SECRETARY of Clare GAA Pat Fitzgerald has said he will take a civil case regarding alleged online abuse, telling The Clare Champion, “I’m fairly sure there is a case there to be answered.”
The move follows a decision by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) not to bring a criminal prosecution after the gardaí had conducted an investigation on the matter.
Speaking on Wednesday, Mr Fitzgerald said he was accepting the DPP decision.
“The way the system works, as I know it, is they (the Gardaí) investigate it, do a report, send it to the DPP to decide whether to go forward with a case. He decided not to.
“I don’t think you can appeal a decision, I have looked for clarification on it alright.”
Mr Fitzgerald said that he will now pursue a civil action.
“Yeah, I’m going taking a civil case, that’s my intention at this point in time.”
He said that he has done his best in the role of secretary of the county board.
“I do the job to the best of my ability, as honourably as I can, I’ve always done that for many, many years. I intend to continue, I have nothing to hide. I work as diligently and as well as I can.”
His son Davy Fitzgerald has frequently spoken about online trolling in recent years, and the Wexford manager defended his father when he spoke to the media after the Model County were defeated by Clare in Semple Stadium, Thurles earlier this month.
“I’ve experienced the toughest year that I’ve ever experienced in GAA,” he said.
“The way myself and my family have been treated is an absolute and utter disgrace. The way I felt all week, I didn’t even know if I wanted to come into this game to tell you the truth.
“In Clare, the biggest problem we have is a small bunch of people that create problems. They think they’re helping and they’re not and I’m going to put it to you like this – very, very, very simply – I’m a simple person that loves GAA.
“My dad, who I’m extremely proud of, has done an unbelievable job. The amount of abuse and stick and criticism that he has taken, unwarranted, is not justified.
“And can I say to people, people have brothers and sisters, mams and dads. People have people that actually care about them and what people in the media in Clare have done is absolutely disgusting.
“What people on social media have done is disgusting.”
On Tuesday evening, the Clare Times Facebook page, which has been very critical of the Fitzgeralds, issued a lengthy post on the DPP decision.
Part of that post said, “The Clare Times wish to thank local Gardaí for their diligent and through investigation, the page is as ever focused on holding those responsible for failures in Clare GAA to account, the page will not be threatened and it will not be frightened away!
“There was no abuse and there will be no abuse.”