School principal guilty of indecent assaults on 11 girls

Patrick Barry (80), from Kilkee, Co Clare, convicted on 59 counts between 1964 and 1985

Patrick Barry (80), of Well Road ,Kilkee, Co Clare, has been found guilty on 59 counts of indecent assault against 11 primary school girls between 1964 and 1985 at the two-teacher Moyasta school in west Clare.

Patrick Barry (80), of Well Road ,Kilkee, Co Clare, has been found guilty on 59 counts of indecent assault against 11 primary school girls between 1964 and 1985 at the two-teacher Moyasta school in west Clare.

Fri, Jul 11, 2014, 23:22

Old school friends wept and embraced in court yesterday after a jury found their former principal, Patrick Barry (80) guilty of indecent assaults against them over a 21 year period.

At Ennis Circuit Court, a jury, after deliberating for five hours and 35 minutes, unanimously found Mr Barry of Well Road, Kilkee guilty on 59 counts on indecent assault against 11 primary school girls between 1964 and 1985 at the two-teacher Moyasta school in west Clare.

The emotional scenes followed Judge Gerald Keyes record that the jury found Mr Barry guilty on the 59 counts. Judge Keyes had directed the jury to find Mr Barry not guilty on eight outstanding counts for legal reasons.

Counsel for the State, Anthony Sammon SC said that “it is the express wish of the complainants that Mr Barry be named”.

Judge Keyes ordered that Mr Barry be identified and be placed on the sex offenders register.

The Garda investigation into the offences commenced in 2010 and Mr Barry was subsequently charged at the District Court.

However, legal challenges brought on behalf of Mr Barry in the High Court and the Supreme Court to the DPP bringing the prosecution delayed the trial until now.

Four of the victims in the case are sisters that attended the school where Mr Barry taught 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th classes.

One of the sisters told the trial: “He took advantage of us, he used to grope at us at every opportunity. I couldn’t credit the man with anything. He terrorised all of us - I can’t remember any happy moment at the school.”

Mr Barry served as school principal at Moyasta between 1964 and 1989.

One of the victims told the trial what Mr Barry did at the country school while she was a pupil in the 1970s was “horrible”.

The woman said: “We were country children and we were subjected to this behaviour. We didn’t know what sex was, we certainty didn’t know what he was doing other than it was horrible and we knew that it wasn’t right.”

She said: “It is still horrible, it was wrong and it is still wrong.”

The victim told the jury that Mr Barry “was a very violent, vicious teacher who had no respect for the children in his care”.

Another victim told the court that Mr Barry “molested me more times than I care to remember” at the school.

She said that Mr Barry inappropriately touched herself “and practically every other girl in the classroom” in 1976 and 1977.

The woman - who travelled back from the US to give evidence in the case - said that the inappropriate touching occurred “practically every day” when she was aged 11 and 12 while a pupil in Mr Barry’s 5th and 6th class.

She said: “We were all terrified going into his classroom because we had all heard bad stories from other girls.”

Judge Keyes remanded Mr Barry on continuing bail to re-appear before court in October 28th to fix a date for sentence.

The victims continued to embrace each other outside court yesterday wiping the tears away from their eyes. None of the victims approached for comment outside court wished to make any comment.