This is a horrible injustice. The rapes were constant and lasted for years. The first rape took place on the night before her First Holy Communion. This man is a demon in my eyes. Not only did he have no conscience about raping his daughter for a decade, he defiled one of the most Sacred things there is to a Catholic.
His release can have these negative affects on victims, “don’t bother telling because your abuser will walk free.” It says to society, “oh, old men aren’t going to sexually abuse children,” and to his daughter, “it was no big deal.”
“A “distraught” Ms Doyle gathered with her family last night after her father, Patrick O’Brien, walked free from court on Monday despite admitting to raping her for a decade, starting the night before her First Holy Communion.
The case has “filled the nation with revulsion”, the Taoiseach told the Dáil, as he praised the “courage” of Ms Doyle, who waived her anonymity in the case.
Her daughter, Kristel O’Brien, 26, said Mr Kenny now has the chance to meet with the family and discuss what can be done to ensure other victims of sex abuse are not deterred from coming forward.
Speaking to the Irish Examiner on behalf of her mother, Ms O’Brien said the family wanted to convey to the Taoiseach the need for minimum sentencing for sex crimes. “It’s appalling that this had to happen for it to be questioned,” she said.
Ms O’Brien said her mother wanted her children to accompany her in a meeting with Mr Kenny so she could show him the long-term effects of rape across generations. “She wants him to not only hear the legal side, but to see how this has affected her and how it has affected every single family member.”
Under Dáil questioning on sentencing laws, Mr Kenny said he hoped others “who have been or are subject to rape or incest, or crimes of this horrific nature, would not lose courage in coming forward to say their piece”.
However, Ms O’Brien said others would not report their abuse when they saw that her mother was “hung out to dry by the legal system”.
Mr Justice Paul Carney suspended the last nine years of a 12-year sentence imposed on Mr O’Brien, 72, whose health and age were taken into account.
Ms O’Brien said: “It’s the legal system’s fault that it took so long for him to get here and that he is this old when sentencing finally came about.”
The chairman of the Oireachtas justice comm-ittee, David Stanton, said setting up a sentencing council was “worth exploring”. Such a system, which would set a template for judges and provide more consistency in sentencing, works well in Britain and could be the solution here, the Fine Gael TD said.
Fianna Fáil said it would publish a bill in the coming days establishing such a council.
The Rape Crisis Network Ireland, meanwhile, is writing to Justice Minister Alan Shatter to demand greater consistency in sentencing for rape cases.
“There is deep hurt and outrage out there,” said its spokeswoman, Cliona Saidlear. ”