Aerial shot of St Ronan's PS

A primary school in Newry, County Down, is trying to have its old website removed as it now contains pornographic material.

Staff and parents at St Ronan’s PS were alerted to the problem on Sunday.

The school’s old domain name had lapsed and was subsequently purchased by another organisation.

In a statement to BBC News NI the principal of St Ronan’s, Kevin Donaghy, said the school was aware of the issues with its old website.

‘Purchased legitimately’

“We are working with the management authorities and the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) to have it taken down and all issues resolved,” he said.

Kevin Donaghy
Image captionPrincipal Kevin Donaghy said the school was trying to get its old website taken down

The school has brought forward the planned launch of its new website – www.stronanspsnewry.com – and is directing all users to it.

The PSNI said that the domain name had been purchased legitimately.

“Police received a report of an incident in relation to a website in the name of a school in the Newry area,” they said.

“On further police investigation it was established that the lease for this website had expired and it was legitimately purchased by another user.”

“This website is in no way related to the school.”

The Council for Catholic Maintained Schools (CCMS) and the Education Authority (EA) have also been informed about the situation.

Presentational grey line

How could this happen?

Domain names (.com, .co.uk, etc) are purchased and renewed on fixed terms, which can be anything from one year to 10 years.

The registered owner of the domain is responsible for repurchasing the domain when the contract comes up for renewal.

If it is not renewed on time, or after any redemption period, it is possible someone else may come and buy the domain.

This is fully legal.

That gives the new owner full control over the domain to either sell back to the original owner at a higher price, or use it for alternative purposes.

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