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BITING BACK Davy Fitzgerald to address online abuse fired at him and his father Pat on Late Late Show tonight

He is expected to fight back against online bullying in the wake of his club Sixmilebridge detailing the “sustained personal abuse” which has been fired at him and his dad Pat.

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Davy Fitzgerald.

Davy Fitzgerald.

SPORTSFILE

Wexford manager Davy Fitzgerald in conversation with his father Pat, Clare county board secretary

Wexford manager Davy Fitzgerald in conversation with his father Pat, Clare county board secretary

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Davy Fitzgerald.

Davy Fitzgerald is expected to take a stand against a barrage of online abuse aimed in the direction of him and his father when he features as a guest on The Late Late Show tonight.

The Wexford senior hurling manager, who is a regular fixture on Irish television through his role as a coach on Ireland’s Fittest Family, will fight back against online bullying in the wake of his club Sixmilebridge detailing the “sustained personal abuse” which has been fired at him and his dad Pat.

The Clare club have insisted that “a line has been crossed” with regards to the vitriol aimed at county secretary Pat Fitzgerald and his son Davy, both online and in person, and they are adamant that “it has to stop”.

The abuse which has been aimed at the elder Fitzgerald – a paid employee of Clare GAA in his full-time role as secretary – is already the subject of an ongoing criminal investigation with Sixmilebridge chairman Paddy Meehan adamant that the GAA need to stand up and take action on the matter.

“Pat Fitzgerald is a paid employee of the GAA and I don’t believe they have stood up for him and I don’t think they have backed him 100pc.

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Wexford manager Davy Fitzgerald in conversation with his father Pat, Clare county board secretary

Wexford manager Davy Fitzgerald in conversation with his father Pat, Clare county board secretary

Wexford manager Davy Fitzgerald in conversation with his father Pat, Clare county board secretary

Maybe if employers start backing people… because you see it nowhere else,” Mr Meehan said.

“There have been a couple of high-profile cases. Shamrocks Rovers had players that were abused in some nature recently and you had that case in Kerry where former Arsenal player Ian Wright was being abused and it went to court. It needs to be stopped.”

Sixmilebridge officials are calling for action over the “unfair treatment” for two of their club members, as well as tackling the “societal issue” of online harassment, with the club “taking a public stand”.

In the wake of Wexford’s All-Ireland qualifier defeat to his native Clare in November, Mr Fitzgerald spoke of the verbal abuse which he received from a Clare backroom team member and called for swift action.

“The way I was abused is not right and it should be dealt with,” he said at the time. “The abuse and the stuff that was thrown at me personally by one individual is not right and has no place in hurling. I would urge and encourage Clare to look at that and not let him do it to anybody else, you can’t condone that behaviour.”

In a letter which appears in this week’s edition of The Clare Champion, Sixmilebridge officials acknowledged that the Fitzgeralds were open to criticism given their “prominent public positions”, but that such “personal abuse” was simply not acceptable.

“We fully accept that both, in the prominent roles which they have, will be subject to criticism, strong at times. This comes with the job. What is not acceptable is when criticism morphs into personal abuse,” the letter read.

“Sixmilebridge have decided to take a public stand against this abuse, which at its core is simply bullying by another name. Online forums have made it very easy for people to hide behind the cover of anonymity to personally abuse people in the public eye.”

He said what they were highlighting

is not unique to Sixmilebridge and its members, “but it is part of a broader societal issue.”

“People in the public eye will always be open to criticism and justifiably so, but a line has been crossed here which is not acceptable. It has to stop.”

Mr Meehan can’t fathom the abuse which the pair have been subjected to and he reckons the GAA will struggle to get volunteers if such “incredible” abuse is tolerated.

“The stuff that Pat and Davy have been getting is incredible. They are our club members and our club is all about respect, that’s what our members stand for and I believe that they are not getting respect,” he added.

“I was at a couple of championship matches that the ‘Bridge were involved in last year and I saw it first hand.

"When they failed to upset Davy (Sixmilebridge coach), they decided to take on his Dad and that’s not right. If the abuse continues at this alarming rate, people won’t get involved in clubs or counties where you need volunteers and that’s where we’re coming from.”

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