Sunday Times Ireland Edition

Initially established by journalist and publisher Henry White in 1821 as The New Observer (to cash in on the success of the - unassociated - Observer newspaper), the paper became The Sunday Times in 1822 to associate itself with another - also unconnected - newspaper, The Times of London. The paper went through a variety of owners through the 19th and 20th century until it was acquired by Canadian press magnate Roy Thomson as part of his 1959 purchase of the Kelmsley group of newspapers. In 1966 Thomson purchased The Times bringing both titles under the ownership of the newly formed Times Newspapers Limited (TNL). Following a sequence of industrial disputes in the late 1970s, Thomson sold TNL to Rupert Murdoch in 1981.

Given his existing ownership of The Sun and The News of the World, TNL added broadsheet prestige to Rupert Murdoch’s stable of UK Newspapers. The takeover also led to a marked shift in the politics of the Sunday Times. Under the stewardship of editor Andrew Neil (1983 to 1994), the paper actively supported the neo-liberal policies of the Conservative Party under Margaret Thatcher. 

Neil also actively sought to increase sales in the Republic of Ireland, sponsoring an aggressive circulation drive which saw sales increase 50% from 50,000 in December 1992 to 75,000 in July 1994. In 1993 the paper formally launched an Irish edition employing two journalists - Alan Ruddock (formerly deputy editor of the UK edition) and John Burns to produce an Irish lead story along with Irish arts coverage, reviews and sports. The decision to include RTE programmes in the paper’s television listings proved a particular driver for local sales.

In July 1994, the paper opened a full office in Dublin, marking the beginning of a gradual expansion in journalists employed and a concomitant increase in the proportion of the paper dedicated to Irish content. presence of Irish content. This drove a gradual increase in sales, breaking the 100,000 circulation mark in 2002 and later peaking at 114,000 in 2009. 

However, the Sunday Times proved no less vulnerable to the post-2008  industry-wide circulation decline. By 2023, sales had fallen to just under 50,000 according to the Audit Bureau of Circulation.    

The circulation decline led to retrenchment of the Irish operation. In  2022,15 of 20 journalists employed on the Irish edition of the Sunday Times (and the online Times Ireland edition) were “invited” to apply for one of 12 new positions with an additional digital dimension. The move, understood to be intended to result in three redundancies, prompted a staff exodus. By July 2022, 11 of the 20 had indicated that they were taking redundancy and/or moving to work elsewhere. 

The move has re-established the Sunday Times as the centre of gravity for News Corporation’s broadsheet content in Ireland. It  effectively meant the end of the Times Ireland’s digital daily edition and a move to a “digital first” strategy centred around the Sunday edition.

Key facts

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Content Type

Paid Content

Data Publicly Available

ownership data is easily available from other sources, e. g. public registries etc.

2 ♥

Media Companies / Groups

News Corporation


Ownership Structure

Although the newspaper publishing activities of News Corporation in Ireland are frequently identified with “News Ireland”, the only company with this specific name is entirely separate from News Corporation. As of the beginning of 2023, the only News Corporation newspaper company listed with the Irish Companies Records Office appears to be News Uk and Ireland Trading Limited. The most record financial statement filed by this company described it as engaged in the “provision of personnel resources and administration services” to other members of the News UK group[ within the Republic of Ireland.

Printed copies of the Irish Sun make no reference to the companies above. Instead they identify their publisher as News Group Newspapers Limited, headquartered at London Bridge Street, London. There are four intermediary owners between News Group Newspapers Limited and the ultimate global owner, News Corporation. The Murdoch Family owns the largest single shareholding in News Corporation.

Individual Owner

Media Companies / Groups

General Information

Founding Year


Affiliated Interests Founder

Henry White

journalist and publisher who established the newspaper under the name The New Observer.

Affiliated Interests Ceo

Lachlan Murdoch

CEO of News Corporation, the ultimate global owner of the Irish Sun, and since September 2023 sole chair of both News Corporation and Fox Corporation, son of Rupert Murdoch.

Affiliated Interests Editor-In-Chief

Noirin Hegarty

took over as editor of the Sunday Times in 2021, after a seven year break from journalism during which she worked as vice-president of digital content for global travel publisher Lonely Planet.
Raised in Dublin but with strong family connections to West Clare she studied journalism at the then Dublin Institute of Technology (now the Technological University of Dublin). Securing a placement with the Tullamore Tribune in her second year at college, she found the experience so positive that she returned to the paper to work after graduation. 
She worked as a freelance journalist in Dublin for a period before settling as an assistant editor with the Evening Heraldwhere in 1997, aged just 25, she became deputy editor. In passing, it is worth noting that this made her an usual, and to a certain extent, pioneering  figure: a woman in a senior journalistic management role. In 2005 she became editor at The Sunday Tribune, another IMN supported (though not fully owned) title. She remained at the Tribune until its closure in 2011 before moving back to IMN to work as editor of until the end of 2012. 
Describing the closure of the Tribune as scarring, Hegarty has also stated that she felt a poor fit with the culture she encountered at This clearly encouraged the move out of newspaper publishing and into book publishing. 
Her return to newspapers came at a difficult moment. By 2021, sales of the Sunday Times had fallen to half of their 2009 peak and they would continue to decline through 2022 and 2023. In September 2023 she announced that she would be stepping down as editor, remaining in an interim role until a replacement was appointed.


News Ireland

2nd Floor, Macken House

39/40 Mayor Street Upper

Dublin 1 D01 C9W8


Financial Information

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Operating Profit (in Mill. $)

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Advertising (in % of total funding)

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Market Share

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Further Information

Meta Data

Within the media industry in Ireland reporting on income levels are generally at group level rather than individual title level. On top of this, overall revenue details for the market as a whole are unavailable. Due to these factors it is not possible to report accurately on market share for individual titles or groups.

There is currently no standard audience measurement available for print and online news titles in Ireland. Individual titles publish data on readership or users but measurement parameters and sources vary between organisations, therefore it is not possible to report an accurate audience share for the purposes of this project.

Lachlan Murdoch is listed as CEO, as there is no evident CEO of News Media Ireland. The company has not responded to a request.

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