One of Ireland’s longest running GAA messageboards An Fear Rua closed today, citing financial problems and the growth of social media as reasons for closure.
A closure notice has been published on the site and site owner and operator Liam Cahill wrote to explain his reasoning.
Former RTE journalist and public affairs consultant Cahill set up the website just over 12 years ago but he has said that it is too hard to control right now.
On the site Cahill wrote: “An anonymous internet forum is an anachronism, it has been overtaken by the arrival of ‘open identity’ forums such as Twitter and Facebook.
“This model of internet comment is no longer viable, if the comment is to be within the law at all times as well as the bounds of good taste.”
He also said that it is impossible for him to control the site fully as it does not pay enough to be a stand-alone job, adding: “I have never made more than €10,000 a year on average in advertising revenue, despite trying the services of five or six ad selling agencies. It is simply not possible to make this site a paying proposition.”
Cahill also attacked a minority of members who used the messageboard and he believes these few have contributed to his decision to cease operation.
“There is a sense that they can just register under a pseudonym, pay nothing towards the upkeep of the site or towards an insurance against libel matched by a total lack of any attempt to even understand – let alone accept – that I have a right, and a duty, to administer this site in accordance with the law and in the interests of everyone who used it.”
An Fear Rua will be missed by the GAA community who used it as an outlet to converse on all things Gaelic Games for twelve years.