Wednesday 21 November 2018

'Proud' family overwhelmed by expressions of sympathy

Treacy Hogan

VINNIE Doyle, a former Editor of the Irish Independent, died suddenly yesterday, following a short illness.

Widely regarded as the greatest Editor of a national daily newspaper of his generation, Mr Doyle was 72. He is survived by his wife Gertie and sons Garret, Conor and Vinny.

Mr Doyle, who lived in Rathfarnham on Dublin's southside, died peacefully at the Blackock Clinic.

Burial takes place tomorrow at Kilmashogue Cemetery, following 10am Mass in the Annunciation Church, Rathfarnham.

Born in Dublin in February 1938, Mr Doyle began his long and distinguished newspaper career in 1958, when he joined the 'Irish Press', before moving to the 'Sunday Press'.

He joined the Independent Group in 1963 and became Editor of the 'Evening Herald' in 1976.

He took over as Editor of the Irish Independent -- the biggest-selling daily newspaper in the country -- in 1981 and remained at the helm there for 24 years, making him one of the longest-serving editors in the Irish newspaper industry.

Taking charge of the Irish Independent was the achievement of a lifelong ambition, he once remarked.

Yesterday, his son Garret said the family had been bowled over by the many expressions of sympathy they had received.

"He loved the Irish Independent. There was never a day when he said, 'I've had enough of it'. He was a Renaissance man from Fontenoy Street who knew his own mind. We were very proud of him."

Vinnie Doyle was the last of the legendary old-school daily newspaper editors. He eschewed media appearances, soundbites and interviews.

He wasn't comfortable with the role of newspaper editor as media performer. And like many successful and driven men, he had astonishing physical and intellectual stamina and a capacity for hard work, day after day.

Those days were long and often continued into the small hours, long after the first edition was on its way to Kerry on the night train from Heuston.

Those powers stayed with him during nearly a quarter of a century at the head of the country's biggest-selling and most influential newspaper.

Always impeccably dressed, he often wore stylish sleeve garters, an anachronistic gentlemen's accessory even in the 1980s -- but for Vinnie Doyle, they served the eminently practical purpose of keeping his double-cuffed shirts out of the printer's ink.

He was a hands-on Editor and that meant hours down at the 'stone', putting the finishing touches to the newspaper he loved. He relished beating the competition on a breaking big story, even if it meant staying back into the long hours of the night and early morning.

Indeed, it was not uncommon to see him sitting side by side with the late-night reporter, working on the new breaking front-page lead story, known in the trade as the 'splash'.

He did not suffer fools gladly. In fact, he didn't suffer fools at all. For those not on top of their game, the editorial conferences with Vinnie at the helm were often a trial.

He had a penchant for the withering put-down, especially if the great mortal sin had been committed -- that we had missed a story. When a big story was missed, the assembled band of editorial executives would be met with the frosty opening missive: "Some hit".

Vinnie Doyle had a talent for finding journalistic talent and encouraging an eclectic band of writers and production journalists, who had the same passion for the newspaper game as he had.

It ensured that his newspaper was invariably first with the news, especially when the big stories were breaking.

Leave your Vincent (Vinnie) Doyle tribute at

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