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HSE told of rape dad years before his reign of horror was stopped

THE HSE is under pressure to explain how a rapist father and violent mother were allowed to continue the vile abuse of their children for nine years after a health board was first alerted.

The HSE admitted that its involvement with the family was being "reviewed".

The 50-year-old father was yesterday jailed for life for multiple rapes of four of his daughters between 1991 and 2009. He had been jailed for 14 years just 12 months ago for more than 80 rapes of his eldest daughter by whom he fathered two children.

The children's mother (47) was jailed for eight years last July for appalling acts of cruelty to eight of her children between 2002 and 2009.

Passing sentence at the Central Criminal Court sitting in Castlebar, Mr Justice Paul Carney said that the offences were at the top end of offending, given the multiplicity and the heinous nature of the acts.

At the sentencing of the mother in July, Judge Raymond Groarke said he found it incredible that her abuse could go on for so many years with little or no intervention.

But a health board became aware of the abuse in 2000 after a statement of complaint was made to gardai by one of the couple's daughters.

Following intervention by the health board, the father apparently left the family caravan and the two daughters later withdrew their statements.

The family travelled to the west where the father rejoined them and further appalling rapes and acts of cruelty on the children were carried out.

The family were always based in remote, uninhabited locations -- chosen by the father.

A number of the girls ran away, but were eventually found and brought back home and beaten. The end of their nightmare came in June, 2009 when one of the couple's sons went to a garda station and told of his concerns about what was happening to his sisters.