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22nd Jun 2024

Father of disgraced soldier Cathal Crotty blames media for ‘putting him here’

Ronan Calvert

Cathal Crotty’s father has spoken.

The father of Cathal Crotty, the disgraced Irish soldier who avoided jail time after assaulting Limerick woman Natasha O’Brien, has spoken out.

Mr Crotty (22) pleaded guilty to attacking Ms O’Brien (24) at the Limerick Circuit Criminal Court after being shown CCTV footage of his violent assault which left the woman unconscious.

Crotty hit Ms O’Brien six times after she asked him to stop shouting homophobic abuse at two men on Limerick’s O’Connell Street in 2022.

Ms O’Brien was left with a broken nose, bruising and psychological damage, and believes Crotty would have kept on punching her had help not arrived at the scene.

On Wednesday Judge Tom O’Donnell ruled that Crotty should only face a three-year fully suspended sentence, saying a jail sentence would mean “his army career is over”.

Reporters from the Irish Mirror subsequently paid a visit to the Crotty’s home in Ardnacrusha Co. Clare and were met at the door by the offender himself.

“I just don’t trust you man,” explained a hostile Cathal Crotty. “I just want this to be over. You’ll twist my words.”

As per the reporter, Crotty insisted he was “not answering” when asked if he was sorry for his assault on Ms O’Brien.

He did, however, answer when asked if he wanted to return to the Defence Forces, replying “Of course”.

Afraid to have his words misrepresented by the newspaper, that was where Cathal’s contribution ended.

But words that can’t be twisted were posted on his Snapchat after the traumatising 2022 attack – “Two to put her down. Two to put her out” – words which only added fuel to the social fire of his court ruling.

Yet Mr Crotty’s father believes Ireland’s fury has been amplified by the media.

Paul Crotty criticises media coverage.

“I’m his father,” said Paul Crotty, taking over from his son at the entrance of their family home.

“You know and I know it’s the media that’s put him here as well.

“Because in court he got his case squashed and a three-year suspended sentence. But it’s the media that’s put him further into it.

“Am I right? Yes I am. It’s the public media that’s incriminated him from here on in,” he claimed.

Paul Crotty continued to hammer home the same point in a variety of ways, pointing to everything from social media platforms to state broadcasters as contributors to his son’s disgrace.

“It’s the media that’s put him here, not the court. The court has done his case, and this is the way it’s gone.

“And now it’s media, Snapchat, Facebook, RTE news, blah, blah, blah, after the fact.

“That’s what’s going to drive him deeper down, because if it was good news, you wouldn’t be here.

“If it’s bad news you would. That’s the facts.”

“Of course he’d be sorry like” replied Paul when asked if he thinks his son regrets what he did.

“But it’s just as far as I can see the media are a court of law, not the court of law itself.

“Whatever justice the court is supposed to be for that case, well it’s gone past that now.

“If you think about it, it’s the media that’s going to drive it deeper and deeper.”

Protests in solidarity with Natasha O’Brien, and against Judge O’Donnell’s ruling, are taking place this Saturday in Cork, Dublin, Galway and Limerick.

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