Belfast Telegraph

Friday 18 April 2014

Father jailed for systematic sex abuse of his son

The father in the Republic’s ‘House of Horrors' case, which has horrified Ireland, was yesterday sentenced to 14 years in jail for the systematic sexual abuse of his eldest son.

The son said he was “happy enough” with the term imposed but had hoped his father would get a life sentence.

The repeated abuse took place between 2001 and 2004, the years after the mother had secured a High Court injunction restraining the Irish Western Health Board from removing the children from the home as part of a care plan.

An independent report will now focus on why Irish state officials failed to fight the injunction that stopped the six children being taken into care in 2000.

The family had been placed on the ‘at risk' list in 1996. The six children were finally taken into emergency care in 2004 after a serious allegation was made against the father.

The 41-year-old mother is serving a seven-year sentence since last January, becoming the first woman in the history of the Irish state to be convicted of incest.

The incest trial heard that, since 1996, social workers had been visiting the family because of childcare issues. But the presiding judge voiced concern at the fact that it was not until 2004 that the children were eventually taken into care.

HSE officials told the court that in September 2000 a voluntary agreement was reached between the Western Health Board and the mother to have the children cared for by an uncle and an aunt. But the mother had become involved with “a right-wing Catholic organisation” to support her going to the High Court to obtain an injunction restraining the Health Board from acting.

HSE West Childcare Manager, Paddy Gannon told the judge in the maternal incest case that the court order prevented the Health Board from moving the children from the home as part of a care plan.

It was four years later before the children were eventually removed from the home.

Passing sentence on the father, Mr Justice Barry White said that his actions “were an appalling breach of the trust of an innocent and vulnerable child”.

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