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23rd Jun 2024

Pearl Jam singer uses platform to support Natasha O’Brien and criticise Irish courts

Ronan Calvert

Pearl Jam Natasha O'Brien

US rockers Pearl Jam performed on Saturday night.

US band Pearl Jam rocked Marlay Park last night with one of their trademark performances.

But one moment from the concert will stick in the memory longer than the rest.

During the gig, frontman Eddie Vedder took a break from the music to acknowledge the bravery of Natasha O’Brien following her disappointment at the Limerick Circuit Criminal Court last Wednesday.

Ms O’Brien saw her attacker Cathal Crotty, a solider in the Irish Defence Forces, walk free with a three-year suspended sentence from Judge Tom O’Donnell.

That’s despite the fact Crotty left her with a broken nose, bruising and subsequent psychological trauma following an assault on Limerick’s O’Connell Street in 2022.

Ms O’Brien had told Mr Crotty to stop shouting homophobic abuse at two men before he set upon her.

Eddie Vedder talks women’s rights.

The story has caused fury across Ireland, with big protests taking place around the country on Saturday.

Ms O’Brien – who has used her platform admirably since the court ruling – led the protests in Limerick and her voice has already generated a very important conversation about women’s safety.

And Pearl Jam frontman Vedder recognised this when speaking to his crowd, paying special attention to the failings of the Irish court.

“It’s been brought to the forefront which is a very positive thing,” he began.

“About women’s rights, about women’s safety.”

But the rocker also wants to see men use activism to ensure the courts protect the women in their lives.

“You know some equality would be nice too.

“You know there’s a lot of good men walking in the march too.

“All we’re doing is…you know we’ve got to ask the judges too,” he said, looking out at his fellow men in the crowd.

“We’ve got to ask them to protect our sisters, our daughters, our mothers, our wives.

“It might be a good idea to maybe have a few female judges as well, when you think about it.”

This story is going to rumble on for another while yet.

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