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Lennon raps Stokes over Ryan fundraiser

CELTIC boss Neil Lennon accused Anthony Stokes of damaging the club's reputation by attending a memorial night for slain Real IRA leader Alan Ryan.

Lennon made the comment as he revealed the footballer had been "dealt with" by Celtic in the aftermath of the incident.

The club took action when photographs emerged of Stokes (24) attending the November 2 benefit night for Ryan in Dublin.

Stokes knew Ryan (32) for years through the RIRA man's association with the Players' Lounge Bar in Fairview, which is owned by the footballer's family.

"We have spoken to him and it has been dealt with internally," said Lennon ahead of his side's Scottish Cup replay against Arbroath.

"I'm not going to moralise to him but you cannot damage the reputation of the club -- which he did. He is aware of that now," he said.

It is thought Stokes will be fined two weeks' wages as punishment.

Stokes has been out injured for months while his team fought their way to the top of the league and into the last 16 of the Champions League.

The footballer indicated recently he would sue a top Scottish journalist following an article about his links to Ryan.

Journalist Tom English wrote in Scotland on Sunday it was not good for Celtic that one of its players would have such close links to the RIRA man.

Ryan was shot dead near his home on September 3 last in Donaghmede.

Hundreds of people attended the November 2 memorial for Ryan at the Submarine Bar which was closely watched by armed gardai.

After the photographs emerged, the footballer said he was "attending a fundraiser for a family to pay funeral costs".

comurphy@herald.ie


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