Kieran Walsh, the managing director of the 163-year-old family-run newspaper, The Munster Express, is set to retire and a new MD from in-house is to take up the role, along with becoming the main shareholder.
The region’s oldest newspaper is now in the steady hands of Doreen Connolly, who has worked within The Munster Express for the last 17 years and holds vast experience and expertise. She will take over the reins this Tuesday, October 31, 2023.
Commenting on the announcement, Kieran said: “After over 100 years of the Walsh family running The Munster Express, I am stepping back due to retirement.
“I know that this will allow the next generation to inject ideas into the business and push the company forward as we always have. The Munster Express is a locally run independent newspaper and I am very glad to say that it will remain as such into the future.
“The Munster Express has been operating for over 160 years in Waterford, and with our strong brand awareness locally and nationally, I know that our loyal team will continue to deliver. We have a trusted brand within the community and industry with an experienced and very loyal team, all of whom I want to thank immensely.”
He said Doreen “has a variety of experience and expertise. She knows the entire workings of The Munster Express in print, and the online industry; she also holds excellent technical experience. I know that the future of The Munster Express is in safe hands.”
Doreen said: “It is a great honour to take on this role at The Munster Express and to work with our brilliant team to continue to move the company into the next chapter. I could not do this without the dedicated staff, contributors, readers and advertisers.
“While it will be business as usual with weekly publications, we also have developed an exciting strategic direction for the future of The Munster Express for print and online; one that we know will be very popular with our loyal readers, and offer great impact for our advertisers.
“I would like to thank both Kieran and Roswitha Walsh for all their support throughout this journey and I wish them a very happy retirement.”
This will be a new beginning in a new age, for a heritage title that goes back to 1860. The Munster Express is a trusted veteran in the newspaper trade and is cited as such by INMA, a newspaper marketing magazine, based in Antwerp, Belgium. The Munster Express is a member of the Local Ireland Newspaper Association.
Kieran concluded by saying: “We wish all of the staff continued success and thank the present and past staff for their contribution over the years. They have shown great pride, hard work and loyalty to The Munster Express. Our staff will transfer under TUPE regulations.
“We also express our great appreciation to our loyal readers and advertisers for their decades of support. We hope they continue their valued support into the future to build on current business under our new management.”
The Walsh family connection to Munster Express goes back to the early 1900s when Edward Walsh acquired the newspaper from the Fisher family. He also had an interest in politics and was Mayor of Waterford in 1928/29.
The building on the Quay was occupied during the civil war siege in 1922. Trading would be hard in this era but after WWII, when JJ Walsh took over editing and managing the paper, The Munster Express expanded and took over some other local titles like the Waterford Standard and Celt. It then published a city edition and added new equipment for photography and typesetting.
The 1970s saw a move to web offset printing, with Nicholas Walsh assisting in this transition. Colour printing began in the nineties as the economy grew, with larger sections accommodating extra advertising.
There were 3 sections of the paper printed in colour and higher pagination was enabled by digitalisation and computerisation, as well as colour presses acquired from the USA in the 2000s. Employment expanded in this period when Kieran Walsh was at the helm. Priscilla Walsh would be a director during this period also, up to her passing in 2015.
Supported by loyal readers and advertisers, this locally owned title is grateful to its staff and contributors for their commitment. “We wish Doreen well in her future plans for the title and thank all the staff for bringing us to this stage over many years,” Kieran concluded.