herald

Tuesday 16 January 2018

Priest tears a strip off hurlers after stripper party goes viral online

Ballyragget in Kilkenny
Ballyragget in Kilkenny

The parish priest of Ballyragget has said a celebration involving strippers by some members of the town's local hurling team was totally inappropriate.

Fr Tommy Murphy, of St Patrick's Church, said he hoped the young men learned a lesson after pictures circulated on social media.

The incident occurred two days after the club won the county final and has sparked an investigation by the Kilkenny County Board.

Naked

The photos show two naked women with the group of men, while in one picture a woman appears to be performing a sex act on a male.

Gardai in Castlecomer have also launched an investigation, but a source said they were unsure if a crime had been committed.

"I was delighted they won the match, but I was very disappointed with the carry on afterwards. It doesn't bring credit to anyone," Fr Murphy told the Herald.

"There are a lot of kids who look up to these guys and it's just an awful shame. They're old enough to know the consequences of social media.

"There's appropriate celebrations and inappropriate celebrations and that was totally inappropriate," he added.

The priest said it was Wednesday before he had heard about the controversy.

"I'd be very disappointed for the families of the people involved," he said.

"The families wouldn't be condoning that kind of stuff - it's just an awful pity.

"Everyone knows each other around here, but God knows who was in the pub that night."

Fr Murphy said he knew the players on the team very well.

"I believe one of the lads had a 21st birthday - I don't know who it was - but it coincided with the celebrations of the match as well," he said.

"There wouldn't be people like that in the pub normally."

He said the video of the party was demeaning to women.

"You hate to see it in any sphere no matter who's involved," he said. "This shouldn't be happening at all.

"Unfortunately, Ballyragget is now in the papers for all the wrong reasons. It leaves a scar on the community.

"What was a grand occasion has really been spoiled. I hope this is a lesson learned."

He said lots of lads go over the top when they "get a bit of drink in them", but when it gets out of hand it's very sad.

Complaint

Fr Murphy said he is now considering whether to address the issue at tomorrow's Mass.

Indecent exposure and solicitation for the purposes of prostitution are among the potential crimes gardai will investigate.

"We are not sure if any crime was actually committed and, if there was a crime, the investigation must establish what crime that was," a senior source said last night.

No formal complaint has yet been made to gardai.

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