Two Longford men are among a group of staff and contributors who have mounted a campaign to save one of the leading Irish Newspapers in the UK - the Irish Post - from closing.
Longford born Mel McNally and his son Malcom – both photographers with the publication – are spearheading the campaign after directors of Thomas Crosbie Holdings (TCH), closed down the newspaper two weeks ago. Irish Post Media Ltd is due to go into Liquidation, today (Wednesday) September 14, 2011. Campaigners believe that a “unique opportunity” now exists for potential investors to re-launch what was “the biggest selling national newspaper for the Irish in Britain”.
Speaking to the Leader, Malcom McNally said that the closure of the Irish Post had come “as a devastating blow” to both the staff and contributors of the newspaper and campaigners were now focused on “getting what was a great publication, back on track”.
“We are getting great support across Britain and Ireland with regard to our campaign,” Mr McNally explained. “Last Thursday, the All Party Parliamentary Group on Ireland and Britain gave us its backing in the House of Commons, so we are very hopeful that when the paper does go into liquidation on Wednesday, that there will be a buyer out there for it.”
Mr McNally stated that staff were “totally shocked” when the paper was closed down as there had been no indication that the move was coming and a number of staff were on annual leave when the closure was announced. “No one knew that this was going to happen,” he said adding that on the day a director from TCH arrived with an accountant and “told the staff to leave the office”. “It was such a strange way to do things and particularly when the Irish Post is such a well regarded publication here. That is why we cannot understand why they just didn’t put the paper up for sale.”
According to campaigners, the Irish Post’s circulation had increased at the time of the closure and with immigration from Ireland to the UK on the rise, they believe that the need for the newspaper was never as great.
“When they closed the paper they said that there was a circulation of 17,000 papers weekly, this in fact was incorrect as circulation reached 20,000 in March,” explained Mr McNally. “The editorial budget had been cut as were staff levels and yet despite this, a really decent newspaper was still hitting the shelves.”
Mr McNally said the campaign to save the paper underlined that the “Irish Post is not gone yet”.
“We want someone to take over the Irish Post and we believe that it is a really great paper,” he said. “If people are interested in helping us with the campaign or in buying the paper, then that is great, but staff and contributors really believe in it and we are really hopeful that it will be bought by the right person for the right reasons.”
Niamh Kelly, former Chief Executive of the title said; “We the management and staff believe passionately that the Irish Post can be saved. The rise in circulation of the newspaper in several months this year underlines its massive potential. With the right backing, it is a title which could be profit-making within 12 months of a return to the news stands and the timing of its closure is difficult to fathom given the increasing numbers of young Irish people moving here.”
The campaign to save the Irish Post is backed by the Federation of Irish Societies, which represents hundreds of Irish community groups in Britain. For further information regarding the campaign call Fiona Audley on 0044 7859 824949, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or follow the Facebook page ‘Save the Irish Post’. Potential investors can contact FPM Accountants on 0044 28 3026 1010; Niamh Kelly on 0044 7812 989730 or email: email@example.com.