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Petition For IRFU To Review Behaviour Of Jackson And Olding Has 30,000 Signatures

By Sarah

March 30, 2018 at 11:27am

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A petition for the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) to conduct a full review into Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding and for the findings of that review to be made public if the men are ever to play on an Irish team again has reached almost 30,000 signatures. 

The online petition, which is hosted on change.org, has at the time of writing 29,467 signatures. 

Jackson and Olding, who are both under a suspended contract with Ulster rugby until 2019, were acquitted of sexual assault at a Belfast court this week, leading to rallies across the country in support of the alleged rape victim from the court case. 

During the trial, Whatsapp messages with misogynistic content was made public and it is partly this that the petition calls for an investigation into. 

The petition reads: 

Paddy Jackson, Stuart Olding, Blane McIlroy, and Rory Harrison were found not guilty of charges brought against them in Belfast. 

However, the trial highlighted worrying conduct and attitudes of players which many do not feel are representative of Irish people. 

The Irish rugby team act as ambassadors of Ireland. We do not want other countries to think that this behaviour and these attitudes are representative of Irish people. The Irish rugby team are also heroes of many young people. We do not want them to feel that what has been revealed throughout the trial was or ever will be acceptable or celebrated. We do not want young rugby players and fans to think this is okay behaviour to emulate. Rugby clubs and national teams regularly drop players and do not renew contracts over inappropriate behavior off the field for these reasons.

Please confirm that you will conduct a thorough review of their behaviour and make the findings public if these players are ever being considered to play for the Irish team. Please consider their admissions in court, Whatsapp records of their dialogue, their public image, the IRFU code of ethics. Please then act on the findings. This is the minimum you can do to ensure the integrity of Irish rugby.

After the verdict of the rape trial on Wednesday, IRFU said it would be conducting an internal review:

"We wish to acknowledge that this has undoubtedly been a difficult and extremely traumatic time for all involved.

"A Review Committee, made up of senior representatives of the IRFU and Ulster Rugby, has been appointed and will conclude its review as soon as practicable.

"The players will continue to be relieved of all duties while the Review Committee is in process and determining its findings."

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