During his appearance on The Late Late Show, Davy Fitzgerald discussed the impact of the online abuse that he and his father have been subjected to.
The Clare legend and current Wexford Manager, who has previously spoken out against abuse he has received while competing against Clare, spoke to Ryan Tubridy about the 'pages and pages' of online abuse directed at himself and his father Pat, who is the Clare GAA secretary.
— RTÉ One (@RTEOne) January 8, 2021
Fitzgerald acknowledged that criticism was part and parcel of his role, but he feels that the level of abuse directed at him and his family has gone too far. This view is supported by Clare club Sixmilebridge, who wrote a letter to The Clare Champion calling for the GAA to take action against the "unbelievable" abuse that Pat Fitzgerald has been subjected to.
The former All-Ireland winner described the toll that the situation has taken on him personally.
To tell you the truth, it has been tough. But two people from my club - our club chairman Paddy Meehan who is a great man, and a fella called Fr Harry Bohan, who'd be a mentor of mine and he's incredible in our parish - they came to us and said 'enough is enough'. We have to stand up to this online bullying and certain things that would have happened.
It's probably going on for maybe four or five years. There's pages and pages and pages of abuse there and different things - it isn’t nice. I would have gotten a bit of it early on - they were glad to get rid of me out of Clare, a few of them. When I went they said, 'sure he's (his father) next to go, get rid of him'. They didn't stop.
In my head before when this was going on, I'd have said to myself maybe 'all of the people of Clare wanted rid of you'. But then I said to myself, the more I thought about it, it is only a bunch or a few people behind the keyboard who have an agenda, who are at this. If you saw some of the stuff - it was pretty out there.
I'm glad my club came out with the letter, I'm so proud of them for doing that. Because the easiest thing for them to do would be to just say 'Davy, we support you' or 'Pat, we support you' - but they didn't, they went further than that. But as they said to me, 'Davy, this is bigger, this is about everybody'. Nobody should be subjected to that in society.
They were important words from Fitzgerald in light of the new 'Coco's Law' which has been passed to ban online harassment in Ireland.