December 2018: Released from Arbour Hill Prison after serving seven years of a 15 year sentence

July 2011

Former prison officer sentenced to 15 years for raping daughter

A retired Limerick Prison officer has been sentenced to 15 years for the repeated abuse and rape of his daughter over 10 years in what she described as their “house of doom”.

Harry Daly’s daughter waived her right to anonymity so her father could be named in the media. 

Daly (aged 57) formerly of Lanna, Lisseycasey, Co Clare came forward to the Central Criminal Court on signed pleas of guilty from the District Court.

He signed 227 pleas, 103 of indecent assault, 24 of sex assault and the remainder were charges of different forms of rape including oral rape.

Daly pleaded guilty before Mr Justice Paul Carney to sample charges of rape, indecent assault and sexual assault of the girl on dates between February 1, 1982 and November 30, 1992.

His daughter was between six and 17 years old at the time.

Daly’s wife stayed with him after their daughter disclosed the abuse.

Mr Justice Carney said he understood from the evidence that there was a five-year period over which “one day did not go by without the victim being sexually abused”.

He said the breach of trust, inherent gravity of the offence, effect on the victim, multiplicity and duration of the offences and “the grooming and escalating nature of the offences” warranted a 15-year sentence.

Mr Justice Carney suspended the last five years of the sentence having taken into account the fact that Daly “availed of a procedure to bring the case before the court in the shortest possible time” by signing pleas of guilty. 

He also took into account his lack of previous convictions, expression of remorse and that fact that he worked all his life.

Mr Justice Carney suspended the term on the condition that he keeps away from his daughter, unless she wishes to see him, registered him as a sex offender and ordered that he undergo seven years of post-release supervision.

Daly had been a prison officer for 26 years in Limerick Prison specialising in the jail’s catering service. He had previously served in both the Royal Navy and the Irish Army. He retried in 2008.

The abuse came to an end in 1992 when the woman moved out of the family home in Clare. 

From the very first day Daly abused his then six-year-old daughter, the woman told gardaí, he told her “not to tell anyone because he would go to prison”.

The court heard Daly told the girl’s mother to put her on the contraceptive pill when she was 14-years-old.

Daly sought psychiatric help in 1993 and moved out of the family home so his daughter returned for a short time. She left again when her mother welcomed her father back. 

The woman was sexually assaulted again by Daly in 2001 when she returned to their family home to try and talk to her parents. 

She was a married woman with children at the time. Daly reached up under her top and bra and fondled her breast.

The woman has not spoken to her father since. She reported the incident to gardaí in 2010 and Daly made full admissions in a subsequent garda interview.

The woman told gardaí that the family home in Limerick was “a house of doom” and said in her victim impact statement that she was treated as a housekeeper from a young age.

She said her father would come home from work and order her to take off his shoes and socks. When she was 15-years-old her three-week-old baby sister was moved into her bedroom.

“I was sexually, emotionally and physically abused,” the now 36-year-old mother said. 
“Everyone got to play with their toys while he played his sick games with me.” 

The woman’s parents celebrated last Christmas together with their younger children.

“I did not celebrate Christmas with my family last year. My father was welcome instead,” the woman stated in her victim impact report. 

“I never called my parents Mam and Dad. They did not deserve those titles. I am afraid if I start to cry I will never stop,” she continued.

She said she felt ugly and described herself as dying inside. She said she avoids sex but she knows it is an important part of any relationship.

“People think I am survivor and brave but the truth is I have to be brave everyday to survive,” the woman continued. 

Daly started abusing the girl, his eldest child, at the family’s first home in Ballymun, Dublin when she was six-years-old. It continued on a regular basis in a number of their subsequent homes in Naas, Clare and Limerick.

Detective Sergeant Kevin O’Hagan told Ms Karen O’Connor BL, prosecuting, that the abuse escalated over the years and resulted in Daly raping his daughter when she was 12 years old. 

“He tried to have sex with her at every opportunity,” Det Sgt O’Hagan said as he described incidences of rape in a car behind Shannon Airport, in a wooded area and even while the young girl was standing at a window talking to her friends.

He said Daly forced open the lock on the bathroom door so he could sexually assault the teenager while she bathed and molested her under a duvet in the sitting room while his younger children sat with them watching television.

Daly also performed oral sex on the girl as a young teenager after making her watch a pornographic movie with him. He later forced her to perform oral sex on him.

She told gardaí her father was very violent towards her and her brother, would beat them regularly and deprive them of food. 

She also described him as a “control freak” in relation to time-keeping.