The Irish Times And Kate Fitzgerald

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It is now six days since the Irish Times’ article about Kate Fitzgerald, who took her own life in August.

To recap. The piece did not mention her employer The Communications Clinic. It did however refer to Kate’s original article (which was available on the Irish Times website), written anonymously, where she made a number of allegations against the company.

On Monday, after we posted that Kate had worked for The Communications Clinic (alongside a July employment tribunal hearing report about a employee alleging bullying and intimidation at the company), Kate’s article which had been on the paper’s website since September 9 was edited without any explanation

The paragraphs that contained the claims against her employer were removed. In fact so clumsy was the editing it appeared that she had no issues with The Communications Clinic. Kate’s parents were not told in advance that this was happening.

Following a warning that we were facing a ‘libel landmine” (see previous post, link below) and after taking our own legal advice, we took our posts down.

On Tuesday we received an email from The Irish Times online editor Hugh Linehan which asked:

“Was wondering why you took down that post. Was pressure applied?”

We replied that we had received a late night warning and added:

“This was to be expected but [we] noticed you guys had pulled extracts from Kate’s original piece (referring to her employer) presumably on legal advice (?) and became anxious as our posts were based on that piece. [we] spoke with a barrister friend at about 1am who advised us to remove the two posts about Kate.”

We said that we had tried to get contact details for Peter Murtagh, the author of Saturday’s article, but it had been too late. Mr Linehan sent us Peter Murtagh’s phone number and email.

The conversation we had with Mr Murtagh was off the record but on Wednesday morning when, following a conversation with Kate’s parents, we published our article about the editing of Kate’s article we received an email from Peter Murtagh asking to contact him “urgently” about “refs to us [Irish Times] that are incorrect”.

He told us that the The Irish Times did not edit Kate’s article because of a threat of legal action from The Communications Clinic (as was our understanding based on our conversation) but on legal advice from the paper’s own lawyer(s).

When we asked Mr Murtagh if the Irish Times had acted solely on its own volition he said that The Communications Clinic had been in touch “with the paper” and had “registered its unhappiness” about the allegations contained in Kate’s original article.

Much about this story doesn’t make sense but this sounded especially odd as the paper regularly offers a right of reply to people who feel they have been misrepresented.

Also, to have edited an article that had been the author’s last words – described by her mother as Kate’s “suicide note” – on the basis of someone’s “unhappiness” as opposed to a substantial legal threat simply beggared belief.

However, we amended our post to reflect the clarification from Mr Murtagh.

What we know is that Kate wrote an anonymous article about attitudes by employers towards people with depression. That she was dead before that article was published in The Irish Times. We know that Peter Murtagh was contacted by Kate’s father Tom Fitzgerald, who confirmed his daughter was the author.

And that her article alleged wrongdoing at The Communications Clinic, a company that a month earlier had faced accusations of bullying and intimidation by another young worker.

And then. Nothing.

If this had happened in a local branch of Tesco you might expect a newspaper such as the Irish Times, would investigate.

It is very possible that Mr Murtagh, in his article on Saturday – three months after Kate’s death – included her claims about the difficulties at her workplace in his article and it was removed on legal advice during the subbing process.

But if there were concerns why did Kate’s article, in its original form with the allegations, remain on the paper’s website site until Monday before it was, in her mother’s words, “butchered”?

We know from talking with Kate’s parents that Mr Murtagh has acted in their interest and has helped to raise the issues surrounding depression and mental illness that she attempted to put into the public domain. We do not know Mr Murtagh. But he is known as a journalist of the highest integrity and in a tough, often unpleasant industry, is extremely popular and respected.

On Wednesday night we were told and it has since been confirmed to us that Peter Murtagh has had a professional relationship going back more than 25 years with Terry Prone, owner of The Communications Clinic. We were surprised that Mr Murtagh had not told us about this. Particularly as we had spoken candidly with him of our fears (real or imagined) and those of Kate’s mother about the influence and reach of The Communications Cinic within political and media circles in Ireland and that we had mentioned Terry Prone by name.

But we also realise that many journalists on most national newspapers know Ms Prone. It would be perhaps more unusual if Mr Murtagh did not know Terry Prone. We also understand that the Communications Clinic was unaware that Saturday’s article about Kate was about to appear.

But it is a question of transparency or, as media training consultants call it, the ‘optics’. Mr Murtagh wrote in some detail about Kate’s working life. The article did not mention her time at the Communications Clinic. Peter Murtagh is a friend of one of the owners of that company. Perhaps it should have been left to another journalist to cover that important area of Kate’s life? We asked Mr Murtagh yesterday morning on the record about Ms Prone but he said he did not wish to speak to us anymore.

The Irish Times is a newspaper with a record of demanding extremely high standards from others. Certainly standards this website regularly fails to reach.

This was Kate Kitzgerald’s version of Kate Fitzgerald’s life and it was altered and revised by the paper that she went to for help.

Why?

Previously: Kate Fitzgerald

283 thoughts on “The Irish Times And Kate Fitzgerald

        1. Mark Malone

          Your not just winning the internet, your shaping how social media and participation and relationships with a wider public actually means for new telling and narrative making. I dont think its over egging it to say that it helping people radically rethink what speaking truth to power can be today and into the future.

  1. Monty

    Ouch

    For those of us not in the know, what’s the “professional relationship” between Peter Murtagh and Terry Prone? Very odd that the Op-Ed editor of the Irish Times would have a “professional relationship” for 25 years with a senior PR person – makes you look at ALL previous op-ed pieces published for bias and influence.

    1. Sopwith

      Hacks are invited to present seminars by meeja training firms all the time. I was asked a few times myself when I worked in the Dublin meeja but always declined as I (puffs out chest) thought it not the done thing. And I was small fry.

      Broadsheet, you’ll need a bigger barrow to carry all the kudos you’ve earned over the past few days, top stuff. Private Eye look out!

      1. Edmund Dantes

        As I mentioned in a previous post there a series of interconnected Chaebols (see Korea) that are at the rotten core of this country. They exist in plain sight, but their habitat is the murky social circuit where deals are cut. They have been allowed to exist and proliferate in the shadows, because more often than not – the official media has refused to out them. The reason for that is now even more apparently clear – they are in cahoots at least at some level.

        There are some among us in our society who erroneously believe that if they keep their mouths shut or if they cosy up to members of the Chaebol – they’ll be ‘looked after’ – but the sad reality is – they won’t. Unless you are related to one of them (family) or you sufficiently threaten their interests, they’ll eat you for breakfast and spit you out. The only way to prosper in our society is foreclose on the Chaebol and resist allowing them off the hook.

        As for the mainstream media – you either fit with their agenda or you don’t. They will either pillory you or just plainly ignore you. They will not publish stories that might conflict with their own interests or at least ‘interests’ which they are intrinsically involved with but don’t want in the public domain – our media is a fiddle that is easily played(by the likes of TCC) and remarkably out of tune with the times we are in.

        What the ‘chaebols’ are terrified of, is the web – over which they have little or no control, where the truth will out and where the traditional media is by-passed.

        So thanks Broadsheet for taking a stand, but don’t sit on your laurels – up the ante! As for your readership, it’s time to get stuck in. Now’s the chance.

      2. alex

        Really, all the time? I’m a journalist and have been for 8 years and have never been asked, neither have my esteemed colleagues. Maybe the media, sorry, ‘meeja’, has changed.

        Well done on the posts broadsheet.ie, it’s great to see this highlighted. Just to point out though there are a number of grammatical/spelling errors in this piece

    2. charlie murphy

      Are you seriously going to permit comments full of innuendo like that here? Broadsheet is a fantastic addition to the Irish media landscape, but seriously guys?

      1. Sopwith

        If that’s aimed at me then it is not innuendo, it is personal experience. Maybe I should have added that this may be the ‘professional relationship’ Broadsheet referred to. I’ve hired working hacks myself to give seminars in the past, but then I was working as a radio station manager.

  2. Emer

    You have gone from reposting Reddit to Woodward and Bernstein in a week!. I’m terribly impressed, keep it up. (Not that I don’t love the funny pictures too…)

      1. GickerFace

        It focused solely on Kate’s battle with depression but didn’t touch on her article. They mentioned the coverage on broadsheet but they were extremely careful with their words. I was shocked to see nothing in the Metro at least! I mean most of the Metro is online virals and advertising. The silence of this story offline is extremely sinister and is making the censorship completely blatant.

      2. John G

        I sent in a text asking would this issue be covered but there was absolutely no mention of it. In fairness, the focus of the interview was on Kate and her family. I would really like to see it discussed somewhere though!

      1. Terry Bloom

        I’d imagine that the world of PR and Media in general is so small in this country that they are all connected in some way, even if only as working acquaintances. Perhaps the other media org’s are just terrified of legal action or the political influence that the Comm’s Clinic may or may not be able to exert. All in all it really makes Broadsheet appear to be the sole bastion of press freedom in this country at the moment. Looks like another coseted and self serving element of Irish public life that needs smashing up!

    1. Beamish

      RTE won’t touch it. Tom Savage (hubby of Terry, da of Anton, main man in TCC) is also chair of RTE, who also, according to the Phoenix this week, has been ‘shielding’ Noel Curran, CEO of RTE, from the Flannagan affair.

      So, the last thing Curran needs is for his news team to go plundering into this story in wich his chair and close advisor is at least partly embroiled in.

      My understanding is the the TCC and Prone, Savage and son are all extremely good at what they do in terms of advising and consulting on a raft of PR issues. There may be some duds on the CV (Gay Mitchel’s presidential campaign) but by and large they are successful because they are very good at what they do.

      But the overlapping of their roles as PR advisors with that of the establishment media is nothing short of a disgrace, and leads to all sort of ethical issues. The ‘paper of record’ used to pride itself on ethical probity. It has not covered itself in glory here.

    2. Paddy

      None of the Communicorp radio stations will touch it as one of the senior partners in TCC works in their building.
      RTÉ won’t touch it for the reasons outlined above.
      The other Irish social media/news outlets won’t touch it because they rely on the traditional model of journalism, wait for a press release make a story. Looking at the list of TCC’s clients, it’d be a slow news week if they were shut out of the PR loop.

      1. Edmund Dantes

        If the mainstream media won’t’ cover it, then we will have to make them cover it. If that means placards outside Montrose (at the N11 junction) or setting up camp outside the ITs offices on Tara Street; so be it.

    1. billy b

      This is great work broadsheet, I implore you to keep it up. I think you have found the tip of something really nasty by turning a few stones. Please follow this story and dont let it just fade out. You are doing alot for kate’s memory, Irish media transparancy and work place issues. Your journalism is a social good.

  3. Owen C

    I usually come on here for a bit of mindless fun, and then i get an amazing lesson in journalistic integrity. Mind-blowingly awesome stuff from Broadsheet.

  4. bisted

    A mantra from Very Prone was…if you’re explaining, you’re losing….hopefully we won’t have to listen to her ever again. I trust the Times to get to the bottom of this without fear or favour.

    1. Bumps

      I wonder if it would be possible to put together a list of TCC clients.

      I know I would have a lot less respect and would be extremely unlikely to do business with someone who was one of their clients.

        1. Bumps

          So basically organisations and people who are just shite at actually doing anything. Makes sense I suppose.

          If you are a decent organisation you don’t need to employ someone like TCC to spin for you.

        2. Zuppy International

          @ Skutchgrass

          Whoa…. RTE are clients of TCC? And Tom Savage of TCC is head of the RTE authority?

          Resignation required. Now.

  5. The Goat

    This has already ended in a lot of tears but it would now appear that there are much more to come……. I take my hat off to all involved here in profiling this and assuming that you have the backing of the family then keep it up and keep digging……. may there be nowhere to hide as long as broadsheet is on the case.

    As for any potential legal bills – please stick me down for a €50 contribution.

    1. Chris Lee

      3rd year law student just finished a couple of modules in media law. If you need an intern to work for free making coffee and writing notes to fight this. Stick me down.

      1. Velvet

        I second that. I’m sure you guys are up the walls busy around this whole topic and if you want a coffee or tea making professional or even somebody to take a few notes or answer the phones give me a shout, Obvo at no charge. I’ll even donate a few bob to the legal landmine fund!!!

        Keep it up broadsheet.

        1. Brian L

          +1. Get in touch, more than happy to help and will happily throw in a few quid if there’s a legal fund going.

  6. ZipAhDeeDooDah

    Yet again, I doff my cap in your general direction.

    Thanks for yet another ballsy, gutsy piece.

    Would that the paper of record had even a small percentage of your gumption.

    This is the edge that’s been missing from journalism in Ireland for many years – probably due to the inherent nepotism that’s been rife in the corridors of media.

  7. irrelevant

    This is a very interesting take on events and you have raised some serious issues here.
    I’m curious as to what Broadsheet sees as a desirable outcome from this – also, are Kate’s family supportive of this piece of journalism at what must still be a time of deep distress for them?

    1. Shane

      A “desirable outcome”? This is presumably truthful hard hitting journalism, with a side commentary on the Irish media scene in general.
      Why does there need to be a desirable outcome?! Is that what journalistic integrity is reduced to?

  8. Apple_girl

    But he is known as a journalist of the highest integrity and in a tough, often unpleasant industry

    Let’s be honest here, an odious industry that sucks freelancers dry, and where getting tenure depends on having an aunt upstairs – which also explains why the whole enterprise has become so mediocre.

    1. Sarah

      Unfortunately, that’s often the case. In certain papers however, it’s a case of how many of the boardroom’s c*cks you can handle independently. It’s time to herald some serious change to Irish journalism.

    1. Zero

      If they took their own advice, they wouldn’t have gone to the Irish Times expressing their ‘unhappiness’ and we wouldn’t be still talking about this.

  9. Stephen Morrissey

    Keep it up. Great to see no fear in dealing with the issue of the “optics”. If only there was more transparency in the world of journalism.

    +1 on the €50 for any potential legal bills…

  10. Shane

    Wow, this is fantastic journalism.

    Well done guys, will be very interesting to see will other elements of Irish media take their cue to investigate this story from you.

    1. BlobBlob

      ‘Wow, this is fantastic journalism’

      In what sense? Broadsheet didn’t source this story. They are posting the work of others and going ‘look at this.’
      Look, I really do feel for Kate and her family, and I have absolutely no connection to TCC, but I’m not convinced by all of this finger-wagging at the Irish Times.
      Let’s imagine, just for a second, that the allegations are false. TCC get enough cash from the IT to buy a plane and an island. Far worse than that – Peter Murtagh’s reputation is decimated.
      People are very quick to condemn reporters when they fail to err on the side of caution – just ask RTE’s Aoife Kavanagh. Her career and the Prime Time Investigates series have both been sent into exile in the wake of one poorly executed story.
      Let’s not forget, also, that when we ask our in-house legal teams for advice we must follow that advice. Don’t go legal if you don’t want to tow the line.
      I heart Broadsheet very much, and admire the honest spirit of what they are trying to do here, but they have less to lose than the IT with their coverage of this story – you can’t get blood from a stone and I doubt Broadsheet has potloads of money to hand over. The ‘bravery’ of their stance might not be all that brave after all.
      Finally, there have been snide attacks here all day on the ‘meeja’ and the profession of journalism. Perhaps the back-seat reporters among you would care to train for several years, learn the craft and settle in to your style, and then tackle what is a very difficult job? Please remember that the vast majority of reporters are dedicated, hard-working, ethical professionals.

      1. Soupy Norman

        I’m a former journalist BlobBlob. I won’t say the majority, but an awful lot of journalists in this country are lazy and poorly trained. They regurgitate press releases without every questioning the content. They attend press conferences and then faithfully publish/broadcast whatever was said, without ever questioning whether it is the truth.

        I’d be a very rich man if I had a euro for every time I heard a journalist say: “We just report what was said and let the public decide whether to believe it or not.” Well, I’m sorry, that’s not journalism. A journalist’s job is to question *everything*, especially the self-serving guff that emanates from people in power.

        There are good journalists in this country, but there are a lot more useless hacks who (whether through laziness or incompetence) are basically just information conduits for PR companies, political parties, trade unions, etc.

        1. Edmund Dantes

          No truer words were ever spoken. Just scan through the Sunday papers and count the number of puff pieces and PR copy that is written under a nom de plume.

        2. BlobBlob

          I agree that of course there are lazy reporters, as in any profession.
          I still think that most of us take the responsibility of the job very seriously.
          I would never have published something that could identify Kate’s employer. Her original, anonymous, piece was powerful enough to make its own point.
          I sympathise with the Fitzgeralds, but I also respect the law. Without any evidence, how could any reporter stand over these allegations?
          I’m simply making the point that there is a witch hunt going on here, led by people who have the best of intentions but don’t really understand the seriousness of the consequences that the journalist could face.
          This isn’t about printing puff pieces, or passing off PR content as your own. It’s about printing very serious allegations.
          If this goes to court, the burden of proof lies with the IT and the journalist. Can they truly prove the allegations?
          Those laws exist, and they exist to stop us from telling lies about people for the sake of a juicy story.
          That standard can’t simply change to suit us when public opinion dictates that omitting certain content is morally reprehensible.

          1. SDaedalus

            No witch hunt as far as this commenter is concerned.

            I can fully understand how it may be difficult for the IT to prove the allegations – given that Kate is no longer alive to give evidence (although it might of course be possible to prove them by other means e.g. evidence of witnesses & so forth, her absence makes it that much more difficult).

            I would have understood if the IT had published a statement saying that it was not possible to prove the accuracy of the allegations.

            However they went significantly further than this in their apology and subsequent clarification by saying that the allegations were untrue (they may not have used this exact language but this is essentially what they said in both statements).

            I find it difficult to believe, given the nature of the allegations, how the IT can determine whether or not the statements are untrue or not when Kate is not available to speak on the issue.

            The decision to say that the allegations were untrue went a lot further than the IT needed to protect itself from either a legal or an ethical point of view and causes me very great concern in circumstances where no specific grounds for such finding of inaccuracy have been put forward.

      2. Iris

        Oh yeah. Try being a woman journo for a while where you have to do all of the above, plus fend off some fat f**ker who thinks he’s entitled to sleep with you just so you get to keep your job.

  11. mickmick

    In your previous post you said
    “Later that evening we were warned by a journalist that a “libel landmine” was about to “blow up in our faces”… 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.”

    What I’d like to know is
    a) Was it a journalist from the IT?
    b) Why was said journalist doing the dirty work on behalf of a PR company? (assuming your analysis above is correct)

    p.s. Well done

      1. droctopus

        This has become a story about the Press and PR now, as much as KF’s personal story or the attitudes of empoyers in general. That voicemail journalist, whoever he or she was, did something almost as peculiar as Murtagh and the Times. Are any of these people capable of seeing how foul and disrespectful such manoeuvring is in the context? These were her last words to the living.. and having published them, and then employed the fuller story to capitalize on the original, the IT goes back and mangles the piece online. Probably hoping that no-one would notice. Then the spin doctors try to spin themselves out of an encroaching mess by, apparently (possibly), trying to rip chunks out of the reputation of the Departed.

        I live abroad, but from what people tell me, and from the posts here, the papers are all avoiding the story. I would seize on it… the relevant piece is #1 on the Times site… What a craven shower they are. Pathetic.

  12. spucks

    holy moley!
    i think broadsheet are doing a great job with this, keep up the good work chaps (and chapettes?)

  13. Brian

    Well done to Broadsheet -what strikes me is that you guys are merely pointing out truths and asking questions that will make certain very self important people uncomfortable – its not unusual for media and PR to go hand in hand, often journalists segway into PR ‘consultant’ careers, and vice versa – they are nearly two sides of the same coin – but Broadsheet is rightly asking the pertinent question, ‘What influence does such a close relationship have on journalistic integrity?’

    Maybe ye need to divide the site into two halves, one ‘Kicking Ass and Taking Names’ and the other ‘Lolcats and stuff’ :)

  14. Kbird

    Got shivers while reading this post. Well done. You’re sitting in the fire now Broadsheet – stand your ground.

    1. Sally

      Totally agree, don’t back off now. And I’m sure I speak for a good few people when I say, I would gladly contribute to any cost you guys might incur by running with this
      Brilliant work

  15. 30/30

    I come here mainly for the lulz, occasionally for the political stories. But you guys are doing absolutely brilliantly on this story. Brilliant journalism. Well done guys.

  16. DaveyD

    This is fantastic stuff guys. I usually log on for shits and giggles here but this was a great read. I’ll be watching this space closely.

    Well done.

  17. Paulie Doohan

    I just remembered a book written by Tom Savage in the 90s: “How to Get What You Want: Making Negotiations Work”

    There was a section on how to negotiate with employees when you want to dismiss them and a commentary on a negotiation where one participant threatened suicide. I have a copy of this book at home so I won’t say any more until I reread these sections.

    I think it’s now time for Tom Savage to step aside from being chairman of RTE. The conflict of interest in too wide.

    1. Three Broadsheets to the Wind

      If there’s anything worthwhile can you possibly scan it and email it to the editors?

    2. droctopus

      I for one would definitely like to read the relevant passage of this oeuvre by Mr Savage. Please toddle home and fetch it, would you?

      I’ll contribute to the price of the taxi.

  18. Your Aulone

    Brilliant stuff Broadsheet, keep up the amazing work on this. The bureaucracy and corruption here needs to be exposed and in this particular case, you’re the only media outlet with the cojones

  19. larry

    Hats off on this lads. I mainly come here for the banter but it’s really good to see this. How different the country would be if all the media displayed this type of integrity and backbone.

  20. Ciaránamo

    Who was the journalist who warned you of this ‘libel landmine’ and claimed that her complaints were a result of her being ‘mentally ill’ (as stated in the previous article)? You say it is your honestly held view that he/she passed this message on at the behest of the Communications Clinic. I find this one of the most shocking and sinister aspects of this story and think that you should name this person in the public interest. You’ve already gone this far. Don’t stop now.

  21. Louis

    It will be extremely interesting to see how this story develops or if indeed it does develop as the tentacles of the Communications Clinic stretch far and wide. I can understand Peter Murtagh’s reluctance to volunteer his long standing professional relationship with Terry Prone and don’t believe he was directly influenced by her but that does not necessarily mean he was not indirectly so influenced. There are obviously pieces of this puzzle which do not add up and issues of public interest which perhaps go to the heart of journalistic independence. I am also quite impressed with Broadsheet for their efforts at safeguarding the integrity of Kate’s memory and her words.

  22. Greg

    This might be due a rewrite?

    ‘What Every Working Woman Should Know (and Do!)’, written in Terry Prone’s inimitable lively and irreverent style, will inform and entertain readers. Terry turns her attention to women at work, the choices they make, the obstacles they face in their search for a successful and rewarding career. Areas covered include: women in management, sexual harassment and bullying of women in the workplace.

    http://www.amazon.com/Every-Working-Woman-Should-Know/dp/1856079724/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpt_2

  23. Imisaninja

    It has been a very long time since I have witnessed such ballsy journalism as this in Ireland. Keep her lit guys, we need this.

  24. Rob

    I watched Vincent Browne lastnight in the hope that he would mention it. Can’t see RTE having a go, Matt Cooper seems to be great friends with Anton Savage sonthat’s that then.

    1. Louise

      Who cares that mainstream media is not covering it, everyone I know is talking about it! Goes to show you how irrevant old media is fast becoming.

  25. Maria

    Thank you for good honest journalism. Thankfully there is a publication like yours which can defend Kate’s honour and integrity. In my opinion The Communications Clinic have made a pr mess of a story that never mentioned them in the first place. What is it they are in the business of doing again???

  26. Leapleg

    Surely no more tax payers money should be spent on these consultants? With budget cuts needed surely spending on ‘bending’ the truth would be one of the first things to go…

    1. ProvingGround

      TCC / Terry Prone remind me of what someone once said about Mary Harney: what level of dirt do they have on them (the government) to still be around?

  27. Patrick Kennedy

    Outstanding work guys. If The Irish Times is going to take the high moral ground on media ethics then it would want to hold true to its own principles.

  28. Kolmo

    Good work.
    These “communications” firms have too much influence in the country, the truth is manipulated and twisted to suit an agenda/optics that it distorts it for most people. Any politician that uses such firms should not be voted for, it is plainly dishonest, if he/she can’t speak for himself, he shouldn’t be in the game. Keep up the good work.

    1. Rose

      I seriously doubt they’ll be on our airwaves any time soon. But in the unlikely event, don’t forget to text or email the show stating your dislike. If a show is bombarded with comments, I’d say they might reconsider having them on again (even if the comments aren’t communicated back to us!!)

      Proud of you broadsheet.

  29. General Waste

    Top work Broadsheet. Any chance while you’re on a roll that you do a bit of digging on the silence around the Tom Humphries story? The Star has a piece this morning but otherwise the media are practising omerta on this.

  30. James

    “All the Editor’s men” or Writergate? I can’t decide.

    Pretty ugly stuff. Well done guys. Love to see the failure of the conspiracy machine. You’ve tossed the first rock – finger’s crossed it turns into an avalanche. Kudos.

  31. paul

    You’ll never work in this town again.

    keep it up.

    by the way have you followed up on the suspected phone-hacking?

  32. James

    Ps: Love the disingenuous euphemism “optics” – sounds like something the Bush administration or Halliburton would have coined. I think the phrase they are looking for is political censorship. Reichstag fire anyone?

    1. Stewart Curry

      You’d be better of using a melee weapon as a defender who is Prone gains a +4 bonus to Armor Class against ranged attacks, but takes a -4 penalty to AC against melee attacks.

  33. Slypig

    Stern stuff lads, your unburdened by any of the obvious chrony culture that surrounds the times and tcc. Keep it honest and keep it transparent and it would be hard to touch you legally. Your best weapon right now is the site itself. Keep the fact based updates and honesty coming.

  34. fiona daly

    So how is this talking about suicide, and opening up lines of communication about suicide?
    How will this really help people who are suffering in silence, and whose families are met with stigma and the sickening half-turned faces of faux sympathy?
    All the claps on the back and the “we did it guys!” congratulatory outpourings are frankly unctuous.
    Broadsheet is a media publication like any other, and like all others it is like a crack head desperate for a hit.
    Don’t for one moment think that the few who run this site are not basking in the glory of this collective ego massage.
    All the “well done “lads” truly shows a deep-seated lack of understanding as to what this is really all about; frankly it is an insult to her memory.
    Kate Fitzgerald’s life ended at the tender age of 25, the tragedy of which is unspeakable.
    If society spoke more openly about depression and the hundreds on here shared their stories about people they know who lost their lives needlessly, shattering forever the lives of their families and friends, it would be a far more valuable exercise.
    Obviously there is a David and Goliath situation happening here, and Broadsheet has done well to highlight it, but let something real and tangible come out of this please, and lets move away from one media outlet, and a man who has worked for countless newspapers himself all of his adult life, having a pop at another media outlet he probably at one point worked for.
    How about instead of spending your morning congratulating Broadsheet, you call that person you inevitably know who is not doing so well right now, and cease with the collective back slapping, sick of it.

    1. John 'Preposterous' Ryan

      “Don’t for one moment think that the few who run this site are not basking in the glory of this collective ego massage.”

      This is genuinely not the case.

    2. Daz

      Well Fiona Daly, (if that’s even your real name) how’s about saying thank you to Broadsheet for perhaps helping another employer to think first before putting an employee on the route to potential suicide … who do you work for BTW … hmmm …

    3. Jon66

      Get over yourself. This is an discrete story about how Irish media organisations and politicians are in bed together fleecing the rest of us. No wonder we get depressed.

    4. John Gallen

      Hi Fíona,

      Good on you for not using a pseudonym, neither do I. I’ll be brief.

      I have experienced this in my own family and find the posts on this topic here today and yesterday extremely helpful… whether the topic moves into tangents or not, I know why we’re here and that’s good enough for me.

      John

    5. Rob

      You are right Fiona let’s stop this kind of thing and have no discussion about bullying. This I think is a story about the concequence of bullying! Suicide! What is going on seems to be that a threat was made, one party capitulated another stood up, maybe we should be asking ourselves if someone over at the Irish Times isn’t feeling good today and needs someone to talk to?

    6. Chris

      For a start Fiona I’d imagine TCC might have a long, hard think about how they treat any employee who comes to senior management with a concern about their mental health. Other companies may well take their lead given the amount of coverage that can be generated from this issue. From listening to Kate’s mother on Newstalk yesterday it was clear that this was one of the main aspects she hoped would improve because of her death. The issue of the intrusion of PR companies into what passes for journalism in this country is also a huge concern to many people, as you can see from the number of repostings of the original article over the last few days. It’s quite easy to be cynical about the editorial staff on Broadsheet patting themselves on the back (for the record I’m a reader of the site and have never posted here before) but surely it’s pretty clear there are bigger issues far more worthy of your cynicism and clear thinking. If there’s a benefit to Broadsheet, well so be it. Christopher Hitchens often quotes this line from Thomas Jefferson and I think it’s pretty salient: “It is a frequent vice of radical polemic to assert, and even to believe, that once you have found the lowest motive for an antagonist, you have identified the correct one.”

    7. Terry Bloom

      Fiona, this is not any one single issue now but many. These include depression and its impact on peoples lives, the tragedy that is suicide, its causes and consequences, the treatment of employees in the workplace and in particular dealing with those suffering from depression in the work place, the censorship of national media by the media itself where there may be a question of vested interests or self protectionism, the question of undue influence or improper influence of certain private enterprises on National media and possibly national politics etc… These are all questions of extreme importance and should be open to free and unrestricted debate.
      Broadsheet is being congratualted for highlighting an issue where it appears other established media outlets, for whatever reasons, have either ignored the issue or are choosing to stay quiet on it.
      You say “If society spoke more openly about depression and the hundreds on here shared their stories about people they know who lost their lives needlessly, shattering forever the lives of their families and friends, it would be a far more valuable exercise.”. Well the fact that Broadsheet are fighting to keep this matter in the publics attention can only help to open up further debate around these important issues which is greatly needed.
      There is no slapping of backs or “we did it!” talk coming from Broadsheet. There is though much congratulations from readers who truly appreciate what they see as a courageous and brave stance by a media outlet where others appear to be failing. Fearless journalism in search of the truth is a fundamental
      pillar of democracy and the readers are simply showing their appreciation of and support for the work Broadsheet have carried out on this issue.

    8. John Gallen

      Who is this “man” you refer to at the near end of your post?

      “lets move away from one media outlet, and a man who has worked for countless newspapers himself”

    9. Marc W.

      “Broadsheet is a media publication like any other, and like all others it is like a crack head desperate for a hit.”

      Well I wouldnt agree with you on this. This is a blogging site with little or no advertising, and very obviously very little in the way of vested interest. I doubt anyone is earning a living running broadsheet. Thats gonna put it into a very different place to the Irish Times.

  35. WhoCares

    Interestingly here’s the titles of 2 of her Examiner pieces – as listed in the Comms Clinic website:

    “Don’t confuse the best and the brightest with Greedy self-promotors” (that’s actually how it’s spelt on her website btw – haven’t read it, maybe it’s about people who are in favour of motors – “pro-motors” :) )

    Even more hypocritical:
    “Money not the only way to reward workers – try listening to them”

  36. Frilly Crone PR

    Too busy to read every thing on this. Sorry. But it strikes me that The Communications Clinic weren’t actually practicing the skill of Public Relations (if you can call it that), at all.

    Maybe twas a sham all along. Maybe Terry and Tom got themselves some handy gigs that bestowed them with some extended leverage, exposure, and enhanced opportunities.

    Maybe their real skill is their ability to infiltrate THEIR ‘Thing’ on and into the Media and Public Life. And charge others for it.

    Maybe they are to be congratulated for exploiting and manipulating every ounce of eejitory the Paddies gave them

    I wouldn’t BTW. I’d probably laugh. Feckin cut them. Jaysus t’night. How could anyone take her seriously …

    1. paul

      terry prone was advising gay mitchell in his presidential campaign, yeah? enough said about their skills there.

      1. Frilly Crone PR

        I heard her confirm on the wireless that she was employed by the Gay Mitchell for President campaign.

        I take that to be far more involved (therefore responsible) that ‘advising’

        Proof to me she is a ………

  37. DR

    once again you have outdone yourselves.

    Keep this going guys, this country needs more ballsy reporting like this

  38. Fat Frog

    BS, I’m in your corner on this one and admire your gut sin pursuing the story. That said I want to point out a discrepancy in your reporting above. You say
    “On Wednesday night we were told and it has since been confirmed to us that Peter Murtagh has had a professional relationship going back more than 25 years with Terry Prone, owner of The Communications Clinic.”
    In wrapping up, you summarise.
    “Peter Murtagh is a friend of one of the owners of that company.”
    I realise that professional relationships and friendships are not mutually exclusive, but personal friendship and and friendliness in a professional context are two different things. So which is it with regard to Peter Murtagh?

    It is important to steer a steady course on this story as it is such a biggie.

  39. L Carroll

    I’m delighted to see that the people of Ireland are no longer confusing confidence/arrogance for intelligence and are questioning people like this all the way (e.g. govt officials, politicians, priests & anyone who thinks they can abuse their power).

    The support here is fantastic and it’s not just “people who want a moan”, they have valid questions and discussions about those in power and should be listened to.

    More power to you Broadsheet & supporters for bucking the trend and hosting this discussion.

  40. G

    The TCCC Client list from their website word for word is as follows : http://communicationsclinic.ie/clients.html

    We help people and companies be the best they can be. It’d defeat the purpose if we then tried to take credit.

    If you hire us you get the exact same confidentiality. The work we cite doing for clients throughout this site is all taken from instances where our work was already in the public domain.

    But we can give you a sense of who we work for;

    A couple of professional-service partnerships
    Some of the top organisations in the health sector
    A number of charities
    A clutch of the country’s top broadcasters
    Some international blue-chips in manufacturing, pharmaceutical, electronics, and energy
    A bunch of Government departments
    Some politicians
    The occasional student
    A farmer (A big farmer. But only one)

    1. Three Broadsheets to the Wind

      Hmmm, I wonder what government departments and charities are on their books. I’d like to start some letter writing.

  41. Daithi

    This should be posted on all chat forums and discussion boards to make it as widely known as possible. I’ll be telling everyone I know down the pub tonight as well.
    Also, someone from Broadsheet should wite an article for a British newspaper like the Independent or the Guardian, possibly with references to the Leveson inquiry going on over there.
    The more people talking about it the harder it is for the media here in Ireland to ignore it.

  42. Listrade

    Sterling work indeed, but I fear that some comments on here may indicate what may have been the concerns of the Times (whether or not any influence from TCC was nefarious).

    We had an emotional and succinct article, written anonymously, regarding experiences of suffering from depression and an employer’s response to this. We had the tragic suicide and then we had it becoming known who the original author was. Inevitably too many comments on here make the link between the suicide and her employment. Perhaps that assumption/accusation is what the Times was hoping to avoid because make no bones about it, that is one very serious accusation to make.

    Is that a defence of TCC? No. Is that denigrating from BS keeping this in the public eye? No. Just that the motivations of the Times may have been based on sound reasoning and legal advice rather than anything too nefarious.

    But let’s not forget that the country as a whole has a long way to go in accepting any mental health issue, not just employers. The diabolical health care and funding for mental health, education, even understanding among our friends, family and colleagues. It’s nice to have someone we can blame for this and make as a scapegoat, but the problem is much deeper and in many case much closer to home.

    Keep up this reporting please. Keep up the message and the spirit of what is ultimately behind this (a complete failure of society to accept mental illness).

    1. Lush

      +1.
      This is turning into a witch-hunt and the original issue raised is being forgotten in the finger-pointing frenzy.

    2. droctopus

      Sound reasoning and legal advice? Well that makes it all okay then… As far as I can see the smelliest sh*t is now stuck to the ‘Times. You are treating your readers with contempt by meddling with published content in this way — and of course, worst of all, with the words of someone who has just died in awful circumstances.
      +They did not ask her parents.
      +They did not take out the full piece (which wouldve been contemptible, but more consistent) — rather they selectively removed her words.

      The Irish Times. Someone should make a large sign saying ”We are an idiots” and place it outside their front door, then snap a few photos and upload them. See if they can edit that as bloody quick.

      1. Listrade

        “The Irish Times. Someone should make a large sign saying ”We are an idiots” and place it outside their front door, then snap a few photos and upload them. See if they can edit that as bloody quick”

        Couldn’t agree more. I didn’t say that the IT weren’t idiots in how they handled it, just that perhaps their haste and panic to edit it might have been based on the assumptions people on these comments are making; that TCC is directly responsible for the suicide.

    3. Marc W.

      I agree with what you are saying and I thought about this myself… but the thing that makes this all so sour is the fact that they CHANGED what she said. These were her final words, and they edited them. They actually edited them to the point of her saying “I do not blame my employer”, out of context. The piece almost goes out of its way to say that she herself made mistakes but her employer is blameless… when in fact the editing was so sloppy the original title of the letter shows the real meaning of the letter. Its a dire abuse of position that the Irish Times have carried this out. If the Irish Times feel that it was legally risky, they should have just removed the letter, and stated a reason why, like the two liner they have on the page now about the edit… but they should have just removed her letter. It would still have been spineless, but at least it wouldnt have been manipulative and spineless. The manipulation that is evident here, only because Broadsheet raised this issue is really at the core of what is going on here.

      I mean to think that her words were changed is so sick, and insensitve. Completely. TCC has an opportunity to refute what was said if they felt it appropriate, or the Irish Times could have commented on it, but after changing her words… her final words (literally)…. she has no possible way to defend her position. The Irish Times, attacked (albeit in a passive way) someone who cannot defend themselves.

      The crazy thing on top of this is the fact that this article/letter/opinion piece is about the stigma of bullying in the workplace for people with depression. And by the very acts that have been carried out by TCC and The Irish Times, the bullying of her continues even after she took her life. Think about it. They are actually still treating her poorly after the fact… its a strange irony.

      It is absolutely abhorrent that the Irish Times did this, and that (assuming they really did) TCC actually voiced their “unhappiness” about this to the Irish Times that they censored her words.

      I mean what message does this send out to people who are facing this illness…. you can talk about this, but it has to stay secret. Like people with AIDS in the 80s and 90s, (at the time of the Philadelphia movie).

      She stated her case, and after it was deemed to be upsetting to people (who lets not forget are apparently colleagues of 25 years to people in the Irish Times), she was silenced. Its a damning indictment.

      1. Listrade

        Can’t disagree with a single word you’ve said and I completely stand by everything BS is doing here.

        I just think there’s a scatter-gun approach to some of the updates and information. Maybe BS did it on haste or even anger, but I’m not entirely sure what point they’re trying to make. And that’s leading to innuendo and accusations here and it’s sad because there is a massive story here and we need to get back onto that.

        1. Marc W.

          I agree… but I do believe Broadsheet are being transparent in their updates, and I feel that what they are asking is… why did the Irish Times change the article. Broadsheet are not responsible for the comments of the audience … they could censor them I suppose, but that would obviously be counter productive given the very topic that is being discussed here…

          1. Eithne

            In complete agreement that the Irish Times should not have altered a word of Kate Fitzgerald’s article and if they were, to use Broadsheet’s lovely honest word, ‘scared’, they should have pulled the article in its entirety. Also think Broadsheet should be vetting, censoring, whatever you want to call it, the posts received on this subject.

  43. Daithi

    When I say references, I mean comparisons. Media bias and influence, etc. I don’t know, I ‘m just talking shit at this stage

    1. Irlandesa

      yeah, ask them did they want to “register their unhappiness” about the untimely and lonely death of a talented young colleague, or was it just the “allegations” that upset them.

      Excellent work, Broadsheet, keep it up. You are fighting the good fight.

  44. Gary Flood

    Hat tip to the team at Broadsheet. This is brave, honest, upright and proper journalism and we need more of it.

  45. Gorilla

    No wonder this story is not being covered by newspapers, TV or radio. They are all up to their neck in it.

    Depression isn’t always caused by a chemical imbalance. Sometimes it’s circumstantial such as being unemployed, or encountering a**holes at work who get off on generating insecurity. They can get away with that in a climate that fosters secrecy and cover-up. Enough! Thanks Broadsheet.ie for throwing the spotlight on this.

  46. Queenie

    “how’s about saying thank you to Broadsheet for perhaps helping another employer to think first before putting an employee on the route to potential suicide … who do you work for BTW … hmmm …”

    I think the innuendo about the TCC is extremely unfair.

    Recommendations for press reporting of suicide specifically say that the suicide should not be attributed to a single cause yet the implication throughout this story is that Kate’s employers drove her to do it. The IT shouldn’t have edited the article without acknowledging when and why but going further than that smacks of personal spitefulness towards Prone.
    It was clear from Kate’s story that she was being treated for severe depression and her problems at work arose after she checked herself out of St. Pats. The truth is – we don’t know what she told TCC, what they knew, how her work was viewed, how perhaps comments that were meant kindly were misinterpreted by Kate. She was depressed. I’ve been depressed. You can build up resentment pretty quickly against people you think should be helping you, but honestly, they just don’t understand what’s going on.
    Maybe TCC could’ve handled it better but I think that any friends/family/colleagues of anyone who has killed themselves spend a lot of time cursing themselves for not having dealt with that person’s problems better. They didn’t notice, or they did notice and responded badly. I’m sure her colleagues at work were horrified at what happened, but also appalled that the article, in retrospect, appeared to blame them, and once it became public knowledge who that company was, were understandably worried about their reputation. You can’t libel the dead, but in this case, it’s possible that the dead had libeled people at her company. How would any here feel if someone they knew or worked with left a suicide note which blamed them was published? Apart from the guilt and self-reproach, would you take steps to protect your livelihood and have the letter edited? As I say, the IT should’ve handled it better and more honestly, but much of the comment here is a bit triumphalist and inferring conspiracies where there might just be human turmoil…..

    and of course cue comments now accusing me of being vested interest, because, that’s easier than trying to look at this reasonably…….

    1. Lush

      +1 again.
      My mother committed suicide. I have spent a week or two at St John of Gods.
      Depression isn’t black and white.
      This is turning into a baying mob.

      1. GickerFace

        This incident is an example of how badly mental illness is approached in the workplace. An extremely heartfelt and emotional example. This can be perceived as a witch hunt against the TCC but in reality they are one of the most powerful PR agencies in the country, as we’ve seen by the practically Orwellian actions taken after the article was published on Broadsheet and the IT.

        Kate Fitzgerald’s article although emotive was clear and well articulated. She specifies she doesn’t blame her employer and I feel there is absolutely no sign of delusion in the piece. She also says that it wasn’t a work related problem until after she returned and had to handle the stigma of having to go to hospital because of her mind.

        I would be confident to say that this company exercised inappropriate interactions with their employees which was then reiterated by another employee who brought them to fucking court over it. Court! This is obviously surpassing a bit of passive aggressive here and there. It proves that senior members of staff were capable of being seriously abusive and unreasonable.

        Kate was not exaggerating. Her piece comments on the appalling way high profile ‘forward thinking’ companies deal with employees battling mental illness. It’s TCC’s ways in which they have tried to silence this piece that has caused such horror and disgust in people.

        1. james

          the issue isn’t that the TCC drove her to suicide. the story is the power of TCC in that two publications IT and initally broadsheet either pulled or altered a piece of work because of there reach. Anyone familier with jouralism any where in the western world knows there are certin ‘conditions’ Broadsheet going back on its position is big, goes against a ton of academic theory and experience and allows us to talk about some thing we usually avoid talking about. i.e the restraints on our ‘free media’

        2. Rose

          +1. Well said. This is two different employees citing inappropriate behaviour of an employer. Would make you wonder if there was more!!!

    2. Terry Bloom

      I don’t believe TCC are being accused of causing the suicide, possibly not treating a suicidal and depressed person in an appropriate manner as employers though. I think though this would have passed had it not being for what appears to have been a hush campaign after Broadsheet raised the original story.

  47. Jim Kelly

    Ah – at last …. a straightforward piece of reporting with no strings attached. Fasten your seatbelts – the established meeja won’t like this – we’re right behind you.

  48. Bren

    Good work – I wonder if pressed will Irish Times make a statement on this.

    Letters to the Editor anyone?

  49. Charco

    Bravo lads – power coming from the people not the corporation! Plenty of support for ye, keep it up!

    1. well

      spin and win? hahaha nearly fell out of my chair, how dumb are they? they have mary harney on the cover! thats desperate

    2. well

      “Conor Lenihan TD Review, The Irish Times (Read full review here)

      Click here to buy Spin & Win: How Politicians Get Elected”

      oh look

  50. Peatrice

    You know Queenie, sometime if it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it’s fair enough to infer that it is an actual duck. Especially when you discover the amount of ducking and diving that goes on behind the scenes. The connections, the strokes and all the rest of it.

    No one is saying TCC were reponsible for Kate Fitzgerald’s death, just that she had a right to have her version of the story stand. (What the Irish Times did was frankly cowardly and disgusting). There was nothing stopping TCC from writing their own article on the trials and tribulations of dealing with an employee suffering from depression. Open, honest dialogue, that’s the answer.

    1. Listrade

      Read the comments, plenty are making the link between her employment and her death.

      Of course she had the right to have her story told and to speak about her experiences. But just how are TCC supposed to write an article or a response about accusations made by someone who has recently committed suicide to give “their side”? How on earth do you do that? Go ahead, write a story calling an individual who has just committed suicide a liar and come out of that looking well.

      I do not doubt the experiences of BS in reporting this issue, but I feel people have seriously taken this as a direct accusation against TCC being to blame for the suicide.

      Anyone with any experience of depression personally, friend, family or colleague will tell you the failure of the system is much wider than one individual employer.

      1. Peatrice

        People are entitled to make a link between Kate Fitzgerald’s employement and her death. That’s what we do, make links. The business of PR is all about gas lighting, convincing us that black is white. It is infantile to pretend there is no link between Kate Fitzgerald’s employment and her death having read what she wrote.

        TCC clinic are in the business of communicating, although they’ve been very silent on this. They can present their side of the story without calling anyone a liar. They can talk about misunderstandings etc but talk they should. Because demanding that people just shut up is not working.

      1. woesinger

        In fairness, there’s a lot of companies on that list.

        Pointing to that is not really going to convince anyone.

  51. Sammy Junior

    Does anybody have an email address for the editor of The Irish Times ? as I would like to send him an email protesting how they have reported or not truly reported all the facts on this sad story.

  52. bob

    The communications clinic are certainly giving it their best shot in trying to suppress this story, their behaviour, along with certain members of the Irish Times, have been absolutely disgraceful over the past week.

    I would urge everyone to do their best to spread the word on this story. The media have dropped it out of fear.

    And to the employees of communications clinic that are monitoring this story on broadsheet, do the right thing, leave communications clinic, when you finally draw your last breath on this earth at least you will be able to say you did some good.
    For those employees standing by the company, you’re all fair game, along with Prone and the Savages.

  53. AJ

    This issue has arisen in a week that I have been written off work sick due to stress and anxiety caused by some of the people I work for and with. TCC and Irish Times aside, if it highlights this problem in the workplace and makes people more understanding and sympathetic to this matter, I applaud you and most of all, Kate, may she now rest in peace.

    1. Michelle

      I was in the same boat myself recently – cert off work for a week with anxiety, it’s happening to loads of people I work with, nothing has been done to help though.

      I hope that through Kate’s bravery and honesty about her situation, more people will come forward and that in the end it helps to ease the current cycle of depression and bullying in the Irish workplace.

  54. Oh ffs

    This is a nice crusade and all but Broadsheet is just as balls deep in this insidious world as PR as anyone else. It’s a scion of VIP magazine ffs.

    This is prolly about some old hoary vendetta J Ryan has against TCC.

    1. droctopus

      Someone died, and their last words were messed with by the national [physical] broadsheet. The Hoary Old vendettas and the “insidious world as [sic] PR” and all the rest are all diminished in importance next to this fact. That’s what has people angry here, for the most part.

      You haven’t been reading carefully, or you haven’t understood.

      1. well

        Oh whoever that is knows exactly what they are doing.

        Someone is pulling a lot of strings, editing articles, disappearing voice mails, online discussion on the subject being deleted(politics.ie)

    2. John 'Preposterous' Ryan

      Hi, I have no vendetta against the Communications Clinic. I have never met any of the people who own or run the company and if I did we would have disclosed that fact. We posted the link to the Irish Times article on Saturday because we thought Kate’s story was worth reading. On a personal note and to be as transparent as possible, the article struck chords with me because, like many, I have had lengthy periods of unfathomable depression and, while deeply confused, attempted suicide in London as a young man.
      I personally do not believe anyone in the Communications Clinic caused Kate’s death or that Peter Murtagh acted in anything other than good faith. But I do believe that Kate’s family and friends deserve some kind of explanation as to what happened to Kate when she returned to work from hospital and what happened to the article she wrote attempting to highlight her concerns.
      Again, on a personal note, I am also in no position to be self righteous about what is going on. I was a thoroughly undistinguished journalist, an inept businessman and an awful boss and I have many regrets about my private life and past behaviour.
      But some of the events of the past few days have been frankly disturbing. So, without wishing to sound pompous, Broadsheet.ie will continue to publish the facts as we know them. We consider this absoloutely essential. My apologies for the lengthy reply, John

      1. Oh ffs

        If in-house legal tells you to take something out, you take it out. Publish and be damned is a nice attitude to have for a blog, but a different story for a national paper of record. Broadsheet is routinely ragging on old media and the IT in particular and this story fits neatly into your agenda.

        1. bob

          I think you’re missing the point completely. Maybe you should read the articles a few more times and it might start sinking in.

          …then again, you could be a plant, in which case, carry on with your nonsense. I’ve already spotted two of your pals on here.

          1. Oh ffs

            Ah yeh, flaming pitchforks at the ready for anyone who doesn’t agree with Broadsheet’s spurious moralising.

        2. SDaedalus

          hey, FFS

          forget about your perception of Broadsheet’s ‘agenda’

          the issue isn’t Broadsheet’s motivation for putting up the story, or indeed your complete and truly saddening inability to comprehend that people may be motivated by considerations other than self-interest,

          the issue is the story itself.

          people want answers to this.

          and one further question, arising out of your comment – if the IT in-house legals were really on the ball, why let last Saturday’s story go up in the first place? surely they would have checked it in advance.

          1. ivan

            And there you go. Got it in one. If the article was okay in August when PM received it. And it was reviewed by legal at the time, and published in September…what exactly changed in terms of *what the Irish Times published* that could have landed them in bother in a libel case. You can’t libel somebody ‘after the fact’ can you?

          2. SDaedalus

            Ivan

            Just to make it clear, I was talking about last Saturday’s article in my comment above, the August was probably ok because it was anonymous
            but once the identity of the author was disclosed in the second article, the employer was readily identifiable.

            Excising the online copy of the first article doesn’t remove the fact there are print copies of the first article available for instance, the second article if defamatory remains defamatory despite excision of the online version because you can still identify the employer by reference to the print version.

            Surely any decision by in-house legals on defamation etc. must, have been made prior to publication of last Saturday’s article – the question is why did the advice change subsequently?

      2. Edmund Dantes

        Depression is a terrible thing – but remember the night is darkest just before the dawn and when you think that all is lost, hold out – because hope is on the way.

        The door behind which the inconvenient truth lies, is now ajar – with one big shove it can be opened never to be closed again. Remember In the face of adversity – stand your ground and remember bullies turn cowards in the blink of an eye.

        They’ve blinked – you haven’t.

  55. mickmick

    Independent TDs and Senators can ask questions in the oireachtas without fear of prosecution due to Dail privilege.
    Maybe a few e-mails to some of them?
    Just Sayin’

    1. mise

      Do it – not just independents, anyone can put a parliamentary question to a Minister – Rabbitte in this case. Email all TDs asking them to enquire from the Minister as to the legalities surrounding the case. People already asking TDs to do so through twitter.

    1. dara o rourke

      Stop the lights! Who knows babe.But Terry did tell us Fianna Fail would win in 2007 cos ”We are all rolling in money’.And she was spot on,altho she didn’t mention her company was working for them.Now they are working for FG,allegedly.

      But I blame clientalist pols who can’t string two sentence together without the like of Terry holding their hands.

      1. Ivan

        Can’t reply to your reply to me up above, but just to say ‘Yup’! They shouldn’t have run the Murtagh article if it was troublesome per the legal bods. If it wasn’t troublesome per the legal bods, then the first one should’ve been left alone!’

  56. eamonn moran

    Fight the power broadsheet. Prepare to be blacklisted by many advertisers. You guys are dangerous.

    Also in one letters section of the times yesterday the Irish times claimed that the fact they had edited the article was posted. Is this true? You guys seem to be saying it wasnt.

  57. Mairead

    Well done on keeping this important story live.

    The moderators on the bulletin board Politics.ie seem to be stopping any discussion of Kate on their website.

        1. Queenie

          if it was confined to that. But as usual the interweb has gone mad with conspiracy theories and personal abuse.

          1. well

            You cant expect people not to comment on things in that way , everything else gets the same treatment, does that mean we should avoid reporting everything other than the weather to avoid speculation?

  58. Jockstrap

    Ireland is a small country. Everyone knows everyone. Even more so when you are talking about any one particular industry.

    We are all cowards too and afraid to out a friend for the greater good.

    We are all complicit in our own weird little country.

    1. Eithne

      Very many of us are complicit. I keep thinking, since this story broke, of Katy French who, for all her bluster, was a fragile young woman making wrong choice after wrong choice and so many, from PR companies to model agencies, to tabloids, to broadsheets, to blogs, to RTE, recklessly played catch with her until she broke.

  59. Paul G

    Broadsheet, I can’t even begin to describe how important what your doing is. For too long the established media in Ireland has had an all too cosy relationship with “the establishment”. There have been cases of exceptional journalism from time to time for example Eamonn Dunphy and the Hep C scandal when he was on The Last Word and Sam Smyth and his pursuit of Mr Lowry. The Communications Clinic and what it represents is a big part of the problem in Ireland – not telling the truth but how best we can spin it. Please don’t let this one go.Given how Ms Fitzgerald so wonderfully described her experiences I must believe that she had a passion for the truth. Your pursuit of this keeps her memory alive. You are not just winning the internet – with this you are winning the media. Don’t let this go.

  60. RoryH

    Ireland needs more of this proper journalism, and a lot less corruption in the ‘upper’ ranks.. It’s sickening how this country is run and how people seem so quick to completely drop ethics to support a friend who is obviously very much in the wrong.

  61. Leaveih

    Isn’t it ironic that these journalists were recently scrutinising every aspect of presidential candidates’ connections, but don’t see the relevance in doing so when it comes to one of their own? I’ve always thought the media industry in Ireland to be an incestuous clique. The fact that none of the national commentators, have picked up on this, further highlights the need for a true independent voice.
    Well done Broadsheet for stepping up to the mark.

  62. politics.ie reader

    All discussion on this matter has been banned from politics.ie

    Posts which even mention Kate Fitzgerald’s name are being deleted.

  63. Terry Bloom

    I’m sorry but I’m hugely sceptical of claims made by the Rossport and Shell to Sea group as much as I am about claims made by Shell.

  64. Spud

    Has anyone ever questioned if Kate would have wanted her name to be revealed as writer of the original article??
    Wasn’t it only because her father rang up the IT after he saw the article?

  65. Prada Meinhof

    In less than one week you have gone from promoting a strong message to an unproven allegation and inferences of wrongdoing to digging into someone’s private life*? Where is the original central message about mental health? F.*.*.K.I.N.G. N.O.W.H.E.R.E. Well done.

    As long as the flaming torch and pitchfork brigade are occupied and distracted. Pretty safe from legal action too, considering lawyers go for the deepest pockets.

    *And you’re whinging about voicemail? The irony.

    1. Daz

      I, for one, am confused about which part of the above article your complaint is based on. Do you mind explaining your belief in a little more detail … some quotes with your comment attached would be nice.

  66. Zuppy International

    pat.rabbitte@oireachtas.ie

    Pat Rabbitte
    Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources,
    29-31 Adelaide Road,
    Dublin 2,
    Ireland

    3 December 2011

    Dear Mr Rabbitte,

    I have recently learned that the chairman of the RTÉ Authority, Mr Tom Savage, is also a director of the Public Relations company, ‘The Communications Clinic’. This is a company that prides itself on having a confidential client list. As such there is no way to know who, what, when or how Mr. Savage will represent his private clients in a public forum, such as RTÉ radio or television.

    His dual roles as PR consultant and Chair of the RTÉ Authority would seem to be not only a contradiction in responsibilities but also a breach of the code of business conduct for members of the RTÉ Authority.

    Specifically section 3.1, which deals with Impartiality:

    Whilst RTÉ respects the rights of individual Authority members to participate in personal and public activities outside RTÉ, these activities must be consistent with RTÉ’s obligation of impartiality. Personal and public activities which are likely to compromise RTÉ’s impartiality as a public service broadcaster organisation or undermine public confidence in the organisation are inconsistent with a continuing role as an Authority member.

    It is incumbent on Authority members to ensure that unfair advantage is not taken, and could not reasonably be implied to be taken, of their connection with RTÉ, and to ensure that no undesirable publicity is drawn to RTÉ resulting from their engagement in such outside activities. This is particularly relevant where the individual is involved in high profile or political or controversial activities and has access to sensitive broadcasting areas within RTÉ. Authority members involved in such activities must ensure that this does not lead to a situation in which the public confidence in the impartiality of RTÉ is undermined.

    And section 5.2 which deals with Integrity and Obligations:

    Authority members will be (and be seen to be) selfless and objective. They will adhere to the highest standards of personal and professional integrity.

    Specifically Authority members will:

    • demonstrate selflessness by taking decisions solely in terms of public interest. An Authority member will not act in order to gain financial or other material benefit for himself/herself or family or friends;

    • demonstrate integrity by not placing himself/herself under any financial or other obligation to any individual or organisation that might reasonably be thought to influence the performance of his/her duties.

    • be objective – decisions on public business will be taken solely on their merit; and

    • commit to participate vigorously and energetically, but also ethically and honestly at all times.

    I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that the potential conflicts of interest in Tom Savage continuing to act as chairman of the RTE Authority while remaining a director of The Communications Clinic are large and disquieting. His activities as a director of a prominent Public Relations firm are totally inconsistent with his obligations as the chairman of the RTE Authority as outlined above.

    This begs the questions “How did it happen that the head of a Public Relations firm is also the chairman of the Authority that oversees the state owned national broadcaster?”

    I’m sure you will agree with me his continuance as the Chairman of the RTE Authority is untenable and I trust you will seek to replace him immediately.

    Yours,

    1. Zuppy International

      Boo! for some reason my letter to Pat Rabbitte disrupts the flow of other comments. It should be at the end… BS, if you can fix it…

  67. Helen Duignan

    Terry Prone must be one of the most powerful people in the country. Depressing. And she doesn’t even have to pay for that power. People pay HER. Think I’ll get TCC to represent me too. Presumably then I’d be untouchable.

    This story has to go the distance. Otherwise it will only have generated a bit of heat for TCC but a lot of publicity.

    Goes without saying, that letter to Pat Rabbitte needs to be sent by everyone on this site. If Tom Savage is removed from RTE, there it’s a glimmer of hope that some standards of ethics still exist in this country. And that democracy works.

    As many posters have said, we shouldn’t also forget what this was all originally about.

  68. Aidan White

    I’ve just come back from Hong Kong where a new group — the Global Editors’ Network — was launched. Among this group’s first initiatives is the Coalition for Ethical Journalism, across all platforms. You guys seem to be proving why such a campaign is urgently needed.

Comments are closed.