The Observer Newspaper NI group which prints the Armagh Down Observer as well as 11 other titles in Armagh, Antrim, Fermanagh, Louth and Tyrone will cease operation this week after 87 years publication.

The newspaper group was one of the last true family owned media outlets, owned by the Mallon Family from their office in Dungannon.

'Observer photographer George Connolly with friends out in Newry  in the 80's. Photograph: Columba O'Hare
'Observer photographer George Connolly with friends out in Newry in the 80's, one of my own Observer pics. Photograph: Columba O'Hare

Over the years it could have been interpreted that you were a social nobody if your picture didn’t appear in the Armagh Observer, such was the scale of their event coverage throughout Newry by the likes of photographers George Connolly and Patsy Finnegan and further afield by Ian Maginnis. Joe McManus who edited the publication will certainly be missed after 51 years in the job, especially his incredibly in-depth GAA coverage.

The front page of the final title carries the message

“The management of Observer Newspapers NI Ltd regret to announce that this is the final edition of this weekly newspaper.

“The newspaper industry has been subject to a steady decline in advertising and readership over recent years. In these challenging circumstances Observer Newspapers has struggled to achieve long term sustainability.

“We regret that this has led to a decision to cease publication.

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