Calling all Gaeilgeoiri?

Here’s an interesting idea from Concubhar Ó Liatháin, former editor of Lá Nua. He writes on his excellent blog (as Gaeilge dar noigh) that he’s offering a €1,000 to Cáirde Lá Nua, a group Máirtín O Muilleoir founded after the last emergency to hit Lá Nua, as long (and this is the difficult part) as they can get 999,000 from other well wishers. Update: Two others have pitched in their pennies. Just the 997,000 to go!Here’s a rough translation for those of you who don’t have the lanaguage:

It may seem like an impossible task – but if Lá Nua is to survive a warchest of this magnitude is required. I think it’s past time that petitions and letters to board members of Foras na Gaeilge would suffice. If a million euro were to be collected, the newspaper could go ahead irrespective of the decision of the Foras.

I also want a board comprising shareholders to be elected to oversee Lá Nua and I intend to put myself forward for election as chairman of such a board if this comes to pass. I don’t necessarily see Lá Nua’s future in print – but I definitely think there’s a future if we can come together for the good of the newspaper and Irish speakers every where.

This is a test of Irish speakers – if we want a daily newspaper of substance, we will need to pay for it.

It’s worth mentioning that when Comhar was threatened with closure when Foras na Gaeilge withdrew its grant, Comhar’s supporters came up with an offer which led to an increased grant for Comhar. They offered to match Foras na Gaeilge Euro for Euro if they invested in the project. The result, Comhar [Nua] relaunches tomorrow in Dublin, Louis de Paor does the honours….

Unless such an action is taken in respect of Lá Nua, I don’t see any hope for the newspaper or online service. As I see it the Foras proposal to offer a €400,000 contract for a weekly newspaper and online service shortchanges Foinse, the likely winner of such a contest, as that newspaper was previously getting €320,000 annually [plus a €25,000 bonus if it achieved certain modest sales targets] and Lá Nua was receiving the equivalent of €250,000/£197 sterling. That’s a saving of €170,000 annually for Foras na Gaeilge – a saving of almost €700,000 over the life of the contract.

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty