Organiser of Paddy Jackson protest in Cork defends event

Organiser of Paddy Jackson protest in Cork defends event
Paddy Jackson

The organiser of a protest against the decision of London Irish rugby club to hire former Ulster player Paddy Jackson has defended the event.

Linda Hayden, founder of Action Against Sexual Violence Ireland, said that sportspeople need to be held to a “higher moral compass” since young people regard them as heroes.

While she respected the judgment of the court that acquitted Jackson of rape and sexual assault, she said that in text messages he and his co-defendants had ‘spoken about her like a piece of meat.’

“That’s not good enough for a role model,” she told Newstalk Breakfast.

Ms Hayden has organised the peaceful protest which will take place outside the London Irish v Munster rugby friendly at Musgrave Park tonight.

Protesters are objecting to the London Irish decision to hire out-half Jackson, who was acquitted of rape and sexual assault at a high-profile trial in Belfast last year.

“Lots of young people attend these games, they hero worship these guys.

The text messages in the court case showed that they left a girl bleeding and crying and spoke about her like a piece of meat.

Ireland has one of the lowest rates for conviction and reporting of rape, added Ms Hayden. People were afraid of what was going to be said about them, not the rapist, she said.

Ms Hayden denied that she was “the morality police” and said she had no problem with Paddy Jackson doing a job for a living, but the problem was that as a rugby player he was being held up as a role model.

“I firmly he should go do whatever he wants to do, but not a job where he is telling people that this type of behavior is acceptable.”

More on this topic

Diageo pulls sponsorship as London Irish signs Paddy JacksonDiageo pulls sponsorship as London Irish signs Paddy Jackson

Rugby players fail to recoup legal costs after rape trial acquittalRugby players fail to recoup legal costs after rape trial acquittal

Man convicted for naming ‘rape’ complainant on social mediaMan convicted for naming ‘rape’ complainant on social media

Court hears Stuart Olding offered no evidence of financial hardship in legal costs bidCourt hears Stuart Olding offered no evidence of financial hardship in legal costs bid


More in this Section

Man gets partially suspended sentence for twice attacking ex-partner in front of their son at children's hospitalMan gets partially suspended sentence for twice attacking ex-partner in front of their son at children's hospital

'I am free of his disgusting and sick secret,' says victim after his older brother is jailed for decade of sexual abuse and rape'I am free of his disgusting and sick secret,' says victim after his older brother is jailed for decade of sexual abuse and rape

Varadkar: New Brexit deal is final offer from EUVaradkar: New Brexit deal is final offer from EU

'If I wasn't a whistleblower then I'd have gotten a commendation,' Garda tells Disclosures Tribunal'If I wasn't a whistleblower then I'd have gotten a commendation,' Garda tells Disclosures Tribunal


Lifestyle

Mountaintop monasteries, vicious-looking vultures, and a seriously impressive cable car.As Ryanair launches flights to Armenia, here’s why it deserves to be your next holiday destination

Jools Holland and his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra played a storming gig at Cork Opera House, writes Des O'Driscoll Live Music Review: Jools Holland and his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra

Concerns about people’s ability to access their own money have been growing – here’s what the debate is all about.Are we actually going to end up as a cashless society?

Esther N McCarthy mixes it up with spins on kitchen classics, Munster-based design news plus an absolute diamond of a poufMade in Munster: Wish list of the best products in the province

More From The Irish Examiner