Nóirín Hegarty whose parents hail from Co Clare has been appointed as the new editor of The Sunday Times.
Formerly editor of the popular Sunday Tribune from 2005 until its closure in 2011, an expenses scandal reported by the paper later resulted in the resignation of Ceann Comhairle in 2009. Nóirín also held the same role with The Irish Independent’s online edition, Independent.ie for eighteen months before she joined travel media group, Lonely Planet as Managing Destination Editor and late Vice President Digital Content.
She succeeds Frank Fitzgibbon as editor of The Sunday Times, Fitzgibbon spent over fifteen years in the hotseat as was lauded for his courage in backing journalists Mark Tighe and Paul Rowan who uncovered through investigations large-scale financial mismanagement in the FAI. She joins the publication in November as Ireland editor of The Times and The Sunday Times and will become the second Sunday paper editor with strong links to the county, Ardnacrusha’s Richie Oakley is currently editor of The Business Post.
Both of Nóirín’s parents hailed from Co Clare. Her father Sean who died in December of last year was a native of Lahinch and was named Clare Person of the Year in 2002. Alongside Christy Killeen, the late Myles Clancy and legendary Clare hurler the late Jimmy Smyth of Ruan, Sean was a founding member of the Friends and Supporters of Clare GAA which was based in the capital where he had resided for over five decades with his wife Carmel who was from Miltown Malbay.
Carmel alongside Sean founded Sean Hegarty Earthworks Ltd, a company which was succeeded by Hegarty Demolition Ltd which was selected for several large-scale civil engineering projects.
On her new appointment, Nóirín admitted that she was longing for a return to the hustle and bustle of print journalism. “I’m very passionate about what I do, sometimes I wish I wasn’t so driven, I’m very delighted to get this opportunity, I wanted to get back to mainstream or newspaper journalism which is where I came from or what I love, I wasn’t sure anybody wanted me to come back so I’m pretty pleased it worked out, it’s great”.
West Clare has always had an influence on her career while it was the kidnapping of Tiede Herrema that really stoked her desire to enter journalism , she said. “I always knew I wanted to be a journalist, my roots are very much in West Clare, my parents are from West Clare, from a very young age I remember my uncle Martin Vaughan in Miltown Malbay nurturing that in me, he was in the civil defence and I thought what he did was really interesting and exciting.
“I do think journalism is really important, particularly now because there are so many conspiracy theories, so much propaganda and lies out there that good journalism should comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable, I do believe it is a force for good in society and in democracy it is vital to expose truths and corruption, to ensure we know what is happening in the democracy that we live in”.
A family holiday home in Liscannor has previously been described by Nóirín as “refuge”. Of her love for Co Clare, she said, “Our roots are there, my Dad was from Lahinch, my Mom is from Miltown Malbay from a very big family, I think I’ve forty two first cousins on my mother’s side and a lot of them are still in West Clare, it has been influential. We spent our summers on the beaches in White Strand, Spanish Point or Lahinch blue with the cold, my kids went with wetsuits and were surfing with a different experience, now it is totally cool and is a great place of the world which it always was, it’s a fantastic retreat for me and I love to go down there, I love the music, the culture and in the winter when there aren’t too many tourists around where the place is a little bit bleak and desolate which I really enjoy”.