February 1987 – June 1989
1 September 1951 |
Tramore, County Waterford, Ireland
|Political party||Progressive Democrats|
Geraldine Kennedy (born 1 September 1951) is an Irish journalist, former politician, and the first female editor of The Irish Times newspaper. She was a Progressive Democrat TD for Dún Laoghaire from 1987 to 1989 and worked for several Irish newspapers before serving as political editor of the Irish Times from 1999 to 2002 and then editor from 2002 until 2011.
In 1981, Kennedy's telephone, along with those of two other journalists, was tapped by former Minister for Justice Seán Doherty. The revelation in 1992 that Charles Haughey had ordered the phone taps led to Haughey's resignation as Taoiseach.
Kennedy studied at Dublin Institute of Technology and 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.
Kennedy stood in the 1987 general election as a candidate for the newly-formed Progressive Democrat party in Dún Laoghaire. She came third in the poll, winning 9.4% of the first-preference vote. She was one of fourteen Progressive Democrat TDs elected to Dáil Éireann in that election — a feat the party never achieved again. Kennedy was appointed the party's spokesperson for foreign affairs.
Return to journalism
Following her election defeat, Kennedy returned to The Irish Times, then edited by Conor Brady, whom she had worked with at the Tribune when he was the editor. She avoided party-political journalism for several years, but she returned to covering politics in the early 1990s, and became The Irish Times' political editor in 1999. She became the newspaper's first female editor upon the departure of Conor Brady in late 2002. One of her rivals for the editor's chair was the paper's high-profile columnist, Fintan O'Toole.
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". In 2009, however, the Supreme Court overturned this ruling, holding that the High Court had not struck the correct balance between the journalists’ right to protect their source and the tribunal’s right to confidentiality.
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.
- "Ms. Geraldine Kennedy". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 26 May 2010.
- Encyclopedia of International Media and Communications, Donald H. Johnston, ISBN 0-12-387670-2
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- "O'Sullivan appointed 'Irish Times' Editor". The Irish Times. 23 June 2011.
- Greenslade, Roy (15 August 2012). "Irish journalists become professors". The Guardian (Guardian Media Group). Retrieved 15 August 2012.
- "Leading Irish Journalists appointed as Adjunct Professors at the University of Limerick". 14 August 2012.
Liam T. Cosgrave
|Progressive Democrats Teachta Dála for Dún Laoghaire