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Clare GAA ‘needs to be more proactive online to stop rumourmill’

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*PRO Michael O’Connor sitting with fellow officers at the Clare GAA convention. Photograph: John Mangan

Clare GAA needs to be more proactive online “to avoid innuendo and suggestion that leads to falsehood and rumours”, the county public relations officer has said.

Speaking at Thursday’s Clare GAA convention at The Auburn Lodge, the Crusheen man outlined his view that the role of PRO “has been adapted perhaps not for the better in recent years”. He paid tribute to the assistance of club secretaries, Ed Donnelly of Munster GAA, Clare GAA’s Treasurer Michael Gallagher, Asst Treasurer Tony Brohan, Realprint, programme sellers, the Cusack Park shop staff and the media.

Close to 40,000 programmes were printed across the year by the organisation according to O’Connor. He explained that the income gathered from both Munster hurling championship games in Cusack Park plus the senior hurling and football county final “helps to pay for the entire programme season and generally leaves a positive financial outcome at the end of each season”.

He added, “The era of programmes may be coming to an end with the advent of programmes online and to be purchased electronically. It will be interesting to view this development in the next decade as this process is already in place for games at Croke Park”.

Although the NUIG GAA Development Officer welcomed the introduction of Clare GAA TV in offering individuals overseas the chance to watch games, he was critical that the PRO had little involvement in the project. “The Clare GAA twitter account and website is also developing well with correct and concise information. It is my view that Clare GAA should be more proactive in relaying our message first and correctly to avoid innuendo and suggestion that leads to falsehood and rumours.

“The position of PRO has been adapted perhaps not for the better in recent years and once more should come back centre stage in the role of being chief communicator of news not just primarily the programme maker”.

O’Connor continued, “The role of PRO is becoming more and more complex with close on forty weeks a year, three days a week involved in the application of duties. The advent of different complexities of expression of public opinion brings positives and negatives to the role. This was a factor not in play less than five years ago. Peering into the future, it is my uneducated opinion that voluntary county board officers will become more difficult to locate. Put simple in layman terms, if you volunteer in the GAA you are questioned on your weaknesses and ignored on your qualities. We are guilty of this at times but some more than others”.

Páraic McMahon is Head of News & Sport with The Clare Echo. The Newmarket-on-Fergus native also writes for national papers including The Irish Examiner, The Irish Independent and The Irish Times along with doing work for RTÉ, Today FM, TheJournal.ie and The42.ie. A graduate of Mary Immaculate College, Páraic was previously employed by The Clare Herald and Clare FM. If you have a story, tip or some feedback for him then send an email to - paraic@clareecho.ie

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