Irish Independent

Irish Independent
Broadsheet version of the Irish Independent, 24 November 2005
Irish Independent front page on 24 November 2005
Type Daily newspaper and digital publication
Format Compact
Owner(s) Independent News & Media who are a subsidiary of Mediahuis
Editor Cormac Bourke
Founded January 1905; 117 years ago (1905-01)
(replaced Daily Irish Independent)
Political alignment Conservative
Headquarters Talbot Street, Dublin, Ireland
Circulation Unknown; Irish Independent is no longer ABC audited.[1]
ISSN 0021-1222

The Irish Independent, which was established in Dublin in 1905, is Ireland’s biggest-selling national daily newspaper. and is published six days a week (Monday to Saturday) in print, digital and epaper versions. It presents itself politically as conservative populist and is owned by leading European media group Mediahuis. The editor, since October 2019, is Cormac Bourke.

Mediahuis, which operates in Belgium (where it is headquartered in Antwerp), the Netherlands and Luxembourg, acquired the Irish Independent with its purchase of Independent News & Media (INM) for €145.6 million in 2019. The company’s Irish operations are overseen from its Dublin headquarters, Independent House, by chief executive officer Marc Vangeel. The publisher is Peter Vandermeersch.

The Irish Independent, whose logo is a stylised rendering in moss green of the historical Brian Boru Harp (the heraldic and governmental symbol of Ireland), is one of Ireland’s most instantly recognisable and trusted media and business brands.


First issue of the Irish Independent

Murphy and family (1905–1973)

Masthead of the"Freeman's Journal" founded 1763 which merged with the Irish Independent in 1924
Independent Newspapers in January 1935

The Irish Independent was formed in 1905 as the direct successor to The Irish Daily Independent and Daily Nation, an 1890s pro-Parnellite newspaper, and was launched by William Martin Murphy, a controversial Irish nationalist businessman, staunch anti-Parnellite, and fellow townsman of Parnell's most venomous opponent, Bantry's Timothy Michael Healy.[2] The first issue of the Irish Independent, published 2 January 1905, was marked as "Vol. 14. No. 1."

During the 1913 Lockout of workers, in which Murphy was the leading figure among the employers, the Irish Independent vigorously sided with its owner's interests, publishing news reports and opinion pieces hostile to the strikers, expressing confidence in the unions' defeat and launching personal attacks on the leader of the strikers, James Larkin. The Irish Independent described the 1916 Easter Rising as "insane and criminal" and famously called for the shooting of its leaders.[3] In December 1919, during the Irish War of Independence, a group of twenty IRA men destroyed the printing works of the paper, angered at its criticism of the Irish Republican Army's attacks on members of the Dublin Metropolitan Police and British government officials.[4] In 1924, the traditional nationalist newspaper, the Freeman's Journal, merged with the Irish Independent. Until October 1986 the paper's masthead over the editorial contained the words "incorporating the Freeman's Journal".[5]

For most of its history, the Irish Independent (also called simply the Independent or more colloquially, the Indo) was seen as a nationalist, Catholic, anti-Communist, newspaper,[6] which gave its political allegiance to the Pro-Treaty party Cumann na nGaedheal and later its successor party, Fine Gael.[6] During the Spanish Civil War, the Irish Independent's coverage was strongly pro-Franco; the paper criticised the De Valera government for not intervening on behalf of the Spanish Nationalists.[7]

In 1961, the harp became a symbol of the Irish Independent. It originally appeared in black but was changed to green in 1972.

O'Reilly (1973–2012)

In the 1970s, former Heinz chairman Tony O'Reilly took over the Irish Independent. Under his leadership, it became a more populist, market liberal newspaper—populist on social issues, but economically right-wing. By the mid-nineties its allegiance to Fine Gael had ended. In the 1997 general election, it endorsed Fianna Fáil under a front-page editorial, entitled "It's Payback Time". While it suggested its headline referred to the fact that the election offered a chance to "pay back" politicians for their failings, its opponents suggested that the "payback" actually referred to its chance to get revenge for the refusal of the Rainbow Coalition to award the company a mobile phone licence.[8]

In late 2004, Independent Newspapers moved from their traditional home in Middle Abbey Street to a new office, Independent House in Talbot Street, with the printing facilities already relocated to the Citywest business park near Tallaght.

On 27 September 2005, a fortnight after the paper published its centenary edition, it was announced that editor Vinnie Doyle would step down after 24 years in the position. He was replaced by Gerry O'Regan, who had until then been editor of the Irish Independent's sister paper, the Evening Herald. The newspaper's previous editor Stephen Rae was also formerly editor of the Evening Herald and was appointed editor in September 2012. Fionnan Sheahan was appointed editor in January 2015.[9]

O'Brien (2012–2019)

Billionaire Denis O'Brien acquired a majority shareholding of the Irish Independent's parent company INM in May 2012.[10]

Mediahuis (2019-present)

In July 2019 the takeover of INM by Belgian media group Mediahuis was approved by the Irish High Court.[11]

From 11 February 2020, it was announced that content would go behind a paywall.[12]

The Irish Independent is available on the Irish Newspaper Archives, in black-and-white microfilm up to 2004, in colour since 2005. It is also archived up to 2009 online on the British Newspaper Archive website.


The newspaper is noted for its award-winning, agenda-setting journalism, and many of its section editors, reporters, commentators and analysts are household names in Ireland, thanks to their authoritative writing, regular appearances on TV and radio and published books.

In the news pages, these include Ireland editor Fionnán Sheahan[13]; group head of news Kevin Doyle[14]; political editor Philip Ryan[15]; business editor Donal O’Donovan; political correspondent John Downing; education editor Katherine Donnelly; technology editor Adrian Weckler[16]; personal finance editor Charlie Weston[17]; legal affairs editor Shane Phelan[18]; travel editor Pól Ó Conghaile[19]; fashion editor Bairbre Power[20]; farming editor Margaret Donnelly; showbusiness editor Melanie Finn[21]; environment correspondent Caroline O’Doherty[22]; health correspondent Eilish O’Regan[23]; special correspondent Catherine Fegan[24]; and special correspondent Paul Williams[25], who specialises in crime coverage.

In the sports pages, household names include Vincent Hogan, Colm Keys, Frank Roche, Donnchadh Boyle, Conor McKeon, Daniel McDonnell, Cian Tracey, Ruaidhri O’Connor, Aidan Fitzmaurice, Sinead Kissane, Michael Verney, David Kelly, Martin Breheny, Tony Ward, Nicolas Roche, John Mullane and Brian Keogh.

Popular columnists appearing regularly in the main body of the newspaper include Fionnán Sheahan, Lorraine Courtney, Stella O’Malley, John Downing, Billy Keane, Ian O’Doherty, Roslyn Dee, Sinead Ryan, Gerard O’Regan, Richard Curran, John Connell, Larissa Nolan, John Daly, Frank Coughlan, Mary Kenny, Miriam O’Callaghan, Mary McCarthy, Martina Devlin, Kathy Donaghy, Sarah Carey and Patricia Casey.

Staff-produced Irish news, courts and sports coverage is supplemented by freelance journalists throughout Ireland, and news, comment and analysis from Northern Ireland is provided by staff writers on the Belfast Telegraph, which is owned by Mediahuis.

The Irish Independent also publishes syndicated international news, features, comment and analysis from the Press Association, Reuters, The Associated Press (AP), The Telegraph (London), The Independent (London), The Washington Post and Bloomberg.

Group head of visuals David Conachy leads a team of staff photographers, videographers and picture editors and commissions images and video footage from freelancers and agencies throughout Ireland and worldwide.

New Irish Writing and Hennessy Award

Since 2011, the Irish Independent has been the home of New Irish Writing (and its associated Hennessy Award),[26] which was originally established by David Marcus in 1969 in the Irish Press and appeared in the Sunday Tribune from 1988 to 2011. The New Irish Writing Page is "the longest-running creative writing feature of its kind in any Irish or British newspaper".[27][28]

Exam Brief

The Irish Independent, in co-operation with the Institute of Education, produces Exam Brief, a yearly six-part supplement dedicated to preparation for Leaving and Junior Certificate exams.[29] This supplement is published in February, March and April each year.

Notable exclusives

Irish Independent news and sports journalists have ‘broken’ many stories of national and international interest. Notable examples in recent years include:

On the morning of February 5, 2016, Irish Independent reporters and photographers were present at the Regency Hotel (since renamed the Bonnington) in Whitehall, Dublin, for a weigh-in ahead of a boxing event. As the weigh-in proceeded, a gang of at least four armed attackers entered the hotel. Two were disguised as members of An Garda Síochána’s (the Irish police force) Emergency Response Unit and carried AK-47 assault rifles. An Garda Síochána believes the gang’s intended target was Daniel Kinahan, who had left the hotel shortly before the attack, during which Dubliner David Byrne, an associate of the Kinahan crime cartel, was shot dead. Exclusive photos of the two attackers disguised as Emergency Response Unit members were captured on an Irish Independent journalist’s mobile phone and were published worldwide.[30]

In May 2019, the Irish Independent exclusively reported that Maria Bailey, a Fine Gael TD (member of Dáil Éireann, the lower house of the Oireachtas/Irish parliament), was pursuing a personal injuries case against the Dean Hotel in Dublin arising from a fall from a swing-type seat in the hotel in 2015.[31]

The Irish Independent’s revelations of Bailey’s personal injuries claim and her participation in a road race three weeks later became known as Swing-gate, and prompted senior figures in Fine Gael to urge her to drop her case against the hotel, which had become a major embarrassment for her and her party. She eventually withdrew her lawsuit, but in November 2019 the then Fine Gael leader and Taoiseach (prime minister) Leo Varadkar removed her from the party ticket before the February 2020 general election.

The ‘Vote-gate’ scandal made massive headlines and brought huge scrutiny into the work practices of our politicians[32][33]. Cormac McQuinn and Fionnán Sheahan were recognised for their work in uncovering the issue of TDs having another TD vote the Dáil in their stead. The coverage prompted a change to the Leinster House rules.

The Irish Independent exclusively published the Anglo Tapes in June 2013[34] – and they caused outrage across Ireland and in Europe. Taped conversations between senior Anglo Irish Bank executives heard them laughing and joking about their dealings with the Financial Regulator and the trouble Anglo was facing.

The Irish Independent has reported extensively on Ireland’s housing crisis.

In 2019, the editorial team identified the growing trend of investors buying up homes in an already skewed marketplace. While seeking to bring the issue into the public consciousness and onto the political agenda, the phase ‘Cuckoo Funds’ was coined as a way of explaining the phenomenon which the Government initially denied was a problem. More than two years later ministers admitted such funds were a real market disrupter and introduced legislation to regulate the practice[35].

At the end of 2015, Charlie Weston revealed how thousands of Irish mortgage customers were denied a tracker interest rate on their mortgage which they were entitled to, resulting in the Central Bank ordering 15 lenders to trawl through their mortgage books to seek out all those who had been overcharged.

Related papers and concerns

See Independent News & Media article for newspapers and media assets in the wider group.

Print circulation

Average print circulation was approximately 165,000 copies per issue in 1999,[36] and had dropped to approximately 100,000 by 2016.[37]

In 2019, Independent News & Media exited the ABC auditing process.[1] Hence, no circulation figures are available after 2018.


  1. ^ a b "Irish Newspaper Circulation Jan-June 2019 Island of Ireland Report Print". 22 August 2019.
  2. ^ Andy Bielenberg, Entrepreneurship, Power, and Public Opinion in Ireland: The career of William Martin Murphy.
  3. ^ Easter Rising newspaper archive Archived 9 April 2016 at the Wayback Machine—from the BBC History website
  4. ^ "Following a report on the assassination of the Lord Lieutenant ... the IRA attacked the offices of the (Irish Independent) the following day." Ian Kenneally, The Paper Wall: Newspapers and Propaganda in Ireland 1919–1921. Dublin, Collins Press. 2008, ISBN 1905172583 (p. 105).
  5. ^ "Irish Independent masthead containing 'Incorporating the Freeman's Journal'". Retrieved 25 November 2015.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ a b "During the Free State Period, the Independent was characterised by a triumphalist strain of Catholicism, virulent anti-Communism and support for the Pro-Treaty Party." Fearghal McGarry, "Irish Newspapers and the Spanish Civil War", Irish Historical Studies, Vol. 33, No. 129 (May 2002), pp. 68–90.
  7. ^ Fearghal McGarry, "Irish Newspapers and the Spanish Civil War", Irish Historical Studies, Vol. 33, No. 129 (May 2002), pp. 68–90.
  8. ^ Irish Examiner archives Archived 8 May 2009 at the Wayback Machine—O'Reilly 'took revenge in editorial'. 2 December 2002
  9. ^ "INM appoints two new editors to Irish Independent and Sunday Independent". The Irish Independent. 9 January 2015.
  10. ^ "Denis O'Brien buys another 5% stake in Independent News & Media". RTÉ Business. 3 May 2012. Retrieved 17 September 2020.
  11. ^ Donnelly, Ellie (30 July 2019). "Court approves INM takeover by Mediahuis". Irish Independent.
  12. ^ Burns, John (2 February 2020). "Outside chances of new Sindo boss Alan English". The Times.
  13. ^ "Winners 2020 |". Retrieved 25 January 2022.
  14. ^ Kelly, Justin. "Offaly man named political journalist of the year". Retrieved 25 January 2022.
  15. ^ "Winners of the 2020 NewsBrands Ireland Journalism Awards, sponsored by the National Lottery, unveiled in two part virtual broadcast". News Brands Ireland. 30 November 2020. Retrieved 25 January 2022.
  16. ^ "Adrian Weckler". Connect Speakers Bureau. Retrieved 25 January 2022.
  17. ^ "UCD Smurfit School Business Journalist Awards | PRII - Public Relations Institute of Ireland". PRII. Retrieved 25 January 2022.
  18. ^ "Sunday Independent scoops major business journalism award". independent. Retrieved 25 January 2022.
  19. ^ "Travel Extra Travel Journalist of the Year Awards announced In Dublin". Business & Finance. Retrieved 25 January 2022.
  20. ^ "'Irish Independent' fashion editor Bairbre Power tops Twitter rankings as influential style journalist". independent. Retrieved 25 January 2022.
  21. ^ "Shortlist 2020 |". Retrieved 25 January 2022.
  22. ^ "Irish Examiner wins awards at the Justice Media Awards and ICADS". News Brands Ireland. 5 July 2018. Retrieved 25 January 2022.
  23. ^ "'Irish Independent' journalist wins award". independent. Retrieved 25 January 2022.
  24. ^ "Catherine Fegan". independent. Retrieved 25 January 2022.
  25. ^ "'Irish Independent' wins seven prizes including scoop of the year at National Newspaper Awards". independent. Retrieved 25 January 2022.
  26. ^ Vanessa O'Loughlin, "New Irish Writing" Archived 21 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine,
  27. ^ "Your chance to join the ranks of our best writers". The Irish Independent.
  28. ^ "New home for New Irish Writing and the Hennessy Award",
  29. ^ "Exam Brief". Irish Independent. Archived from the original on 5 October 2009. Retrieved 5 March 2011.
  30. ^ "Regency hotel murder - astonishing photos emerge of 'transvestite' gunman fleeing the scene". independent. Retrieved 24 January 2022.
  31. ^ "Maria Bailey initially asked hotel for €20,000 to cover her swing fall expenses claim". independent. Retrieved 24 January 2022.
  32. ^ "New footage shows Lisa Chambers in Timmy Dooley's Dail seat during seven votes". independent. Retrieved 24 January 2022.
  33. ^ "Lisa Chambers tells 'votegate' inquiry she didn't think double-vote was a massive issue". independent. Retrieved 24 January 2022.
  34. ^ "Inside Anglo: the secret recordings". independent. Retrieved 24 January 2022.
  35. ^ "Government U-turn on levying higher tax on cuckoo funds branded 'terrible value for money'". independent. Retrieved 24 January 2022.
  36. ^ a b "Good times begin to roll for hard-pressed newspaper sector".
  37. ^ a b "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 19 September 2016. Retrieved 18 August 2016.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  38. ^ "Irish Times, Sunday Business Post circulation down 30% since 2006".
  39. ^ Slattery, Laura. "Fall in circulation for all of Republic's daily newspapers". The Irish Times.
  40. ^ "Irish Morning Newspaper ABC Circulations, Jan–June 2012 – SEO Ireland, Search Engine Optimisation, Media and Marketing Consulting".
  41. ^ "Morning Newspapers ABC July–Dec 2012 – SEO Ireland, Search Engine Optimisation, Media and Marketing Consulting".
  42. ^ "The Irish Independent Newspaper Circulation". Retrieved 10 December 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  43. ^ "Certificate" (PDF). Retrieved 11 April 2020.
  44. ^ "Certificate" (PDF). Retrieved 11 April 2020.
  45. ^ Doyle, Conor. "Irish Newspaper Circulation July-Dec 2017 Island of Ireland Report - Media and Marketing Consulting, PPC, SEO Ireland, Search Engine Optimisation".
  46. ^ "Certificate" (PDF). Retrieved 11 April 2020.
  47. ^ "Certificate" (PDF). Retrieved 11 April 2020.

External links