Irish News to remain at ‘heart of community’ in city centre office move

The Fountain Centre in Belfast, where the Irish News will relocate most of its function later this year. Picture by Mal McCann.
The Fountain Centre in Belfast, where the Irish News will relocate most of its function later this year. Picture by Mal McCann.

THE Irish News is to vacate its offices of the last 117 years and relocate to a new state-of-the-art media centre in the heart of Belfast.

The newspaper was founded in 1891, and since 1905 has operated from its current base at 113-117 Donegall Street.

But later this year much of the operation will transfer to a new ultra-modern headquarters building at the Fountain Centre in the city.

It is currently home to our sister operation Q Radio, and the move will bring together the group’s other media brands, including the Irish News and Farm Week.

Staff were informed of the changes by managing director Dominic Fitzpatrick earlier this week.

The Irish News - which is the best-performing regional daily in the UK according to latest verified industry statistics - is one of the last remaining daily newspapers in Britain and Ireland to relocate to new premises.

But while some of those titles decamped to out-of-town premises, the Irish News is bucking that trend by moving from edge-of-town to city centre.

The newspaper’s historic office - where its striking front facade is listed - will remain operational for at least two years to facilitate the transition.

Indeed the front office facility will remain in Donegall Street for the foreseeable future, where customers can continue to drop in, where staff will be on hand to help them to place family notices.

Irish News editor Noel Doran said: “As Ireland's best performing newspaper, we have never been afraid to introduce positive changes.

“We will be sorry to leave Donegall Street, which has served us so well down the generations, but we are looking forward to all the opportunities associated with our new home.”

The new offices will be in a high-specification building with a much greater footfall, located beside some of Belfast's busiest shopping streets.

The existing Irish News premises have not been sold.

Mr Fitzpatrick said: “We are in the unique position in that we have two large city centre premises, and though much loved, our office in Donegall Street is an aging building, no longer fit for purpose in the new business climate.

“But it was important to us that we remain at the heart of the communities we serve.

“So we plan to invest significantly in building state-of-the art modern offices at the Fountain Centre, bringing together the Irish News, Q Radio and Farm Week.

“Everything we do is to better serve our readers and advertisers, and to ensure our future.”