Fiona will speak with Taoiseach and write book

Bray People - - THE NOTEBOOK -

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.

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