All about the United Kingdom’s national, regional and local press

Alpha Newspapers

The Alpha Newspaper Group is Northern Ireland’s biggest newspaper publisher in terms of circulation, with 16 local titles providing a presence in most of the six counties (the exception being Co. Fermanagh; nor, perhaps surprisingly, is there an Alpha title for Belfast or Derry City).


Although several of Alpha’s titles go back to the nineteenth century, the company’s origins are relatively recent – starting in 1983, when John Taylor, Ulster Unionist MEP for Northern Ireland and newly-elected Westminster MP for Strangford (and previously Stormont MP for South Tyrone), headed a group of businessmen who took over the Armagh-based Ulster Gazette. The Tyrone Courier and its associated printing company, Tyrone Printing, followed in 1986. By the time of the Carrickfergus Advertiser‘s acquisition in 1991, the Alpha Newspaper Group had been established, with Taylor (ennobled in 2001 as Lord Kilclooney, having served as UUP Deputy Leader since 1995) as the company chairman.

1994 saw the Group launch two new titles for the first time, two companions for the Advertiser: the Larne Gazette and Ballyclare Gazette.

Recent developments

Alpha made two major expansions in the Noughties. First, in 2003, it acquired the Northern Newspaper Group, with several titles in Co. Antrim and north-eastern Co. Derry; then, a year later, the Midland Group (a number of titles in the Irish Midlands across Cos Tipperary, Offaly, Roscommon, Longford and Westmeath). Of its titles in the Republic, only the Tullamore Tribune and the Midland Tribune now remain, after Alpha closed the Roscommon Champion, the Longford News and its new foundation the Athlone Voice in 2010.


Northern Ireland