Ireland has been stunned by the revelations of two sisters who were repeatedly raped by an older brother more than 40 years ago.
The 62-year-old man, from Co. Kildare, was jailed for 10 years this week when he finally admitted the offences at the Central Criminal Court in Dublin.
The sisters, now aged 60 and 56, listed a catalogue of rapes in the yard of the family home and at the bog between June 1963 and January 1969.
In their impact statements to the court they told how one tried to kill herself several times and said she was “sentenced to a life of torment and shame until the day I die.”
The other can only sleep for an hour a day because she is “haunted by nightmares.” Both sisters have been left with no education because their brother made them stay off school.
Justice Paul Carney heard that the older sister was 14 when her brother started to rape her regularly. The abuse stopped when she was 17, after she moved out of the family home.
The accused then started to rape the younger sister, who was then aged 12, and that continued for two-and-half years, when her mother forced her to leave the home after learning of her brother’s behavior.
The old sister stated that she felt guilty when she left home because she knew that she had left her sister to suffer abuse at the hands of their brother.
Neither sister can be named as they didn’t waive their right to anonymity. As a result their brother also cannot be named.
The older sister said in her statement, “My brother has tarnished everything I had to live for and has left me like a burnt stick."
The younger sister stated she often blamed herself and wondered if she could have stopped the abuse. She added, “My brother walks around with his head held high, while I keep my head down in shame because of the abuse I suffered.”
Both women told investigating Gardai (police) their brother had destroyed their childhood and their chance of a normal upbringing. They also both spoke of never having enjoyed a normal sex life with their husbands and being overprotective of their children.
The women first reported the abuse to Gardai in November 2005 after their brother moved into the same estate as the older sister and she became concerned for the safety of her children and grandchildren.
Their brother pleaded guilty to 12 sample rape offenses.
The judge said he would not be ordering post release supervision, taking into account how old the accused will be on his release and the fact that he hadn’t come to Garda attention in the last 40 years.