independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

Supporters of Fiona protest outside rapist dad's home

THE family of abuse survivor Fiona Doyle walked through their home town "with their heads held high" to thank neighbours and friends for their support during their mother's ordeal.

They were joined by supporters and other survivors of abuse on the march through Bray, Co Wicklow, which stopped outside the Old Court Avenue home of Patrick O'Brien, who was jailed last week for raping his daughter.

Fiona's daughter Kristal Doyle said her mother was extremely brave, but that she wasn't able to attend the protest in Bray, and an earlier event outside Leinster House in Dublin, because she was afraid of becoming upset.

"She is afraid of the questions that she will be asked and she won't able to answer. She is afraid of the looks of pity that she will get," Kristal told the Irish Independent.

"Last Thursday was justice for my mother and now we need to get justice for every person out there, we are here for people we love and to show them they are not alone.

"People getting away with three years in prison or nothing is not good enough and people need to know that if they have the courage to go to court, they are going to get an outcome out of it and somebody is going to listen to them."

Appeal

Last week, Mrs Doyle's father Patrick O'Brien (72) was jailed for three years after pleading guilty to the rape and sexual abuse of his daughter over a 10-year period.

Mr O'Brien was originally released on bail pending an appeal, but following public outcry Mr Justice Paul Carney reversed his decision and O'Brien was sent to jail to start his sentence.

Earlier, black balloons were released following a brief protest outside Leinster House.

Kristal's friend since childhood Dearbhail Lawless organised the protest.

"It's been so horrific to hear what happened to Fiona Doyle and she is a brave woman. Her children have shown such strength to stand behind their mother and support her. I am so proud of Kristal as a friend."

Angela McCarthy of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre told the Irish Independent that her organisation's helplines were extremely busy following Mrs Doyle's 'Late Late Show' interview.

"It's very difficult for people to go through the courts particularly when they hear of cases like this, it's a kind of retraumatisation. Many of the calls were from people who were afraid to go through the courts in case they wouldn't be believed."

"I have been through the process so I can relate," one woman, whose case is currently being heard in the courts, explained. "It's very frustrating, going through the process is soul destroying. The victim has to serve a life sentence."

The Doyle family will accompany Fiona when she meets Taoisach Enda Kenny later this week to tell him about her experience of the justice system and to push for measures to ensure convicted sex offenders receive appropriate jail terms.

Irish Independent

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