The brave mother, who survived a brutal gun battle that left her in a wheelchair, said she is now focused on regaining her strength for herself and her nine-year-old daughter, who witnessed the shooting.
Inead Connolly, 34, spoke to The Sunday World after her attacker Dean McCarthy, 33, was sentenced to 15 years in prison in the Central Criminal Court on Tuesday for attempted gun murder.
Surrounded by her family, including her mother and sister Orla Connolly, Ms Connolly said she was happy with the verdict but insisted McCarthy had shown no remorse after the March 6, 2021 attack at her Dublin home.
However, she said her focus now is on getting better for herself and Leah, who was at the apartment seeing her mother after she was shot.
Ms Connolly also questioned a letter of apology read earlier in court by defense attorney Brendan Grehan SC on McCarthy’s behalf.
“Things quickly got out of control and although four masked men tried to break into my home this morning to harm me, you didn’t deserve to be hurt like this,” the letter reads.
Ms Connolly said: “That apology was all about him. And then he just added me and Leah. To me, if he was truly remorseful, he would have started by apologizing and not talking about himself and the effect it was having on him.
“I remember the day he came right up to me as I was sitting on the couch and he shot me.
“He came into my house and shot me and could have shot my child and my friends.”
McCarthy, Ms Connolly’s neighbour, with an address at Bernard Curtis House, Bluebell Road, Dublin 12, appeared in court to be sentenced after pleading guilty to her attempted murder on March 6, 2021 last January.
The court previously heard that McCarthy – a man Ms Connolly had known since childhood – subjected her to an abuse campaign leading up to the shooting, during which he regularly called her a “whore” and grabbed her by the throat and spat in her face .
McCarthy also told her he would “leave her in a body bag.”
The sentencing hearing was told McCarthy “stormed into” Ms Connolly’s home with a gun and shot her repeatedly while her daughter hid under the kitchen table.
Leah escaped the shooting unharmed as McCarthy fled the apartment.
But the impact on Ms Connolly, her daughter Leah and the wider Connolly family was detailed in the powerful victim impact statement that Sinead read to the court.
Judge Paul McDermott sentenced McCarthy on Tuesday, saying the circumstances of the case were “shocking” and the aftermath “devastating” for Ms Connolly and their daughter.
He set the main sentence at 21 years in prison before considering mitigating factors.
McCarthy was then sentenced to 16 years in prison, with the final year suspended for a two-year period.
It has been backdated to the time of his incarceration on April 30, 2021.
He was also sentenced to eight years for possession of weapons and six years for possession of ammunition.
These sentences are intended to be imposed at the same time as the sentence for attempted murder.
Ms Connolly said it was “overwhelming” to see McCarthy back in court but she was happy with the verdict that had been reached.
“I think anyone who did what they did should have been locked away forever but considering he pleaded guilty I honestly thought he was going to get 12 years.
“But he got 15, so I’m happy with that.”
The court previously heard the injuries Ms Connolly sustained are unlikely to be reversible and have changed her life.
She remains at the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Dún Laoghaire, the court heard.
As a result of her injury, she is paraplegic and requires a wheelchair for all of her mobility and must use alternative methods to manage her bladder and bowels.
Her life expectancy is also reduced as a result of the injury.
Ms Connolly said she is now trying to get on with her life for herself and Leah.
“But right now in rehab I’m trying really hard to get stronger, for me and my kid,” she said.
“And when I look at photos of me back then, a year ago, I can see how far I’ve come.”
Ms Connolly’s sister Orla, who has been caring for Leah since the shooting, said her sister now has a voice for other victims of violent crime.
“At least she could come here today and tell what happened to her and show other women how brave women are,” Orla said.
It’s a sentiment Ms Connolly has previously expressed in an interview.
“At least now I have a chance to speak up. I found the strength to stand up for Leah and any woman who was being intimidated or bullied,” she said.
“I thought of all the other women who died in violent circumstances and never had a chance to be heard.
“When I was up there, I felt like I was speaking for the women who were being murdered, because basically that’s what he was trying to do to me.”
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/crime/brave-mum-sinead-connolly-says-apology-from-gunman-who-left-her-paralysed-was-all-about-him-41592404.html Brave mum Sinead Connolly says apology from gunman who left her paralyzed is ‘all about him’