Updated: 8pm. Additional reporting by Press Association.
Derry football manager Rory Gallagher will stand aside as manager for the county’s Ulster Senior Football final meeting with Armagh this weekend.
As reported by the Irish Examiner, Mr Gallagher confirmed in a statement on Friday evening that he has “advised Derry GAA that I am stepping back as Derry senior football manager with immediate effect.”
He added: “This decision is borne out of a desire to protect my children from the ongoing turmoil. They will always be my priority.”
Ciaran Meenagh will take Mr Gallagher’s place for Sunday’s fixture.
Earlier, an SDLP MLA called Mr Gallagher to stand aside.
East Derry MLA Cara Hunter said women and girls would not be able to support his leadership following allegations of domestic violence made against him by his estranged wife this week.
Mr Gallagher has denied the allegations and prosecutors have ruled there is insufficient evidence to pursue action.
In a statement issued on Friday afternoon, Ms Hunter said it was not appropriate for Mr Gallagher to lead the Derry team against Armagh.
“Domestic violence is an insidious issue that infects communities across Ireland and blights the daily lives of women and girls,” she said.
“It leaves lives shattered and people fearing for their safety in their own homes.
“Given the seriousness of the issues exposed this week I do not believe it is appropriate for Rory Gallagher to lead the Derry team ahead of the Ulster Final.
“He should do the right thing and stand aside.
“There are women and girls across our community and across Ireland who will not be able to support his leadership of the team.
“They need to be respected and their voice needs to be heard, especially by Derry GAA.
“This is a moment for strong leadership and to stand with people from across our communities who have been victims of the most horrific abuse.
“Derry GAA needs to send a strong message of support to women and girls in our community right now.
“This is a test for the county board and for those in positions of leadership.
“There is only one acceptable outcome.”
Nicola Gallagher detailed a number of alleged instances of physical abuse over a 24-year period in a Facebook post on Tuesday, which she claimed began when she was a teenager.
Mr Gallagher responded to say the allegations “have been investigated and dealt with by the relevant authorities”.
“Those closest to our family are well aware of the reasons for the breakdown of our marriage and the continued issues we have faced since that time.
“My focus over the past four years has been to protect our children from the ongoing turmoil in our family.
“I have left this matter in the hands of my legal team and ask that the privacy of our family is respected at this time,” he said in a statement issued by his solicitors.
Police in the North confirmed they had investigated the allegations and files were submitted to the North’s Public Prosecution Service (PPS) last year.
The PPS received two investigation files from the PSNI in January and June 2022, but it was concluded that there was insufficient evidence to pursue the matter in the courts.
Derry GAA and solicitors representing Mr Gallagher have been contacted for comment.
If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, you can contact Women’s Aid (24-hour freephone helpline at 1800-341 900, email [email protected]) or Men’s Aid Ireland (confidential helpline at 01-554 3811, email [email protected]) for support and information.
Safe Ireland also outlines a number of local services and helplines at safeireland.ie/get-help/where-to-find-help/. In the case of an emergency, always dial 999/112.