Alan English, left, is taking up a new role as group editorial director with Iconic Newspapers and will be succeeded by Eugene Phelan as editor of the Limerick Leader
THE editor of the Limerick Leader, Alan English, is to take up a new role as group editorial director of Iconic Newspapers, which owns 13 local newspapers around the country, including the Leader.
He will be succeeded as editor of the Leader by current deputy editor, Eugene Phelan, who joined the paper as a junior reporter in 1975.
Both will take up their new roles on July 4.
Alan English has been editor since March 2007, and is the third longest serving editor in the Limerick Leader's history, after Con Cregan (1910-1960) and Brendan Halligan (1970-2006).
A native of the city, he began his career at the Leader before moving to England and spent 12 years at The Sunday Times.
In his new position he will oversee the print and digital operations at all Iconic titles, which also include the Limerick Chronicle, Kilkenny People, Leinster Leader, Leinster Express, Longford Leader, Leitrim Observer, Tipperary Star, Clonmel Nationalist, Donegal Democrat and Dundalk Democrat.
"Being editor of my hometown newspaper for the best part of a decade has been an incredibly rewarding experience," he said.
"I've been extremely fortunate to have worked with so many talented and committed people.
"I also feel very grateful to the readers, advertisers, correspondents and all who have supported the paper throughout my time as editor. I'm optimistic about the future for Limerick and I'll still be based here, so I look forward to seeing our great city and county flourishing in the years ahead.
"A lot has happened since I first started as editor, but I think Limerick is now in a much better place. The one story I'd love to have overseen was our hurlers winning an All-Ireland, but I suppose you can't have everything!
"I'm delighted Eugene will be taking over as editor. He has been a fantastic deputy editor and he's a highly respected and much liked journalist."
Eugene Phelan, also a native of Limerick city, said: "I am really looking forward to the challenge of being editor of one of the best provincial newspapers in the country, with some of the finest journalists around. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with and learning from Alan English for nearly 10 years.
"Journalism is evolving at a rapid pace and we're determined that the Leader will continue to be the No 1 source of local news and sport, both in print and online."
Last week, the Leader claimed two prestigious honours in the inaugural Local Ireland Media Awards and was shortlisted in more categories - six - than any other title.
Anne Sheridan won the Best News Story award for her coverage of the University of Limerick story which led to High Court proceedings by UL against the Leader and Alan English. The university dropped the action last week, after almost nine months.
The Leader also won the Best Digital Coverage award for its general election blog, which featured 16 hours of rolling coverage provided by a 12-strong team at the count centre.
Aine Fitzgerald was shortlisted for Best News Feature and the Leader was also a finalist in the Best Designed Newspaper category, which was won by the Mayo News, and two categories for advertising features.
See our weekend editions for further coverage.