Five Years After

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 kate

Kate Fitzgerald

On this day in 2011, Kate Fitzgerald was found dead at her Dublin home having apparently taken her own life. She was 25.

Kate was a Broadsheet commenter and an unusually sincere one. Amid thousands of made-up identities and goofy avatars, she used her own name and headshot (pic above).

America-born, Kate was chairperson of the US Democratic Party Committee in Ireland and a public relations executive who had shown great promise as a serious journalist.

But, as the controversy following her death would demonstrate, Kate was only ever an outsider and her reputation expendable. Against the public image of those that mattered, she simply didn’t matter.

Overleaf, observing our strict ‘no commenter left behind’ policy and with access for the first time to correspondence, emails, texts and phone records, we have sought to find out what happened between Kate Fitzgerald and her high-profile employer, the reasons the Irish Times edited her final words and why she matters now.

 

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Clockwise from top left: Tom Savage and Terry Prone; Anton Savage, Kevin O’Sullivan, and Peter Murtagh

apology

Apology to The Communications Clinic, Irish Times, December 3, 2011

Kate Fitzgerald was born in 1986 in San Jose, California, to Tom Fitzgerald, an emigrant from the Kerry Gaeltacht, and Sally Ann Yoes, daughter of Ralph Yoes, a Pulitzer-nominated editorial cartoonist for the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Tom subsequently set up the technical writing business Bard na nGleann and when the family moved back to Ireland some years later, Kate and her brother William came with them.

After school, Kate studied International Relations at Dublin City University. During her time there, she was auditor of the Debate Society, Secretary of the Societies and Publications Committee (SPC) and organiser and SPC Rep for the 2006 Clubs and Societies Ball. She also ran for the position of Vice President for Welfare in her final year, losing out by just a handful of votes.

In 2007, Kate was elected chairperson of the Irish branch of the US Democratic Party Committee Abroad.

During the first Obama campaign, having supported Hillary Clinton in the primaries, she represented Democrats Abroad in the media, appearing on Sky News, TV3, and RTÉ. She was featured twice as a panellist on Tonight with Vincent Browne.

On one of these occasions, she was joined on the panel by Irish public relations expert Terry Prone.

Ms Prone and her husband Tom Savage had been instrumental in the development of fellow RTÉ presenter Bunny Carr’s Carr Communications. In 2008, they broke away from Carr to set up their own PR company, the Communications Clinic.

Although a PR firm, the Communications Clinic retained close links with broadcast media. Tom Savage was appointed Chairman of the RTÉ Board in 2009. Their son Anton Savage was a regular stand-in presenter on RTÉ and Today FM.

In addition to PR, the Communications Clinic also ran a highly successful media training operation. Over the years, many politicians, TV and radio presenters had benefited from Terry Prone’s training skills.

After the show, Sally Ann Fitzgerald suggested that Kate write to Ms Prone, and ask if she could come to work with her in the Communications Clinic. Over lunch with Kate, Ms Prone enthusiastically agreed.

The clinic was a family business, the key decision-makers being Ms Prone, Mr Savage, their son Anton Savage and their business associate Dermot McCrum. Terry Prone’s sister Hilary and her son Ger Kenny were among the clinic’s employees, and Anton Savage’s sister-in-law Pauline would also join the firm in the course of Kate’s employment there.

It was also an organisation with some tensions. Tom Savage, a former priest, was now Director General of RTÉ at a time when the organisation was focusing on child sexual abuse by his former colleagues. The Communications Clinic, while continuing to advise bodies associated with the Catholic Church, was now also acting for organisations representing the rights of abuse victims. Kate was asked to assist Terry Prone with her work in relation to the scandals.

Kate’s mother, Sally, had herself been a victim of serious child sexual abuse – something which had impacted on Kate when growing up. Although it is not clear whether Kate was aware of all the conflicts of interest involved, she began to find work on such matters stressful.

Kate drew the attention of at least one older man whom she met through work. Kate did not respond to his overtures. At the time, Kate was living alone in a one-bedroom cottage in Harty Place, Dublin 8. In 2011, the man left a bottle of Champagne on her doorstep by way of apology.

Kate subsequently wrote an article for The Sunday Tribune about sexual harassment and objectification in the workplace.

There were other problems. Anton Savage’s radio stand-ins and Terry Prone’s role as TV and radio pundit often took them out of the office. Work hours were long and the pace frenetic.

In November 2009, Karagh Fox, aged 26, who had been working at the clinic since March 2008, resigned from her position.

She subsequently brought a constructive dismissal claim before the Employment Appeals Tribunal, claiming that she had been repeatedly bullied by Ruth Hickey, a senior member of staff, who, she alleged, had “screamed at her in the workplace and reduced her to tears”.

Ms Fox’s case came before the Employment Appeals Tribunal in July 2010. Around the same time, another employee resigned to take up employment elsewhere.

This added to the pressure on the office and, by extension, on Kate, who found it difficult to find time to visit her family in Bantry.

The stress, however, did not affect her work. In June 2011, Terry Prone nominated Kate to The Dubliner magazine, as a young Irish person likely to make a mark in the future.

However, increasingly, Kate was drinking more, and relying on her friends to talk her up when she was feeling down.

Kate had two circles of friends. The first was made up of her friends from Dublin City University. The second was a group of inter-college debaters. Kate’s closest friends within this latter group were Clare Hayes Brady, an English graduate, and two former star debaters, Derek Lande and Brendan Bruen.

Kate had dated both Mr Bruen and Mr Lande. Her relationship with Mr Lande, which commenced in 2005 following an inter-college debate, was effectively her introduction to the group.

Kate and Mr Lande subsequently broke up by mutual consent, and remained friends.

Kate subsequently became romantically involved with Mr Bruen. After their break up she retained feelings for Mr Bruen however by July 2011, Mr Bruen was – unknown to Kate – dating a new girlfriend, a mutual friend of Ms Hayes Brady.

When drunk and depressed, Kate had a tendency to combine alcohol and pills. On St Patrick’s Day 2011, and again in June 2011, she was treated in hospital for overdoses.

On the first occasion, Kate was described as ‘drowsy but coherent’. On the second occasion, she had taken two Zanax and drunk one and a half bottles of wine.

On Saturday, July 16, 2011, she got drunk again and sent incoherent texts to Mr Bruen and Mr Lande.

The men called around to her house and, after she had fallen asleep, they put away four to five of seven of Zanax anti-anxiety tablets.

The next morning Kate panicked, emailing Mr Lande to ask:

“Did you find two empty packets of Gerax and an empty packet of Zimovane on the floor (or surrounds) next to my bed. If you did, there is a chance that I woke up and took 16 Xanax and 7 Zimovane, after five Margueritas, and four other Xanax earlier. I would have thought this would have killed me.”

Later that day, Sunday, July 17, 2011, Kate, accompanied by Mr Bruen, Mr Lande and Ms Hayes Brady, attended at the Emergency Room of St James’s Hospital for liver damage screening before being admitted early to St Patrick’s University Hospital.

At 6.15pm, on July 17, while waiting to be seen in St James’s, Kate texted a DCU friend Ellen Hurson, to say:

“I have Clare, Derek and Brendan. I may have to be admitted to St Pats. Am in St James getting tests. Took too many pills, no idea how many.”

In fact, the tests carried out on her in St James’s were to subsequently show that Kate had taken no more than a double dose of her medication.

When subsequently questioned at Kate’s inquest, Mr Lande and  Mr Bruen indicated that Kate, had been made aware that the four to five Zanax tablets had been hidden.

However, there were other tablets missing and it does not appear that Kate knew exactly how many tablets she had taken.,

Early in the morning of Monday, July 18, 2011, Kate texted the administration of The Communications Clinic to state that she was medically unwell and would be absent from work that day.

She also texted her immediate line manager Ger Kenny, telling him that she had been admitted to St Pat’s.

On the following day, Tuesday, July 19, 2011, when Kate was told by hospital authorities that she would have to stay in St Pat’s for longer than anticipated, she texted Mr Kenny again, saying:-

“I think I’m going to need to be out for at least two weeks. They’re talking about disability benefit and all of this stuff I’ve never had to deal with… I’m so sorry about this. I’m so sorry.”

At 11.03pm, on the same evening, Kate texted Ceile Varley, another DCU friend, saying:

“I looked back at the messages I sent Brendan when I was drugged. Ceile, it’s so scary. I’m so incredibly scared. And nobody here is telling me what’s happening.”

Subsequently, Kate obtained a medical certificate from her general practitioner and forwarded it to The Communications Clinic.

The certificate did not disclose her admission to St Pat’s and, although Kate had made Ger Kenny aware of this fact, she had also asked him to keep it confidential.

The following Friday, July 22, 2011, Kate received a call on her Blackberry from Anton Savage, managing director of The Communications Clinic, who had been informed of her whereabouts by one of the small number of individuals aware of her admission to St Pat’s.

Kate’s texts record her being upset, particularly in circumstances where, as she herself notes in an email, the guidebook on mental health she had been provided with on her entry to St Pat’s had been written by employees of The Communications Clinic.

The same evening, Brendan Bruen called to St Pat’s to see Kate. He was accompanied by Clare-Hayes Brady, who took another visitor for coffee – to give Kate and Bruen privacy.

Mr Bruen presented Kate with a pocket Dictaphone, to record her thoughts. He also told her that he was seeing someone else.

That evening, Kate also decided to leave St Pat’s. She packed her belongings in black plastic bags, and took a taxi home.

Kate’s medical certificate from her GP covered her until Monday, August 1, 2011. She spent the week following her discharge from St Pat’s at home, alternately sleeping and attempting to find outpatient care.

At 9.24am, on the morning of Friday, 29 July, 2011, Kate texted Anton Savage:

“The doctor has advised that I take another week as I’m still quite serious. I would prefer to go back to work. I haven’t talked you through this yet so thought I should if you’re free at some point? Will meet you if necessary.”

After a subsequent phone conversation with Anton Savage, Kate decided to go back to work the following Tuesday, after the Bank Holiday weekend.

Kate now blamed herself for being a burden on her friends. Attempts to contact her went largely unanswered. She found it easier now to share her feelings with people more distant.

On Saturday, July 30, she attended Mary Kay Anderson, a hypnotherapist recommended by Mary Kay Simmons, a friend from Democrats Abroad.

On Sunday, July 13, she accepted an invitation from Russell O’Connor, whom she had known at DCU, to attend a live jazz concert. Before leaving, she sent the following round robin email to friends to thank them for standing by her:

Hello all,

If you are getting this email because you probably haven’t heard from me for a little while, and in most cases you have found yourself the target of my wrath and indiscriminately fired anger and frustration. I’m copying you all so not one of you thinks that you’re the only one, or that my mostly personal attacks (or silence) have been indicative of a personal issue with one of you. You all got bullied, and how.

Thank you for putting up with me for so long. Nobody ever wrote an instruction book for the people who suffer with the sufferer. You all have been wonderful in your own way, and I know it hasn’t been easy ever.

Please know that each one of you has made my life. I’m so sorry I ever tried to leave it. You may or may not be happy to know that I have put my hair up and my make up on and I’m leaving the house for the first time in quite a while.

Stick with me guys. The next few weeks won’t be fun for me or probably you either, and you may every once in a while want to scream bloody murder at me or just let me alone completely. Do it. I’m still here. But if I start going off the handle again, please remember that I love you, I just have a funny old way of showing it these days.

Love

K.

Later that afternoon, Kate emailed her father to say that she was feeling better.

“A note”

Hi Dad

I’m out listening to live jazz and it’s overcast and kind of lovely but I remembered something you said the other day – that you’ve been sleeping for the last few years and you’re awake now. I think I might have been too.

Anyway, I’m awake!

Love

K.

That evening, Kate also emailed Mary Kay Simmons to thank her for her help.

“Hurrah”

Mary Kay –

You saviour! Mary Kay (!) was just wonderful and exactly what I needed. I will be going to her again on Thursday.

I’ll have to talk to you properly at some point but I think I need to sit and process what we talked about tonight. But honestly, thank you. I really think this is going to be a huge turning point for me and I can’t tell you how grateful I am to you for this. I really think you came at exactly the right time.

Thank you, thank you.

Kate.

On Tuesday, August 2, 2011, Kate returned to work at The Communications Clinic. On the day of her return, she was called to a meeting with Anton Savage, Dermot McCrum and Ger Kenny.

Kate exited this meeting believing that her admission to St Pat’s – and the circumstances in which Anton Savage had been made aware of it – had done irreparable damage to her position at the clinic.

Later that evening she met with Brendan Bruen – a graduate of the King’s Inns – for an informal ‘legal reading’ of the situation.

Following this conversation, Kate began to look for work elsewhere.

Kate’s altered position in the workplace was made clear to her over the next few days. She discovered that during her absence she had been taken off a number of files on which she had been working.

Anton Savage’s sister-in-law Pauline had started with the firm after Kate’s arrival there. Now, Pauline was in charge of Kate. Much of Kate’s time over the next couple of weeks was spent on Pauline’s files, including a photo-call in the Phoenix Park for a washing product.

Pauline was also in charge of a presentation for the same product scheduled to take place at the Electric Picnic music festival on September 2-4, 2011, and made clear to Kate that she would be expected to work with her at the festival.

This was something which caused great anxiety to Kate, as she had a family event scheduled that weekend. Her younger brother William, who had been studying in China, was returning home and the family had arranged a celebration.

Kate – who had reduced contact with most of her other friends – continued to be in contact with Brendan Bruen by chat and email, on work-related matters. One of the few files which she had been left related to his employer, IBEC, for whom Clare Hayes-Brady was also working at the time.

Kate also had financial pressures to deal with. Already short of cash on her low salary, she was finding it impossible to meet the additional costs associated with her admission to hospital and subsequent outpatient care.

Repayments were also running late on a loan she had taken out with Bantry Credit Union.

On Monday, August 8, 2011, Kate emailed Mary Kay Simmons again, saying:

“Work has been very, very difficult…. and I am looking elsewhere for my next challenge. Things are still a little bit tough and I am still suffering with extreme ups and downs, but I think I hit rock bottom a couple of weeks ago and hope I don’t go back again, for everyone’s sake.”

One positive note was that Kate had a first-round interview with Ernst & Young scheduled for the following Thursday, August 11.

In her second week back at work, she texted Anton Savage for permission to take some time off for an appointment on the morning of the interview saying that she would be back around noon and could come in early.

Anton Savage replied:

“If you check it doesn’t cause anyone a problem, and if you’re in good and early that day, then certainly.”

Kate’s interview was scheduled for early in the morning and she was unable to get into work first. Her absence was noted by Anton Savage, who reprimanded her.

Kate subsequently texted Anton Savage apologising:-

“I couldn’t afford to get where I was going from here as opposed to home. Apologies, I should have texted you to let you know. I’ve done several early mornings and late nights in the past couple of weeks and as always will stay on late tonight if there is work to be done.”

Anton Savage replied:

“If you’ve been doing late evenings and early mornings make sure it’s in the diary and the hours and by all means draw my attention to it. Don’t decide it allows you to not show up.”

On the same morning an email was sent by Anton Savage to all staff at The Communications Clinic:

“Folks, if you are doing anything other than being at your desk all day it should be in your diary and on the daily sheet. From now on, please make sure meetings, absences, sessions out of house are in your diary and on the sheet.”

That afternoon, Kate emailed another friend. She stated:

“I have resolved to quit my job if I find a new one. Work did not respond to finding out about my depression well. I’ll explain sometime. Long, long story.”

Her friend replied:

“If I may write down everything you can remember about it now and anything and everything…anyone… does, you can at least have the possibility of using it later.

Kate replied:

“I’d never take them to court though. I wouldn’t want my name in the papers…”

In the last week of Kate’s employment with the clinic, she sought repeatedly to be allowed to spend the weekend of September 2-4, 2011 with her family.

On the morning of Tuesday, August 16, 2011, Kate emailed her immediate line manager Ger Kenny:

“Just so you know, I was told yesterday that I will be working at Electric Picnic. The original plan was that Denise would work at it but it is now assumed that I can (I was not asked, I was told. My plan was to go home that weekend as my brother is coming home but of course I didn’t say that and I’ve now learned a valuable lesson about booking leave six months ahead of time).

So I have been told to block book my diary from the 29th. In case you’re wondering. Not that I think you can do anything about it any more than I can. Unsurprisingly, I will not be taking any leave this year. This, after my basically doing PR 101 with her yesterday. I’m fairly certain that nobody has the authority to tell me where I am going to be for a week. Maybe I’m just “obsessed with hierarchy” but I’m getting very sick of explaining to a “manager” how to do her job and then getting told to drop my life. K.”

That lunchtime, Kate sent a further email to Ger Kenny:

“Regarding showing up at EP – I’ve thought about it and I’d prefer to say I can’t work at this. I had promised (loosely, yes) that I would go home when Will gets back and I’d prefer not to give me more ammunition in the “your job is ruining your life” war (which is an easy win even without this one particularly given that I’ve already had to ask them for money to try and afford medical bills I am paying so that I’m not in the hospital and taking an undefined period of sick leave). Have you talked to Dermot about this? Would I put getting myself into unnecessary hot water if I say that I really can’t do this? Or is it just a losing battle that I have to suck up and get on with. My instinct is that if I’m going to say no I need to say it now.

K.”

Mr Kenny replied:

“If you genuinely can’t do the gig then you should tell her and tell her right away. That way she can work out who to use instead of you rather than being left with a last minute panic.”

Later that day, Kate emailed Pauline, who was on holiday:

“Hi Pauline, With regard to Electric Picnic. I will absolutely be able to work any of the week days leading up to the event (from the 29th onwards). However, with regard to the weekend. I had made a prior commitment about two months ago when you had agreed that I would not be required to attend the event itself. It has been difficult to get out of this commitment as it is a family one and requires that I be in Cork.

If it is absolutely necessary for me to be in Stradbally for the Saturday and Sunday in order to work could you let me know now. I understand that a representation needs to be made by The Communications Clinic but I will be available for the rest of the working week and can even go down on the Friday if needs be, I had just planned to be in Cork that weekend. I had not mentioned this before because I thought that my family plans wouldn’t be a problem to back out of, but it is causing more difficulty than I thought it would especially given that I had worked thus far on the basis that I would not be needed in Laois on the weekend. Could you confirm if I am absolutely needed at the event in Laois on the Saturday and Sunday.”

Pauline replied:

“Yes, unfortunately you and I both need to be there. I’m sorry about this, I’d rather not have to be so definitive in my answer but I hope you can understand.”

The following day, Wednesday, August 17, 2011, Kate, approached Anton Savage directly for permission to be excused from the festival. He refused to overrule Pauline.

That afternoon, Kate emailed her father, Tom Fitzgerald, saying:

“Had another showdown with Anton and have absolutely had it. I told them I couldn’t work the weekend at the start of September and they’re making me do it. I would like to give them my two weeks notice now and get out of here and focus on finding a new job. Could you call me about this?

I know I don’t have an offer but even if I could do some work for Bard until I find something new, even if you need me to do a few days a week in Cork, at least I’d be able to get time to do interviews and go to the doctor. This job may not have caused my health to fail, but it’s making it impossible to fix. I’m completely 100% fed up.”

Tom Fitzgerald’s advice was that Kate – who was actively seeking alternative employment, and was due for a second-round interview at Ernst & Young the following day – would find it easier to obtain a new job if she had one already.

Kate’s response to these events was to do what she had previously done when experiencing unwelcome overtures at work – to write about it, for a national paper.

She had been working on an article about her experiences with the clinic since her initial meeting with Anton Savage following her return to work.

The following day, Thursday, August 18, 2011, after her second-round interview with Ernst & Young, she skipped Clare Hayes-Brady’s birthday party to finalise this article over the phone with her mother Sally Ann Fitzgerald.

It was agreed that, rather than use her real name, Kate would submit the article under a pseudonym, Grace Ringwood. Ringwood being her maternal grandmother’s maiden name.

Kate’s article was finalised and emailed to Peter Murtagh, at the time Opinion Editor of The Irish Times, on the morning of Friday, August 19, 2011, with a note saying that if he needed information to confirm the validity of the piece, to get in touch. It read as follows:

“I DON’T have all of the answers. This, if said by any normal person, is comforting, freeing. The weight of responsibility, of questioning one’s own judgment is lifted, and a mind that is commonly accepted as being logical, as being mentally sound may find a way to embrace this if only for selfish reasons, for their own sanity.

I am a depressive. I am also a professional, a consultant. I am one who is hired to look in control, organised, polished, almost perfect at all times and to represent a point of view unflinchingly at all times. I wish that I were writing this primarily as a consultant and secondarily as a depressive, but I have come to realise that the former is as much a part of my person as the latter.

In a world where everything must appear in black and white in order to be understood or accepted, it has taken me six years to put words to it, and thus to make it real. I do this partially for the sake of catharsis, but mostly in the hope that I will reach those who have not yet accepted this disease those who live with depressives, those who love depressives, those who employ depressives.

Some months ago I attempted to take my own life. When I failed I was encouraged by friends to voluntarily check into a hospital they said they no longer could take care of me. I signed a form with an unknown level of alcohol and pills in my system. For all intents and purposes, my admission was voluntary. In reality I was too mortified not to follow the wishes of my seemingly put-upon friends, not to survive for the sake of my job, and far too blinded by the smoke and mirrors of depression and self-inflicted harm to realise what I was doing.

It is important to note that I love my job, and, crucially, I love my employers like a family. When I could not get a firm answer as to when they would let me leave the hospital, I checked myself out, against medical advice, left in a taxi at midnight with my clothes packed in plastic bags. All because, I told myself and later my director, I wanted to go back to work. More than the urge not to live at all, I didn’t want to live without my work.

Mine was not a work-related illness. At least not before I entered the hospital. However, when I was released and when I returned to my office, things became different. I knew it would be difficult to explain to my employer, and I knew it would be difficult for them to understand an illness with no visible symptoms. I did not, however, expect that I would be met with casual hostility, with passive-aggressive references to my mental incapacity for my profession, and my apparently perceived plan to leave the company entirely in the lurch.

When I returned from my two-week stint in mental health limbo, where doctors and nurses admonished me for my apparent need for control, my definition of myself through the value of my trade, I expected to be accepted back as the hard-working employee I have always been.

I do not blame my employer. Ultimately those who have not suffered from the illness do not know how to approach it in others even those who have suffered from it may find it difficult. When I returned I found myself pitying my manager who met the story of my misery with confusion and the suggestion that I could not be trusted with seniority. I was accused of planning my absence. Every question seemed posed with the hope that it might bolster a preconceived notion. Clearly, they had no idea what to do.

Much of what my employer has done and said since my absence has been illegal. And I do not think for a minute that what my employer did was an isolated incident. I know this article must be anonymous, and I have no interest in shaming those I work tirelessly for. Their interests are still inextricably entwined with my own.

However, if Ireland is ever to address the alarming rate of death by suicide 527 in 2010, many as young as I, and who knows how many attempt or consider or plan for it everyone must remember that they do not have all of the answers. Because we can t afford it. Every day a company loses a valuable employee and every day a family loses one they love. At a time when small, medium and large companies rely on dedicated staff for the vision and drive to pull them through challenging times, these are not losses we can risk taking on the chin.

I have not done everything right. However, I am working to the stage where I know not having all the answers does not mean that I have failed, does not mean that I am crazy, and certainly does not take away from my ability to do my job well.

The illness that follows me every day, that keeps me awake at night, that even sometimes drives me to be better at my job and seek the appreciation of my employer and those who rely on me to succeed I have accepted that it must be managed, but it cannot be managed without the help and encouragement of those I work for.

I write in the hope that this grabs someone, anyone, and makes them think twice about what they may lose by not asking the question. Seek guidance. Seek insight. For when you ask a question a true question only then can you receive an answer. And answers.

In writing an anonymous article, Kate needed to provide enough information about her background to make the allegations credible. At the same time, she needed to avoid giving away – or definitively giving away – her identity.

Kate’s article described her as a “consultant… hired to look in control, organised, polished, almost perfect at all times and to represent a point of view unflinchingly at all times.”

Her style of writing, and her known background in public relations, meant that it was likely that members of The Communications Clinic would suspect her of being the author, even if they could not definitively prove it.

Kate submitted her article to The Irish Times shortly after finishing work on the late evening of Friday, August 19, 2011.

At this point, she was awaiting the outcome of her second-round interview with Ernst & Young. If she was successful in this interview, she would no longer be working at The Communications Clinic when the article was published.

Over the weekend, Kate slept and filled in job application forms online. Sunday night was spent on the phone to Newstalk on work-related matters.

At 8.41am, on Monday, August 22, 2011, Kate called in sick to work, emailing Anton Savage:

“Hi Anton, I’m very unwell today. Will have to wait until Wednesday still to see the doctor but won’t make it to work today. I’ll brief Aileen on any work that may come up and do as much as I can from home.”

She also texted other members of the clinic, saying that she was bedridden but would be working and to send through anything they needed her to do.

Kate worked at home throughout the day on the IBEC file and on other matters for Ger Kenny, Dermot McCrum, and Pauline.

Around noon, she received a replying email from Peter Murtagh of The Irish Times. He stated that he did not normally publish anonymous contributions, but was prepared to make an exception for her piece.

She subsequently emailed her friend Ceile Varley with the good news, saying, in relation to the clinic:

“I know they might figure it out and it’s a big risk but it’s the only control I can have, short of suing them.”

Shortly afterwards, Kate emailed Ger Kenny to raise a query regarding her workload for the following week, drawing his attention to the fact that they would be short-staffed due to preparations for Electric Picnic and that another employee would be in Cork.

Mr Kenny replied that she would be busy and that it “would be an interesting week”.
In response, Kate wrote:

“All the while I’m sleeping entire days and unable to walk without falling over. Useful. If also amusing, a little.”

Ger Kenny replied:

“Being positive today – so, you’re getting some sleep – excellent.”

At 12.31pm, Kate received the following text from Anton Savage:

“Kate, are you going to be in work tomorrow and Wednesday?”

She immediately replied, saying:

“I intend to be. I’ve been ill since Friday so it should be better by tomorrow.”

Mr Savage replied:

“Please let me know when you’re definite either way.”

At lunchtime, Kate texted Denise Kenny, a former employee of The Communications Clinic, saying:

“I can’t care anymore, I’m at my wit’s end. I can’t stand working in there, it’s terrible.”

At 3.51pm, Kate phoned Office Angels, a recruitment firm with whom she had been in contact the previous Friday in search of temporary account or reception work.

At 4.17pm, she made two calls to St Patrick’s Hospital, the first to their general number, and the second to their Support and Information Service.

Kate continued to work the on IBEC account in relation to a forthcoming article about Jobseekers being placed in Hot Press magazine.

Mr Bruen was quoted in the article and Kate had contact with him in relation to same throughout the afternoon.

Kate was also called on to deal with minor matters arising from an account relating to a client representing victims of sexual abuse.

At some point that afternoon, Kate also phoned Peter Murtagh in response to his earlier email, disclosing her identity, her previous publications [on American politics[ for the newspaper , and the identity of her employers.

Mr Murtagh subsequently described her as “clear, calm and comfortable with what she was saying… normal and balanced and not on the edge.”

At 6.47pm, Kate texted Anton Savage again:

“Hi Anton. I will be in tomorrow. Once I have had my appointment with the doctor on Wednesday, I will need to meet with you. Could you let me know when suits?”

Anton Savage replied:

“Wednesday afternoon. What time will you be back in?”

Kate responded:

“The appointment is for 2, I shouldn’t be longer than an hour (unless they make me wait which they often do). But it’s only on Baggot St. Maybe make the meeting 4 to be safe?”

Anton Savage replied:

“Fine, but if you get finished earlier I’ll be in the office.”

 

A follow-up email to Peter Murtagh sent by Kate as she was finishing up work around 7 p.m. states as follows:

“Dear Peter, Thank you for your call earlier._ It was very comforting to hear your interest in the area, even if my piece in particular may not be deemed suitable. Nevertheless, if you do decide to publish it, do please let me know.

And again, if there is anything else I can contribute or another area of the issue you would like me to write about, please do not hesitate to ask. I enjoy writing, and I think a great deal can be gained from writings on this issue in a paper like The Irish Times.”

What happened subsequently that evening is unclear. At 8.05pm, Kate phoned her parents Tom and Sally Fitzgerald in Kerry, but was unable to get through.

Throughout the early evening, she also chatted by text with her friend Ceile Varley. The text conversation related to men, and the importance of being tough with them. Kate warned her friend ‘Don’t turn into me’. According to Ceile Varley, the last message received from Kate was at 9.25pm.

She did not reply to two earlier texts received that evening, one from Russell O’Connor telling her to ‘Get Up’ and another from a man, Andrew, whom she had met online, asking her if she was interested in meeting up.

Kate’s Blackberry also shows her as having contacted Brendan Bruen by chat a number of times throughout the evening.

An initial chat message ‘what’s up how are you’ was sent by her to him, as she was finishing up work. A longer message was sent at 9.22pm: “Hey I know this isn’t ideal but I’m at a loss would it be ok if I came over for an hour? If you are busy it’s totally fine I’ll figure something out.”

At 9.54pm, she gchatted him again: ‘I take it it’s a bad time – I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have asked. Goodnight.’ In evidence subsequently given at Kate’s inquest, Mr Bruen said that he was at dinner with a friend and did not get the messages.

Kate did not turn up for work on Tuesday, August 23, 2011.

Her line manager Ger Kenny contacted Clare Hayes Brady, whom he knew through The Communications Clinic’s work for IBEC.

Mr Bruen and Ms Hayes Brady called around to Harty Place the same day during their lunch break, entering using a key kept at Mr Lande and Mr Bruen’s apartment.

Their subsequent statements to Gardai detail that they found Kate’s body hanging from the top shelf of the hot press behind the door of her bedroom.

She was barely off the ground and her neck was tightly pressed against the shelf. Mr Bruen cut her down and laid her on the bed. Ms Hayes Brady phoned 999 and the fire brigade arrived within minutes, but attempts to resuscitate her were unsuccessful.

Later that day, the body was examined by Dr YM Fakih, pathologist, who pronounced death at the scene, and said, in his opinion, Kate had died in the previous three to eight hours.

No photos of Kate’s body were taken by Gardaí attending at the scene, nor was there any attempt to preserve the ligature by which she had been hanged.

In Bantry, Tom Fitzgerald was at work when he was informed by phone that something had happened. He entered the house to the sound of his wife crying. Tom and Sally accepted Kate’s friends’ offer to clear her rented house and pack away her belongings.

They also decided that her body should be brought to Bantry for funeral and subsequent cremation.

Before deciding to cremate Kate, Tom Fitzgerald sought – and received – assurances from Garda David Healy, the officer in charge of the case, that her death was “100% suicide”.

At Sally Ann’s request, Anton Savage and Dermot McCrum did not attend Kate’s funeral. Neither did Terry Prone or Tom Savage.

Instead, the following letter was sent to Sally and Tom by Ms Prone::

Dear Sally and Tom,

We are devastated by the loss of Kate. Your shock and pain are unimaginable and unreachable by any expressions of sympathy, no matter how heartfelt.

From the moment I met Kate on a TV show, I was fascinated by her. Her walk – gliding through crowds. Her ladylike manner – Jane Austen. Her impassioned views. Her love for her family. She was charming, clever – unique.

In the last few bad months, our people, particularly Gerard, Dermot and Anton, did their best to be helpful to Kate in their different ways and from their different positions. Gerard says you don’t want Dermot or Anton at the funeral. In the light of that request, it clearly wouldn’t be right for me, as their chairman, to be there.

I am desperately sorry for the agony visited upon you by Kate’s death and pray that you will be sustained through this suffering. Tom joins me in saying that if we can ever be useful to you, we would – in Kate’s memory – be eager to.

With sympathy and prayer,

Terry Prone.

Two of Kate’s mobile phones, were disposed of in the clean-up of her house, meaning that any information contained on them was no longer available. Her laptop and Blackberry survived, and were ultimately handed over to her parents, as was the dictaphone given to her by Brendan Bruen during his visit to St Pat’s.

Kate had in fact been successful in the Ernst & Young interview.

One of her interviewers, John Ward, subsequently wrote to Tom and Sally Fitzgerald, saying that:-

“Even though I only met her for a very short amount of time it was clear that Kate was a unique individual. Of everyone we interviewed for the role here in EY, Kate was the person with the ‘wow’ effect – in fact, having met Kate for the first time, my colleague Emily and myself l literally looked at each other after she left and simultaneously said “wow”’.

As soon as we met Kate we knew that this was someone we wanted to work with. In fact, it soon became clear that Kate became the measure we began to use to assess the other candidates, ”They were good, but, were they as good as Kate?” became the first question we’d ask each other after any subsequent first round interview with other candidates.

But even though Kate had surpassed the professional standards one might have expected the winning candidate to possess, it was her personality, her maturity and her absolute lack of ego during our meetings that really endeared her to us – in short, Kate seemed like a lovely person…

She was a breath of fresh air during an otherwise long and drawn out interview process – but for Emily and myself, Kate was much more than just another smart communications professional with an impressive CV – she was clearly an exceptionally bright, clever and friendly young woman and a credit to those who inspired her. “

The topics of depression and suicide featured heavily in the Irish media in the autumn of 2011 – due in part to the fact that Fine Gael Presidential candidate Gay Mitchell – advised by Terry Prone – had decided to make suicide the theme of his presidency if elected.

On Friday September 9, 2011, the day before World Suicide Prevention Day, Kate’s anonymous article on depression appeared in The Irish Times.

On reading it, Tom Fitzgerald thought it might have been the piece submitted by Kate prior to her death.

He contacted The Irish Times switchboard, who put him through to Peter Murtagh. Mr Murtagh – who was shocked to hear of what had happened.- subsequently conducted an interview with Tom and Sally which formed the basis of a further article.

This article “She radiated talent, energy, beauty. She took her own life at the age of 25” which appeared in The Irish Times on Saturday, November 26, 2011, clearly identified Kate as the author of the September article.

No thought appears to have been given by the paper to the possible legal ramifications of this identification, nor the possible cross-identification of her employers. Nor do such ramifications appear to have been considered by The Irish Times’ lawyers.

This is when we became aware of the circumstances surrounding Kate Fitzgerald’s death and later, on that Saturday, we published Kate’s article in full.

In a separate post, we drew attention to Karagh Fox’s case and the evidence given by her to the Employment Appeals Tribunal that Anton Savage had failed to deal adequately with her bullying claim against Ruth Hickey.

On Monday, November 28, 2011, The Irish Times website, without any explanation, and without consultation with the Fitzgeralds, edited the September article to remove a number of key paragraphs critical of Kate’s employers.

The original amendment line in the irishtimes.com archive read: ‘’This is an edited version of an Irish Times article originally published on September 9th, 2011″.

On the evening of the same day, a journalist with an Irish newspaper left a voice message for Broadsheet’s co-founder John ‘Preposterous’ Ryan. The caller said that Broadsheet had “stepped on a libel landline” and was “going to be be wiped off the face of the earth”.

He added that Kate had been “mentally ill”, was on “suicide watch” at The Communications Clinic and had never complained to her colleagues or management about their attitude towards her illness.

[Broadsheet subsequently received an email from, and met with, a senior colleague of the journalist concerned, who initially denied on their behalf that the warning had been given at the behest of The Communications Clinic. The journalist, an acquaintance of the Prone-Savages, said he found it “very hard to believe that any of them could have responded as described to an employee saying she was suffering from depression.”]

That night, following the voice message and on foot of legal advice, we removed the posts on Kate Fitzgerald.

The next day , 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.”

On the morning of the following day, Tuesday, November 29, 2011, we reinstalled our posts on Kate Fitzgerald following conversations with Kate’s parents and a number of people who had personal knowledge of Kate’s situation at The Communications Clinic.

Later that day, following a Broadsheet post on the editing of the article by The Irish Times, we received an email from Peter Murtagh asking us to contact him “urgently” about “refs to us [Irish Times] that are incorrect”.

Mr Murtagh stated that the The Irish Times did not edit Kate’s article because of a threat of legal action from The Communications Clinic but on legal advice from the paper’s own lawyer(s).

When Broadsheet 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.

On Thursday, December 1, 2011, Sally Fitzgerald appeared on Newstalk to discuss her daughter’s death. It was made clear to her that The Communications Clinic was not to be the subject of discussion.

On the evening of Friday, December 3rd, 2011 – the day before Kate’s memorial service in DCU – The Irish Times website commenced further editing of the September article.

Later that evening, the paper posted an apology to The Communications Clinic which also appeared in the following day’s Saturday edition of the print edition and read as follows:

“An article was published in the edition of September 9th last in which the anonymous author detailed a personal history of depression. That article included allegations that friends and her employer, none of whom was identified, had let the author down as she struggled with her illness. Since then we have learned that significant assertions within the original piece were not factual. It is clear that their publication was significantly damaging to the staff and management of her employer, the Communications Clinic. This was not intended and we apologise for it. The Irish Times fully acknowledges the bona fides of the Communications Clinic in this regard. No legal representation was made to us on this matter.”

On November 26, 2011, immediately following the publication of Mr Murtagh’s interview with Tom and Sally Ann, Brendan Bruen wrote the to The Irish Times objecting to the identification of Kate.

On the morning of Saturday, December 3, 2011, after publication of the apology, Mr Bruen sent a further email to the editor of The Irish Times Kevin O’Sullivan.

In it, he stated that the implication in Peter Murtagh’s article that he and other friends had let Kate down was without basis, and had caused deep hurt and distress.

Mr Bruen stated that he  was disappointed that Mr O’Sullivan had not also acknowledged, in his apology, that The Irish Times did not stand by that assertion.

As regards the remainder of the apology, he stated:

“I believe the Irish Times acted correctly in apologising to the Communications Clinic. I can’t speak to the broader environment, but the actions of her immediate manager went far above and beyond the call of duty, and can be utterly without reproach.”

Kevin O’Sullivan replied to Mr Bruen shortly after receipt of his email, stating as follows:

Brendan,
Thank you for your letter. My sincere apologies for the delay in acknowledging it. I have noted all of its content, especially in relation to you and your friends helping Kate in such a meaningful way. This must be a very difficult time, knowing the extent you all were there for her. I will ensure that Peter is made aware of your letter.
Sincerely,
Kevin O’Sullivan.

In an earlier statement made by Mr Bruen to Gardaí, following discovery of her body, in which he had said:

“Her employer had not been supportive towards her and Kate said she had been given lower level projects to look after. A [person associated with] the company that Kate worked for had made a pass at Kate. It was an ongoing issue. Kate had rejected [his] advances but that was a while ago. When her employer found out Kate had been admitted Kate felt her employer was trying to show her the door.”

That evening, Sally Ann, Tom and William Fitzgerald appeared on RTÉ’s The Saturday Night Show with Brendan O’Connor to talk about Kate’s death.

The show was pre-recorded specifically so that the presenters could remove any reference to The Communications Clinic if one were made.

The next edition of The Irish Times on Monday, December 5, 2011, contained two separate pieces relating to Kate Fitzgerald. The first was an account by Peter Murtagh of her memorial service at DCU.

The second was an op-ed piece by The Irish Times editor, Kevin O’Sullivan, about The Irish Times’ decision to edit her article, in which he stated:-

“The Irish Times sets high ethical standards for itself with a commitment to fairness. Sometimes they are not met, as some have contended in our coverage of this case. These are demanding requirements. Sometimes it’s a delicate weighing of often conflicting facts and details, when the full picture has yet to emerge. That is what we attempted to do in this case. Suicide is such a difficult, complex subject; when someone chooses to take their own life with devastating consequences for their family, friends and colleagues.

Coverage of suicide issues frequently provokes intense emotions and contention… After publication of the piece on Kate’s life some further details of her final months emerged. This led to an Irish Times decision to edit the initial piece and to publish a clarification in [last] Saturday’s editions. In my view, this was necessary in the context of fairness and it does not undermine in any way Kate’s life and the story told by her family, including her brother William.”

On December 20, 2011, in a further article beginning ‘Journalism is a messy, imperfect trade’, The Irish Times online editor Hugh Linehan wrote:

“When we have reason to believe that the newspaper may be at legal risk due to something we’ve published, certain processes kick in… In the case of Kate Fitzgerald’s anonymous article of September 9th, following legal advice we were asked to edit it on the afternoon of Monday, November 28th.

The original amendment line in theirishtimes.com archive read: ‘’This is an edited version of an Irish Times article originally published on September 9th, 20111″. Following complaints from some users, we re-wrote the line on Wednesday morning to read: “This article was originally published on September 9th in The Irish Times. It was re-edited on November 28th following legal advice.”

Referencing online criticism of The Irish Times’ actions, Mr Linehan added:

“Unfortunate and painful though these events have been, we as professional journalists and publishers took what we believed to be the best action from an ethical and legal perspective. We believe that to have acted otherwise would not have been brave, but irresponsible. We acknowledge the hurt, bewilderment and anger felt by the friends and family of Kate Fitzgerald over what has happened, and apologise for our part in contributing to that.”

In January 2012, Tom and Sally Fitzgerald made a complaint to the Press Council about the apology, which they claimed was in breach of the Code of Practice for Newspapers and Magazines.

The Press Ombudsman, John Horgan held that the newspaper, in publishing the apology, had failed to take into account the feelings of Kate Fitzgerald’s grieving parents and, following publication, failed to take sufficient remedial action to resolve their complaint.

A further claim that The Irish Times had breached the Code of Practice by failing to investigate, prior to editing, the truth or accuracy of the statements in Kate’s article was rejected by Mr Horgan, as being out of time on the basis that the article the subject of the apology had been published more than three months previously.

On appeal, the Press Council found that this latter decision was an administrative one, from which there was no appeal. Sally Ann Fitzgerald, from a newspaper family, found this decision inexplicable.

The inquest into Kate Fitzgerald’s death in 2011 was not held until 2013. having been adjourned pending a review of the way in which the original Garda investigation into her death had been handled.

In 2012, the Dublin Coroner’s office had forwarded Tom and Sally Fitzgerald an unsolicited copy of Kate’s autopsy report, which disclosed fracturing of the hyoid, a bone in the neck that would normally be left untouched in a hanging but is often broken in a manual strangulation case.

This caused them to doubt the view earlier expressed by Gardaí, that Kate’s death was 100% a suicide.

Further investigations by them disclosed that the Gardaí had failed to examine the cupboard in which she had been found hanged, or to retain the ligature believed to have been used during her death.

Kate’s autopsy results also showed Kate had normal levels of prescribed drugs and the equivalent of one alcoholic drink in her system.

Following representations by the Gardaí, a review of the investigation of Kate’s death was carried out under the charge of a detective superintendent.

The review confirmed that there were flaws in how her death had been examined. However it concluded that it was unclear what impact if any this had on the case as “potential evidence” was not “properly maintained” and was now “irretrievably” lost.

Garda David Healy, the officer in charge of the case, resigned during the original investigation and is no longer a member of the Gardaí.

Mr Bruen’ gave  evidence at the inquest that  Kate  believed her employer was not supportive after her hospitalisation and that she had been lower level jobs to do.She felt she was being shown the door, he said, and had began looking for a new job.

Although this information had not been included in Mr Bruen’s email to Kevin O’Sullivan it was identical to what he had said in a statement to gardai – with one difference

There was no reference at the inquest to Kate having received unwelcome overtures from a man associated with her work

Mr Bruen also confirmed that, when leaving her house for the hospital, Kate believed herself to have taken the tablets hidden by them the previous evening.

Evidence was also given by Dr Consilia Walsh, a psychiatrist in charge of the community psychiatric services at Baggot Street hospital, which Kate had been attending since June 2011.

Dr Walsh had not seen Kate personally and any evidence given from her had been extracted from her file. Dr Walsh stated that Kate’s file indicated a depressive illness and borderline personality traits.

Her last assessment had been on July 27 and she had looked very well and had engaged well with her review.

Dr YM Fakih, the pathologist who had pronounced death at the scene, also gave evidence at the inquest.

He could not remember what the ligature around Kate’s neck had been made of, nor whether it was in situ or loosened at the time he had carried out his autopsy.

Nor did he remember what she was wearing. In response to questioning on these matters, he stated that his function had merely been to confirm her death and make a cursory observation.

He did admit, under questioning, that a mark recorded by him as having been on the right side of Kate’s neck could have been a thumbprint.

Dr Fakih’s evidence was supplemented by that of his superior, Professor Marie Cassidy, who ruled out a third-party involvement and said that Kate Fitzgerald died as a result of hanging.

The jury accepted Dr Cassidy’s evidence, returned a verdict of death by suicide and added a recommendation that photographs be taken by attending gardai at the scene of any death.

Tom and Sally Fitzgerald have never accepted the inquest verdict and continue to express their concerns over how the original investigation was handled.

In August 2014, new Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald confirmed her department has assigned a legal counsel to review the case. In an August 8 letter to the family, Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald’s private secretary, Chris Quattrociochi, wrote that

“The minister has established a mechanism for the independent review by counsel of certain allegations of garda misconduct, or inadequacies in the investigation of certain allegations, with a view to determining to what extent and in what manner further action may be required,” the correspondence read.

In reply, Tom and Sally Fitzgerald said:

“We are delighted that the new minister is taking steps to investigate.”

Terry Prone continues to provide training and PR assistance to well-known firms, political parties and politicians, including Frances Fitzgerald.

There is no record on Kate’s Blackberry of any email, text or phone contact from Ms Prone following Kate’s hospitalisation. Ms Prone appears to have spent much of August, 2011 in Florida.

In 2015 Anton Savage was given his own radio show, The Anton Savage Show, on Today FM, airing from 9am to noon.

The same year, Ger Kenny and Dermot McCrum separated from the Communications Clinic to set up their own operation, Strand Communications.

In March 2016, The Irish Times reported that abridged accounts filed with the Companies Registration Office showed an increase in the Communications Clinic’s accumulated profits from €580,521 to €682,105 in the 12 months to the end of March 31, 2015.

Brendan Bruen left IBEC in January 2015. He subsequently set up his own consultancy, before being appointed director of the Irish Investment Managers Association in March 2016.

Karagh Fox’s case against The Communications Clinic was settled shortly after Kate’s death. In March 2012 she got a new job with a marketing company, where she has remained since.

Tom and Sally Fitzgerald, and their son William, left Ireland and returned to the US in 2015, where they now reside at Sea Ranch, California.

Kevin O’Sullivan remains editor of The Irish Times. To date, Kate’s original article remains excised on The Irish Times online archive, though available to read online on Broadsheet and other sites.

The position of The Irish Times remains the same as set out in December 2011 – namely that Kate’s assertions are non-factual.

To date, no statement has ever been issued by The Communications Clinic in relation to Kate Fitzgerald.

Pics: Rollingnews/Irish Times/RTÉ

Previously: Kate Fitzgerald on Broadsheet.ie

193 thoughts on “Five Years After

  1. Nikkeboentje

    It was the articles on Kate that first made me aware of Broadsheet.ie. It was the only media outlet with the balls to report the truth and stand up to Terry Prone and her cronies. As an aside, I haven’t bought the Irish Times since it redacted the article Kate wrote and its subsequent apology to The Communications Clinic.

  2. John C

    Thanks for this article. Though painful to read, it is the only comprehensive and factual account of this tragedy. Broadsheet is the true “paper of record” in this country, albeit an online one. My heart goes out to the family and friends of Kate. I can’t imagine what their lives were and are like as a result. I can only hope they remember the great times they had with her.

  3. Lilly

    If anyone reading this is in an abusive work situation, please get out. Don’t give them another hour of your precious time. Of your labour. Of you. It’s not necessary to be in a job to get a job, I can vouch for that. Do your research and choose your employer carefully. An interview is a two-way process and character is revealed when you pay attention.

    What a pity we don’t learn how to take care of ourselves at school, properly prepare for the world instead of filling our heads with trivia.

    1. Amy

      Why is it the ‘school’s’ job to teach you this? Teachers appointed after 2012 are paid minimum wage. Parents decide to have children, it’s their job to make sure you learn this attribute.

      1. Lilly

        Yes of course it is Amy but given that we spend – or used to at any rate – several hours a week indoctrinating young adults in religion, teaching ‘facts’ that have a 50% chance at best of being true, this would be a good default time to make sure all our young people go into the world knowing the basics of self-preservation – in work, in life and in love.

        1. Amy

          30 minutes per day are spent on religious studies. That’s more time being allocated to RE than math and English. I’m sure every teacher in the country would love to spend more time teaching children about life, but that’s not in the dept. Of Education curriculum guidelines. Constantly people comment and say ‘oh that should be done in school’. Well actually kids are in school for approx. 5 hours a day. There isn’t enough time to teach academia and life skills. More of the burden needs to be placed on the parents and society.

          1. Malta

            Not all parents know this stuff to teach it. I don’t think Lilly is suggesting that teachers do this of their own bat, but that it does get included in Dept of Education guidelines etc.

            I’m not sure how society would teach these skills.

          2. Leni

            Yes I think the main point is that it should be included in the Education guidelines, not to put the pressure on teachers who are suffering under the same educational system as the students.

            The reason school – apparently – exists is to prepare young people for the working world and for life, isn’t it? Teaching people how to deal with getting work and workplace difficulties is exactly what should be taught in school.

            Sure I remember learning how to do CVs and stuff like that in school. They always shy away from teaching anything important: like how taxes work, your rights as a citizen of the country, how discrimination can affect you in the workplace, attitudes about mental health in the workplace (remember, some of these kids are going to grow up to be bosses & managers – an education into mental health issues would be valuable), what bodies are set up to protect us from the likes of discrimination or sexual harassment (which is prevalent in schools nevermind workplaces).

            The amount of inaccurate shite I did have to learn during school, and then the amount of time i had to spend learning all this other important stuff on my own, makes me pretty bitter about the whole thing :P

          3. Annie Asgard

            There is a whole subject a out life skills — it’s called SPHE (Social Personal Health Education) and it’s more and more becoming an avenue to help with proactive mental wellness. There’s just not enough time to teach the subject (see below).

            You’re incorrect in saying, “30 minutes per day are spent on religious studies. That’s more time being allocated to RE than math and English.: This is incorrect. As you can see from the PDF below from the Department of Education and Science, at the Primary Level there are 30 minutes a day (2.5 hours a week) required for Religious Education (or values and moral education REEP subject in Educate Together Schools) but there are 4 hours a week for both English and Maths and 3.5 hours for Irish (in an English medium school- reverse for an Irish medium school).

            There are in fact many teachers who are frustrated with the RE requirement. There are 30minute PER WEEK of SPHE and yes, this should be increased.

            Speaking for myself, I would prefer to have no RE at all but if it’s a religious ethos school, then why not swap the 30min of SPHE with the 2.5 hours of RE? Great solution!!

            Sorry to detract from this very sensitive article, but I just wanted to correct you on the RE time allotment.

      2. Cian

        Teachers appointed after 2012 start on 31K; minimum wage is 18.5K (39-hour week) . So they are paid more than minimum wage.

          1. Medium Sized C

            That, given the context, is an utterly disgraceful thing to say.
            Evidentially neither your parents or teachers taught you to think.

        1. mildred st. meadowlark

          Wow, you’re a piece of work. I’m sure people love having you around, being as trite and nasty and judgemental as you so clearly are. Good luck with that.

    2. Tish Mahorey

      “If anyone reading this is in an abusive work situation, please get out.”

      That’s not good advice Lilly, it’s naive.

      First step, make an official complaint to the company HR person if there is one.

      Failing that, talk to a solicitor and immediately take detailed notes of all incidents for a period of time long enough to then take a case against the employer. Times are dates and copies of e-mails should be recorded and the names of witnesses to these events. Keep all records off site (making sure not to remove any company property in doing so).

      If you leave a job without notice, you greatly weaken your position.

      Many moons ago I worked with a sociopath who in turn was facilitated by a very weak MD. Every single one of the employees left that company because of the sociopathic self pleasurer. And three of the people who left ended up suing the company. It cost them €300,000 plus legal fees.

      That’s how you get to them. Money.

      1. Frida

        True, but when you’re 25, dealing with mental health issues and struggling to keep your head above water, financially and otherwise, getting to a safe environment is crucial. Ideally do both.

        Is the company you’re talking about run by a toxic gnome – nondom with a faux Anglo accent – in a Mayo town popular with tourists by any chance?!! Pity they tend to shroud these settlements in secrecy.

        1. Tish Mahorey

          If there situation is very dire then yeah, at least take sick leave while you prepare an exit.

          “Is the company you’re talking about run by a toxic gnome”

          The toxic gnome part is pretty bang on but not Westport no. The company no longer exists.

  4. Emily

    Such a loss. She sounds like such a bright intelligent girl. If only we could go back, things might have been different for her.

    Well done BS for keeping Kate alive.

  5. Louis Lefronde

    The workplace can be very ugly, especially when it is run by a small clique.

    The IT let itself down very badly with this episode and lost all credibility. Along with its continuing hyping of the property market to sell advertising, it has hemorrhaged once loyal readers.

    There remains a few unresolved issues about how Kate died.

      1. Sibling of Daedalus

        The only innuendo which can be read into this excellent piece is what Lily says below – that Kate was treated shabbily by a lot of people. Kate had a history of depression and it does seem that she had a lot of increasing stresses at the time of her death. Possibly she died by suicide due to a mood swing between the time of the email to Peter Murtagh and her death. From what the article says, given her cremation and the failure of the guards – among the people who treated her shabbily – to preserve evidence, it would be impossible to know unless the perpetrator – if there was one – talks or has talked, to someone who comes forward.

        Even where someone has committed suicide, given that an inquest has to be held by lawinto their death, it seems a complete lack of respect for them – and the inquest jury – not to at least take photos of the scene and preserve the ligature.

        A very sad story, not least because Kate’s voice comes alive from her emails. Not just a statistic or name in the paper, but a real person, who died needlessly, and whose last words were altered unnecessarily after her death by a paper she admired and respected. I remember Kate from first commenting on this site in 2010. Not only was she a loyal reader of Broadsheet, but a staunch defender of the Irish Times against all allegations of typos. Sadly, the Times mistake in relation to her piece was far far more than just a typo.

        Rest in peace, Kate.

  6. Sheik Yahbouti

    Have tried to “read more” but cannot. I am new to this site and had not heard of this young woman. As any mature human would I am sorry for the loss of life, and potential, in someone of only 25 years. I will make other efforts to get to know something of the person we have lost.

  7. Andy

    Terribly sad story.
    Sounds like she accomplished a lot in her 25 years but had potential for much more.
    Condolences to her family.
    Andy

  8. Ivor

    Thanks for this and Broadsheet’s attitude to the litigious powers that be is generally commendable.

  9. Moroccan rug dealer

    I imagine the deep rooted fear of the Fitzgerald’s is that their daughter was murdered. It shows how untrained An Garda are. In uk and psni a death by hanging is attended by trained detectives and a forensic police doctor and the victims remains are most certainly not cut down until the scene is inspected by these proffessionals. But anything goes in ireland, we all know it., hesitant to voice it. Margaret Sucre was supposed to have choked to death on alcohol but 20 years latér a man confessed to her murder. He couldnt live with his conscience anymore. Frances Fitz is not regarded as an efficient justice minister…..she talks the polical spin. Ask Lucia o Farrell …..victims are fobbed off. If Kate was my daughter i’d be deeply upset. If they require help bs can contact me.

    1. Skinner

      From personal experience with family north, south and in the UK I can honestly say that the police UK & north were the most professional and considerate of the circumstances surrounding my family’s loss.

      I am truly sorry for Kate’s family that in addition to their loss they found themselves confounded by a wall of silence by the very people Kate dedicated herself to serving. Shame on you.

    2. Malates

      Agreed on the attention required at the scene – even where it seems an obvious suicide. But in this case it sounds like the friends who first arrived at the apartment were the ones to cut her down in an attempt to resuscitate her. I’d imagine most people would have the same instinct if they happened upon a person hanging, hoping that they weren’t too late. Very odd that the rope wasn’t preserved and that there were no photos taken… It might make no difference to the whole thing but it adds a whole other level of stress & confusion for the family and friends who are already suffering enough. RIP Kate

  10. sǝɯǝɯʇɐpɐq

    Wow BroadSheet…

    THAT’S journalism.
    I’ve never read anything like it before.

    Best Post Ever.

  11. Never

    It appears the Garda failed to carry out a proper assessment of the situation when Kate was found.
    This in itself is very disappointing.

    My thoughts are with her family.

  12. Repeal of Tralee

    In the interests of completeness you should publish the complete coroner’s report and verdict into her death.

    She wasn’t murdered. She took her own life.

    1. Owen C

      Agree. There’s enough of a real story there from all the other stuff without putting in (yet again) conspiracy type stuff on her being murdered. She was a troubled soul who was treated badly (or simply not as well as could have been) by many people around her.

    2. John

      Repeal of Tralee,

      In the interest of the people who actually care about Kate, it is unacceptable how the gardai handled the situation, this was acknowledged by the recommendation for Gardai to always take photographs at the scene of a death(how that hasn’t been the case since the commodification of camera is beyond me) and the resignation of Gardai involved.

      You seem to be a supporter of jumping to conclusions based from experience rather than evidence.

      “Dr YM Fakih, the pathologist who had pronounced death at the scene, also gave evidence at the inquest.

      He could not remember what the ligature around Kate’s neck had been made of, nor whether it was in situ or loosened at the time he had carried out his autopsy. Nor did he remember what she was wearing. In response to questioning on these matters, he stated that his function had merely been to confirm her death and make a cursory observation.”

      “He did admit, under questioning, that a mark recorded by him as having been on the right side of Kate’s neck could have been a thumbprint.”

      For me this clearly lacks due diligence. Suggesting that the gardai take a photo would have cost him nothing.

      “Dr Fakih’s evidence was supplemented by that of his superior, Professor Marie Cassidy, who ruled out a third-party involvement and said that Kate Fitzgerald died as a result of hanging.”

      The problem here is the time lapse and lack of evidence through which Professor Marie Cassidy ruled out third party involvement. It is also borderline conflict of interest, if she had said she couldn’t rule out third party involvement due to lack of physical evidence this will cause problems for the gardai and Dr Fakih with whom she obviously works.

      The only physical evidence was Kate’s body which was cremated after assurances from the gardai and the coroners report, and I do agree that the full autopsy report should be published.

      “In 2012, the Dublin Coroner’s office had forwarded Tom and Sally Fitzgerald an unsolicited copy of Kate’s autopsy report, which disclosed fracturing of the hyoid, a bone in the neck that would normally be left untouched in a hanging but is often broken in a manual strangulation case.”

      Although there is plenty of clearly bogus information on the topic, this is a thorough and easily understandable report http://medind.nic.in/jal/t13/i3/jalt13i3p239.pdf

      So this fracture only occurs in 1.6% of hangings overall, and is the least common in the 20-30 age bracket, and the pathologist and the gardai conclude, seemingly on the spot, it’s a suicide, case closed, very sad, they assure Tom of this 100% and he goes through the absolute horror of having to bury his child.

      It’s really not a difficult calculation to find out if the height of the drop, her weight and the material and positioning of both the ligature and press could have caused this injury. Unless of course key aspects of the evidence are just gone.

      So in the interest of completeness, could you back up your wild and insensitive assertions that “She wasn’t murdered. She took her own life” and admit that we don’t know what actually happened.

      1. The easiest way to tie it up is she took her own life and that’s it.

      2. The middle ground is that she was pushed into it by employers who should know that a persons life is more important than a job. They were clearly more concerned with how she might perform, after they were informed of her mental health problems, than how to get her better so that she can perform. Allowing an employee to work when you know they are not mentally well is completely irresponsible, but on top of that making them work weekends? That’s nuts! Any person with any empathy at all can see that it’s wrong, but it’s also incredibly stupid and can only be justified with an attitude that they don’t care about the employee. Nobody gets better faster working extra hours, and if you wouldn’t give someone a weekend off to see their family shortly after they are on suicide watch, you are just a terrible person(in my opinion)

      3. The last option is someone else was involved, there are many people in the article who would be the obvious usual suspects had the evidence, most of which seems to have been discarded, shown further signs of foul play.

      For me the most awful thing is the obstacles put in front of Tom, Sally Ann and Will in getting closure and being able to move on with their lives. The loss of a loved one is always difficult but made near impossible in the circumstances. They will simply never know exactly what happened because a series of people didn’t do their jobs correctly, and have rightly pursued all avenues in bringing people into account and raising awareness, but this all takes a huge amount of energy, time and money.

      I’d also like to highlight that in Ireland there is a systemic problem that is common in many workplaces, offices and institutions in Ireland. It is that the employee is being “done a favour” and is lucky to have a job at all, and this gives the employer or manager the right to treat people badly. From things as simple as shouting at employees to giving impossible workloads and deadlines. It’s usually under the pretense that this will increase productivity. It doesn’t.

      You want a healthy and happy workforce.You must treat your employees with respect. Sadly in Ireland despite some lovely employee rights, company charters and the like these are often simply breezed past as the employer can do what they like. The employee will have to have kept incredibly accurate accounts of all these dealings and hire a lawyer, it is very difficult to do these things while operating at a full time job and with the cost of living. So basically, nobody really cares.

      1. Tom Fitzgerald

        Thank you John for your reasoned comment. Option 3 is correct in this case. Kate was killed and there is known evidence of a cover-up. The science shows that the hyoid bone is almost never broken in hanging, see also http://medind.nic.in/jal/t05/i3/jalt05i3p149.pdf where in 257 cases of hanging, not a single broken hyoid. At the inquest, Dr. Cassidy quoted a DiMaio and DiMaio study on suicidal hanging and managed to omit the fact that in the 83 case of suicidal hanging in that study, there were ZERO broken hyoids. Cassidy also failed to mention her “10 best ways to commit the perfect murder” speech at Athlone IT in 2001, where she listed faked suicidal hanging as one of the best ways to get away with murder.

        For the record, the inquest evidence is that Kate’s heels were on the floor in front of her so there was no drop. Kate was about 5-6 tall and the suspension point was at about 5 feet. The ligature, as far as can be determined, was a 2″ wide strap, like that from a laptop bag. The buckle was at the back of her neck (nowhere near the hyoid) and there was less than 8 inches from her neck to the point of suspension. (Note, this is with the neck compressed, so it would have been some inches less prior to neck compression.)

        The closet shown at the inquest, was not the closet as it had been when Kate lived there. Photos were taken 9 months after her death.

        John, from your reading on these matters, I think you can take the science from there and draw a conclusion on how she died. Thank you for taking the time to think this through.

        1. Anne

          Wow.. missed this comment.

          The Gardai are abysmal .. they really are.

          My condolences to you and your family Tom.

        2. Tom Fitzgerald

          My use of the word “cover-up” needs clarification. What I meant in this comment is that Kate’s killer did something at the scene to try and make her death look like suicide. While this was known to the Gardai, to GSOC, and to the Coroner. It was not mentioned at the inquest or explained by the Gardai. We are not publicizing it, because it could yet help lead to a conviction.

  13. Chris

    This is all so haunting, I have a vague memory of Kate, I remember hearing her talk on TV. I did not know any of this or that she passed. I really have to wonder about the ‘Communications Clinic’ for such a talented team of ‘communicators’ even if they were in no way at all complicit in her death you’d think they’d take a big role in any memorial of her, but no foundation, donations, statements, nothing, just a weird awkward letter to her family. Surely a ‘Communications Clinic’ with such noted ties to government, would be spurred to some form of symbolic communication or action, the complete lack of acknowledgement is startling. This firm are like so many things a paper tiger propped up by association. Poor Kate to have been stuck with them during such an impressionable time in her youth, it’s a real tragedy that she never got to grow further.

  14. Charger Salmons

    Having read Broadsheet’s lengthy report it seems to me that the Communications Clinic acted in much the same way as most organisations would do.
    They allowed Kate time off when she ‘phoned in sick and in all of the exchanges reported in this article they don’t appear to be threatening or aggressive.
    But at the same time they have a business to run and the media is a notoriously tough business to be involved in.
    It seems to me that Kate was emotionally and mentally unable to cope with the pressures of working in that business,particularly as her personal life appeared to have been an emotional roller-coaster as well.
    All the additional stuff thrown in at the end of the article about the police investigation,doubts about the neck injury etc seemed to me to be casting doubt and raising suspicions where there are none.
    It’s very easy to apportion blame and use hindsight when someone tragically takes their own life but reading this article I just don’t get why the finger is being pointed at an easy target like the Communications Clinic.
    Sorry and all that but only one person is responsible for this unfortunate woman’s death.

    1. Anne

      I suggest you read Kate’s letter to the Irish Times again.

      “I did not, however, expect that I would be met with casual hostility, with passive-aggressive references to my mental incapacity for my profession, and my apparently perceived plan to leave the company entirely in the lurch.

      And –

      Kate exited this meeting believing that her admission to St Pat’s – and the circumstances in which Anton Savage had been made aware of it – had done irreparable damage to her position at the Clinic.

      Later that evening she met with Brendan Bruen – who was now studying law part-time at the King’s Inns – for an informal ‘legal reading’ of the situation.

      Following this conversation, Kate began to look for work elsewhere.

      Kate’s altered position in the workplace was made clear to her over the next few days. She discovered that during her absence she had been taken off a number of files on which she had been working.

      1. rotide

        None of that really suggest bullying or illegal practices.

        They might be harsh and uncaring but that’s not a unique thing anywhere.

    2. Anne

      “don’t appear to be threatening or aggressive.”

      Hostile is how she describe them. That seems about right.

      Soul-less cretins is how I’d describe them myself.

    3. Chris

      Hmm why don’t you just point out now all the others that it seems to you are mentally just unable to cope and we can dig a big hole and just bury them now and be done with it. Regardless of appropriating blame what about these so called ‘communications experts’ offering support, wether opportunistically or otherwise instead of just exposing their true lack of empathy or interest. You seem like you would fit in great at the Communications Clinic, lumbering around with 20th century ideas of how health should be handled in the work place. Well boss, that ones broken, just a dud I suppose, toss ’em on the pile and move on.

    4. Martin Collins

      Disgusting to make such comment ‘Salmons’.
      Karma works in strange ways. ‘Nobody to blame but yourself’ may come back to bite you. Insensitive bastard.

  15. Anne

    What a horrible bunch of cretins to work for…. that Prone wan is still on that Midday show too on TV3, spouting her gibberish. The Rocky Horror Show would be more along her lines.

    1. Charger Salmons

      Nope.Sorry.They might be smart operators in a tough business and poor Kate might have found herself out of her league but I don’t think ” horrible bunch of cretins ” is a fair or accurate description of the Communications Clinic based on what has been written in this article.
      But hey,snarling abuse is the right and privilege of every keyboard warrior isn’t it ?

      1. Kieran NYC

        Don’t engage. She’s looking for an excuse to go on another venomous rant and this isn’t the article for that.

        I hope Kate rests in peace and her parents, family and friends find some.

        1. Anne

          Got anymore useless percentages for us KFC? 74% of people returned home.. clown.

          I think they’re cretins… of course it’s the article to say it. You don’t decide what’s allowed and what’s not.. I’ve no problem with anything being removed, if it’s deemed inappropriate.

          Where would you prefer I say it btw? Did they treat someone else worse that we should know about?

          1. Owen C

            “You don’t decide whats allowed and what’s not”

            The classic idiotic response to someone disagreeing with them. No one is trying to shut down your rants. They’re just pointing out they are rants.

          2. anne

            Anne Marie is around there today…better trot along and annoy her for that apology you’ve been looking for.

            And he was saying this isn’t the article for that.. That being saying the Prone wan and the Savages are cretins.. what would you prefer, compliments to them on their lack of tact, the not so nice environment they have in their workplace, over working their employees? Expecting them to work weekends after working all week? I’m pretty sure if your contract is for 39 hours and you work a weekend, you should be entitled to the time off in lieu.

            It doesnt even seem like they have basic health insurance for their employees.

            Call it a rant if you want. They seem like horrible yokes to work for.

          3. Owen C

            “It doesnt even seem like they have basic health insurance for their employees.”

            Welcome to the reality of much of the private sector in Ireland.

            He offered an opinion that this wasn’t an appropriate forum for your comment. He didn’t say “you can’t say that” or anything like that. Don’t be so precious with your opinions.

          4. Anne

            Don’ t be so precious yourself.

            He was being manipulative, talking about having respect.. and this isn’t the article to be mentioning the cretins.
            The Communications Clinic behaved appallingly.. that’s my opinion. I won’t be told this isn’t the place to say that. Buh bye now.. go annoy Anne-Marie will ya.

  16. rotide

    Suicide is always a tragedy, especially in someone so young and I thought the original broadsheet coverage of this was great, especially given that she had commented here.

    I’ve got to say that this piece is troubling though. There’s a wealth of new source material, presumably attained from Kate’s parents but there doesn’t seem to be any evidence at all of workplace bullying of Kate, it may well have happened but the only work correspondence published indicates fairly standard (if brusque) exchanges. If anything, It’s Kate’s own words that show inconsistancies. For example, In the article she says she loves her collegues like family and yet she’s cursing them to high heaven and can;t get out the door soon enough. She also sort of blames her friends, even though by this account they acted out of genuine concern for her.

    It’s fairly standard that a lawyer for the Times would freak out once the author who accuses their employer of constant illegal practices was identified and after reading this article and particularly in relation to her friends, I’d have to agree with the Times’ apology for the original article.

    Great research on this article, it could really do with some editing and the tiniest piece of narrative and conclusion though.

    1. Anne

      “fairly standard (if brusque) exchanges.” Eh, read it again.

      Pretend you just broke a bone.. You’re out of the hospital and you need a bit of time off to go to the doctors.
      You’ve worked your ass off for the company up to that point, and you can’t make it in before your appointment, even though you said you’d try ..

      Now read this bit again.

      “I couldn’t afford to get where I was going from here as opposed to home. Apologies, I should have texted you to let you know. I’ve done several early mornings and late nights in the past couple of weeks and as always will stay on late tonight if there is work to be done.”

      Anton Savage replied:

      “If you’ve been doing late evenings and early mornings make sure it’s in the diary and the hours and by all means draw my attention to it. Don’t decide it allows you to not show up.”

      On the same morning an email was sent by Anton Savage to all staff at the Communications Clinic:-

      “Folks, if you are doing anything other than being at your desk all day it should be in your diary and on the daily sheet. From now on, please make sure meetings, absences, sessions out of house are in your diary and on the sheet.”

      That particular tactic of sending an email to everyone, but the email is aimed at a particular person, is used by bullies when they’re having a conniption..

      It’s not brusque, it’s hostile.. Shove yer sheet where the sun don’t shine like. If you go to the toilet, do you need to write it in the sheet?

      “if you are doing anything other than being at your desk all day it should be in your diary and on the daily sheet. ”
      That sheet would be shoved down Anton’s gob if I got a stint with them.. the little weasel with his important job working for mammy and daddy wouldn’t know what hit him.

      Fairly standard he says then.. and not to mind you’re talking about someone not long out of hospital.

      “Great research on this article, it could really do with some editing and the tiniest piece of narrative and conclusion though.” Stop trying to sound important.

      1. Harry Molloy

        there’s nothing wrong with an employer asking employees to fill a time sheet or to highlight work that has been completed, especially if there has been misunderstandings when this hasn’t been done previously.

        I’m just trying to put myself in both sides shoes and I don’t see any inappropriate behaviour judging from the comments above – I cannot read the article.

        it’s bloody tragic, she was in an awful place it seems.

      2. Cian

        I read that as Kate asking for time off to attend a medical appointment. She got permission from Anton (albeit wrapped in a “come in early that morning to work up the time”). But then she didn’t come in beforehand OR let the anyone know she wasn’t coming in.
        Anton then replied that its okay to work up the hours – but (1) ensure the records are up-to-date and (B) let people know and don’t just decide NOT to come into work. He then let everyone else know.

        I really don’t see the company doing any wrong in those exchanges. Kate, on the other hand, didn’t show up to work and didn’t inform anyone.

        1. The Lady Vanishes

          What about compelling her – against her objections – to work the weekend of Electric Picnic though?

          You’ve seen the link to the Employment Equality document below.

          It says employers are under a duty to make ‘reasonable accommodation’ for people with disabilities, including mentoring and peer support within the workplace; consulting with an employee to accommodate their return to work; adjusting an employee’s attendance hours or allowing them to work at home; relieving an employee of certain tasks and substituting other equivalent duties, in consultation with the employee. In one case before the Equality Tribunal, the Equality Officer found that an employer had discriminated against an employee experiencing anxiety and depression by refusing him permission to return to work on a phased basis following a period of sick leave.

          In failing to allow her off the washing product promotion Picnic (in circumstances where it was outside her normal work days, she had objected strongly, she had only recently been released from St Pat’s, after an apparent suicide attempt and wanted to spend time with her family, and there were two other employees there already) – TCC would appear to have breached the duty of reasonable accommodation.

          Presumably this is what Kate meant by the reference to illegality in the piece above – this was one of the things the Irish Times deemed ‘non-factual’.

          There’s also the fact that the possibility of working from home was not discussed with her.

          Reading the emails and texts, and noting the evidence given by Bruen and Lande at th inquest (which supports not only difficulties with TCC, but also the statement in her article about having checked in under an unknown level of pills) it would seem to me that Kate’s IT piece was entirely and conscientiously factual, and there was no basis whatsoever for the IT excising it – especially when the need to do so came about solely because of their own negligence in subsequently publishing her identity.

          It’s also significant that the Irish Times apologised to TCC for the non-factual stuff – but not to Bruen – although Kevin O’Sullivan did not dispute his account of events (which as it happened, subsequently turned out to differ from the inquest evidence). Apologies from the Irish Times, it seems, are only given to important persons.

          What this piece illustrates is the absolute con the media pulls on us in telling us that being clever matters, being pretty matters, being well-educated matters. Nothing, it seems, matters except who you know, and how well infiltrated into the media world you are. A nasty little bubble.

          Really, of course, the only thing that matters is sincerity and kindness. Two characteristics that shine out of Kate’s photo – and her heartbreakingly harried prose. A lovely kid, let down by so many, but not by Broadsheet and the commenters and readers who have tweeted their support.

          Let’s each of us do our best, in our own ways, to keep this story and its message going.

          1. Cian

            I was responding to the specific quoted parts from Anne, where I believe the company was reasonable.

            Regarding Electric Picnic I would agree that pressuring her to work the weekend after telling her that she wouldn’t be needed is wrong.

        2. Anne

          “Anton then replied that its okay to work up the hours”

          Anton Savage said no such thing.. by all means draw his attention to the extra hours is what he said and if you’re doing anything other than being at your desk all day, fill it in the diary sheet, is what he said.

          “Folks, From now on, please make sure meetings, absences, sessions out of house are in your diary and on the sheet.”

          It’s very telling that they would enforce some sort of policy of tracking peoples’ time off, right after Kate took some time off and had had to call in sick a few times. I mean, it’s hostile to say the least.

          By the looks of things, the hours were well worked up already.

          I’ve never heard the likes of it… cretins.

          1. Anne

            That Prone wan was on TV3 midday one day too talking about how glad she was when an employee finished up with them, as he would say some sort of mundane saying every day as he finished work..something like ‘another day another dollar’. She’s trying to be funny and she just comes across as a bit deranged with her mad bulging eyes and crooked smile.
            The Rocky Horror show would be better suited to her.

            Something rotten in the state of Denmark with that crowd..

            Folks, ye know what ye can do with yer diary sheet.. welcome to the new media, folks. Night night.

  17. sparkilicious

    This is a travesty of a piece. It is laden with innuendo and drags the names of many people through the mud. I have little time for the Savage clan but it is reprehensible to connect their names and the names of others, against whom the relevant authorities have made no finding of guilt (or even found a basis for a prosecution), to a thinly veiled theory that the unfortunate Kate was the victim of foul play.

    On the comparatively less serious allegation that there was a lack of professional support, there is a similar dearth of evidence. Any objective reading of the relevant communications quoted in the article reveals plenty of patience and restraint on the part of Kate’s former employers. Quite frankly, a preciousness, self-centredness and self-absorption runs through the communications emanating from Kate that are cited in the piece. Mental health difficulties that she had no control over may well have exacerbated these traits, or even caused them, but the predominant narrative is a commonplace tale of someone who doesn’t like what they’re given to do at work, doesn’t like that they’re refused time off that is requested at short notice and responds by applying for another job.

    I have every sympathy for Kate’s family but I’ve at least as much sympathy for those still caught up in a psychodrama that should have ended a long time ago. It is very sad and wrong that the valid remembrance of the tragic death of a young person should morph into a very public smearing of people with as much right to a good name as the next person.

    1. Saturday Night Newsround

      Some very strongly and personally felt commentary on Kate here.

      I don’t see anything in her writing indicative of what you say at all?

    2. Ivor

      Wow. Nice way to talk about a dead person.

      What Kate wrote was about her experiences. Maybe she imagined some of the hostility, maybe not. But that was her opinion and that means it is legitimate to question practice at her former place of work.

      Unfortunately, Kate is no longer with us. We can’t question her about the details. That doesn’t mean that we censor her accusations. People can make up their own minds. All Broadsheet has done is provide us with the available information.

      1. sparkilicious

        And as regards this article: nice way to talk about living people.

        My comments may well seem harsh to people close to Kate. I am at a remove. I have no strong feelings towards Kate, save to say that I think her death was an awful waste. I am looking at all of the communications cited in the piece in the round (the texts, emails, article etc.) as well as the established facts and making an assessment on that basis.

        Kate was clearly in the midst of an unfortunate personal maelstrom at the material time. There isn’t always someone to blame when a bad thing happens. I find it very wrong that reckless and baseless allegations and insinuations are being made against others who happened to be part of her circle at the time.

        1. Saturday Night Newsround

          nice way to talk about living people

          The living people you refer to appear to have done all the talking themselves, through their own words as quoted in the piece.

          1. Ivor

            Sorry Sparky, Saturday is right. Broadsheet report what was said and what was written but they don’t make any judgements about the “living” people named above.

            Kate made allegations. These were published. Broadsheet re-published them and put them in the context of other information that came available.

            Now maybe Kate was wrong to interpret some of the actions of her colleagues as hostile. But unless you think that her anonymous description of her experience at work was malicious, then you have to accept that she experienced pain and suffering following the actions of some of her colleagues. The piece leaves open the question of whether or not her interpretation was accurate.

            Frankly, concern for the good names of people mentioned above seems bizzare when you describe Kate’s writings as “preciousness, self-centredness and self-absorption”.

          1. The Lady Vanishes

            Sparkilicious

            Your comment above that “a preciousness, self-centredness and self-absorption runs through the communications emanating from Kate that are cited in the piece” reads very like a statement made by one of the friends above at Kate’s inquest that “Kate had a flair of the dramatic. She had gotten paranoid. She was quite angry a lot of the time.”

            On a separate, but related point, I don’t see the piece as making any insinuations against Kate’s friends. Broadsheet is entitled – and indeed obliged, as a matter of proper journalism, to cover the way in which the case was not properly handled by the Gardai – and to express Kate’s parents’ concern that she may have been murdered. There is nothing whatsoever in the piece – either express or implied – endorsing this view or pointing to any specific person or persons as the perpetrator. To say so is a complete misinterpretation of the article, just like your comments about Kate’s ‘narcissism’ above – which are completely unsupported by the email cited.

            I am mystified by your comment, particularly the venom shown towards Kate, and the undue and unnecessary concern on behalf of her friends and the ‘insinuations’ towards them.

    3. Tish Mahorey

      Sparkilicious, it certainly seems that you DO have strong feelings towards Kate. Did you know her personally?

      1. Caroline22

        Hi Tish,
        I see you have no reply from Sparkie. Come on, Sparks….remove your leather blindfold.

    4. Caroline22

      Hey Sparkilicious,

      “I’ve at least as much sympathy for those still caught up in a psychodrama that should have ended a long time ago.”

      Are you fucking serious?

  18. Daisy Chainsaw

    Great article. Despite all the publicity, mental illness is still treated as a stigma and employers don’t give those who suffer with it the time needed to deal with issues that can arise from time to time. I speak from experience, but I never reached the depths Kate did.

    Condolences to Kate’s family and friend and I hope they get the justice and closure they deserve.

  19. sǝɯǝɯʇɐpɐq

    @ Rotide & Charger Salmons.

    Are you ‘paid by-the-word’ or do you just like doing this?
    – You don’t know when to shut up, do you?

    1. sǝɯǝɯʇɐpɐq

      I notice you both rally against Anne, an easy target on any other day… but not today.
      Anne is right.

      Engage with me sometime… Earn your money…
      I’ll make you work hard, I’ll make you sweat, then I’ll make you question your morals and jack in your so-called ‘job’.

      I’m not scarey…
      (only messing, I’m terrifying… ;-) )

        1. Janet, I ate my avatar

          that’s unnecessary
          smacks of bullying too

          Bullying is rife in the work place especially a certain generation with outdated views on interpersonal relationships, I have had my sister in tears all year until she found a new job too afraid to quit until she secured something new.
          Personally it was the push I needed to work for myself. Give an ugly personality a smidgen of self importance and power and watch them go, half of them don’t even realise they are bullies.

          Rest in peace Kate.

  20. Shane Conneely

    Poor auld Kate, and everybody else involved.
    Except for the Crone, and the Savages, those people can go to blazes.

  21. RuilleBuille

    Well done Broadsheet for keeping this story relevant.

    Anyone who has dealt with this odious clique would know exactly what they are like.

  22. Ro

    Well done Broadsheet, thanks for keeping this story going against all odds. Perhaps one of the few who still fight for the truth

  23. DarDar

    Thanks for posting this BS. Its a valuable post even if the only thing it does is remind us all how fragile we really are and how easily a series of events, no matter how insignificant these may seem to the others involved, can knock us off centre. My heart goes out to all involved.

  24. Carole

    This case is terribly sad, but I wonder if it is largely presented from Kate Fitzgeralds side and represents her internal feelings as opposed to what factually happened? I’m not saying how she portrayed things is untrue, just merely that there are 2 sides to every story. Reading through this article and previous articles on the same topic it would seem to me that Kates direct manager was as supportive as he could be? Maybe I’m reading it incorrectly….

    I feel desperately sad for the Fitzgerald family and I think that a young woman of 25 dying is completely unnecessary and I think this case highlights how mental illness is ultimately inadequately dealt with in the working world.
    As someone who does not suffer with depression or mental illness myself, I find it very hard to do or say the right thing or be helpful to someone who does suffer. I would certainly hate to think anything I would say or do would adversely affect someone but who am I to know?
    As a friend, I would be heartbroken to think one of my friends would say that she/he was let down by the friends around them – it seems Kate felt let down but it also seems from the article that her friends did their best.

  25. AssPants

    WOW…….

    Thanks BroadSheet for continuing to be independent. :)

    I have been reading the Irish Times for 15years. I have questioned their unwavering love of property, but then found out that they bought MyHome for some ridiculous amount of money circa 2007. That fact answered their love affair; and why they continue to impose trophy homes upon on a Thursday.

    I am really questioning my loyalty now.

    I’m sorry I didn’t pick up on Ms Fitzgerald’s work earlier. Fabulous young talented woman, seems TCC just burnt her trust and love for life. Today FM is now removed from the preset stations.

  26. Dave

    I work for a PR firm and am 100% confident that I would be treated with compassion and patience by management if I was suffering from mental health issues. Clearly not all PR firms are the same. As an aside, this is absolutely stellar journalism, thank you.

  27. nellyb

    Severity of Kate’s condition is frightening. I think her profession was making her condition worse – head buzzing all the time, feelings, people and more of the same and over and over again… New job wouldn’t have helped, but new occupation potentially could. And a change of scenery, a radical one – less people, less exposure to human condition – genuine break & peace. Tragic loss.

  28. broadsideskid

    I *was* a lifelong Irish Times reader, until broadsheet made me aware of Kate Fitzgeralds sad death. I haven’t bought the paper in 5 years, and will continue to avoid it.

    A paper who would be bullied into changing a dead persons words- is NOT to be trusted.

  29. Melton_Carbury

    Sat down to do some work this morning, and this caught my attention instead.
    A wonderful piece, well written, clear and desperately needed. It seems Kate was let down by a series of people and institutions both before and after her death. An unfortunate victim of self-centered people with no particular care for their roles in their respective jobs or the people with whom they come into contact. We’ve all experienced isolated (or not) instances of this: the Garda not caring, the employer forgetting their responsibilities to their employees, or even feeling alienated from our friends and family. Kate seems to be a victim of everything in a short amount of time and without the social or psychological resources to get through them.
    I guess if we learn nothing else, it’s that we (or at least I) should take more care in how I talk to people, how I carry out my own professional life, and make sure to see people as people, and not as a means to an end. Thanks Broadsheet. I know it’s difficult to keep content such as this and other more thoughtful, hard-hitting going. You have to fill the site out with things such as the leather jacket guy, but, surely pieces such as the above are where you are at your best.

  30. Actio Non Accrevit

    For anyone interested in the rights of employees with depression, and the responsibilities of their employers.

    rish employment legislation (as set out in the Employment Equality Acts 1998-2011) specifically prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability. It has been established that the term ‘disability’ for this purpose covers people with experience of mental health conditions, which include depression, stress and anxiety.
    Under the legislation, an employer is under a positive duty to make reasonable accommodation to facilitate the condition of disabled employees. According to the Equality Authority in their publication ‘Mental Health within the Workplace’,

    “[R]easonable accommodation does not mean that an employer has to recruit, promote, retain or provide training to a person who does not have the capacity to do a particular job. However, an employer cannot decide that a person with a disability is incapable of doing a particular job without considering whether there are appropriate measures which they could take to support the person to carry out the required duties.”

    Examples of ‘reasonable accommodation’ given by the Authority include time off to attend medical appointments; mentoring and peer support within the workplace; consulting with an employee to accommodate their return to work; adjusting an employee’s attendance hours or allowing them to work at home; relieving an employee of certain tasks and substituting other equivalent duties, in consultation with the employee. In one case before the Equality Tribunal, the Equality Officer found that an employer had discriminated against an employee experiencing anxiety and depression by refusing him permission to return to work on a phased basis following a period of sick leave.

    Not a huge amount of ‘reasonable accommodation’ here methinks.

  31. Dee

    Well done on this piece Broadsheet.

    It doesn’t strike me, as some commenters have said, that this piece infers editorially that Kate was let down by friends. The tracts of emails and messages do show that Kate was feeling hostility from her workplace; Broadsheet has not independently inferred this here.

    What strikes me is how sad it all is; Kate clearly had an intelligent recognition of her illness and a certain level of hope of overcoming it. Of ‘getting up’ again. And at the end she ran out of the spirit to sustain herself.

    I’m sure it isn’t uncommon for grieving parents after suicide to suspect foul play, especially when evidence is proffered that tallies with a non-suicide verdict in other cases. But BS hasn’t inferred that these suspicions hold weight; it has simply reported that they exist.

    Good journalism.

  32. Peter Dempsey

    A sad story. Well done for the comprehensive detail. An aside – one should never call in sick via text message. You should always telephone your line manager or at the very least, a colleague.

    1. Cian

      I dunno – it you do it by text you have a record of what was said, to whom, and when. if you do it by phone you just have the time a call was made. I’d err on the side of caution and phone in, and follow up with a text.

  33. ProvingGround

    *Two of Kate’s mobile phones, were disposed of in the clean-up of her house, meaning that any information contained on them was no longer available.*

    Did the Communications Clinic carry out this clean-up?

    Presuming the mobiles were work phones and their property, and the Communications Clinic well versed in crisis management, but not one but two mobile phones being disposed of is a little odd, no?

    1. Owen C

      why would Communications Clinic be involved in the clean up of her house? I dont think that was suggested anywhere.

      1. ProvingGround

        Removal of possible evidence, such as disposing of mobile phones so information contained on them was no longer available?

        1. Owen C

          No, i mean how would they actually be involved? Are you suggesting they broke in? Does the article suggest that?

          1. ProvingGround

            PR firms are often involved in corporate situation ‘clean ups’ as part of crisis management.

            Shredding, data destruction, mobile phone disposal, etc etc

          2. Owen C

            I think you’ve been reading too many John Grisham books. PR firms in Ireland are generally more involved in either (a) putting out “on advice of my solicitor, I have no comment” type statements or (b) sending scantily clad young girls up to the top of Grafton St to promote some new product launch.

        1. The Lady Vanishes

          There is nothing in the article to indicate that the Communications Clinic was involved in the clean-up and/or the loss of the mobile phones.

          1. rotide

            Yes, I know that. It didn’t stop Provinground jumping to that conclusion though.

            Broadsheet caters to that type of mind.

  34. Orl

    Well written article. Like the use of primary sources. More of these deep dives please

    A confluence of things went wrong for Kate.apart from other things mentioned here, If she had a good working relationship with her direct boss , she would have known that the ibec account was triggering her. It is upsetting having to deal with an ex(especially at 25) during the working day. Not that this on its own led to her suicide(even with the bad investigation that’s what it looks like) but a little kindness would have gone a long way.

  35. Liam

    Kate was a young woman trying to live with mental health issues in dublin. She was vunerable, alone, ill and unable to catch up with a world that was spinning out of her control.
    What strikes me repeatedly is that she was so alone in dublin – she was in Pats’ and her contact with family was limited…did they even visit? When she asked to move home and briefly work for them, the response was ‘stay in the job’.
    An employer will only ever be that; not a support service, not a friend to rely on, not family. Similarly, young college friends dont have the experience or the understanding to support such a vunerable person- they’re not far from being in the same boat herself…..
    But again, what it comes back to is Kate, alone and isolated.

    1. Errol Gunne

      The assumption that people have family support is often used as an excuse for callousness.

      Many people – without you knowing it – may not have such support for a variety of reasons – one of them Other people may not have such support because their families are deceased, or have their own physical or mental difficulties, or because their relationship with their family is fractured in some way not their own fault. Many people with depression have fractured family relationships arising from any or all of the above. Others simply do not share the extent of their difficulties with their family because they feel ashamed or do not want to upset or be a burden on people they love. Such is how depression works. From her emails this seems likely to have been the case with Kate.

      What struck me on reading the primary documentation in this piece was how closely it corresponded with Kate’s anonymous article. Presumably this documentation would have been available to the Irish Times to view had they sought to establish the facts before excising it. And if legal considerations were to be the justification relied on, perhaps they should have sought to consider the truth of Kate’s allegation that the Clinic had acted in breach of the law. From the guidelines as laid down by the Equality Authority, it appears that in fact they had.

      Appropriate behaviour for the Irish Times would be to issue a new apology – to the Fitzgerald family this time – and reinstate Kate’s article in full.

      1. Frida

        That would be a step in the right direction for the Irish Times but if this story has shown us anything, it’s that the IT is not about taking the tough path – and look where that’s getting them.

  36. Truth in the News

    This piece shows up the emperors have no clothes scant concern and are encased
    in a bubbe of spin, whats worse they believe it them selves, they forget one thing
    we don’t, people with issues of depression need care, consideration and help, no
    matter how much of an inconvienence it is to others….little said now will bring back
    the victim or heal the wounds.

  37. Chris Grey

    Do not forget that Elaine O’Hara, Graham Dwyer’s victim, was hospitalised 14 times for depression and suicide attempts. The Gardai were at first happy to dismiss her death as suicide. If it hadn’t been for her own brother, who found evidence of her online “dangerous liaisons”, Dwyer would never have been found and convicted of her murder.

    Dublin is a pretty small town. A few visits to Nimhneach will teach you that. Cop on people.

    Sent from my iPad

  38. Salmon of Nollaig

    I have tweeted Roisin Ingle and Hugh Linehan on twitter forwarding them a copy of this piece and asking for their views.

    Link to tweets below:-
    https://twitter.com/salmonofnollaig/status/769165787999375361
    https://twitter.com/salmonofnollaig/status/768482502474403840

    So far no response. In a further tweet to Hugh Linehan I specifically referenced the duty of ‘reasonable accommodation’ under the Employment Equality Act mentioned in these comments and relevant to Kate’s statement in her article that her employers had acted illegally.

    I would encourage other people to make representations in their own way to the Irish Times – and its journalists, particularly those who espouse the cause of mental health and/or women’s rights.

    When this piece went up on Broadsheet, Roisin Ingle was at the Rose of Tralee tweeting about women’s rights and abortion. If Irish Times journalists hold themselves out as activists for fair treatment for women, then they should be asked about the extent to which their paper accords such fair treatment.

    The email correspondence between Brendan Bruen and Kevin O’Sullivan is salutary. O’Sullivan blithely accepted Bruen’s assertions that Kate was wrong in her references to her friends. We can’t even blame TCC for this as their representations presumably did not include any representations on behalf of Kate’s friends. The email correspondence smacks of an ‘all boys together’ acceptance of female unreliability.

    Female journalists who work on this paper and subscribe to the ‘all boys together’ culture while simultaneously agitating on behalf of women’s rights need to consider the consistency of their position if they are to continue to be taken seriously as equal rights activists. Otherwise, there is a risk of their pronouncements on feminism, justice and fairness looking like career advancement choices.
    Reply ↓

    1. Lilly

      Exactly. Where’s Kitty Holland when you need her. I’m going through list of female IT journalists in my head and can’t think of a single one who would put their head above the parapet on this. Or on anything that would involve them stepping out of line.

      Would it have been handled any differently by Geraldine Kennedy?

      1. Salmon of Nollaig

        I think it’s interesting that all the Irish Times people directly involved in this story – Kevin O’Sullivan, Hugh Linehan, Peter Murtagh – were men.

        The kindest explanation is that there was a failure to directly understand the issue – it didn’t seem important to them to remove a few words, that’s what editors do every day, the symbolic importance of these being her final words to her family, friends, anyone who loved here, seemed to be completely lost on them.

        A less charitable explanation would be that it was easy to dismiss the words of a woman as hysterical. The conversation between Kevin O’Sullivan and Bruen is like that between two patriarchs in a Victorian novel.

        Why did this happen? Would another editor have acted differently? As Kate herself said – it’s important to keep asking questions. That’s what the Times should have done, and if they had, they would have found out that what she said was true.

        1. Anne

          I asked Roisin and Hugh were they mulling it over and could we expect a response…

          Roisin asked ‘mulling what over’.. I explained. No response now since.

          What is it with these gowlbags on twitter? They only want to spout sh*te and don’t want to deal with anything that’s put to them.

          Hugh & Roisin seem to be very rude individuals… not impressed with them at all.

          1. Sibling of Daedalus

            I think it’s pretty evident from the twitter threads of your conversations with @HLinehan and @RoisinIngle that IT journalists are more concerned with promoting themselves than anything else.

            What the IT did wrong in relation to Kate Fitzgerald is manifold, and has never been properly acknowledged in either Hugh Linehan or Kevin O’Sullivan’s piece.

            1. The Irish Times should not have identified Kate in the Peter Murtagh article without establishing the true facts. In so doing, they created this situation. The author, Peter Murtagh was Opinion Editor and an experienced journalist, and must have known of the ramifications that could arise from cross-identification Also, why was the piece never legalled? Did Murtagh skip legals for some reason? If so, why? Also, why was TCC not contacted in advance by the IT for comment?

            2. They should also have made efforts to establish the true facts before publishing the apology. This apology was made 5 days after representations were made by the Clinic. They had 5 days to talk with Kate’s parents and ask them to produce evidence verifying the factual assertions in the article. They had a duty to do this as they had decided to disclose her identity in the first place. They didn’t fulfil it. Again, why not?

            3. Describing the assertions as ‘non-factual’ was incorrect, and if they had made reasonable efforts to verify the facts after the event they would have found this out. They appear to have unquestioningly accepted that Kate’s story was untrue (as Salmon has pointed out above the email exchange with O’Sullivan makes O’Sullivan look very foolish in hindsight).

            5. They should have admitted in the apology that they were entirely at fault for the unfortunate situation by not verifying facts before identifying Kate. Peter Murtagh should have personally apologised for this.

            As a long-term Irish Times reader, I would like to see the Irish Times deal with this.

            I agree with Salmon that the failure of the Times’ female journalists to respond on this issue (although they appear to have plenty of time on twitter to chat and flatter one another and male journalists) is pathetic.

  39. Grainne Mhaol

    Salmon,
    I find your post very interesting, but could you please explain in more detail why you think this is a feminist issue?

    1. Salmon of Nollaig

      I think there is a feminist angle to it in that I don’t think the Irish Times would have acted in the same way if Kate were male.

      I don’t think they’d have been so ready to declare the words of a dead man ‘non-factual’.

      The email from O’Sullivan is telling because O’Sullivan accepts so readily that Kate’s account of her relationship is not true.

      Also, the tone of the subsequently apology hints at the ‘she’s a hysteric, she’s not to be believed’ 19th century view of women.

      Last week Roisin Ingle was tweeting about what a ‘dreamboat’ Fintan O’Toole was.

      Possibly the fangirl behaviour of IT female journalists might explain why IT male journalists appear to still think they are living in the era of Charles Dickens.

        1. Salmon of Nollaig

          I found this on you tube…

          When you listen to Kate, it would make you very angry that the Irish Times dismissed Kate’s words so readily.

          Kate’s absolute sincerity and professionalism comes out in her speech.

          She could run rings round any female IT journalist.

          I would encourage people to listen to this.

          Kate is at 1.34.17.

        2. Grainne Mhaol

          Salmon, thank you for clarifying your stance regarding the feminist issue. Since my post, I have educated myself a bit more on this story. To be honest, I find it to be quite shocking in many regards. I believe your point has a lot of merit. Frankly, I think Mr. Murtagh at the Irish Times should be ashamed of himself for kowtowing to the Communications Clinic AND to Mr. Bruen, the gentleman who refuted Kate’s statements, who frankly comes across as confused and paranoid. But, that’s just my opinion.

          1. Salmon of Nollaig

            Unfortunately it wasn’t just Mr Murtagh at fault (and imho he should have personally apologised) it was also Mr O’Sullivan and Mr Linehan. Not to mention the members of the Irish Times Trust. And all the other journalists who stood by and said nothing and did nothing.

            Not sure how the IT could morally make a decision about Kate’s story without talking to her parents and on foot of statements by an ex-boyfriend and the very employer complained about in her statement.

            From what’s written by Legal Coffee Drinker above not clear they could do so legally either without at least consulting Kate’s parents and seeing what evidence they had.

            The IT chose what they thought was the easiest option for them personally. Simple as that. No moral considerations, not even properly thought & executed legals. What a way to run a paper.

        1. Anne

          That’s something that struck me as very odd too.

          He wrote objecting to the identification of Kate.

          Who the fupp does the little pipsqueck think he is at all?
          A friend – an ex boyfriend, who Kate dated for how long? And he had no interest in continuing a relationship with her, and tells her as much when he’s in the hospital?

          On the morning of Saturday, December 3, 2011, after publication of the apology, Mr Bruen sent a further email to the editor of The Irish Times Kevin O’Sullivan.

          In it, he stated that the implication in Peter Murtagh’s article that he and other friends had let Kate down was without basis, and had caused deep hurt and distress.

          Boo fupping hoo.. What a lack of respect for the family.

          Mr Bruen stated that he was disappointed that Mr O’Sullivan had not also acknowledged, in his apology, that The Irish Times did not stand by that assertion.

          What assertion is that? The Kate wrote her friends were seemingly put-upon.
          Some friend he turned out to be all right.. Useless, backstabbing, disloyal would be words that come to mind.

          As regards the remainder of the apology, he stated:

          “I believe the Irish Times acted correctly in apologising to the Communications Clinic. I can’t speak to the broader environment, but the actions of her immediate manager went far above and beyond the call of duty, and can be utterly without reproach.”

          That seems to be the real reason he wrote to the IT. Even though he had contradicted himself in earlier statements to the Gardai in relation to the Communications Clinic.

          Some friend he turned out to be.

      1. Martin Collins

        Why haven’t you asked Peter Murtagh on Twitter. He was very good about keeping the ID of Labour troll @populistwatchIr confidential.

  40. Sibling of Daedalus

    Interestingly, Roisin Ingle’s response to being tweeted this piece was to allege bullying on the part of the tweeters who asked her about it.

    salmon of nollaig ‏@salmonofnollaig Aug 26
    @roisiningle @broadsheet_ie Roisin, what is your view on this piece? http://www.broadsheet.ie/2016/08/23/five-years-after/ … #katefitzgerald #irishtimes

    Anne ‏@Anneoluimnigh Aug 27
    @salmonofnollaig @roisiningle @broadsheet_ie No comment Roisin or are you still mulling it over? Thanks.

    Roisin Ingle ‏@roisiningle Aug 27
    @Anneoluimnigh Am I still mulling what over?

    Anne ‏@Anneoluimnigh 22h22 hours ago
    @roisiningle @salmonofnollaig @broadsheet_ie R u going to response to Salmon’s tweet please re Kate Fitzgerald?I think it’s incumbent on u

    siblingofdaedalus ‏@siblingofdaeda1 10h10 hours ago
    @Anneoluimnigh @salmonofnollaig @broadsheet_ie Non-response from @roisiningle on #katefitzgeraldmost disappointing. Sisters when it suits?

    Roisin Ingle ‏@roisiningle 2h2 hours ago
    @siblingofdaeda1 @Anneoluimnigh @salmonofnollaig @broadsheet_ie Won’t be bullied by anybody into making comments on anything. Thanks.

    Link on twitter:-
    https://twitter.com/roisiningle/status/769814370457153537

    1. rotide

      She’s absolutely right.

      You, a completely anonymous person have decided that she should have an opinion on a very delicate matter and also have decided that it should be public knowledge and have a few pitchforks for backup.

      When she ignores your tweet for blindingly obvious reasons, you swoop in with a devastating burn. I’m astonished she actually responded.

      This is precisely what is wrong with twitter.

      1. The Lady Vanishes

        Nope, Rotide.

        When high-profile journalists open official twitter accounts and engage freely with anonymous members of the public on matters of interest to them from those twitter accounts (as @roisiningle does almost every day on the issue of abortion), they have to accept that they may also be asked questions about other issues relating to the newspaper they work for.

        They are of course not obliged to respond to those questions (although equally people are entitled to note their lack of response).

        However to allege bullying is inappropriate – and, I might say, particularly inappropriate in this particular case. The Irish Times seems to have two definitions of bullying, one appropriate to conduct by the Communications Clinic, and another appropriate to conduct by the public.

        This ties in with sibling’s comment above, IT journalists use twitter as a way to promote themselves as engaging with the general public but are not so keen to actually engage.

        In relation to @hlinehan, he has actually written a piece on the Kate Fitzgerald story, asking him for his response to Broadsheet’s piece is simply a matter of courtesy.

        1. rotide

          What a load of nonsense, get over yourself.

          She’s not a public servant. She doesn’t have to respond to things because YOU want her to. She clearly chooses what she engages with and she clearly doesn’t want to engage with people who insist that its ‘incumbent’ (seriously? its incumbent?? Because.. shes a woman? She has ‘progressive’ leanings? Why?) on her and sling mud with stuff like ‘sisters when it suits’

          1. The Lady Vanishes

            Rotide

            As our very own self-appointed guardian of the bridges (and, as an example of Broadsheet’s policy of facilitating criticism, even of itself, we other commenters love you for it), your tone of moral superiority on this is unintentionally hilarious, and made my Sunday.

            Thank you.

            The whole point of Twitter is that it is interactive. Journalists can express their opinion to the public, who can in turn express their opinion. To do one and object to the other as ‘bullying’ is like throwing the chessboard on the floor because you’re losing.

          2. Sibling of Daedalus

            Sorry to disagree, Rotide, but where the national paper of record posthumously edits and apologises for the article of a 25 year old woman because of a cross-identification which is entirely its own fault it’s not unreasonable for a reader to ask one of its leading female journalists her opinion of this action where subsequent evidence undermines the basis for the apology.

            Kate’s status as a young mentally ill woman was in my view highly relevant to the editing of and apology for her piece. To pick and choose between feminist issues acceptable to your boss and those not indeed beg the phrase ‘sisters when it suits’.

          3. rotide

            Glad to have given you a little chuckle over your glass of merlot Lady.

            However, you appear to have confused the word ‘can’ with the phrase ‘must at all costs and before I log off for the night and watch eastenders’

            Hope this helps.

          4. The Lady Vanishes

            Merlot? Eastenders? Musk at all costs?

            You must be confusing me with your ex-girlfriend, Rotide…

  41. rotide

    You guys really aren’t this stupid.

    Salmon’s tweet simply asked @Roisiningle what she thought of the piece and made no reference to it being incumbent on her to reply.

    There is nothing wrong with tweeting someone you don’t know a question. It’s a little presumptious but Salmon had reasons.

    Salmon asked a question which was ignored. You and Anne jumped in with torches lit and pitchforks raised and got shut down and subsequently ignored. It’s very clear what happened and you look ridiculous pretending otherwise.

    The followup tweets were out of order. If you can’t see that then there’s no point in contiuining the conversation and it has nothing to do with subsequent evidence undermines the basis for the apology. which is debateable as evidenced by the debate above.

    1. Sibling of Daedalus

      I think this is a reply to my comment above?

      Rotide, you and I have different views on how twitter operates. From the use of your term ‘presumptuous’, we probably also have different views on the respect to be given to members of the media (maybe that’s the main difference between us in fact).

      My view is that if a journalist has a public twitter account and freely engages in debate with members of the public it is not ‘presumptuous’ to seek their opinion on an issue of relevance to them (I’ve already outlined above why the Kate Fitzgerald story is relevant to female journalists on the IT).

      Obviously it is up to them whether or not to respond, however equally people are entitled to draw their own conclusions and (within reason) express them, which is what I did on twitter and here.

      During its period of operation, Broadsheet has highlighted many issues which the mainstream media has universally preferred to ignore and then, belatedly, adopted. You’ll excuse me in the circumstances if I don’t show as much deference as you’d like to its members.

    2. Anne

      ‘You and Anne jumped in with torches lit and pitchforks raised and got shut down and subsequently ignored.’

      Go away with the dramatics.. ‘shot down’ ‘pitchforks’. You’re an awful drama queen Rotsey.
      Just read the words in front of you..

      This is what I tweeted..
      “No comment Roisin or are you still mulling it over? Thanks.”

      I even said thanks. And saying you think someone has a responsibility to reply does not make for bullying..

      Roisin has no comment to make and she won’t be bullied into making one.. but regardless she ain’t saying zippo about it, bullied or not. Hugh Lenihan likewise. I think it’s a bit pathetic really.

  42. Saturday Night Newsround

    Extraordinary how IT journalists and Rotide get so upset about a couple of critical comments on twitter while remaining blithely unconcerned about the wholesale editing and traducing of Kate Fitzgerald’s piece by the irish Times.

    Just extraordinary.

      1. Sally Ann Fitzgerald

        Peter Murtagh was well aware that the article he wrote regarding Kate could be cross identified. I spoke to him before the article was published. He actually wanted to be more explicit about Kate’s employer. When I expressed alarm at the prospect of jigsaw identification, he told me that the Irish Times had taken proper precautions. When I suggested he check further with the Irish Times legal advisors, he told me, “Don’t worry about us, Sally. We’re big boys.”

        Tom and I met with Kevin OS and Denis Staunton on Dec. 13, 2011. Peter Murtagh was present for part of this meeting. We were extremely upset that the Irish Times had effectively labeled our daughter a liar by blindly accepting the word of Brendan Bruen, who was not submitting his opinion as a spokesperson for TCC, in addition to Terry Prone and Anton Savage.
        I had been in close contact with Kate and was aware in intimate detail of her treatment at The Communications Clinic. Tom and I repeatedly and strongly advised her to seek other employment. Two months after our meeting with the Irish Times, we received the police statements.
        In his statement and subsequent evidence at Kate’s inquest, Mr. Bruen provided us with written evidence of his own contradiction, contending that he had indeed known how Kate was treated by her employer. Tom and I were very willing to provide proof that Kate had been truthful in her assertions. The Irish Times chose to maintain that Kate’s accusations were “non-factual”.

        1. Lara

          Very sorry to read this, Sally.

          Almost impossible to believe that a journalist as experienced as Peter Murtagh would readily dismiss cross-identification but the facts entirely corroborate your account. It’s like the IT wanted an excuse to edit the original article. Did Murtagh know Kate’s employer when he accepted the anonymous article? Was Murtagh’s article also removed?

        2. Lilly

          The IT took the path of least resistance and threw Kate under a bus. Can you hear them now justifying their decision. ‘This could bring down the newspaper; we owe it to our employees to steady the ship’… ‘legal advice…’ ‘journalism is messy…’

          Yes journalism is a messy, imperfect trade but if they’re prepared to desecrate the truth, they may as well be cleaning loos. Was there no one with a spine and some integrity who could have faced down TCC Savages? Big boys indeed. Sad and sickening.

          1. Anne

            +1

            Outrageous behaviour from the so called ‘friend’ Brendan Bruen too.

            That this little pipsqueak would even think for a moment that his feelings should be considered above that of the family’s, shows how out of touch with reality he is. A graduate of the King’s Inn and thick as fupp..

          2. Frida

            What I’d like to know about Brendan Bruen is this: when he went to visit Kate in St Pat’s armed with a recording device to break the news that he was dating someone else, did he do so with the agreement of her doctors or was he on a solo run? He said he didn’t want to set her back later – but she was at a very vulnerable point there and then. If he didn’t see fit to discuss his scheme with those treating her, what on earth was he trying to do, destroy her?

        3. Anne

          Very sorry for your loss Sally Ann.

          Re Brendan Bruen –

          “who was not submitting his opinion as a spokesperson for TCC, in addition to Terry Prone and Anton Savage.”

          I take that, as he was in fact a spokesperson for The Communications Clinic, but didn’t identify himself as such.

  43. Errol

    In U.S. states there have been a number of high profile cases against newspapers for negligent infliction of emotional distress. Not sure if that is the case here or not, if it is wonder if IT lawyers were aware of it.

  44. Legal Coffee Drinker

    In Ireland negligent infliction of emotional distress must foreseeably result in a recognised psychiatric illness before it is actionable.

    The tort of Intentional or reckless infliction of emotional distress is well recognised (Wilkinson v Downton [1897 2 QB 91] and is actionable even if psychiatric illness does not result. However for it to be actionable the conduct giving rise to the emotional distress must be extreme or outrageous, beyond civilised standards of decency.

    Interestingly, a new decision of the European Court of Human Rights (not delivered at the time of the editing of KF’s article), has been put forward as paving the way for relatives of a deceased person to sue if their reputation is traduced by the media. I’ll try to find a link to this case.
    https://www.theguardian.com/media/media-blog/2014/feb/18/defaming-dead-relatives-european-ruling-right-sue

    There’s also the question of whether, given the Murtagh article was clearly written in co-operation with the Fitzgeralds, the editing of Kate’s article could be regarded as defamatory of them. Probably not, but I wonder whether or not this possibility was even considered by the Irish Times in editing Kate’s article without their consent.

    1. Legal Coffee Drinker

      The ECHR decision is Putistin v Ukraine, pdf link at first search result here:- https://www.google.ie/search?q=Putistin+v+Ukraine+%28App+No+16882%2F03%29+%5B2013%5D+ECHR+16882%2F03&oq=Putistin+v+Ukraine+%28App+No+16882%2F03%29+%5B2013%5D+ECHR+16882%2F03&gs_l=serp.12…0.0.0.9614.0.0.0.0.0.0.0.0..0.0….0…1c..64.serp..0.0.0.Ulp8t_a6OE0

      It’s not clear from a subsequent case Genner v Austria whether the basis of the ruling is protection of the rights of the deceased or the rights of their relatives, but not sure this makes that much difference here.

      Both cases are based on the European Convention on Human Rights

      The European Court of Human Rights Act 2003 obliges all Irish courts to interpret their law in a way which is compatible with the Convention. It also provides that an Irish Court may find that a provision of legislation or rule of law is incompatible with the State’s obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights.

  45. TS

    My condolences to the Fitzgerald family.

    It must be exceptionally difficult to commit suicide by hanging in a confined situation where your feet are touching the floor.
    It must be equally difficult to determine the cause of death when the scene is not preserved.
    It is clear that a lot of people acted inappropriately and incompetently before and after the death of Ms Fitzgerald.

  46. Anne

    No update from any of the gobsh*tes on twitter, Kevin O’Sullivan, or Peter Murtagh or anyone from the IT.

    Is the Prone wan on twitter I wonder? Or Anton. Maybe Anton might have something to say.

    Those loud mouths wouldn’t have nothing to say surely?

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