Fifty people lined up outside court yesterday to shake hands and commiserate with a "revolting" Irish man jailed for five years for sexual assault. The local parish priest was also one of the thug's admirers.

Danny Foley was a bouncer in the town of Listowel who picked up the 22-year-old victim as she was leaving the nightclub in which he worked.

Police later found the woman naked form the waist down and semi-conscious alongside a garbage container, with a man “crouching over her.” Her body was covered with bruises.

By any measure, it was an extraordinary scene when 50 mostly middle-aged men  lined up to shake the bouncer's hand and hug him before his sentence was read.

Judge Donagh McDonagh yesterday stated the woman’s victim impact statement was one of “remarkable dignity.” He said Foley’s “revolting” claims, the “odious  language" he used to describe his victim and his claims were attempts “to add insult to injury” and to “demean and denigrate her further in the eyes of the jury and the public.”

The judge also strongly criticized Castlegregory parish priest Father Seán Sheehy, who said in a statement that Foley was always “respectful of women.”

“He always struck me as having the height of respect for women. There is not an abusive bone in his body,” the priest said.

In her victim impact statement, the woman spoke of being “judged.”

“Even though my name has never been mentioned in the press, Listowel is not a big town and everyone knows it’s me. I feel as if people are judging me the whole time. I’ve been asked by people I know if I am sorry for bringing Dan Foley to court. I am not sorry for it. All I did was tell the truth,” the woman said.