It was with shock and sadness that I received an email last Friday morning informing me of the death of a dear friend.
The Irish Post had ceased to exist at the age of 41.I had sold my first piece to the ‘Post back in 1992.
You can find it in the archive at the bottom of the home page of this site.
The editor was Sligo man Donal Mooney. I was to become a regular contributor during those years until I came home in 1996.
When the Famine song controversy started in Glasgow in 2008 once again the ‘Post was a ready outlet.
A feature of the ‘Post over the decades of its existence was a strong campaigning zeal.
Throughout the years of their unjust incarceration the newspaper relentlessly campaigned for the Birmingham 6.
In the midst of an IRA bombing campaign in English cities this took real courage over a sustained period of time.
These days young Irish people in Britain are much more socially and spatially mobile than previous generations. The newly arrived Irish get their RTE news bulletins to their smart phones.
Moreover the decision to distribute indigenous Irish titles like the Irish Times started to eat into the raison d’être of the ‘Post.
The internet age, a dwindling demographic and ready access to newspapers from Ireland squeezed the circulation.
I am not sure if the parent company, Thomas Crosbie Holdings, ever had a clear vision for the ‘Post going forward.
Back in 1992 the ‘Post was part national campaigning weekly and part village newsletter.
It kept people in touch about things that mattered to them as Irish people living in Britain.
It also articulated the view of a socially excluded, largely invisible ethnic minority.
In recent times I had established a good working relationship with editor Malcolm Rogers, a Belfast man, he was totally committed to the ‘Post focussing on the issues around the Irish in Scotland.
Our last discussion was to launch an Irish Post campaign for a Famine memorial for Glasgow.
That would be the subject of my final Op Ed for the ‘Post.
That editorial decision was entirely in keeping with the ethos of a fine newspaper that had served the various Irish communities in Britain for over forty years.
The Irish community in Britain still requires a distinctive voice in the media.
I believe that to be especially true for the Irish community in Scotland.
Newspapers can acquire a personality if they are in existence for long enough.
The Irish Post was a true friend to many in Britain who needed their emotional connection to Ireland to be acknowledged, discussed and validated in a way that only a newspaper can.
One of our own has passed away.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a nAnam.