'Hundreds' of children abused by 'Ulster paedophile ring'

16 May 2019, 17:05 | Updated: 16 May 2019, 19:04

An alleged victim of a suspected paedophile ring in Northern Ireland says he believes "hundreds" of other children were abused.

More than a dozen people have contacted a local newspaper in Enniskillen with allegations of historical abuse in County Fermanagh.

One woman made the shocking claim that her childminder had sold her and other children to paedophiles.

"While she was left with this woman, a number of men, professional men, businessmen, people well-known in the area, were brought to the house," said the deputy editor of The Impartial Reporter, Rodney Edwards.

"Over a period of four and a half years, they abused this little girl from the age of four and not only did they abuse her but they abused other children as well," he added.

Another alleged victim, who did not want to be identified, told Sky News he had been abused by three different men - the first targeting him from the age of 12.

"He was always on the road, he was always on the prowl. Four or five nights a week, he was at various youth organisations across the county," he recalled.

When asked to estimate the number of other potential victims, he replied "in the hundreds", describing the alleged perpetrators as "untouchable".

He added: "You can't get away with stuff like that unless you wield some kind of power or some of kind of influence that the normal person doesn't wield."

The journalist documenting the abuse said different people, who are unknown to each other, have been naming the same alleged perpetrators.

Rodney Edwards said: "We do know that a number of people have worked together to abuse children across Fermanagh.

"There are clusters across this rural county where abuse has happened. We're hearing a lot of the same names in places, we're hearing a lot of similar incidents.

"There are lots of dirty secrets here that are finally being revealed," he added.

With victims demanding answers and justice, the Police Service of Northern Ireland has established a specialist investigation team.

Detective Superintendent Anne Marks said: "One of their responsibilities is to go back over the years to look and see is there anything there that maybe we didn't pick up on or that wasn't followed through, or is connected in any way to the reports that are coming through now."