Geraldine Kennedy (born 1 September 1951) is an Irish journalist, former politician, and former editor of The Irish Times newspaper. She studied at Dublin Institute of Technology, who also awarded her an Honorary Doctorate. She is Adjunct Professor of Journalism at the University of Limerick.
She became the first female editor of The Irish Times upon the departure of Conor Brady in 2002. Kennedy had held several senior positions at the paper; at the time of her appointment to the top post, she was serving as political editor. One of her rivals for the editor's chair was the paper's high-profile columnist, Fintan O'Toole.
Kennedy was barely out of her teens when she began her journalistic career with a regional newspaper, the Munster Express. She moved to the Cork Examiner after less than a year, but spent only a few years there before joining The Irish Times.
On the foundation of the Sunday Tribune in 1980, Kennedy joined it as the paper's political correspondent. The paper's publisher, John Mulcahy, had become familiar with Kennedy when she had contributed to his journal Hibernia. When the Tribune briefly ceased production, Kennedy moved to the Sunday Press.
Early in 1987, Kennedy successfully sued the incumbent Charles Haughey-led Fianna Fáil government for illegally tapping her phone. She was one of fourteen Progressive Democrats TDs elected to Dáil Éireann at the 1987 general election, the first election after the party was founded. She was elected for the Dún Laoghaire constituency and became the party's spokesperson for foreign affairs.
Though she avoided party-political journalism for several years, she returned to covering politics in the early 1990s, and became The Irish Times' political editor in 1999. She was appointed editor of the paper in late 2002. Brady had been editor for 16 years.
Kennedy was paid more than the editor of the UK's top non-tabloid newspaper The Daily Telegraph, which has a circulation of about 9 times that of The Irish Times. Later columnist Fintan O'Toole told the Sunday Independent: "We as a paper are not shy of preaching about corporate pay and fat cats but with this there is a sense of excess. Some of the sums mentioned are disturbing. This is not an attack on Ms Kennedy, it is an attack on the executive level of pay. There is double-standard of seeking more job cuts while paying these vast salaries."
In September 2006, Kennedy approved the publication of an article in The Irish Times giving confidential details of investigations being made into payments purported to have been made in 1993 to Taoiseach Bertie Ahern. Kennedy refused, upon request of the investigating Tribunal, to provide details of the source of the printed information. She responded that the documents had since been destroyed. Her refusal caused the Tribunal to seek High Court orders compelling her to provide details of the source. On 23 October 2007, the High Court granted the orders compelling her to go before the Tribunal and answer all questions. In its judgment, the High Court, criticising her decision to destroy the documents, said it was an "astounding and flagrant disregard of the rule of law". Kennedy announced, on 9 November 2007, that she would appeal the High Court's orders to the Supreme Court.
Kennedy announced on 12 March 2011 her intention to retire from The Irish Times by September, after a nine-year term as editor. She actually retired in June, and was succeeded by news editor, Kevin O'Sullivan, who succeeded her as editor on 23 June 2011.
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