The Phoenix (magazine)
October 2005 cover
|Owner(s)||Penfield Enterprises Ltd.|
|Headquarters||44 Lower Baggot Street
|Official website||Official Website|
The Phoenix is Ireland's best-selling political and current affairs magazine. Inspired by the British magazine Private Eye, it is a source of investigative journalism in Ireland. Edited for thirty years by Paddy Prendeville, it has been published regularly, generally fortnightly, since 1983, with a larger annual issue each December.
History and structure
The magazine was launched in January 1983 and is published by Penfield Enterprises Ltd. The magazine was established by John Mulcahy, who remains the owner. It had an ABC-audited circulation of 19,014 for 2004 and 18,268 in 2007. The current editor is Paddy Prendiville, editor since about a year after the magazine was started.
The name Phoenix is a reference to its "emergence from the ashes" of two of Mulcahy's previous publications. These were the republican political magazine Hibernia, which ceased publishing in 1980 after a libel action, and the Sunday Tribune newspaper, which first collapsed financially in 1982.
The magazine secures much of its material from "insider" sources, and promotes contact with its Goldhawk phone line.
Layout and style
Features in the magazine include a news column; detailed profiles ("Pillars of Society" and "The Young Bloods"); "Affairs of the Nation", which looks at political scandals; "Bog Cuttings" which consists of humorous and unusual events outside Dublin (often bizarre court cases), "Hush Hush" and "On the beat", which deals with security and intelligence matters; and a satirical section, "Craic and Codology". It also has an extensive financial column, "Moneybags".
Like Private Eye, the cover features a photo montage with a speech bubble, putting ironic or humorous comments into the mouths of the famous in response to topical events. Other features include an "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.
In contrast to Private Eye, the Phoenix is printed on magazine stock rather than newsprint, and uses colour, including photography, quite extensively.
A fixture in the Phoenix Magazine is a full-page parody of the Taoiseach of the day, always located in the "Craic and Codology" section:
- Bertie Ahern, whose Northside Dublin accent and frequent habit of using mixed metaphors and phrases was noted, was parodied in the Diary of a Nordsoide Taoiseach which consisted of a phonetic translation of his broad north Dublin accent.
- Brian Cowen had his personal gaffes, misfortunes and bad luck mentioned in Biffo's Briefs, which were a variety of memos, letters and emails from beleaguered government ministers, his predecessor Bertie Ahern (whose letters were often demands for money or snide remarks about Cowen's handling of the government since he took office, composed often in Fagan's pub in Drumcondra) or enquiries from foreign politicians.
- Enda Kenny stars in the Wesht Wing playing the role of the President in his attempt to keep his Labour Party partners and right wing Fine Gael TDs happy.
The Workers' Party of Ireland in its heyday during the 1980s was also a frequent target of satire and investigation over its funding methods which resulted in John Mulcahy receiving threats from the Official IRA. It has been highly critical of the Corrib gas pipeline and supports the Shell to Sea and Pobal Chill Chomáin campaigns against the laying of the pipeline. It published a supplementary summary and commentary on the Goldstone Report on the siege of Gaza and attacked the actions of the Israeli Government over the illegal use of Irish passports in the assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh and the attack on the Gaza aid flotilla. The magazine was highly critical of the 2007–2011 Fianna Fáil-Green Party coalition. It called for the 2011 Irish budget to be defeated and pointed out that the money loaned as part of the EU stability fund would come at the cost of a crippling rate of interest
The voice of Goldhawk in the radio advertisements is a parody of Charles Haughey.
References and footnotes
- Dublin, Ireland: The Irish Times, 7 Jan 2006, p. 14, ”Publisher who became monarch of the magazine sector.”
- "Phoenix boast falls flat", Sunday Independent, 25 February 2007
- O'Mahony, Catherine (25 May 2003). "Phoenix still rising after 20 years". The Sunday Business Post. Retrieved 8 April 2009.
- "Financial Regulator's report 2007, p.7." (PDF). Retrieved 20 June 2012.
- The Lost Revolution: The Story of the Official IRA and the Workers’ Party
- "Irish Left Review · The Phoenix Special 16-Page Supplement on the Goldstone Report". Irishleftreview.org. Retrieved 20 June 2012.