I’ve decided to move this timeline to its own post, as I reckon this will be an ongoing matter in the coming days and weeks which won’t be related to my letter to Kevin O’Sullivan, editor of The Irish Times.
This whole issue can be quite confusing, particularly if you haven’t been following it from the start. So here’s a rough timeline of what happened. It was put together from memory, from going back over old articles in the media, and with the help of my friends Dave and Siobhán and their blog posts. Please note that it’s rather incomplete, and I’m open to corrections.
19 August 2011 – Kate contacted The Irish Times with her article, under the pen-name ‘Grace Ringwood’. Here’s the original.
22 August 2011 – Having spoken with Peter Murtagh (a journalist with The Irish Times), Kate’s anonymous article was accepted for publication in The Irish Times.
A few hours later Kate died by suicide. That article was her suicide note. It wasn’t published until a couple of weeks later.
9 September 2011 – Kate’s anonymous article was published, unedited and in a gut-wrenching, yet somewhat sincere and beautiful manner.
25/26 November 2011 – Peter Murtagh and The Irish Times published an article revealing that “Grace Ringwood” was, in fact, Kate Fitzgerald.
28 November 2011 – Broadsheet.ie made a connection and showed that that Kate’s employer’s had been involved in bullying allegations. At this time her employer was The Communications Clinic, run by Terry Prone.
Broadsheet.ie continues to follow this issue, and brought to light that while the information was very much public, it was clear that the employer to which Kate was referencing was , in fact, The Communications Clinic.
Between 28 November and 3 December 2011 – The Grace Ringwood article on The Irish Times was edited heavily, for reasons still unknown.
Broadsheet.ie closed their articles about Kate following the incidents with The Irish Times, but bravely re-opened it: journalists with Broadsheet.ie received voicemail messages relating to the Kate Fitzgerald articles.
Very quickly, those voicemails to Broadsheet.ie journalists were deleted.
3 December 2011 – The Irish Times publishes an “apology” to The Communcations Clinic for the publication of Kate’s article, and effectively calls Kate a liar stating that some of her assertions are not based on fact.
Within hours, all references to Kate’s employer were removed from the Grace Ringwood article. A comparison can be found here: everything in yellow was removed from the original article.
In a piece concerning Kate’s letter, some parts were labelled “non-factual”. There has still been no explanation as to what these parts are.
Suddenly, Kate’s article was completely blacked out on The Irish Times website.
5 December 2011 – The Irish Times published a message from Kevin O’Sullivan, editor of the publication, “explaining” their reasons for the retraction. In it he accused Kate’s associates (myself included) of looking for retribution. This is untrue, as her friends only want her message to be published in full.
5-14 December 2011 – Kate’s parents, Tom and Sally-Ann, featured on various radio and TV programmes, including on RTE with Brendan O’Connor.
14 December 2011 – Tom and Sally-Ann appear on Ireland AM to speak bravely about their daughter and her death.
16 December 2011 – At this point Tom and Sally-Ann have met with Kevin O’Sullivan – editor of The Irish Times – to demand answers. No answers were given. They tell broadsheet.ie that O’Sullivan said that readers of The Irish Times were okay with the redaction.
17 December 2011 – ‘Parents of Kate Fitzgerald criticise ‘Irish Times” – The Irish Times publishes a piece on how Kate’s parents criticise The Irish Times following their meeting earlier in the week, at which they got no explanations or apology.
20 December 2011 – Hugh Linehan (online editor of The Irish Times) publishes a piece on the irishtimes.com blog about the events up to and surrounding the redaction of Kate’s article, and directly references The Communications Clinic. Broadsheet.ie version and irishtimes.com version.
21 December 2011 – Broadsheet.ie reveals that some of the comments being written on its posts come from an IP address belonging to Matheson Ormsby Prentice, one of Ireland’s leading law firms. The Irish Times is a client of this firm, but for pension matters, and not defamation.
22 December 2011 – Tom Fitzgerald, Kate’s father, addresses the latest coverage – or lack thereof – of his daughter’s death in the media and how The Irish Times have been responding.
5 June 2012 – A decision from the Press Council of Ireland dealing with complaints made by Kate’s parents against The Irish Times is delivered to Tom and Sally and made public via BroadSheet.ie. Most of the points raised by Tom and Sally Fitzgerald were not dealt with, as they could only be dealt with within three months of publication, according to the Press Council. The Council upheld a complaint that The Irish Times was unsympathetic to the Fitzgeralds and that their feelings were not taking into account.
10 June 2012 – The Sunday Independent and other sources publish articles concerning a new investigation into Kate’s death. At her post-mortem examination, there were signs found “not consistent with suicide”. Kate’s parents believed that this aspect was not properly followed up, and the Garda Commissioner reopened the case to investigate whether Kate died in suspicious circumstances.