There’s No Justice In The Department Of Justice

The horrific case of Cathal Crotty’s extremely violent attack on Natasha O’Brien has shone a much-needed light on the appalling toleration of perpetrators of gender-based violence in the defence forces and elsewhere.

In May 2022, Natasha asked Crotty to stop using homophobic slurs in the street. In response he set upon her, beating her unconscious, leaving her with a broken nose and other head injuries. Crotty then boasted about his attack on social media.

But incredibly, last week Crotty received a suspended sentence for his violent attack on Natasha. This adds another case to the 1 in 3 men found guilty of rape who get a partially or fully suspended sentence. This is just one demonstration of the deep structural misogyny that permeates our society.

Cathal Crotty is now facing disciplinary proceedings, but it is doubtful if that would have happened without the bravery of Natasha O’Brien in highlighting what he did to her and the appalling suspended sentence and comments handed down by Judge Tom O’Donnell.

The aftermath of this case has also highlighted the case of David O’Gorman, a heavyweight boxer, who was convicted last year of gender violence that left his victim with permanent damage to her eye and left her traumatised, yet he remains in the navy.

We also know that the women of honour have been fighting for many years to challenge sexual abuse and discrimination in the defence forces.

The Government is also a major part of the problem. For example, nine counties still have no refuges for victims of gender-based violence. The problem is not being taken seriously at so many levels in our society. Even in the Department of Justice there is no Justice for victims of gender-based violence.

No one who has admitted to or been convicted of gender-based violence should be allowed to be in the defence forces. Men who have used gender-based violence must be sacked from the army or Gardaí.

We also need a process through which judges can be held to account for their actions and to ensure that justice is done for the victims of gender-based violence. There must be an end to misogyny in the courts.

Natasha will be at the demonstrations at the Dáil at 6pm this evening, at 1pm on Wednesday at the Court House on Mulgrave Street in Limerick and at 6pm on Thursday at the Court House on Washington Street in Cork.

We urge people to join these demonstrations to demand accountability in the legal system and for the structural sources of discrimination and violence against women and others in our society.