Monday 16 December 2019

John Delaney on YouTube video saga: I was un-contactable... 'confusion through a third party' has led to 'a misunderstanding'

John Delaney, chief executive of the FAI
John Delaney, chief executive of the FAI

Sam Griffin

John Delaney has responded to on-going criticism after a video appeared online of him singing a republican song in a crowded pub last week.

This evening's statement from the FAI chief executive follows the emergence of media reports that the FAI had denied that it was Mr Delaney who appeared in the video when approached by various news organisations.

 The organisations have claimed they were threatened with legal action by a UK-based law firm who ordered them not to post the video online as it would cause “issues” for their client.

 Mr Delaney this evening said “confusion through a third party” had led to “a misunderstanding”, but does not offer any more insight into the issue.

 "Yesterday, during the day, I was travelling back with my partner from abroad and trying to deal primarily with the serious cyber bullying issues facing her,” he says in the statement.

Read more: John Delaney threatened legal action if he was identified in YouTube video

 "I now understand that while I was travelling and un-contactable there was some confusion through a third party around the background of a video which appeared and where it happened which led to misunderstanding. As anyone who knows me will attest, I abhor violence and have worked tirelessly through my role at the Football Association of Ireland to strengthen links between communities on this island, north and south.

 The statement, which appeared on the FAI website, outlines that Delaney had never intended to upset anyone by singing the song and said the secret recording had been made “to construe some link between me and a non-peaceful approach to life which I reject completely”.

He also repeated claims that his girlfriend Emma English has been targeted by online commenters who have abused her since the relationship was made public.

 In the statement, Mr Delaney said: "The song in question has been sung in my presence and by me privately on a couple of occasions. It has never been intended to cause upset and was always sung in a very private forum. The recording was made without the knowledge of anyone in attendance was made to try to construe some link between me and a non-peaceful approach to life which I reject completely.

Read more: Emma English ‘devastated’ at being cyber bullied by 'so-called' Irish soccer fans

 "In relation to the anonymous internet and social media attacks on my partner Emma, it has been a difficult time for her, for her family and both of us. This type of cyber bullying has no place in Irish society and I support her fully in her decision to stand up to this vile abuse.’

Earlier today Mr Delaney apologised for singing the song in a radio interview.

 The video, which was recorded in The Bath pub in close proximity to the Aviva Stadium following Ireland's 4-1 victory over the USA last week, shows Delaney singing the controversial IRA song.

 The song was written by the Wolfe Tones to honour the memory of Joe McDonnell, a member of the Provisional IRA who dies on hunger strike in 1981 after going 61 days without food. He was imprisoned in 1977 after a firearms conviction following a bomb attack on a furniture shop the previous year.

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