About The Irish Times
The Irish Times has delivered top quality news, opinion and analysis since it was first published in 1859. As media technologies evolve, so do our methods of storytelling and delivery. The Irish Times continues the transition from print to multiplatform publication, while upholding the journalistic principles that earned it the reputation as Ireland’s paper of reference.
On this page, you can learn about the principles of The Irish Times, its history and the governing body that guarantees the independence and quality of the newspaper, The Irish Times Trust.
Principles of The Irish Times
The Irish Times upholds the following principles:
- The support of constitutional democracy expressed through governments freely elected;
- The progressive achievement of social justice between people and the discouragement of discrimination of all kinds;
- The promotion of a friendly society where the quality of life is enriched by the standards of its education, its art, its culture and its recreational facilities, and where the quality of spirit is instinct with Christian values, but free from all religious bias and discrimination;
- The promotion of peace and tolerance and opposition to all forms of violence and hatred, so that each man may live in harmony with his neighbour, considerate for his cultural, material and spiritual needs;
- The promotion of understanding of other nations and peoples and a sympathetic concern for their wellbeing;
- In pursuance of the foregoing and to enable readers of The Irish Times to reach informed and independent judgements and to contribute more effectively to the life of the community, the following principles govern the publication of The Irish Times: news shall be as accurate and as comprehensive as is practicable and be presented fairly; comment and opinion shall be informed and responsible, and shall be identifiable from fact; and special consideration shall be given to the reasonable representation of minority interests and divergent views.
History of The Irish Times
- 1859: Major Lawrence Knox, a man in his early 20s, establishes The Irish Times.
- March 29th, 1859: The first edition of The Irish Times is published at No. 4 Lower Abbey Street, Dublin 1 as a ‘new conservative daily paper’. For 14 weeks, it is published every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
- June 8th, 1859: The Irish Times becomes a daily newspaper. It was one of 10 Irish newspapers available at the time, and the only of which that survives to this day.
- 1873: The Arnott family buy The Irish Times following the death of its founder. The paper’s politics shift from Protestant nationalist to unionist.
- 1895: The company moves to D’Olier Street, leading to ‘the Old Lady of D’Olier Street’ moniker.
- 1900: The Irish Times becomes a public company, but the Arnott family continue as majority shareholders until the 1960s.
- 1922: The Irish Free State is established and The Irish Times shifts to an independent political line.
- 1974: A Trust is formed with the objective of securing and maintaining The Irish Times as ‘an independent newspaper primarily concerned with serious issues for the benefit of the community throughout the whole of Ireland, free from any form of personal or party political, commercial, religious or other sectional control’.
- 1994: The Irish Times becomes the first newspaper in the British Isles and one of 30 worldwide to establish a website.
- 1999: The Irish Times begins publishing its online edition on ireland.com.
- 2006: The company moves to its current location on Tara Street.
- 2008: The print and online newsrooms are integrated and the website moves from ireland.com to irishtimes.com.
- November 5th, 2012: The new-look Irish Times is launched. Changes to the paper include narrower pages, colour-coded sections, more use of photographs and graphics and more extensive, original journalism.
Message from the Editor, Kevin O'Sullivan
Some 650,000 readers enter into a contract with the journalists of irishtimes.com and The Irish Times newspaper every day. The overriding duty of Irish Times journalists is to those readers. They access our digital content using a variety of devices or buy the newspaper on the understanding that they will be offered journalism of the highest standard; reports that are accurate and comprehensive; and analysis that is informed, fair and based on the facts.
Irish Times journalists face a challenging task every day to live up to the standards set for ourselves and our readers. The Irish Times Trust and its Articles of Association give the newspaper and its website a special position among media organisations by protecting its editorial content from commercial and other sectional interests.
The reputation of The Irish Times is based, first and foremost, on reporting the news. We seek to produce journalism that provides insight, context, explanation, clarity and a unique take on Ireland and on the world – with the highest standards of independence, accuracy, fairness and clarity. We aspire to being a trusted source of information whether it’s in print, on web, mobile or tablet device.
The Irish Times with irishtimes.com is an authoritative and independent commentator and analyst on important events in the affairs of Ireland - North and South - Britain, the European Union, the United States and the wider world. We are the only Irish news organisation with a network of correspondents around the world, who provide a view of the world through Irish eyes.
The Irish Times is the most important national forum for thinkers and doers in Irish society. We offer a platform for critical, constructive and divergent comment in the different spheres including business, politics and public affairs, culture, the environment, health and education. We have moved in recent years from being a newspaper of record to a newspaper of reference.
The Irish Times occupies a special position as a pacemaker for change in the society which it serves. We are prepared to champion specific causes, as we have always done, while recognising that these causes have changed over the past decade. We may present our readers with unpalatable realities on occasions, but we do not employ shock tactics for their own sake. We seek to publish notable stories of contemporary Ireland – the good, the bad, the challenging, the humorous and the inspiring.
We do not go to publication without seeking both sides of the story. And if, in spite of our best efforts, we cannot get one side's version, we make it clear in our report that we have made every reasonable effort to secure that information. We are conscious of our power and responsibility when we deal with issues or events that touch upon the private lives of individuals. We try to act sensitively at times of stress and trauma, and we do not exploit the vulnerability of individuals.
We are scrupulous to quote our sources accurately, but we do not accede to requests from them to vet copy before publication. We will never compromise or reveal a source which has confided in us. We hold fast to this principle whether we face jail or fine or any other pressure.
We are acutely aware that readers of The Irish Times identify with the paper and its website but they do not want to be taken for granted. They want to be informed and then make up their own minds. Fact is sacred, and comment is free. We clearly separate one from the other. Our readers want access to the facts themselves and then they like to accept, or reject, our analysis of what they mean.
Above all else, we commit ourselves to accuracy; the most essential test of our profession. We recognise, of course, that journalism operates in a deadline-driven environment in which mistakes can, and will, happen. When we get it wrong, we say so. Readers can make contact with their representative in the Editor's Office to act on their behalf - seeking corrections or clarifications or explaining why none is warranted, as appropriate.
We welcome readers' views - be it to the Letters to the Editor page; by letter, email or fax. We encourage readers’ participation by way of user generated content, social media posting or comment at the end of an article through irishtimes.com. Readers can also express their views by way of postal or telephoned response to The Irish Times.
We hope our content, particularly original journalism – story, picture, video, the spoken word, data or graphic – plays an essential part in informing and enriching the lives of a growing number of print and digital consumers.
Editor of The Irish Times
About the Trust
The Irish Times Trust Limited is unique in Ireland. It was set up 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.
The Trust is regulated by 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; they must be used to strengthen the newspaper, directly and/or indirectly.
The Trust is composed of a maximum of 11 Governors, who are appointed on the basis that they are ‘representative broadly of the community throughout the whole of Ireland’.
The Trust is a key component in the governance structure of The Irish Times because it guarantees the independence and quality of the newspaper. It is not involved in the day-to-day management of the Company. The primary role of the Trust is to appoint a Board, which is responsible for ensuring that the Company is run successfully and adheres to its core objects. The Trust will intervene only if there is a material threat – financial or otherwise – to the attainment of the main objective of publishing The Irish Times as an independent newspaper. The Company is required to seek Trust approval for significant disposals or acquisitions.
In 1974, a Trust was established with the objective of securing and maintaining The Irish Times as ‘an independent newspaper primarily concerned with serious issues for the benefit of the community throughout the whole of Ireland, free from any form of personal or party political, commercial, religious or other sectional control’.
This is the core objective set out by the legal document – the Memoranda and Articles of Association – that regulates both The Irish Times Trust Limited (the Trust) and The Irish Times Limited (the Company). The Memorandum and Articles also give substantial protection to The Irish Times against a takeover.
Composed of a maximum of 11 Governors, the Trust is responsible for appointing a Board to ensure that the Company is run successfully and adheres to its core objects. Both the Trust and the Board share the responsibility of ensuring the editorial independence and financial viability of The Irish Times, but they do not interfere with the ordinary activities or decisions (commercial or editorial) of each other. They are differentiated mainly by functions of ownership and operation. In the event of any serious disagreement within the Board, the three directors nominated by the Trust may be deemed to have 50 per cent of all votes plus one. This provision can only come into operation on the basis of legal advice that certifies the matter to be of ‘significant policy’ under the Memorandum and Articles of Association.
Chairman of The Irish Times Trust Limited
Chairperson of the Convention on the Constitution; Former CEO of Concern
Governors of The Irish Times Trust Limited
Chairman of Forfás; Chairman of SWS group; Chairman of enet
Consultant, Praesta Ireland; former Chair of the Investor Compensation Company and the Labour Relations Commission
Rosemary Kelly OBE
Former Chair of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland; former head of Public Affairs & Secretary BBC Northern Ireland (1991-2002)
Margaret Elliott CBE
Founding Partner of the Elliott-Trainor Partnership Solicitors; past president of the Law Society of Northern Ireland
Adelaide Lecturer in Health Policy, Trinity College Dublin; Member of the Board of the Adelaide & Meath Hospital Dublin
Holds the Digital Chair of Computer Science at University College Dublin; elected member of the Royal Irish Academy
Board member of the Labour Relations Commission; former general secretary of Impact; former president of ICTU
The Board is made up of 11 directors who are appointed by the Trust. The present Board is comprised of a non-executive chairman, three executives from the newspaper and seven non-executive directors, three of whom are nominated from the Trust. The Managing Director and the Editor report independently to the Board.
Chairman of the Board of The Irish Times Limited
Former Group Chief Executive, Irish Life & Permanent plc. Board member Goldman Sachs Bank (Europe) plc.
The Board of Directors of The Irish Times Limited
Nominated Director from the Trust
Entrepreneur, venture capitalist and angel investor in a range of technology companies
Nominated Director from the Trust
President & Managing Director of Discovery Networks Western Europe
Nominated Director from the Trust
Former Managing Partner, KPMG; chair of Enactus Ireland
Chair of Project Management Holdings; chair of Duolog Holdings
The Irish Times publishes its financial statements every year and makes them available as PDFs. To access these statements, you will need a PDF viewer such as Adobe Acrobat Reader.
Directors’ report and consolidated financial statements:
- For the year ended 31 December 2012
- For the year ended 31 December 2011
- For the year ended 31 December 2010
- For the year ended 31 December 2009
- For the year ended 31 December 2008
- For the year ended 31 December 2007
- For the year ended 31 December 2006
- For the year ended 31 December 2005
- For the year ended 31 December 2004
editor of The Irish Times,
Kevin O'Sullivan »