By Sorcha Jowitt
On August 23 DCU learned of the death of former student Kate Fitzgerald. Kate graduated in 2006 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in International Relations and was well known in the public relations field. A memorial service is planned for early December.
Kate was very active in DCU student life. She was auditor of the Debate society, Secretary of the Societies and Publications Committee (SPC) and organiser and SPC Rep for the 2006 Clubs and Societies Ball. She also ran for the position of Vice President for Welfare in her final year, losing out by just a handful of votes.
Kate continued her interest in politics into her professional life and was elected chairperson of the Irish branch of the US Democratic Party Committee Abroad at just 21, the youngest chairperson that year.
As chair she represented Democrats Abroad in the media, appearing on SkyNews, TV3, and RTE. She was featured twice as a panellist on Vincent Browne’s current affairs programme.
Later she contributed to both RTE and TV3’s coverage of Obama’s state visit to Ireland.
After graduation she worked as Assistant to Press Officer and President for the Association of Secondary Teachers in Ireland. Her latest role was PR Consultant for The Communications Clinic, where she worked with Terry Prone and Anton Savage.
Kate enjoyed writing and a piece that she wrote on youth engagement in politics was printed in the Irish Times last year. Another article of hers was featured on the Plan Ireland blog.
She ran the Women’s mini marathon last year to raise money for Plan Ireland’s “Because I am a Girl Campaign”. The campaign was supported by President Mary McAleese and aimed to support the rights of women worldwide.
The potential of women and young people was something Kate believed greatly in and fought for throughout her days in DCU and after.
A memorial service for Kate will be held in the interfaith centre sometime in early December. It will be a non-religious ceremony, with music and poetry provided by her friends and family. DCU Debate & Law plan to rename their first year speaking competition after Kate.
The Katherine Fitzgerald Maidens Memorial Trophy will be presented to DCU as a permanent reminder of Kate’s remarkable contribution to the society and to DCU student life as a whole.