A former garda who pleaded guilty to two counts of defilement of a teenage boy has been sentenced to two years in prison with the final year suspended.

Damien Jermyn, 30, pleaded guilty last April to engaging in a sexual act with a boy on dates in January and February 2011.

Jermyn, with an address at Main Street, Bantry, Co Cork, had been serving as a garda in Killarney in Co Kerry when he was first charged with the offences.

Cork Circuit Criminal Court was told that he was suspended from his duties when the offences came to light and that he resigned from the force yesterday.

Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin said while there were many mitigating factors in Jermyn's favour - that he had pleaded guilty and had lost his job - he could not lose sight of the fact that there was an enormous breach of trust, that Jermyn was an adult and an adult who knowingly had sex with a child.

He said what compelled him to impose a custodial sentence was that as a garda he had a position of responsibility and that the boy had been in care at the time of the offences.  

Earlier, the court was told an investigation by the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission found that the two had met on GAYDAR - an online site for gay people over 18.

The teenage boy called himself Sexy Cork Boy and said he was 18.

Jermyn said he did not know the boy’s real age the first time they met but admitted the second time they met, he knew he was 16 and in care.

The GSOC said Jermyn is the fourth garda to go to prison following an investigation by the Ombudsman.

The GSOC has been in existence since 2007.