is a columnist
A columnist is a journalist who writes for publication in a series, creating an article that usually offers commentary and opinions. Columns appear in newspapers, magazines and other publications, including blogs....
, assistant editor and drama critic for The Irish Times
The Irish Times is an Irish daily broadsheet newspaper launched on 29 March 1859. The editor is Kevin O'Sullivan who succeeded Geraldine Kennedy in 2011; the deputy editor is Paul O'Neill. The Irish Times is considered to be Ireland's newspaper of record, and is published every day except Sundays...
. He has written for The Irish Times
since 1988 and was drama critic for the New York Daily News
The Daily News of New York City is the fourth most widely circulated daily newspaper in the United States with a daily circulation of 605,677, as of November 1, 2011....
from 1997 to 2001. He is a literary critic, historical writer and political commentator, with generally left-wing views. He was and continues to be a strong critic of political corruption
Political corruption is the use of legislated powers by government officials for illegitimate private gain. Misuse of government power for other purposes, such as repression of political opponents and general police brutality, is not considered political corruption. Neither are illegal acts by...
in Ireland, from the Haughey
Charles James "Charlie" Haughey was Taoiseach of Ireland, serving three terms in office . He was also the fourth leader of Fianna Fáil...
era to the present.
In 2011, he was named one of "Britain's top 300 intellectuals" by The Observer
The Observer is a British newspaper, published on Sundays. In the same place on the political spectrum as its daily sister paper The Guardian, which acquired it in 1993, it takes a liberal or social democratic line on most issues. It is the world's oldest Sunday newspaper.-Origins:The first issue,...
despite not being British.
O'Toole was born in Dublin and educated at University College Dublin
University College Dublin ) - formally known as University College Dublin - National University of Ireland, Dublin is the Republic of Ireland's largest, and Ireland's second largest, university, with over 1,300 faculty and 17,000 students...
- AT Cross Award for Supreme Contribution to Irish Journalism (1993)
- Justice Award of the Incorporated Law Society (1994)
- Millennium Social Inclusion Award (2000).
O'Toole has criticised what he sees as negative attitudes towards immigration in Ireland, the state of Ireland's public services, growing inequality during Ireland's economic boom, the Iraq War
and the US military's use of Shannon Airport
Shannon Airport, is one of the Republic of Ireland's three primary airports along with Dublin and Cork. In 2010 around 1,750,000 passengers passed through the airport, making it the third busiest airport in the Republic of Ireland after Dublin and Cork, and the fifth busiest airport on the island...
, among many other issues. In 2006, he spent six months in China reporting for The Irish Times
His former editor Geraldine Kennedy
Geraldine Kennedy is an Irish journalist, former politician, and former editor of The Irish Times newspaper.She became the first female editor of The Irish Times upon the departure of Conor Brady in 2002. Kennedy had held several senior positions at the paper; at the time of her appointment to the...
was paid more than the editor of the UK's top non-tabloid newspaper The Daily Telegraph
The Daily Telegraph is a daily morning broadsheet newspaper distributed throughout the United Kingdom and internationally. The newspaper was founded by Arthur B...
, which has a circulation of about 9 times that of The Irish Times
. Later O'Toole famously told the rival Sunday Independent
The Sunday Independent is a broadsheet Sunday newspaper published in Ireland by Independent News and Media plc. The newspaper is edited by Aengus Fanning, and is the biggest selling Irish Sunday newspaper by a large margin ; average circulation of 291,323 between June 2004 and January 2005,...
: "We as a paper are not shy of preaching about corporate pay and fat cats but with this there is a sense of excess. Some of the sums mentioned are disturbing. This is not an attack on Ms Kennedy, it is an attack on the executive level of pay. There is double-standard of seeking more job cuts while paying these vast salaries."
In January 2011, O'Toole contemplated running for a seat in the Dáil
Dáil Éireann is the lower house, but principal chamber, of the Oireachtas , which also includes the President of Ireland and Seanad Éireann . It is directly elected at least once in every five years under the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote...
as an independent
In politics, an independent or non-party politician is an individual not affiliated to any political party. Independents may hold a centrist viewpoint between those of major political parties, a viewpoint more extreme than any major party, or they may have a viewpoint based on issues that they do...
candidate. He announced on 29 January 2011 that he had decided against a move into politics.