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Magill, November 2005 edition
Editor Sam Magill
Frequency Monthly
Year founded 1977 (1977)
Final issue 2009 (2009)
Country Ireland

Magill was an Irish politics and current affairs magazine founded by Vincent Browne and others in 1977. Magill was widely perceived as groundbreaking, specialising in in-depth investigative articles and colourful reportage by journalists such as Eamonn McCann (who wrote its anonymous Wigmore column) and Gene Kerrigan. It was relaunched in 2004 after an earlier closure before closing again in 2009.

The Berry diaries

It first achieved a nationwide profile when it published the diaries of Peter Berry, the former Secretary (administrative head) to the Department of Justice in which he alleged that former Taoiseach Jack Lynch had been less than forthright publicly about the truth surrounding the 1970 Arms Crisis which brought down two ministers, including Charles Haughey.(See link below)

In the 1980s as Ireland underwent rapid political change it became the major Irish magazine covering politics.

Regular changes in editor

Browne later appointed a series of editors with him becoming managing editor. Its early editors included Fintan O'Toole, John Waters and Colm Tóibín. (Tóibín went on to achieve renown as a novelist.) However clashes of personalities with Browne led each editor in turn to quit the post as did one of its major writers Gene Kerrigan.

Ceased publication, then re-opened

Magill ceased publication for a period in the 1990s before returning in 1997 as a joint effort between Browne and Michael O' Doherty, publisher of VIP Magazine. Its editors in its second incarnation included John Ryan, Emily O'Reilly, Kevin Rafter, Eamon Delaney[1] and Niall Stanage.

Closures and relaunches in November 2004 and 2009

The magazine was sold by Browne in the early 2000s. It was acquired by Ian Hyland who had previously acquired Business & Finance.[2]

The title was re-opened under a new editor (author and former diplomat) Eamon Delaney and deputy editor Andrew Lynch in November 2004. Whereas the earlier Magill was famously populist and leaned to the left, often carrying photographs of politicians with accusatory banner headlines, the new Magill published reviews, commentaries, analysis, book reviews and business reports as well as a broader range of articles than were found in Browne's fortnightly version. The new magazine was more right-of-centre than earlier versions.

The re-launch was viewed with particular relish in the world of political journalism because Magill was seen as the centrist answer to The Village, edited by Vincent Browne, the one-time editor of Magill.[3] Upon becoming editor, Delaney told The Sunday Times that, "I respect the hard Irish left but it's the woolly liberal consensus of The Irish Times and RTE I have a problem with..., " They have this raft of outdated orthodoxies: the Americans are bad, the Israelis are evil, travellers are our greatest problem. One in three Irish people is supposed to be living in poverty and Vincent will, no doubt, interview them all." [3]

Having dropped to an officially bi-monthly (and increasingly erratic) publication schedule in 2008, the magazine once again ceased publication in mid-2009 due to a lack of advertising as a result of the recession. It now seems unlikely that Magill will reappear.


Many staff and freelance writers from newspapers contribute to the magazine including the BBC Foreign Affairs Editor John Simpson. The legendary Wigmore column from the magazine's past incarnations also features.

The last incarnation of Magill was designed by Cobalt Design to make use of commissioned artwork as an important tool of communication. Issues feature several of Ireland's most established editorial illustrators, with work by Jon Berkeley; David Rooney; Kevin McSherry; Fintan Taite and Joven Kerekes.

Its December 2005 edition carried an exclusive interview with the then Taoiseach Bertie Ahern.


  1. ^
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ a b

External links

  • Dáil debate on the Magill revelations about the contents of Peter Berry's diary (25 November 1980)
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