In the presence of local councillors and media representatives, cathaoirleach of Westmeath County Council, Cllr Fintan Cooney, officially dedicated the J P Hayden Press Room in the newly refurbished county buildings, Mullingar on Monday this week.
This room will be a dedicated space to support the media in their coverage of council meetings in Westmeath. The room will allow radio interviews to take place in quiet, and is equipped with electronic points that will allow reporters to email articles before they leave the county buildings.
Members of Westmeath County Council were unanimous in proposing that the facility be dedicated to John Patrick Hayden, first editor of the Westmeath Examiner. The J P Hayden Press Room commemorates his commitment and work as a journalist and a nationalist on behalf of the people of Westmeath and particularly those less well off.
With his brother Luke, J P Hayden founded the newspaper in Mullingar in 1882 when he was just 19. He remained editor and proprietor of the Examiner up until his death at the age of 91, and was one of the longest-serving newspaper editors in the world.
After his death, his ongoing contribution to Irish literature and journalism was recognised when the Guild of Irish Journalism wrote that John Patrick’s record was one of which any Irishman might feel proud, and that to men like Mr Hayden, Ireland owes no small depth of gratitude.