Michael retires following forty years as ‘The Nationalist’ correspondent

‘The Nationalist’ and Ardfinnan Community Council joined forces last week to honour a man whose family has provided local news to the paper for the past forty years.

‘The Nationalist’ and Ardfinnan Community Council joined forces last week to honour a man whose family has provided local news to the paper for the past forty years.

Michael O’Brien had been an outstanding local correspondent for The Nationalist until failing sight forced him to retire last year.

And before he took over the role, his late wife Betty had been supplying all the news from the ‘little village’.

Last Thursday night Michael was honoured by Ardfinnan Community Council for playing his part in keeping the community on the map.

He received a special presentation from the Community Council for his four decades of recording all the happenings in Ardfinnan.

Nationalist editor Michael Heverin congratulated Michael on his contribution to both the community and the newspaper and remarked how vital the role of local correspondent was.

He emphasised how crucial community news was to the paper and how outstanding a correspondent Michael had been over the term of three different editors.

“He not only recorded births, deaths and marriages in the community but so much more. He was the eyes and ears of the community, along with his late wife Betty, and both The Nationalist and Ardfinnan owe him a great debt of gratitude.

“His notes were always very well written, very well presented and recorded changing times in his beloved Ardfinnan”, Mr Heverin said.

On behalf of the Community Council, Dr Anthony O’Halloran thanked Michael for recording the history of Arfinnan over the past forty years.

His notes were vital in keeping the community to the forefront of events in the county and he reiterated how important local notes were to a newspaper and to the communities it served.

Dr O’Halloran referred to Michael’s knowledge of military history and his own father’s journey to the battlefields of France during the First World War.

“In 1914 Michael’s father travelled from Ardfinnan to Athlone and then on to Dublin. He went from there to Liverpol and on to Dover before making the crossing to France. A week later he was fighting the Germans. Only three out of a group of one hundred survived, including Michael’s father who was awarded the Military Medal for bravery”, Dr O’Halloran said.

Michael, now in his mid 80s, worked in Ardfinnan Woolen Mills in his early days. He also worked for the County Council, as a farm worker and as a postman. He served in the Army from 1946 to 1950.