We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

Belfast Telegraph

Campaigners take out newspaper ad demanding Paddy Jackson not play for Ireland or Ulster again

The ad is appearing in today’s edition.

AN ADVERTISEMENT HAS been placed in this morning’s Belfast Telegraph newspaper urging Ulster Rugby and the IRFU not to allow Paddy Jackson or Stuart Olding play rugby for them again.

Over 130 people contributed through a crowdfunding campaign to the cost of the print advertisement in the Northern Irish paper.

The ad reads: “To the leadership of the Irish Rugby Football Union and Ulster Rugby. The content of the social media exchanges involving Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding was reprehensible. Such behaviour falls far beneath the standards 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 and answer to this letter. Yours, Concerned Fans.”

Organiser of the crowdfunding initiative, Anna Nolan, said she felt so strongly about the WhatsApp conversations Jackson and Olding were part of that he should not be allowed set an example to children in the future.

She said: “It was an idea I had after the verdict came down. There was obviously the verdict on the criminal charges but there’s also a moral question here and that was… should they be donning the national jersey?”

Nolan said this was not a witch-hunt against Jackson or Olding but that their trial should be used as something which starts a conversation about respecting women – especially in locker rooms.

“This isn’t vindictive. It’s a message to these institutes that they take a stand and create their own code of conduct – to tell them that standards are expected of future players and that people behave in a way that you’d expect to see from national sports stars.”

Details of Whatsapp conversations  were given out in court during the nine-week trial.

In one WhatsApp conversation, Olding said, “We are all top shaggers” and described the scene in the bedroom as “like a merry-go-round at a carnival”. Olding added to the WhatsApp group that “there was a bit of spit roasting going on last night fellas” to which Jackson replied: ”There was a lot of spit roast last night.”

Jackson and Olding were found not guilty of a charge of rape, while Jackson was also found not guilty of a charge of sexual assault.

Blane McIlroy was found not guilty of exposing his genitals, and Rory Harrison from Manse Road was found not guilty of perverting the course of justice, and withholding information.

Also today, Paddy Jackson released a statement saying he will “always regret the events of that evening”.

In a statement today to Press Association, Jackson said that criticism of his behaviour in the wake of the verdict was “fully justified”.

In response to a request for a statement on the ad, a spokesperson for Ulster Rugby noted that the IRFU and Ulster Rugby have confirmed a review process following the trial verdict is underway.

Readers like you are keeping these stories free for everyone...
A mix of advertising and supporting contributions helps keep paywalls away from valuable information like this article. Over 5,000 readers like you have already stepped up and support us with a monthly payment or a once-off donation.