A WEXFORD father has been sentenced to two years in prison, with the final six months suspended, for the sexual abuse of his daughter when she was nine years old.
The man, who cannot be named to protect the identity of his daughter, pleaded guilty at Wexford Circuit Criminal Court to two counts of sexual assault, dating from 1987.
The victim disclosed to her mother that her father sexually assaulted her at their home. Subsequently, the father left the family home with a barring order put in place, according to investigating garda, Sgt Victor Isdell.
The victim made her complaint to gardai on August 1, 2009 and during the course of her interview described the incidents and the nature of the assaults carried out by her father.
Sgt Isdell said the defendant was arrested on May 28, 2013 and interviewed on three separate occasions. The defendant, he said, entered a plea of guilty to both counts on July 22 last.
In the Victim Impact Statement read into the court, the victim said what happened will be with her for the rest of her life.
'I lost my self esteem. I still have to remind myself I was only a child when this happened, I was not responsible for what happened. It ruined my childhood for the family home should be a happy place. He took away my childhood but as a result of this and the plea of guilty I can now walk away with my dignity and head held high.'
Defence Counsel John O'Kelly said when the defendant was asked how did he feel he said 'I feel what I did was wrong'.
Mr. O'Kelly said at the first available opportunity the defendant pleaded guilty. He suffered a brain injury as a child, leading to intellectual difficulty throughout his life.
Describing it as a selfless, gratuitous and needless act of self satisfaction, Judge Barry Hickson said it should never have happened. The judge said the victim was entitled to be cherished and loved by her parents.
In mitigation, he said it is now 29 years since the offences occurred and that by pleading guilty, the defendant saved his daughter the exposure of a criminal trial.
On the first count, judge Hickson sentenced the defendant to two years in prison, with the final six months suspended for a period of two years. He marked the second charge taken into consideration.