A nightmare that felt like
it was never going to end

One brave young man has had the courage to step forward and place his name in the public domain so that other victims will have the courage to step forward in the future and the children of the future will be protected. He was the first victim to come forward and following his brave step three more brave men came out to support the case.

One brave young man has had the courage to step forward and place his name in the public domain so that other victims will have the courage to step forward in the future and the children of the future will be protected. He was the first victim to come forward and following his brave step three more brave men came out to support the case.

Derek Mulligan was abused at Ardscoil Mhuire in Gaoth Dobhair since he was twelve years old. Yesterday Derek, who was delighted with the result of the courts, said that his nightmare may now come to an end.

Speaking about the abuse he said: “What I have been through was a nightmare that felt like it was never going to end. No matter what I did, no matter how fast I tried to run, my nightmare followed me, wherever I went. It was always there, eating away at me, bit by bit, until I no longer knew who I was myself.I blamed everyone close to me. I took my anger out on my mother, my friends and my loved ones.

“Anyone who got close to me, I pushed them away. I hurt them in ways that I will never be able to forget. All because of one man, who 12 years ago decided that he was going to ruin my life and my family’s life for his own pleasures, for his own kicks. What makes me sick is the words he used and the way he did what he did. The way he groomed me, a 12 years old boy, til he had him right where he wanted him. That didn’t happen overnight. It happened over a period of time until he had me right where he wanted.”

Derek said that when he recalls what happened to him it makes him sick. “It makes me sick when I think of how I was groomed as a child and raped as a young boy. For years he haunted my mind, he ruined my life, he took my soul away. My mother lost her child, my father lost his son the day that he raped me.”

During the course of the abuse the sicko told him as a child that “It (the abuse) would get easier.”

“I lay there crying as he whispered in my ears the words “It will be over soon, it gets easier.” You lay there not being able to move in shock from what has just happened. Afterwards he pays you with money to keep quiet. No doctor could give me a pill to take away that vision, of replaying that moment over and over again in my head of being sexually abused by him.”

Derek tried repeatedly to kill himself before he turned 16 years of age. He thought at the time that no one would understand and he felt ashamed at the time and felt that he could not deal with it.

“It got so bad that all I wanted to do was kill myself. No one understood why I was depressed. But I did. I couldn’t deal with it. I was too ashamed to tell anyone in case they thought that I was gay. I became so paranoid. I started going crazy, watching how I walked, how I held my hands, I could never relax. My mind would never stop working. I was always on edge. I couldn’t take it anymore so I tried to kill myself. I slit my wrist. I was rushed to hospital to the emergency table. This was to be the first of four suicide attempts and I was still only 16.”

His life plummetted further as his father tragically died from lung cancer when he was only a young man. “My father passed later that year, aged 44 from lung cancer. He died not knowing me. He was the only one that I could talk to and yet I could still not tell him. I thought that he would never look at me the same way again as I blamed myself for it happening. I was to lose the only one at this stage that I could tell. After my dad died, I no longer cared what happened to me.

“I carried this cross on my back for 12 years unable to forgive myself for what this demon did to me. He took, my soul, my faith, my heart. He also haunted my dreams. I was unable to love. I was scared of everyone and everything. I kept running from place to place, Dublin, Spain, Letterkenny and Derry.”

Effects of the abuse began to show on him as the smart straight honours student dropped out of school. He found that he couldn’t hold down a steady job.

“Since I was 12 I have been running from my past. I dropped out of school. I threw my life away. I couldn’t hold down a steady job for more than 6 months, all because of the abuse that I suffered at the hands of Michael Ferry. The only word that I know how to describe him is a demon. The hardest part is that you lose yourself and you become someone different and before you know it you no longer know yourself.

“You start to lose your mind, your voice, your memories and finally you give up hope. You turn to drink and drugs like they are your best friends. For those couple of hours they are are your best friends,” he said.

The pain turned to aggression and he began to fight out at anyone and anything that became a target. “I recall fighting in the streets getting into trouble every weekend. When I fought I took all the anger out on the person that I was hitting. I was scared of what I was becoming. I was scared for myself and what I was capable of. I felt like I had turned into a monster, completely out of control.”

With the pain still evident on his face he states “the memory fades but the pain stays the same.”

Friends and family thought that Derek was behaving like this due to the loss of his father. Everyone was unaware of the inward pain that the young man was experiencing brought on by a man who was aware that his father had passed away.

“Everyone thought for years that I was like this because my dad had died. That wasn’t it, I never got the chance to grieve for my dad. I was too caught up in my own troubles. I hated myself more than anyone. I still hate myself for the things that I have done to others all because of the sexual abuse that Michael Ferry carried out on me.”

On April 8 his nightmare ended after a breakdown. He told his family what had happened to him and he was brought to the doctor after 11 long years of suffering.

“My nightmare ended on April 8. I had a breakdown and came forward after 11 years of keeping it all inside and told my family what he had done to me. My mother’s eyes filled with tears. She knew nothing as I had hid it so well over the years. My family knew the answers to the questions they had about my behaviour over the years, why does he act like this? Why did he do that? The missing piece to the jigsaw was revealed. The nightmare was over. I no longer had the weight on my shoulders alone. I just wish that I could have been stronger and ended it before I did. But I am glad that it did. My family see a huge change in me now. This abuse took over my life at that time, up until I reported it. I am just glad that it is over now and my life can begin.

Yesterday Derek Mulligan told family and friends that he would not be happy if the abuser got less than the maximum penalty. As the sentence was read out his face broke into a broad and satisfied smile as he was congratulated by friends and family. Today he wants to thank all those who supported him during this time and especially Inspector Sylvie Henry, Detective John Gallagher and the strong team of gardai that helped him during the course of this investigation.

If you have a story or want to send a photo or video to us please contact the Donegal Live editorial team any time. To contact Donegal Democrat and Donegal People's Press, email editorial@donegaldemocrat.ie To contact Donegal Post, email editor@donegalpost.com To contact Inish Times, email editor@inishtimes.com.

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