Editor’s note: On Wed, July 5, 2023, our sister publication the Irish Voice newspaper, in New York, went to print for the last time. Founded 36 years ago by Niall O’Dowd and edited by Debbie McGoldrick the community’s beloved source for Irish news will be sadly missed. Paddy Clancy calls time on his 62-year career in journalism.
I blame my mother!
Readers of the Irish Voice wouldn’t have had to tolerate me but for her.
Her response to her inquisitive seven-year-old son who was already a bookworm made my mind up. She told me I might have a future in journalism. She explained that journalists were the people who traveled the world to report stories for newspapers.
That was the day the rest of my life started. I was going to write and see the world at somebody else’s expense! No contest!
It took me another 11 years to start on The Sligo Champion. Now, nearly 62 years after my first newspaper story, my journalistic career comes to an end.
The end of the Irish Voice is not the main reason. Medical considerations are also influential. The fact the two coincide is, strangely, amenable.
The boyhood dream became a wonderful, exciting life throughout my entire adulthood, and I have not a single regret. Ill health at the End is twinned with the last print edition of the last paper for which I worked.
In between there was a multiplicity of adventures that brought me to the wilds of the African jungle, the mysterious Orient, the dry Sahara desert, the gauchos of Argentina and even the Oval Office in the White House.
There was war, there was famine, there was a world-sweeping pandemic. Greatest of all, in almost every tragedy there were heroes to smooth the pain in my reporting.
There was the great John Hume who helped bring peace to Northern Ireland despite the catastrophe in his native Derry when 14 innocent demonstrators were shot dead by British paratroopers I witnessed going into action on Bloody Sunday.
There was the nurse from Longford who comforted me as I shed uncomfortable tears in a room full of starving people in Baidoa – the “City of Death” – in Somalia.
More recently, there was the extraordinary bravery of the health service workers, many who lost their lives, in the battle to save others in the awful Covid pandemic in Ireland and elsewhere across the world.
It wasn’t all serious stuff. There was the fun of covering Miss World in the Seychelles when Miss Ireland was a beauty sponsored by the paper I worked for at the time.
There was the excitement of “working” – reporting on the fans – as Ireland competed in soccer World Cups in America and Japan and Korea.
There was even, in hindsight, the hilarity of reporting from the Cliffs of Dover on the day Britain joined the Common Market, later to become the European Union. How empty now sounds the boasts of the Brits as they entered Europe.
Twenty years ago, among other duties as a freelance, I started reporting from Ireland for the Irish Voice.
Quite honestly, the paper was a joy to work for. I’ve had the pleasure of reporting on the visits to Ireland of presidents Bush, Obama, Trump, Biden and Clinton.
I have also reported on British government bungling in Northern Ireland. I had hoped to write about a reconvention of the power-sharing administration but, frustratingly, that desire seems doomed by the obstinacy of Sir Jeffrey Donaldson and his DUP.
When I started 61 years and 10 months ago my local newspaper was set by linotype operators using mono-style letters which appeared in reverse-mirror form before magically transforming onto pages that the public could read.
Now with a touch of the finger news zooms across the globe in milliseconds. It’s mainly read on mobile phones and laptop screens.
The Irish Voice’s sister online publication, IrishCentral, now carries instant news which you wait a week to see in print.
We cannot resist progress, even if at times it makes some of us sad!