Update: The lease of a cooperative group based at north Belfast’s Macrory Centre has come to an end after revelations about a convicted paedophile who is an employee after being exposed online

Loveworks, which ran a bakery, bike repair shop and gardening service, will no longer operate from the centre after the 174 Trust terminated the lease as growing public pressure mounted

The trust, a community care organisation with a Christian ethos, said: “We would like to clarify that Loveworks Cooperative no longer operate from the Macrory Centre (on Duncairn Gardens).

March 2021

North Belfast group’s poster boy in PR drive is a paedophile

THE mother of a five year old boy sexually abused by a paedophile has warned the public not to be fooled by his lies.

Ryan McAuley (30), who has convictions for sexually assaulting three children, is claiming to have turned his life around and has been taking part in publicity campaigns for the Loveworks Co-operative.

The organisation, based at the Macrory Centre on Duncairn Gardens in north Belfast, runs a bakery, bike repair shop and gardening service.

Shockingly, McAuley has been pictured and quoted promoting Loveworks projects he has been working on.

The mother of one of his victims, whose son was abused by the predator between the ages of four and seven, said she was stunned reading his “lies”.

Her anger increased last Thursday when Loveworks rang her to defend its links to McAuley, telling her it believed he had reformed.

“Ryan McAuley is a monster. He will always be a danger to children,” the mum said

“When he walked past me in court after being convicted of abusing my son, he smirked, and said to my husband, ‘Don’t try anything. There are cameras all over this place’. What sort of thing was that to say to the father of a boy he had just been found guilty of abusing?”

During McAuley’s 2014 trial, it was revealed he forced his young victim to climb into a cupboard before abusing him. At the time, he was living near the schoolboy at an address off the Falls Road.

Giving evidence to the court, the brave victim said: “Ryan took me into the wardrobe. He took down his trousers and made me touch him. My mummy called and Ryan said to me, ‘Don’t be telling your mummy. Don’t tell anyone’.”

The abuse only came to light when the boy wrote a note to his mother as a teenager detailing his ordeal. During McAuley’s trial, it emerged he had convictions for abusing two other kids.

After getting out of prison, the paedophile kept a low profile, having been assaulted while behind bars. But before Christmas, he was used by Loveworks in a promotional piece about how it helps former criminals turn their lives around.

The mother of his victim told how she was sickened reading his story. “I couldn’t believe what I was reading. I broke down in tears. He is a paedophile, yet here he is working in a centre regularly used by children,” she said.

“There are schools on both sides of Duncairn Gardens in the New Lodge and Tigers Bay. Do parents living nearby and the teachers know a sex offender is right in among them?”

The mum said Loveworks contacted her last Thursday to defends its links to the serial paedophile.

“Loveworks told me it was sticking by him and that it believed he had changed. I was disgusted to hear that,” she added.

“What Loveworks should be more concerned about is the impact this has had on my son. It’s set him back years and he’s right back to square one. My son has really suffered. He’s 20 now, but he still has flashbacks. Knowing McAuley is swanning around Duncairn Gardens has made him paranoid and worried for other kids in north Belfast.”

A spokesperson for Loveworks Cooperative said: “Loveworks Cooperative exists to support people who want to create positive change in their lives and community. We believe everyone deserves a second change. Loveworks does not comment on individual clients.”

In a promotional interview for Loveworks last December, McAuley talked about his criminal past but did not mention he was a convicted paedophile.

The serial child sex offender claimed his life was blighted by drugs from the age of 11 and that between spells in prison he was targeted by dissident republicans in west Belfast.

Describing himself as a “real gangster”, he boasted: “I was smoking three ounces of cannabis a week and ran up a £760 debt to a dealer which quickly became £3,000.

“I made a deal that I’d sell some for the dealer as well as buying some. That worked. I made some money and I thought, ‘This is it. Finally I can make some money for myself (by) selling’.”

But the truth of the matter is that far from being a top criminal, McAuley is a cowardly paedophile who was caged for sexually assaulting young children.

After being freed from prison, he met a Loveworks founder and got his job in the Macrory Centre.

McAuley said: “For a stranger to trust me like that was amazing. If it hadn’t been for him taking that chance on me, I would be dead now.”