Irish Post co-founder Tony Beatty has passed away after a long battle with multiple sclerosis.
The Waterford man, who was born Bernard Beatty in Kilmacthomas in 1935, was an accountant by trade who moved to London and played a pivotal part in the founding of The Irish Post newspaper in 1970.
“He loved The Irish Post. He read it and was proud of it right until the end,” his sister Patsy Carey told us this morning.
Mr Beatty, who was better known as Tony, turned 80 last September.
He passed away at the Cedar’s Care Centre in New Barnet at 7pm last night (May 2).
First diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in the 1980s, he had bravely battled his condition ever since, spending his last ten years in care homes in Barnet, north London.
“Tony never once complained about his condition, he battled it right to the end. Even in his last few days he was ok, he was still battling it,” Patsy added.
Tony's beloved wife Breda passed away in January. The couple lost their son Paul following an accident in the 1980s.
The father of four leaves behind two daughters, one son and six grandchildren.
In 2013 he sent a special message to readers of The Irish Post – reflecting on his lengthy career serving the Irish community in Britain, both as an accountant and through his work with the newspaper.
Here is what he wrote…
“Retirement allows a lot of time to reflect. I look forward to receiving my Irish Post every week and every week read it with great interest. In particular, for me, it reminds me that hard work and diligence breeds success and how the opportunities for the Irish in Britain grow every day.
“I left home very young, I was actually 15 when I decided I wanted to become an accountant but in those days no one in my area became accountants.
“Luckily, in 1954, I won £1,000. I was 19 and I didn’t know what to do with it. But I had learnt somehow about people who worked with money and knew I wanted to be one of those people. £1,000 was a lot of money back then and having it started to sow the seeds of the business I would grow. Initially it allowed me to get a qualification.
“Our village was small, we didn’t even have a secondary school, and most people just worked in local shops. I was a messenger boy in a post office until I was 16, my dad was a postman too, so the £1,000 was life changing, it allowed me to buy a car, I went to work in England and I learnt my trade.
“From 1956 I did night classes in accountancy, while working in offices in London during the day.
“It was a very busy time for me but I was determined to succeed. Eventually I had enough experience and clients to start up my own practice. I ended up getting a lot of clients from the Irish community, who I went to mass with or played football with - the word got round, as they say.
“People used to hear about me, they’d come looking for this young Irish accountant they’d been told about. They liked the idea of having an Irishman looking after their money for them over here and I was happy to do it.
“Of course another great achievement and one that I also remain proud of was founding the Irish Post newspaper, once my practice was up and running I had a good few clients around the country and I started noticing that all the Irish centres were all in their own Irish bubble, there was no real communication between them or linking them all. That set the seed in my mind that an Irish community newspaper was needed. The more I met the Irish in the different communities, I could see they were all doing great stuff and they also needed someone to speak up for them and the time was right back then for The Irish Post to be born as the voice of the Irish in Britain.
“At the beginning myself and co-founder Brendan Mac Lua each put in £3,000 - which was as much as we had at that time - to start the paper. We were confident it would be successful and it took a short while but people soon started to see that it was a paper for them and how important that was. As it started to grow it was very exciting for everyone involved. That excitement has never left me – even now when I see how far the paper has come.
"I love to see it now and see people reading it. I still have people come up to me and say ‘I never miss an edition’. It goes to show how far the right idea can go and keep going. I look forward to another year of great stories and great reads in The Irish Post in 2013 and remain proud always of my involvement in what is a truly valuable newspaper.”
Funeral arrangements have yet to be confirmed – check back here for further details.
If you knew Tony Beatty and would like share your memories or pay tribute to him, please email [email protected] or call 02089004329.
A correction was made to this story on Thursday, May 5 at 10.02am at the request of the Beatty family