Former Dublin fireman jailed for having sexual relationship with a child

Ron Tulie (57) met his victim while teaching a first aid and fire safety course in 2008
Ron Tulie (57) met his victim while teaching a first aid and fire safety course in 2008

A former fireman with an “unblemished” 30 years serving with Dublin Fire Brigade has been sentenced to seven years for having a sexual relationship with a child.

Ron Tulie (57) met his victim while teaching a first aid and fire safety course in 2008, when she was 16-years-old.

Garda Declan Sherlock told Dublin Circuit Criminal Court that the teenager, who had felt in love with Tulie, suffered severe long-term psychological effects from the incidents.

Today Judge Desmond Hogan ruled that Tulie's position of authority over the girl was an aggravating factor in the defilement.

Tulie, a father-of-four of Pinevalley Park, Rathfarnham, Dublin pleaded guilty to four counts of having sexual intercourse with a child under 17 years at the Dublin Mountains between June 1 and July 27, 2008. He has no previous convictions.

Tulie held his head in his hands and wept as the judge handed down the sentence. Judge Hogan noted that Tulie will be registered as a sex offender, named in the media and has lost the support of his family.

“That's all of his own making,” the judge said before suspending the final two years of the sentence on strict conditions including that he undergo four years post-release supervision.

“He was taking advantage of his maturity over her youth and innocence,” Judge Hogan said. “I don't accept that it lessened the crime that there was no objection from her. The abuse of trust was very, very severe.”

Gda Sherlock told Roisin Lacey BL, prosecuting, that the girl's school principal heard rumours about the relationship after it had ended and alerted the HSE.

Gardaí got involved and met with the victim, who said Tulie had given her and her two friends his email and Bebo addresses when the course ended. He told the teenagers “to keep in contact girls.”

The court heard the victim contacted Tulie within a week and started a friendly relationship with him through emails.

Tulie met with the girl and her friends a number of times between February and June 2008 and drove them to parks and other scenic areas.

Gda Sherlock said the relationship between Tulie and the girl had developed by June and on one occasion, he took her alone to the Dublin Mountains.

The then teenager recalled that Tulie had still been in his fireman's uniform when he pulled his car into a viewing area and had sex with her for a few seconds in the back seat.

She told gardaí she had been a virgin at the time and stopped the intercourse because of the pain.

The young woman said she met Tulie for consensual sex about five times between June and July. Gda Sherlock told Ms Lacey that Tulie had not worn a condom on any occasion.

The victim told gardaí she felt she had been in love with Tulie but realised she was being used for sex when the relationship ended in early 2009.

Gda Sherlock said the girl became ill and her education suffered.

The garda said the ex-fireman told him he intended to plead guilty to the charges when he was arrested in 2012.

Gda Sherlock agreed with Mary Rose Gearty SC, defending, that her client left the fire brigade voluntarily because of the case.

Ms Gearty submitted to Judge Hogan that her client, who had been married for 30 years, was deemed at low risk of re-offending according to psychologists.

Counsel said Tulie was very remorseful and understood what he had done to the victim and his own family.

“He had a long, unblemished history with the fire institution and he has destroyed all that himself,” Ms Gearty added.

By Conor Gallagher