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Irish-language paper goes national

FLUENT Irish speakers and those with the cupla focal can now read 'Foinse', the country's biggest Irish language newspaper, for free with their Irish Independent every Wednesday.

The newly revitalised 'Foinse' is to be distributed every week from this Wednesday, ensuring it reaches more than 150,000 people through the Irish Independent, the largest selling national quality daily in Ireland.

Editor Emer Ni Cheidigh said she was "delighted" that 'Foinse' will, for the first time, be able to achieve a national readership on a scale well beyond what it had been able to achieve in the past.

"This is the first time in the history of Irish language newspapers that we will be able to reach this amount of people. When we finished last June, we had a circulation of 4,500. Reaching this number of people is huge for us," she said.

'Foinse', which is based in the Connemara Gaeltacht, was forced to cease publication in June after advertising income plummeted 75pc.

The new 'Foinse' has been enhanced to give it a fresh and contemporary view of Ireland, the Irish language and culture. In its first edition this week, readers will be able to review fashion tips from 'Paisean Faisean' presenter Blathnaid Ni Dhonnchadha, a blog from international track-and-field athlete David Gillick and an insight into the Lions Tour from travel guru Hector O hEochagain.

Alongside weekly contributions from presenter Daithi O Se, MP O Conaola and Gemma Ni Chionnaith, people with practically no Irish at all can improve their word power 'as Gaeilge' with a special section called 'Cupla Focal'.

"There is a fear towards Irish and some people may feel they are not good enough to buy an Irish language publication. Now that it is more accessible, people may realise they are more competent than they expected," Ms Ni Cheidigh said.

School teachers and students can continue to turn to the regular pages aimed at those sitting their Leaving Certificate.

But the 'Foinse sa Rang' section has been extended to seven pages of attractively presented learning tools and texts which include articles intended as a resource for primary school students.

Ms Ni Cheidigh said: "The new 'Foinse' remains a stand-alone publication and all editorial control continues to remain with the publication and company."

The refreshed 'Foinse' publication will employ five full-time staff and utilise a network of correspondents, contributors and services.

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