Frankie Renihan talks about selling newspapers on the streets of Limerick for a living.
There is only a handful of newsboys left in Limerick. Frankie Renihan has a pitch outside the Railway Hotel and is one of the remaining news vendors in the city..
For years, the newspaper industry depended on people like Frankie, news boys who'd sell papers in all weather.
After forty years of selling papers, Frankie Renihan has put his story to paper in the pages of The Old Limerick Journal. Having endured a tough life if he could do it all over again, he would not choose to be a newsboy.
Frankie Renihan was the eldest of a family of twelve and lost his mother at a young age. He became a newsboy to help support his family. When he started out, there were around fifty newsboys now there just ten. The growth in the number of newsagent shops in the city has meant a lower demand for street vendors. Keen to sell the most papers, Frankie Renihan set up shop where the people were in the city. The cinemas in the Limerick were a good spot for newspaper sales.
Commission is made by selling and bad weather can really impact on the volume of sales as the vendors are exposed to the elements. News vendors suffer illness as a result of being outside in the wet, damp, cold weather.
The remaining newspaper sellers in Limerick are ageing and young people are not taking jobs on the streets. Jack Nash is the most senior news vendor in the city who operates on O'Connell Street.
Frankie Renihan believes the decline in the number of newspaper vendors will be a big loss to the community of Limerick.
I think it will be a big loss to the community if the newspaper boys die out.
Over the years,he has got to know his customers and says that you become part of a family. He knows now as a customer approaches which newspaper they are going to buy. The purchase of a newspaper is a very personal thing. Newspapers allow the reader to digest the news better than if they are just listening to the radio or watching television. Frankie Renihan believes what sells newspapers is good stories. One of the best local stories of all time was the enquiry into the gas board.
While lamenting the passing of the job of the newspaper vendor he believes there is no future for it. There is no weekly wage, no trade union protection, no pension scheme and no sick pay.
sThe newspaper boys are the backbone of the newspaper industry.
This episode of 'Ireland's Eye’ was broadcast on 17 October 1980. The reporter is Colum Kenny.