Official Ulster supporters club call for 'early reinstatement' of Craig Gilroy, Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding

Official Ulster supporters club call for 'early reinstatement' of Craig Gilroy, Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding
Craig Gilroy, Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding

By Stephen Barry

The Ulster Rugby Supporters’ Club (URSC) have hit back at the 'concerned fans' behind an advertisement calling for Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding to never be allowed represent Ireland or Ulster again.

In a statement sent to Ulster Rugby by chairman Jonathan Bill, the official independent supporters group call for the "early reinstatement to playing duties" of Jackson, Olding and Craig Gilroy, who are currently under an internal IRFU/Ulster Rugby review.

They said the "vast majority of members" support this and further warn that "many" members have made it clear that failure to do so "will strongly influence their decision on season ticket renewal or their future Kingspan [Stadium] attendance". They add that this could "impact adversely on support for the team and income for Ulster Rugby through the ticket sales".

Jackson and Olding were acquitted of all charges in a rape trial last month.

Messages made public during the trial from a WhatsApp group conversation, which also included Gilroy, led to him also being placed under review.

Last week Gilroy apologised for his "totally inappropriate" comment, while Jackson also apologised for taking part in the "degrading and offensive" conversation.

In the wake of his acquittal, Olding also expressed deep regret for his involvement in the incident.

The advert calling for Jackson and Olding's removal, published in the Belfast Telegraph last week, called the content of the messages "reprehensible".

"Such behaviour falls far beneath the standard that your organisations [the IRFU and Ulster Rugby] represent and as such we demand that neither of these men represents Ulster or Ireland now or at any point in the future," said the message from 'concerned fans' in the advert crowdfunded by 139 members of the public.

The URSC, which has 938 members, said it had no involvement in the advert and "doubts that any of the 139 who contributed financially... are amongst its membership".

They say they've received no calls from members calling for players involved to be banned and "on the contrary, the vast majority of members have made it clear they wish to see their early reinstatement to playing duties".

The group also hit out at "uninformed" and "unhelpful" social media commentary and the "disproportionate attention" given to the advert.

While acknowledging the "difficult and traumatic" recent events, the group say it "respects both the judicial outcome and the IRFU review process which it regards as a matter solely for the players and their employer".

More in this Section

How have Leicester got things so right this season?How have Leicester got things so right this season?

Football rumours from the mediaFootball rumours from the media

World Para Athletics Championships: Waiting game pays off for Niamh McCarthy in DubaiWorld Para Athletics Championships: Waiting game pays off for Niamh McCarthy in Dubai

Keena’s heart for Ireland causeKeena’s heart for Ireland cause


Aileen Lee meets Christina Kenny - co-founder and design director of Lamb Design - to talk about her work and inspirations.Christina Kenny of Lamb Design: ‘I love bringing the outside in and inside out’

Tyrone designer Sharon Wauchob on her career and the worth of luxury fastion. By Paul McLachen.From Marc Jacobs to her own label, Tyrone designer Sharon Wauchob on her life in fashion

The recent sentencing of two teenage boys for the murder of Ana Kriégel has once again brought the issue of pornography into public discourse. The details of the case, which are finally coming into public knowledge, illuminate some very worrying trends that are pervasive in the modern adolescent world and as parents and indeed as a society we can no longer languish in complacency.Learning Points: Hardcore porn can pollute our children’s minds

If children are confident in interacting with others it takes away so much stress and social anxiety for them. Not too long ago, my daughter Joan and I were out with friends at a restaurant and we wanted extra water and a few other bits and Joan volunteered to go up and ask the waiter for them. My friend was really surprised at this and said that none of her children would willingly do that.Mum’s the word: We should look for chances to strengthen our kids’ social skills

More From The Irish Examiner