PAST and present employees of The Southern Star gathered at the West Cork Hotel in Skibbereen for a very special occasion to mark the 130th anniversary of the newspaper, the 10th anniversary of the passing of its former owner and editor, Liam O’Regan, and the newspaper’s 100 years in the O’Regan family.
Speaking on behalf of the family – Maeve O’Regan, Lisa, Breffni, Nadine and Neil – Liam’s daughter, Fiona Field said: ‘It is a day that we are very proud of.’
Fiona spoke about Liam’s love of the English language, and how the click-clack of the typewriter was the soundtrack to their childhood.
She spoke about how Liam became editor at the age of 22 and still holds the record for being the longest-serving editor in Europe.
She said being editor was ‘a role he cherished and was honoured to hold.’
Liam spoke about that sense of honour when, in 1982, he was presented with the ‘Hall of Fame’ award at the Festival of West Cork.
In his speech, Liam had said: ‘Newspapers always expect brickbat and never plaudits and that, in a way, is healthy.’ But he reminded people of the quote: ‘The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.’ And, in that regard, he said: ‘It is the job of the Fourth Estate to exercise this vigilance.’
In her tribute at the event on Friday January 4th, Fiona said Liam championed The Southern Star for more than 50 years and she confirmed his passion for the business.
‘He believed in the power of change and how a newspaper could influence and help shape society and, more importantly, shine a light on the issues that matter to the community, which he did throughout his tenure,’ she said.
Commenting on the ferocious pace of change in the media, Fiona added: ‘I know my father would be hugely proud of The Southern Star as it is now and how it is no longer just a newspaper, but a 24-hour news cycle with strong news, sport, farming, arts, business and leading political commentary.’
She also commented on its profusion of videos, magazines, awards, creative facilities, and events – some of the many aspects of today’s multi-faceted Southern Star.
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