Friday, April 2, 2010

An Phoblacht to take major step forward - Hopefully

It was announced in An Phoblacht this week that the paper will be moving to a monthly format and focusing on a new website to promote republican politcs. This I feel is a welcome move and I hope it will also be a vocal point for on line political discussion.

The section of the article that states

“Republicans also still want a platform for ideas, discussions and debate. An Phoblacht has provided such a platform but we need to build and strengthen that; we need to make it more widely used and known.

Is one I think is of vital importance and one which I hope will lead to the end of this blog.


Paper to go monthly and introduce new website

IN a significant development, An Phoblacht, the voice of republicanism, is soon to be transformed. In the coming weeks the print edition of the republican paper will become a monthly publication and a brand new An Phoblacht website will be launched, including an online daily news service; up-to-the-minute videos featuring interviews; historic film footage; and an archive section with access to thousands of photographs and historic republican material including back issues of An Phoblacht/Republican News.

The newly-designed, monthly print edition of An Phoblacht will be complemented by a range of republican publications, including the republican magazine IRIS, which is to appear quarterly, and the highly popular Republican Legends booklet series.

Speaking about what he described as “a major step forward” for An Phoblacht, Sinn Féin Director of Publicity Seán Mac Brádaigh said this week that in a rapidly changing media world, An Phoblacht needs to move with the times.

“Over 100,000 people now read the paper online. A radical republican political agenda is needed in this country more than ever and we believe it is time for republicans to embrace the new media age and get our message out to as many people as possible.

“Things have moved on from the days when An Phoblacht was really the only outlet in Ireland, North or South, where you could hear the republican message.

What is needed now, and indeed demanded by our readers, is the ability to delve deeper into the issues that affect Irish society. The new monthly format for the print edition will lend itself much more to in-depth features, interviews and political analysis.

“Republicans also still want a platform for ideas, discussions and debate. An Phoblacht has provided such a platform but we need to build and strengthen that; we need to make it more widely used and known.

“Recent years have seen phenomenal growth for Sinn Féin across Ireland. We are in government in the North. We have TDs, MLAs MPs an MEP, a Seantor and hundreds of councillors across the island. That level of growth for the party has affected the conditions in which we operate and means we need to fine-tune all aspects of our publicity operation to better respond to those conditions. There are huge opportunities and challenges there.

“While overt state censorship of Sinn Féin is long gone, the party is still at the receiving end of incredibly distorted and biased coverage in the establishment media. This means that it is just as important as it ever was that we have our own means of getting the republican message out, unmediated and direct.

“An Phoblacht is a very distinguished title with a long and proud history in republican politics. The paper has survived state harassment on both sides of the border, raids, arrests, imprisonment of staff and even assassinations. An Phoblacht is still here and it will continue long into the future. These latest developments bring it bang up to date with the political and media environment of 2010.

“In its new format, An Phoblacht aims to meet the challenges of the modern political media environment and not just survive but grow. I believe that with the active support of republicans throughout Ireland we can do that.”


  1. I dont know what the sales figures for An Phoblacht is but recall seeing that they were dropping. But thats true for all newspapers as well. The irish times have just gone back to a subscription model and the Murdoch stable of papers is doing the same so I suppose its in step with how the whole paper industry is going.

    As a forum for debate it indeed has potential and maybe as you note this site can then be replaced as a discussion board via that site.

    I wonder who would be able to comment on the An Phoblacht site. The recent broadening of membership criteria to include supporters or a second tier of member would seem to offer a good pool of people as commenters or is it that any person could comment.

    As a way of having a dialogue with and allowing for dialogue amongst supporters and activists it would appear to be a very good idea.

  2. The labour party has a private discussion forum for memebers on its site, but not being a memeber I've no idea of how good it is.

  3. is the daily internet paper subscription based or is it going to be free. i repect that it would cost money to run it. but if the mainstreame papers are going to start chargeing for articles online, if the new aprn are up to speed and allow content for free they could be in a position to fill an obvious void thats about to occur in the whole viral internet world of ours.

    should seriosly think about it. there appears to be a lack of adds on the aprn site maybe this is ethical i don't know but i doubht aprn are out to make a profit, just cover costs, its a party political paper not a business. i don't know. might be easier to say give a free internet paper than doing it. just that it looks like a major propaganda opportunity.

  4. Anon of 8:16
    I was thinking the same about the labour party forum. The only thing about a forum behind a password like that is its a closed forum. I think that type of forum is less effective. Course depends on what they are trying to do I guess. Labour has plenty access to media willing to plug its message so one forum reserved solely for its members might not be a bad idea. I suppose the APRN site coule include an element of both - a members only forum and open content.

  5. Féílim Ó hAdhmaillApril 7, 2010 at 1:31 PM

    At least the paper sellers will get a break!

    At the end of the day supporters and activists will only read An phoblacht if its content appears relevant. The problem with the current An Phoblacht in my view is that it is primarily a collection of press statements which err too much on the side of caution. There is also a big disconnect between North and South (compare Michelle Gildernew's support for Sean Quinn with Sean Crowe's Easter oration for example)which is bound to confuse potential supporters - if not activists. However I don't see that changing any time soon unfortunately.

    Féilim Ó hAdhmaill

  6. Feilim, to be honest I think thats a criticism true of all papers. I have practically given up reading the broadsheets because they never try to examine in depth an issue but just give a brief overview. If the new site/format can provide more depth then it would be great and more that paper like the Independent or Times are doing.

    I guess Michelle Gildernews.'s support is really for the 5500 people working in the Quinn group. The regulator wont care if someone steps in buys Quinn and then just strips the company down and runs it from Britain. But thousands of people would lose their jobs and the only winner would be some big company probably based in London. As regards Quinn himself, well if he ends up on the street thats fine by me but I'd hate to see jobs lost.

  7. I found that this idea by An Phoblacht very dissapointing.It is a dad day when SF members read the paper on the internet while being to F mean to buy the paper.Even Cllrs don't buy it. They should and also they should have copies with them at all thier clinics.and everywhere they go. I don't go for reading newspapers via the Internet.You can't beat reading the hard copy.Every Friday night I sit down and read the An Phoblacht.The editorial board need to be more imiginative in their content and bring in people to help write articels, I could do it myslef..Look at the Morning Star it is a great paper. I sold the Phoblact for about a year in Clondalkin and made about 20 euro clear profit on it ech week it was a nice little earner for the local cumann. I hope they changed their minds and more importantly the the member buy the fin thing