Former Cork City FC director, Jonathan O’Brien, has condemned the actions of the Gardai after he was removed from Turners Cross last night during Cork City’s 1-1 draw with St Pat’s.
Footage emerged during the game of Gardai intervening when a ‘Delaney Out’ banner was displayed in a section of the crowd. Earlier that night, the Cork supporters had also boycotted the ‘Joe Delaney stand’, named after the father of the former FAI Chief Executive, John Delaney.
However, in a statement to the Irish Sun, the Sinn Féin TD insisted that the protest was peaceful and that the reaction from the Gardai was “over-the-top”.
Unacceptable and heavy handed treatment of loyal @CorkCityFC Supporters tonight. We feel it's important to highlight the unacceptable treatment of our Supporters during a peaceful protest. #CCFC84 #LeagueOfIreland pic.twitter.com/0gqNXKvmFE
— CCFC Independent SLO (@CCFC84_SLO) April 12, 2019
“There was one fan removed and, unfortunately, that was me. I didn’t even have the banner.
“They told me I was removed on the grounds that I was impeding the gardaí from trying to remove the banner — that is the reason I was given.
“This is a really bad look for the FAI if people are seen not to be allowed conduct peaceful protests. What do they expect?
“You hold up a peaceful banner saying ‘Delaney Out’ and that is not allowed either. It was a peaceful protest, the banner was up for maybe 30 seconds and the reaction of the guards was a little over the top I would say.
“I am disappointed in the reaction of the Gardaí but I won’t be making too much of it, I will be back in Turner’s Cross next week.”
Cork City FC have since released a statement saying they are aware of the incident and urging anyone with footage to contact them.
“The club is aware of discussion around an incident that took place during last night’s game at Turner’s Cross.
“The club intends to review reports and speak to all parties concerned. The board is committed to making visits to Turner’s Cross an enjoyable one for all supporters. We apologise for any upset these actions caused for our supporters/staff and will review all of the club’s internal security procedures with our event controller and Gardaí.
“We will update our members and supporters when we have more information. If anyone attending last night’s game has footage they wish to share, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.”