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PHOTOS Limerick woman Natasha O’Brien addresses thousands at a protest in her home city

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Natasha O’Brien pictured above with her friend Shauna Daly at the protest. Picture: David Woodland.

Natasha’s speech at the Limerick protest

Natasha O’Brien has called for Crotty’s dismissal from the Irish Army

Well over 1,000 people gathered to listen to Natasha speak. Picture: David Woodland

Crowds gathered in Limerick City Centre for a demonstration to protest Natasha O’Brien’s attacker being given a fully suspended sentence after pleading guilty to beating her unconscious.

On another summer’s day just two years ago – May 29, 2022, Natasha was viciously beaten by a young man – from a neighbouring county – not far from where she stood this Saturday. She sustained a broken nose, concussion, swelling and bruising during the attack. The court heard she was punched repeatedly on the ground. She was shouting “please, stop” as the beating continued.

Her assailant, Cathal Crotty, of Ardnacrusha, Co Clare, a serving member of the Defence Forces, walked free from Limerick Circuit Court last Wednesday after Judge Tom O’Donnell handed down a three-year suspended sentence for the attack on the woman on the ground.


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Her friend Shauna Daly, from Corbally, was by her side this Saturday. She was by her side on May 29, 2022 also.

“I can thank Shauna for my life, for had she not been able to scream for help, he would not have stopped,” Ms O’Brien told Limerick Live at the protest.

Crotty (22) – who reportedly boasted about the 2022 attack on social media – received the suspended sentence on Thursday (June 20).

“He chose the wrong person that night. And the Department of Justice chose the wrong person to ignore because I will not be ignored. The people are listening,” Natasha O’Brien said this Saturday afternoon in her home city of Limerick.

She was right, the people were listening – well over 1,000 of them in total, hanging on her every syllable on Bedford Row shortly after 3pm

Ms Daly said she was “disgusted” at the outcome of the court case.

“And to see five of his friends were stood there that night and I was screaming for help and none of them helped – what does this send them a message of? If Natasha doesn’t get justice, what kind of message have we just shown the people of Ireland?” she said.

Speaking to the gathered crowd in Limerick, O’Brien – who sustained horrific injuries in the attack – said she was “overwhelmed” by the solidarity of supporters.

She said, “Without your outrage, your fear, your horror, this would not have been looked at. What’s happened to me has happened to so many.”

O’Brien – who has called for Crotty’s dismissal from the Irish Army – said the Defence Forces “are supposed to protect us” and criticised the Department of Justice for “looking the other way”.

She said, “I should not have to face my attacker and bare my soul to Judge Tom O’Donnell to be told I should be happy he took the guilty plea. I should be happy he said sorry because he was caught!”

Richard Lynch interview with Natasha

According to the Journal, Crotty was paraded before a senior commanding officer yesterday (Friday, June 21), and was reportedly informed that he may be dismissed from the military in the wake of his conviction.

In a statement posted on X, the Defence Forces confirmed that proceedings had commenced against Mr Crotty, who presently serves as a private, however stated it would be “inappropriate” for them to comment any further at this time.

Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder has added his voice to the thousands of people who took to the streets on Saturday in solidarity with Limerick assault victim Natasha O’Brien and called for change, during a gig in Marlay Park, Dublin on Saturday night.

Referring to the protests nationwide, he said it has been brought to the forefront, which is a very positive thing. He spoke about women’s rights, women’s safety and “some equality would be nice too”.

Eddie Vedder said there were “lots of good men walking in the march too”.

“We gotta ask these judges too to protect our sisters, our daughters, our mothers, our wives.

“And it might be a good idea to have some more female judges too,” he said. Pearl Jam then played their son Better Man which Eddie Vedder wrote.

Those in attendance at this Saturday’s demonstration – which was organised by socialist, feminist movement, Rosa – joined in chorus shouting a number of chants calling out the perceived injustice at last Wednesday’s sentencing hearing.  Many held placards aloft which were emblazoned with calls for justice for victims of gender-based crime and direct messages to Judge Tom O’Donnell who presided over last Wednesday’s court case.

Ms O’Brien also joined the demonstrators as they marched down O’Connell Street as they chanted, and acknowledged applause from Saturday afternoon shoppers.

Similar demonstrations were  also held in Cork and Dublin this Saturday.

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Richard Lynch of I Love Limerick interviewing Natasha at the event. Picture: David Woodland.

Pictures: Olena Oleksienko/ilovelimerick

Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the ilovelimerick.com concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.