'It retraumatised me all over again' - Aimee Foley on five year sentence given to her father

Michael O'Donoghue pleaded guilty to raping and abusing his daughter
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

11.05 3 Feb 2022

Share this article

'It retraumatised me all over...

'It retraumatised me all over again' - Aimee Foley on five year sentence given to her father

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

11.05 3 Feb 2022

Share this article

A woman, who was seriously and systematically abused by her father from the age of eight, says a five year sentence given to him retraumatised her all over again.

Aimee Foley spoke out aged 18 and subsequently reported him to the Gardaí.

Michael O'Donoghue -  of Colmanstown, Ballinasloe, Co Galway - pleaded guilty to raping and abusing his daughter.


Late last year he was sentenced to five years in prison.

Aimee's parents separated before she was born and a custody battle ensued.

Overnight visitations were granted, and eventually she says she was spending every second weekend at her father's house in Galway.

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) is set to appeal the leniency of the sentence.

Aimee told The Pat Kenny Show the sentence broke her heart a little bit more.

"To say 'shocked' was a little bit of an understatement.

"Obviously it has taken a long, long time to get to the courts - so when I sat there and I heard Judge Keane pass down his sentence, in my own head I couldn't actually believe what was happening.

"I questioned 'Did I hear it correctly? He definitely didn't say five years, there has to be a mistake.'

"I was already sitting in that courtroom with a broken heart, for me I shouldn't have been in there in the first place.

"So to hear that sentence, it just broke that already broken heart a little bit more.

"And walking out of the room, words can't even describe the emotions I felt - because it was just heartbreak, that's the only word I can think".

'Nothing will ever be a just sentence'

She says a headline sentence of 12 years was a vindication for her.

"Nothing will ever be a just sentence in my heart or in my mind.

"As you can't really put a time on the trauma that I have been through - but with 12 years, starting there, it was just the vindication.

"It was like somebody else can see that this man put me through some of the worst years of my life, and he's finally going to pay for it".

She says when the sentence was dropped from seven to five, "it just retraumatised me all over again".

"My father has already served a year in prison - only amounting to about four years left if you take that away from the five.

"And with a prison sentence only being nine months - nine by four - it's less than three years it amounts to.

"And that man will be able to walk the streets, free, and to me it's heartbreaking".

'Somebody saw justice wasn't served'

Aimee says the appeal of the sentence by the DPP gave her comfort.

"It gave me that comfort because it wasn't just me and my family who thought it was an unjust sentence.

"It was somebody else, somebody who wasn't in the family circle - somebody outside who also saw that justice wasn't served.

"And it just gave me such a comfort to know that something was going to be done about it".

Asked if her father ever showed remorse, she says not to her.

"If he did he never showed me that he thought it was wrong.

"And I really do believe if he did at any stage think it was wrong he would have stopped, because that would have been the right thing to do.

"And it just proves that he has no remorse for what he did to me, as when I disclosed to family members he denied it at the very beginning.

"He denied it and said that I had mental health issues - issues with substance abuse, with alcohol and drugs.

"But he didn't disclose to the people that he was him that introduced me to these substances.

"He introduced me to cannabis at the age of 12, he introduced me to whiskey and alcohol at age of 12.

"This man was supposed to protect me and did all of these things".

'It retraumatised me all over again' - Aimee Foley on five year sentence given to her father

00:00:00 / 00:00:00


Anyone affected by issues raised in this article can contact the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre National 24-Hour Helpline on 1800-77-8888

Main image: Composite image shows Aimee Foley and the Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin. Picture by: Supplied/Noel Bennett/Alamy Stock Photo

Share this article

Read more about

Aimee Foley DPP Director Of Public Prosecutions Galway Leniency Michael O'Donoghue Sentence The Pat Kenny Show

Most Popular