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Paul O’Neill has been appointed editor of the Irish Times, replacing Kevin O’Sullivan, who stepped down on Wednesday after nearly six years editing the influential Irish daily.
Mr O’Neill, 52, has been the paper’s deputy editor for several years and has worked as its editorial director, as London correspondent, and as finance editor.
The announcements were made on Wednesday by the Irish Times Trust, which owns the newspaper and appoints the editor.
The editorship of the Irish Times is arguably the most prized position in Irish journalism. The Irish Independent outsells the paper daily, but the Times is regarded – and certainly regards itself – as the more influential with readers, and also attracts a more metropolitan readership.
Mr O’Sullivan said the years of his editorship since June 2011 “coincided with unprecedented turbulence and uncertainty for media businesses.” Irish media organisations have been grappling for nearly a decade with the consequences of Ireland’s financial crash, industry issues, and internal restructuring.
The Irish Times Ltd, the holding company, made an operating loss of €1.1m in 2015. The paper reported in February that an average of 91,666 readers in the second half of last year paid for the Irish Times in print, e-paper, digital, or a combination of those.
Total Irish newspaper circulation, including those of Irish editions of British papers, fell 8.4 per cent in the second half of last year, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulation.
After his appointment, Mr O’Neill told the newsroom:“The challenges facing so-called old media companies have been well ventilated. But the audience of The Irish Times continues to grow and now includes those who access our journalism via smartphones, iPads and desktops, as well as those who continue to read the newspaper.
“The media landscape is evolving rapidly and the future is not settled. But in a world of alternative facts, falsehoods and hidden agendas, I’m confident that The Irish Times and our independent journalism will continue to thrive.”