Scoutmaster abuse survivors urge people to contact Garda

David Barry’s ‘vile self-gratification, lies and deceit had a profound negative effect on our lives’

“I lived a blissful childhood until I joined the scouts and met Dave Barry. He stole my youth and my innocence.”

“I lived a blissful childhood until I joined the scouts and met Dave Barry. He stole my youth and my innocence.”


Sexual abuse victims should not be afraid to raise the alarm because they will get justice, according to a sexual abuse survivor abused by Cork scoutmaster David Barry.

In his victim impact statement, the now 44-year-old man, who was abused by Barry when he was 15, said Barry may have thought he had destroyed the lives of his victims, but he had not .

“I write this statement to let everyone know that justice will prevail. If anyone has suffered abuse at the hands of someone, please come forward and report it. The gardaí are on your side and will help you get justice.”

Barry had plied him and other scouts from the 37th Cork Troop with alcohol when they stayed over at his house in Bishopstown, before he began to abuse them.

“ He would bring us over to the house in a group and separate us to sleep in different rooms and then abuse us. I just remember the shock and not knowing what was going on.

‘Position of power’

“He used his position of power and trust to groom us. I remember him ringing my own mother, saying it was okay to stay in his house and he would look after us,” said the man.

“As I got older and became intimate with partners, the memories of the abuse came back to me and affected that intimacy. He was walking around with not a care in the world while we all suffered in silence,” he said.

Another man, also 44, outlined the lengths Barry went to get him alone to abuse him and how it made his teenage years a living nightmare: “What he did has haunted me over the years. I didn’t deserve this.

“I lived a blissful childhood until I joined the scouts and met Dave Barry. He stole my youth and my innocence.

“His abuse left me utterly distraught, confused and lost. I lived in a constant state of fear.”

Barry scuppered a family holiday by telling his trusting parents that the boy wanted to go on a scouting trip: “I will never forget the terror of that time – night after night, counting the hours trying to stay awake, too afraid to fall asleep.”

Another survivor, now 45, who was abused when he was 13, said that Barry had exposed them to pornography before abusing him and his friends in the scouts.

“He exposed us to pornography on the TV. He made us shower two at a time in his en suite. I wondered afterward if you used to record us, with you being a professional photographer after all.

“Now that I am older I understand clearly your deception – dedicating significant portions of your time to getting access to young boys using the CBSI [Catholic Boy Scouts of Ireland] as your facilitator.

“I can see how you fooled scout leaders, gardaí, TDs, parents and media alike into thinking you were an upstanding citizen – all those years doing Santa’s grotto in Wilton – the flash car, the businessman, the scout leader.

“The reality, which has finally been exposed, paints a very different picture. You were in fact the rotten apple in the great community. Now it is time for justice for me and all your victims.”

Another survivor, now 30, who was abused at 15 by Barry, strongly rejected Barry’s apology for his actions and said that Barry displayed cunning and planning in the way he was to abuse his victims.

‘Manipulation of innocents’

“Your actions over the years are unforgivable and your manipulation of innocents shows cunning, forethought and a careful, planned process which demonstrates your so-called apology is insincere and cannot be taken as valid.

“Your vile self-gratification, your lies, your deceit had had a profound negative effect on our lives. In a mendacious and manipulative fashion, you have betrayed every trust placed in you.”

All four survivors who testified in court paid tribute to An Garda Síochána for their professionalism in investigating their complaints and in particular Det Garda Gary Duggan for his empathy and support over several years.

Meanwhile Scouting Ireland said it welcomed the successful prosecution and conviction of Barry and said its thoughts were with all those survivors whose bravery in coming forward had led to his conviction.

“We deeply regret the abuse of any child while engaged in scouting . . . We are committed to making Scouting Ireland as safe as it can be and to ensure there is no hiding place for those who do wrong,” it said.

Child protection

Scouting Ireland pointed out Ireland had a strong co-operative relationship with the statutory agencies concerned with childcare, including An Garda Síochána and Tusla.

“Disclosures made to Scouting Ireland are reported to the gardaí and Tusla and we encourage anyone who has information or who has been the victim of abuse while in scouting to come forward to the authorities.

“We can assure our members, parents and the wider public, that Scouting Ireland has a policy of full disclosure of any and all information in its possession relating to any child protection case.”

Scouting Ireland said it worked closely with both An Garda Síochána and Tusla to ensure that any abusers are brought to justice and young people are safeguarded.

“It is the policy and requirement of Scouting Ireland that no adult takes part in scouting activities until their Garda vetting has been approved and they have completed the appropriate child protection training.

“Child protection training for adults involved in scouting is mandatory and Scouting Ireland trains thousands of adults every year to ensure informed compliance with best practices and statutory obligations.”