No ‘Examiner’ publication for first time since 1972

The lack of a print edition of the Irish Examiner yesterday was one of the very rare occasions in the newspaper’s history not to print.

While online and digital services continued during Storm Emma on Thursday and Friday, the decision not to print was taken in anticipation of the dangerous road conditions facing drivers distributing the Irish Examiner and its sister paper, Cork’s Evening Echo.

In November 1972, journalists at both papers took part in a 24-hour stoppage in protest around the jailing of RTÉ journalist Kevin O’Kelly. He spent two nights in jail after being found in contempt of court for refusing to answer questions about the tape of his radio interview with IRA chief Seán Mac Stíofáin, and staff on daily newspapers in Dublin also went out in solidarity.

The last known missed editions before that happened 50 years earlier, when the Cork Examiner’s printing machinery was damaged by anti-Treaty IRA evacuating Cork city as it was captured by the National Army during the Civil War in August 1922, meaning no paper was printed for three days.

Contrary to some social media speculation, the Burning of Cork in December 1920 did not prevent the Cork Examiner hitting the streets on Monday, December 13.

Most damage caused by Royal Irish Constabulary Auxiliaries the previous Saturday night was to the opposite side of St Patrick’s St of the newspaper offices. The extent of the damage was made clear to the world by the work of the Examiner’s photographers.

Two weeks later, however, a Christmas Eve IRA attack on the offices caused one day’s edition not to make the news-stands. The revolutionaries were opposed to the strongly anti-violence editorial stance taken by the Cork Examiner in response to the daily ambushes, kidnappings and shootings in the city and county.

British military authorities had suppressed publication of the Cork Examiner for three days in September 1919. It had defied military orders by publishing a prospectus of the Dáil Loan, Michael Collins’s fundraising drive as Minister for Finance to the revolutionary government.

The reason why the paper did not print on three days in November 1897 is unclear, but foreman printer Patrick Corcoran appears to have lost his job by the end of the week.

While weather is not thought to have been a factor, the newspaper reported a rare fog lying over the city for several days, describing it as a “really remarkable phase in the weather of this season”.

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