Soldier convicted of assault on Natasha O'Brien to be discharged from Irish Defense Forces

The soldier was found guilty of assaulting Natasha O'Brien in 2022 and received a fully-suspended sentence last month.

This article is about the soldier who assaulted Natasha O'Brien being discharged from the Defense Forces. in the photo, the legs of military personnel dressed in uniform.
Image: Shutterstock

Cathal Crotty, the soldier who beat LGBTQ+ advocate Natasha O’Brien to the point of unconsciousness in Limerick City in 2022, will be discharged from the Defence Forces this Thursday, July 11, following his suspended sentence. 

Despite being found guilty of the “vicious” street attack that occurred two years ago on a night out in Limerick City, Private Cathal Crotty received a fully suspended sentence from now-retired judge Tom O’Donnell, who feared that a custodial sentence would affect Crotty’s military career.

Judge O’Donnell’s decision sparked backlash throughout the country, with protests being organised in several cities in Ireland. Following the sentencing, the Defence Forces are moving to dismiss the Private later this week. 

A spokesperson from the Defence Forces stated: “The Defence Forces unequivocally condemn any actions by serving personnel that are contrary to or do not reflect our values. 

“Any conviction in a civilian court may have implications for the retention and service of members of the Defence Forces, as stipulated in Defence Forces Regulations. 

“Once due process has been completed in a civilian court of law it become a matter for the relevant Defence Forces authorities in accordance with Defence Forces Regulations.” 

Crotty originally attacked Natasha O’Brien on May 29, 2022, when O’Brien attempted to stop the soldier from shouting homophobic slurs at passersby in Limerick. O’Brien, a lesbian woman herself, was subsequently struck by Crotty to the point of unconsciousness. The altercation was captured on CCTV, leading to Crotty’s guilty verdict last month. 

O’Brien appeared at last month’s Dublin Pride festival, joining the line-up of speakers on stage at Merrion Square Park, where she told the gathered crowds: “Do I look like someone who is going to put up with hate crime and violence and injustice? Alone I am just one voice asking for change, but together we are an army screaming for what we all deserve as human beings.

“You constant support and your constant outrage is what continues to fuel me to fight for what’s right,” she concluded. 

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