A Data Protection Officer for the GAA has reiterated an advisory issued yesterday for all GAA clubs to stop using WhatsApp group chats "in all circumstances".

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Kelly Cunningham said the advisory was not news to clubs, as it has been the GAA's position for the past two years.

The GAA issued an advisory to clubs to stop using social media apps as a means of communication for club members, given concerns raised over the safety of children and GDPR issues when creating group chats.

Ms Cunningham said a situation could arise where 100 people could be added into a WhatsApp group for a particular team.

But she said that 60 might not have each other's numbers, and that the numbers, names and profile photos are automatically shared with the others in the group.

"We have a concern in relation to the possible posting of unsuitable material into WhatsApp groups," she said.

"So if an individual was to post something into a WhatsApp group and then remove themselves from the group, the administrators of the group can't remove that material afterwards.  

"So it's just to make sure that our members are being safeguarded in clubs and basically our main aim is to help our volunteers to ensure sure that they don't unknowingly put themselves at risk of not complying with legislation."

She said the advisory was issued with the aim of making sure that their members were not unknowingly putting themselves at risk of not complying with GDPR.

Ms Cunningham said there is a lack of control in relation to provision of individual's rights with WhatsApp groups.

She said GDPR was not written with individual GAA clubs in mind, however because each club was processing members data, the GAA in turn were data controllers under GDPR, and so had to make sure all clubs were compliant with the legislation.

Ms Cunningham said she was sure there were apps out there she may not have heard of, but if they worked in the same manner as WhatsApp, then the same problem would arise. 

Croke Park said yesterday it intends to release its own communications app, The Games Management System, which is currently in development.