A 35-year-old man has been sentenced to 15 years in prison with three suspended after being found guilty of raping a child over a five year period.

Andrew McCarthy, a Roscommon resident, began his abuse against the girl when she was nine-years-old.

The assaults took place in houses in Dublin and Galway between May 2006 and January 2011.

The abuse came to light when the victim's mother discovered inappropriate messages on Facebook.

Opening up about the abuse she suffered, the victim told the court: "I don't sleep. I always feel scared and vulnerable. I never feel safe. I have contemplated suicide. I have nightmares. I feel disgusting, insecure, used. I cannot open up to anybody."

Mc Carthy pleaded guilty to the charges and following his prison term has been ordered to stay away from the victim and register as a sex offender.