Davy Fitzgerald has admitted he feels sorry for online bullies who dispense 'toxic' abuse from behind a wall of anonymity, claiming they have a 'sickness'.
The former Wexford, Clare and Waterford hurling manager has claimed to be on the receiving end of online abuse, along with his father, Pat, who is secretary of Clare GAA.
It was reported during the summer that the Director of Public Prosecutions opted not to pursue a criminal case in this matter though Fitzgerald gave an update on the situation on Wednesday, saying that it’s back under review with the DPP.
The Sixmilebridge man, who missed out on the Galway job to Henry Shefflin last week, maintained that there are people "who have got to answer questions" and vowed that "please God we will not give in, no matter how long it takes - even if we have to go personal on this".
Fitzgerald was speaking at the launch of Londis’ sponsorship of RTÉ TV show Ireland’s Fittest Family.
“I think the people who actually sit down behind keyboards and write stuff anonymously, I think that they have a sickness and they are the problem themselves,” said Fitzgerald. “I actually do. I think they have their own issues that they have to deal with and I would feel sorry for them so maybe we all need to start looking at it like that and to try your best to take no notice.”
On the case involving his father, Fitzgerald said there’s no outcome yet.
“It’s back in with the DPP at the moment, so it’s under review,” he continued. “I can say very little about it, but it’s still ongoing at the moment. We will not be letting this go no matter what the story is. There’s people who have to answer questions and please God we will not give in, no matter how long it takes - even if we have to go personal on this.
“It went back in for review there only I’d say a month or two ago. This is a long process, it isn’t simple and it isn’t something that they (DPP) take easy. I’m just telling you it’s definitely in with the DPP under review and if they decide to prosecute, great. If they don’t, we’ll take it upon ourselves to have a look at it.”
Fitzgerald, who guided Clare to All-Ireland success in 2013 having won two medals as a player in 1995 and 1997, said it’s a deeply personal issue to him. He has discussed it publicly on The Late, Late Show in the past.
“After I did The Late, Late Show last year I got a phone call the next day from a guy I never met before and he said, ‘Thank you’,” revealed Fitzgerald. “It affected someone in his family very dearly who lost their life as they just couldn’t deal with bullying and online abuse.
“That phone call actually meant a lot and there’s a lot of people out there who are put through stuff they shouldn’t be put through and I think we have lost the run ourselves with people being able to go on media or social media and write stuff that they shouldn’t be writing.
"I've said this before that the Government needs to stand up and take a stance on it. It's not about Davy or Pat Fitzgerald, it's about a lot of other people out there and it's just not right."