Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Kenny offers to meet rape victim

Enda Kenny has invited Fiona Doyle to meet him to discuss the justice system

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has offered to meet rape victim Fiona Doyle to hear her views on the justice system.

Ms Doyle was left devastated after her father Patrick O'Brien, who raped her for more than 10 years, walked free from court as he awaits an appeal.

"I'm quite willing to meet Ms Doyle to hear her views as a victim of unspeakable horror, as to her perspective on how a victim would see the court system working," Mr Kenny said.

"I can't comment about the judge in question or about the sentencing, but I'm very happy to meet with Ms Doyle at a convenient time."

Ms Doyle had sought the meeting after waiving her right to anonymity in the prosecution only to see her 72-year-old father handed a 12-year sentence, with nine years suspended, but freed on bail to await an appeal on the jail term.

The meeting with her would take place amid widespread criticism from abuse campaigners and opposition politicians over a lack of sentencing guidelines for sex crimes.

The sentencing, by Mr Justice Paul Carney at Dublin's Central Court earlier this week, was said by legal experts to follow the example set down by previous appeals on sentences for sex offences.

The Taoiseach personally urged the Court of Criminal Appeal to deal with the case as quickly as possible, while Sinn Fein and Fianna Fail both called for the Government to introduce the guidelines to ensure greater consistency.

Mr Kenny described Ms Doyle as "a courageous victim". He added it was in the interest of everyone that the court system works effectively, and that Justice Minister Alan Shatter had already established a working group to consider penal reform, announced last September.

Meanwhile the convicted rapist is due to back before Mr Justice Carney on Thursday. O'Brien has been listed to re-appear in the Central Criminal Court, where his case will be mentioned.

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