Irish footballer dropped after conviction for distributing indecent image of child

Irish footballer dropped after conviction for distributing indecent image of child

A BELFAST football club has dropped one of their players after he was convicted of distributing an indecent image of a child.

Cliftonville player Jay Donnelly, 23, pleaded guilty to the charge last Friday and will be sentenced in the New Year.

He has now been dropped from Saturday’s Irish League home game against Dungannon Swifts, amid plans for a protest if he played.

The Belfast Feminist Network had planned to protest outside Solitude stadium today, saying they were ‘disgusted’ the club had continued to play Donnelly after he was charged.

The North Belfast club has confirmed that Donnelly – who played last Saturday, one day after his guilty plea – will not feature.

'Sensitive and delicate matter'

“As we are sure our supporters are aware, Cliftonville Football Club are dealing with a very sensitive and delicate matter in relation to Jay Donnelly,” said a club statement last night.

“The Club Committee must always ensure that they act correctly when dealing with legal and employment matters and, as such, we have over the past few days been speaking to and availing of advice from all parties involved as well as support organisations.

“We have received legal advice not to comment on this matter further at this time.

“We assure all that this situation is extremely difficult to resolve and ask our supporters and indeed the media to please bear with us as we seek a resolution.

“Having spoken to all parties and Jay Donnelly, it has been decided Jay will not represent Cliftonville FC in tomorrow’s fixture with Dungannon Swifts.”

The Belfast Feminist Network welcomed the club’s decision and confirmed a protest would not go ahead.

In a statement they said: “We welcome the engagement we’ve had with the club during the process of their decision making this week although remain critical of their lack of action up until this point and will be monitoring their future actions.”

Donnelly had a separate count of taking or making an indecent photograph withdrawn.