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25th Jun 2024

Natasha O’Brien opens up about how she learned of Cathal Crotty’s Snapchat documenting the attack

Niamh Ryan

Last week Cathal Crotty, 22, received a fully suspended sentence after assaulting Natasha O’Brien in Limerick in 2022.

Judge Tom O’Donnell concluded that Crotty’s guilty plea was ‘admirable’, though he had initially denied the assault. He ordered Crotty to pay Natasha O’Brien €3,000 in lieu of a sentence.

O’Brien spoke on Tuesday’s Ireland AM, detailing the series of events and ultimately how she was given a tip-off.

The young woman had called out Crotty and his friends, who were verbally attacking another man with homophobic slurs. When she asked them to stop, Crotty became angry and began beating her as his friends watched on.

“They were all like: “Ha ha ha, you woman beater. Oh, Cathal the woman beater,” she said in the interview.

The attack happened outside of Brown Thomas on O’Connell Street in Limerick City Centre.

Following that night, O’Brien described receiving an anonymous message about messages circulating in a group chat.

“That’s then when I was able to tell the Gardaí: “Have a look on his Snapchat,” she explained.

Gardaí were able to access Crotty’s account and found evidence of not only the beating, but messages of him bragging about the unprovoked attack.

Despite this evidence and further CCTV from Brown Thomas, Judge O’Donnell chose to suspend Crotty’s sentence, saying he feared it would impact his career in the Defence Forces.

O’Brien has been vocal about the injustice of the courts, and has arranged protests in Dublin and Limerick.

A protest will take place this evening outside Dail Éireann at 6pm.

Taoiseach Simon Harris has expressed his anger at the situation, saying he wishes to meet with O’Brien and rectify the situation somehow:

“I am really angry about it because we are now seeing a flurry of activity but that flurry of activity is only coming about because of the bravery of Natasha O’Brien and I want to know how many other people are hiding with convictions in relation to domestic, sexual or gender-based violence.”