An open letter to the Ireland and Ulster rugby leadership demanding that Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding never play rugby for the province or national team again has appeared in a Northern Ireland newspaper.
The advert was crowdfunded and appeared in yesterday’s Belfast Telegraph. A total of 139 people, described as “concerned fans”, contributed to the campaign.
The advert states: “To the leadership of the Irish Rugby Football Union and Ulster Rugby.
“The content of social media exchanges involving Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding was reprehensible.
“Such behaviour falls far beneath the standard that your organisations represent and as such we demand that neither of these men represents Ulster or Ireland now or at any point in the future.
“We expect an answer to this letter.”
“Yours, concerned fans.”
One of those involved in setting up the crowdfunding campaign, Anna Nolan, told the Belfast Telegraph that the €2,000 target was reached within 36 hours.
“A friend and I felt, like many people around the country do, that the WhatsApp exchanges as revealed in court go against any moral standard of what can be considered acceptable behaviour. These players have a national and international platform and the IRFU and Ulster Rugby have a role to play in enforcing moral standards,” she said.
Last week, Mr Jackson, aged 26, and his Ireland and Ulster teammate Stuart Olding, aged 25, were unanimously acquitted in Belfast Crown Court of raping the same woman at a party at Mr Jackson’s south Belfast home in June 2016. Mr Jackson was also found not guilty of sexual assault.
Two other men were unanimously acquitted of lesser charges related to the high profile case.
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