Former 'Independent' editor dies


Vincent (Vinnie) Doyle, the editor of the Irish Independent for almost 25 years, who died yesterday, has been described by the Taoiseach as a “legendary figure in Irish journalism”.

Brian Cowen led tributes to Mr Doyle, who passed away at the age of 72 in the Blackrock Clinic following a short illness.

Mr Cowen said Mr Doyle was someone whose traditional commitment to news gathering and values had won him the respect of his peers in journalism and in politics, business and sport.

“Vinnie Doyle believed in getting the story and in getting it right,” he said.

Group chief executive of Independent News and Media Gavin O’Reilly described him as a stalwart of Irish journalism.

“Vinnie Doyle embodied all that is great about Irish journalism. Arguably both loved and feared in equal measure, he was undoubtedly the outstanding newspaper editor of his generation.”

Mr Doyle was born in Dublin and grew up in Glasnevin. He began his career in journalism as a copy boy before progressing to reporter. He joined the Irish Press in 1958, moved to the Sunday Press and then transferred to the Independent group in 1964.

He was appointed editor of the Evening Herald in 1977 before taking over as Irish Independent editor in 1981. It was a position he retained for almost a quarter of a century before his retirement five years ago. During his long tenure as editor, Mr Doyle maintained a very low profile and declined television and radio interviews. He rarely left the office before the newspaper was “put to bed”, often very late in the evening.

Mr Doyle’s successor at the Irish Independent Gerry O’Regan said he combined a great flair with an unremitting work ethic. “His achievement as editor of the Evening Herald and the Irish Independent are testament to his enduring love for newspapers – and all their foibles.”

Irish secretary of the National Union of Journalists, Seamus Dooley, said Mr Doyle was a "quintessential newspaperman who had an unrivalled passion for journalism". He had a "robust" relationship with the union as editor, but had also worked closely with local union representatives.

"Vinnie Doyle could be a tough boss but he was also a man of kindness and many journalists have reason to be grateful for private acts of generosity," Mr Dooley said.

"When the Irish Press group closed the NUJ chapel at Independent Newspapers set up a special fund in support of their colleagues.

"Vinny Doyle was one of the first journalists to contribute to the levy, paying weeks in advance because he was going on holidays. While other senior executives then employed in the group saw the demise of the Press titles as a welcome development Vinny Doyle recognised it as a loss to Irish journalism – and a personal tragedy for many friends and colleagues."

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny praised his tenacity in pursuing a story: “He rose through the ranks to become one of the most powerful and respected figures in Irish journalism. Vinny earned the respect of all those who worked with him,” he said.

Labour leader Eamon Gilmore said Mr Doyle was a courageous and innovative editor.

“Many of the best journalists in the country cut their professional teeth under his leadership. He was admired by colleagues not just for his skills as an editor, but also because he had worked his way up through the ranks.”

Green Party leader John Gormley said the papers he produced showed a huge commitment to news gathering, characterised by immediacy, accuracy and simplicity. “It all meant that ‘Vinnie Doyle’s Indo’ was often seen as the voice of middle Ireland.”

Irish Times journalist Miriam Lord was a colleague of Mr Doyle’s in the Independent for many years. “The newspaper and getting out the news were his passion. He wanted to be the first and better than anybody else,” she said. “With set-piece, big stories he was amazing. He motivated the troops and made sure every angle was covered.”

Mr Doyle is survived by his wife Gertrude and sons, Garret, Conor and Vinny. He will be buried tomorrow at Kilmashogue Cemetery, Edmonstown Road following 10am Mass at the Church of Assumption in Rathfarnham.