NewsCourts

Fungi boat skipper jailed for raping sister-in-law when she was a child

CourtsBy Eamon Dillon
NO REMORSE: Sick Jimmy Flannery abused sister-in-law
NO REMORSE: Sick Jimmy Flannery abused sister-in-law

A WELL-known boat skipper who has taken thousands of tourists to see Fungi the Dolphin has been jailed for rape.

Jimmy Flannery senior (75), got a 10-year-jail sentence this week after being convicted of raping his sister-in-law in the 1970s when she was a child.

The Dingle man, who had denied the charges, has been named after his victim chose to waive her right to anonymity.

In a brief statement after the hearing, the woman and her family said that they are grateful that “the truth has been heard”.

 “There is finally some justice. It does not undo the damage done, but it will hopefully help us move forward with our lives,” it was stated.

“We hope it helps other survivors of child sex abuse and rape to come forward and that it may prevent there being future victims,” a family representative said.

Boat captain Flannery, who retired a number of years ago, had been among the first fisherman to start taking tourists out to sea to watch Fungi when he first appeared in Dingle harbour in the mid 1980s.

But this week it was heard in court how Flannery, of Baile Na Buaile, Dingle, began molesting the child from the age of 11.

He also raped the child in a car parked near the Conor Pass in Dingle and in his bedroom at Ballydavid on the Dingle peninsula.

Flannery denied 10 counts of indecent assault at locations in Dingle between April 1969 and April 1974. He also pleaded not guilty to three counts of raping the girl between January 1971 and April 1975.

He was convicted by a jury after a five-day trial at the Central Criminal Court last month of all charges.

In her victim impact report, the woman said it was difficult to describe the “depth of destruction and chaos” caused by the abuse.

She said she experienced “helplessness and shame” and often felt depressed. She suffered from bulimia, “drank and did drugs” and continued to suffer nightmares, flashbacks and distress.

Last February, the woman gave evidence in court how she told her family of the abuse in 1986, but did not report it to Gardaí until 2007.

When the man was taken into custody and questioned in January 2008, he told Gardaí that the allegations were “all lies”.

She also told how her sister, who was married to the accused, was like a “surrogate mother” to her due to a 14-year age gap.

She visited her sister at least once a month and often stayed over, sharing a room at the back of the house with two of her nieces.

The woman said Flannery came into the room when the other two children were asleep. When she tried to resist he would tell her: “Shush, you’ll wake the children.”

She said she was abused by him between 30 and 40 times.

“I knew it was wrong. He hurt me, he always hurt me,” she said.

She said that on one occasion the man’s baby son was sleeping in a cot in the room as he abused her.

Judge Margaret Heneghan said that as Flannery did not accept the verdict there was no remorse being expressed.