A WOMAN who was raped as a child by her father for 10 years told gardai that the abuse became as frequent as having dinner, a court has heard.
FIONA Doyle (nee O'Brien) said her father Patrick O'Brien, now aged 72, raped her every night when her mother went out to play bingo.
Waiving her right to anonymity, she told the Central Criminal Court that no sentence imposed on O'Brien could "undo the enormous damage that my father has done to me."
She said: "It is something I have lived with since I was a young child and it's something I will have to live with until the day I die".
As a result of the abuse she said her first marriage failed and she made two serious suicide attempts.
Patrick O'Brien, of Old Court Avenue, Bray, Co Wicklow, pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to 16 charges of the rape and indecent assault of Fiona Doyle at Mackintosh Park, Dun Laoghaire from 1973 to 1982. He will be sentenced on Monday.
The abuse began when O'Brien raped the victim on the night before she was to make her First Holy Communion when she was about seven.
Ms Doyle told the court: "There was none of the usual excitement you'd expect in a family home where such a big occasion was to happen the next day. My mother went off to bingo, leaving me at the mercy of my father. Almost certainly knowing what he would do to me. My father raped me that night. I remember lying in bed that night but being unable to sleep because of the pain."
Detective Garda Darragh Phelan told the court that Ms Doyle described the abuse taking place every evening and being "as frequent as having dinner".
She said she would continue watching television while he raped her. She told gardai she hated it but that she would turn herself into a zombie during each incident.
Detective Phelan said there was a culture of fear and violence in the home and that Ms Doyle's mother would call her a whore while beating her.
Ms Doyle said she believes her mother knew about the abuse and that she was cast as "the other woman" in an "evil marriage".
O'Brien initially denied the allegations and told gardai she was making them up because: "I was very hard on her because of the way she was dressing".
He later admitted abusing her at least once a week for 10 years and said it "became normal". He said he knew it was wrong but kept doing it.