McColgan sentence - ‘greatest travesty of of justice’

The horror of the extent of the suffering, sexual abuse and cruelty Joseph McColgan inflicted on his children was finally revealed when his daughter, Sophia, found the courage to break her silence in 1993.

McColgan was soon branded Ireland’s most evil paedophile.

The public was both gripped and horrified to learn the vile monster had subjected his children to almost 20 years of perverted violent crime – sex offences which sickened even the most hardened police officers working on the case.

The Sligo Weekender newspaper, in the early 1990s, reported McColgan’s catalogue of sexual abuse and violence from Dublin’s Four Courts – and his subsequent 12-year jail sentence.

Editor Robert Cullen said the McColgan family case still hung over County Sligo, almost 18 years after the full horror of what the four siblings, Gerard, Keith, Michelle and Sophia, endured at the hands of their father.

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He said: “Ireland was a far more innocent place in 1993, with clerical and institutional sex abuse scandals as yet unreported, but this case offered us the first glimpse into the crimes perpetrated behind closed doors in Ireland.

“Thanks to the bravery of Sophia and her brothers and sister, we were given the chance to not only see the victims of these heinous acts, but also the man who perpetrated them.

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“At the time, giving up their anonymity so their father’s name and his crimes would be known, was breaking the veil of silence which surrounded the Irish family.

“The most damning indictment of the personality of Joseph McColgan is that in the nine years of his incarceration he never sought rehabilitation or treatment.

“He showed no remorse, never apologised and, as has been proven, continued his sick tendencies since leaving prison in 2004.

“That he only served nine years of a wholly inadequate 12-year sentence is one of the greatest travesties in the history of the Irish judicial system, but unfortunately such leniency is not uncommon among serial sex offenders in this country.”

l A book has been written by Susan McKay - Sophia’s Story.

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