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Paddy Jackson issues an apology to woman at centre of rape trial

By Online Editors

Ireland and Ulster outhalf Paddy Jackson says he is “ashamed” for the distress caused to a women he met at a party in 2016, which led to a trial for rape.

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In a statement to the Press Association Jackson said he was “ashamed that a young woman who was a visitor to my home left in a distressed state. That was never my intention and I will always regret the events of that evening”.

He’s also apologised for the “degrading and offensive” language used in a Whatsapp group.

“The criticism of my behaviour is fully justified and I know I have betrayed the values of my family and those of the wider public.” Jackson added.

“Following the trial I have taken time to reflect with my family on the values that were such an integral part of my upbringing, the most important of which is respect.

“My departure from these values has caused understandable public anger and I am resolutely committed to returning to those principles.”

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Meanwhile an advert has been taken out in the Belfast Telegraph from “concerned fans” urging the IRFU and Ulster Rugby not to select Jackson or Stuart Olding again.

“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.”

“As such we demand that neither of these men represents Ulster or Ireland now or at any point in the future.”

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“We expect an answer to this letter”.

The ad was crowdfunded by 139 people.

In March a jury found Ulster Rugby players Jackson and Olding not guilty of rape at Laganside District Court.

The two, who were banned from playing pending the trial, had pleaded not guilty to charges over the alleged incident on June 28, 2016.

Flyhalf Jackson, 26, has been capped for Ireland 25 times and centre Olding, 24, has played four times.

It was alleged Jackson and Olding raped a 21-year-old student at a house party at Jackson’s house on the night of the 28 June, 2016.

Two other men had lesser charges brought against them in connection with the alleged incident.

Blane McIlroy (26) from Royal Lodge Road, Ballydollaghan, Belfast, was accused of one count of exposure, while Rory Harrison (25) from Manse Road, Belfast, was charged with perverting the course of justice and withholding information.

Ulster Rugby and the IRFU have released a statement in which they say a review of the matter is taking place. Both players are still suspended from playing rugby.

“IRFU and Ulster Rugby officials will review the matter, in line with existing procedures for all contracted players. 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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