Former school principal loses appeal against conviction for molesting 11 girls

Patrick Barry being led away from court after sentencing last summer.

A retired primary school principal from Co Clare has lost an appeal against his conviction for molesting 11 girls over a 21-year period.

80-year-old Patrick Barry of Well Road, Kilkee was found guilty last summer on 59 counts of indecent or sexual assault between 1964 and 1985.

Patrick Barry is serving a six-year jail sentence for sexually assaulting pupils at Moyasta National School, a small, mixed, two-teacher school in a rural area.

The former primary school principal was tried and convicted at Ennis Circuit Criminal Court late last year.

The jury heard evidence he molested 11 girls in fifth and sixth class - mostly in the classroom.

Four former pupils gave evidence in support of their claims, while seven witnesses called by the defence testified that they had never seen inappropriate behaviour.

On appeal, Patrick Barry's legal team argued the specifics of the charges were vague and that adverse rulings by the trial judge rendered the verdicts unsafe.

The Court of Appeal has dismissed his case on all grounds but the 80-year-old's lawyers will argue for a reduction of his sentence at a further hearing this Friday.

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