Sunday, 23 October 2011

Time for Irish community to punch its political weight

The success of the campaign to save the Irish Post showed the power of the Irish community once mobilised into action.
Following the summary closure of the title in August by then owners Thomas Crosbie Holdings, staff and contributors joined together with supporters from the Federation of Irish Societies (FIS) and MPs.
An Early Day Motion was put down in Parliament by stalwart supporter Chris Ruane MP. This quickly gathered over 60 signatures across parties showing the strength of support in Parliament. There were 76 signatures in the end.
A meeting was held in Parliament to launch the Save the Irish Post campaign. The new owner Elgin Loan attended that meeting and must have been impressed with what he saw in terms of the passion and support shown for the paper. The liquidator then took control of the paper and Mr Loan bought it.

Mr Ruane is taking things on further in Parliament, seeking to bring together some media owners with MPs in a new initiative but there are real lessons for the Irish community in this campaign to save the Post.
It has long been a cry of some in the community that it does not punch its weight when it comes to the political stage. A few years ago Labour MP John McDonnell called for all the different organisations working in the Irish community to come together with others to effectively create a slate of political demands. Mr McDonnell compared the piecemeal approach of the community in Britain with the power of the Irish caucus in America, where for example no serious Presidential candidate would run for office without listening closely to what the Irish had to say.
These plans though never really materialised, indeed Mr McDonnell’s suggestions seemed at the time to rather annoy those then running the FIS, who may be considered they were already fulfilling such a role.
The terrain though has now significantly changed. There are massive demands that need to be articulated at political level. The economic downturn is hitting everyone hard but the Irish community has a high number among the most vulnerable groups.
The Irish community has been ageing, so cuts to the NHS, transport provision and pensions will all hit particularly hard. What of fuel poverty and lack of provision for dementia sufferers and carers.
The lack of affordable housing is another factor effecting members of the Irish community here and those coming over for work. The lull in the construction industry itself is hitting Irish employers and workers alike.
Then there are the longstanding needs of representation for Irish prisoners and the travelling community. The Irish Council for Prisoners Overseas and the Irish Traveller Movement have both done excellent work in these respective areas.
Finally, in this quick summary, there are the new emigrants flowing in every day from Ireland once again. This group will have other needs that may not even be recognised yet but need to be met.
So the community has many needs that must be heard at the top political tables up and down the land. What the campaign to save the Irish Post shows is that the community has the potential to develop a louder voice in the political arena.
The FIS has become a much more voluble body since the excellent Jennie McShannon took over as chief executive. It proved its advocacy credentials earlier this year with the effective census campaign to get Irish people registering their ethnicity.
Previously, there had been mobilisation to oppose proposals being put forward by Lord Peter Goldsmith that would have detrimentally effected Irish people’s rights to citizenship.
In Parliament, the mantle of leading the Irish caucus seems to be being taken on by Mr Ruane, who is part of the British Irish Parliamentary Assembly.
So there is a momentum gathering toward getting Irish issues heard more clearly in the political arena. There may though need to be some changes of approach in political tactics.
The Irish have traditionally been the bedrock of the Labour Party. Irish people have remained loyal through both thick and thin during the parties periods both in and out of government. The Labour Party has been good for the community. As the EDM to save the Irish Post proved there is strong Irish representation among MPs, but is there not a danger of the community being taken for granted by the Labour Party? Surely, links need to be strengthened with the other parties, particularly at this time when Labour is out of government at so many different levels across the country. Again the support for the Post campaign proved that not all of the other parties are hostile to all things Irish.
Then there is Ireland itself, maybe sometimes the Diaspora in Britain might look to parties like Sinn Fein for a little support in attaining some of its own demands, rather than it being a one way street. This is not ofcourse to downplay the historical context of Britain’s role as the partitoner of Ireland and occupying power.
These are all things for consideration in a wider debate in the community about how best its demands can be taken forward in the political sphere. The campaign to save the Irish Post is the latest in a proud tradition of the Irish community standing up for its rights, from the miscarriage of justice campaigns to the more recent census initiative. What these campaigns prove is just how effective a political player the community can be once mobilised. The challenge now in moving forward is how we build on these excellent roots

Planet Olympics has landed in East London

The way in which the face of east London has changed with the arrival of the London Olympics says much about the society in which we live.
The area that makes up the Olympic Park has no doubt been transformed. Travelling out on the train, the Olympic Stadium, the aquatics centre and the cycling velodrome all make impressive architectural landmarks in the area.
Then there was the recent opening of the Westfield shopping centre, next to Stratford station with its impressive array of shops and restaurants.
I live about two miles or two tube stops from the whole Olympic site. In this area the impact of the games becomes ever closer, as it seems open space gets gulped up by the process.
The Metropolitan Police have taken a part of Wanstead flats (open grassland made up of football pitches and forest) to establish a temporary headquarters, with holding cells attached. There has been much local opposition to the structure as it is believed once the precedent has been established there will be more future encroachment on what is for all intense and purposes greenbelt land. It is owned by the Corporation of London, which has steadfastly opposed all building at least until now.
Elsewhere, any individual or organisation with some space to spare seems set on letting it out to visitors who will come for the games. A cricket pitch is to provide camping space for a number of Aussies, a rugby club is similarly making its grounds available to visitors. Many householders are looking to cash in by letting their properties out for the duration of the games.
It is this commercial aspect to the London Olympics that seems to override all else. The Olympics has resulted in a huge amount of development being poured into a poor area of East London. Indeed, when the Olympic bid was won, then London Mayor Ken Livingstone admitted it was the only real way he could see of getting development into this part of the capital.
One of the problems though has been that this whole commercial fest threatens to effectively come in as something entirely separate from the local community rather than being rooted in it. Perhaps the most obvious example of this has been the failure of so many local people to get tickets to any of the events. This occurrence ofcourse can be extended countrywide. Many of the tickets have gone to corporate concerns, again emphasising that it is corporate capital that counts in the UK and little else.
The Westfield centre is another interesting development. The owners deserve credit for making it a living wage zone; however, the whole structure is almost as something from an alien world parachuted into Stratford.
To put it in context, for the past 40 odd years Stratford has had the same shopping mall, a thoroughfare between the central road to London and the train station. Permanent shops exist around the outer reaches of the mall with some market style stalls down the middle. Sainsbury has been the one big store to position itself in the mall – the shop remaining pretty much unchanged for that whole period. A Morrison’s outside the mall, on the main road, was a more recent addition.
Now Westfield has arrived dwarfing all below it. No doubt Westfield will draw consumers in, just as other shopping extravaganzas like Lakeside and Bluewater have done, providing jobs into the future but the whole concept still remains alien to this locality.
A little way from the shopping centre is the Atherton Centre housing a number of swimming baths. I must admit a certain personal attachment to the place having learned to swim there myself. Now this community based centre is to be shut down. The Olympics is said to be providing other facilities, so the Atherton is no longer required. It is though a very long way to the aquatic centre from where the Atherton now stands and it is difficult not to think it will be far more costly to use the spanking new facility, than the old community based centre.
The overall concern with this Olympics is that it has been imposed on, rather than embedded in the community. An altar to the world of corporate greed, rather than a symbol of fraternity and sporting excellence. There will no doubt be a legacy from the games, new friendships made, much new housing in the area – a genuine transformation. It must be hoped that the churches and schools efforts to establish a legacy of peace does succeed. But it is difficult not to think it could have been so much more. Maybe sculptor Anish Kapoor’s Olympic monument with its strangely contorted form of the five metal rings says much about an identity crisis at the heart of this Olympic venture – a structure imposed on rather than part of the local terrain.

Trip down memory lane

I recently turned 50, a time of reflection as to times past and what maybe to come. A week before this ‘significant’ anniversary, I went cycling with a friend in the Sussex countryside near Rye. It was something of a trip down memory lane, going around the area where we used to go on holiday as children.
The cottage where we used to stay, the village of Broad Oak and town of Rye all formed part of the tour. But perhaps the height of the trip was a visit to St Teresa’s of Lisieux Church at Horns Cross, Northiam. It is a little church built in the 1930s by the author Sheila Kaye- Smith, who together with her husband Theodore Penrose Fry lie buried in the graveyard.
As a family on holiday in the 1960s and 70s we used to go to the church every Sunday. On Thursdays, the then priest Canon Hopetoun Curry would come out in his allegro car to serve mass. There would often be five in the congregation, three of them being my Dad, who served, brother and myself.
In those days St Teresa’s was in something of a no man’s land served from St Andrews, Tenderden, which is in the Southwark Diocese, while the church is geographically in Arundel and Brighton.
This has now changed with St Teresa’s being served from nearby Battle in Arundel and Brighton diocese.
On the sunny day of our cycling trip we were sitting on a seat in the graveyard when the sacristan and her husband arrived. We chatted about the old days of Canon Curry, who served St Teresa’s for 50 years up to 1984. Other memories included Father John Hagreen, who succeeded Canon Currie and some of the families that had been around at the time. A lady called Edna Burton, who had been a friend of my Mums was buried in 2002 in the graveyard and had some new stations of the cross dedicated to her memory.
The most striking thing though on entering the Church was a link that had been made with Peru. There was one of the beautifully woven material clothes depicting Peruvian life on the altar. At the back were pictures of life on the barrios in Peru and the Columban priest Ed O’Connell, who I was told sometimes visits when he comes to England. There was a strong charitable and spiritual tie up between the people of the Lima barrios and those of St Teresa’s.
The significance for myself came because after leaving the University of Kent in 1983 I went into banking for a few years. It was mainly as a result of being involved with a group in my own parish of Our Lady of Lourdes in London that a link with Peru was established. The group known as the Association for Relief in Crisis Areas raised money to support projects in the south. The group also endeavoured to raise awareness as to the injustice of such situations.
One of the major projects was in Lima run by the Mercy sisters. In 1990s, two of us went out to Peru to see the project that involved supplying water and electricity to this barrio area. The Columbans were very supportative at that time, with Ed O’Connell playing a major role in the Peru Support Group. Ed later returned to the same barrios, where he ministers to this day.
The visit to Peru was life changing for me. While previously I had been content to work in the City of London, doing charitable work with some justice attached in the parish, now I wanted to work full time on social justice. The poverty of the barrios, combined with the spirit of the people had a lasting effect.
It took a couple of years from then to get out of the bank totally but eventually I moved over to social justice journalism and initially a lobbying support role for the non-governmental organisations on Cambodia, based at Christian Aid.
The whole reflection born of that day was just how the spirit works in mysterious ways. Going to St Teresa’s all those years ago. Then the growing involvement with social justice work in my own London parish, leading eventually to Peru. Then the return on the eve of the 50th birthday to St Teresa’s only to find that this church was now linked up to the same area of Peru. The fate element was added to, given that had we not taken a wrong turn at the start of the day and arrived an hour earlier at the church, we would never have met the couple or discovered the Peru connection. What a strange and small world we live in. The inter-connectedness of us all is something wonderful to behold. God certainly does works in mysterious ways

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Allotment life

Gemma and Sandy Sanderson have created their own self sustainable oasis at the Redbridge Lane West allotments in Wanstead.
The original motivation to take up the allotment came from Sandy’s doctor. A former publican he suffers with the rheumatic disease Ankglosing Spondylitis, affecting the joints. “The doctor said fresh air and exercise were a good idea, so we began looking at allotments,” said Sandy.
Gemma works for Barclays Bank in Canary Wharf. She sits at a computer screen for much of the week, so was also looking for a way to get outside and do something different.
The couple have lived in Gants Hill for the past seven years. “This site is well placed for us, on the bus route with toilets on site,” said Sandy, who remembers that the plot was originally just grass.
The transformation of the 60ft x60ft site in four short years has been amazing to behold. It has literally been customised for Sandy and Gemma.
The couple put in a number of raised beds with wide paths between, thereby enabling Sandy to work on his hands and knees. The area has a lot of stone in the soil, so it has been a common site to see Sandy’s backside in the air as he tunnels down removing stone. The stone has then been used for the paths. The sifted soil and compost have then been put back into the lined beds.
Gemma and Sandy have a big commitment to sustainability in all that they do. This means growing the crops in organic fashion, without bringing in any pesticides or other chemical agents. They have also tried wherever possible to recycle materials. This has meant using wood reclaimed from skips to build all the borders fences and raised beds. “When people do loft conversions there is always a lot of wood going spare. If it is in a skip, you can knock on the door and most people are quite happy for you to take it away,” said Sandy.
The couple have also picked up information as they have gone along. One of the great advantages of allotment life is the ready social circle of information that is available.
One piece of advice was to stew comfrey leaves and use the resulting liquid as a feed for tomatoes. Another tip concerned filling trenches with cardboard, soggy newspapers and manure as a preparation for growing things like sweetcorn and squashes.
Sandy and Emma were given cabbage and broccoli from fellow allotment holders when they first started work on the plot. Now many allotment holders come to them for advice. They recently got a highly commended award in the Redbridge Allotment awards.
“In the summer months we don’t buy any veg or fruit,” said Gemma, who admitted that in the early days they tended to get gluts of certain crops like runner beans but they have now learned to stagger things.
There is also much storage at home. Tomato chutney and jams require preparation. Then potatoes and onions can be stored away once dried off. For crops like beans, freezing is the way to keep the crops for the lean winter months. “We need to look at buying another freezer now,” said Gemma.
Another striking element about the allotment are the flowers on display. Most have a purpose, like the marigolds keeping white fly off the crops. Then there are the imposing sunflowers, which as well as presenting a striking image also provides seed to feed the birds.
The plot is well stocked with fruit. There are strawberries, logan berries, raspberries and tag berries – a cross between a blackberry and a raspberry. There are lots of blackberries around the borders of the plot.
There are five compost bins and a number of water butts.
In the push for self sufficiency, the Gemma and Sandy are now looking to move into bees and chickens. The chickens will have to be at home, though the bees might yet be seen in Redbridge Lane West. “Sandy bought me a bee keeping course for Christmas last year. We finished the course in June and got some bees and a hive in July. There will be honey next year,” said Gemma.
Many allotment sites have bee hives but they are not permitted at Redbridge Lane West. “At one site we were told that production doubled when bees were introduced,” said Gemma, who hopes that bee hives may in time be permitted at the Wanstead site.
Gemma and Sandy certainly recommend allotment life. They spend most of their weekends at the plot, with Sandy making the odd visit in the week during the summer. “We love it. We come down with the coffee and sandwiches and make a day of it. There are decent people around to chat with so there is a social network as well,” said Gemma.
“They call allotments green gyms, what could be a better way of getting healthy,” said Sandy. “There is the exercise involved in working on the plot, then the goodness you are getting from the food produced.”
One day when the couple retire they hope to get a slightly bigger area of maybe around an acre to push the self sufficiency dream on that bit further. It would then be possible to grow a bit more, as well as keeping animals like pigs and sheep. That though is for tomorrow, today Gemma and Sandy continue to work their oasis at the bottom of Redbridge Lane West.

Church must move from maintenance to rediscover mission role

Near to where I live in east London plans have been unveiled to establish a homeless hostel. There are a number of homeless people who roam up and down the main arterial road through the town. Many call at the Catholic Church looking for some support and sustenance.Supposedly when the hostel is established most of these homeless people will be able to go there for support. The response from the local suburban community says much about the society in which we live. A vociferous little bunch of people have opposed the establishment of the hostel. They quote the fact that it is an area where there are schools and care homes. The implication is that the elderly and young are at risk from the homeless. There seems to be a belief that because someone is homeless this automatically means they must also be criminal and addicted to some form of drug. Some 150 people have signed the petition against the hostel with newspaper reports suggesting that local Catholic schools have registered concerns with the council. A real case of not in my back yard (nimbyism).The Catholic Church is central to this situation. It sits near to where the hostel would be built with the two Catholic primaries also in the vicinity. There will no doubt by members of the Church among those supporting the homeless but others opposing the hostel. The interesting thing is that the local churches generally have not entered into the debate at all. They have publically largely stood by silent on the sidelines. No doubt some may argue this is a civil matter. But this story raises a question that applies to the Church countrywide, namely what has happened to the role of mission as opposed to that of maintenance? The Church of mission is involved and reaches out to the community. It is integral. The social teachings of the Church are not kept in a box, secret from the parish community, but talked about and lived out day in day out. A church that was engaged in such a way would not only be supporting the homeless but asking why there are so many homeless people in the fourth largest economy in the world. In the type of situation described, the Church would certainly have had something to say, discussed it publically and had an official stance.
A test of the value of a Church in the local community is what would happen if it were knocked down tomorrow. Would it make a difference? It may mean locals don't have parishioners cluttering up their streets with their cars every week. Less pollution, so a positive impact in reducing global warming. It could effect those parents that want to get their kids in the schools but what else? If on the other hand it is a church of mission then it would make a big difference to the community. Support of the homeless, refugees, the elderly, a caring community that lives in an environmentally sustainable way - it should be a beacon of how to live together. There are no doubt plenty of churches across the country reaching out doing the work of mission in their communities. There are though those that clearly are not. These churches are doing the work of maintenance, seeing themselves as a refuge from the outside world, not a part of the community. There is a disconnect, an obsession with procedure, whether it be how eucharistic ministers dress or the order in which the congregation come up for communion. In terms of the local community, these churches are spectators not participants. Far too many churches have erred over recent years toward the maintenance model which provides an easier life. The church of maintenance does not challenge what goes on beyond it's doors. It offers nothing to the young, who drift away once confirmed It is not vital and in the worst case scenarios represents simply managing decline.The way forward is to rediscover the church of mission, reaching out, engaged and living out the social teachings. It is a church peopled by those who have some formation and understanding of what it means to be a Christian in society today. The social teachings are alive and being lived out. It is a vital living Church that has a crucial role to play in the community. Rediscovering the church of mission is the only way forward for the church today.

New economic model needs to be found urgently

There does appear at least at rhetorical level to be recognition on the part of the leader of the Labour Party Ed Miliband that the present neo- liberal economic system is busted. He together with the Trades Union Congress has asserted that a new way of doing things must be found. The TUC ofcoure has gone much further mapping out real alternatives to bring about change.
This position is in stark contrast to the Coalition Government which in a strange contortion appears to be trying to address issues like the deficit with another dose of the same neo liberal orthodoxy that helped create the problems in the first place. Deregulation, privatisation and the sanctity of the market were all rubrics of neo-liberal economics as promoted in the first instance by the government of Margaret Thatcher but then continued by successive Conservative and Labour administrations. How quite the destruction of the public sector to the benefit of the privateers is supposed to address the question of the deficit is a question that remains unanswered.
The situation existing now simply cannot continue for much longer. There are the gathering clouds of an economic storm in the Europe and the United States. Talk of revisiting the banking crisis of 2008, when famously the world was said to be hours away from the cash machines stopping, now abounds. Incidentally, if such a scenario does ever happen, the riots and looting seen last August will seem as nothing in comparison.
There is enough evidence around that the present economic system is just not working and needs to change. Yet strangely the government carries on in the same way. As recession bites deeper, the amount that people have to pay towards pensions increases. The train operating companies are given a free rein to increase their prices, operating in the sort of bubble, only previously seen in relation to banker’s bonuses. A similar attitude seems prevalent when it comes to the energy companies, which are also forcing up prices and increasing fuel poverty.
When it comes to constructing a new economic system, the first thing that needs to change is the emphasis on vested interests and greed. At times over the past 30 years it seems that policies from the privatisation of the railways and energy to the Private Finance Initiative systems of funding for building new hospitals and schools seem totally premised on a few people making a profit to the cost of everyone else.
A new way of doing things must put the morality of the common good at its centre. The treatment of people and the environment in which they live must be a main pillar, as must an inclusivity that recognises the inherent worth of every human being from the baby in the cradle to the elderly person at home.
This would mean the workers who produce the product, whether it be boiler components or the education of a child must be put first. Part of this construct must be decent wages and terms and conditions of work. No more bosses being paid one hundred times more than the workers.
The role of the parent must be respected and remunerated in the society. The role of parent needs to be set alongside that of a job, not taken, as it is now, as some make do and mend add on that apparently everyone knows naturally how to do.
In terms of the type of economy for the future, there needs to be a major move toward green technology. This is where the future lies.
There must also be a return to the land, with people producing more of their own food. This helps create self sufficiency but it is also a vital part of every human beings education to be in touch with the earth. There are moves to provide more spaces so that people can grow more of their own food, such as allotments and shared gardens etc but there needs to be more.
There should also be more time for leisure and education in a new economic model. This would mean less time needed at work, allowing more time with family and friends, as well as on education. The concept of education in its most basic sense needs to be recaptured from the bastardised version that now seems to dominate in educational establishments around the country. Exam factories have little role to play in expanding the mind.
There are some nascent signs of a debate developing in terms of what a new economic model should look like. But this needs to be accelarated, with a wide coalition of interests including the unions, Labour Party, environmentalists, progressive employers, faiths and others all having a part to play. Change would be better implemented in a peaceful and equitable way rather than coming as a phoenix from the ashes of a devastated economic meltdown.

Economic system should be focus of pro-life agenda

The biggest threat to sanctity of life today is the voracious economic model that defines nearly every aspect of our daily lives.
This particular variant of market capitalism runs completely at odds with the teaching of the Church. Where the Church places the human being and sanctity of life at the centre of its concerns, the market capitalist model only sees value in the individual as a unit of exploitable labour. Increasingly, if an individual, whether a student or pensioner, cannot “benefit the system’” then they are seen as having no net worth.
The results of having pursued this un-Christian form of development over recent years have become recently apparent for all to see. A dislocated society, a loss of community and humanity, with individuals only seeing value in their own material possessions. In its most clear form this lack of values is typified in the looter who takes the flat screened TV or the politician who falsely claims the same item on expenses.
Gradually, each building block that makes up a sustainable community has been eroded by this form or economic development. Take the family. The economic system now decrees that both parents must work. This can have a destructive effect on the development of the child.
Rosemary Keenan, chief executive of the Childrens Society, highlights how a child can be shifted between different service providers. A child minder before school, a breakfast club at school, a child minder after school and finally the parent for, as one study found, the remaining 40 minutes of the day.” The child experiences different adults with varying ideas of what is and is not acceptable,” said Mrs Keenan. “Children need consistent care from an adult to whom they can relate.” A decent economic model would recognise the role of the parent and reward it accordingly.
Add into this mix that fact that one in five of those aged 16 to 24 do not have jobs and the failure of the economic model becomes all the more apparent.
Work is a central part of human life, yet the economic model today does not provide work for a growing number of people. It provides less than fulfilling work for an even larger group. The Church’s social teachings highlight the integral value in work to the welfare of human beings. There is a need for people to not only have work but retain a dignity in what they do.
Over recent years, people have increasingly worked longer hours for less money. The exploitation has been justified on the basis of the need for businesses to make ever more profits. Less and less of these profits are redistributed to workers and citizens in the form of wages and public services.
The common good has not been served by a growing elite of uber –rich individuals and corporations effectively making monies on the backs of everyone else and failing to pay the requisite taxes. There is an obvious impact of these policies on the common good.
The elderly are another group not valued by the economic model. They are seen in the main as a cost rather than an asset. There is the need to provide a pension, health care and care itself as the individual gets older. Given that the neo-liberal system is in crisis this has seen successive governments seeking to cut pensions. The needs of the elderly are all viewed as ‘costs’ to society.
The final solution ofcourse is euthanasia, which seems to be being quietly shephered in via the back door of the NHS. Once an individual has outlived their value to the system then they can be let go.
The Church has been outspoken in opposition to euthanasia, as it has with abortion. However, in this age particularly the Church needs to find a new voice that embraces the real attack on the sanctity of life that is the very system of economic development being pursued in this and other countries. The lack of value put on parenting, the failure to provide a future for children, unemployment, exploitative work practices and the attitude to the elderly should all form part of the life agenda.
The Church needs to develop its critique of the neo-liberal system, thereby redefining its declarations on life issues. Pope Benedict has begun this process with the encyclical Caritas in veritate but this needs to be continued. The teachings of that encyclical need to percolate down to the faithful, not be put in the safe with all the other social teachings that we rarely hear about from the pulpit.
The world needs to hear the voice of the Church on the question of economic justice, never has the system been in such turmoil or so in need of a moral compass. If the Church can recalibrate its voice on matters of what sanctity of life means, then it can play a greater role in the world on the side of the poor.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Irish Post to return to the streets in weeks

The Irish Post newspaper will be back on the streets in a weeks after being bought up by London based Irish businessman and Loot magazine owner Elgin Loane
Previous owners, Thomas Crosbie Holdings had announced that the title would stop trading as of 19 August 2011, going into liquidation.
Now, following the formal liquidation two weeks ago, Mr Loane has beat off business rivals with a successful bid.
Mr Elgin, who initially apprenticed in Birmingham as a printer, qualified as an accountant in England and owns a number of print and media based businesses with offices in London, Birmingham and Manchester.
“The Irish Post has a long and proud tradition of serving the expatriate community in Britain for over forty years and must be continued for the benefit of both the incumbents as well as the growing population of Irish people heading to Britain,” said Mr Loane.
Irish Post journalist and Save the Irish Post campaign member Fiona Audley was delighted with the outcome. “This is a victory for the whole community,” said Ms Audley. “Now we are planning the future, which will see a bigger and better Irish Post coming out for the readers.”
Labour MP Stephen Pound, who supported the campaign to save the Irish Post, said: “This is brilliant news. The Irish Post offers a window onto the Irish community that needs to be kept on. Now it needs to be supported,” said Mr Pound. “There has been a gap in the week without the paper, so it is good to know that the paper is back.”