Northern Ireland

Victims react to Fermanagh abuse sentencing

McDermott house
Image caption The brothers lived together in this house

The victims of four paedophile brothers from County Fermanagh have said they hope they have broken a cycle of abuse which has preyed upon children for generations.

On Friday three brothers from Donagh, near Lisnaskea, appeared in court in Omagh.

John Michael McDermott, 60, of Moorlough Road was jailed for nine years.

James, 61, and Owen Roe McDermott, 52, were mentally unfit to stand trial. They were given lifetime sexual offences prevention orders.

A fourth brother killed himself after the start of his trial last month.

In a statement the victims said it had taken some of them 38 years to get justice.

They said: "Each and every one of us has had to speak about a very painful part of our lives which we would all rather forget.

"We have had to open up and relive the abuse endured by all of us as children."

They were critical of the fact that the two brothers who were mentally unfit to stand trial can only be subjected to a supervision and treatment order for a maximum of two years.

Such an order, which is used to protect the public and facilitate rehabilitation, cannot be extended beyond the two year period.

The victims said: "While the judge has acted within the restraints of the law there should be a review of mental health legislation where those having mental health issues could be kept in a half way house under 24 hour supervision.

"At the moment those with such issues are using this loophole in the law to escape justice."

The six victims thanked their families and friends for their support throughout the trial.

The also paid tribute to the police's Child Investigation Unit and victim support organisations.

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