Fiona will speak with Taoiseach and write book
FIONA DOYLE and her family will meet Taoiseach Enda Kenny today to tell him about a life that started ‘ handcuffed to a rollercoaster,’ and the 20year war she waged for justice.
While her father Patrick O’Brien (72) began a three-year sentence last week for the decade of rape and abuse he inflicted on a helpless child, Fiona’s unbearable pain continues.
She is a grown woman now with adult children of her own, hopefully finding some peace in her adopted home of North Wexford. However there is still a confused, frightened and deeply troubled child in Fiona, a child whom the nation took to its heart and stood up to defend last week.
The public outcry in this case was unprecedented. Social and mainstream media, local word of mouth, and even the houses of the Oireachtas themselves hummed with outrage when O’Brien walked out of court a free man.
The monstrous reality of what she endured in silence has now come to light, due to Fiona’s brave decision to waive her right to anonymity.
She has described years of the most unimaginable torture a parent can inflict on a child.
The abuse started when she was as young as four, Fiona said last Friday on the Late Late Show.
Her father kept raping her for more than a decade, with a frequency that has been described as ‘as regular as having dinner.’
Nobody protected Fiona from the horrors she faced in her own home throughout the 1970s and 80s. Doctors who treated her for genital warts at the age of 12 failed to remove her from her nightmare.
‘I find it hard to look people in the eye and tell them,’ said Fiona. ‘I hurt people by telling them. You bring this poison in to people’s lives and you walk away feeling you have invaded their lives. I know I did nothing wrong but it doesn’t stop you feeling uncomfortable. You feel bad because you make other people feel uncomfortable.’
She didn’t have a childhood, and for that reason will call her forthcoming book (to be written with journalist Ellen Lynch) ‘Stolen Life.’
‘I didn’t realise at the time. I didn’t know I didn’t have a childhood,’ said Fiona, who also described shame and self-loathing stemming from her father’s betrayal.
‘I hated myself. I hated looking in the mirror. I had an awful anger inside me. I piled on the weight and I didn’t feel attractive. I hated everything about me. Nobody knew. This was hidden from everybody.’
The Doyle family has provided their mum with such comfort. They are clearly a very close family, without whom she may never have summoned the strength to speak up.
‘My husband and my children are amazing,’ she said, adding that her children ‘ Turned in to fine amazing adults.’
For now, Fiona will concentrate on her book and her family. This week she is resting at home after the momentous events that united a country.