Kate Fitzgerald, annonymity and a ‘hacked’ voicemail?

Last Saturday, the Irish Times told the story of a young, brilliantly talented US born Irishwoman. It followed a very powerful piece by the woman herself back in September, just before, as it much later came to light, she had taken her own life.

But having first linked the story, John Ryan’s Broadsheet.ie is now at odds with the paper ever since his subsequent identification of Terry Prone’s Communication Clinic as Kate Fitzgerald’s employers.

Without getting into the legally complex detail, the paper’s apparently honest and sincere decision to disclose the identity of the young woman last Saturday then allowed Broadsheet to posthumously subject the powerful and highly influential Dublin based PR company to the criticism contained within Kate’s original article.

Something the Communications Clinic were clearly not happy about. According to Broadsheet’s latest recap:

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

More worrying though is this, posted by Broadsheet on the net last night:

5pm Update: The voicemail which warned of the “libel landmine” [that] was going to “blow up in our faces” (see above) has disappeared. It had been saved, the contents transcribed and was last played back at 2pm today. We have contacted Vodafone who have told us that it is highly unusual as all voicemails can be retrieved, even if deleted, within 24 hours.

Curiouser and curiouser…

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty

  • I think this is another of those Wizard of Oz moments where the sceen is getting pulled back back displaying the cogs and levers of how media “works” in the south. Ive written a bit about it here.


  • Ní Dhuibhir

    Does anyone have access to her original article before it was changed by the Irish Times after the legal threat from her employers? It would be interesting to see the difference.

  • John Ó Néill

    Mick – from an industry point of view – is there a serious issue here for Communications Clinic in that, in a blunt sense, you are never supposed to be ‘the news’ or ‘in the news’?

    There seems to be serious questions to be answered here.

  • wild turkey


    thanks for the link. excellent piece. are you in any way related to, say, Mark Twain, Gore Vidal, HL Mencken, etc?

    your cog and levers comment is dead on. does Ireland have an ‘establishment’? If so the self-effacing husband and wife team are seriously connected…. RTE, political parties, print media, church hierarchy, GAA,

    from the website of TCC we know that Terry Prone

    “… has written for every national paper, is a columnist with the Irish Examiner and a regular commentator for The Sunday Tribune. She has also appeared on nearly every current affairs programme in the nation, (and several in the USA) and is a regular on Today with Pat Kenny.

    She was seconded to the Department of Environment as the Chief Communications Advisor to the Minister, and has advised nearly every Taoiseach since Jack Lynch. Her services have been retained by all of the major parties in the Dail. (Thankfully none of them asked for third-level qualifications…)

    Terry has served on the Boards of the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin Zoo, Magill Magazine and The Arts Council. She was on the first Board of the Independent Radio and Television Commission (later the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland).”

    and the husband Savage

    “… was appointed Chairman of the RTE Authority on the 23rd of February 2009. We’re chuffed. We thought we’d post his full fancy CV for a while. (We’re also much more respectful to him in here….)

    Directly after graduation from Queens University Belfast, Tom Savage became the first ever Director of Social Welfare in the Archdiocese of Armagh in 1968-1972. Appointed to the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) in 1968 by Cardinal William Conway, he was, at the time, Chairman of the Board of Governors of Middletown Training School for girls in County Armagh and served on committees of the Department of Home Affairs in Stormont.

    During the Troubles, he was the priest sent by Cardinal Conway to welcome the British troops – then seen as peacekeepers – into the province.

    In 1972 he was seconded to the Catholic Communications Institute at the request of Bunny Carr, Director of the Catholic Communications Centre in Booterstown, Dublin, where he became a lecturer. During those years, he was a regular presenter of the End the Day religious programme on UTV and of Outlook on RTE TV.

    Tom Savage lectured in the Sociology of Media and Central and Local Government in the School of Journalism in Rathmines and was a third level external examiner for the then VECs in Athlone and Carlow. He was the first Health Promotion Officer of the then HEB.

    He served as night news editor in RTE Radio for many years and also worked in the news features department. He presented RTE’s It Says in the Papers. He was the co presenter of a TV Magazine programme on RTE and also presented the Eyewitness to History and For Better or For Worse television series. He was the first producer of Morning Ireland.”

    thankfully, we live, work and prosper in a meritocracy.

    PS, love the picture of Merc convertible at the top of your linked article. it’s so tasteful

  • Rab