Irish soldier who assaulted woman to be discharged on Thursday

An Irish soldier who assaulted a woman in a random attack is to be discharged from the Defence Forces on Thursday.

Cathal Crotty, with an address at Parkroe Heights, Ardnacrusha, Co Clare, pleaded guilty to assaulting Natasha O’Brien in Limerick in 2022.

Ms O’Brien said his dismissal was “the bare minimum” she expected and said it was “too little too late”.

Crotty, 22, walked free from court after being given a three-year suspended sentence for the attack in a case that prompted protests across Ireland and put pressure on the Irish Government to tackle violence against women.

The Irish military confirmed in a statement that Crotty was being discharged on Thursday.

“The Defence Forces unequivocally condemns any actions by serving personnel that are contrary to military regulations or that do not reflect our values,” it said in a statement.

Speaking to the PA news agency, Ms O’Brien said Crotty’s dismissal was “the bare minimum” of what she expected.

“Realistically it’s too little too late,” she said.

“I’m extremely dissatisfied and disappointed that it has taken this enormous level of media focus and national uproar for the bare minimum to be done.

“Had I not spoken up, I don’t believe this would have happened and I cannot help but feel for all the victims that are in the same position that I am, that are watching their attackers continue in the Forces – and this is not just exclusive for the Defence Forces, this goes across all important positions and positions of power.”

Ms O’Brien said after being put “through the wars”, she has had to put her “entire life and soul into speaking up” about the attack for “the bare minimum” to be done.

She added: “To the Defence Forces: what are you doing to ensure this doesn’t happen again?”

Ireland’s director of public prosecutions has lodged an appeal against the sentence given to Crotty on the basis of undue leniency.