A 35-year-old man who paid women to let him sexually abuse their children has been sentenced to eight years in prison, with the final year suspended.

Timmy Duggan, of Mountain Lodge, Annagh, Tralee, also tried to solicit young children by offering them cash.

Judge Elva Duffy said a co-accused had gone from selling herself to Duggan to selling her children, describing her offences as "most serious".

Sentencing Duggan, a former retail store manager and Kerry badminton champion, Judge Elva Duffy said he was calculated and cynical in his efforts to groom the children, describing messages between him and one mother about her three-year-old child as "disturbed, obscene and highly-objectionable".

While Judge Duffy accepted that Duggan had fully co-operated with the garda investigations, she said aggravating factors in sentencing him were the multiplicity of offences, the extended period of time, the breach of trust and the level of pre-mediation shown by Duggan.

While the individual acts were not at the top end of the scale there are, she said, ongoing concerns about him being at high-risk of re-offending and he seemed to have a limited appreciation of what he was doing.

Duggan was previously returned for trial on 47 sexual offences against children between 2015 and 2021, following four separate garda investigations at locations in Munster.

At the Central Criminal Court in Tralee last Thursday, the State accepted a plea to 22 sample charges ranging from child sexual assault, child sexual exploitation, inciting children to engage in a sexual act, possessing images of naked children and encouraging others, including the victims' mothers to produce images of child abuse.

The multiple counts of sexual abuse came to light after gardaí received a complaint from a father of two young daughters in August 2019 when he discovered messages from Duggan on the sisters' phones asking them to send him images of them in their underwear via their mobile phones.

The court heard that a psychological assessment found that Duggan poses "an above average risk of re-offending".

Judge Duffy sentenced him today at Tralee Circuit Criminal Court to a total of eight years in prison, suspending the final year subject to a number of conditions.

These include that he is placed under the supervision of the Probation Services, that he attends a sex offenders treatment group and that he does not access any electronic equipment with internet access, including a mobile phone, without the permission of the Probation Services and gardaí, and that any equipment he has would be available for checking as required.

A co-accused, a mother who cannot be named for legal reasons, who Duggan paid almost €3,400 for 19 naked images of her six and nine-year-old children, was sentenced to three years in prison, with the final 18 months suspended, subject to a number of conditions, including that she complies with the Probation Services and gets treatment for her addictions.

The court had been told that the woman had accepted sums of between €50 to €300 for "pre-discussed ordered images" for Duggan's sexual gratification.

Judge Elva Duffy said the woman went from selling herself to Duggan to selling her children, describing her offences as "most serious".

"This was a breach of trust of the most fundamental kind. She should have been protecting her children, instead she offered them up to him (Duggan)."

Both Duggan and his co-accused were placed on the Sex Offenders Register.