The two sisters who were abused by former priest Fr Con Cunningham have appealed to any other victims to come forward.
The 86 year old former cleric was jailed for 15 months for the horrific sexual abuse of two women in the 1970s at Letterkenny Circuit Court today
Paula and Margaret Martin (pictured above) said “We are conscious too that this may open wounds of other survivors – please, do not suffer in silence.
“We are looking forward to life beyond this, to recovery and peace,” they said.
Reacting after the sentence was handed down, the sisters said that justice is done regardless of the sentence Con Cunningham has received.
They said “Today we are released from the shame which has haunted us…..a shame which was never ours, it now sits where it should always have been.”
They thanked Garda Sergeant Gerry Dalton and Detective John Gallagher from the Milford Garda Station for their sensitivity in working with them and creating a place of trust to speak.
And they continued “On a day like this there are no winners, what is lost cannot be replaced….but closure will help heal the pain.
“In 2002, we were informed, by the Bishops secretary, that our files were being sent to the Gardai, totally unprepared for this and in the space of just two weeks, we had several meetings with Bishop Boyce at his palace and with Gardai in Letterkenny Garda Station.
“Without victims support or counselling and feeling under intense pressure and very fearful we made the best decision our mental health could cope with. But this never gave us a real sense of closure.
In early November 2018, Margaret requested a meeting with Bishop Alan Mc Guckian, she had four meetings in total.
“Following this Paula and I then decided the only way forward was court proceedings.
“We are standing here today having survived, first and foremost because we had each other for support.
“We are deeply grateful to our parents and families, who have been hurt too, and our friends.
“The blessing of our sons in our lives gave us grounding, purpose, hope and joy. These lights kept us going through the darkest of times.
“We are also deeply grateful for all the professional help we have received over many, many years.”
The brave sisters even thought of the family of the man who had abused them as innocent children.
“We are mindful today that this is a painful day too for the extended Cunningham family.”