Proud to have been part of a publication that has been an institution in Longford for 125 years, says outgoing Leader reporter


In fact, the Longford Leader turns 125 this year and to celebrate, my colleagues and I produced an amazing supplement with last week’s newspaper. In the whole history of the existence of the Leader, my short stay here (2017 – 2022) fits in a single page of this supplement and it is a lesson in humility.

My first experience working with the Longford leader was twelve years ago, in August 2010, before I returned to UCD for the final year of my undergraduate degree. The editor at the time, Sheila Reilly, hired me for a month and a seed was planted. That one month changed my entire career path and by the end of my final year at university I had secured a place on the Masters in Journalism program at NUI Galway.

I never thought I would go back to Longford no matter writing for the chef but it was the best path for me and ultimately my husband John who left Galway for me and continues to support me and encourage me in all my decisions. We got out of town and came home to a county that has prospered in so many ways and I was thrilled to see it continue to prosper.

The last five years have not been without challenges. In March 2020, when the pandemic hit, steps were taken to ensure the newspaper’s survival.

This first lockdown for us was a different kind of isolation, but it was a great honor to be part of a small team that continued to fly the Longford Leader flag throughout one of the most traumatic times and the toughest our county has seen in recent history. And, when our colleagues returned, we appreciated them more than ever.

Perhaps it was the intensity of these two years of Covid-19 that made me realize that my time with the Longford Leader was coming to an end. I had given him everything and, in return, he had given me everything he could. As things began to return to normal, I realized that “normalcy” was no longer what I wanted in life.

“Where are you going?” is the question I get asked every time someone finds out that I’m leaving. I’m not going anywhere. In fact, I will always be here, writing freelance.

I am writing a novel and will be finishing the second draft in the coming months. I will travel more. I’ll keep a houseplant alive…hopefully. Maybe I’ll learn how to make banana bread. More importantly, I will take time and space for myself, to understand the next big step.

I will never forget the team at Longford Leader, especially current members of staff, Alan, Liam, Declan, Padraic, David, Peter, Dessie, Audrey, Margie and our wonderful photographer, Shelley. We were like family and, before Covid, these were the people I saw and talked to every day.

We had long talks in the canteen, birthday cakes and wedding celebrations, new babies, retirements and departures, laughter, jokes, incessant slagging. We kept ourselves sane some days and probably drove ourselves crazy more often than that. But, even though there were ups and downs, I was extremely lucky to be part of this team.

Longford is getting a lot of negative attention and yes there is a lot of negativity out there for everyone. But don’t blame the press for that. Also read positive headlines. If people could only focus on those who do good every day, we would all see how lucky we really are to live in this wonderful little county.

Thank you to everyone who had an impact on my short stay with the Longford Leader. It was a great honor to have my signature in these pages and, if even a story I wrote made a difference in a positive way, then I can walk away proud to have been part of a publication that has been an institution in Longford for 125 years.


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