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Sunday Herald news editor Angela Haggerty resigns over online ‘threats and abuse’ but will continue to write columns for paper

By Sam Forsdick

Sunday Herald news editor Angela Haggerty, who was previously sacked by the paper in a row over Rangers Football Club, has resigned over “threats and abuse” directed at her online.

Haggerty left the weekly Newsquest-owned newspaper on Friday last week after three months in the role and is planning a change of career, she told Press Gazette.

She said she had dealt with online abuse over six years, but added: “It really took a toll on my health last year. I need to take a step back from the intensity of that, at least for a while.”

Haggerty is set to continue writing her weekly columns for the Sunday Herald and Herald newspapers despite quitting the newsroom.

She said: “I think that’ll be a better balance for me and my new job will take me out of the madness of the spotlight and give me a chance to recuperate after a very difficult number of years.”

Haggerty, who joined the Sunday Herald in 2013, said she had been the subject of abuse and online trolling since editing Phil Mac Giolla Bhain’s book Downfall: How Rangers FC Self-destructed, published in 2012.

David Limond called Haggerty “Taig of the day” – a derogatory term used against people of an Irish Catholic background – in his unofficial Rangers podcast over her involvement in the book.

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He was later jailed for six months over the remark after being found guilty in December 2013 of religiously aggravated breach of the peace.

In 2015 a Change.org petition was started calling for Haggerty to be removed from the Sunday Herald and describing her as a “vile bigot”. It received 2,850 supporters.

The same year she was sacked from the paper after tweeting her support for Herald sports journalist Graham Spiers, whose column questioning the “mettle” of the Rangers board in tackling offensive chanting led to an apology from the newspaper.

Talking to Press Gazette at the time Haggerty said she was “very troubled” by the decision to axe her column, which she felt had “chilling implications for freedom of the press”.

She was reinstated as a columnist on the paper a few weeks later after a “re-examination of the context of her original social media postings” by then editor-in-chief Magnus Llewellin, now editor of the Times in Scotland.

Haggerty was also launch editor of the Scottish news website Common Space which she edited between 2015 and February 2018.

In March 2018 Haggerty explained a decision to remove the comments section from the website, describing it as a “negative and unproductive” forum which often had “nasty, hurtful language directed at our writers”.

Newsquest have yet to respond to a request for comment.

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