Kenny responds to rape case

Tue, Jan 22, 2013, 00:00

The Fiona Doyle rape case has filled the nation with revulsion, Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said.

Mr Kenny said he admired Ms Doyle's courage, adding that there had been the defilement of a child and continuous rape over a 10-year period.

"I would like to believe that others who have been or are subject to rape or incest, or crimes of this horrific nature, would not lose courage in coming forward to say their piece," he added.

Mr Kenny was responding in the Dáil today to Opposition questions on the 12-year sentence, suspending nine years, on Patrick O'Brien for the rape of his daughter, Ms Doyle, for a decade. The case had been referred to the Court of Criminal Appeal, he added.

He said the question of mandatory sentencing had been raised in the Dáil before and was a matter for the Government to reflect on.

Mr Kenny said he accepted the ruling by Ceann Comhairle Sean Barrett that it was not open to him to refer to the nature and extent of the sentence imposed.

Fianna Fail's Billy Kelleher said recent decisions by the Central Criminal Court sent out sent out a very disturbing message. "As a parliament and as a society, we have to give encouragement to people who have been abused and betrayed by their loved ones or by this State to know that if they come forward to seek justice, they will be listened to," he added.

When Mr Kelleher referred to the sentence handed down to Patrick O'Brien, the Ceann Comhairle said the case could not be discussed by the House. "We cannot discuss in here decisions by the court," he added.

Mr Kelleher said he was raising the legitimate concerns of the Irish people.

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams said there was inconsistency in sentencing. "My father was an abuser...and that creates devastation in a family beyond description," he added.

Earlier, the Rape Crisis Network Ireland (RCNI) said it would write to Minister for Justice Alan Shatter calling for measures to ensure consistent sentencing of convicted sex offenders.

RCNI spokeswoman Cliona Saidlear described the sentencing as dreadful. “The Minister can’t interfere with the sentencing being imposed in these cases,” she said. said the spokesman. “So we are calling for sentencing guidelines in sexual offence cases and a consistency in sentencing.

“There is deep hurt and outrage out there,” she said. “Every time there is a sentence like this, it has a lasting impact in terms of a survivor’s confidence and their vindication, of survivor’s rights, and a survivor going forward and feeling they will be taken seriously.”

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