Eamon Dunphy received criticism on Tuesday night for remarks made on TV3 regarding the Tom Humphries case.
On The Tonight Show, Dunphy said the last time he had seen Humphries in person had been when he visited him at a psychiatric hospital after the former Irish Times journalist had attempted to take his own life.
He said that at the time, he did not know the full facts of the case.
The story that I heard, through David Walsh in particular, was much more benign than the story that emerged and the evidence that was given. It was not about grooming. It was more of a question, I was told, of underage sex which is, of course, serious but he had been a colleague of mine and I went to see him and brought him a book.
I spent an hour with him because I felt he hadn’t at this stage been charged with anything but I knew this was pending. But I didn’t know the nature of it; I didn't know anything about grooming, for example. I didn't know anything about the length of time.
I thought he would be charged with having sex with an underage girl. I did know there was a connection with the Gaelic club and I did know he was in a position of authority. But the gravity of it I didn’t know.
Asked by Matt Cooper what he thought knowing the full facts of the case, Dunphy called it a tragedy for two families - both that of the victim and of Tom Humphries.
He also added that the two-and-a-half year jail sentence handed down was 'just about right'.
In these tragic circumstances, I think Judge Karen O’Connor was, I think, gave just about the right sentence, it's not for me to judge. I don't believe in trial by media.
I feel dreadfully sorry for the victim first of all and for all victims.
And I feel that Tom Humphries’ life is effectively over and has been for many years. He has to live with the shame. His own family he has hurt. He has hurt this girl.
I believe that mitigation is part of a criminal justice system and I also believe that redemption is important.
When questioned if he thought the sentence was a sufficient punishment, Dunphy said, "I would leave judgment to judges. I don’t believe in trial by media."
Ivan Yates also asked Dunphy, if one had been requested, would he have provided a character reference for Humphries as had been done by David Walsh and Donal Óg Cusack. "Probably not" was his reply.
I wasn’t a friend of Tom’s. David was and Donal Og was but I wouldn’t condemn them for giving a letter. I don’t know if they were misled.
I believe in the early stages when I went to see Tom that I was misled by someone who may have been misled themselves. If Tom Humphries is the man depicted as devious, wicked and guilty of these offences, he may well have misled people.
Dunphy received plenty of criticism for his comments.
"I don't believe we can, as human beings, excoriate somebody" says Eamon Dunphy on Tom Humphries. Not sure where to start with that one.
— Daniel McDonnell (@McDonnellDan) October 24, 2017
Dunphy is now channelling Woody Allen. Pathetic. #tonighttv3
— Sarah-Jane Murphy (@sjanemurf) October 24, 2017
Jesus Christ. What is Eamon Dunphy on about?? #TonightTV3
— Derrick Lynch (@DLynchSport) October 24, 2017