Irish Echo Is Sold
AS predicted here a few weeks ago, the Irish Echo has been sold to a Belfast-based company headed by former GAA President Peter Quinn.
The Belfast Media Group was formerly the Andersonstown News Group and published the ill-fated Daily Ireland which folded recently, as well as several local community titles in Belfast.
It is expected that Mairtin O Muilleoir, a former Sinn Fein councilor who now runs the Andersonstown News and has partnered with Quinn in the past, will be the day to day overseer of the publication. Quinn recently joined the board of the group which published an Irish edition of the Irish Echo.
Current Echo owner Sean Finlay retains a slice of the ownership according to the press release, and will also remain on the board. Other investors including unnamed Irish businessmen are also said to be involved. The asking price was said to be $5 million.
Last week the Echo had an advertisement for a new chief executive which means that current occupant Sean MacCarthaigh is likely returning to Ireland.
The Echo purchase continues its recent history of having Irish -based owners, an interesting trend. Finlay bought the paper in 2002 from the previous owner, Claire Grimes, who had inherited it from her late husband.
Irish Voice Buys Home and Away
MEANWHILE, the Irish Voice has bought Home & Away, the weekly bar and restaurant publication which features sports, Irish news and world events with a humorous twist.
Publisher Fergus Hanna has returned to Ireland after seven years at the helm of the highly successful weekly which has a circulation of 12,000 plus a huge pass along rate in over 600 Irish bars and restaurants in the tri-state area.
Home & Away has a huge following among soccer fans, not all of them Irish. It features news from all the major European leagues and from the Premiership as well as match reports from all the major games in Ireland.
"You would be amazed at how many people from all over Europe come looking for it," said Hanna. "We carry all the soccer leagues and our soccer information is unmatched in any sports weekly."
There are significant expansion plans for Home & Away in several other U.S. cities as well as in the tri-state area. Home & Away has become a fixture in local Irish restaurants and bars, and its features on local personalities have also increased its popularity.
Keough Honored In Ireland
THE setting was magnificent last Friday evening, Slane Castle, about 30 miles from Dublin in the heartland of Co. Meath. The occasion was a celebration for Don Keough, former president of Coca-Cola and Ireland's newest citizen.
Keough is also a huge figure in Irish America who has created the Keough/Naughton Institute of Irish Studies at Notre Dame and has been very active in many Irish activities as well as a key member of the Irish government's Economic Advisory Board.
Present were over 100 of Irelands top luminaries, including Foreign Minster Dermot Ahern, Health Minister Mary Harney, a slew of top businessmen including Bernard McNamara of the McNamara Property Group, now one of the largest in the world, and host Martin Naughton, the billionaire owner of Glen Dimplex, the world's largest electrical heating business.