He was convicted of a sexual offence on Wednesday
Belfast feminist groups have said they will protest outside Cliftonville’s football ground if Jay Donnelly is selected to play against Dungannon Swifts this Saturday.
The North Belfast man was convicted of distributing an indecent image of a child on Wednesday.
The 23-year-old had pleaded guilty to the charge on Friday, November 23.
In a joint statement from Belfast Feminist Network and Reclaim the Night, the club was criticised for allowing Donnelly to play against Linfield on Saturday, November 24, despite his guilty plea the day previous.
It is unclear if the club were aware of his guilty plea. They have not yet commented publicly on the conviction.
In their statement, the feminist groups said: “The feminist movement has been aware of this case for some time but we have been unable to comment while the criminal proceedings were ongoing.
Cliftonville’s Jay Donnelly convicted of distributing an indecent image of a child
“Donnelly’s behaviour was reprehensible and his conviction reflects this.
“If they continue to play such a high profile player as Donnelly now that he has been convicted they send a dangerous message to the many young fans for whom their players are supposed to be role models.”
They said that they will protest until action is taken by the club.
The statement added: “At time of writing the club has made no statement about Donnelly’s conviction or their intentions around his future at the club. Cliftonville are due to play Dungannon Swifts this Saturday December 1 at their home ground.
“If Jay Donnelly is playing on Saturday, there will be a protest organised by Belfast Feminist Network and Reclaim the Night outside the ground.
“We will continue to protest until Cliftonville FC take action to remove a convicted sex offender from their line-up. We are also seeking information from the club’s leadership about actions they will take to stamp out misogyny and ensure players are educated on sexual consent as part of their role.”
Cliftonville FC were contacted for a response however have not responded.
With many thanks to: Belfast Live for the original story.