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Editor of The Irish Emigrant to resign on 25th anniversary

Liam Ferrie set up the service for the Irish abroad back in 1987 and he is hoping to see it continue in some guise after his departure next February.

As more and more people emigrate, newsfeeds for Irish expatriates remain popular.
As more and more people emigrate, newsfeeds for Irish expatriates remain popular.
Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

THE EDITOR OF the long-standing e-mail and website for Irish emigrants is to call it a day when the service reaches its 25th birthday next February.

Established in 1987, The Irish Emigrant is the longest-running email news subscription in the world.

That first edition on 8 February was mailed to about 15 people in North America and Europe but the recipient list has grown substantially since those infant days.

The latest publication was sent to about 23,000 unique email addresses.

“I’m not really sure what will happen to the website now,” Ferrie told TheJournal.ie.

One possibility is that the project will be handed over to a school of journalism for students to work on as a final year project.

“That particular idea interests me,” says Ferrie, who has long been hailed as a significant contributor to Ireland’s digital development.

However, he is also open to selling the business if the right offer came along.

I am open to all suggestions as I haven’t really thought about it too much,” he adds. “We’ve been merrily going along our way but when I realised February marks the 25th anniversary of the site, I decided that would be a good time to step aside.”

The 67-year-old jokes that his wife Pauline, who is also involved in the newsfeed for expats, has been suggesting it for some time.

At one point, the Galway-based Irish Emigrant employed four full-time staff and some freelance writers but the economic downturn has seen a drop in advertising revenue.

“We never generated huge revenues,” said Ferrie, “but it was enough to keep us going.”

The web publications are still read by tens of thousands of subscribers in more than 160 countries.

As for Ferrie himself, he says he will probably keep writing, be it in the form of a blog or something different. He may return to college either. Just today he received an honorary degree from NUI Galway for his contribution to Irish society.

“It was completely out of the blue but I was delighted with it,” he concluded.

Liam and Pauline won a Golden Spider for Significant Contribution to the Internet in Ireland and Ferrie was the first recipient of the Irish Internet Association Net Visionary Award in 1999.

See more information on The Irish Emigrant>

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