Thursday, 19 July, 2018

Paddy Jackson to be paid off by the IRFU as contract ends

Protestors demonstrate outside the home of Ulster rugby Kingspan Stadium Protestors demonstrate outside the home of Ulster rugby Kingspan Stadium
Orlando Vargas | 16 April, 2018, 04:10

Olding and Paddy Jackson have had their contracts revoked immediately by the IRFU and Ulster Rugby as a result of a review into their Whatsapp messages which were made public after the high-profile trial where both men were found not guilty on all charges.

As reported by the Sunday Independent's rugby writer Brendan Fanning on Friday night, the review following the Belfast rape trial concluded last Wednesday and the players were informed then of the decision.

Fellow Ulster and Ireland star Craig Gilroy, who was not involved in the trial, is also subject to a review because he was the author of one of the offensive messages which referred to women in derogatory terms.

The incident has sparked protests outside the club grounds, and several club sponsors have expressed concern following the case.

Thousands of protestors have staged rallies in cities and towns across Ireland demanding reform of the justice system in dealing with sex offence cases, with another is planned for tonight at Kingspan Stadium for Ulster Rugby's first home game since the trial ended.

The picket was organised by the Belfast Feminist Network.

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Over 100 supporters also helped pay for an advertisement in a local newspaper urging for them to be removed.

The Irish Rugby Football Union and Ulster Rugby statement acknowleged responsibility and commitment to "respect, inclusivity and integrity".

We can only assume Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding lost their jobs because they exchanged private messages. "Such behavior falls far beneath the standard that your organizations represent and as such we demand that neither of these men represents Ulster or Ireland now or at any point in the future", the advertisement said.

The Change.org petition said they should "be reinstated to the Ulster Rugby squad as soon as possible".

The IRFU have added that a review of the existing structures and educational programmes within the game will be carried out.

'My focus in the months and years ahead will be on rebuilding the trust placed in me by people throughout Ulster and Ireland'.

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