Produced in Skibbereen The Southern Star is not just another provincial newspaper.

Since 1889, The Southern Star, formerly The Skibbereen Eagle, has been printed and distributed in Skibbereen. The weekly newspaper has survived and flourished through the days of the old British Empire, the birth of the nation, civil war and sixty years of relative peace.

The Southern Star has not only survived, it has flourished.

Two generations of the O'Regan family of Skibbereen have run the paper which is published every Thursday morning. The newspaper has not focused solely on local issues. Its predecessor 'The Skibbereen Eagle' won fame and international fortune by having had the temerity to suggest in an editorial in the 1860s that it was keeping an eye firmly on the czar of Russia.

John Hamilton, who has been working at The Skibbereen Star since the age of 17, describes the newspaper as a small family run business with a staff of 18 to 20.

I find that working with a local paper you are involved in a lot of community efforts in every way.

While The Southern Star is a local newspaper from a small provincial town, it is not backwards in embracing the latest in technology. The paper has installed all the latest technology developments when it comes to machinery and typesetting equipment.

Liam O'Regan, owner and editor at The Southern Star says that role of a provincial newspaper is

To reflect everything that happens within the area and to champion local causes as they may arise.

He believes that this paper and other provincial newspapers must play an investigative role. However, challenges in achieving this role include a lack of resources as well as political and social pressures.

This episode of 'Ireland's Eye' was broadcast on 8 February 1983. The reporter is Pat Butler.