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Irish language newspaper to close

Published 16/12/2008

Northern Ireland's only Irish language daily newspaper is to close with the loss of eight jobs, it was announced today.

West Belfast-based La Nua (New Day) will shut at the end of the year after more than two decades in production because official funding has been withdrawn, its managing director said.

Mairtin O Muilleoir added that a proposal to provide a service online at reduced cost had been rejected by all-Ireland sponsoring body Foras na Gaeilge.

Foras said there were not enough readers and sales figures were not high enough.

Mr O Muilleoir said: "At a time when a Gaeltacht (Irish speaking) Quarter is taking shape in west Belfast, the decision to stop publishing a daily newspaper is counterintuitive and unwise."

Four journalists and four other posts will go at La Nua, Mr O Muilleoir added. The last paper comes out this Friday.

The managing director said: "Unfortunately, the all-island funder Foras na Gaeilge has decided to discontinue funding a daily newspaper in Irish and therefore our operation will close down on December 31, when the current contract runs out."

La Nua was launched in 1984 to capitalise on growing numbers of people in west Belfast and further afield learning Irish.

Foras is advertising instead for a company to publish a weekly newspaper and provide an online service.

Grant aid will be worth up to 400,000 euros (£357,398) a year.

Foras said the market for a daily newspaper was not big enough but did not rule out growth in the future.

Mr O Muilleoir added: "There should be a daily news service in Irish.

"Given the strength of the Irish language revival, I have no doubt the dream of a daily newspaper in Irish will resurface under different promoters in the near future."

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