WHILE 2015 is a milestone year for The Irish Post it is also a significant time for the Irish community in Britain at large.
It marks 45 years that this paper has been providing a voice for the community across Britain, campaigning for its rights, supporting its needy and championing its success stories.
But further than this it highlights more than four decades of progress, development and achievements among a community which is now highly respected by its host nation, with its members securing significant spaces of success and power across all sectors and industries in British society.
It was a different story in 1970 of course, when co-founders Tony Beatty and Brendan Mac Lua formed the paper against the backdrop of the Troubles and one of the most tense, strained
and vulnerable periods in modern Anglo-Irish relations.
And it was the people who called for a newspaper that would represent them honestly in Britain at that time – to hold those with power to account on their behalf and celebrate a community which has done more for their adopted nation (building its infrastructure, staffing its NHS and entertaining its masses) than any other emigrant population.
Indeed so entwined are the Irish in Britain in the fibres of this country that they are no longer contained to the hotspots in towns across London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool and other cities that many were initially found within.
Today the Irish community is all around us and continues to grow in size – with Irish men, women and families arriving to settle in Britain on a daily basis, meaning the make-up of the people we now serve as a newspaper is as vibrant, exciting and diverse as ever.
Naturally the way we serve that ever growing and changing community has evolved too – with The Irish Post brand now successfully established online, via our http://http://irishpost.co.uk daily news site, while continuing to attract a vast weekly readership as a national newspaper.
Recent years have also seen the return of our ever-popular Irish Post Awards, albeit with a business twist – marking the unstoppable force of Irish achievers in industry.
With those years came the successful development of a number of Irish Post magazine titles also, now a stable of annual glossy publications offering a niche perspective on those many sectors within which the Irish excel.
So while 2015 is a year to reflect on all that has been achieved in the past 45 years, it is also a perfect time to champion the Irish community in Britain as it stands today and prepare for many more successful years to come for all of us.
To that effect The Irish Post has chosen to take the theme of our 45th anniversary and celebrate it throughout the year with the readers who are the heart and indeed the driving force behind the brand.
So this year, more than ever, our pledge is to bring The Irish Post out to the community across Britain – to share our celebration with you, to cover your stories and to take a moment to reflect on the great advances achieved by us all since 1970.
To date our anniversary year has already brought The Irish Post out to Edinburgh, to join Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan as he celebrated the links between Scotland and Ireland at the Irish Consulate General in Scotland this month.
In March we will return to Scotland to share a St Patrick’s Day Breakfast with Irish community members from across the country, which is due to be held at Glasgow’s City Chambers with our host Lord Provost Sadie Docherty.
That month our celebrations continue with our annual St Patrick’s Breakfast event in Birmingham, which welcomes members of the community from across the West Midlands, followed by a special Irish Post 45th anniversary evening which we plan to enjoy with the people of Manchester.
The Irish Post will also be represented at Irish community events in Luton, Newcastle, Leeds and across London this year, with many more plans yet to be confirmed.
And our bid to truly share our 45th anniversary year with you will be supported – as always – by our vast team of contributors based around Britain, not least our photographers – including Malcolm McNally in London and the South East, Chris Egan and John Lawton in the Midlands, Danny Claffey in Manchester and Peter Fawcett in Yorkshire.
So wherever you come across The Irish Post this year – it may be at your local Irish centre, at one of our events or while browsing through our website – please take the time to stop and say hi, smile for a photo or tell us your thoughts on The Irish Post – past, present and future!