\"Kate

Kate Fitzgerald Photo by: TV3

Mystery over death of young leader of American Democrats abroad

\"Kate

Kate Fitzgerald Photo by: TV3

The Garda (police) ombudsman is investigating whether an original investigation into the death of American media consultant Kate Fitzgerald was sufficiently thorough. The body of the 25-year-old head of Democrats Abroad was discovered at her home in south Dublin last August by a friend. She was believed to have taken her own life.

An opinion piece she had written about her efforts to deal with depression was subsequently published anonymously and was widely read.

The new Garda review was ordered after her parents complained to the ombudsman in January.

The Sunday Independent reported that post-mortem results following her death in August, 2011, raised the possibility that she may have died in suspicious circumstances.

Detectives, under the supervision of a Detective Superintendent at Pearse Street Garda station in Dublin, begun to interview anyone who came into contact with Fitzgerald in her last days.

The Irish Independent reported on Monday that so far nothing suspicious on Fitzgerald’s death has been uncovered by the new probe.

Kate’s father, Tom Fitzgerald, said he was reluctant to comment as the review was “at a sensitive stage.” He added, “We would be hopeful to get the truth which is what we are looking for.”

Tom and Sally Fitzgerald, formerly resident in San Francisco, had returned to live in Ireland. Their daughter ran the campaign for Barack Obama for Americans living in Ireland.

The death in August of Kate Fitzgerald, who worked for the Communications Clinic public relations firm, became the source of media attention after she was identified as the author of an anonymous article in The Irish Times last September about her efforts to deal with depression and workplace attitudes to mental health.

The newspaper subsequently edited the initial article online and published a clarification after further details of her final months emerged.

The move was criticized by the parents, who said an apology published in the newspaper -- which stated the article contained “significant assertions which were not factual” -- was equivalent to calling their daughter a liar.

Last week, the Press Council upheld one of several complaints against the newspaper on the basis that the apology “failed to take sufficiently into account the feelings of Tom and Sally Fitzgerald, who were grieving over the death by suicide of their daughter Kate.”

However, the press ombudsman found there was no evidence the newspaper acted other than in good faith in publishing the apology, because of legal issues that arose following the identification of the author of the original article. 

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