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Presses stop rolling at Observer group

By Margaret Canning

Northern Ireland publishing company Observer Newspapers has announced it is closing down after nearly 60 years. The family company, which is based in Dungannon, published 11 newspapers including the Armagh Observer, Newry Advertiser and Ulster Farmer.

But in a front page statement the company - owned by the Mallon family - informed readers it would be the publication's final issue.

"The newspaper industry has been subject to a steady decline in advertising and readership over recent years," it said.

"We wish to sincerely thank our readers and advertisers for their support down through the years."

Armagh Observer journalist Joe McManus (71), who worked for the company for 50 years, said he regretted the newspaper's closure.

But he added: "This has really been a labour of love for me, more than a job, and the family was kind enough to let me work on after my retirement. It was great at keeping my mind occupied."

He paid tribute to the Mallon family. "I've worked for three generations of the Mallon family to date and they've always made me feel like one of the family."

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