Fiona Doyle: My mother has died "innocent and protected"

Breda O'Brien (left) with Patrick O'Brien
Breda O'Brien (left) with Patrick O'Brien

Fiona Doyle has said of the death of her mother Breda overnight that she died "innocent and protected – more than I ever had".

Breda O'Brien died just seven months after she was arrested and quizzed over her alleged role in the horrific ordeal Fiona suffered during her childhood at the hands of her father Patrick.

Mr O’Brien pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to 16 charges of raping and indecently assaulting her at Mackintosh Park, Pottery Road in Dun Laoghaire from 1973 to 1982.

He was initially sentenced to 12 years with 9 suspended but was then granted bail by Mr Justice Paul Carney on the basis that the case was fit for appeal.

A public outcry followed and he was placed in custody. An appeal saw the sentence tripled.

Fiona has always insisted that her mother knew of the abuse she suffered at the hands of her father from the age of three and regularly called her; ‘your father’s whore.’

She wrote to Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan last January asking her to consider investigating her mother’s role in what happened to her as a child.

In December our sources told us that the long-running investigation – co-ordinated by Garda Darragh Phelan of Shankill Garda Station – was sent to the DPP’s office prior to Christmas recommending a number of charges against O’Brien.

However, O'Brien's death means that the investigation will now never be concluded.

In a statement issued to the Sunday World, Fiona said: “In the early hours of this morning my mother died, I was to get my decision from the DPP this week.

"I feel so lost and let down and just so extremely sad, family had kept her dying a big secret, it’s sad that she and them were in such denial, even after the evidence that was found this year. 

"I never wanted it to end like this,.. She died innocent and protected – more than I ever had, Good bye momm."

Fiona Doyle

Back in August we uncovered documents that showed that Breda knew about the abuse in the family home, but she will now never face a court to be tried on the allegations.

Breda – who stood by Patrick O’Brien through his trial and subsequent imprisonment for abusing Fiona – never visited O’Brien in Arbour Hill Prison, where he is serving a nine year sentence for rape and sexual assault, since her arrest.
O’Brien has been removed from prison to attend hospital appointments on several occasions in the last year.