Irish Republican News · June 12, 2009
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Appeal to save ‘Foinse’

The only Irish-language newspaper in existence, Foinse, says it may cease publication after this weekend with the possible loss of ten full-time and two part-time jobs in the Conamara Gaeltacht, unless it receives more funding from the cross-Border Irish language promotion body, Foras na Gaeilge.

The paper’s owner, Padraig O Ceidigh, said in a statement that he had informed staff yesterday at the Carraroe-based weekly that he had refused to accept a new contract from Foras na Gaeilge, because of the amount of money involved.

He will have an emergency meeting with the funders today about the newspaper which was founded in 1996. He said that unless some solution was found, this weekend’s edition would be the last.

The paper is widely read in the Irish-speaking Gaeltacht and by students of the language, but suffers from high costs, limited distribution and advertising revenue.

Sean Clancy, chief executive of the paper’s publisher, Moinear Teo, said that while they were not looking to make a profit from the venture they could not sustain the losses which could be as much as O200,000 by August.

Mr Clancy said that the paper had won a contract from Foras na Gaeilge to continue publishing, but that the offer was less than the amount originally available and that it was not sufficient. Foinse was selling 4,000 issues a week and barely covering its costs, he said.

He said Foinse was losing money every week and its advertising income was down 75 per cent. Recently, staff and freelance contributors had voted to accept a 10 per cent cut in pay in order to help keep costs down.

Sinn Féin Senator Pearse Doherty was this afternoon asked to leave the Chamber of the Seanad after repeatedly calling for the Taoiseach to explain why he will allow the last Irish language newspaper to disappear from the island of Ireland.

Senator Doherty was speaking in relation to the winding down on Foinse this week due to a lack of funding and despite Brian Cowen’s public commitment to the Irish language in his maiden speech as Taoiseach.

He said, “It is an absolute outrage that the only Irish language newspaper left on this island will disappear at the end of the week. We have already seen La Nua, the daily Irish language newspaper, disappear.

“This goes to the very heart of the future of the Irish language on this island. The Taoiseach, who proclaims he supports the rejuvenation of the Irish language, must explain how, on his watch, he will allow the second and last Irish language newspaper to disappear from the island of Ireland?”

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© 2009 Irish Republican News