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Katy has become a tragic symbol of the Celtic Tiger

LIKE many others, I followed the career of the tragic model Katy French.

It would have been hard to avoid it, given that her life played daily across the pages of newspapers and magazines.

This week marks the first anniversary of her death, the loss of a stunning young woman who unwittingly became a metaphor for the Celtic Tiger.

During her short life, Katy epitomised Ireland of the Noughties. Much like our economy, she was confident, buoyant, full of hope and unrestrained by the shackles of old Ireland.

Alas, just like our economy withered in a crippling recession, the beautiful, brash and brassy Katy met a devastating and dramatic end.

The entire country was shocked to hear about her sad demise, and the details of her last nightmare journey to hospital in the back of a jeep driven by her friend Kieran Ducie.

Despite the best efforts of medical staff, Katy died on December 6, having battled for four days in hospital.

In her short life she had become an icon in the celebrity and modelling scene in Dublin. Utterly confident about her place in the universe, she courted the media and manipulated it at every turn. Even her love conquests were chronicled by the papers and magazines.

I have to say I always felt that much of her bravado and confidence was a smokescreen to hide her vulnerability.

That became evident in the days after her 24th birthday when she expressed her sadness and hurt that many of her so-called friends had not attended her party.

Indeed, she may have come to the realisation that many of the people she counted as pals were simply fair-weather friends.

Days later, many of these hypocrites attended her funeral. And I can only assume that several of them will have the gall to turn up at her anniversary Mass this weekend.

The year 2007 was always going to be Katy's year. Little did anyone know it would end in such a tragic fashion.

Katy was extremely media savvy, knew what she wanted and exactly how to get it. She was used in various ads and, as the face of the Celtic Tiger, she publicised everything from scent to Government services.

She even posed in provocative lingerie in a controversial photo -shoot at her then-fiance Marcus Sweeney's restaurant.

This smart girl certainly knew how to manipulate every aspect of the media on her rise to the top.

It was almost as if she could not survive without the oxygen of publicity. And in an almost Shakespearean tragedy, it would be her downfall.

Katy embodied the old Hollywood cliche that gentlemen prefer blondes and was adored by every male around.

Yet she became a victim of her own success, becoming a casualty of one of the many sinister trappings of Celtic Tiger wealth.

Katy had a dark secret -- she had used cocaine. In a strangely prophetic announcement, she even warned young Celtic Tiger cubs about the dangers of this terrible drug.

Sadly, life in the fast lane doesn't come without penalties and this drug played its part in her sad demise.

The world had been her oyster, and despite her success she seemed to touch a chord in ordinary people.

In life, Katy craved fame. In a strange way, her tragic and senseless death gave her an iconic status. Let's just hope that the sad tale provides a moral -- that all that glitters is not gold.