The Irish dentist, PR linked to sect getting guru and daughter linked to sect getting messages from God
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The Irish Mail on Sunday February 1 • 2015
INVESTIGATION BY By Michael O’Farrell
The €1 medals and ‘Book of Truth’ on sale to 1.2m follower
The Maria Divine Mercy group emerged in 2010 when a website, thewarningsecondcoming.com set up with hidden ownership, began posting messages that purported to be straight from God. According to the site, the messages – containing a wide range of predictions and warnings about the imminent Second Coming of Christ – were being received by Maria Divine Mercy, an anonymous woman chosen by Jesus.
Through a professional social media campaign rolled out across the world, MDM has gained almost half a million registered followers and the main website is receiving as many as 1.2m unique visitors annually, giving it more than 10 times the traffic to most official Irish Catholic websites, such as that of the Irish
There are nearly 400 Facebook prayer groups dedicated to the cult, many of them closed groups to which members have to be approved. One such group, Maria Divine Mercy – Crusade Of Prayers And Messages Of The Warning, is administered by an American and has members from Dubai, Canada, Kenya, Eritrea, the Philippines, Vietnam and India among many other places.
Followers are encouraged to purchase a series of books and medals of salvation from the MDM site. In one of MDM’s visions, God has told her that everyone in possession of the salvation medals will be saved during the imminent Second Coming. Last year as the number of ‘messages from God’ reached more than 300, the Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, strongly condemned the cult.
Three Irish business people – including a prominent PR executive and a millionaire dentist turned developer – have been linked to a
cult-like religious enterprise that has been condemned by church leaders worldwide. PR guru Mary Carberry, her daughter Sarah
Carberry and Donegal dentist Breffni Cully this week refused to be drawn on the Maria Divine Mercy website that has been spreading doomsday prophecies purportedly from God – including one of imminent world war. The site claims Maria Divine Mercy, an anonymous woman who issues the warnings, has been
chosen by Jesus. Followers are encouraged to buy books and medals and one message says those who have salvation medals will be saved when the imminent Second Coming arrives. Thanks to a slick global social media campaign, MDM has gained almost half a million registered followers, and the main website is receiving as many as 1.2m unique visitors annually. The messages were condemned by Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, who said they were not approved by the Church and were in some cases contradictory of Catholic teaching. The MDM phenomenon
first emerged in 2010 when the group claimed it was receiving prophetic messages directly from God. But the identity of those behind the MDM project remained shrouded in secrecy – as did the amount they might be earning from donations and sales of
books and medals. The only time that a woman representing MDM spoke publicly involved a 2011 interview to a small US Christian radio station. During the 45-minute interview, she
spoke of how she had been a ‘lapsed Catholic’ before she had an epiphany. ‘My life was far removed from going to Church or going to Mass. I was a high flyer businesswoman,’ she said. The woman did not reveal her identity but informed listeners that she was
Irish and a mother of four. The mystery of her identity remained
until a group of Catholic bloggers based in different countries around the world got together and took it upon themselves
to investigate. They unearthed a document that has linked renowned PR executive Mary Carberry – known in PR circles as Mary McGovern – her daughter Sarah and a business associate,
Breffni Cully, to the Maria Divine Mercy enterprise. All three of their names appear in Irish company records linked to businesses that profit from the Second Coming sect’s website.
‘Internet trolls are trying to
destroy my life because of a
job I did for someone’
Despite this documentation, none of the three Irish individuals ever responded when the bloggers repeatedly sought to contact them. Instead, they steadfastly refused to comment on, acknowledge or deny links to the MDM operation. Both Sarah Carberry and Mr Cully again declined to speak when approached,
in person and by phone, numerous times by the MoS in the past two weeks. However, when approached in person Mary Carberry did respond briefly to confirm that she had worked for MDM.
She argued that she was being unfairly targeted by bloggers because of a job she had done. ‘I’m sorry. I am not going to get
involved with internet trolls who are trying to destroy my life because of a job I did for somebody. That’s all I have to say,’ she said. Mrs Carberry did not specify what job she was referring to or for whom she had done it. She did, though, indicate that she was aware of the allegation that she was involved with Maria
Divine Mercy. She said: ‘I can’t deal with this crap. I’m sorry. But if you honestly believe that s***, you can. ‘It is what’s called incitement to hatred crime, internet trolls talking a
‘These messages and
visions have no
pack of lies, and I’m not going to get involved with it because, once I do that, I give credibility to it,’ she said. The MoS recorded the conversation and supplied a copy to Ed Primeau, a renowned forensic audio analyst over 30 years. His work has been used as evidence in US and international courts. Mr Primeau spent four days examining and comparing the voice of Mrs Carberry with that of the anonymous MDM representative on the US radio
interview. ‘The unknown voice matches that of the known voice beyond a 90% degree of scientific certainty,’ the forensic report concludes. Given that more than three years separated
the two recordings – and the fact that they were recorded in different formats and circumstances – the result is as strong a match as can possibly be made, according to the expert. We told Mrs Carberry of the results and invited her to clarify her association with MDM and Mr Cully but she declined to respond. We asked whether the job she acknowledged doing included acting as MDM’s spokeswoman on US radio but got no reply. Earlier this month, the bloggers published a detailed online book revealing
their findings. This research identifies companies that appear to link Sarah Carberry to MDM and to millionaire retired dentist Mr Cully. One company, Trumpet Publishing Ltd, owns Coma Books, which publishes and sells MDM books. Trumpet was set up by Ms Carberry and Mr Cully in 2012. She has since resigned and transferred her shares to a German citizen associated
with the MDM project. A second company was then set up by
this German man and Mr Cully, who identifies himself as Joseph Gabriel when he attends MDM events.
That company, Merdel Ltd, was set up to ‘manufacture and retail
religious medals’. The witness who signed the incorporation documents of Merdel Ltd was Mary Carberry, using her maiden
name, McGovern, and her habitual habitual address in Malahide,
North Dublin. No accounts were ever filed for Merdal and the company appears to have been closed down before it ever really traded.
Instead, a subsequently established UK company, Unico Ltd,
which is selling medals advertised on the MDM website, has been
trading. Neither Mr Cully nor Ms Carberry is a director of Unico. Numerous bishops worldwide have condemned the messages and the Archdiocese of Dublin issued a clarification in April 2014, that it had not given any approval to MDM. ‘Requests for clarification have been coming to the Archdiocese of Dublin concerning the authenticity of alleged visions and messages received by a person who calls herself “Maria Divine Mercy” and who may live in the archdiocese,’ it said ‘Archbishop Martin wishes to state that these messages and alleged visions have no ecclesiastical approval and many of the texts are in contradiction with Catholic theology.
‘These messages should not be promoted or made use of within
Catholic Church associations.’
Expert’s voice test finds ‘90%-plus’ match with MDM’s radio spokeswoman
The Irish Mail on Sunday employed the most advanced technology and expertise available to check if PR executive Mary Carmody was the anonymous woman speaking on behalf of Maria Divine Mercy in a 2011 interview with the Christian radio station WTMR 800 AM in Philadelphia. The interview and a recording of Mrs Carberry were subjected to forensic audio analysis and voice identification by Edward J. Primeau of Primeau Forensics in the US – a renowned forensic audio expert for over 30 years. His evidence is frequently used in courts throughout the US and internationally and he trades at AudioForensicExpert.com
He tested the recordings over four days this week. Critical listening tests were followed by a comparison of voice samples using electronic measurement and visual inspection of sound waves and spectrogram analysis. He reports that the accents, spacing and pacing of words and deliberate pronunciations are all identical. He then used biometric voice recognition software as a secondary identification pool. This indicated a positive match. His conclusion is ‘the unknown voice matches that of the known voice beyond 90% degree of scientific certainty.
A retired dentist developer and a family
whose PR pedigree stretches for decades
Better known by many under her maiden name, Mary McGovern, 59-year-old mother of four Mary Carberry has been prominent on Dublin’s PR scene for decades and is well known in business and political circles. She worked as a commercial artist in the 1970s before joining prominent PR firm Wilson Hartnell in 1977.
She married ESB employee John Carberry in 1979 and established McGovern PR in 1988. She sold the firm to a UK agency in 1996 though she continued to manage the business for years afterwards. The family home, overlooking the shore in Malahide, was purchased in 1990 and, with her husband, Mary bought a luxury €177,000 two bedroom Spanish apartment in 1999 at the White Pearl Beach development near Elviria. After setting up a number of property and travel-related companies, Mary – sometimes with the help of her daughter, Sarah – opened a succession of short-lived PR-related businesses from 2005 onwards.
Mother of one Sarah, 30 – who once held the Irish PR contract for the international Elite modelling agency – struck out on her own in 2009 with dress rental firms such as Carberry Dresshire Ltd and http://www.secretchic.ie. She and her mother still run a company called Future Media Communications Ltd which was formed in 2011. Public records show that Mary began to struggle
financially around 2010 and as recently as last August she was granted temporary protection from creditors as part of an insolvency negotiation.
Breffni Cully is a retired dentist and developer who used the name ‘Joseph Gabriel’ – his middle names – when he attended a 2013 MDM event in Chicago. The MoS has confirmed he used a Joseph Gabriel email address to book accommodation in France last year.
Mr Cully was a founding director of two MDM-related companies, giving an address in Derry. He now lives in rural Fahan on the shores of Lough Swilly. Inside photos of the home, posted in a recent sale ad, include one in which an MDM ‘Seal of the Living God’ certificate is visible in a bedroom.
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