A NORTH Kerry man who was jailed in 2009 for the sexual assault of a young mother in Listowel is set for release within weeks.
Former bouncer Danny Foley of Meen, Listowel was sentenced to seven years in prison - the final two suspended - in December 2009 after being found guilty of sexually assaulting a 24-year-old mother of one in the town in June 2008. With over three years and eight months of that sentence now served, it is expected that the will be released in the coming weeks.
Mr Foley's case sparked national outrage after he was convicted when up to 50 Listowel locals filed past his victim in court to shake hands with and embrace him at his sentencing hearing. Some were openly crying and wiping their tears as they wished Danny Foley well just minutes before he was due to be sentenced, while others shook his hand and literally patted him on the back in a show of solidarity.
All the while, the woman he left bruised, scratched and semi naked beside a skip in a local car park cut a lonely figure in the front row of the public gallery as Mr Foley's supporters piled into seats behind her.
The woman had to endure what she described at the time as 'dirty looks and disapproving glances' from some of the men and women who came to court in support of Mr Foley, before then having to deliver an emotional victim impact statement that was greeted by sighs and tuts from some.
Meanwhile, family friend and former Castlegregory PP, Fr Sean Sheehy, also came under fire at the time when he told the sentencing hearing that Foley was "a man with the highest respect for women who didn't have an abusive bone in his body."
Throughout the trial, Mr Foley always maintained his innocence and said the incident was consensual. He told two patrolling gardaí who found him crouched over the semi-conscious woman in a car park that he had happened upon her when he went to relieve himself.