Holly Cairns TD

Social Democrats leader Holly Cairns has expressed disgust and outrage at the fully suspended sentence handed down to a serving member of the Defence Forces who viciously beat a young woman unconscious in Limerick.

“People around the country are shocked and angered by the leniency of the three-year suspended sentence that Cathal Crotty received, despite the savagery of his cowardly attack on Natasha O’Brien.

“Not only did this man try to blame his victim after his unprovoked assault, he later boasted about it on Snapchat.

“Judge Tom O’Donnell, in arriving at his decision, appeared to give Crotty a significant degree of credit for pleading guilty. However, Crotty only did so after being shown CCTV footage of his brutal attack, which clearly showed him punching Natasha at least six times.

“The judge also took into account the impact that a custodial sentence would have on this man’s army career. The cruel irony here is that the victim was the one who ended up losing her job because of the impact the assault had on her.

“It should also be noted that the Defence Forces has now started its own disciplinary process against Mr Crotty, which may lead to his dismissal. It is unclear if Judge O’Donnell was aware of this when he issued the sentence.

“The savagery of this brutal and unprovoked attack, juxtaposed with the court’s apparent overriding concern for Crotty’s career, is deeply troubling.

“A few days ago, Women’s Aid revealed that it received more than 40,000 reports of abuse in 2023 – the highest in its 50-year history.

“With male violence against women endemic in Ireland, this sentence completely sends out the wrong message.

“There must be real consequences for men who hurt women, which is why I fully support calls for the DPP to review this sentence with a view to appealing its leniency.

“I also want to express my support and solidarity with Natasha, who rightly feels that justice has not been served in this case and has shown considerable bravery by talking so openly about her ordeal.”

June 21, 2024

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