Kate Fitzgerald


Many people have asked us why we removed the two posts concerning Kate Fitzgerald, the 25-year-old writer and PR consultant who took her own life in August.

The short answer is that we were scared.

Our first post on Saturday was a direct report and link to an Irish Times article on Kate’s life and death by Peter Murtagh.

The article revealed that Kate was the author of an anonymous column that was published in the paper in September. This was a plea for a greater understanding of depression in the Irish workplace. It detailed Kate’s own struggle, a suicide attempt and hospitalisation and her disappointment at the subsequent attitude of her employer towards her condition.

After we posted the item it became clear that Kate’s employer had been The Communications Clinic, the media training company owned by Terry Prone, her husband Tom Savage, and their son, Anton Savage.

We then discovered that a month before Kate’s suicide, Karagh Fox, a 26-year-old employee at the company, at an Employment Appeals Tribunal hearing, made a number of serious claims against senior staff and management at the Communications Clinic alleging bullying and intimidation. The case appears to have been settled in October.

On Monday morning, we posted Kate’s column from the Irish Times alongside a report in the Irish Independent of the tribunal hearing which included the allegations made by Ms Fox.

On Monday afternoon we noticed the original article by Kate on the Irish Times website had been crudely altered. Three key paragraphs relating to her employer had been removed without explanation.

The excised sentences from Kate’s column were among those we had published ourselves. The Irish Times, we have since learned, removed the paragraphs under legal advice after The Communications Clinic registered its “unhappiness” with the article.

Later that evening we were warned by a journalist that a “libel landmine” was about to “blow up in our faces”, that Kate had been “mentally ill” and that she had never complained to her colleagues or management about their attitude towards her illness. We now understand and it is our honestly held view that the journalist was told to issue the message to us and that it had originally come from a senior member of the Communications Clinic.

At about 1.30am, after getting legal advice, we removed the posts.

Yesterday morning, we received an email from Kate’s mother Sally Fitzgerald.

She said she was horrified at the Irish Times for “butchering” her daughter’s article and was concerned that we had removed our posts under threat of legal action.

We spoke with Sally on the phone and explained to her the sequence of events that led to us taking down our posts.

Sally and her husband Tom wish to make it clear that they back “every word” Kate wrote in her original article.

We have reinstated both posts because we believe it is in the public interest to do so and they are available below.

The Story Of Kate Fitzgerald

A Breakdown In Communications

She Radiated Talent, Energy, Beauty. She Took Her Own Life At 25 (Peter Murtagh, Irish Times)

Kate’s original article (cached from Irish Times archive, September 9, 2011)

5pm Update: The voicemail which warned of the “libel landmine” [that] was going to “blow up in our faces” (see above) has disappeared. It had been saved, the contents transcribed and was last played back at 2pm today. We have contacted Vodafone who have told us that it is highly unusual as all voicemails can be retrieved, even if deleted, within 24 hours.

531 thoughts on “Kate Fitzgerald

          1. Truthpolitics

            TCC need to be looked at in more detail. I am not happy with the behaviour of the Irish Times. FB,Twitter are busy with the story. FG will be getting some mail about their connections with TCC

      1. Economist Frilly Keane

        The rot in Irish media includes the journalist with the “libel landmine in your faces” btw


    1. Rosie

      I’m really saddened by this – particularly as Terry herself openly spoke about her phobia of public gatherings and how her shyness debilitates her – on RTE 1’s Saturday Tonight a couple of weeks ago. It’s SUCH a shame that HR procedures in the work place are still so badly handled – regardless of the profession. People DO NOT trust HR and in these very lean times people are so afraid for their jobs. The Employment Tribunal is also SO arduous, and clunky (and scary) too – so to a person already in difficulty, it just seems out of their reach. Unions ARE a workforce’s best friend – even if you’re NOT in a union and you are in trouble in your workplace – CALL them and find out what Union you belong too and talk to them – if they can’t help you they will definitely be able to advise you. Don’t sit in silence and in fear. I was made redundant in 2008 myself and I’m still looking for work – I have no vested interest in Unions but I do know they are a very underrated (but valuable & confidential source) that people are afraid to use.

      1. Stevie G

        HR only serves as the gestapo of capitalism. The concept was created to undermine trade unions. There is nothing human about HR. Companies only have it to grow profits.

        1. Johnny

          HR have only one job – to protect the company. They have absolutely no loyalty to any employee especially when that employee has a grievance against the company – that is when you see HR’s true colours. They will tie the employee up in knots(process/procedures) and make them feel like they are the problem before moving them on/out as quickly and quietly (and cheaply) as possible.

          People are right not to trust HR !

    2. Linda Harrington

      Well done to all for bringen justice to Kate…(R.I.P.) and her family…..Every-one should be made aware of how nasty and cruel (some) people can be in this day and age….Those people should be ashamed of themselves…..And they should not be allowed get away with what they did….

    3. Chris O'Leary

      I have posted this quote on……Universal Rights.

      Where,after all,do universal human rights begin?In small places,close to home-so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual persons;the neighborhood [one] lives in;the school or college[one]attends;the factory ,farm or of…fice where [one] works.Such are the places where every man ,woman and child seeks equal justice;equal opportunity,equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there,they have little meaning anywhere.Without concerned citizen action to uphold them close to home,we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world….Eleanor Rooservelt (Social Reformer 1884-1962)

  1. 30/30

    Fair play, guys. Really good to see a media outlet with the courage of it’s convictions.

    If they sue ye, I’ll pitch in to the fund.

      1. Billy B

        Wow, very saddened by this and quite shocked too. Like the above said, broadsheet has certainly gone up hugely in my opinion. Honest about why you do things and honest about the bullshit and threats you are subjected too.

        Very pissed off at the Irish times, what a shitty thing to do and likewise the communications clinic. I wouldnt worry too much about them taking a libel action tho, then all the terrible stuff that goes on there along with the serious incest that exists in Irish media circles would be exposed. Terry prone and the savage boys be very ashamed, your not only terrible with PR, you seem to be pretty terrible people…

  2. Funk

    Thanks Broadsheet. I think you arrived at the right conclusion. It would be a terrible shame to see the words of someone with mental health issues being altered to suit the agenda of a wealthy and powerful PR company.

    They are Kates’ accusations in the piece, and not yours.

  3. Louise

    Fair play on acknowledging your removal of the post and for what reasons. Kate’s story is heartbreaking and it would have been terrible if it went without notice.

  4. Siobhán Schnittger

    YES!!! Integrity in the media… you has it!

    Seriously though, if any sense or good is to come out of the untimely death of Kate Fitzgerald, it will be that the treament of people at work, who are troubled with mental health issues, will be tackled at last.

  5. robh

    Well done Broadsheet for having the balls to publish this again. It shows how craven and cowardly the Irish Times has become. I hope they go out of business. Never buying their paper again.

  6. Economist Frilly Keane

    Wha’how ya bhoyos

    I knew Ye had it in Ye.

    Here’s something I used whenever I or a close associate was threatened with the legals over the years.
    “Go for it.” followed with “come and get me …. ” “…..sur I could always do with a day out up in Dublin”

  7. PeteS

    Well done, guys. Integrity is a rare thing in reportage nowadays. You’ve more than maintained yours. You have our full support.

  8. KPM

    This is a very credible stance you guys have taken. It never fails to surprise me when big media players and experienced PR people take the ‘non common sense approach’.

  9. R

    You’ve done the right thing here, both by acknowledging the removal of the posts and reinstating them. It’s pretty galling to think that the supposed paper of record has such little courage in this matter, and so little consideration for the family of Ms Fitzgerald.

  10. Eimear

    Well done Broadsheet. I can’t believe (or should that be I wish I couldn’t believe?) that the IT would ‘edit’ that poor girl’s article without apology or explanation, especially given that she is sadly no longer here to defend her own work. Shame on them.

  11. KBird

    What a relief it is that a media outlet will do what they are meant to do: Report the truth, highlight the facts and not bow to external pressure. Stand your ground. You’ve got so much support, and so do Kate’s family. From what I can see, The Communications Clinic are hiding their obvious lack of compassion and understanding behind someone else’s ‘mental illness’. This might not be illegal, but as far as I’m concerned it is wrong. They are not to blame for her death, but this case is an example of how our working culture can be, basically, inhumane.

    1. A4

      Under the equality act, it’s illegal to discriminate against someone on the basis of disability. I reckon their actions were definitely illegal.

  12. jus thinkin

    Yeah – if they sue ye – get a fundit together – I’ll help for sure

    NO ONE is more more scared than someone who takes their own life.

    1. Nixors

      You couldn’t have said it better.

      Broadsheet I cannot thank you enough for your actions in this matter.

      As someone who relates to Kate in so many ways, I comend and thank you.

  13. Donal

    its ironic how PR companies spend all their time preaching to clients about crisis communications and being open etc and then do stupid things like this when they are involved themselves

  14. I really should be working

    Take a bow, finally a media organisation free from the grip of spin doctors and the pc bull.

    A brave call but certainly the right one. I applaud you all in this.

    Also its a sad they when a semi satirical website is the best source of real news on this Island.

    Kepp up the good work lads.

  15. Mike Drop-d

    Thank you, Broadsheet, for showing us that integrity and decency live on in the media, and that journalists can be good people after all.

    They can’t sue you as it was Kate’s allegations, not yours. The whole thing smelled of a fix from their end. Get offshore hosting and keep on being better than any Irish newspaper could hope to be. :-)

    1. jean

      They could sue, unfortunately. Any publisher of an allegation can be sued, they don’t have to orginiate it. But they shouldn’t sue because it would be a terrible thing to do on a moral level. Even just on a cold cynical PR level, it would be a really stupid thing to do. I hope they have the sense and the grace not to do anything reckless – just as previously, they hold all the power as the dead do not have any protection under libel law and so they can say whatever they want about her.

      So well done Broadsheet. Very very proud :)

  16. Doctor Gonzo

    + 1

    Fair dues. Establishment goons being able to throw their weight around with threats of unending and bankrupting legal action (whatever the justification) has played a large part in the economic and social quagmire we find ourselves in.

    Stick it to ’em.

  17. Tommy

    Their legal threats are completely empty. There is no way they want to have her parents and others dragged into court to tell the truth.

  18. Slimbox

    Well done Broadsheet, everyone should be sharing this article if only to highlight how utterly spineless the IT has become.

  19. Joe

    I am impressed at Broadsheet’s bravery in reprinting these articles under threat of legal action. Suicide is a cancer on Irish society. To help prevent it, a clear and precise understanding of the mental states which lead up to the action needs to be thoroughly understood. Clarity in reporting the cause of a tragic death like Kate’s is an important social tool and its delivery is a responsibility which should never be taken lightly.

    1. AP

      100% agreement. I think that was the main message she was herself trying to get across in her original article; everyone should be more aware of people around them and what they’re going through. You never knew what demons people are carrying, and if you can try to make things easier on friends, employees, neighbours, anyone who is going through a hard time it can make a huge difference.

      Guy a few of us shared a room with in boarding school back years ago committed suicide earlier this year. He hadn’t been bullied in school, but yet so many of us knew he just hadn’t been happy with himself. We all just fell out of contact with him through laziness really, and not caring enough about how he was getting on. Still haunts a group of us to think that a simple phone call to him back around when it happened could have made the difference to him that day.

      1. B Bop!

        Absolutely – it is truly terrible some of our fellow friends /citizens are going about their day in despair -if we could all just be more emphatic on an everyday level-it really does make a difference.

        I remember Kate on the panel when The Obama’s visited- an articulate confident girl -what a tragedy – if she knew now how much support she is now getting tragically -posthumously.

  20. Darcy

    Fair play Broadsheet. And well done to the Fitzgerald family for backing their daughter’s statements so thoroughly and ensuring her message be heard.

  21. Liam McCabe

    Gone way up in my estimation. These bullies have to be stopped forever. What’s the chances of the mainstream media following up on this? Daily Mail is probably the best bet as the rest don’t have the balls to take on Moan and her young lad.

  22. Sebastian Bellend

    The head of this media company is chair of the RTE Authority , right?

    Will we be hearing about this story on Primetime?

  23. urbanstroller

    Can we all start sharing this story through social media asap. I see the communications clinic has crisis clinic…they’ll need it!

  24. whatsyeronesname

    well, it’s been said, but I’ll say it again: Well done,such integrity is bloody rare.
    However, I do have one thing to say to everyone reading this:
    REPOST REPOST REPOST!!! Put it on facebook, twitter, whatever you’ve got! Come on and spread it now!!

    1. B Bop!

      Done indeeds-have been following Broadsheets coverage -WHAT a Superb Meeja outlet -The Best of Irish rather than insidiously reporting untruths, BS, economic doomsday scenarios-ad nauseam.
      This country IS a great country -let’s all get on board.

  25. Brian

    Congratulations Broadsheet.ie.

    Congratulations for standing up and being counted. Congratulations for honouring Kate’s memory.
    Congratulations for your transparency.


  26. joe donnelly

    I’ll donate at least the contents of my pocket, almost 3 euro, to any potential legal costs arising. Fair play chaps.

  27. woesinger

    Fair play, lads. Let’s see if TCC really know how these internets work. If they do, they’ll shut their yaps and back off.

  28. Bosworth

    Agree with the above. Well done Broadsheet. Quite spineless by Times, though the RTE screw-up last week probably has a lot to do with caution in that regard.

  29. June Caldwell

    Kate’s voice should be heard, as was, regardless of who barks in the aftermath. This is a hugely important topic with a hugely tragic outcome. I’m pretty sure the original would’ve passed all the ‘legal’ requirements, etc. Well done to Broadsheet!

  30. Darragh

    +1 on all of the “well done” comments. Kudos too on handling it in this way.

    Happy to share any advice I’d have had on cases like this in previous situations. You know where to get me.

  31. Bumps

    First ye start pointing out their typos

    Then you start showing more balls than them

    The Irish Times will not be a bit pleased with you at all.

    Good job.

    As for Communications Clinic I doubt there is a hell hot enough for them.

  32. Nay

    Fair play: standing up to bullies is scary. By taking this step, you help affirm the concerns of these two women who were made to feel terrible simply because they went into work. The Communications Clinic seems like such an oxymoron – they need help in how they treat people. It’s almost certain that their clients have their own experiences with mental health and will be appalled by what’s going on. Naturally that’s shaken TCC but I find it difficult to believe they have a case for libel without Kate’s testimony anyway.

  33. covert

    Well done. Mental illness is one of the most serious issues facing society. At the weekend, Kate’s story and Gary Speed’s death showed us that success, financial security, the respect and admiration of others, and a loving family and friends are no immunisation against depression. Kate’s articles shone a light on issues I and others had not considered. I did not read it as being specifically critical of TCC, but rather of highlighting a general attitude towards those who suffer from depression as experienced from her employers. These issues must be aired and discussed for the wider good, not just in the specifics of this case.

    A concerning aspect of all of this is the journalist who acted as “messenger boy/girl” for TCC – why would they do such a thing? Surely a journalist should be reporting that they were requested to do this, and not running the errand?

    Finally, is this the moment Broadsheet became our Daily Show?

    1. robh

      I heard of someone who interned for them. apparently savage wouldn’t even say good morning to the intern. sound like nice people

  34. Cara Murphy

    Fair fucks for the explanation article, and for putting the two original articles back up! Look at all the messages of support for standing up for the truth! Maybe some faith in Irish media has been restored??

  35. etn

    I’m both shocked and disgusted that the Irish Times would posthumously alter this piece without even having the honesty to flag that this had been done, let alone explain their reasons for doing so. The fact that Kate Fitzgerald’s mental illness was used as an excuse in the threat against Broadsheet.ie to discredit her statements and the validity of publishing them is even more appalling, and shows that very little has been learned by those clearly rightly accused of not understanding mental illness.

    1. Nixors

      This really makes so very very sad and disillusioned.

      Thank you Broadsheet.ie for provided a grain of hope here in humanity

    2. Tom Red

      +1. Great post.
      And congrats to Broadsheet.ie
      Bringing journalism and integrity to Ireland since 2011.

      I noticed on the other blog, this statement:
      “the original piece that Kate wrote has been altered, with any reference to her employers being removed. Except, unfortunately, the line “I do not blame my employer”, which remains – lacking the context of the original piece.”

      Despicable actions by the Irish Times.

  36. Barbaraella

    Congratulations Broadsheet.ie! Take a bow. The Irish Times should hang its head in shame. Let the vile Communications Clinic sue. One look at Terry Prone tells me all I need to know about them and their values. As Kate Fitzgerald’s mother said, we must chose our associates carefully.

  37. EMC

    Between this and Gary Speed’s death in the media lately, there is no way there will be a legal challenge to this, considering it also challenges the deceased victim, and her family.

    It would be the end of TCC.

    TCC, Irish Times, and all other news outlets in the country need to be overwhelmed with correspondence over this case so it is reported more widely. It could be a sea change in Ireland’s attitude to suicide and depression.

  38. BP

    I’ve been a bit fed up with this site lately due to the inane “____ That Looks Like Ireland” posts, but… just excellent journalism here. Long may it continue.

    1. Obie

      This page also looks like Ireland… when the sun’s out. Great action by Broadsheet, the more admirable for the admission of initial fear — and an eloquent foil to the Irish Times which looks like Ireland on a particularly bleak day.

  39. Shane

    Well done for standing up to these media tyrants who have set the misguided agenda for “official ireland” for years. The ultimate defense against a defamation allegation is the truth but our newspapers tend to shy away from that when it will put them in the sights of those who are both powerful and vindictive.

  40. dangerfield

    well done lads, you’ve done yourselves proud and done the rest of us a service. I’ve always enjoyed Broadsheet but never really felt it ‘mattered’, You’re punching harder now. Great to see.

  41. TikTok

    Excellent stuff. Her family should not have to go through any more pain for the sake of The Prone’s reputation. Delighted with your decision to repost and address this issue. Depression is rife in Ireland yet we have a horrific lack of understanding of it in the workplace, medical institutions and our communities. Superb use of your news portal today, well done.

  42. Sarah

    Well done Broadsheet, you have gone so far up in my estimation with your coverage of this story.

    I’ve shared this on my Facebook and will be encouraging others to do so.

    Very good journalism.

  43. 8den

    Well done broadsheet for having the courage that our “paper of record” does not.

    Crudely altering articles after the are published, is the Ministry of Love at work in the Irish Times?

  44. Solomon

    The Phoenix has published some excellent pieces in the past shedding light on The Communications Clinic and Terry Prone and how their operations work. Worth tracking down for anyone who’s interested in seeing the ‘rot’ creeps into Irish media and who pays for it.

    More power to the Fitzgeralds. Integrity, there’s a word.

      1. Plum

        If it is still in your possession could you send it to Broadsheet to transcribe or scan should it not be on line.

  45. Peter

    I’m so f**king angry right now. This is truly a bloody joke that they are trying to hide this. I have shared this on facebook imploring others to do the same. I advise everyone SHARE THIS ON FACEBOOK, DON’T LET THIS BE HIDDEN!

    I have a new found respect for those working at Broadsheet.ie.

    For those who have ever felt unfairly treated in the work place either it be Tescos, Lidl, Dell, where ever you owe it too this girl to get as much attention on this story as possible. Once again SHARE THIS ON FACEBOOK!

  46. slatesie

    fair play lads.
    The Independent are running an interview with my girlfriend this Saturday about the issues of suicide and how to get help hopefully it helps some good come from the recent tragedies.

  47. robh

    I love the way that Irish Times journalists are now tweeting about this post. It reinforces how spineless and irrelevant that organisation has become – let’s tweet about a story that we altered and then pulled that a website had the courage to run with…. they are as much part of the problem as Terry Prone et al

    1. Fred

      Eh, maybe the IT journos who are tweeting had nothing to do with the decision to edit the piece? Maybe tweeting about it is their way of showing their objections to the editing?

      1. robh

        they have a union – why didn’t it raise objections to the article being re-edited?

        despicable stuff. we should all boycott the irish times.

  48. ZipAhDeeDooDah

    What a brilliant response to a brilliant piece of work.

    I’d imagine it’s “shepherd’s pie in the chinos” time over at the IT and TCC today, and rightly so…

  49. Mick Quinn

    Well done to broadsheet.ie – The Website of Record. Keep up the Great Work- and yes, I’ll contribute to any ‘fund’ too …

  50. eamonn moran

    Well done guys. This is why the internet is so powerful. you guys are starting to provide a more open media than any print media are willing to do. That is why they are going to suffer and you are going to flourish.

  51. elvira

    Depression & bullying at work need this spotlight; it is a horrible way to have to live your life. Thank you for standing up for someone who can’t defend themselves any more – I am disgusted by Prone & Co’s abhorrent ass-covering. You can have my pocket money for the

  52. ProvingGround

    Good work Broadsheet – you have collectively and figuratively jumped a shark!

    On a side note, I didn’t realise before where that vacuous cnut Anton Savage got his balls / media connections from – now we know…

  53. Willie Banjo

    Broadsheet – having lost someone close in similar circumstances, you have restored my faith in humanity (and cats). I hereby annoint you the new “paper of record”.

  54. Economist Frilly Keane

    Hey, before collective orgasm overwhelms Ye. Can I just remind and correct some if you; The Irish Times should have been hanging their head in shame LONG before they even received Kate’s submission.

    And Ye know what I’m talking about.

      1. PR(one) Guru Frilly Keane

        as soon as the lads are ready for another dose of the sh1tes

        I’ll let loose


        1. GarPrivate

          Well how about a laxative then?!?

          Tell meeeeeeeeeee!

          The people have a right to know! Don’t pull the old you-can’t-handle-the-truth card, it really is no fun at all…

  55. bob

    Absolutely the right thing to do. You have my support 100% and I’m sure that goes for the rest of the country.

    This story must be told. I’m sure that embarrassment of a “PR company” are keeping a close eye on these posts.

    The destruction of the people at the top of that company cannot come soon enough.

  56. LemonMeringue

    Congratulations, this is really inspiring that you took this brave decision despite the pressure on you. I admire your integrity and wish others could follow suit……

  57. VinLieger

    Fair play broadsheet, hopefully this will get more attention thanks to you, and stop people trying to whitewash the truth of the current situation in this area

  58. Zak Martin

    According to the “About Us” page on the Communications Clinic website:

    “None of us have the qualifications you’d expect. We’re not accredited by anyone. We’re not members of any professional organisation… But we’re totally expert in what we do. ”

    If their amateurish handling of this matter is an example of their expertise in PR, perhaps they shouldn’t be so eager to represent their lack of qualifications and accreditation as some kind of asset.

  59. Edmund Dantes

    And another Irish family chaebol begins to crumble. Truly, this story is a ‘Savage’ indictment on the fork-tongue industry!

  60. alfla

    Great to see this done, I wrote this article about it but am amending right now to take this into account:


    Hope this keeps the discussion going, and while it’s not without pleasure that I watch the Communications Clinic being thrown into question I really hope this leads to a wider discussion about mental health issues in the workplace.

    And, of course, whether it’s ethical for a public relations company to use an opportunity for awareness as instead a chance to shut down lines of communication.

  61. Jonjo

    From the Communications Clinic website:

    “We’re a bunch of doggedly honest workaholics who try every day to make a difference to the people we work with and the people we work for.”



  62. Paul

    Well done Broadsheet, and to Kate’s family for their strenght in pursuing this.

    Shame on the Communications Clinic… and the Irish Times for that matter

  63. Jenny O Neill

    The Irish Times just proved that they were bullied into changing their article just as Kate was bullied into talking her own life. Pathetic!! They should be high lighting suicide and offering help to these who have questions. They should not be covering up stories to protect bullies!

  64. JL

    Has it not occurred to her employers that dismissing her ‘as a person with mental health problems’ and so not worthy of consideration was in fact the complaint which she made, and that by using that to nullify her allegations they have in fact confirmed the allegations she made in the first place?

  65. Sorcha

    Well done Broadsheet. This issue deserves to be higlighted not to disappear without a trace. Bravo on having the gumption to re-post.

  66. eteacher

    Well done lads, I’ve only popped on here before to get some laughs but you’ve really got my attention ( and that of alot of others) now. I admire your integrity – and shame on those who blatantly attempt to distort the truth!

  67. Fergd

    I hope you are feeling the warm glow of love from all these posts….
    Well done and maybe this is an example of a piece of journalism that looks like Ireland (that we aspire to be….)
    Maybe the IT can rediscover their cojones and reprint the original and the attempt to cover it up?

  68. Pat

    A sincere thank-you from a sufferer of depression. It’s heartening to see a site that has given me a giggle or two in some of my gloomier days taking such a stance on a serious issue like this

  69. Niamh

    Very very impressed Broadsheet, first comment but felt compelled to.A bit of integrity and courage goes a long way. Well done.

  70. Sean

    Well Done Broadsheet, really unsettling story if the actions by Irish Times and more dubiouisly the Communications Clinic are unwarranted.
    I’d urge people to email/tweet/facebook The Last Word radio programme and ask them the story the airtime it deserves. They obviously won’t have any problem getting Anton Savage on the phone, nor the Irish Times editor responsible. Very interested in hearing their defence.

    Tweet: @cooper-m @lstwrd
    email; thelastword@todayfm.com

    Text them (while on air) at 53102. Hopefully they will confront,or at least acknowledge this story.

  71. Sheila Giles-Mullen

    Thank you Broadsheet for standing by Kate and her Parents. It is very difficult for people who do not experience Depression to understand the grip it can have on you. Working in a Vacuum doesn’t help either…..

  72. Pedanto, the Hilarity Man

    That’s all very wel, but how could a land-mine blow up in someone’s face? Aren’t they inherently a foot-level ordnance?

    1. caimin

      you would think someone who calls him(I presume)self “Pedanto” would make sure to use spell check.

      1. Pedanto, the Hilarity Man

        And that was a reply to Caimin. I have completed the Idiot Trifecta. All four parts of it.

  73. bob

    I hope broadsheet will keep us updated on the behind the scenes intimidation that communications clinic will be attempting against them.

    Their only tactics throughout the years has been to go to ground, say nothing and it will eventually blow over, all while fighting their wars in the shadows through intimidation, bullying and harassment. They even give this advice to government ministers and leaders while the country falls apart.

    I call on Terry Prone and her husband Mr. Savage Prone to do the right thing and step down from their positions in the company.

  74. RJ

    Anyone else drafting their strongly worded letter to the IT? Broadsheet has started the process now let’s make sure Communications Clinic can’t spin/bully their way out of this.

  75. Wee Pete

    Long time listener, first time caller. I was perplexed and saddened by the initial dropping of posts. Kudos to you, Broadsheet.ie for your explanation and stance. Most sincere condolences to the Fitzgerald family.

  76. NefariousFaery

    Well done Broadsheet. Good to see integrity in at least one publication! Thank you for moving through the fear for the sake of truth.

  77. RNiC

    If we’re not careful this country will become like the US, where a person’s attorney is on speed-dial for whenever they hear something they don’t like. All too often now the threat of litigation is thrown out at the earliest opportunity usually accompanying some badly-quoted legislation deemed appropriate from ‘expert advice’ garnered in online chatrooms. This is aside from the more usual threats of ‘going to Boards’ (.ie) or ‘ringing Joe’ (Duffy). It’s bullying, just a modern incarnation of same. Well done Broadsheet.ie, I know that despite all the well-wishes in the world, there will be sleepless nights ahead for the team. Good luck.

  78. nigel

    I can’t see how any libel case could be brought when all you were doing was reproducing material that had been published elsewhere. But more importantly couple this with the fact that republishing the original September 9th article with the full consent of the family is simply the right thing to do, so well done.

    For all the pledges of donations to broadsheet’s legal fund, it might be helpful to ask people so willing to help out here to perhaps spare a few quid for a worthy organisation like aware.ie – http://www.aware.ie/donations/

  79. simon darcy

    well done for posting this i think media have the right to expose this type of thing terry prone was on the saturday night show with brendan oconnor while all this was going on tut tut

  80. Jonjo

    Just noticed on the Irish Times story about kate Fitzgerald. Their linked story is titled “Employers failing people with mental health issues”.

    They must have forgotten to change that when they deleted her words from her own article.

    1. Willie Banjo

      If there’s one thing worse than censorship, it’s incompetent censorship …… and [REDACTED].

  81. Jer

    Shows the cosy relationship which the elite have in this country – PR, politics and ‘journalism’ all wrapped up in one for these people. Keep up the good work in fighting the likes of Terry Prone Broadsheet!

  82. Banm

    Fair play Broadsheet. Once again we see how mental illhealth is not ‘accepted’, understood or talked about. Every employer should be made do the ASIST training (Suicide first aid) as a general intro to the world of mental health etc..
    And it’s free!

  83. Tabloid Hack

    Kate was a friend of mine and I spent four years in DCU with her.
    However I think Broadsheet has made a mistake reposting this .
    Campaigning journalism is all well and good but the simple fact is that the IT, by printing Kate’s letter and Peter Murtagh’s piece, indirectly accused the Communications Clinic of “illegally” treating their staff.
    As far as I can see they did not offer a right of reply to the Comms Clinic and did not carry out any further investigation into the allegations.
    They, and possibly Broadsheet, could be up s**t creak if Prone and co decide to sue.

    1. cabogue

      Agreed. I would guess that Prone and Co won’t sue Broadsheet because it wouldn’t be worth their while. Irish Times, however, would be easy money for them, that’s why IT would have taken out the offending parts of the article in such a hurry.
      By putting these (anonymous) articles together and identifying who wrote them they’ve basically accused named workers at CC of bullying someone into suicide without giving them any chance to reply or deny the claims. That’s quite the allegation.

      1. Pedanto, the Hilarity Man

        The courage of Broadsheet notwithstanding, I do feel that this is very tricky ground. I presume one of the reasons the original piece was anonymous was not to identify the company involved.

          1. just because

            Total disagreement. Broadsheet have satisfied the publics need/want. Now I’m no PR graduate, but is that not the whole point of journalism….write what people want to read about?

            Kate’s article was entitled “Employers Failing people with Mental Health”. The IT decided to print her piece anonymously. Later they discovered (a) who she was, (b) where she worked and most importantly (c) she had taken her own life. Why would such and intelligent girl, who was obviously being mistreated by her employers, write an article describing same.

            Seriously people, some common sense please. Whether we’re talking about the Communications Clinic or any other employer, what difference does it make? The fact of the matter is Kate (and I’m sure many others) was mistreated and a serious lack of due care was shown.
            The real fact of the matter is Kate is no longer with us. Whether this is maybe only 5% down to the actions of her employers, it’s 5% too much. Sincere condolences to Kate’s friends and family. And gratitude to broadsheet for sharing her story. I’m sure there are more people out there who find themselves in the same position Kate. If only one life is saved, its one better than none.

      2. Tabloid Hack

        Fair point. The issue for the CC would be whether it would be worth their while taking a case against the IT on such an unpopular subject.
        While they would have a good chance of winning the backlash from clients could see them ultimately losing.
        Obviously this was the reason why they would seemed to have had a “quiet word” in the ear of the IT lawyers and editors.

        1. cabogue

          They’d have to make a calculated decision on that one but it might be down to the individual employees named above if feel they’ve been wronged. If CC really is such a horrible place to work then why not sue the IT, get 50 grand in an out-of-court settlement that nobody hears about (maybe like the first employment tribunal mentioned above by Broadsheet) and feck off to the Bahamas for a year or two.

      3. Funk

        Kate accused them (albeit in an anonymous opinion piece) of discrimination based on an illness and also of bullying by the sound of things.

        No-one else accused them. Just reported on what was in the public domain.

        TCC have the right to reply to the articles through the irish times editor and they can also reply here at any time.

        1. Tabloid Hack

          By publishing an allegation said outside of privileged situations – courts and Dail – you need to be able to stand over its legitimacy.
          Saying that it was someone else’s opinion is unfortunately no defence. Take for example comments made by a guest on Newstalk recently about Mary Harney.

    2. Len

      How can you say she was your friend and then claim the Irish Times was wrong to publish her letter? You don’t sound like a very good friend at all.

      So far we have heard nothing from the CCL, the only action taken was to pull a few strings to have the letter edited. By editing the letter, The Irish Times changed the meaning of the piece. They should have just removed it and published a note giving the reasons why.

      If the CCL were true communication experts they would know that delaying statements and continued silence is the worst possible course of action.

      They would also know that the general public, seeing a company use its links to not only suppress the articles, but to edit one without the author’s permission, would perceive them to be shady and under-handed.

      If her mother is backing her up, then I’m inclined to believe everything that was said in Kate’s piece.

      1. Ada

        I agree, some friend. Truth will out. No wonder Irish Times readers are turning to the internet in droves. Bravo B’sheet.ie!!

      2. Tabloid Hack

        Len I completely agree with you that the IT should have just removed the letter and and put an explanatory note.
        I also believe that her parents should have been contacted in advance of this and the reasons explained in full to them.
        There are libel laws in this country for a reason and all newspapers and web-based forums need to adhere to them. It is not okay to just put an allegation out there and then offer a right of reply. If that was the case then we would all be fecked.
        Kate’s original letter was anonymous and it would appear that she never intended to have the CC named or identified in any way.
        That was a decision taken by Broadsheet and the IT.
        Instead she wanted a discussion about the way workplaces deals with those suffering from depression.
        I do not think she would have wanted a this form of witch hunt.

        1. Len

          I understand completely, but what gets me is the control this company clearly has. If you asked any writer how they would feel about a company pulling strings to have your piece of work edited without your permission, and without any explanation on the piece what do you think they would tell you?

          I don’t think anybody here wants to hunt the witch. But an explanation would be nice.

      3. ConSki

        eh no, think you’re well out of order calling in the quality of a friendship there.
        Utterly reprehensible.

        1. Pedanto, the Hilarity Man

          And a friend who is so recently bereaved too. A bit more sympathy, guys, on reflection?

    3. Soupy Norman

      I briefly studied Irish media law many years ago. Back then, you could only commit libel against a person, not an organisation. I think this is still the case.

      Unless an individual within the Communications Clinic is clearly identifiable in the articles, then there is no case for libel.

      Even then, the accusations made against that individual would have to be (a) false and (b) likely to damage that person’s reputation in the eyes of “right-thinking” members of society.

      1. Soupy Norman

        I should add, the accusations would have to be specifically made against the named individual or individuals.

        Nowhere in any of these articles are any allegations made against specific people. The only people mentioned are “managers”.

        I believe this is vague enough to rule out any potential for libel.

        1. cabogue

          It’s not. It’s only a small company so anyone involved would know who the managers were. Also, Broadsheet went to the trouble of digging out an Indo article about the employment tribunal just to make sure you know the “bullies” are a Ruth Hickey and Anton Savage. Seems they couldn’t find out online if the allegations were upheld or dismissed by the court so they try to cover themselves with the following:

          “Ms Hickey and Mr Savage denied the allegations and the hearing was adjourned until October. We are unable to find any details on whether the case was concluded in Ms Fox’s favour or indeed settled at all and we have put a call in to the court.”

          I wonder did the court ever call them back?

          1. Soupy Norman

            A report from a court/tribunal hearing cannot be libellous as long as it is a faithful representation of what was said in that court. It doesn’t matter if the allegations were upheld or dismissed.

            Potentially, the TCC could argue that the juxtaposition of the Indo article with the IT articles was designed to implicate the two named individuals from the Indo in Kate Fitzgerald’s allegations, but it’s impossible to know how that argument would wash with a jury in a libel case. I’m not a legal expert, but personally, I think it’s fairly weak.

            Read back over the post in question – A Breakdown in Communications. The implication is that there is a cold-hearted culture within the TCC management. Neither Broadsheet nor Kate Fitzgerald specifically implicated any person. The Indo article is quoted as evidence to back up the assertion against the TCC – not against the two named individuals.

            Broadsheet did write that the TCC was set up by Prone and the two Savages, but it does not make any specific allegations against them personally.

    4. Stewart Curry

      What I find objectionable is the whole ‘chilling effect’ notion that the Communications Clinic can, with a ‘quiet word’, journalist henchmen, or legal threat, dictate what can and cannot be published, and I think it’s very brave of Broadsheet to repost the articles under what must be intimidating circumstances.

    5. communicator

      Savage and Prone have a policy of never taking anyone to court. A large part of this is the fact that in court they would be under oath and have to be honest on the stand, something they can’t do. They make their money by keeping secrets.

      No article on this subject has been as damaging as the full truth would be to Anton Savage, Terry Prone and Tom Savage.

      The question you should be asking, as a friend of Kate’s, is why Anton Savage and another member of staff were asked to not attend her funeral.

      1. journo

        Can you identify who we’re talking about here? Could give us further details on the individuals Soupy N seeks so desperately to seek!!

  84. J

    That revised article is a disgrace and shame on the IT. To my understanding it effectively puts forward the opposite of the whole point of the article – somewhat in the employer’s favour. I’ll bet there was a “how can we turn this to our advantage” moment by the whiteboard. IT should at the least perhaps have redacted it buy not changed its meaning.

  85. Eurobabe

    Bah, Politics.ie also pulled their thread on Kate Fitzgerald. ‘The death and life of Kate Fitzgerald: RIP’. Well done Broadsheet.ie for showing some integrity when all around you are cowering.


  86. Conan Drumm

    Well done for bringing all of this out into the open.
    I will be turning off when I next hear Mr Savage Jr on Today FM. I doubt Matt Cooper will give him a grilling on the issue when he next appears there, or that he’ll refer to it himself when he next stands in for Ray Darcy, or that he’ll deal in any meaningful way with mental health and workplace issues when he takes on hosting the Sunday Show in the New Year.

  87. Billy Gillooley

    Good stuff. It feels almost anachronistic, this journalistic integrity lark.

    Keep up the good work!

  88. Red

    A lot of people here don’t seem to understand libel law and the legal responsibilities that the media have. While I totally agree with supporting Kate’s family there is a case to be made for all the parties involved to have their say whether we want to listen to them or not. Personally there’s no love lost for Communication Clinic and I completely disagree with the way they’ve gone about this but there’s an element of witch hunt creeping in here. Let’s hear all sides (if they’re willing to speak up) and then judge.

    1. Len

      Agreed, but we’re still waiting for something from the CCL, and I’ve got a feeling it will never come.

      1. Red

        Their silence certainly doesn’t help. But neither does turning them into cartoon villains. Need to keep Kate’s story at the heart of this and start a conversation about how to properly help people with mental health problems in this country. Hand wringing and back clapping isn’t helping anyone.

        1. AP

          Their very business is meant to be PR. There is no justification for their silence on this issue to this point; and if they’d come out and made a sensible argument which exonerated them from some of the claims in Kate’s article, then people would have taken that into consideration.

          Instead; they used their influence and contacts to apply pressure to people to simply suppress the reporting of the story. There is no way that’s the right way to go about this; and as a result people are justifiably sceptical of their motives and bona fides.

        2. rachael webb

          I agree. Thank you for saying this. Have a look at Pieta house online. They have lots of practical advice round the subject of suicide. Take care,Rach

      2. ppo

        Len, I’d say you have a good point there. I, like most of us on broadsheet, would love to hear their response to this.

    2. mise

      I’m sure had TCC issued a statement they wouldn’t have had a difficulty getting coverage of it – fact that they chose not to is far more worrying.

    3. YankeeDoodle

      Company cannot be libeled, right? Comment, if honestly believed, is not libel. An individual must be identifiable to be defamed – only one individual is identified – the manager – and I doubt the actions attributed to that person libels or defames them in any way.

      Anyway, the issue to me is not the legal one (papers are scared these days, the article would never have ran if they tought it would be identified to TCC). IT IS THAT RATHER THAN PULL IT AND SAY WAY, OR LEAVE IT BE, THEY EDITED IT IN A WAY THAT DESTROYED THE WONDERFUL FLOW AND LUCID PROSE OF THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE AND GAVE IT THE OPPOSITE MEANING. Especially leaving in ‘I don’t blame my employer”. Sickening. That th elast piece she wrote would be handled this poorly. Shame.

  89. Niall

    Well done guys, great to see you standing fast and ignoring the threats, showing some real integrity…

    A tenet, alas, entirely lost on the majority of Irish media outlets.

  90. Stephen

    Article from The Phoenix, 4/11/2011:


    SACKING Sam Smyth from his Today FM Sunday Supplement show says something about the antagonism between the journalist and station owner Denis O’Brien, but the replacement of Smyth with PR consultant Anton
    Savage says even more about the news values of the media and telecoms billionaire.

    The editorial clarion call within O’Brien’s other national radio station, Newstalk FM, has been for cheery, positive news as opposed to the doom and gloom purveyed by various media (recession, what recession?). It was one of the pressures cited by broadcasters like Eamon Dunphy before he walked out of that station recently. And nobody does good news better than public relations executive Savage, whose presence in both the world of PR and media is ubiquitous.
    Clearly, Anton is regarded with much favour at Today FM where he is a presence now on three programmes, if one includes Smyth’s show which he is to take over in the New Year. Anton is a regular substitute for Matt Cooper on Today FM’s The Last Word and he also alternates on the station’s Sunday Business Show. Anton is also a regular sub for various RTÉ programmes during summer hols for the broadcasting stars.

    That Anton is a prolific broadcaster is neither here nor there. But he is also a director – along with Mum, Terry Prone and Dad, chairman of the RTÉ board, Tom Savage – in The Communications Clinic. The Clinic’s clients, according to its own promotional literature, include “international blue chips in manufacturing, pharmaceutical, electronics and energy… a bunch of government departments… some politicians” and “a clutch of the country’stop broadcasters”. Crucially, the clinic guarantees client confidentiality.

    Quite apart from the good news culture that PR work for the powerful and the wealthy naturally inclines to, this lucrative line of work involves obligation to the same quarters, specifically, in promoting and protecting their good name. And not only does the anonymous client list above include some of the biggest companies in Ireland, it also includes “some politicians”, composed mainly of those in the largest party in government, namely, Fine Gael. In fact, Anton has for some years now trained Enda Kenny in media performance, while Terry trained Gay Mitchell for his presidential outing (you can see more than one reason here for the commitment to confidentiality).

    Nobody is accusing Anton of deliberately promoting his confidential clients but there is a blindingly obvious conflict of interest inherent in hosting current affairs and business

    programmes that must sometimes touch on the interests of the prominent politicians and businesses that the Clinic services. Equally interesting is the client category of “top broadcasters” whose identity is unknown and whose employers – RTÉ, Newstalk, Today FM? – is also confidential. The phrase ‘conflict of interest’ seems entirely inadequate to describe the multiple situations that Anton finds himself mired in.

      1. Zuppy International

        I was thinking about this today after reading the comments here today. how can Anton Savage continue with the pretense to be an impartial broadcaster when he’s heavily involved with a PR firm with a confidential client list. How can his Tom, his Dad be an impartial chairman of the RTE authority for the same reasons. It’s more of this gombeen, insider culture. The golden circle getting looking after each other and their mates.

        If either had an ethical bone in their body they would resign their media roles outside TCC. If either Today FM or RTE cared about their own credibility they would be sacked. Today.

        It’s not good enough.

    1. Len

      How can Tom Savage be chairperson of the RTE board while he is running a private PR business? Is that not a blatant conflict of interest?!

      1. Shane

        Yes, it’s an absolutely appalling conflict of interest. But then again, this is the land of the “golden circle” where many senior business figures genuinely think in their twisted way that conflicts of interest arise because of success rather than an inherent corruption. This is untrue. Someone in PR should not be chair of the board of the national tv station as it is probable they’ll be in receipt of monies from individuals and organisations that the station may seek to investigate AND they are in a position to influence the station’s policy which may assist the promotion of their client’s interests. They’re compromised from the get-go. Once you accept that then you can’t ethically do both jobs.

        1. RainyDay

          Yes you are correct it is a conflict of interest, But did you not see the sign on the door? …’Welcome to Ireland’

  91. Shane

    How can Anton Savage hold an influential media position and Prone be wheeled out constantly by media outlets in this country with obvious biases and lack of clarity on who their clients are.

    Most small PR companies and those in the spotlight all proclaim when there may be a possible conflict of interests, why is it not insisted upon when it’s at such at a high political level?

    Well done Broadsheet, proving cat videos, misspelling and journalistic balls can go together!

  92. Mediastreet

    Well done Broadstreet.This article should be spread to expose the other face of these spindoctors who portray themselves as the paragons of communications!And Tom Savage is Chair of the BAI/RTE

  93. Derek Doyle

    I live abroad and I’ve noticed over the last few months that Broadsheet is becoming my primary Irish news source. Today is another reason I’m happy with my choice.

    Thank you for showing some integrity.

    1. Kev

      Living in Australia, As above, broadsheet has become my primary source of Irish news. Fair play to all involved. Fair dues to all involved in this issue and the website in general.

    2. Pedanto, the Hilarity Man

      Your primary news source? Well, you’ll always be up to date on the skateboards that look like Ireland.

    3. Man

      Primary news source?

      Steady on there pet. With respect, if you think this is a news site, God help you.

  94. K1

    “But the very qualities that made Kate special might also have marked her out in a manner not to her advantage. The bright kid with the American accent was bullied. “She was tough,” says Sally, “but not as tough as we thought. ”

    Bullying is hideous among journalists – I think it’s because journalism attracts particular opposites.

  95. Ed Van der Hoff

    Probably far too many comments already, but this is one of those things that needs to be supported.

    Well done to Broadsheet for having the gumption and backbone to stand up to the ever-present threat of defamation. Reading some of the stuff about the recent “Rosanna vs Ryanair” stuff sickened me. The idea that someone would boast (in a threatening way) about the number of defamation suits they’d won, or that a solicitor would cross-file in multiple constituencies to force an early settlement, are sickening.

    Our established media has long-since abandoned the Fourth Estate in favour of images of Brian McFadden and his current squeeze. The recent RTE/PTI disaster doesn’t help, either.

    Someone needs to stand up and say STOP. I’m glad it is Broadsheet.

    You also have my support.

  96. aaargh!

    post the transcription anonymously & untraceably offshore somewhere and link it on twitter if you’re worried about legal blowback.

    just get advice and be careful about it.

    You and your bloody brilliant transcriptions Broadsheet.
    I’ve waded through them all.
    Time to finally shine a light on these people, and the whole system, and change the country for the better.
    It is tiem.

  97. Miss Mafalda

    Well done Broadsheet! This issue needs to be talked about. I was shocked when I noticed that the Irish Times had edited Kate’s article. I felt that she had been silenced once more.

    Suicide is an issue of real substance and your bravery should be applauded. None of us should be silent.

    My heart goes out to Kate’s family and I hope your airing of her cause gives them some comfort.

  98. Humans Eh!

    Us long-timey Broadsheet fans have always known that yez would rise to the top.
    Well done folks,

    We’ll see your ‘libel landmine’
    And raise you a ‘truth grenade’

    Hope all at Broadsheet are heartened by the response to this issue, we are all behind you on this one.
    Sincere condolences to Kate’s family at this sad time. RIP

  99. Ann Masterson

    Thank you for re-posting there are so many instances of bullying in the workplace. So when a very unhappy sensitive peron feels that the only solution is to leave this planet, takes their own life, well then we should honour them by paying heed to the problem and name names to shame the souless individuals and organisatons who pushed too them far.

  100. Misterboyle

    I’ve just read her article and that of peter murtagh, and I must say my heart is heavy. she sounds like a good sweet person

    Thank you broadsheet for bring this to notice, and thank you for having the courage and conviction for keeping this post up.

    And I’d happily put some money in the war chest is your taking to court

  101. dave

    it is a very sad story about Kate Fitzgerald and fair play to her parents and Broadsheet for keeping the story going to help people understand her story.
    the media are now complicit in the TCC lies and i note you don;t hear this mentioned on RTE,or Matt Cooper – it’s a typical old boys network of closing ranks

  102. Grover

    if this wasn’t enough of a PR disaster for Carr Communications, think what it would be if they actually sued for publishing Ms. Fitzgerald’s last words. It was never gonna happen. But fair dues for calling their bluff…

  103. Franco

    To clarify, Carr Communications is a completely different company to the Communications Clinic. Carr Communications have nothing to do with this whatsoever. Kate was employed at the Communications Clinic.

  104. Spaghetti Hoop

    The ‘Tweet machine’ last night between 11pm and midnight published (yes, tweets = publishing) one or two remarks, from regular “twits”, about Broadsheet’s removal of their original posts on Kate’s story. Remarkably they’ve now disappeared from the feed….

  105. mise

    would be brilliant to get an idea of numbers of people who’ve written letter to IT on this – and whether any are published tomorrow … one here at least…

  106. Joan

    I think that what you did was noble and that is a word that doesn’t find much use anymore. I hope all those people issue a real apology and that a public conversation is ignited on the various colliding issues this whole situation creates re mental health and editorial independence.

  107. Mary

    Well done guys it is important to highlight this I will be sending on a few email in relation myself break the silence and the suffering of people we must stand together to get rid of this behaviour

  108. emalight

    Just another voice to say well done and thank you.
    Re the legality of publishing the voicemail, the journalist left it without any promise of confidentiality on your part. Therefore you are entirely entitled to publish it.

  109. mickmick

    I’d love to see a transcript of the journalist’s voicemail. You wouldn’t have to name him/her.

  110. Jack O'Bite

    IMHO this sorry tale has nothing to do with the integrity of The Irish Times and everything to do with the fact that the libel laws in this country are laughable.

    1. Monty

      + 1

      Also, people talking about spineless media organisations et al are losing sight of the real story here – depression, suicide and this poor young woman.

  111. bob

    Interesting developments with the voicemail. Do we have the beginnings of another phone hacking scandal? Are these people really that stupid?

    Keep fighting the good fight broadsheet. You’ve ruffled some feathers because you’re not playing by THEIR rules, but you have the people behind you.

    1. comms

      Is it no illegal to infringe on someone’s private telephone? I say get the guardai involved. News of the World comes to mind. I’d love to see how a judge would treat this sensitive matter!

  112. Paul Keogh

    Contact Matt Cooper at Today FM and demand that he stops using Anton Savage as his replacement when he’s unavailable.
    Cooper prides himself on being a fearless journalist, lets see him take on Savage and Terry Prone.

    Other Media outlets that use these pr**ks should all be contacted – Vincent Browne Tonight, Pat Kenny Radio show etc. etc.

  113. mise

    New message on original IT article – * This article was originally published on September 9th in The Irish Times . It was re-edited on November 29th following legal advice.

  114. Tony Yeboah

    While not agreeing that the IT should have altered items that they have published before (as it is supposed to be a paper ‘of record), or questioning the feeling espoused in Kate Fitzgerald’s article I fear Broadsheet have taken a *big* risk here.

    It’s not simply the words written by Kate Fitzgerald herself that could be construed as libelous but the context in which they were published. By connecting her piece to the case in the Employment Appeals Tribunal involving bullying accusations made by another person against named individuals the inference could be strongly argued that those individuals in the EAT case also bullied Kate Fitzgerald, and thus caused her, or contributed to her thoughts that caused her, to committ suicide. The libel isn’t necessarily in the words of Kate Fitzgerald but in the way they were linked with the other case.

    The fact is the Irish Times would never have published the original article had it been beneath a byline or named an employer because it would then have been libellous unless the claims could have been proven. That they’ve changed the original texts is concerning but perhaps the above fact is worth keeping in mind given that we now know all the information relating to what were supposed to be unnamed companies and individuals relating to the original article, through no fault of anyone involved.

    “Now-I’m-no-expert-in-the-law” type commenters above saying that “as far as I know you can’t libel a company” are misinformed. If a reasonable member of society could understand or work out who the libellous accusation relates to through the text then it is libelous regardless of what entity was named. If, for example, “managers at The Communications Clinic” means – to a right a thinking member of society – specific individuals, then those individuals could consider their name dirtied and sue for libel.

    I’m not saying Kate Fitzgerald didn’t write what she felt, or questioning what she wrote. I’m not saying the Irish Times was right to alter the online version of her article that they’d published in print. What I’m saying is that while it might be cool of Broadsheet to “stick it to the man”, they’re on seriously shaky ground here not just that the republished the article but how they linked that article to another one relating to a case – concluded or otherwise – in the employment appeals tribunal.

    Oh… and those that said you can libel someone by just republishing something from elsewhere; yes you can. And you can also libel someone by publishing something libelous even it is the opinion of a third party. If journalists could do both of the above they’d just put all potentially libelous stuff in quotation marks or say it had already been published on some obscure website.

    1. Division Bell

      If you’re risk averse, that’s fine. Just sit there like a stewed prune.

      Someone else will take a risk and hopefully make things a bit more honourable and open handed..

      Where we are today, for a lot of issues in this society, are due in part to the, ‘Ahh shure, don’t be rocking the boat’ attitude, which sadly, seems to have soaked into all age groups and strata of society.

      So so easy to palm people off it seems, fuck politics, fuck what’s going on outside the home, as long as there’s a slab of supermarket subsidised beer down by the telly.. and a games console. I’m alright Jack..

  115. Paul de Beer

    All hail the endemic culture of croneyism. Making us watch them burn our bridges at their earliest convenience. While your tax pays for it.

  116. Aisling

    This is the same Anton Savage that has no compunction about taking the job of an honourable journalist; Sam Smyth, who was sacked because Dennis O’ Brien tried to shut him up and Smyth defied him and continued to do his job; reporting the truth. I emailed jr Savage two weeks ago asking him to do the decent thing and turn down the job. I await a reply……Savage Snr is on some Board in RTE so lets see if this story is touched by them….

  117. Mike Cunneen

    Well done for actually having balls and posting this – standing up for what is right and not being bullied.


  118. Rob

    Well done Broadsheet.ie. Newstalk Breakfast have pre-recorded an interview with Kate’s mother. It will be aired at 8am tomorrow morning. Such a brave lady. My sincerest condolences to her and her husband.

  119. Paul de Beer

    But yes, having run up against our Hedgeschool Hegemony and the “Why don’t you just shut up before you’re shut up” self-inflated echelons of the Irish media and beyond, it’s high f**king time these c**ts got taken down a peg or two. Far beyond tragic that a young and capable womans death became a function of it. Why the fear of women? Why have a media landscape that allows women to excel only in pigeonholes like the AntiRoom (not denigrating, just saying that it was a niche where one shouldn’t have to exist)? Why are the Irish stereotypically in thrall to Mammy yet terrified of women with real intelligence, true grit and honest determination?

      1. Bob

        That’s exactly what I’m saying to myself when I’m reading all these comments here and and on facebook…

        ‘Media is evil’ etc etc. ‘I’m writing to Fine Gael NOW’, ‘well done Broadsheet’…

        Get a grip lads.

        If anyone is unhappy with something in the media, anyone can write about it.

        1. Woesinger

          “This article was originally published on September 9th in The Irish Times . It was re-edited on November 29th following legal advice. ”


  120. Geehair

    Poor girl! Life is suicide. There is no need to live. It makes no sense. The only reason that I and, those of you who are reading this and, who are still alive, haven’t put a stop to this farce is because we will wriggle and squirm ‘ad infinitum’ in the vain hope that we haven’t been screwed by our own imagination.

    1. Spaghetti Hoop

      Hey Geehair, (christ – what a name… probably one of many). Just because public services and media are corrupt, make no sense and there is this farce – that doesn’t make you a farce, kiddo. Life is NOT suicide, nor wriggling and squirming. Bit of a drag at times – tough in Ireland at the mo – but in the most part, it’s for you to enjoy and do your bestio. And it’s your imagination – as screwed as possible – is what makes one so revered and interesting. So keep the head up, despite the sad story here.

      1. OrdinaryGarPrivate

        Amen to that, Spaghetti Hoop. One only has to look at this page to see over 450 comments, made by hundreds of people who are united in a common and decent cause, to see that there is indeed a whole lot of good still out there, despite the crazy times we live in.

        “If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
        And treat those two impostors just the same”


        1. Spaghetti Hoop

          It’s a great poem, OGP. I would say the first two lines alone, a bit of Yeats and Wilde, and a good sprinkling of comedy is the passport you need.
          RIP Kate.

  121. Gickerface

    The Irish Times Christmas party will be held in the Guinness Storehouse tomorrow night if anyone would like to go and throw some drinks in peoples faces.

    1. Fanta

      Nah, I wouldn’t bother. They’ll be so busy stabbing each other in the back, a drink in the face would be welcome refreshment.

  122. Hadley

    LOL! Get a load of this from the Communications Clinic on handling a crisis. I wonder how much they charge to “do nothing publicly”?!

    We’re real good in a crisis. And we’ve dealt with a lot of them. Tourism disasters, oil spills, accidental poisonings, crashes, explosions and innumerable corporate embarrassments.

    And some of them make great stories. Stories that we can’t tell. Because our first job in most crises is to minimise their public impact, which militates against us talking about them.

    We can’t tell you what we’ve done, but we can tell you how we do it.

    We begin by doing nothing publicly. Nada. Zilch. Not a sausage. Until we know the facts. We dig, interrogate, investigate and question until we have every salient piece of data. And we do that as fast as possible.

    Once the data is in we advise what to do. And we prepare the communications. That might mean prepping the client for a press conference or interviews, drafting press statements, FAQs, community letters. Or it might mean arranging briefings with media or shareholders or staff.

    If you have a crisis and you call us, we can promise you a number of things; we’ll provide you the best in the business. We’ll take your crisis as seriously as you do. We will be with you, side-by-side until the crisis is over.

    1. mark o' cúlar

      yeah.. i got a good laugh at reading through their website. the clients and crisis management pages say it all really. but in seriousness, they are proudly wearing a badge saying that there job is to hinder communication.. think of the politics… keeps things under wraps, so to speak. shame on them powertrippers.

    2. Man

      An oil spill is an oil spill Terry. If you’re proud of how you handle the, eh “optics” on that, then in my opinion (and it’s my opinion), you’re no better than a scheming little c**t.

  123. julian fairy

    If I hadn’t donated €70 to an ultimately shabby Movember campaign, it could have been yours.

    Anyway. Good luck!

  124. Sorcha

    The voicemail disappearance is sinister. More details please. Which organisation did the journalist work for? Has Vodafone been able to retrieve the message? Was the phone password-protected? If so, who would have the technical know-how to hack into it? The plot thickens.

    1. Gingerspice

      I can think of one media man with telecoms connections who would have no problem making such a message disappear.

      Kate Fitzgerald’s mother is making a mistake giving an interview on Newstalk tomorrow morning at 8am – an innocent going into the lion’s den.

  125. quimbo

    Well done Broadsheet. Got balls.
    Great to see this piece being shared with those who get their news from the same old sources all the time.

  126. mickeyhorse

    I work in employment law. Kate story is so familiar to me that I initially choked reading the words and context. Three days per week I encounter the same horrific story of HR control, dominance , power, oppression, infliction. Horrific KPI tests and “appraisal” sessions. Thanks broadsheet , Real journalismv& Real values. + 10000

  127. Inco

    RIP Kate, such a typical story.
    After twenty years in ESB, after advise from colleagues, took a bullying case against two new managers, months later and I am suspended and then fired. Union said I did not have the support of my local colleagues so couldn’t help. Local colleagues said I did not have the support of the Union, so couldn’t help. Took case to Employment appeals tribunal, which took over four years to finish, now waiting on circuit court. Oh and the manager who heard my original bullying case retired from ESB shortly after and found himself a nice little number in the EAT.
    Again RIP Kate, and apologies for hijacking this discussion

  128. tklemonade

    I pity her Family. Poor lass.

    I would like to know what role alcohol played as it was mentioned in the articale. It really is the elephant in the room in sad situations like this.

    It really is the ruination of this country :(

      1. tklemonade

        I didn’t ask or mention “anything to be done on this” from reading all the articles.

        I was commenting of the fact that alcohol seems to have played a large part in this sad tale.

        “Drink began to assume a destructive role in her life. A broken relationship didn’t help. On July 18th, she checked herself into St Patrick’s University Hospital in Dublin, which specialises in mental-health issues. She did so through a fog of drink and antidepressants.”

  129. Nick Moran

    Listening to Newstalk interview with Kate’s mother this morning.According to Parrallelevision “Kate had made some pretty damning statements about where she worked – and once the link was established questions began to arise about her employer”.No mention of T

  130. Maggie Fox

    I am glad that this story is getting the attention that it is getting. I was a shining student of my college and headhunted for a role in a well known professional services company. I was bright ambitious and outgoing but within six months I was considering suicide due to the bullying that I recieved. My soul was crushed by one manager who wanted me out. My breakthrough came when i was sitting by the river, utterly dejected with no hope when someone came over to ask if I needed help. I was staring into the river and hypnotised by the release that the water could offer. The one way to finish it all. I don’t know who that person was but they saved my life as I realised that I couldn’t go on anymore like this. I was in tears reading the piece as I know only too well what she went through but I got out. My heart bleeds for that girl and her family.
    To many young ambitous career women are being treated badly by employers. My only hope is that her story will help others. Shame on those trying to stop the story from gettig out

  131. Vero

    Congratulations, and thank you Broadsheet. You did the right thing telling the public what’s happening. Once you remain professional, stick to your ethics and continue to be honest, you cannot be silenced and your reputation will remain intact.

    In terms of workplace intimidation, it has become endemic.
    I know of a specific situation where a woman (and subsequently others who worked for the same multi-national company) was bullied in her high-pressured job. She was intimidated by management and suffered unbearable emotional strain. It was a job she had been in for 9 years. After enduring months of scare tactics she was fired suddenly without redundancy, severance or access to her pension. Though we are all totally aware of how unjust and illegal this is, she was so badly treated that once she left she didn’t want to fight back.
    What happened to Kate is absolutely terrifying, it’s happening to so many people and only those working in employment law are able to connect the dots. It would be a really important area to do structured research in.
    Please keep the faith and Keep up the good work, it’s important to the health of the nation, genuinely.

  132. Anna

    Good interview on Newstalk this morning with Kate Fitzgerald’s mother. Wondering though, how can she be so sure depression is a chemical ailment. How can people know it’s caused by a chemical imbalance since there’s no way of measuring that?

    On the subject of the Communications clinic, I imagine they asked Newstalk to organise the interview to take the spotlight off them. Not bad as damage limitation goes.

    Both Peter Murtagh’s article and Kate Fitzgerald’s were haunting because they rang true. We’ve become so used to reading regurgitated PR in newspapers that when we read something real, it makes us sit up.

    Thanks Broadsheet.ie for keeping it real.

    1. Rob

      Depression is both a mental and a physical illness. The cycles of stressors causes the limbic system to malfunction. As a result of this, the production of very important neurotransmitters is hampered – namely Serotonin and Noradrenaline. These are chemicals and they can be tested for in the spinal fluid. (Though this is not commonly done, as depression is diagnosed based on the symptoms experienced by the presenting patient). Similarly, an MRI scan of a depressed brain, versus that of a “normal” brain, shows major differences. This is where the “chemical imbalance” explanation came from – the chemicals that keep our system running efficiently become depleted.

      Anti-depressants help to slowly rebuild the levels of Serotonin and/or Noradrenaline back up in the brain, allowing the person to get back to some kind of normality. Unfortunately, it can take up to six weeks for these drugs to have a full effect. Then, hopefully, the person can begin to start their recovery.

  133. Nokian

    No surprises that there was no mention of the (hugely important) employment issues in the interview. Newstalk is owned by Denis O’Brien… who employs Anton Savage and has ahem, close connections with Fine Gael… whose members are coached by Terry Prone… and on it goes. The house that Jack built that the rest of us pay for.

  134. Mandarin

    Interview was ok as far as it went which was not very far. The news element of the story was ignored. Like who the f**k is spiking voicemails to squash it? I hardly listen to Irish radio these days, or buy Irish newspapers, and don’t own a TV. We should value our time and tune out the dross that is pushed at us in the name of news.

  135. Brownie

    This in today’s Irish Times:

    The archived version of Kate Fitzgerald’s anonymous article of September 9th was edited following legal advice. A line was added at the end of the piece to alert readers to the fact that it had been edited.

    Are they trying to make idiots of their readers? Considerable time passed between the edit and the addition of the alert to say it had been edited.

  136. Elaine

    Hi, is there a way of reading Kate’s original unedited publication in the Irish Times? The links to it bring you to the edited version with most references to her workplace omitted. Is there a full version available to read anywhere?


  137. cáit

    Well done Broadsheet. We’ve seen the cosy arrangements in our society, in the church and in politics, exposed for what they were – time for the media to get the same treatment.

    I admire your spine and integrity.

    1. aaargh!


      waay beyond time that the PR facilitators of our contrived media, political, and business establishments are exposed.

      This generation deserves a fresh start.

      We’ll be paying for the corruption of the last for long enough.

  138. Terry Bloom

    Only just read this thread (was out of work yesterday). Brilliant and fearless work by Broadsheet. The level of support here is amazing and gives me real hope for this country. If they try and sue let us know, there are alot of solicitors who read this site and we may be able to get a team on side to take the case (it would be great publicity for any law firm to take a stand beside Broadsheet on a matter of principle like this). Terry Prone and Co beware, if you try to pursue this case it will be the biggest PR mistake you will ever make!

    Keep up the great work Broadsheet. You’re a credit to the name of journalsim in a time when it has been so sullied.

  139. Jonathan Tiernan

    Well done on this work, very admirable. Great to see some integrity in Irish journalism. My deepest sympathies to Kate’s family.

  140. Leslie

    Sounds like the bullying and intimidation is now being directed towards the media. The Irish Times needs to stand behind what they print!

    There needs to be a national discussion about this tragedy along with exposing bullying and intimidation in the workplace.

  141. Skippy

    Everybody at work was talking about this today, especially the bit about your phone being hacked to delete the libel threat. You couldn’t make it up!

  142. joe

    Isn’t this the guy, Anton Savage, who is apparently stepping into Eamon Dunphy’s shoes on Newstalk, after Dunphy was railroaded by Denis O’Brien and resigned on a point of principle. Looks like the Savages don’t have too many principles, only interested in feathering their own nest at the expense of others, much like O’Brien himself!

    1. quimbo

      my one memory of him is in school, wearing a leather jacket made of “unborn calf hide, worth two thousand pounds”. arsehole.

  143. Tangent

    Well done to broadsheet.ie. I hope you will give more prominence to mental health issues in the future.

  144. CD

    Last night I tried to publish a post about Depression on Broadsheet.ie. My post was not published. Perhaps I made an error? I too live with depression every day like Kate did. I too am a journalist. I too had to take three weeks off work this summer, because I was suicidal.

    Please post this Broadsheet. The Communications Clinic are getting a lot of free publicity – whether they like it or not – from posts. The real issue here is not to blame anyone, or any one entity. We all need support and kindness. We are living through tough times.

    The editor has my email address if you wish to reply.

    No one person / entity is right on anything. We’re just all trying to help one another. Some of us, maybe all of us, get lost along the way from time to time. We find our way back. We have to work at it though – exercise and a loving family help. Sometimes that is not enough … I feel so sad about the loss of Kate. I really do. We lost an articulate mind.

    If you are experiencing low thoughts and have anyone at all, please reach out.

    Share. It is hard, I know. You have to be very careful who your friends are. But your friends are also going through difficult things right now.We find each other. Peace and love. Stay well. x C

    1. IrelandGuy

      Hi CD,

      While I have never had depression, I do have some knowledge of the the Samaritans. If you ever get to the stage where you feel very low then please consider giving them a call, thanks for sharing your post with us.

      In reference to your post being ignored, maybe its because of the tricky legal situation Broadsheet is currently in (it was even mentioned on the metro herald this morning)

      1. IrelandGuy

        You should write to newspapers, blogs, metro herald anywhere you can. Try not to be disheartened if you get very little response, all you need is to get through to one person and it will be worthwhile.

        As people are saying throughout this post – we need more light on this subject as times are hard and we all need somewhere to turn in our time of need, I hope things will one day get better for you and the countless others in the same situation.

        (This is a repost of the original comment a few minutes ago which did not appear)

    2. Sean

      CD, well done on saying how you feel. I mightn’t be of any help – or I might – but I guarantee I’ll give you a laugh. I suffer from terminal optimism.

  145. Susan Lanigan

    Thank you for the work you have done here. Reading about that phone call where a young woman now forever unable to defend herself was written off as “mentally ill” and therefore unreliable in her testimony, sickened me to the stomach. How dare these people behave like that?

    There are laws to protect people and be fair to others’ reputation and I can see why the Irish Times bore that in mind when they were crudely threatened. But the hurt and distress caused by the late Ms Fitzgerald’s employer, The Communications Clinic, has been so widespread that even if they are legally free and clear, they are, in the words of Alan Dershowitz, morally on their own, against an increasingly hostile public.

    I did some business with that company in 2009 with a nice man who was pleasant to me and professional and not part of any dynasty or employment case. But I found the whole thing upsetting and would be highly reluctant to go near that company again. Thank you for keeping this discussion alive. This issue needs to be tackled head on.

  146. David D

    Well done broadsheet.ie
    If you find yourself fighting these propaganda merchants, I’ll help through crowdsource funding even though I’m unemployed and broke this is too important not to help in whjatever small way.

  147. mick moran

    As for the clinic they were just doing what they always do but for themselves this time instead of a politician or a company. The scorpion and the frog. But the Irish Times….I smell a cosy rat.

  148. JC

    I saw one thread relating to your story in one bulletin board Political world as they closed it down quickly.

    They don’t have the guts to deal with it as you did with courage and integerity.

    Thanks to you for bringing up as it showed that TCC killed the story by means of tactit agreement with the IT. It was totally disgraceful and KF case or the issue of suicide doesn’t matter to the IT or TCC in that case.They are only interested in perserving their reputations. These very same people of the campany are in cahoots with the politicans. End of story.

  149. ConGalway

    Followed your link to the ‘original’ Irish Times article. What do I find? Blocks of black with the phrase ‘Legal Retraction’!

  150. Man

    I’m quite surprised at how many people seem to be amazed by Broadsheets reaction to this.

    This protection of people’s rights and the facing routing out of corporate insider connections should be the norm, not the exception.

    Don’t be timid. Go after corruption and gombeemism every time you come across it. It’s a poison that eats away at the opportunities of others.

Comments are closed.