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Nearly 7 in 10 people think the IRFU was right to sack Jackson and Olding

The pair had their rugby contracts revoked in the wake of their acquittal on charges of rape.

Jackson (left) and Olding have had their contracts revoked.
Jackson (left) and Olding have had their contracts revoked.
Image: Niall Carson/PA Images

A MAJORITY OF Irish people believe that the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) was right to revoke the contracts of Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding.

According to a poll for RTÉ’s Claire Byrne Live by Amarách Research, just 19% said it wasn’t the correct decision while 69% said it was the right thing to do to terminate the pair’s contracts in the wake of the long-running rape trial.

The remaining 12% said they didn’t know if the IRFU was correct with its decision.

Last month, a jury in Belfast found Ulster Rugby players Jackson (26) and Olding (25) unanimously not guilty of rape, while Jackson was also cleared of an additional count of sexual assault.

During the trial, a series of WhatsApp messages sent between the players were put into the public domain and have been the subject of much public commentary.

In the wake of the verdict, both the IRFU and Ulster Rugby launched a review into the players’ behaviour.

In a statement announcing their departure, the IRFU said: “Following a review, conducted in the aftermath of recent court proceedings, the Irish Rugby Football Union and Ulster Rugby have revoked the contracts of Patrick Jackson and Stuart Olding with immediate effect.

In arriving at this decision, the Irish Rugby Football Union and Ulster Rugby acknowledge our responsibility and commitment to the core values of the game: respect, inclusivity and integrity.

“It has been agreed, as part of this commitment, to conduct an in-depth review of existing structures and educational programmes, within the game in Ireland, to ensure the importance of these core values is clearly understood, supported and practised at every level of the game.”

In statements following their departures, both Jackson and Olding said they were “disappointed” and had “deep regret” over the decision.

The Claire Byrne poll was carried out yesterday using a panel of over 1,000 Irish adults all aged over 18.

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Sean Murray

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