When the former owners of the Irish Post took the title away from the newsstands without word or warning in August 2011 the newly redundant staff force decided to launch a campaign to save the title.
Exactly two months later, with the help of new owner Elgin Loane, they proudly brought the title back to you, the community it has served for more than 40 years, under new ownership, with renewed vigour and with the interests of our readership at heart once again. But the eight week battle to secure a future for the title was one that took the support of readers, friends of the paper and the Irish community as a whole for it to succeed. Here’s a reminder of how our journey back to the newsstands unfolded.
On August 19, the Cork-based TCH publishing group took your title from the stands when they unceremoniously closed the door to the offices — making the whole team redundant and refusing to allow us to provide a further edition to explain the unexpected situation to our readers. Largely, subscribers, advertisers, readers and friends of the paper were only alerted to the closure when they missed their next edition and gradually word spread that The Irish Post was out of action.
But with the determined staff here at the paper refusing to accept The Irish Post was gone, and a number of like-minded individuals in the community feeling the same, a campaign to save the paper was born. The Federation of Irish Societies was the first to offer their support. FIS invited our team to use their office space in order to convene and co-ordinate the Save The Irish Post campaign — officially launched with a press release and Facebook page on Friday, September 2. Messages of support started to flood in from community, academic and political arenas alike. Readers from across the country filled our website and email account with messages urging us to save their ‘favourite read’, with some claiming losing the title felt like ‘a death in the family’. Celebrity friends and public figures also began to speak out in support of the campaign, including RIBA President Angela Brady, former London Mayor Ken Livingstone, Sinn Féin MP Pat Doherty and then Irish presidential candidate Michael D Higgins, who described the title’s closure as a “sad day for the Irish in Britain”.
While the campaign team engaged with the community, Martin Collins, working on FIS’ behalf, further liaised with the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on the Irish in Britain. The APPG’s chairman Chris Ruane MP — a Welshman with roots in Co. Galway — was quick to invite the campaign team and its supporters to Westminster to discuss the crisis, on Wednesday, September 7.
The following day Mr Ruane tabled an Early Day Motion (EDM) asking fellow MPs to support the campaign. Which they did, in their droves. A total of 75 MPs signed the EDM in favour of seeing The Irish Post saved, an impressive level of public support which proved vital in the ultimate success of the campaign. Slowly but surely the campaign was making progress and readers were realising that the paper was not necessarily gone for good — that the voluntary liquidation process would in fact result in The Irish Post title being up for grabs to the highest bidder.
The campaign’s main aim was to expose that fact and hopefully attract interested parties who would want to purchase the title as an on-going concern and bring it back to the newsstands as quickly as possible. That long-awaited day came on Friday, September 30 when the liquidators announced that the successful bidder was Cork-born, London-based publisher Elgin Loane.
The Irish Post was back in business… and back in your newsstands a year ago this week.