Tag Archives: Kate Fitzgerald

(Tom Fitzgerald (top) and (below) from left: Sean Hillen, of Democrats Abroad Ireland, Sally and Tom Fitzgerald and Dennis Desmond, chairperson of Democrats Abroad Ireland at the Gresham Hotel, Dublin)

“Kate has been dead now for 17 months and we still have no reliable Garda report on how she died.
I ask you as members of Democrats Abroad to contact anyone who might be able to influence our search for justice and closure in the case of Kate’s death.  We do not wish to pervert justice, we only seek a timely and proper investigation into the cause of her death.  Write to Minister for Justice Allen Shatter, Minister for Foreign Affairs, The Taoiseach, Enda Kenny and anyone else who might be able to exert influence.  Write to your congressman in the US, to your Senator and to the media in both Ireland and the USA.  The fundamental beliefs of the Democratic party call for truth and justice and we seek no less for Kate Fitzgerald who did so much for the Democrats Abroad.”

Tom Fitzgerald to members of the Democrats Abroad Ireland at its Inauguration ball where Kate Fitzgerald was posthumously honoured for her work with the group

Kate’s parents, Tom and Sally, are awaiting the publication of report from the Garda Ombudsman into matters arising from the initial investigation into their daughter’s death. They say they expect the report to be published before Kate’s inquest begins on February 27.

Previously: Kate’s Honour

Kate Fitzgerald on Broadsheet

Pics: Columbia Hillen

Kate Fitzgerald will be honoured by Democrats Abroad Ireland at its Presidential inauguration ball in the Gresham Hotel, Dublin this evening.

California-born Kate headed the organisation during Obama’s first victory in 2008.

Kate’s parents, Tom and Sally, will collect the award.

Dennis Desmond, chair of Democrats Abroad Ireland, writes:

While we celebrate the re-election of President Barack Obama, we will also celebrate the life of one of our own here in Ireland. Kate brought our relatively small group to unforeseen heights and her media expertise landed us on the front pages of Ireland’s biggest newspapers and on all the major radio and TV outlets.  We lost Kate tragically in 2011 at the age of 25.


The inquest into Kate’s death has been scheduled for February 27.

Kate Fitzgerald on Broadsheet

AYiI writes:

I am an American living in Ireland. I have a postal vote in the U.S. Presidential elections in California. I also understand mental health issues and wanted to make a statement about our loss of Kate Fitzgerald with my vote now sent in. Kate was head of Democrats Abroad in Ireland during the last US election. She had great potential. Our loss. I did not vote for Obama this time, instead I decided a more suitable write-in candidate should be elected (see above).
I also want to say the silence of Democrats in Ireland over this matter has been deafening. I hope her parents find solace. A full investigation is still warranted.

Following the death of his daughter Kate Fitzgerald last year, her father Tom was told she had died from a broken neck after hanging herself at her home. Empty alcohol bottles at the scene suggested she had been drinking heavily. She was also “off her medication”.

Months later he was sent the autopsy report.

From today’s Sunday Independent:

Kate did not die of a broken neck.
She died slowly of ligature strangulation.
Kate had not stopped taking her medication. The medication levels were clinically spot on.
Kate had not been drinking heavily.
She died with the equivalent of one drink in her system.

Kate’s hyoid bone — a small bone in the neck — was broken. This unattached bone in the neck can only be broken by horizontal pressure. It is extremely rare in suicidal hanging and even more so with a young person.
We’ve spoken to a number of legal people on this matter and since the autopsy report, we’ve done a lot of research, and this injury is always a strong indicator of murder.
We went back to the Kevin Street gardai. They reluctantly agreed to have another look. Two more weeks and I was told that they had looked and said there was no reason to investigate further.
I went to the Garda Ombudsman and after some persuasion he agreed that the investigation must be reopened. It took almost three months from the arrival of the autopsy, but, based on a demand from the Garda Ombudsman, a team of detectives reopened the investigation on May 4. It was now almost nine months since Kate’s body was found…

‘We Can’t Accept Suicide As The Only Explanation Of Kate’s Death'(Tom Fitzgerald, The Sunday Independent)

Kate Fitzgerald on Broadsheet

California-born Kate Fitzgerald, former head of Democrats Abroad and PR manager with The Communications Clinic, who was discovered dead at her rented cottage in Harty Place, Dublin, on this day 12 months ago.

There is an ongoing Garda investigation into matters arising from the initial investigation into her death.

Kate’s final acts included sending the article (below) anonymously to the Irish Times to mark World Suicide Prevention Day.

It was later redacted and removed from the Irish Times digital archive on the insistence of her employers, including directors Terry Prone and Anton Savage. The paper’s editor acquiesced claiming “further details of her [Kate’s] last months” had emerged.

To date, neither Kate’s parents Tom and Sally nor her brother William have been told what those details are.

Pics via

Tom Fitzgerald (above with his daughter Kate at the Irish American President Obama Inauguration ball in Washington DC in January, 2009) writes:

Dear Broadsheet readers,

Thank you so much for the support you have shown over the past months during the controversy surrounding Kate’s death. I’ve been very impressed by the intelligent, and thoughtful tone of the discussion.  

Unfortunately, this is very far from over.

As you can understand, I’m not in a position to discuss the Garda investigation.  However, I would like to spark a wider discussion on the role of the Press Ombudsman.

I have limited legal training, but a lot of writing experience. I cannot find a legal or logical reason as to why the Press Ombudsman threw out 7 of the 8 items in our complaint, because they allegedly fell outside of his time limit of 90 days.  

He [press ombudsman] claimed that he would have to refer back to the September article by Kate, and that this article was outside the time limit.

First, we made no complaint about the September article. The total complaint (text here) was about the December 3 apology to The Communications Clinic..

Second, the September article was still on the IT website up until November 27.

Third, the September article was modified on the website on the 28th of November, which I believe brought it back into the mix as a newly published article and thus back into the 90 day time-frame.

I understand from reading some of the input that there are a number of people on Broadsheet with legal expertise. Can you please provide some feedback on the validity, or lack thereof, of throwing out 7 or the 8 elements of our complaint to the Press Ombudsman.

The Irish Times behaviour on this has caused great pain to our family, as it publicly dishonoured Kate’s memory and cast a deep shadow on her last words . 

To this day, Kevin O’Sullivan (Irish Times editor) has refused to tell us what was “not factual” in Kate’s article.

In fact, after discovering the identity of one of the key sources of the Irish Times’ information (that stated Kate had no problems working at The Communications Clinic), we provided the IT with absolute proof, that this same source had  stated the opposite in a formal statement.

The Press Ombudsman was also made aware of this.

Thank you,

Tom Fitzgerald

Bantry, Cork. June 11.

The new investigation was ordered to establish all of the circumstances of Kate fitzgerald’s death — after her post-mortem results raised the possibility that she may have died in suspicious circumstances.

A detective superintendent at Pearse Street Garda Station was appointed to lead a new inquiry last month. It is understood that a team of up to eight detectives have begun interviewing those who were in contact with Ms Fitzgerald in her last days.

Kate’s injury ‘Inconsistent With Suicide’ (Maeve Sheehan, Sunday Independent

Tragic Kate’s Story Not Yet Finished (Maeve Sheehan, Sunday Independent)

Was Kate Fitzgerald, Head Of Democrats Abroad, Murdered In Dublin? (Patrick Counihan, Irish Central)

 Where Are You On This?

“What is quite disturbing to me and to Sally, as Kate’s parents, is that this important story, while creating an unprecedented online storm, has been totally ignored by the traditional media. One senior Irish Times journalist said that “one dog does not eat another”. That is to say that one newspaper does not attack another. Does this explain why other media do not cover this story?

Is it not in the interest of the whole profession to have higher standards in journalism?  When The Irish Times, the icon of journalism, fails to meet basic standards of journalistic ethics, surely the rest of the press should talk about it. It tarnishes you as well.  Surely, the basic tenet of journalism is that when there is huge interest shown by the public, it is a bona fide story and you cover it.  Beyond journalistic ethics, a tested story sells papers.  Must everything move online as traditional media falters?  So where are you on this?”

Kate’s father, Tom Fitzgerald: “To Journalists” (Broadsheet, December 22, 2011) 

Kate Fitzgerald Story archive here

The Press Council decision, released to Tom and Sally Fitzgerald today, which found in their favour.

The matters relate only to the apology given by the Irish Times to The Communications Clinic on December 3, 2011.

The Press Ombudsman, Professor John Horgan, refused to investigate seven matters (see below) relating to the parents’ belief that the apology had labelled Kate a liar.

The denial was made because it concerned Kate’s original article of September 9 which was published beyond the three-month time limit allowed by The Press Council for complaints.

Tom and Sally Fitzgerald regard this refusal as “completely illogical”.

This was the initial complaint by Tom and Sally to the Press Council:

We assert the actions taken by the Irish Times violate the Code of Practice as specified in the following principals:
1.1 False allegation
1.2 Failure to retract
1.3 Failure to apologize or clarify
2.2 Printing conjecture as fact
2.3 Conflict of interest due to overwhelming influence of TCC
3.1 Failure to apply a standard of fairness equally
Principle 4 in its entirety.  The IT ignored Kate’s good name and effectively called her a liar with no foundation.
5.3 The IT was entirely unsympathetic and unfeeling in its dealings with Kate’s family, effectively calling her a liar and refusing to explain why they did so or retracting the statement.
The last article of Kate Fitzgerald’s life was published posthumously and anonymously by the Irish Times on 9 September, 2012.  This opinion piece outlined her treatment at her workplace to her recent hospitalisation for depression. It was a heartfelt plea for understanding and compassion for anyone experiencing depression and hospitalization.  In the article, Kate did not identify her employer.  
On discovering that he was the last person to whom Kate had spoken before taking her own life, IT [journalist] Peter Murtagh worked with Kate’s family to write a memorable feature on Kate’s life and death, thereby identifying the author to the public. Published in the IT on 26 November, it became one of the most read articles of the IT in 2011.  Web-based readers deduced that the employer was The Communications Clinic (TCC) leading to an online storm of protest about the behaviour of TCC.  Notwithstanding that the paper had not identified them, TCC complained to the IT, who quickly edited the online article and later deleted it from the IT archives.
On December 3, the day of Kate’s memorial service at DCU, (Pri 5.3) the Irish Times published an apology to TCC alleging that some of what Kate had written was “not factual”. Kate’s family asked the IT to tell them what in the article was “not factual”, but despite two meetings with Kate’s parents, Irish Times editor, Kevin O’Sullivan could not produce a single example of a non-truth. (Pr 1.1) Nonetheless, he refused to either apologize or retract his allegation. (Pr 1.2 & 1.3)
The IT supplied no evidence that what Kate had written was non-factual.(Pr 2.2) Their apology to TCC represents capitulation to an influential group of people (Pri 2.3). In stark comparison to the huge influence of TCC who have influence over political parties, RTE, and the Catholic Church, Kate Fitzgerald is dead and cannot defend her words. (Pr 3.1).
Kate wrote an opinion piece in good faith and submitted it to a paper she believed to be ethical.  Based on our conversations with Kate in weeks prior to her death, and discussions with other employees of TCC, we have every reason to believe her article.  By branding her last words as “non-factual”, the IT violated the entirety of principle 4, and as the “Paper of Record” for Ireland, they diminished the stature of Irish journalism.  We appeal to the Ombudsman to set this right.

And this is the response from the Press Council.

Dear Mr and Mrs Fitzgerald.
This Office has now carefully considered all of the correspondence that you submitted in relation to your wish to make a complaint about the apology published by The Irish Times on 3 December last.
I note that your complaint about the apology published on 3 December centres around the fact that the apology alleged that   “significant assertions”   in the article by your late daughter Kate, published on 9 September,  were  “not factual”.
I very much regret that this Office has a difficulty in considering part of your complaint, because the original article, to which the apology relates,  was published on 9 September last. Section 24.1 (a) of the Memorandum and Articles of  Association of the Press Council of Ireland state that this Office can consider a complaint  only “if it concerns a matter that has been published within the past three months”.    As this provision is contained in the Memorandum and Articles of Association establishing this Office and the Press Council itself, this Office has no leeway in the matter.  In these circumstances, I  regret that the issue of the  factuality or otherwise of the article published on 9 September cannot be considered by this Office as the article concerned is out of date.   For this reason, a complaint about the elements of the apology under Principles 1, 2, 3  and 4 of the Code of Practice for Newspapers and Magazines are out of time.
I very much regret that this is the situation.  However, this Office is not precluded from considering your complaint about the apology published on 3 December under Principle 5.3 of the Code of Practice, insofar as this would not involve any consideration of the original article.  Principle 5.3 of the Code states:
“Sympathy and discretion must be shown at all times in seeking information in situations of personal grief or shock.  In publishing such information, the feelings
of grieving families should be taken into account.  This should not be interpreted as restricting the right to report judicial proceedings.”
If it is acceptable to you for this Office to proceed with a complaint under Principle 5.3 of the Code, we will contact the editor of The Irish Times with a view to resolving your complaint speedily and effectively through our conciliation process.   If it is not possible to resolve the matter through our conciliation process, your complaint will be referred to the Press Ombudsman for his consideration. I look forward to hearing from you. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you would like to discuss the matter with me.

Yours sincerely,
Bernie Grogan
Case Officer
Office of the Press Ombudsman

A petition, uploaded in the last 24 hours, seeking justice for Kate Fitzgerald and, so far, signed by 127 people (many of them Irish Times’ readers) calling on ‘the paper of record’ to offer:

i) An appropriate clarification or apology [for the redaction of Kate’s article]

ii) A concrete commitment to help promote awareness and understanding of mental health issues, particularly in the workplace environment

Sign here