Printing press grinds to a halt as Observer ceases publication

April 18, 2017

Last Thursday marked the end of an era as the Armagh Observer newspaper ceased publication after almost 90 years.

The paper is one of eleven titles operated by Observer Newspapers NI Ltd, all of which have ceased trading.

Staff were told of the decision just days before the final edition reached shelves and the company announced the news on the front pages of last week’s paper.  It blamed “challenging circumstances” in the weekly newspaper industry, adding that it had “struggled to achieve long-term sustainability”.

A statement from the company read: “The newspaper industry has been subject to a steady decline in advertising and readership over recent years. In these challenging circumstances Observer Newspapers has struggled to sustain long-term sustainability.  We regret that this has led to a decision to cease publication.  We wish to sincerely thank our readers and advertisers for their support down through the years.”

Joe McManus headed the Armagh Observer, covering both news and sport, and celebrated 50 years at the helm in November last year.

SDLP councillor Sharon Haughey-Grimley, a regular reader, expressed her sadness at its closure.

“This is really an end of an era and very sad for all us Observer readers. Joe McManus has been a gentle giant writing Armagh’s story for decades now. His insight and interest in people and places has captured some very touching human and local stories, documenting what makes Armagh district so great. Also Observer’s coverage of our Gaelic games has been outstanding, giving clubs of all codes outstanding and unrivalled coverage,” and she extended best wishes for the future to Mr McManus and the Mallon family, owners of the titles.

The group’s publications are: Armagh Observer, Armagh Down Observer, Ballymena Chronicle, Democrat, Dundalk Advertiser, Dungannon Observer, Fermanagh News, Lurgan and Portadown Examiner, Mid-Ulster Observer, Newry Advertiser, Ulster Farmer.