The Health Service Executive (HSE) said a review has been underway “for some time” into its involvement with a family at the center of serious abuse and multiple rapes dating back 25 years.
A 50-year-old man was jailed for life last week for a number of counts of rape and ill-treatment of four of his daughters over an 18-year period to 2009.
The man, who can’t be named under Irish law to protect the identities of his victims, was already serving a 14-year sentence for multiple counts of rape, buggery, and indecent assault between 1986 and 2000 on a fifth daughter who bore two girls to him.
The man’s wife is also serving an eight-year sentence for cruelty and neglect of eight of her children over a seven-year period.
The review into the HSE’s involvement with the family is being undertaken by the National Review Panel for Serious Incidents and Child Deaths.
In a list of horrific evidence in both parents’ trials, courts in Galway and Mayo heard from several daughters that they will never recover from the abuse which began when some were as young as five.
Evidence presented to the Central Criminal Court in Castlebar last week suggested that the repeated rapes, assaults and beatings took place with and without alcohol, and that the mother was present for rapes carried out by her husband and participated in beatings.
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One girl was punched in the ribs while being raped to stop her resisting. Her sisters received similar treatment, which began with buggery when they were young and rape as they grew older -- in and outside a caravan, out in woods, and at various isolated locations such as bog roads.
Two daughters described in victim impact statements how they were tied to a tree in woods and viciously abused.
One girl was nine when her father both buggered and raped her while she was wired to the tree.
He put a sock in her mouth and his hand over it to stop her screaming and said he would kill her and bury her in the bog if she told her mother or anyone else.
Another of the girls had her arm broken with a hammer and had her fingers dislocated.
The full details of the family from hell began to emerge in March 2009 when two young men called to a Garda station to express concern about the family.
The children were taken into care by agencies in June 2009 and their parents were finally taken into custody on Christmas Eve 2009.
One girl told of being tied to a horse, which was whipped to run. The horse tripped and fell on top of her legs. On another occasion, while she was in her teens and sitting at the dinner table in the caravan with her hands out, her father stuck a knife in her right arm.
When the bleeding would not stop, he used a needle and thick thread to stitch it up, giving the girl no painkillers, in front of her mother and the other terrified children.
The girl said her father had taken away her childhood, and “101 people knew what he was doing, but never asked if we wanted help.”
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