Wednesday 22 February 2017

Exclusive: 'Late Late with controversial Tyrone star must not go ahead' - Father of girl (15) who met GAA player after Tinder match

Published 21/10/2016 | 18:31

Ryan Tubridy, host of the late Late Show and inset Cathal McCarron
Ryan Tubridy, host of the late Late Show and inset Cathal McCarron

The father of a 15-year-old girl who met with Tyrone star Cathal McCarron after they matched on a dating site has begged RTE not to feature the GAA player on the Late Late Show.

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The Kildare dad, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said his daughter is on strong medication and struggles to sleep following her meeting with the Tyrone player in October 2015.

McCarron (28) was questioned by gardaí about the incident but in July the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) decided not to press charges after finding that he had made an “honest mistake” about the girl's age.

The teenager's father said he is furious with the DPP's decision and in an interview with Independent.ie he said that he has contacted state broadcaster RTE in a bid to stop a proposed interview with McCarron on next week's Late Late show from going ahead.

McCarron took to twitter on Thursday to confirm he is due to be interviewed by Ryan Tubridy on October 28 - almost a year to the day after he met with the girl in Co Kildare. The footballer is set to talk about his new biography in which he details a colourful past including appearing in gay pornography and a history of serious gambling debts.

Her father explained: “To write the book so soon after the incident and to not express any remorse. What does that tell you? It feels like he wants to cash in on what he’s done.”

28 June 2015; Cathal McCarron, Tyrone, in action Limerick. GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship, Round 1B, Tyrone v Limerick. Healy Park, Omagh, Co. Tyrone. Picture credit: Oliver McVeigh / SPORTSFILE
28 June 2015; Cathal McCarron, Tyrone, in action Limerick. GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship, Round 1B, Tyrone v Limerick. Healy Park, Omagh, Co. Tyrone. Picture credit: Oliver McVeigh / SPORTSFILE

He added: “I rang RTE and all other stations and begged them not to do any interviews with him. I emailed the complaints department RTE but all I got was a letter confirming the receipt of my email.

“I'm going to Donnybrook and that's it. That just can't happen, he can't appear on the Late Late Show. We are still pursuing the matter.

“If it transpires that he gets airtime and publicity after I gave my side of the story I would question the depths they would stoop to.”

A spokesman for RTÉ said his appearance is unconfirmed. "The Late Late Show does not confirm guests until the week of broadcast."

In his book McCarron describes meeting the girl on his way to a Gambler's Anonymous meeting
In his book McCarron describes meeting the girl on his way to a Gambler's Anonymous meeting

In his recently published biography 'Out of Control' McCarron, who previously starred in a gay pornography movie to pay gambling debts, admitted that he started using the dating site Tinder in October 2015, despite being in a long-term relationship.

He says that “temptation” and “curiosity” drove him to use the app.

After a few weeks of conversing with women online he decided to meet up with one of them.

“I was texting this girl from Kildare, We arranged to meet that night in Kildare town. I was on my way to a GA [Gamblers Anonymous] meeting in Athy. I know the contradiction is ridiculous.

“The girl said she drove an old-style Jaguar. She sent me a picture of the car. I think it was red.”

He explained that she had spoken about college and he told her about his job during “harmless online chat”.

“When we met she looked at least nineteen or twenty.”

McCarron claims that the first time he realised the girl was in fact 15 was two weeks later when her father called him at work.

He said that when he learned this “a weakness came over” him.

“I was in shock. I also felt I hadn’t the right to say anything to the man. Part of me could understand his anger.”

He admits that a week later he was interviewed by two gardaí in Kildare station about the incident. This was the same night as the GAA All Stars function in the Convention Centre in Dublin.

He said: “I made a mistake, but this was the most innocent misjudgement I ever made.”

In July of this year the DPP decided not to prosecute McCarron over the case and in a letter sent to the girl’s parents a senior prosecutor outlines that the defence of “honest mistake” was accepted by the office.

“In this case there was evidence to support this defence. The suspect and your daughter initially made contact on a website that required legal age to be on the website of 18 years of age. Her Facebook page had a date of birth which showed her to be 19 years of age. The suspect said he believed her to be 19 years of age.

“The lawyer concluded that it would not be possible for the prosecution to overcome this defence and that therefore there was no reasonable prospect of a conviction.”

The victim’s father explained that he was not aware that his daughter was meeting with McCarron on October 22, 2015.

"My daughter wouldn't have many friends. She never goes out, she never goes to a teenage disco. None of that ever goes on.

“We were curtailing the amount of time she spent online. But we weren't monitoring it very closely.”

The Late Late Show
The Late Late Show

He continued: “That Monday night she asked to go to meet her friend for coffee from school. She showed me the text where they arranged to meet. I dropped her up the road to Kildare Village. She was dropped at 6pm and she was to be picked up at 7pm.

“Her mother went in at 7 and there was no sign of her. The place was closed, panic started and I got a bad feeling. I said 'there is something wrong here'.

“Eventually she turned up outside Tesco at twenty past seven. So we gave her a telling off and the whole lot.”

He continued: “We didn't know anything until she went to school the next day, that was Tuesday. We got word back then. A neighbour rang my wife and said that our daughter was going around the school and telling everyone that she was with a guy”

The parents searched through their daughter's Facebook account and phone and they saw that she had met this man.

“We got a name Cathal McCarron and looked up his Facebook profile and seen where he was working and his age and all that. I nearly got sick, I just exploded.

“I rang him and asked 'what age are you?' He told me his age, then I asked him 'what the f**k are you doing with my daughter?' I was very angry.”

The father explained that his daughter has had difficulties since the meeting.

“She had One Direction posters on the wall at the time, she was just a child.

“My daughter had a breakdown. We had to get counselling for her. Counselling didn't go too well because she is not a very social person.

“We went through three or four counsellors before we found one that she would talk to. We didn't make much headway there either.

“She was in the psychiatric unit in Tallaght and she is on psychiatric drugs at the minute.

“She had another episode last weekend because that interview was in the paper. It was all over the place.

“She wasn't at school Monday or Tuesday. She is doing her Leaving Cert now this year and she couldn’t go to school. She can’t sleep so we have to deal with that.”

The father said they learned in July that the DPP was not going to bring charges against Mr McCarron over the incident. The father said he was “extremely disappointed” with this but is currently reviewing other options open to him and his family.

“We are still pursuing it. There are avenues open to us and we are still pursuing the matter. We are not happy with what transpired and we are not happy with the outcome at the minute.”

All Ireland winner McCarron's possible appearance on the Late Late show could also cause controversy for another reason.

Tyrone GAA had an unofficial boycott of the state broadcaster since 2011 over a dispute between manager Mickey Harte and the station.

McCarron took to Twitter on Thursday to claim that his appearance would not be in contravention to this.

He wrote: "I would like to clarify that my appearance on the Late Late Show on Friday week is entirely my decision and has nothing to do with Mickey Harte and the Tyrone senior football squad's continued withdrawal of cooperation with RTE.

"This is a completely separate issue to me appearing on the show to speak about my autobiography 'Out of Control'."

Cathal McCarron tweet.jpg  

In a statement Mr McCarron's solicitor said: "In November 2015 Cathal McCarron cooperated fully with An Garda Siochana investigating allegations made on behalf of a young female. 

"The matter was referred to PPS [Director of Public Prosecutions] who were satisfied by Mr McCarron’s account of events, and the matter stands closed."

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