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Eamonn Farrell

Labour senator Aodhán Ó Ríordáin apologises for tweet sent after Belfast rape trial verdicts

Ó Ríordáin tweeted a clarification and an apology for a tweet he sent on 28 March.

LABOUR SENATOR AODHÁN Ó Ríordáin has apologised for a tweet he sent following the verdicts of the recent Belfast rugby rape trial.

Ó Ríordáin tweeted a clarification and an apology for a tweet he sent on 28 March.

The apology – which is pinned to the top of Twitter profile – reads:

“My tweet of 28 March concerning the Belfast rape trial was not designed or intended to suggest that either Paddy Jackson or any of the other accused men were guilty or that the jury got it wrong.

“I apologise for any suggestion to the contrary. I accept that I was not privy to all the evidence put before the jury during the trial.

I will not be making further comment.

On 30 March, lawyers representing rugby player Paddy Jackson issued a notice of intention to sue Ó Ríordáin.

The statement issued by KRW Law, based in Belfast, said it had “no option” but to issue the notice due to the alleged “defamatory comments made by him in the immediate aftermath of the jury’s verdict”.

Senior Associate Marie Hans confirmed at the time that “pre-action libel correspondence against a named senator in the Republic of Ireland” had been issued.

The legal action relates to a tweet sent to a number of other persons before it was eventually taken down.
We will not hesitate to repeat similar legal action against anyone, who deliberately or otherwise, sees fit to attack our client. We are examining carefully every item of social media commentary which seeks to challenge the integrity of the jury’s full endorsement of our client’s innocence.

Last month, a jury found all four men in the Belfast rugby rape trial not guilty on all charges against them,

Ireland and Ulster rugby duo Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding were found not guilty of raping a 19-year-old student in June 2016.

It took the Belfast Crown Court jury of eight men and three women three hours and 40 minutes following the marathon nine-week trial to unanimously acquit the pair of the charges against them.

Blane McIlroy (26), from Royal Lodge Road, was acquitted on the charge of exposure, and Rory Harrison (25) from Manse Road, also Belfast, was acquitted of charges of perverting the course of public justice, and withholding information.