A grandfather who sexually abused three of his young granddaughters has been jailed for 11 years.
One of the girls, who was regularly abused by her grandfather after school, told the Central Criminal Court in her victim impact statement that her working parents had put their trust in her grandfather but he had bribed her with sweets and made her do things no four-year-old should do.
She continues to be affected by the abuse and had feared disclosing it would break up her family.
The 77-year-old man, who cannot be named to protect his victims’ identity, pleaded guilty to sample counts of two counts of oral rape and 13 counts of sexual assault of the eldest girl at locations in Co Tipperary on dates between October 2011 and October 2014.
She was aged between 6 and 8 at the time and disclosed the abuse to a teacher in 2018. The abuse occurred at her grandfather’s family home, her own home and on a holiday.
A garda investigation was launched and the girl also disclosed she had seen her younger five-year- old sister being abused by their grandfather on two occasion in 2016 to 2017. She had seen her grandfather "humping" her little sister and he told her they were "playing horsey."
He pleaded guilty to sixteen counts of oral rape and 19 counts of sexual assaults of a third granddaughter on dates between October 2010 and June 2013.
This girl, a cousin of the other victims, was aged between four and seven years old at the time of the abuse. She was abused after school over a period of three years by her grandfather, as well as in her home and her grandfather's home.
He also made her watch pornographic videos. She disclosed what happened to her mother in 2017.
Mr Justice Michael White said the offences had been a most serious breach of trust. He noted the age of the victims, as well as the nature, frequency and length of time of the offending.
He noted in mitigation that the man had made full and frank admissions, shown remorse and took into account his medical and mental health issues.
Mr Justice White set a headline sentence of 17 years before taking the mitigating factors into account and imposing a 12-year sentence with the final year suspended on condition he attend an assessment for the Better Lives program in custody.
The court heard none of the injured parties wished to be present in court. One of the girls made a victim impact statement, while the eldest girl indicated her specialist garda interview was the last she wanted to do with the case. The youngest girl does not recall the incidents witnessed by her sister.
Colman Cody SC, defending, submitted that a psychiatric report before the court states his client has expressed remorse for his offending behaviour and suggests he would engage with a sexual offender treatment programme while in custody.
Counsel said his client does seem to have a pre-existing history of mental health issues prior to going into custody and his incarceration has exacerbated matters. He asked the court to hold out the prospect that his client may re-enter society.
The court heard the accused man has no previous convictions and had pleaded guilty at an early stage. Mr Cody said his client did not challenge or minimize what he had done and had fully co-operated with the investigation.