Irish Independent

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Irish Independent
Broadsheet version of the Irish Independent, 24 November 2005
Irish Independent front page on 24 November 2005
TypeDaily newspaper and digital publication
Owner(s)Independent News & Media who are a subsidiary of Mediahuis
EditorCormac Bourke
FoundedJanuary 1905; 116 years ago (1905-01)
(replaced Daily Irish Independent)
Political alignmentConservative
HeadquartersTalbot Street, Dublin, Ireland
CirculationUnknown; Irish Independent is no longer ABC audited.[1]

The Irish Independent is an Irish daily newspaper, and online publication via, which is owned by Independent News & Media (INM) who are a subsidiary of Mediahuis.

The newspaper version often includes glossy magazines.[2]

Traditionally a broadsheet newspaper, it introduced an additional compact size in 2004 and in December 2012 (following billionaire Denis O'Brien's takeover) it was announced that the newspaper would become compact only.[3]


First issue of the Irish Independent

Murphy and family (1905–1973)[edit]

Masthead of the"Freemans 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.[4] 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.[5] 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.[6] 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".[7]

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,[8] which gave its political allegiance to the Pro-Treaty party Cumann na nGaedheal and later its successor party, Fine Gael.[8] 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.[9]

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)[edit]

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.[10]

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.[11]

O'Brien (2012–2019)[edit]

Billionaire Denis O'Brien acquired a majority shareholding of the Irish Independent's parent company INM in May 2012.[12]

Mediahuis (2019-Present)[edit]

In July 2019 the takeover of INM by Belgian media group Mediahuis was approved by the Irish High Court.[13]

From 11 February 2020, it was announced that content would go behind a paywall.[14]

Digital archives[edit]

The Irish Independent is available on the Irish Newspaper Archives website up to 2004 you will only find "Black-And-White" microfilm pages but since 2005 the pages of the Irish Independent online in colour.

The paper is available at

Up to 2009 online on the British Newspaper Archive website.

New Irish Writing and Hennessy Award[edit]

Since 2011, the Irish Independent has been the home of New Irish Writing (and its associated Hennessy Award),[15] 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".[16][17]

Exam Brief[edit]

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.[18] This supplement is published in February, March and April each year.

Related papers and concerns[edit]

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

Print circulation[edit]

Average print circulation was approximately 165,000 copies per issue in 1999,[19] and had dropped to approximately 100,000 by 2016.[20]

Year (period) Average circulation per issue
1999 (January to July)[19]
2006 (January to December)[21]
2009 (July to December)[22]
2012 (January to June)[23]
2012 (July to December)[24]
2014 (January to June)[25]
2016 (January to June)[20]
2016 (July to December)[26]
2017 (January to June)[27]
2017 (July to December)[28]
2018 (January to June)[29]
2018 (July to December)[30]

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".
  2. ^ "Who is the greatest Irish footballer of all – see if you agree with our choice". Irish Independent. 30 November 2012. Retrieved 30 November 2012. The Legends is the third glossy magazine and iMag produced by the Irish Independent in just over a week after 'The Gathering' publication and our 'Mistletoe' Christmas special.
  3. ^ "A message from the editor to you, our reader". Irish Independent. 21 December 2012. Retrieved 15 April 2013.
  4. ^ Andy Bielenberg, Entrepreneurship, Power, and Public Opinion in Ireland; The career of William Martin Murphy.
  5. ^ Easter Rising newspaper archive Archived 9 April 2016 at the Wayback Machine—from the BBC History website
  6. ^ "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).
  7. ^ "Irish Independent masthead containing "Incorporating the Freeman's Journal"". Archived from the original on 8 November 2013. Retrieved 25 November 2015.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ Fearghal McGarry, "Irish Newspapers and the Spanish Civil War", Irish Historical Studies, Vol. 33, No. 129 (May 2002), pp. 68–90.
  10. ^ Irish Examiner archives Archived 8 May 2009 at the Wayback Machine—O'Reilly 'took revenge in editorial'
  11. ^ "INM appoints two new editors to Irish Independent and Sunday Independent". The Irish Independent.
  12. ^ "Denis O'Brien buys another 5% stake in Independent News & Media". RTÉ Business. 3 May 2012. Retrieved 17 September 2020.
  13. ^ Donnelly, Ellie (30 July 2019). "Court approves INM takeover by Mediahuis". Irish Independent.
  14. ^ Burns, John. "Outside chances of new Sindo boss Alan English" – via
  15. ^ Vanessa O'Loughlin, "New Irish Writing" Archived 21 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine,
  16. ^ "Your chance to join the ranks of our best writers". The Irish Independent.
  17. ^ "New home for New Irish Writing and the Hennessy Award",
  18. ^ "Exam Brief". Irish Independent. Archived from the original on 5 October 2009. Retrieved 5 March 2011.
  19. ^ a b "Good times begin to roll for hard-pressed newspaper sector".
  20. ^ a b "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 19 September 2016. Retrieved 18 August 2016.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  21. ^ "Irish Times, Sunday Business Post circulation down 30% since 2006".
  22. ^ Slattery, Laura. "Fall in circulation for all of Republic's daily newspapers". The Irish Times.
  23. ^ "Irish Morning Newspaper ABC Circulations, Jan–June 2012 – SEO Ireland, Search Engine Optimisation, Media and Marketing Consulting".
  24. ^ "Morning Newspapers ABC July–Dec 2012 – SEO Ireland, Search Engine Optimisation, Media and Marketing Consulting".
  25. ^ "The Irish Independent Newspaper Circulation". Retrieved 10 December 2020.
  26. ^ "Certificate" (PDF). Retrieved 11 April 2020.
  27. ^ "Certificate" (PDF). Retrieved 11 April 2020.
  28. ^ Doyle, Conor. "Irish Newspaper Circulation July-Dec 2017 Island of Ireland Report - Media and Marketing Consulting, PPC, SEO Ireland, Search Engine Optimisation".
  29. ^ "Certificate" (PDF). Retrieved 11 April 2020.
  30. ^ "Certificate" (PDF). Retrieved 11 April 2020.

External links[edit]