Irish Post closes after 41 years

London-based weekly the Irish Post has gone into liquidation with the loss of 10 jobs.

Staff have been told that last Wednesday’s edition of the paper, which was established 41 years ago, would be the last.

The paper was bought by the Irish newspaper group Thomas Crosbie Holdings (TCH) – which also owns the Irish Examiner, the Sunday Business Post and Cork’s Evening Post – in 2003.

In a statement te company blamed the closure on the ‘severe economic downturn and significantly reduced advertising revenues”.

“I would like to pay tribute to the hard work and commitment of the staff at the Irish Post,” said chief executive Dan Linehan said

‘They have been part of our group for eight years and they have tried very hard to make the newspaper work. Regrettably, persistent trading losses and the current economic climate have made the title unsustainable.”

It is not known how many of the jobs were editorial.

The paper was set up in 1970 by journalist Breandan Mac Lua and accountant Tom Beatty and was aimed at the Irish community in Britain, where it was popular in cities with a large Irish population like London, Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham.

In 2005 the newspaper underwent a redesign in a bid to woo younger readers and “affluent, high-powered professionals”, while increasing pagination by eight pages to 64.

The paper, which had previously campaigned on behalf of the Birmingham Six and the Guildford Four, also began to focus less on politics and to include more human interest stories.

Since Jefferson Smurfit sold the paper to TCH for £1.7m its circulation figures have dropped from 29,055 to 18,942 in the last six months of 2010.

The Irish Independent has described the closure as “another blow to TCH, which has been hit particularly hard by the economic downturn”.

The paper reports that staff at the TCH’s Sunday Business Post have been hit by two wage cuts in 2010 and that staff on the Examiner and the Evening Echo took a 10 per cent wage cut and had their pensions cut by up to 50 per cent.

It has also sold or closed several regional papers including the Sligo Weekender, the Newry Democrat and Keery paper The Kingdom.

The Irish Times reports that the paper was ‘considered critical in giving the Irish in Britain a voice and also helped to forge a sense of collective identity”, with its motto of “If it’s Irish in Britain, we’ve got it covered”.

One reader told the Iriish Times that the Post was a ‘cornerstone for the Irish community in Britain”, adding: ‘There is a real need for the Irish Post now more then ever because more and more people are emigrating from Ireland to Britain. I’m absolutely shocked and just can’t understand why it’s gone into liquidation.”

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