The News of the World has printed its final edition amid speculation of a massive sale of over three million papers in Britain – but staff in Ireland still don’t know what the future holds.

The Irish edition of the Rupert Murdoch publication employed 22 full-time staff and 10 part-time freelances at its Dublin office before the paper was closed in reaction to the British phone hacking scandal.

Like its UK counterpart, the Irish edition published a bumper final edition after 168 years of publishing, with all proceeds going to charity.

The last ever News of the World appeared on newsstands on Sunday morning with the headline ‘Thank You & Goodbye.’

The edition includes a full-page apology for the actions of those responsible for the hacking of phones belonging to murder victims and dead British servicemen amongst others.

The page three apology states: “We praised high standards, we demanded high standards but, as we are now only too painfully aware, for a period of a few years up to 2006 some who worked for us, or in our name, fell shamefully short of those standards.

“Quite simply, we lost our way. Phones were hacked, and for that this newspaper is truly sorry.”

The final edition of the newspaper also carried a quotation by George Orwell on its back page, which reads: “It is Sunday afternoon, preferably before the war. The wife is already asleep in the armchair, and the children have been sent out for a nice long walk. You put your feet up on the sofa, settle your spectacles on your nose, and open the News of the World.”

The print run in Britain and Ireland was doubled to five million copies with money from the sales to be donated to four charities.

A sub-headline in the 8,674th edition of the tabloid reads: "After 168 years, we finally say a sad but very proud farewell to our 7.5m loyal readers."

And in the top right corner are the words: "The world’s greatest newspaper 1843-2011."

The closing issue features much celebration of the best scoops and greatest campaigns that helped the newspaper make its mark over the years.

The paper was closed by Murdoch’s News International in wake of the phone hacking scandal which is ongoing in the UK.

Murdoch is due to fly into London on Sunday to address the crisis but he remains steadfast in his defence of chief executive Rebekah Brooks, editor of the News of the World at the height of the phone hacking activities.

The paper is also fighting allegations that it paid British police for information.

Meanwhile, Andy Coulson, the former News of the World editor and more recently advisor to British Prime Minister David Cameron, has been released by police in London.

Coulson was arrested on Friday on "suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications and on suspicion of corruption allegations."