A LIMERICK pensioner who sexually abused his daughter while she was aged between 13 and 16 years old has been sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment.
Patrick Healy, aged 66, of Norwood Park, Garryowen pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to indecently assaulting his daughter at their family home on dates between 1981 and 1984. He has no previous convictions.
His daughter, who is now aged 46, had indicated she wished to waive her right to anonymity so her father could be named.
Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy said this offence fell into a high category in terms of seriousness and breach of trust. He noted the abuse had long term effects on the victim and that her father now accepted moral responsibility for the offences.
Detective Garda Brian O’Connor told Paul Greene SC, prosecuting, the victim and her brother had remained in their father’s care after their parents separated when she was two years old.
The woman said she first recalled being abused when she was 12 years old. The abuse which occurred on a regular basis involved her father making her touch his penis and him touching her before later moving on to forcing her to perform oral sex on him.
She stayed with a relative for a time and Healy abused the girl in his car while taking her out to Sunday lunch.
The woman left home at 16-years-old and later ended up in care.
She made a complaint to gardai in 2013 and Healy was arrested in February 2014. He was charged and brought before Limerick District Court earlier this year.
The woman said in her victim impact statement that the abuse visited on her had destroyed her life. She said her father who should have loved and cared for her had instead stolen her innocence and she hoped she could now move on with her life
Det Garda O’Connor agreed with Michael Bowman SC, defending, that Healy had apologised to the woman in the mid 1990s for the abuse and that there had been a number of recorded phone calls between them in 2012 in which she confronted him about the abuse.
He agreed Healy had engaged with her in these calls and accepted what he had done was wrong. Healy said in the calls he thought about it everyday, was disgusted by it and would turn back time if he could.
Mr Bowman submitted that the apologies offered to his daughter in the 1990s and in the phone calls demonstrated genuine remorse for the harm he had done.
He said the enormity of his actions had been brought home to him during the calls and he communicated his heart felt apologies.
Mr Bowman said Healy had a long history of employment and involvement in his community. He was a father of five children from a number of relationships.
He said Healy had lost his standing in the community and now found himself living in almost complete isolation since these offences came to light.
The court heard his health is deteriorating and that he previously suffered a heart attack and stroke.