A 78-year-old man who regularly raped his daughter while her mother was at work has been jailed for four years.

The now 54-year-old woman stated in her victim impact report: "A child should feel safe in their own home, in their own bed, but you took that from me."

"I now know that you are a predator, a master manipulator and are very good at acting like the victim. I don't know what other damage you have done."

The man, who cannot be named to protect the victim's identity, pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to five sample charges of carnal knowledge without the girl's consent on dates between July 1973 and November 1974 at the family home in Co Mayo.

Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy said the three core factors were the effect the offences had on the victim, the age of the accused and the state of health of the accused man.

"The idea of a father abusing his daughter in this manner is shocking," said the judge. "One is constantly appalled by the depravity involved in this type of offence," he added.

He noted the extensive medical problems of the accused and his "precarious state of health".

Mr Justice McCarthy imposed a four-year sentence which he backdated to May when the man first went into custody. He said the sentence was "very substantially less" than would otherwise have been imposed due to the accused man's age and state of health.


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Patrick Gageby SC, prosecuting, said it was the State's case that the woman was raped on a regular basis from 1972 to 1975, while she was aged between nine and 12-years-old.

A local detective garda said the woman first contacted gardaí in 2015 having until then put the abuse "to the back of her mind".

She said her father would bring her into her parents' bedroom while her mother was out at work and rape her. Sometimes he would promise to buy her clothes.

The detective read the woman's victim impact statement in which she said her father had caused so much pain and suffering.

"When I look at your grandchildren, I cannot understand how a parent can take away an innocence and damage a relationship like that forever," the woman said.

She said she had somehow gathered the strength to maintain a marriage and has two amazing children, adding that moving out of Ireland helped her.

"I never trusted you and never wanted to be anywhere near you. The abuse you perpetrated on me has done untold damage to the relationships in our family and has caused isolation for me and further suffering," the woman continued.

The garda agreed with Michael Bowman SC, defending, that the moment his client was arrested he acknowledged what he had done.

She accepted that he told gardaí: "I'm terribly sorry that it happened. It's 100% wrong, I was 100% wrong. I just wish I could turn back the clock."

The court heard that the man was raised in Donegal by his grandparents believing them to be his biological parents, when in fact the woman he believed was his sister was actually his mother.

He has no contact with his wife or other children and he has been disowned from his local community.

"He no longer has a place to call home on his eventual release," Mr Bowman said before he asked the court to consider his client's plea of guilty, genuine remorse and significant health difficulties when considering sentence.