Paddy Jackson not named in squad to face Munster; protest to go ahead in Cork on Friday

Paddy Jackson not named in squad to face Munster; protest to go ahead in Cork on Friday
Paddy Jackson

A PEACEFUL protest is set to go ahead this Friday at Musgrave Park despite confirmation that Paddy Jackson will not be playing in the match against Munster. 

Jackson is not included in the London Irish squad for Friday night's pre-season friendly.

Former Ireland fly-half Jackson, aged 27, had his IRFU contract terminated in April 2018, following his acquittal of rape after a high-profile trial in Northern Ireland.

Jackson spent a season with Perpignan in France before signing with London Irish in the Gallagher Premiership.

Following news of Jackson's arrival at Irish, two of the club's sponsors, including drinks giant Diageo, cut their ties with the club.

The English club have opted against playing him in the Jack Wakefield Memorial Trophy fixture with Munster.

Despite the decision to leave Jackson out of the squad line up, a peaceful protest will still take place at the Cork stadium.

The Cork protest group will join forces with another group organised by anti sexual violence activist, Linda Hayden.

Speaking to The Echo, Linda said that the protest was never about whether Jackson would play or not, but about sending a clear message to London Irish that ‘locker room talk’ and misogyny should not be tolerated and Jackson should not have a professional rugby contract.

Ms Hayden continued that while she recognises that she must respect the law and the innocent verdict, she has serious concerns over the vulgar text messages Jackson sent to fellow Ulster Rugby players regarding the complainant on the night in question.

Aligning herself strongly against comments made by Declan Kidney earlier this week that “the past is the past,'' Linda said: “The past will never be the past for that girl”.

Approximately 600 people have indicated their interest in attending Friday’s protest which will begin at the Amphitheatre in UCC at 6pm and then make its way to Musgrave Park.

Linda will be speaking on the night, along with members of UCC’s Feminist Society.

In a statement issued after the trial, Mr Jackson expressed remorse for the way he had conducted himself, particularly in the Whatsapp group chat, saying he would “always regret the events of that evening”.

After his contract was revoked by Ulster Rugby and the IRFU, Mr Jackson signed with Perpignan before London Irish. 

The decision to recruit Jackson to London Irish ultimately led to the team’s long time sponsor, Diageo disassociating themselves from the team as they felt the signing was ‘not consistent’ with company values. 

Equally, Cash Converters revoked their sponsorship of London irish, citing similar reasons.

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