Ellen O’Malley-Dunlop, CEO of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre, said that the sentence did not “reflect the gravity of the crime”.
“I believe this is too lenient a sentence for such a serious offence against a child,” she said.
The court heard during the trial the girl was also “prostituted out” by her mother to a neighbour.
The mother is currently serving a 14-year sentence, with four and a half years suspended, for sexual assault, sexual exploitation, and child cruelty.
And a neighbour, who was in a relationship with the mother, received a 14-year term for sexual offences against the child, including rape.
The child’s 59-year-old father pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to sexual assaulting the girl at the family home in Roscommon between July 2004 and July 2006.
Judge Martin Nolan sentenced the man to two years but suspended all bar six months of that, having taken into account the guilty plea, his remorse, and the fact that he has a severe medical condition.
“The trauma inflicted on this child is beyond imagination,” Judge Nolan said, before adding the girl now appears to be getting on with her life with the help of very good foster parents. “For a father to abuse his child in this way is reprehensible,” he added, before he declared the man a sex offender.
The judge told Caroline Biggs, prosecuting, he did not think there was a necessity for post-release supervision, as the man does not represent “an on- going threat to society”.
A garda told prosecuting counsel Philipp Rahn that social workers were involved and there were concerns about the victim showing “over-sexualised” behaviour. The child was taken out of the family home and a “wide-ranging investigation” took place.
During interviews with specialist gardaí, the girl said her father would sit her on his knee and kiss and molest her. She said this happened two or three times when she was aged five or six. The man denied molesting her and said he may have touched her genitals “by accident”.
In a victim impact report, the girl said her father “has left permanent scars”.
Defence counsel Paul Greene said his client had nothing to do with the abuse orchestrated by the mother. He said his client was in fear of her and “was in a family environment that had become chaotic and dysfunctional”.