A Galway man has been sentenced to seven-and-a-half-years in prison after being found guilty of repeatedly raping a young girl over ten years ago.

The 29-year-old man, who was convicted following a trial at the Central Criminal Court last year, was also jailed for the rape of two other young girls. 

The victims were aged between six and ten years at the time of the abuse, while the accused was aged between 14 and 18.

The first victim told the trial how the assaults mostly occurred in a building near the accused’s family home.

The second girl was 11-years-old when she told gardaí in 2007 that both she and the first victim had been raped at the same time.

However, the case was never prosecuted because the first victim denied it ever happened.

She subsequently reported the incidences of rape in 2011.

The accused was arrested but denied all allegations. 

It was only when the third girl was being interviewed as a witness for the investigation that she disclosed that she had also been raped.

In victim impact statements read to the court, the women spoke of the devastating and long lasting effects the abuse had on them. 

The accused had pleaded not guilty to a number of charges relating to the rape and sexual abuse of the three victims.

He was convicted in July last year, following a nine-day trial, of a total of 21 charges of rape and sexual assault on the first victim.

He was also found guilty on one charge of raping each of the other two girls.

Mr Justice Michael Moriarty sentenced the man to seven-and-a-half-years for the rape charges and concurrent terms of six-and-a-half and five years for the remaining charges.

He suspended the final year on strict conditions.