Gardai in Limerick confident in finding Thomond Park culprit

Anne Sheridan

Reporter:

Anne Sheridan

THE GARDA investigation to identify the person who threw a banana on to the pitch at Thomond Park in an alleged racist attack during the Manchester City game is “progressing extremely well.”

THE GARDA investigation to identify the person who threw a banana on to the pitch at Thomond Park in an alleged racist attack during the Manchester City game is “progressing extremely well.”

Chief Superintendent Dave Sheahan, Henry Street garda station, said they have received “excellent co-operation from members of the public”, and said their co-operation has been vital in this case.

While no arrests or formal interviews have taken place to date, gardai are confident that they are close to identifying the culprit.

Due to the assistance from the public they know the exact location where the item was thrown, while CCTV footage was easily whittled down to the time and location of the offence.

Directions from the DPP are expected to be sought in this matter, added Chief Supt Sheahan.

John Cantwell, manager of Thomond Park stadium, denounced the incident as “reprehensible” and one that was “not representative of Limerick or the region”.

He said this incident, which had never happened before at the famous rugby grounds, was being treated with the “utmost seriousness”.

The banana was thrown at Manchester City defender Gael Clichy, and the incident attracted headlines from around the world after he commented about the incident on Twitter after the sell-out match. He tweeted: “How sad to see ‘bananas thrown on the pitch’ tonight... Knowing people around the world need food. #nowordsforthis.” He later commented to say that he wouldn’t put the Munster fans in the “same bracket” as this person. The ‘offensive item’ was said to have been flung from a tiered standing area about 15m to the right of where the Manchester City team and management were sitting during the match.

More than 20,000 people watched the game at Thomond Park, and Manchester City TV showed the game live, as did Setanta Sports.