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Irish Independent

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The Irish Independents header consists of its name and a green harp

The Irish Independent is Ireland's best-selling broadsheet newspaper. It was formed in the last decade of the 19th century as a 'pro-parnellite newspaper, called the Daily Irish Independent. It was re-launched in the early 20th century as the Irish Independent under William Martin Murphy, a controversial Irish businessman made notorious for his part in the 1913 Lockout industrial dispute in Dublin. In 1924, the traditional nationalist newspaper, the Freeman's Journal, merged with the Irish Independent.

For most of its history, the Irish Independent (also called simply the Independent or, more colloquially, the Indo) was seen as a right-wing, nationalist, catholic newspaper, which gave its political allegiance to Cumann na nGaedhael and later its successor party, Fine Gael. It urged Irish support, along with the Irish Christian Front, for General Francisco Franco in the Spanish Civil War.

In the 1970s, it was taken over by former Heinz chairman, Tony O'Reilly (now known as Sir Anthony O'Reilly). Under his leadership, it became a more populist mid-market newspaper. It also became less politically aligned with Fine Gael. In the 1997 general election, it controversially endorsed Fianna Fáil under a front page editorial, entitled 'Its Payback Time'.

Its main columnists include Bruce Arnold and Sam Smyth.

Its sister paper is the Sunday Independent. Other newspapers in the Independent News & Media group include the Evening Herald, the Daily Star (Irish edition), the Sunday World (all tabloids), many local Irish newspapers and The Independent, a London-based newspaper, as well as newspapers in Australia and South Africa. It has a major share in the Sunday Tribune, an up-market Sunday broadsheet. Its enemies accuse the Independent Group of holding an 'unhealthy dominance' of the Irish newspaper market, all the more so since the closure of the Irish Press Group in the early 1990s; with the closure of the Evening Press, the Independent's Evening Herald is now the only Irish national evening newspaper. It is an allegation the Independent disputes. What is not in dispute is that it offers a product that is widely read by Irish newspaper readers. According to the Audit Bureau of Circulations (http://www.abc-ireland.ie/), it had a daily circulation of 129,035 for the broadsheet version and 52,045 for the tabloid version during the first six months of 2004.

In 2004 the paper launched a tabloid version of itself, aiming to capture the Dublin commuter market, the paper's broadsheet layout because of its size being difficult for bus and rail commuters to read. The launch was a success, with some media analysts questioning whether the paper might not abandon the broadsheet layout altogether and simply produce a tabloid version. However no such a decision to date has been made, and that last Irish broadsheet to go entirely tabloid, the Irish Press, lost much of its readership, as did the Evening Herald when it changed from broadsheet to tabloid.

Its main national broadsheet rival is The Irish Times.

In late 2004, Independent Newspapers moved from their traditional home in Middle Abbey Street to a new office, "Independent House" in Talbot Street.

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