Monday 9 December 2019

Fiona Doyle's triumph over her rapist father

Sarah Stack

FIONA Doyle stood strong and tall, the look of justice clearly etched on her face after a 20-year struggle.

Flanked by her family, the loving mother revealed she was finally able to walk away with no baggage after seeing her rapist father Patrick O'Brien put behind bars.

But the innocence snatched from her as a seven-year-old, first raped the night before her First Holy Communion and almost every week after that for 10 years, could never be given back.

At the Criminal Courts of Justice, the 47-year-old wife and mother-of-five was eventually vindicated.

"I stood there and waited until he went through those doors. I watched him go through those doors and that was all I wanted," said Ms Doyle.

"You know, he might now feel the loneliness, the lack of support and the isolation that I have felt for the past 40 years.

"I have waited for this days for over 20 years since I first brought the first complaint to the gardai and the HSE.

"They were like everybody else, my schools, teachers, doctors, hospitals, they let me down.

"Nobody believed me."

Ms Doyle, who bravely waived her right to anonymity, "accepted" the judge's regret at granting her frail father bail on Monday and pleaded with the 72-year-old not to appeal against his jail term.

"I would just like to ask my dad, as a sign of remorse, not to appeal this three-year sentence," she said.

"This three-year sentence now, in his present state, is a lifetime for him."

Dressed in pink and with her family around her, including husband Jim, son Patrick and her father's brother Des who "never doubted" her over the years, Ms Doyle said she had no plans to celebrate the judicial U-turn.

"It's not something I had planned on celebrating. I found it quite sad," she said.

"When it all boils down, that was my dad walking through those doors and I'll never see him again.

"My mam and dad said last week they've nothing to do with Fiona Doyle; well Fiona Doyle has nothing to do with Pat and Breda (Brigid) O'Brien.

"I'm a Doyle and I'm proud of the family I come from and the family that we are."

But despite the years of heartache and campaigning for justice she urged other victims to stand up to their attackers.

"It was difficult, it was a long hard road," she said.

"Look at my face today compared to last week. I'm happy and it's been a rough ride, but it's worth it."

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