The Seer (magazine)

The Phoenix (magazine)

The Phoenix is an Irish news and satire magazine, inspired by the British magazine Private Eye, and a source of major investigative journalism in Ireland.

History and structure

The magazine was launched in January 1983 and is published fortnightly by Penfield Enterprises Ltd. The magazine was set up by John Mulcahy and he is believed to remain the owner. It has an ABC-audited circulation of 19,014 for 2004, rising to 18,268 by 2007. The current editor is Mr Paddy Prendiville.

The name Phoenix is apparently a reference to its "emergence from the ashes" of two of John Mulcahy's previous publications. These were the periodical Hibernia, which ceased publishing in 1980 after a libel action, and the Sunday Tribune newspaper, which first collapsed financially in 1982.


The magazine sources much of its material from "insider" sources, and promotes contact with its "Goldhawk" phone line.

Layout and Style

Features in the magazine include the news column, profiles ("Pillars of Society" and "The Young Bloods"), a satirical section "Craic and Codology" which included a regular parody of Bertie Ahern entitled "Da Diary of a Nortsoide Taoiseach", and a financial column, "Moneybags". Like Private Eye, the cover features a speech bubble, putting ironic or humorous comments into the mouths of the famous in response to topical events. Other features perhaps "lifted" from Private Eye include the "Apology" section (where the magazine offers an ersatz apology for the failings or success of some person or event), "That Menu in Full", the use of ("That's enough of this. -Ed" type interjections) and their derivatives, and the Christmas Gift lists where implausible gifts with ridiculous features are offered for sale.


It has been said that Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin and Irish left-wing politicians get a less hostile ride from the magazine (perhaps related to the fact that one of John Mulcahy's sons is a Fianna Fáil TD and former Lord Mayor of Dublin) than the Fine Gael and Labour parties. Favourite "targets" include other media operations (in the "Fit to Print ?" section), especially Tony O'Reilly's Independent Newspapers. However, RTE receive scant attention.

Legal actions

While few successful legal actions have been taken against the magazine, notable court cases which ended in settlement have been taken by politician Avril Doyle and former US diplomat George Dempsey.


The voice of Goldhawk in the radio advertisements is a parody of Charles Haughey.


  • ”Publisher who became monarch of the magazine sector.” (7 Jan. 2006). The Irish Times p14.
  • The Phoenix (13 Jan. 2006).


See also

External links

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