Monday 14 October 2019

'Only you dying will bring me closure,' abuse survivor Fiona tells her father

Confronted her father: Abuse survivor Fiona Doyle. Photo: Collins
Confronted her father: Abuse survivor Fiona Doyle. Photo: Collins
Ill health: Patrick O’Brien

Gabija Gataveckaite

The daughter of convicted paedophile Patrick O'Brien has said the only way she can achieve a sense of closure in relation to the horrific crimes he committed against her is by attending his funeral when he dies.

Fiona Doyle, who was abused by her father in the 1970s and 1980s, was speaking ahead of her father's looming release from prison next month.

Speaking on 'Today with Seán O'Rourke' on RTÉ Radio One yesterday, she said that she would only be able to "move on" in relation to her father's heinous crimes when she saw his coffin being lowered into the ground.

She spoke about confronting her father, who sexually abused her for a decade, when he was in hospital last year.

"'Dad, I need this to end,' I said. And he said: 'How will it end?' I said: 'It'll end when you die. I need to see you go into the ground'," she said.

"And I said, 'You can tell all the family members that I'm not going to be denied that. That's what I need to move on, it's not to get over - because you never get over what's been done."

O'Brien is due to be released from prison on October 24 after six years in jail.

Ms Doyle said she didn't receive any sense of closure when her mother Breda died several years ago.

That week Ms Doyle was due to hear if her mother was going to be charged over the abuse. "That particular week was the week that I was to hear if she was to be charged. I never found out if they were going to charge her or not," Ms Doyle said.

Her father is now 80 years old and is in ill health in prison.

Ms Doyle said that she battles the effects of her abuse to this day and has been seeing a counsellor since 2010 in order to "reprogramme" herself.

She said certain triggers bring back painful memories.

"I have a big issue with porridge. My 12-year-old loves porridge and I cannot bear porridge," she said.

"That's because my mother used to make it the night before and it was my job to come down to reheat it and to give it to my brothers and sisters and then to wash the pot.

"But I couldn't wash the pot, I was that small.

"And I would get a beating when I came from school if I hadn't done it right."

She said even seeing her father's favoured brand of coffee, Maxwell House, in a shop is enough to bring the horrific memories flooding back.

She told O'Rourke that triggers were all around and said that her journey into RTÉ brought her by Foxrock golf course and Deansgrange cemetery - two locations where her father raped her.

"It happens every day of my life. But I let it happen and try to get on with the rest of the day," she said.

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News