January 18, 2012

IRELAND: Aengus Fanning, editor of Ireland's Sunday Independent, dies aged 69

LONDON, England / The Guardian / Media / January 17, 2012

Journalist who headed Ireland's most successful newspaper 
passes away in Dublin after long battle with cancer

By Henry McDonald

Aengus Fanning, the long-serving Sunday Independent editor, who has died aged 69.
Photograph: Sunday Independent/PA
The editor of Ireland's most successful weekend newspaper, the Sunday Independent, has died.

The Kerry-born journalist had steered the Sunday Independent to become the leading paper in the Irish Sunday market.
With its mixture of showbiz, politics and well-known opinion writers, the paper maintained a readership close to one million even during recession, making it the country's most successful paper over a generation.
Fanning had worked for Sir Tony O'Reilly's newspaper group,Independent News & Media, for more than 40 years. He edited the Sunday Independent for 28 of them, making him Ireland's longest-serving newspaper editor.
Among the journalists who worked for him was Veronica Guerin, the campaigning journalist shot dead by Dublin gangsters in 1996. Fanning became an adviser to the movie company that made a film about Guerin's life and death which starred Cate Blanchett.
Fanning had played for the Kerry Gaelic football minor team in his teens but was also a keen cricket fan and a regular at Lord's. He played the clarinet with a Dublin-based jazz band.
Under his editorship the Sunday Independent took an uncompromising stance against the IRA and Sinn Fein, and was unapologetically pro-business/free market in its outlook. Born in Tralee, his mother was a Presbyterian schoolteacher – an unusual background for someone from Kerry.
Fanning was on first name terms with successive Irish prime ministers such as John Bruton and Bertie Ahern, who often wrote for the newspaper.
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