Shelbourne FC would like to express its disgust and disappointment at the actions of those individuals who were involved in the unsavoury incidents which occurred in Tolka Park last Saturday evening.
Peaceful protest is quite acceptable and it should be noted that club personnel did not intervene in the protest while it remained peaceful.
However, what occurred on Saturday night placed our players, staff, supporters and, most importantly, our young supporters in danger, as well as causing great distress and upset to many of those young fans attending the game.
For Saturday night’s match, the club hosted a group of around 100 children that had travelled from Portarlington (Arlington FC), a group of children and adults from the Mosney Direct Provision Centre and a number of families who are in emergency accommodation in the local area, in addition to our regular supporters and people that had travelled to support Waterford Utd. We have worked hard this season to encourage more families to attend matches in Tolka Park and, naturally, that can only occur in an environment where people feel safe. Unfortunately, that was not the case for many of those families on Saturday night.
We apologise to anyone who felt intimidated or threatened by the behaviour of the protesters. We would also like to commend our stewards and security staff, and the members of An Garda Síochána, who did their best to deal with a difficult situation.
We are currently reviewing CCTV footage and an investigation into the events has commenced. In due course, we will take the necessary steps to ensure that this kind of incident will not be allowed to happen again.
In the meantime, our ground maintenance staff has begun the work of repairing the damage to the stand and the playing surface at Tolka Park.
Finally, we have received numerous messages of support over the past few days for which we are very grateful.