Former ‘Irish Times’ production chief Jim Cooke dies aged 88

Known to colleagues as ‘Cookie’, he gave ‘selflessly to the cause of The Irish Times’

Former director of production of The Irish Times, Jim Cooke, who died at the weekend aged 88. Photograph: Paddy Whelan/The Irish Times

The death occurred at the weekend of the former director of production of The Irish Times, Jim Cooke.

Mr Cooke, who was 88, played a key role in the modernisation of the printing operation of The Irish Times, with the move from hard type to new technology and full colour printing.

"Jim was a very well-known and respected figure in the newspaper production business, both here and in the United Kingdom," said Liam Kavanagh, managing director of The Irish Times. "He was a newspaper production man, through and through."

Mr Cooke, who lived in Killiney, Co Dublin, played a key role in guiding the newspaper though the period when new technology was leading to huge change both here and in the UK, said former managing editor Joe Breen.


“He was a very genial man, but there was a hard edge to him, and he got things done.”

Former deputy editor of The Irish Times, Pat O'Hara, said Mr Cooke, or "Cookie" as he was known to his colleagues, was a man of great character and charm.

"He gave selflessly of his time and energy to the cause of The Irish Times and during his long career with the newspaper he was a key figure in many of the most momentous changes in its history.

“Though he loved the camaraderie and traditions of his fellow printers in the old caseroom, Jim always was keen to embrace the future.”

In 1986 Mr Cooke was tasked by the board with responsibility for the selection and installation of a new web offset printing press which, for the first time, enabled colour printing on the Fleet Street site.

“They were exciting times which I recall now with humour and affection,” Mr O’Hara said. “Cookie was a remarkable man who made a considerable contribution to the history of the newspaper.”

Mr Cooke is survived by his wife, Georgina, daughters Nicola and Michele, and grandchildren.