A Mayo barman has been jailed for seven years for the repeated rape and sexual assault of two young girls.
Kevin Owen McDonnell (39) of Adhann Or, Bangor Erris, Ballina, was last month convicted by a jury of 30 counts of sexual assault and 27 counts of rape against the children, who were aged eight and nine at the time. McDonnell had pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The girls were abused between June 1999 and September 2000 in the pub where McDonnell worked, and where the young best friends would watch cartoons after school. The mother of one the girls ran a hairdressers next door.
The trial had been an emotional one, with the court hearing of the ‘increasing bold’ and ‘depraved’ nature of McDonnell’s attacks on the girls, which occurred ‘two to three times a week for a year’.
The victims, Kelly Geraghty (now 20) and Charlene Barratt (now 21), also from Bangor Erris, waived their right to anonymity so that McDonnell could be named.
Commenting on today’s sentence, which was handed down by Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan, Ms Geraghty and Ms Barratt said they felt it was too short. Ms Barrett said: “It is not enough for us for what he did to us. We will have to live with this for life, and my God he is only getting five or seven years. It’s not enough.”
The two women nevertheless encouraged other victims of sexual abuse to speak out. They also thanked their families and community for their support.
During the sentencing, Mr Justice Sheehan said he had taken into account McDonnell’s lack of previous convictions, his good work record and the fact that his ‘eventual integration into real life’ due to the publicity of the case in the national media, would be difficult.
Mr Justice Sheehan said he did not consider a post-release supervision order was appropriate in light of the evidence from Sgt James Gill at the sentence hearing.
Shouts of ‘scumbag’ were heard in court as McDonnell was lead away by prison officers.