been employed by the college since 2002, and that he had been employed by contractors for any subsequent work undertaken in Ardscoil Mhuire, although this was done with Ó Gallachóir’s full knowledge and consent.
He denied that he nor any other director, to his knowledge, had issued an instruction to staff at the college to inform anyone who might enquire about Ferry that he wasn’t working there.
During the interview, Ó Gallachóir was also questioned as to the statement released yesterday which said that the Ardscoil Mhuire building was empty for nine months of the year, when a preschool had in fact been operating there for two years subsequent to Ferry’s conviction in 2002 after he had been placed on the register of sex offenders.
Ó Gallachóir said that the college thought that they were taking every reasonable precaution to protect children from Michael Ferry at the time, but that he realises in hindsight that it does not appear that way.
He said that he himself had made regular visits to Ardscoil Mhuire to check the building and that he had never seen Michael Ferry there, or any evidence that there was unauthorized access to the building.
When questioned on the credibility of this stance, when it was well-known in the community that Ferry was living there, Ó Gallachóir agreed that it was difficult to believe but that it was the truth, and that evidence that has since come to light shows that they were clearly mistaken.
In the interview on RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta, Ó Gallachóir said that the future of the college was in danger, and that decisions would be taken in that regard in the next few weeks. He said that he would very much welcome an enquiry into the case, and he finished by again saying that he understood and accepted the criticism levelled at college authorities about how this matter had been handled.
The interview was broadcast on Barrscéalta on RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta this morning.
Listen back to the interview at www.rte.ie/rnag