Last July Dubliner Barry McCormack was knocked unconscious in an unprovoked attack by an Irish American man, Cornelius O’Shea, outside McGinn’s Tavern in Woodlawn, New York.
Since the attack he has endured four brain operations and is living on social welfare while his attacker has received just three years probation.
Barry and his wife are now filing a civil suit. Until that is cleared they are living on food stamps and charity. McCormack’s unemployment payments have stopped. His wife, Cheryl, is also unable to work as she needs back and neck surgery. They also have two young children, Patrick (3) and Aiden (2).
Cheryl is gravely worried about the family’s future. She said “It feels like any day now we could end up just sleeping in our car, because we don't have enough money to pay our rent. We've had hope for a year, and it doesn't seem like anything is going to get better."
Barry told the New York Daily News, “What really sickened me to the pit of my stomach was the judge said [to O'Shea], 'If you get a probationary sentence, your normal working life will not be affected. And me not being able to look after my wife and two children properly, and this guy walking through the streets...God help the next person he gets to."
Barry and his wife of three years, Chery,l are now selling everything they own. Standing over the couple’s valuables spread out on the dining room table in Yonkers, Cheryl says it is necessary “Just to make money to pay [the] bills."
After the attack on July 18 last year, Barry was unconscious for eight weeks. The NYPD told the Irish Voice at the time that McCormack was knocked unconscious with one punch to the face.
His brother Mark told the Voice “Barry suffered a fractured temple, a fractured skull, bleeding on the brain and an enlarged brain.”
Barry has had four brain surgeries since the brutal attack. He still wears a helmet 24/7 and is unable to resume work as a project manager.
This June the assailant, Cornelius O’Shea, of Irish-born parents, pled guilty to misdemeanor assault. The judge sentenced him to three years probation rather than prison. Barry’s attacker already has a rap sheet and this May he was charged with a DWI in Westchester County.
McCormack and his wife attribute his sentencing to the lax culture of the Bronx district attorney’s office. According to a New York Daily news probe they decline to prosecute more cases than other DA offices in New York City.
McCormack wants justice about all else. He said “Basically, [O'Shea] has gotten away with it, and we're trying to get on and push forward, but..." he trailed off. "The injustice we feel is there."
To contact or donate to the McCormacks at chernic12@ aol.com.