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Man jailed for 11 and half years for rape of daughter

A woman has said her father stole her whole youth by subjecting her to repeated rape and sexual abuse for thirteen years.

Patrick Honan, 69, from Lakeview, Doonbeg, Kilrush in Co Clare was jailed today for eleven and a half years for raping and sexually abusing his daughter, Noreen from the age of three to the age of 16.

His daughter waived her right to anonymity to allow him to be named.

Noreen Honan was commended by the judge for her dignity and bravery.

Her father Patrick was convicted by a jury earlier this year of 48 sample counts, 25 counts of rape and 23 of indecent assault.

The abuse took place at the family home in Doonbeg in Co Clare between 1977 and 1989.

It started when Noreen was around three and half years of age and stopped when she was 16.

The trial heard the abuse often happened when his wife was out.

It got progressively worse as she got older, Ms Honan told the trial and the jury heard there were never any long periods when she did not experience abuse.

When she hit puberty there were less opportunities for her father to abuse her she said. It happened a little less often at that stage but was more vicious.

If she asked for money for youth clubs or normal childhood activities, Judge Siobhán Lankford said Honan would make it clear he wanted something sexual in return.

The worst period of her life, Ms Honan said, was during her mother’s last pregnancy when her mother spent 53 days in hospital and her father had uninterrupted access to her.

The last incident of rape occurred just after she finished her Junior Certificate exam in 1989.

Ms Honan said she told her mother her father had been abusing for years. He was confronted and admitted some incidents and apologised she said.

But he later denied this happened. When he was interviewed by gardaí he denied all the allegations.

Judge Lankford said Honan had come from humble origins and had built a successful business.

He had supported his children including Ms Honan and there had been some happy times in the family.

He had support from his ex-wife, his two sons and his current partner she said. The judge also noted his health difficulties and his age.

However, she said these were very serious offences, involving a prolonged period of abuse and an enormous breach of trust.

Ms Honan was entitled to feel safe in her own home and at the hands of someone who had a duty to protect and nurture her.

The judge sentenced Honan to 13 years in prison with the final 18 months suspended.

She said Noreen Honan had conducted herself in a most dignified manner and commended her on her bravery.

The judge refused an application by the defence for Honan to remain anonymous despite the fact that his daughter had waived her right to anonymity.

Defence lawyers said he lived in a small rural area and the publication of his identity would have a very severe impact on his grandchildren.

The judge said Honan had no right to anonymity once the verdict had been pronounced and in a situation where the complainant wished to waive hers.

There was no question of anonymity attaching to him as and from today she said.

Outside court, in a brief statement, Ms Honan said her father had stolen her whole youth.

She said she had suffered mentally and physically all her life because of the abuse.

She only became strong enough to face head-on what he had done in 2017 she said and she encouraged all victims of sexual violence to take the first step and come forward.

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