Belfast Telegraph

Newspaper closure 'bolt from blue'

The closure of the Irish Daily Star Sunday newspaper with the loss of 17 jobs has come as a bolt out of the blue for workers, union leaders said.

The newspaper had made no money since it was set up in 2003 and lost more than a million euro last year.

Paul Cooke, managing director of publisher Independent Star, said it was expecting to make even more losses on the venture in the year ahead.

Staff called to a meeting at the group's new offices in Dundrum town centre on Thursday morning were shocked at the decision to close the newspaper. Some had been expecting an internal merger with its sister paper, the Irish Daily Star.

National Union of Journalists Irish organiser Nicola Coleman said the union was surprised and disappointed by the move.

"Journalists at the newspaper are shocked both at this announcement and at the manner of this announcement," she said. "It has come as a bolt out of the blue and there has been no prior consultation."

Mr Cooke said the closure will have no impact on the Irish Daily Star, which he said has always generated a profit and was expected to make almost 6 million euro for last year.

He blamed the economic downturn and below-cost selling by UK-based Sunday titles in Ireland for the Sunday newspaper's demise.

"This has been a difficult decision and I want to pay tribute to the professionalism and hard work of all the staff of Irish Daily Star Sunday," he said.

"I also want to acknowledge and thank the advertising and marketing industry in Ireland for their support for the paper. Unfortunately, the deterioration in market conditions, particularly over the last two years, has left the company with no option but to cease publication of the Sunday paper."

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