Northern Ireland news

Cliftonville probe over Jay Donnelly clip from club ground

Cliftonville player Jay Donnelly
Brendan Hughes

CLIFTONVILLE is reportedly investigating after footballer Jay Donnelly, who is facing jail for sharing an indecent image of a child, posted a clip online from the club's north Belfast ground.

The 23-year-old recently posted the clip on Instagram which appeared to be at Solitude, captioned: "Getting there.. can tell my fitness is gone by the way I'm breathing."

Donnelly is appealing a prison sentence imposed for distributing an indecent image of a child on a date unknown between June and October 2016.

The intimate photo showed the then 21-year-old having sex with a 16-year-old girl while she wore his team shirt.

Donnelly, of Ardilea Drive in north Belfast, pleaded guilty in November and was given a four-month jail sentence in January. He is currently on bail while his appeal is considered.

The court heard the footballer took the photo and then shared it with a friend and up to 10 other players on messaging service WhatsApp, before it was leaked online.

The girl was said to have been humiliated and subjected to verbal abuse as a consequence.

Donnelly was dropped from Cliftonville games and the Irish Football Association (IFA) in January said he would face a disciplinary committee.

Cliftonville did not respond yesterday to requests for a comment.

However, an unnamed senior official told the Sunday Life that Donnelly was not given permission to attend Solitude and the club has launched an internal investigation.

The club has previously faced criticism of its response in the wake of the court case.

Kellie Turtle of Belfast Feminist Network urged the IFA to take a stronger approach to disciplining players convicted of such offences.

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