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'He stole my youth': Man who abused and raped daughter over 13-year period jailed for 11.5 years

The victim in this case, Noreen Honan, has waived her right to anonymity to allow her father Patrick Honan to be named.


A CLARE MAN who sexually abused and raped his daughter over a 13-year period has been jailed for 11 and a half years. 

Patrick Honan (69) was found guilty following a Central Criminal Court trial in February of 48 sample counts including 25 of rape and 23 of indecent assault. 

The victim in this case, Noreen Honan, has waived her right to anonymity to allow her father to be named. 

In a statement outside court today, Noreen Honan said her father “stole my whole youth” and added that she has “suffered mentally and physically all my life because of the abuse”.

“It was only in 2017 that I became strong enough to face what he did to me head on,” said Noreen. 

“I built up the courage to take the first step, I would like to encourage all victims of sexual violence to take the first step and come forward.” 

The abuse took place at the family home at Lake View, Doonbeg, Co Clare between 1977 and 1989 when she was aged between three and a half and 16.

It included inappropriate touching, vaginal and oral rape, forced kissing, masturbation and digital penetration of her vagina. 

Honan of Lake View, Doonbeg, Kilrush, Co Clare does not accept the verdicts of the jury and maintains his innocence, the court was previously told. 

Today, Ms Justice Siobhan Lankford imposed a 13-year custodial sentence, with the final 18 months suspended. She also directed him not to approach Ms Honan at any time now or into the future. 

The judge said she would take indecent assault charges into consideration, noting that they are “part of a continuing pattern of abuse which occurred in the context of the rape allegations”.

She backdated the sentence to the date Honan entered custody. 

Imposing sentence, Ms Justice Lankford noted the prolonged period of abuse, the “enormous” breach of trust, and the age disparity.

She said the offending occurred in the victim’s family home, where “she was entitled to feel safe” and the abuse occurred at the “hands of some who had a duty to protect and nurture her”. 

The judge said she took Honan’s personal circumstances and the mitigation into consideration, including his age, health issues and work history. 

At a previous hearing, Colman Cody SC, defending, asked the court to make an order that Honan’s anonymity should be maintained, notwithstanding the victim’s wishes, due to the “collateral impact” on the wider family.

He said several family members are “very concerned” as they have the same name as the accused. 

Ms Justice Siobhan Lankford agreed to consider the defence’s application on the last date and directed that neither Honan nor the victim could be named in media reports until the case was finalised. 

Today, defence counsel repeated the application for reporting restrictions to be extended and suggested that naming Honan would have a “detrimental effect” on the wider family, particularly “his grandchildren”, as the family reside in a rural area. 

Ms Justice Lankford said she had considered the issue, but could not accede to the defence’s application.

She noted the jury’s guilty verdicts and that Ms Honan had indicated a wish to waive her right to anonymity.

Ms Justice Lankford said there is “no question of anonymity attaching to the accused from today’s date”. 

Addressing the victim, Ms Justice Lankford said Ms Honan had behaved in a “dignified” manner throughout the trial process and she commended her bravery. 

Earlier hearing

At an earlier court hearing, a local garda told Dean Kelly SC, prosecuting, that the victim recalls the first incident took place when she was approximately three and a half years old. 

She said her father brought her upstairs while her mother was out and put her hand on his penis. He then undressed her and bounced her on top of him, during which he raped her. 

The abuse continued frequently and included the digital penetration of her vagina using his fingers and toes, forced kissing, oral sex and rape. 

The court heard Honan would abuse his daughter on Sunday mornings when she came into her parents’ bedroom. He would touch her even while her mother and a sibling were in the same bed. If the victim lay at the end of the bed, he would use his toes to touch her, the court heard. 

This pattern of abuse ended in 1981 when she stopped going to her parents’ bedroom on Sunday mornings. 

Honan often abused his daughter on Saturday evenings while her mother was at work. The court heard that the abuse would involve either rape or oral sex. 

When she began to develop breasts, Honan would grab or pull at them over her clothing as he passed her in the house. As she became a teenager and took part in more activities, she was better able to resist and there were also less opportunities for Honan to sexually abuse her. 

The final incident of rape occurred when she was 16. The court heard she asked for money for a youth club and Honan started gesturing and rubbing his penis. The victim knew he wanted something in return and gave up, getting into the bed beside him where he raped her. 

The victim made a complaint to gardaí in 2019. Honan was arrested in July 2020 and when interviewed, denied the allegations. The investigating garda said Honan answered some questions, and made certain comments which cast aspersions on his daughter’s lifestyle and character. 

Victim impact statement

A victim impact statement was read to the court by Kelly.

Ms Honan said her father “stole” her childhood and she wonders what life might have been like if she had grown up in “a normal household”. 

She said she didn’t want to see her father prosecuted, but wanted him to take responsibility for his actions.

Ms Honan said his lack of acceptance has hurt her as much as the abuse. She urged other victims of sexual abuse to “take the first step”. 

The local garda agreed with defence counsel that his client was co-operative with the investigation and has not come to recent negative garda attention. It was also accepted that Honan has a reputation as a hard-working man and as a successful businessman. 

In his plea of mitigation, Cody said Honan was facing the prospect of spending the rest of his life in prison and has been left a “broken man” as a result of these convictions.

He said his client has “lost his livelihood, family and now his liberty”.

His client has been in custody since conviction and the “mere fact of confinement for a day or a month is like a lifetime to him”. 

He asked the court to take into account his client’s work history and other mitigating features including his health issues. His client had built a successful business. 

Honan has support from his family and his sons were in court to support him. A number of testimonials were handed in on his behalf. Honan became tearful when his counsel read from a testimonial which referred to his grandchildren. 

Cody acknowledged that these letters “may reinforce the isolation” felt by the victim as the allegations are not accepted by her siblings, but asked the court to consider his client’s circumstances and character. 

Cody noted that the victim accepted during the trial that her father offered her support and to give as much weight as possible to this.

He also submitted that Honan has suffered a loss of reputation and faces the stigma associated with this type of offending.

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