Press Council History

In 2003, a legal advisory group on defamation - established by the Minister for Justice - recommended in its report that the defamation laws be reformed and a statutory press council established.

While the newspaper and magazine industry welcomed news that the defamation laws would be reformed, there was significant opposition to the concept of a statutory press council.  The industry therefore came together and formed the Press Industry Steering Committee comprising representatives of the following organisations:

  • National Newspapers of Ireland (NNI)  - (name changed to NewsBrands Ireland in 2015)
  • Regional Newspapers Association of Ireland (RNAI) - (name changed to Local Ireland in 2014)
  • Periodical Publishers Association of Ireland (PPAI) - (name changed to Magazines Ireland in 2009)
  • National Union of Journalists (NUJ)
  • Irish Editions of UK Titles

The Committee had one key objective - to agree a model for an independent press complaints mechanism. The Committee held their first meeting in January 2004 and operated under the independent chairmanship of Professor Thomas Mitchell, former Provost of Trinity College, Dublin. Senator Maurice Hayes acted as facilitator.

After that first meeting, the Press Industry Steering Committee worked over many meetings towards agreeing a model for the establishment of an Office of the Press Ombudsman and Press Council of Ireland. A Code Committee, comprising representatives from across the industry - including senior editors - agreed a Code of Practice.  Complaints to the Press Ombudsman are based on articles thought to involve a breach of this Code.

Throughout the process, the Press Industry Steering Committee maintained contact and met on several occasions with the Minister for Justice and his officials to ensure that the Department's views were taken into consideration. With the establishment of the Press Council of Ireland in June 2007, and of the Office of the Press Ombudsman in January 2008, the Press Industry Steering Committee ceased its work.

The Press Council of Ireland has 13 members, each of whom is appointed by an independent Appointments Committee.  The Committee was appointed in the first instance by the Press Industry Steering Committee.  Future appointments to the Committee are made by the Press Council.  See current membership here