The Sligo Weekender was first published on December 9, 1983. It began as a freesheet – an innovation at the time. In his first leading article, founding editor Brian McHugh wrote that the newspaper had been set up by former employees of the Snia factory at Hazelwood in Sligo. The Italian manufacturer had closed the huge facility earlier in 1983, with many jobs lost. For nearly 20 years after its foundation it was delivered to shops and households around Co. Sligo. On March 26, 2002, the Sligo Weekender became a paid-for newspaper for the first time.
Its owners at the time, Thomas Crosbie Holdings, commissioned a redesign to coincide with the change, and the newspaper's salmon logo appeared for the first time. The Sligo Weekender has carried several subtitles over its nearly 40 years, including "Born to Make a Difference" and "Better by Design". Its most recent editor was Peter Henry, a former INM Regionals subeditor and former editor of Trinity News. The company is now owned by Sligo woman Dorothy Crean, and its local ownership is reflected in its subtitle, "Sligo's Best Value and Only Irish-Owned Newspaper". Sligo Central Library holds an archive of the newspaper dating back to 1989.
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