Irish Times and Fitzgerald family clash over suicide of daughter
Family rejects Times explanation for editing her final piece
The family of Kate Fitzgerald, 25, the American-born young woman who took her own life in August, have hit out at The Irish Times for the way the newspaper treated their daughter’s final published article.
The Times altered the article on their web site after a possible libel case issue arose.
Parents Tom And Sally Ann Fitzgerald, who moved back from the US to settle in Cork, slammed the Irish Times for their actions.
In response, Times editor Kevin O’Sullivan stated that “From the outset of this very tragic story, the sole aim of The Irish Times was to focus on an important issue for people with mental illness.”
He stated: “The Irish Times’s decision to edit the initial piece and publish a clarification and apology was necessary in the context of fairness."
In their letter published on Broadsheet.ie the FitzGerald’s wrote: “Our daughter, 25 year-old Kate Fitzgerald, had the last conversation of her life just before 7pm on August 22, 2011.
"She spoke to Peter Murtagh, then Opinion Editor of the Irish Times. Peter promised that her article on depression, suicide and workplace attitudes to mental health would be published in the Irish Times.
"Only hours later, Kate took her own life, fully believing that her last message to the world was in safe hands. Sadly, she was wrong.
"Kate was a great fan of the Irish Times. She was very proud that the Irish Times had published three of her articles. Her last published article was to be anonymous, at least for a while. To Kate, the Irish Times was the pinnacle of Irish journalism.
"True to his word, Peter Murtagh published Kate’s last words on September 9, not realizing that Kate was dead.
"When we spoke to Peter on September 10/11, he was deeply moved by the story of Kate and wrote an excellent article that was published in the Irish Times on Saturday November 26.
"The story shook the nation, becoming the most read story on Irish Times online for an unprecedented three days in a row.
Ireland needs to get serious about mental health
"On Monday, it was picked up by this website and within two days, became the #1 story on both Facebook and Twitter. This website had connected the dots and identified Kate’s employer.
"The Irish Times, Kate’s iconic newspaper, ran for the hills. First, they butchered the article by removing key parts. Next, they blacked out the whole article, including the accompanying suicide hotline numbers.
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