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CLARE GAA SECRETARY, Pat Fitzgerald has announced he is to step down next month.

In correspondence to clubs on Wednesday afternoon, the Sixmilebridge clubman confirmed that after thirty two years in the position, he will step down on July 18th, the day after the All-Ireland hurling final.

“It has been a busy and demanding role and one I have enjoyed immensely. I wish the county and all our teams only the very best with all future endeavours and plans, both on and off the field of play. I am very proud of what we have achieved together over many long years and I wish you every success into the future. I look forward to supporting our county as a fan and assisting in any way I can in the years to come,” Fitzgerald stated.

He was appointed county secretary on the 15th of July 1990, Fitzgerald previously said this became a full-time role nineteen years later. His contract with Croke Park expired in July 2016 and he had been on a full-time contract with Clare GAA since then.

No reference of his departure was made at the June meeting of the County Board which took place on Tuesday evening at Caherlohan.

Ger Loughnane chose Pat to launch his autobiography, ‘Raising The Banner’ and described him as one of the most intelligent, constructive and progressive administrators in the GAA. More recent years have seen Loughnane comment that the county secretary has too much control and that he is holding back Clare GAA.

During a rare media interview, Fitzgerald spoke to The Clare Echo in December 2020 and disputed the view that he held too much power within the Association. “I’ve nothing but the greatest of admiration for Ger Loughnane, everyone knows that. He could have got anyone to launch his book, I remember Bertie Ahern was Taoiseach at the time and he would have been privileged to do it. People for whatever reason say that (I’ve too much power) but you have 13 officers, a fixtures committee which has 12 people on it, you have a hearings committee and I can assure you that the fixtures committee will have their say and if they see anything wrong do you think they will sit around a table and allow me to dictate on everything”.

Prior to becoming a full-time employee of Clare GAA, Fitzgerald was a Shannon SIPTU branch president and former Aer Rianta director.

His tenure as County Secretary has coincided with Clare winning three All-Ireland SHC titles (1995, 1997 and 2013), the Munster SFC (1992), the Munster SHC on three occasions (1995, 1997 and 1998), four All-Ireland and Munster U21 championships (2009, 2012, 2013 and 2014), one Minor All-Ireland hurling championship (1997).

There has also been criticism during his reign at the development of facilities owned by the County Board, most notably Caherlohan and Cusack Park. The long-serving official previously said that remarks questioning the Tulla facility resembled “a witch-hunt”.

In recent years alleged online abuse has been a big talking point when it comes to Pat and his son, Davy. The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) decided not to bring a criminal prosecution after the Gardaí had conducted an investigation into online abuse, following this the county secretary had said he would be pursuing a civil case.

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