The row between the Donegal GAA and the local media over the invitation to Co. Convention in Letterkenny on Sunday next took another twist late on Thursday night.
The GAA had invited the local media to their annual review of the year but had included a condition that the chairman could call any part of the meeting to be held ‘retrospectively in camera’ - a condition which the journalists, both print and radio, could not work with.
Because the invitation was turned down, the sports pages in the local and some national media have included comment pieces and reaction to the story.
Late on Thursday night, the Donegal PRO, Jim Quinn, issued a statement to the sports editor of the Donegal Democrat, Peter Campbell, outlining their disappointment at the coverage the matter was receiving. It seems the email was issued to the Donegal Democrat sports editor because it was he who had responded to the invitation on behalf of the local media in Donegal.
The email was as follows:
Peter, a chara
An Coiste Bainistíochta of CLG Dhún na nGall wish to clarify that County Convention is a private meeting not a public meeting. Therefore, it reserves the right to extend an invitation to the press only if it so desires. Conditions were agreed at a meeting of An Coiste Bainistíochta on June 17th with regard to attendance at County Committee meetings, reaffirmed on December 4th for County Convention but unfortunately these conditions are not acceptable to the local media.
We feel that we must express our extreme disappointment at the content of various online reports, comments by some press reporters on social media sites and articles that have appeared in the written press in recent days regarding our decision. We are also disappointed that it appears that you (i.e. the press) have taken the definition of retrospective to the extreme. CLG Dhún na nGall and the local press always had a good-working mutually beneficial relationship with regard to GAA affairs in the county and its most unfortunate that you haven’t accepted the condition in the spirit it was intended.
Is mise, le meas
Oifigeach Caidreamh Poibli
The email has now been forwarded to the other media in Donegal by the Democrat sports editor, who takes serious issue with the content.
“I want to state that I am not a spokesperson for the media in Donegal. I only responded to the original invitation because there was unanimity in the response and it was felt that it would be better to have just one response declining the invitation to attend,” said Mr. Campbell.
“As regards the content of the email received late last night, I am extremely disappointed because I have not commented on the matter online, on twitter or any social media. Any article I have written has been measured and, I would argue, extremely fair. If there is ‘extreme disappointment’ with anything that has appeared in the local media, then the offending article or journalist should be made known. It just isn’t fair to include everyone in this ‘extreme disappointment’,” said Mr. Campbell.
The departure puts any hope of a compromise before Convention on Sunday completely out of reach. There were moves being made behind the scenes in the middle of the week which looked like reaching a solution, but that has now been scuppered.
It has been a bad week for the GAA in the county. The sports pages should have been carrying news of reports and looking forward to contests for officer posts, but instead it has all been about a flawed invitation.