Suicide victim felt bosses not supportive
on 28/02/2013 00:00:00
Her death came to prominence when she was identified as the author of an article in The Irish Times on depression, which included comments about her experience in her workplace. The article was published two weeks after her death.
Her employers were later identified as the Communications Clinic, and The Irish Times published a statement apologising to the company and indicating that there were assertions in Ms Fitzgerald's article that were "not factual".
The Press Ombudsman later held this statement did not take into account the feelings of her parents, Tom and Sally Fitzgerald.
Dublin Coroner's Court heard that Ms Fitzgerald had a long history of depression and had attempted suicide on St Patrick's Day 2011.
In mid-July she contacted former boyfriend Derek Lande and his housemate, Brendan Bruen, with whom she had also been romantically involved, while "very incoherent". They found her "very drunk" with empty pill packets, and she was voluntarily admitted to St Patrick's Hospital.
Ms Fitzgerald became upset while in hospital when Mr Bruen, told her he was in a new relationship. She discharged herself from hospital. She had also told another friend, Clare Brady, that she was "missing work and feeling needed".
Mr Bruen said that following her return to work, Ms Fitzgerald felt her employers were not being "supportive towards her".
"When her employer found out Kate had been admitted, Kate felt her employer was trying to show her the door," he said.
Following her discharge from St Patrick's Hospital, Ms Fitzgerald submitted the article to The Irish Times using a pseudonym.
Peter Murtagh, opinion editor at the time, said he contacted Ms Fitzgerald to verify the article. He said she spoke "very calmly" and "with great lucidity".
Mr Murtagh emailed Ms Fitzgerald on Sept 6 to notify her that the paper was to publish the piece anonymously, as per her wishes. The Irish Times was unaware that she had died in the intervening period. The piece was published on Sept 9, 2011, he said.
On the day she was found, Mr Bruen and Ms Brady went to her home after her manager raised concerns that she had not come to work. Ms Brady said she entered the house first and saw Ms Fitzgerald hanging in the bedroom.
Dr YM Fakih pronounced death at the scene, and said in his opinion Ms Fitzgerald had died in the previous three to eight hours.
The inquest was adjourned for a further hearing on May 23.