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Caithfidh mé comhghairdeas a dhéanamh leis an Journal faoin fhorlíónadh den tseachtain seo caite ag comóradh 240 bliain. I ndiaidh na n-eaglaisí, is é an Journal an foras is sine i nDoire, b’fhéidir. Ní féidir dul thar fóir ag moladh páipéar áitiúil mar seo. Den chéad dul síos, tugann sé eolas dúinn ar ár gceantar féin. Le níos mó ná dhá chéad bliain tá an Journal ag tuairisciú ar imeachtaí nach raibh tú ábalta léamh fúthu i nuachtán ar bith eile - díshealbhuithe, claonadh, na Trioblóidí agus a lán eile. Tá an taobh eile ann fosta, ar ndóigh – ócáidí áthasacha, imeachtaí agus daoine a bhfuilimid thar a bheith bródúil astu.

Tá an Journal tábhachtach mar nasc idir muintir an Iarthuaiscirt agus na ‘deoraithe’. Tá a fhios agam go bhfuil seo fíor i gcás mo clainne féin- bhí muid ábalta teagmháil a choinneáil le hÉirinn tríd an Journal nuair a bhí muid inár gcónaí in Albain.

Ó thaobh an chultúir de, tá stair ag an Journal maidir leis an Ghaeilge. Scríobh údair chlúiteacha as Gaeltacht Thír Chonaill ar an nuachtán, Séamas Ó Grianna agus Seán Bán Mac Meanman ina measc. Bhí colún rialta ann ar feadh blianta- ‘Thall agus Abhus’, agus bhí leathanach iomlán le ‘Fear Feasa’ (Liam Ó Connacháin), i mBéarla den chud is mó, faoi imeachtaí Gaeltachta. Scríobh Liam ‘Dírbheathaisnéis Néill Mhic Ghiolla Bhrighde’. Bhain Niall Mac Giolla Bhrighde clú amach nuair a cuireadh an dlí air mar go raibh a ainm scríofa as Gaeilge ar a thrucail aige. Éirím iontach umhal nuair a smaoiním ar na scríbhneoirí a tháinig romham, agus mé ag amharc ar an phíosa shuarach seo. Ach caithfidh achan duine a dhícheall a dhéanamh.

San am i láthair nuair atá a lán athruithe i saol na hÉireann, tá seasmhacht agus leanúnas de dhíth. Tá páipéar maith de dhíth chun léargas a thabhairt do dhaoine ar chúrsaí, agus i gcásanna áirithe, chun muintir na háite a chosaint. Comhlíonann an Journal an dualgas sin go hán-mhaith.

Happy Birthday to you!

I must congratulate the Journal on last week’s supplement, marking its 240th anniversary. After the churches, the Journal is perhaps the oldest institution in Derry!

You cannot exaggerate when you praise a local paper like this one. Firstly, it keeps us informed about our local area. For more than 200 years the Journal has been reporting on events that you could not read about in other papers – evictions, bigotry, the Troubles, and much more. There is also the other side, of course - happy occasions, and events and people that we are extremely proud of.

The Journal is very important as a link between the people of the North West and the ‘exiles’. I know this is true in the case of our own family - we were able to keep in touch with Ireland through the Journal while we were living in Scotland.

With regard to culture, the Journal has played a historic role. Famous writers from the Donegal Gaeltacht contributed to the newspaper, including Séamus Ó Grianna and Seán Bán Mac Meanman. There was a regular column in it for many years - ‘Thall agus Abhus’ (‘Here and There’), and a whole page by ‘Fear Feasa’, (Liam Ó Connacháin) mostly in English, about Gaeltacht events. Liam wrote a biography of Niall Mac Giolla Bhrighde in Irish. Niall became famous when he was prosecuted for writing his name on his cart in Irish. It makes me humble to think of the writers who have gone before me when I look at this miserable offering. But everyone must do his best.

At the present time, when so many changes are taking place in Ireland, we need stability and continuity. We need a good paper to give people insight into what is going on, and in some cases, to defend the people. The Journal fulfils this duty extremely well.