Wednesday 17 January 2018

Video: He wanted to know my story, abuse survivor says after Taoiseach meeting

Michael Brennan Deputy Political Editor

Sex-abuse survivor Fiona Doyle has revealed how she broke down during her hour-long meeting with Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

She emerged from Government Buildings in Dublin with tears in her eyes, having re-told Mr Kenny many of the details of the horrific abuse she suffered at the hands of her father.

Ms Doyle said that Mr Kenny had promised to look into her demands, which include minimum sentences for rapists, recruitment of "younger judges" and a more sensitive approach towards the victims of sexual abuse.

"He actually really wanted to know my story and he wanted to know some of the details and he wanted to know about the court processes. It was a bit emotional. I had to stop a few times."

There was a public outcry after her father Patrick O'Brien (72) was released on bail, just after he had pleaded guilty to raping and sexually abusing her over a 10-year period.

But Judge Paul Carney (69) reversed his decision and O'Brien was sent to jail to start his three-year sentence.

His total sentence was 12 years but nine were suspended on account of his age and health problems.

Ms Doyle said she wanted mandatory minimum sentences for rape because she did not trust judges to impose a strong enough sentence.

"The sentence my dad got made me feel I wasn't worth anything, like my story wasn't worth anything," she said.

A government spokesman confirmed that Mr Kenny was going to pass on Ms Doyle's views to Justice Minister Alan Shatter, who has set up a working group to review sentencing policy.

There is currently a mandatory life sentence for murder as well as a mandatory 10-year sentence for possessing large quantities of drugs.

But in the case of rape, it is up to each individual judge to decide on the sentence.

Ms Doyle said the meeting had gone on a lot longer than she expected because she had told her full story to Mr Kenny.

"We talked about everything. I'm hoping that something will be done," she said.

Ms Doyle, who appeared on 'The Late Late Show' last week, said the support she had got since she opted to go public about her suffering was like "the nation putting a blanket around me and keeping me warm".

"I feel it was worth it. I'd like to encourage women not to look at my case and back off. Come forward, it does make a difference," she said.

Mr Kenny was unaccompanied by any of his officials during the meeting.

Irish Independent

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