A MAN who abused two of his nieces from the age of nine including sexual assaults on Christmas morning and at a Cork GAA function has been jailed for two-and-a-half years.
Christopher McCarthy (50) was jailed after Cork Circuit Criminal Court heard a forensic psychologist ruled he was at a high risk of re-offending and could not be assessed for paedophilia tendencies because of his ongoing denial and refusal to engage with support services.
McCarthy was jailed by Judge David Riordan after twice trying to take his own life last summer, including an incident on Carrauntwohill in Kerry in which mountain rescue services had to go to his aid.
McCarthy (50), of Glendalough Park, The Lough, Cork, was convicted last July of two counts of sexually assaulting his niece, Tanya Walsh, in 1984 and 1989.
He had earlier pleaded guilty to one count of sexually assaulting another niece, Michelle O'Brien, at his home in Elm Close, Wilton, on an unknown date between 1988 and 1990.
Judge Riordan jailed McCarthy for five years for what he described as "a very serious breach of trust".
But he agreed to suspend the final two-and-a-half years on condition that McCarthy undergoes appropriate treatment in custody and complies with Probation and Welfare Service supervision on his release.
"It will be a Sword of Damocles for him, if you will, in relation to the suspended sentence," he said.
Judge Riordan also directed that McCarthy be included on the Sex Offenders Register for an indefinite period.
McCarthy's wife, Margaret, had previously told the court that her husband needed psychiatric help and was very depressed.
The father of three was found unconscious at the family home, having taken tablets and left a note. He was rescued from the mountain in a previous incident.
His two nieces said their lives had been wrecked by McCarthy's actions and lack of remorse.
Ms Walsh (40) was abused by McCarthy when she was 15 at a special This is Your Life tribute at Pairc Ui Chaoimh to another of her uncles, Cork hurling legend Gerald McCarthy.
A member of Cork's three-in-a-row All-Ireland side of the 1970s, he is an older brother of the convicted abuser.
Ms Walsh had also been abused by Christopher McCarthy in 1984 when she was aged only nine and was at his parents' home in Ballyphehane on Christmas Day.
"Because of you, I have always been treated like a family outcast," she said. "I have always been made to feel who I am doesn't matter and just keep that family secret."
Ms O'Brien (35) was only nine when McCarthy abused her.
"When Christopher McCarthy abused me, my childhood was stolen from me," she said. "He took my innocence away."
The court heard McCarthy was even a godfather to one niece. Judge Riordan noted reports that said he had a "callous and remote attitude" to what he had done.
The judge pointed out that expert reports said he posed a high risk of re-offending and should have no unsupervised access to children.