DUBLIN: The editor of one of Ireland's leading newspapers has quit
to take a newly-created role as director of communications and policy
for its main right-wing political party.
Brian Looney is to leave the Irish Examiner next month to take up the
Dublin-based role for Fine Gael, the second-largest group in the Irish
parliament and the leading party in opposition to the coalition of
Fianna Fail and the smaller Progressive Democrats (PDs).
His role has been created outside the existing PR structure at Fine
While Looney will become a special adviser to party leader Michael
Noonan, the four-strong news team under national press and PR officer
Niall O' Muilleoir will continue to report to the party's
general-secretary, Tom Curran.
Looney has had an eventful six-year spell at the newspaper. Formerly the
Cork Examiner, the regional Munster-based title entered the national
media arena with its rebranding as the Irish Examiner. Looney previously
edited The Kerryman, one of the Republic's biggest-selling regional
Fianna Fail and the PDs only manage to govern with the consent of
independents. Fine Gael hold 54 of the 166 seats in Dublin's parliament
and - if recent political history is any guide - stand to inherit the
coalition leadership and the right to govern - at the next general
Key issues facing all parties in the Republic include its over-heating
economy, with inflation above the European Union average at 5.6 per
'We have a major skills and labour shortage which is driving wages and
prices up,' said a Fine Gael spokeswoman. 'Brian will help form policy
to tackle that,' she said.