The Irish Times

Last updated
The Irish Times
The Irish Times logo.svg
TypeDaily newspaper
Format Broadsheet
Owner(s)Irish Times Trust
Editor Paul O'Neill
Founded29 March 1859;160 years ago (1859-03-29)
Political alignment Liberal
LanguageEnglish
Irish
Headquarters24–28 Tara Street, Dublin
Circulation 58,131 [1]
Website www.irishtimes.com

The Irish Times is an Irish daily broadsheet newspaper launched on 29 March 1859. The editor is Paul O'Neill who succeeded Kevin O'Sullivan on 5 April 2017; [2] the deputy editor is Deirdre Veldon. [3] The Irish Times is published every day except Sundays. It employs 420 people. [4]

Paul O’Neill is the editor of The Irish Times newspaper published in Dublin. He is the newspaper's fourteenth editor, succeeding Kevin O'Sullivan in April 2017. Prior to this appointment O’Neill had been deputy editor of the paper. Brought up in Waterford, the son of Paddy editor of the Waterford News & Star and Josie . Paul worked for the Cork Examiner and the Waterford News & Star, before joining the Irish Times in 1989. He is married to Jennifer and has two daughters.

Kevin O'Sullivan was the editor of The Irish Times newspaper from 2011 to 2017. He was the thirteenth editor of the paper and succeeded Geraldine Kennedy on 23 June 2011. He was succeeded, in turn, by Paul O'Neill on 5 April 2017.

Contents

Though formed as a Protestant nationalist paper, within two decades and under new owners it had become the voice of British unionism in Ireland. [5] It is no longer marketed as a unionist paper; it presents itself politically as "liberal and progressive", [6] as well as promoting neoliberalism on economic issues. [7] The editorship of the newspaper from 1859 until 1986 was controlled by the Anglo-Irish Protestant minority, only gaining its first nominal Irish Catholic editor 127 years into its existence.

Protestant Irish nationalists

Protestant Irish nationalists are adherents of Protestantism in Ireland who also support Irish nationalism. Protestants have played a large role in the development of Irish nationalism since the eighteenth century, despite most Irish nationalists historically being from the Irish Catholic majority, as well as most Irish Protestants usually tending toward unionism in Ireland. Protestant nationalists have consistently been influential supporters and leaders of various movements for the political independence of Ireland from Great Britain. Historically, these movements ranged from supporting the legislative independence of the Parliament of the Kingdom of Ireland, to a form of home rule within the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, to complete independence in an Irish Republic and a United Ireland.

Unionism in Ireland political ideology

Unionism in Ireland is a political ideology that favours the continuation of political union between the islands of Ireland and Great Britain. Since the partition of Ireland, unionism in Ireland has focused on maintaining and preserving the place of Northern Ireland within the United Kingdom. In this context, a distinction may be made between the unionism in the province of Ulster and unionism elsewhere in Ireland.

Progressivism is the support for or advocacy of social reform. As a philosophy, it is based on the idea of progress, which asserts that advancements in science, technology, economic development and social organization are vital to the improvement of the human condition.

The paper's most prominent columnists include writer and arts commentator Fintan O'Toole and satirist Miriam Lord. The late Taoiseach Garret FitzGerald was once a columnist. Senior international figures, including Tony Blair and Bill Clinton, have written for its op-ed page. Its most prominent columns have included the political column Backbencher, by John Healy, Drapier (an anonymous piece produced weekly by a politician, giving the 'insider' view of politics), Rite and Reason (a weekly religious column, edited by Patsy McGarry, the 'religious affairs' editor) and the long-running An Irishman's Diary. An Irishman's Diary was written by Patrick Campbell in the forties (under the pseudonym 'Quidnunc'); by Seamus Kelly from 1949 to 1979 (also writing as 'Quidnunc'); and more recently[ when? ] by Kevin Myers. After Myers' move to the rival Irish Independent , An Irishman's Diary has usually been the work of Frank McNally. On the sports pages, Philip Reid is the paper's golf correspondent.

Fintan O'Toole is an Irish columnist, literary editor and drama critic for The Irish Times, for which he has written since 1988. O'Toole was drama critic for the New York Daily News from 1997 to 2001 and is a regular contributor to The New York Review of Books. He is an author, literary critic, historical writer and political commentator, with generally left-wing views. His recent books have focused on the rise, fall and aftermath of Ireland's Celtic Tiger. He has been a strong critic of political corruption in Ireland throughout his career.

Miriam Lord is an Irish journalist and political sketch writer employed by The Irish Times newspaper. Her work for the paper includes daily coverage of major political matters through her Dáil Sketch and Miriam Lord's Week which reviews the weeks political events published in the Saturday edition of the paper.

Taoiseach Head of government (Prime Minister) of Ireland

The Taoiseach is the prime minister and head of government of Ireland. The Taoiseach is appointed by the President upon the nomination of Dáil Éireann, the lower house of the Oireachtas (parliament), and must, to remain in office, retain the support of a majority in the Dáil.

One of its most popular columns was the biting and humorous Cruiskeen Lawn satire column written, originally in Irish, later in English, by Myles na gCopaleen, the pen name of Brian O'Nolan (Brian Ó Nualláin) who also wrote books using the name Flann O'Brien. Cruiskeen Lawn is an anglicised spelling of the Irish words crúiscín lán, meaning 'full little jug'. Cruiskeen Lawn made its debut in October 1940, and appeared with varying regularity until O'Nolan's death in 1966.

Irish language Gaelic language spoken in Ireland and by Irish people

Irish is a Goidelic language of the Celtic languages family, itself a branch of the Indo-European language family. Irish originated in Ireland and was historically spoken by Irish people throughout Ireland. Irish is spoken as a first language in substantial areas of counties Galway, Kerry, Cork and Donegal, smaller areas of Waterford, Mayo and Meath, and a few other locations, and as a second language by a larger group of habitual but non-traditional speakers across the country.

History

Origins

The first appearance of a newspaper using the name The Irish Times occurred in 1823, but this closed in 1825. The title was revived—initially as a thrice-weekly publication but soon becoming a daily—by a 22-year-old army officer, Lawrence E. Knox (later known as Major Lawrence Knox), with the first edition being published on 29 March 1859. It was founded as a moderate Protestant newspaper, reflecting the politics of Knox, who envisaged it as a "new conservative daily newspaper". [8] Its headquarters were at 4 Lower Abbey Street in Dublin. Its main competitor in its early days was the Dublin Daily Express .

Major Lawrence Edward Knox(1836–1873) was a British Army officer and founder of The Irish Times. He was born in the Kemp Town area of Brighton in East Sussex, England. His parents were Arthur Edward Knox of Castle Rea, County Mayo, and Jane Parsons, daughter of Laurence Parsons, 2nd Earl of Rosse.

The Daily Express of Dublin was an Irish newspaper published from 1851 to June 1921, and then continued for registration purposes until 1960.

The Arnotts

After Knox's death in 1873, the paper was sold to the widow of Sir John Arnott, MP, a former Lord Mayor of Cork and owner of Arnotts, one of Dublin's major Department stores. The sale, for £35,000, led to two major changes. Its headquarters was shifted to 31 Westmoreland Street, remaining in buildings on or near that site until 2005. Its politics also shifted dramatically, becoming predominantly Unionist in outlook, and it was closely associated with the Irish Unionist Alliance. The paper, along with the Irish Independent and various regional papers, called for the execution of the leaders of the failed 1916 Easter Rising. [9]

Sir John Arnott, 1st Baronet JP was a Scottish-Irish entrepreneur and a major figure in the commercial and political spheres of late-19th century Cork. He was also founder of the Arnotts department chain.

The Lord Mayor of Cork is the honorific title of the Chairman of Cork City Council which is the local government body for the city of Cork in Ireland. The office holder is elected annually by the members of the Council. The incumbent is John Sheehan (FF).

Arnotts (Ireland)

Arnotts is the oldest and largest department store in Dublin, Ireland. Its flagship store is located on Henry Street, on the north side of the city centre.

Though the paper became a publicly listed company in 1900, the family continued to hold a majority shareholding until the 1960s (even after the family lost control, the great-grandson of the original purchaser was the paper's London editor). The last member of the Arnott family to sit on the paper's board was Sir Lauriston Arnott, who died in 1958.

The editor during the 1930s, R. M. Smyllie, had strong anti-fascist views: he angered the Irish Catholic hierarchy by opposing General Franco during the Spanish Civil War. Later, The Irish Times, like other national newspapers, had problems with Irish Government censorship during World War II. The Times was largely pro-Allied and was opposed to the Éamon de Valera government's policy of neutrality. [10]

The Irish Times Trust

In 1974, ownership was transferred to a non-charitable [11] trust, The Irish Times Trust. The former owner, Major Thomas McDowell, was made "president for life" of the trust which runs the paper and was paid a large dividend. [12] However several years later the articles of the Trust were adjusted, giving Major McDowell 10 preference shares and one more vote than the combined votes of all the other directors should any move be made to remove him. [13] Major McDowell died in 2009. The Trust was set up in 1974 as "a company limited by guarantee" to purchase The Irish Times Limited and to ensure that The Irish Times would be published as an independent newspaper with specific editorial objectives. (See below).

The Trust is regulated by a legal document, the Memorandum and Articles of Association, and controlled by a body of people (the Governors) under company law. It is not a charity and does not have charitable status. It has no beneficial shareholders and it cannot pay dividends. Any profits made by The Irish Times cannot be distributed to the Trust but must be used to strengthen the newspaper, directly or indirectly.

The Trust is composed of a maximum of 11 Governors. The Trust appoints Governors who are required to be "representative broadly of the community throughout the whole of Ireland".

As of June 2012, Ruth Barrington is the chair of the trust, and the governors are Tom Arnold, David Begg, Noel Dorr, Margaret Elliott, Rosemary Kelly, Eoin O'Driscoll, Fergus O'Ferrall, Judith Woodworth, Barry Smyth, and Caitriona Murphy.

Recent history

In 1969, the longest-serving editor of The Irish Times, Douglas Gageby, was allegedly called a "white nigger" by the company chairman (a former Irish British army officer), because of the newspaper's coverage of Northern Ireland at the outset of the Troubles, which was upsetting the British government. [14] [15]

The paper established its first bureau in Asia when foreign correspondent Conor O'Clery moved to Beijing in 1996. [16]

The paper suffered considerable financial difficulty in 2002 when a drop in advertising revenue coincided with a decision by the company to invest its reserves in the building of a new printing plant. None of the journalists were laid off, but many took a voluntary redundancy package when the paper was greatly restructured. Some foreign bureaux were closed and it also stopped publishing 'colour' pages devoted to Irish regions, with regional coverage now merged with news. The paper's problems stemmed partly from internal strife which led to Major McDowells's daughter, Karen Erwin, not being made chief executive. [13] The reorganisation had the desired effect; after posting losses of almost €3 million in 2002, the paper returned to profit in 2003.

John Waters, a columnist who spoke out about the perceived vast salaries of the editor, managing director and deputy editor, was sacked and re-hired a week later, in November 2003. [17] Former editor Geraldine Kennedy was paid more than the editor of the UK's top non-tabloid newspaper The Daily Telegraph, which has a circulation of about nine 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. [18] [19]

In January 2005, the paper was due to run a front-page story on the Provisional IRA's denial of involvement in the Northern Bank robbery, one of Europe's largest ever, and a column by Kevin Myers, which said that the Provisional IRA were responsible.[ clarification needed What?] [20] Myers asked for clarification of the decision from the editor, and later left the paper. [21]

The following May, the paper launched a new international edition, which was available in London and southeast England at the same time as other daily newspapers (previously, copies of the Irish edition were flown from Dublin to major cities in Britain on passenger flights, arriving around lunchtime). It was printed at the Newsfax plant in Hackney, and uses the Financial Times distribution network.

The Central Bank of Ireland fined The Irish Times in 2008 after it admitted breaking market abuse rules. [22]

In 2009, the Supreme Court ordered the paper to pay €600,000 in costs despite winning its case about the importance of protecting journalistic sources, and called its destruction of evidence "reprehensible conduct". [23]

The newspaper has been criticized for its perceived support of the British Army. An article in The Phoenix magazine examined an article in The Irish Times published in August 2010 on Irish nationals serving in the British Army. [24] According to The Phoenix, the article romanticized the war in Afghanistan and was little more than a recruitment advertisement for the British Army. [25] The magazine accused the editor Geraldine Kennedy and the Irish Times board of violating the Defense Act which prohibits any kind of advertising for recruitment for a foreign army and article 15.6.1 of the Constitution of Ireland which states "The right to raise and maintain military or armed forces is vested exclusively in the Oireachtas".

On 9 September 2011, the paper published a pseudonymous article by Kate Fitzgerald. [26] Unknown to the paper, she had taken her life on 22 August 2011. The revelation sparked a nationwide debate on suicide with her parents appearing on television to discuss suicide and depression. [27] The article criticised the reaction to her illness by her employer, The Communications Clinic, although it was only after she was identified as the author that her employer became known. The article was later removed from the paper's website, [28] causing controversy online. The editor later told her parents that sections of her article were factually incorrect, but could not say which ones. [29]

Kate's parents complained to the Office of the Press Ombudsman about an apology made to The Communications Clinic, their complaint was upheld. [30]

Diversification

The company has diversified from its original Irish Times title as a source of revenue. Irish Times Limited has taken a majority share for €5m in the Gazette Group Newspapers, a group publishing three local newspapers in West Dublin, and has acquired a property website, MyHome.ie, the second-largest [31] property internet website in Ireland, for €50m, seen as insurance against the loss of revenue from traditional classified property advertising. [32] In June 2009, journalists called on the board and trust to review "the flawed investment and diversification strategy of the company" and passed a motion saying that "ongoing investment in loss-making projects poses a serious threat to employment" at the newspaper. [33] Four months later, the company announced a loss of €37 million and that 90 staff would be made redundant. [34] The director, Maeve Donovan, who instigated the "investment and diversification" strategy, subsequently retired. She dismissed suggestions that she would receive a significant "golden handshake", saying that her package would be "nothing out of the ordinary at all". She was given a €1m "ex-gratia" payment by the newspaper "relating to a commutation of pension rights agreed with her". [35]

The managing director said in 2009 that mobile phone applications would be a key investment for newspapers and The Irish Times now[ when? ] has an application for the iPhone and Android smartphones. [36]

In June 2010, Gazette group newspapers' managing director claimed the company's affairs were being conducted oppressively by its majority shareholder, the Irish Times. [37]

Offices

The Irish Times building, on Tara Street The Irish Times building.jpg
The Irish Times building, on Tara Street
The Irish Times Clock, originally mounted on the D'Olier Street building moved with the newspaper to the Tara Street offices in 2006. Ireland Victor Grigas 2011-19.jpg
The Irish Times Clock, originally mounted on the D'Olier Street building moved with the newspaper to the Tara Street offices in 2006.

In 1895, the paper moved from its original offices on Middle Abbey Street to D'Olier Street in the centre of Dublin. "D'Olier Street" became a metonym of The Irish Times which in turn was personified as "The Old Lady of D'Olier Street". In October 2006, the paper relocated to a new building on nearby Tara Street. [38]

Online

In 1994, The Irish Times established a website called Irish-times.ie; it was the first newspaper in Ireland and one of the first 30 newspapers in the world to do so. The company acquired the domain name Ireland.com in 1997, and from 1999 to 2008, used it to publish its online edition. It was freely available at first but charges and a registration fee were introduced in 2002 for access to most of the content. A number of blogs were added in April 2007 written by Jim Carroll, Shane Hegarty, and Conor Pope. On 30 June 2008, the company relaunched Ireland.com as a separate lifestyle portal and the online edition of the newspaper was now published at irishtimes.com. It was supplied free of charge, [39] but a subscription was charged to view its archives.

On 15 October 2012 John O'Shea, Head of Online, The Irish Times, announced that the ireland.com domain name had been sold to Tourism Ireland, and that the ireland.com email service would end on 7 November 2012. The domain name was sold for €495,000. The ending of the email service affected about 15,000 subscribers. [40]

The newspaper announced on 17 February 2015 the reintroduction of a paywall for its website, irishtimes.com, beginning on 23 February. [41] [42] [43]

Format and content

The paper has the same standard layout every day. The front page contains one main picture and three main news stories, with the left-hand column, News Digest, providing a 'teaser' of some of the stories inside the Home News, World News, Sport and Business Today sections as well as other information such as winning lottery numbers and weather forecasts. Inside, it usually contains eight to twelve pages of Irish news, called "Home News", covering the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. It devotes several pages to important stories such as the publication of government reports, government budgets, important courts cases, and so on.

World News contains news from its correspondents abroad and from news wires and services such as Reuters, the Guardian Service, and the Los Angeles Times-Washington Post service. The paper has correspondents in London, Paris, Brussels, and Washington.

The Irish Times publishes its residential property supplement every Thursday, one of the printed residential property listings for the Dublin area. This is also online. Motoring and employment supplements are published on Wednesday and Friday respectively, and are also online.

A business supplement is published every Friday, as is an entertainment supplement called The Ticket, with film, music, theatre reviews, interviews, articles, and media listings. It features cinema writer Donald Clarke and music writers Jim Carroll, Brian Boyd, Tony Clayton-Lea and others. Michael Dwyer, the distinguished film critic and recipient of the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres, wrote for the supplement until his death in 2010.[ citation needed ]

On Saturdays, a Weekend section is published, with news features, arts profiles, television and radio columns, and book reviews of mainly literary and biographical works, with occasional reviews in the technology sector. The Saturday edition also includes the Magazine with consumer and lifestyle features on food, wine, gardening, and there are travel and sports supplements.

Three Sudoku puzzles and two crosswords are published daily including a cryptic crossword, formerly compiled by "Crosaire", and a "Simplex" crossword. There is also a letters page. J.J. Walsh has contributed a chess puzzle to the paper since April 1955, originally weekly the puzzle became a daily fixture in September 1972.

The paper carries political cartoons by Martyn Turner and the American cartoon strip, Doonesbury. The business section has a satirical illustration by David Rooney every Friday. Tom Mathews contributes an arts-inspired cartoon (called "Artoon") to the arts section on Saturday.

A weekly Irish language page is carried on Wednesdays.

The Irish Times tended to support the Lisbon Treaty. However, opposing views were also printed, including articles by Declan Ganley of Libertas Ireland, and other anti-Lisbon campaigners.

Purchase of Irish Examiner and other assets

In December 2017, it was reported that The Irish Times had reached an agreement to purchase the newspaper, radio and website interests of Landmark Media Investments which include The Irish Examiner. Initially subject to regulatory approval, [44] this sale was completed in July 2018. [45]

2018 redundancies

In September 2018, The Irish Times started a voluntary redundancy scheme. This followed the Landmark Media Investments acquisition. [46]

Average print circulation was approximately 100,000 copies per issue in 2011, [47] dropping to approximately 62,000 by 2017. [48]

Year (period)Average circulation per issue
2005 (July to December) [49]
117,370
2011 (January to June) [47]
100,951
2012 (January to June) [50]
92,565
2012 (July to December) [51]
88,356
2014 (January to June) [52]
80,332
2014 (July to December) [53]
76,882
2015 (January to June) [54]
76,194
2016 (January to June) [55]
72,011
2016 (July to December) [56]
66,251
2017 (January to June) [48]
62,423
2017 (July to December) [57]
61,049
2018 (January to June) [58]
60,352
2018 (July to December) [59]
58,131
2019 (January to June) [60]
56,518

Digital Irish Times Circulation

ABC measure digital circulation based on paid for digital subscriptions that include an ePaper in the package. This means that the free student edition and the basic package, which does not include an ePaper, are excluded from the below statistics.

Year (period)Average circulation per issue
2018 (January to June) [61]
18,903
2018 (July to December) [62]
21,275

Newspapers owned by The Irish Times DAC

Magazine investments owned by The Irish Times DAC

Radio investments owned by The Irish Times DAC

Digital investments owned by The Irish Times DAC

Columns

Regular columns include:

Editors

  1. Dr. George Ferdinand Shaw (1859) [65]
  2. Rev. George Bomford Wheeler (1859–77)
  3. James Scott (1877–99)
  4. William Algernon Locker (1901–7)
  5. John Edward Healy (1907–34)
  6. Robert Maire "Bertie" Smyllie (1934–54)
  7. Alec Newman (1954–61)
  8. Alan Montgomery (1961–63)
  9. Douglas Gageby (1963–74 and 1977–86)
  10. Fergus Pyle (1974–77)
  11. Conor Brady (1986–2002)
  12. Geraldine Kennedy (2002–2011)
  13. Kevin O'Sullivan (2011–2017)
  14. Paul O'Neill (2017–present)

Past and present contributors

See also

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