Vincent Browne regains control of ‘Magill’, the magazine he set up 40 years ago

Magazine became known for its in-depth investigative journalism

Vincent Browne plans print and digital content for Magill

Vincent Browne plans print and digital content for Magill

 

Journalist and broadcaster Vincent Browne has bought back Magill, the politics and current affairs magazine which he set up 40 years ago .

Browne used the publication as a vehicle for in-depth investigative journalism and trenchantly anti-establishment campaigning throughout the 1980s.

He is to publish a collection of the best journalism from the magazine under his stewardship later this year and has plans to develop both print and online content under its masthead. However when speaking to The Irish Times on Friday night he pointed out that the deal “was only done about 90 minutes ago so it is too early to say exactly what is going to happen”.

The editor’s chair at Magill was filled by a who’s who of Irish journalism in the 1970s and 1980s with Fintan O’Toole, John Waters, Brian Trench and Colm Toíbín all serving time under the combatitive journalist while the magazine’s stable of writers included Gene Kerrigan, Eamonn McCann and Emily O’Reilly.

With Browne as owner and managing editor, the magazine had a distinguished record for breaking political stories and making waves with lengthy pieces on the arms trial and planning corruption in Dublin.

Its distinct, and distinctly sceptical, tone as well as its relentless harassment of the political class won it many admirers. Despite being well regarded, it closed in the early 1990s but was reborn in 1997 when Browne joined forces with Michael O’ Doherty, the publisher of VIP Magazine with John Ryan in the editor’s chair.

It was business as usual for a spell with stories about tax evasion and planning corruption in Dublin making headlines across the Irish media landscape.

The title was subsequently sold to publisher Mike Hogan who then sold it to Ian Hyland, the publisher of Business & Finance, after Mr Hogan’s own empire got into difficulties. The magazine was last published in 2009.

Mr Hyland declined to be drawn on how much the deal to transfer ownership back to the founding father was worth other than to say that “we are both happy with the outcome”.

He said he had planned to resurrect the magazine in a digital format until “myself and Vincent got talking. Magill is intimately associated with Vincent Browne and vice versa.”

He said that even though the magazine disappeared off the shelves almost a decade ago, the title still commanded “great respect. But it needs to be in the right hands and I think Vincent can do a lot with it.”