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Appropriate redress of the Kate Fitzgerald issue

This petition had 1,056 supporters

To whom it may concern,

We, the undersigned Irish Times readers, wish to convey our deep disappointment with the paper's handling of the Kate Fitzgerald issue. The Irish Times has stated that Ms Fitzgerald was “not factual” in her article of Sep. 9th 2011: 'Employers failing people with mental health issues,' yet has provided no evidence in support of this allegation. It is morally reprehensible that such aspersions should be cast on Ms Fitzgerald's honesty when she is no longer in a position to respond.

Of particular concern to Irish Times readers is the fact that prior to their initial publication of Ms Fitzgerald's article, senior staff had apparently satisfied themselves of the validity of her statements. They had been deemed worthy of inclusion in the paper. By refusing to adhere to this decision under threat of legal action, the Irish Times has completely undermined its integrity and independence as a newspaper. In besmirching Ms Fitzgerald's good name, it has also tarnished its own.

Also of concern to us, as responsible citizens, is the fact that Ms Fitzgerald's article made a valuable and necessary contribution to public discourse on mental health issues. This contribution has now been lost. In refusing to stand behind Ms Fitzgerald's words, the Irish Times has undermined the entire point of her original article. An issue about which she wished to raise awareness has once again become taboo. People on the margins have been made to feel even more marginalised.

A nation is often judged on both the freeness and fairness of its media and also on the manner in which it treats its more vulnerable citizens. If the staff of the Irish Times refuses to be held to account on this matter, we feel it is a sad indictment of us all.

Consequently, we call upon the Irish Times to offer:
i) An appropriate clarification or apology (neither of which has been received to date)
ii) A concrete commitment to help promote awareness and understanding of mental health issues, particularly in the workplace environment

We feel the staff of the Irish Times owe it to Ms Fitzgerald, having ruined her message, to carry it forward in a new way.

Is muidne gan meas,

Readers of the Irish Times

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