The Irish Mail on Sunday
Daughter of incest woman: I’m proud that she spoke out
Family backs Dolores Keogh after Late Late interview
THE daughter of a woman who revealed that her parents were brother and sister has described how she is proud of her mother for speaking out.
Dolores Keogh gave her first television interview on Friday night’s Late Late Show, eight months after revealing the truth about her identity to the Irish Mail on Sunday.
The mother of four, from Sixmilebridge, Co. Clare, discovered at age 14 that Teresa, who she had thought was her older sister, was actually her mother. In 2010, before he died, she discovered that Jimmy, the man she thought was her brother, was her father.
DNA tests carried out in a Cork laboratory in 2012 and later seen by the MoS confirmed that James O’Neill was her father.
Yesterday, Dolores’s only daughter, Fionnuala Keogh, said she
‘Nothing for her to feel ashamed about’
fully supports her mother’s decision to tell her story, saying: ‘People should not be afraid of this subject’.
‘I’m very proud of my mother for speaking about her life the way she did,’ said Fionnuala. ‘There’s nothing for her to feel ashamed about, she did nothing wrong.
‘We only found out around seven years ago that Teresa was our grandmother and we had lots of time with her and she was lovely. Jimmy was just Jimmy to us, he was also lovely. What happened happened, it’s not my mother’s fault.
‘I think she did great for speaking out and she did really well on the Late Late Show. I’m very proud of her.’
Dolores O’Neill was born on February 14, 1954, under a fuchsia tree at the family home in Bunnabina in Cratloe, Co. Clare.
Her parents, Teresa, 16, and Jimmy, 18, told her on their deathbeds that they had tried to drown her in a bucket of cold water for fear of what would happen to them if their incestuous relationship was revealed.
‘All my life I dreamed of drowning,’ said Dolores. ‘I would wake up in a panic and it wasn’t until Teresa and Jimmy told me what the dream was about that it stopped and I’ve never had that dream since.
‘They were frightened. No matter what, they loved me both and they paid a terrible price for their relationship.
‘Teresa was sent away to England less than three weeks after having me and had to stay away and she missed out on so many things. She told me she never held a child again despite being a head matron. Jimmy was also sent away too. They never married anyone or had any other children. They loved me from a distance and their parents reared me but in reality Jimmy made all the decisions for me.’
Dolores has also revealed that her grandparents often referred to her as a ‘bastard’.
‘She told me she never
held a child again’
She has also revealed that as a child she was sexually abused by three separate individuals.
Dolores is working on a book about her life and has recently completed a film script with former Sky News producer Rob Kirk. She has also received over 40 calls from people in similar situations since she told her story.
‘Incest is still happening, I have lost count of the number of people who have rang me to tell me their story. They just want to say it and for someone to listen and not to judge,’ said Dolores.
‘I just tell them don’t be afraid, you would be surprised to see who is behind you – some people in your life don’t want anybody to know anything and at the end of the day it’s your life and it’s you who have to live with it.
‘No one should feel shame, you’re not responsible for anyone else’s actions. We’ve done nothing wrong.’