July 2013

“Recluse” convicted of sexually abusing two brothers in Ballyshannon in 1960’s and 70’s


A “recluse” convicted of sexually abusing a young boy in County Donegal in the 1960s and 70s has been jailed for two years.

Brian McMahon (63), of Temple Street, Sligo, had pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to 35 charges of indecent assault of the boy between 1966 and June 1974 at two locations in Ballyshannon.

He was convicted by a jury of 31 of the charges earlier this year.

McMahon was six years older than the victim who was aged 10 when the offences started.

McMahon was also convicted to one charge of indecently assaulting the boy’s younger brother, between September 1973 and September 1974, also in Ballyshannon. The victim was aged 13 at the time.

Both men have given permission to reporters to name McMahon.

Garda Gerard Mullane told Caroline Biggs SC, prosecuting, that the victims were also subjected to physical abuse by McMahon, particularly the older brother, who, he said “got the brunt of the physical assaults”.

Gda Mullane said McMahon would make the boys masturbate. Some of the abuse took place in a cow shed or in fields.

He added that McMahon, who grew up in foster homes, lives in rented accommodation in Sligo. He said he lives alone, keeps cats and is “more or less a recluse”.

Defence Counsel Brendan Grehan SC pointed out that there were no charges in relation to violence inflicted on the brothers.

Mr Grehan said that his client was fostered out for years and was effectively a “recluse” or “loner”.

He asked Mr Justice Paul Carney to take into consideration McMahon’s age and personal circumstances.

In his victim impact statement, the older brother told the court he did not have any recollection of happy childhood moments, due to the physical and sexual abuse during what he described as “the most vulnerable” part of his life.

He said at the time he “didn’t have the vocabulary” to describe what was inflicted on him. In an effort to cope throughout his life, he immersed himself in his work and worked hours “far in excess” of the working week.

“I have no self-confidence,” he said, adding that he has difficulty trusting and confiding in others.

He has endured nightmares since the trial. “I have lost my childhood forever,” he said.

His younger brother, in his victim impact statement, said he has endured an “emotional, painful path” due to the “violence, intimidation, terror and completely irrational behaviour” of McMahon.

He said the incident meant the creation of an environment of “secrecy” and he built up a “shell of protection” in an effort to cope.

Mr Justice Carney imposed a sentence of two years on each charge, to run concurrently.